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WolfGT 02 TJ

You say you quenched the welds? If so that was a very bad idea you should never quench a weld. Makes the material very brittle. Also the piece is more likely to warp if quenched than left to air cool.


You say you quenched the welds? If so that was a very bad idea you should never quench a weld. Makes the material very brittle. Also the piece is more likely to warp if quenched than left to air cool.
Yes I did. I guess I knew that would make the metal really hard and brittle. But I wasn't thinking about that. My biggest concern at the time was that the welding put a lot of heat in the tube and insert and I had to have the Johnny Joint threaded in to ensure that the threads wouldn't warp. So the longer the insert was hot, the more the heat transfered into the joint. I was worried about ruining the internals of the joint if the heat made it way out there. So I quenched it. I'll keep the spare stock LCA in the Jeep just in case. And I'll see what happens.

I guess the right way would have been to disassemble the Joint to remove the vulnerable parts, then weld it all up and let each bead air cool. Another lesson learned. We'll see if that mistake comes back and bites me.
Looks good, my only constructive criticism would be to turn the heat up on your welder a bit, or turn down your wire speed. Looks like some of the welds are rushed and didnt penetrate well. Some of them look great though.


Notched the skid plate because the front drive shaft was rubbing.

Now I'm starting to design the new front swaybar mounts for the axle.


Rebuilding the Swaybar bracket

A month or so ago I forgot to disconnect when the club went to 33 for the toys for tots run. I didn't realize it at the time, but my driver side swaybar bracket broke off the axle and I assume once the whole assembly was dangling there, a sharp turn ripped it off with the tire. After some phone calls and emails with Teraflex, I got replacement parts on the way for quite a good deal. Here is the process of replacing the assembly.

First was cleanup and repair of what was left. Here is what remained from the old bracket (not installed by me). Basically a a piece of angle iron welded under the stock spring seat to reenforce it and then a piece of flat stock welded up the right side that went up and over the tie rod (tie rod removed in this picture). Then there was a triangle shaped gusset going from the reenforcement piece to the piece that went over the tie rod. As you can see, everything that was above the spring seat is gone.

Then it was removal/cleanup time. Here is a picture of the old stuff removed (yes, I did nick the spring, should have removed it already). As you can see the original spring seat is not in that good of condition. So some repairs will need to be done before fabrication on the new bracket can begin.

Also another problem came up (of course). When removing the spring (I figured I better do that because I don't want to heat it up when welding so close), the bolt holding the stack of hockey pucks and bump stomp stripped and wouldn't come out. So after fighting with it for a bit I finally got it out. Found that the threads on the bolt and in the hole were rusted and gone. So I figured I better fix that now rather than later. I found a larger bolt in my box of bolts, enlarged the holes in the pucks and tapped the spring seat for the new bolt.

About this time I noticed that my front upper control arms were stock. Note to self to remedy this soon. Back to the repairs. I cut away all of the thin rusted metal and created templates for new pieces (Tip: the thin cardboard used for 12 packs of coke/beer works great for templates). I figured it would be good to just box the end of the spring seat in and that would give me more of a surface to work off of when attaching the new bracket supports. Here it is all boxed in.

Now it's time to fab up the new bracket arm. The limiting factors in this is the spring and the tie rod. You have to get a solid mount point above the tie rod that is attached firmly to the axle (which is below and behind the tie rod and spring). So you have a limited amount of space to squeeze a bracket through. I used 1/2" thick steel for the main arm. I was actually able to cut this piece out of a 2" wide piece of flat bar stock. Here is the piece mocked into place.

The only thing to do is weld it up and fab up a gusset to make it strong. Here is the arm welded in place and the gusset tacked in. I welded the arm with multiple passes to the axle and then perimeter welded it all the way around to the spring seat ensuring to get deep penetration into the thick stock. Then on the gusset, I welded each edge completely and then plug welded in the holes. I think it's pretty solid. We'll see.

I didn't get any pictures that night when completed, but I'll add some soon. The tie rod does hit the new bracket before hitting full lock when turning to driver. But I think the previous guy ran into this same issue and proceeded to grind his mount down for clearance while weakening the bracket. I am going to leave it as is and see how it works. I'm not loosing much.


Bumper mods

Finally purchased a winch and figured it was time to add the stinger and hood hoop to my front bumper like I have always wanted.

