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Topic: Third Time's the Charm LJ (Read 65679 times)

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  • ShaunSweeney
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Third Time's the Charm LJ
After a rather brief and unfulfilling foray back into the sports car world (Scion FRS), I am back where I belong. As the title eludes to, this is my third Jeep. I made sure to find exactly what I was after this go around. Without further ado, my 2005 LJ!


The game plan is to get a few spots on the body cleaned up and painted



Once that is done, I want to drive it for this season, as is, to shake out any problem areas. Some of the basics such as lighting and tunes will be addressed immediately. With only 48k on the clock and one older woman as the only previous owner, I'm not expecting too many surprises. After I know I have a solid build platform, the fun will begin. The build plan as of now is:

MetalCloak 3.5" Game Changer ARB Edition Installed/partially removed
Currie 4" Springs and Savvy Tuned Fox Shocks Installed
MetalCloak Rocker Guards Installed
JKS MML/BL Installed
Teraflex Spare Tire Extension Returned/Defective
Novak Shifter Installed
Adams SYE/CV Rear Driveshaft
ZJ V8 Tie Rod Installed
33x12.50R15 Duratrac Installed
Procomp 7069 15x8 Installed
31 Tooth Speedo Gear Installed
Genright Rear Bumper Installed
Rugged Ridge 7" Flares Installed
CB Setup Installed
Stereo Installed
HID/H4 Conversion Removed
Trucklites Installed
LED Driving Lights Installed
20" Amber LED Lightbar Installed
Synergy LCA Skids
9000lb Winch
Rough Country Winch Plate
D30-27 Spline Spartan Locker Purchased
Flat Transfercase Skid
Savvy GTS
Fuel Filler Neck Mod Installed
WJ Leather/Heated Seats Installed
  • Last Edit: Mar 28, 2015, 08:12 PM by ShaunSweeney

  • bobthetj03
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #1
Impressive list! Love the color!  :)
My Jeep takes me to some pretty cool places!

  • ShaunSweeney
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #2
First off something had to be done about this



Nothing Crutchfield and Nailin couldn't help solve



With the Crutchfield wiring and Nailin adapters this was a simple pull out the old and bolt in the new affair



Best part was the lack of the bar a lot of folks have to cut on the passenger side


Next on the docket was a much needed lighting upgrade. I sourced a set of 27 watt LED work lights in flood pattern from amazon. I then pilfered the wiring from the stock fog lights.

Hella your sacrifice will not be forgotten



Stock headlights only....these will be addressed shortly


LED lights only. I made sure to aim them low so as to be able to use them without blinding people.


Headlights and LEDs. Nice fill from the LEDs. More lighting upgrades to follow.


Finished up the stereo install

This head unit is pretty trick. No CD player. All streaming through Bluetooth or USB. I love tech.


What do we have here? Bluetooth! The one creature comfort I refuse to live without

  • ShaunSweeney
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #3
Headlight Upgrade Stage 1

Yesterday marked stage 1 of my two stage headlight upgrade.  This stage included H4 conversion housings and a BiXenon HID kit all from DDM Tuning.  The reasoning behind the cheap H4 housing will be apparent in stage 2.

Right off the bat things didn't go smoothly.  The bulb bases didn't want to seat in the housings flush.  Nothing a light sanding with the dremel couldn't fix:


Like a glove:


One nice touch were the supplied boots.  These will do the job of keeping crud and moisture out quite well:


Next up was sorting through the wiring.  Looks like it is all there:


Out with the old:


And not so quickly on in with the new.  As you can see in the next pic the locating tabs were no clocked properly on the new housings (they are marked with masking tape):


This left me with two options.  Either bake the lights and reclock the (which is what I should have done) or use the aforementioned dremel and make new locating holes on the headlight buckets (which I did because I like to do such things).  I transferred the approximate location of the mounting tabs using the previously mentioned masking tape as a guide and a sharpie:


I did this in increment as to not remove to much material and make for a loose fitting headlight:



Eventually I removed enough material to allow the headlights to locate and sit flush in the buckets.  I waited for it to get dark before aiming everything.  I did this at 25ft using my other car with properly aimed HIDs as a reference.  Normally would use the horizontal centerline measurement at the headlight to do this, but the glare made me uncomfortable.  Our other car is a Prius C and thus the headlights were at a much more bearable level for oncoming traffic.

I nearly forgot to mention, the little lady even got involved in this project.  I was blessed with neither three nor small hands.  Therefore, her assistance in holding the lights in place and fishing wires through small spaces was greatly appreciated.

The high beam on the driver side currently is inoperable.  This was determined to be a harness issue and DDM Tuning is sending out a replacement as we speak.  I have to say this is the first time I have ever received a defective unit from them.  I will update this when the replacement harness arrives.

