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Thread: 1999 Jeep TJ Sport - Baptism by fire

  1. #1
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    1999 Jeep TJ Sport - Baptism by fire

    This '99 TJ was purchased with the sole purpose of keeping my 2007 JK Sahara off the trails. You could call it a stunt double. I bought it last February with the intention of starting my build in the spring. I should note, that at the start of this project, I had no real mechanical experience.

    Unfortunately, a week after buying the Jeep, it was in a front-end collision. I wish I had taken photos at the scene, because the right side fender was folded right into the tire, and the door skin from a Nissan X-Trail was wrapped around the bumper. Not how I wanted to start the project.



    Faced with a slight change in project scope, the accident changed the direction of my build. Right off the start, I needed to repair or replace the front fenders, hood, grill and bumper. The radiator was out of position, but undamaged.

    Rather than look for stock parts to replace the hood and fenders, I opted to buy the AEV highline kit. In addition to solving much of my front-end damage, it also gave me additional clearance for larger tires. I found a replacement grille right here on Jeepkings which completed the front-end repairs.



    By installing the Highline kit, I gained roughly 3.5" of clearance inside the wheel wells. I therefore didn't need a huge lift to fit my desired 33" tires. I opted for the Rubicon Express 2" budget boost which came with spring spacers and replacement shocks. This gave me enough room to mount a set of 33" Trxus M/T tires. I replaced the front bumper with a Rugged Ridge tubular bumper and installed a Titan 12,000lb winch on the front along with some replacement fog lamps. Some Rugged Ridge tubular side steps provide additional side and rocker protection.

    I thought my build season was over, but on my inaugural trail run, I discovered that the fun was just beginning. While tackling a particularly nasty mud hole, I discovered that some of my front control arms may have been weakened in the accident. While trying to winch out of the mud, the entire axle was forced backward under the vehicle.



    I replaced the lower control arms with beefier Rubicon Express ones, ordered a new shock, replaced the tie rod and drag link and installed a new yoke on the axle. I was finally ready to hit the trails again.



    The next two months of trail runs went without incident until I lost my clutch in the middle of a trail run. It simply wouldn't disengage. After limping off the trail in first gear and having to kill the engine at every stop, I towed it back to town behind the JK. I got an estimate from a mechanic which ultimately made me decide to take on the task of replacing the clutch myself. I dropped the transmission and transfer case, replaced the clutch, forks and slave cylinder in my garage. I replaced the stock clutch with a Bully Performance clutch. A hybrid Stage 2/3 clutch, with ceramic buttons that are less likely to slip when wet.

    At about the same time, I replaced the stock rear bumper with a custom bumper fabricated from 2.5" square tubing. The bumper is much stronger than stock with an integrated Class III hitch and has a lower profile which clears my spare tire. A Kilby fuel tank skid plate was also added.

    That was it for the 2008 season. I will follow-up with the changes for 2009.

    Last edited by prdufresne; 04-04-2009 at 12:16 AM.
    '08 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon - 3.5" lift, 35" Mickey Thompsons
    '99 TJ Sport - Highline kit, 2" lift, 33" Tires, JK Rubicon springs, Bully Performance Clutch, Tummy Tuck, JK Rubicon axles

  2. #2
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    looks nice. n good job
    PIT BOYZ
    13 Jk sport 4 dr
    Cormier Towing

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    Good job!
    2003 Sienna Pearl TJ 3" Black Diamond Lift | 1" BL | 33x12.50" BFG MT's | 15x8 AR 767's | 4:10's | ARB BullBar | Warn 9000i | Warn Rear RockCrawler Bumper | BestTop Tire Carrier | AEV RockRails | Custom Cargo Box

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    If you don't mind me asking, can you post (or PM) the price of the highline kit and where you got it from?

    Thanks.
    "If it's not broke, your not trying"
    -Red Green

    2000 TJ, 3.5" RE Superflex lift, 1" coil spacers in front, 35" Mickey Thompson MTZs, 9500lb winch, Super 30/35 front/rear e-lockers, newly re-installed (and straightned) HD Rugged Ridge tierod and draglink

    Card carrying member of Team Red. Or would be if we had cards.....

  5. #5
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    nice to see some of my old parts back in action .

  6. #6
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    If you don't mind me asking, can you post (or PM) the price of the highline kit and where you got it from?
    I purchased the AEV Higline kit from National 4WD. Here's the link to their page. The list price on the website is $2629.94.

    http://www.national4wdonline.com/car...ategory_id=316

    I'm very happy with the result.

    nice to see some of my old parts back in action .
    Hey bruces, that grille worked out great. ThanX again.

  7. #7
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    funny, without that collision, you most likely wouldn't be where you are.

    nice work, interested to see where you go from here.
    one of these days...

  8. #8
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    funny, without that collision, you most likely wouldn't be where you are.
    That's true. I've already planned this year's upgrades, even ordered the parts. Just waiting for them to arrive. I'll have an update in a few weeks.

  9. #9
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    Bestop High Rock Tire Carrier

    Well, I've officially started the 2009 build season. I began by installing a new tire carrier. Under the weight of the oversized spare, my tailgate was beginning to sag. I opted for the Bestop High Rock tire carrier because I wanted a carrier that would swing with the gate. I didn't want to have to swing a tire carrier and then the gate.



    The instructions for the tire carrier were quite clear, and easy to follow. The entire installation took no more than a couple of hours. After installing the carrier, I did find that when you shut the gate, the carrier would flatten against the gate causing it to bind when you re-opened the gate. I solved this be re-attaching one of the bump stops originally used to keep the tire from rubbing on the tail gate. I'm very happy with the result.

  10. #10
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    Bestop Trailmax II Rear Seat

    My wife was never comfortable with the lack of head rests in the rear seat. Since we usually go wheeling as a family, we needed to address this concern. The Bestop Trailmax II rear seat was the solution to the problem.

    After initial installation, two things were apparent, the new rear seat has more room underneath for storage of tools. or other trail necessities. The other was that with the angle of the new seat, I lost storage room behind the rear seat. Since storage is at a premium in the TJ, this was an issue.



    The strike plate had some additional holes, presumably for other other Jeep applications. I opted to use the rear hole instead center hole, as instructed. This moved the bracket forward 2.25", so I drilled new holes for the front mounting brackets to move the whole seat forward the same distance solving my storage problem.

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