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Project "Free Jeep" a.k.a Project "FJ" - part #72
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(04/19/12) I am fitting in some work whenever I can, but my little one is sick and work is a mess, so things are taking a bit longer to complete. This is what I figured though, so it isn't really much of a surprise. My life has changed a lot in the last 3 years, and the Jeeps have had to adjust ;)
I was able to get the differential apart and put the center chunk on the bench. Once on the bench, I was able to get it apart and start to layout the locker. I hope to get that all back in the Jeep tonight and button up the rest of it this weekend depending on the weather and the condition of the household and who is sick and who isn't.

cb (04/19/12)
(04/22/12) I was able to get the locker into the carrier without too many issues, and then I was able to get the carrier back into the axle housing with a ton of issues, but all of those are now behind me. Just some bruised hands and a bruised ego to show for it.

The carrier bolts were torqued down to 60 ft./lbs. and then the cover bolts to 40 ft./lbs. I went up in 10 ft./lb. increments, and I found those values on a Google search. I checked a few more and they seemed to be in that area. Before that was all cleaned up, I measure the space between the components and we were within spec as indicated in the installation manual. After it was in, I put the tie rod end and drag link in place and finished it up with putting the axles in the housings before I had to run to get cleaned up and in the house for dinner. I figure that I have about 3 more hours of work left on the front end transformation. Also, I measure the old setup for the tie rod end, so right now the measurements are more of a guess. A little blue locktite on that new Tie Rod Ends and I am in good shape. I just have to remeber to grease the ends and add oil to the differential before trying this bad boy out!

cb (04/22/12)
(04/26/12) The Jeep is back on all four tires, off the jack stands and back on the ground. I was able to follow all the instructions and it seems like I was able to install the locker without any issues and with me starting up the Jeep and turning the tires lock to lock, it appears that there is no binding with the suspension either and it really looks nice all tucked up and out of the way so I won't bash it on the rocks.

There is fluid in the differential, there is grease on the new tie rod ends. The steering geometry looks about parallel now that it is back on the ground, except it is about 4 inches higher than before. Everything really looks good and seems to function good. The only question I have is the alingment as I had to guess on the length of the tie rod and drag link. I measured the old ones, but you are only as close as you can get it without throwing it up on a machine.

cb (04/26/12)
(05/18/12) The Jeep is all ready to go now. I got it back from the alignment shop where I was pretty close, but the zeroed it in for me. I also took some parts from the Maroon CJ project and sold a few things, but also took a couple things for the Free Jeep so I can have some more light, some tunes, and some grab bars to help get in/out. Once I got the top off the old CJ, I was able to unwire the sound bar with some help from my father-in-law. Once that was out, I had to find all the parts and put it all back together. Once that was all done and working, it was bolted in place, wired up in the Jeep and now we have light and tunes. The only issue is it is a little close to my head while driving, but not terrible. We will try it out, as well as all the other modifications this weekend when we go wheelin! Can't wait, it has been a long time.

cb (05/18/12)
(03/17/13) It has been a while since I did anything to project FJ, but today I added another car seat so I can have both the monkeys come with me when we go four wheeling and to Jeep shows this year. They both get the same one, with the same covers, so the only thing they can argue about is whether or not they want to sit behind Mommy or Daddy...

The only issue I had was that the seats are a little wider than I thought, so the one that was in there had to be moved over a bit and then they both played nicely after I got the straps all figured out. It was a bit tight to get them in there together. I got the seat of off Craigslist for a good deal, it was the same one that I had in there, so they played nicely together.

cb (03/17/13)
(07/05/13) In preparation to go out and do a little exploring of the trails around the towns near us, my buddy wanted to get together with the families and go out and see what was there. So, I go out, check the fluids, check all the operation, and then find out I had a banana bend in the driveshaft. Not too good. So, I take it out, put in in the press 15 or so times and then it is mostly in balance. The good part is that it is the front shaft and all in all, not too bad of shape. I don't go more than 10 mph in 4wd so the balance issue isn't much to worry about.

cb (07/05/13)
(09/04/13) Well, for something htat wasn't supposed to take a long time, this project has been a long time coming. I finally got back the rims last night. I can't be happier with how they came out, but the cost was definitely a factor. I am going to try to sell off 1/2 of them and keep the other half for the Silver rig. I plan on swapping tires on it next week once I get the spare I am looking for. It is like a big giant chess game. Sell some parts, buy a spare, swap tires, sell rims and then you have what you want and someone else has what they way... I am helping the environment as well as the economy ;)

cb (09/04/13)
(09/12/13) My grandfather would have been 100 today if he had lived another year+. Man do I miss him. He was a great man and very good role model on how hard work brings rewards and good results.

I finally got the tires back and mounted. I think they look amazing, but I am biased. I am finally done with tires, rims and wheels and can now get back to body work on the UK Jeep. That spare tire looks huge! Also, I haven't striped the wheels yet, I just didn't get around to it before I had to drop off the wheels.

cb (09/12/13)
(06/20/14) So, we have been enjoying the Jeep and going wheeling and things have been working very well, however, on the ride home from the last trip, I had some strange braking issues... slight tap and they would lock up and if you pushed on them hard, they would stop, but took a while. Took it apart and found that the new meats were rubbing the stainless braided lines. It was scary, so don't even ignore your brakes!

We are all good and headed out on the next Jeep wheeling adventure, can't wait!

cb (06/20/13)
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