I will say this.  If I were to do this again, I would spend the extra couple of dollars on Hella ECode housings.  This would eliminate two issues: mounting alignment and excessive glare.  However, stage 2 of the build with remedy the glare issue all together.  For now, my wife can see better at night without blinding the bejebus out of everyone.  Therefore, I am content for now.

Output and pattern pics.

Output is great, but the pattern leaves a lot to be desired:


These will be very nice after stage 2 is complete:


As you can see the pattern is quite scattered:


The LED flood lights are less obnoxious:


On the road:




While I would not recommend people who drive a lot in the dark do this, it is a start.  We do very little night driving right now.  By the time we are ready to drive the LJ more often (good weather), stage 2 will completed.

  • ShaunSweeney
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #4
Today's Jeeping

Genright Rear Crossmember Bumper

First things first. This rig has had a rear end collision on the drivers side courtesy of the previous owner. What did that mean in terms of this install? It means it was a total pain in my ***....that's what it means! :brickwall

Now that we have a basis for the install, here is how it went down.

Rust sucks and it will not be tolerated:



The entire crossmember was cleaned up with a wire brush followed by cleaning with mineral spirits:



Then the entire thing was given a nice shellacking with Rustoleum:


Mmmm so clean:


Too bad it didn't stay that way. I allowed the surface to dry for several hours before attempting to fit the bumper. That's when things got interesting. The entire crossmember was out of square and the bumper didn't not want to go over the drivers side end at all.

After much massaging with a cornucopia of hammers, vice grips, pliers, and c clamps I got the damn thing on. I threw in a couple of bolt and nuts I had laying around to keep things in place and called it a night. Sorry there are no pics of this amazing fun process as it was dark and work was done by flashlight at this point.

I have to give a big thanks to my lovely little lady for her help. She was very patient through the whole fitting process. She was an extra pair of hands, a light holder, and even a tool wielding helper at points. I could not have finished this project without her help. She will be rewarded for her hard work don't you worry :kiss:

With all that being said, I went out today to get the necessary hardware. I drilled the four holes in the center section of the crossmember for 3/8" hardware (mostly because my crappy drill won't accept my 7/16" drill bit). The outer holes were predrilled for 7/16" hardware. All grade 8 hardware was used to secure the bumper. As you may have guessed not all of the holes lined up perfectly. No worries a quick hit with the Dremel and grinding stone make quick work of any offending holes.

I made sure to spray behind the bumper to recoat any areas rubbed off during the fitting process. Then I hit the bumper with a quick coat of black wrinkle finish paint. Unfortunately it got really windy after the first coat, so I will have to wait until another day to finish off the paint work.

Here is the end result:


I will eventually make a bike carrier that mounts to the brackets normally used for a tire carrier. I think that monstrous D Ring will do the job when I eventually get myself stuck. The only stinker is I could not use the frame tie ins due to the crossmember being so out of square. I may try to tackle that's somewhere down the road.

  • G Beasley
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  • Sawzall Surgeon
Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #5
 Glad to see your LJ build here . I have looked at those fog lights a few times , are you happy with them ?

  • ShaunSweeney
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #6
I do t necessarily think they would make good fog lights as they are a flood beam now the spot beams aimed properly would probably work well, however I would prefer a more yellow light in that application.

  • G Beasley
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  • Sawzall Surgeon
Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #7

I do t necessarily think they would make good fog lights as they are a flood beam now the spot beams aimed properly would probably work well, however I would prefer a more yellow light in that application.
Have you seen the yellow ones on  IH8PPL's LJ ? They look sharp and if I recall correctly he spray painted the lense . Ideally I would love to find something similar in size to my stock fogs , but with the light output of the Truck Lites . I dont want square so that limits my options .

  • ShaunSweeney
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #8
I haven't seen his. Are they spots or floods? I mostly wanted these for very dark back roads with no lights and trail rides at night.

  • G Beasley
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  • Sawzall Surgeon
Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #9

I haven't seen his. Are they spots or floods? I mostly wanted these for very dark back roads with no lights and trail rides at night.
I think his are floods . He doesnt post much since he moved to Utah , come to think of it neither would I  :D

  • ShaunSweeney
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #10
I love that are of the country. Maybe someday. I think the floods have too much vertical dispersion to be useful in fog.

  • G Beasley
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  • Sawzall Surgeon
Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #11
 If my mom would move West we would be in Utah right now ! I love it there , my favorite place in the world .

  • ShaunSweeney
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #12
One of my good friends lives in Durango, CO.  He needs to get a Jeep!

  • G Beasley
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  • Sawzall Surgeon
Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #13

One of my good friends lives in Durango, CO.  He needs to get a Jeep!
I have been lucky enough to spend several months in Durango and I love it , but not as much as the wide open deserts of Utah .

  • ShaunSweeney
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ
Reply #14
I wish I lived that close to Moab.  I'd be there every week!