First the winch. It's a Warn 9.5ti that I bought from a member of this site (Jeff, the owner of the big white blazer). Here is a picture of it mocked up on the bumper by itself before the tube work was done.

I have always wanted the Genright Style TJ bumper with their Trail Series stinger.
Like this:

But I already have a bumper that I like, so I talked to the guys at CFS Offroad in Columbia, SC. They said that it would be no problem. We worked out a price and a time to get it done.

The day arrived and the work began.

Here is the tube they were using. It's PVC... just kidding. It's 1.75" .120 wall DOM.

The machine that turns this hunk of metal into pretzels.

The measuring, discussion, measuring again, begins.

Then the bending.

This process took a bit. They went through 2 or 3 attempts to get it just right. Too wide, too short, not enough tube .... but they didn't give up.

Success. Here is the hoop mocked up and we are trying to determine the height and angle of the stinger.

Here you can see how tight it was to get the tube to the bumper between the hook (which I wanted to keep), the sway bar and the winch. Not an easy task.



I had to take off for a bit and go take care of work. When I came back, this is what I found.

A few months back I managed to split my Currie bumper at one of the seams. They were nice enough to weld it back up and smooth it out (that is what you see him grinding on above).

A few more shots of it.

Looks good. Upon my request, he added a ring to the underside of the stinger for me to hook the winch line to. This tab is way overkill, I love it.

Then they asked if I wanted to put in a plate between the legs of the stinger to hold the fairlead for the winch. Sounded good to me. This should have been a simple process but Murphy's law came into effect and this small project (the winch plate), took forever. Just didn't want to behave.

But finally got it beat and burned it in.

It took a lot of work and they did a great job. Called it a night and took it to my shop and parked it for the weekend. Then earlier this week I pulled the bumper, cleaned it up and put some paint on it.



After a primer coat and three coats of flat black I put it all together and hooked up the winch. Here is the final result.

I like it. And for anyone else out there that has a TJ and would like the same thing done, the guys at CFS now have the measurements and should be able to pound it out for you pretty easily.


Oh yeah, and for those observant ones out there, I also painted my headlight rings, hooks, sway bar and sway bar mounts while I was at it.


I have been having a hard time keeping my spindle nuts tight. Then found out I was not doing it right. Began some research and it was really hard to find consistent instructions and specs. So I'm going to post up what I did here for anyone that might need it.

In the front, I have a Dana 30 with the Warn Hub Conversion kit installed. Basically the ends of the axle are Dana 44. So to properly work on it, you need to get a Dana 44 spindle wrench (socket). I got mine right off the shelf at Advance Auto in the specialty tools section (Part # AC677 - $15).

Here is the procedure I used to set the bearings and tighten the lock nut. I'll start with the removal of the tire.
  • Remove the wheel and tire
  • Remove the c-clip retaining the washer and stub shaft
  • Remove the retaining washer (the one with the matching spline teeth on the inside diameter)
  • Use the spindle socket to remove the lock nut
  • Remove the lock ring
  • Back off the bearing retaining nut
  • ** at this point if you need to repack the bearings or add more grease to the assembly, now is a good time
  • While turning the rotor with one hand, tighten the retaining nut to 50ft/lbs then back it off 1/4 turn and then tighten it back hand tight
  • Add the locking ring. (mine was the type with the slot and holes in it that line up with a slot in the spindle and a post on the retaining nut, I understand there is another type). If the post does not line up with one of the holes, do not loosen the nut, just flip the locking ring over to line it up
  • Add the locking nut and tighten it to 150ft/lbs (I have read up to 200ft/lbs but found a lot of reputable articles stating 120+ so I went with 150, the max of my torque wrench)
  • Install the stub shaft retaining washer and c-clip
  • Install the Warn (or replacement) hub over the lugs
  • Reinstall the wheel and tire

That's it. Hopefully this will help somebody else, but at the very least this will document it for me to reference later.
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Your hubs are actually Dana35 TTB Ford parts, but they use the same bearing retainers as a 44. The Ford instructions say 200 ft lbs. I always went as tight as I could turn with a 2 ft breaker bar :).


Updated the first post with a list of broken items since having the jeep. If anyone remembers anything else that's not on the list, let me know.