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Princess Jeep TJ Build Thread


Feb 6, 2021
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This will be interesting to start, I've never tried to document a build this way so stay with me while I figure this whole deal out.
I always wanted a Jeep. I loved Jeeps and everything about them. When I was in grade school my parents bought a 1978 CJ5 and I was instantly hooked. Since then I've owned a couple TJ's, a CJ7, several wagoneers, J truck, full size cherokee, and a handful of other vehicles mixed in.
When I was in high school, I drove an 88 K5 blazer, and it was wore out and just too expensive to maintain, so I got a 2004 TJ Rubicon from a church friend. It was low mileage, super clean, lifted, big tires, every 16 year olds dream. I daily drove it up until my junior year of college. I realized then how cheap the aftermarket parts were that were on it- procrap lift kit, junk shocks, stock upper control arms, etc. and ended up getting a Z71 to daily drive and tow the TJ.

Fast forward several years. I started building on a budget. Left over parts, used parts, free parts, I rarely bought anything new. The Jeep was getting to the point where it was just worn out. Stuff was breaking every trip out and it was getting to be more work than it was worth to only stay on small tires. In its final set up, it was on stock rubicon axles, raceline monster beadlocks, 35" BFG blue labels, 2.5" OME springs and long travel shocks (used), 4 different brands of adjustable control arms (used), 1.25" body lift, it had a tapped durango box and WJ pump with a PSC ram and currie currectlynk steering (all used). It worked well, but my lockers were iffy, had broken shock bolts, it had been air born several times, and needed refreshing.

So browsing CraigsList one day I found a set of 05+ SD axles for pretty cheap. Took a couple buddies in my wagoneer and a trailer and scooped them up and the build was on. I was always the guy that said I would never put my Jeep on one ton axles. Well that was a lie. I knew absolutely nothing about what I was getting myself into. I'd never built a Jeep like this, never built suspension, knew how to weld but it had been years, and was way in over my head. I started researching and buying what I thought would be a good fit for what I wanted.

Starting off with the suspension: I knew I wanted to 4 link it and not mess with a panhard bar. I decided the 4 link kit from Motobilt was the way to go as it took a lot of the guess work out, because somebody already did it for me. The jeep articulates really well and the geometry is pretty good. But, if you're thinking about this kit, the belly pan hangs WAY too low. I'm thinking I'll probably have to build a different skid so I can gain a couple inches of clearance back. Another bad deal is I'm having to run a 2 piece from drive shaft, and that unit was not cheap.
I paired the kit with Motobilts heim kit, and am so far fairly pleased with it, as well as their back half kit. This deal has a lot of motobilt stuff on it. Hook me up with a sponsorship please, Dan. Check back on that after a few more trips.

Originally, I thought coil overs would be the way to go on this deal. But after price shopping for hydraulic bumps, limit straps, springs, etc., I decided ORI's was the move. Thanks Kasey Mills (TJ4Rocks) and Jared Bratcher (Deviant Customs) for getting me turned onto those units. So decided on 14" struts for each corner as I didn't want to cut the body to keep this unit as low as I wanted.

I traded my Racelines and blue labels for a set of 42" PBR's on 17" steelies with DIY beadlock rings. Looking back knowing what I know now, I got the bad end of that deal. I took one trip with the Pitbulls and immediately bought something better. Those tires couldn't grip sand paper. They're called Shitbulls for a reason. I picked up a set of second hand 40" sticky treps and spyderlocks and those spanked treps walk circles around the PBR's.

Once the Jeep was a roller again, we sent it off to my friends at Deviant Customs, where they ordered my drive shafts (Adams), geared it (Yukon 5.38's, zip up front, grizzly in the back), plumbed it with -3AN brake lines and new metal fuel lines, and charged the struts. Thanks guys!

The first trip out I couldn't wipe the stupid grin off my face, I was so happy to be behind the wheel again. It had issues, though, which was no surprise for this Jeep. I was used to it breaking literally every time out. Steering leak, overheating, and a dead air compressor resulting in no front locker ended the day.
Second trip out it was on stickies and beadlocks, fixed the overheating issue and steering leak, and went back at it. Wolf Caves is one of my favorite places to wheel and the Jeep did awesome. Definitely needs a driver mod though, as I'm still learning this new rig. Ended up losing both front brakes due to a broken line on the driver side, and the passenger side blowing the seals out of the caliper. Got all that fixed up and took it to Crossbar for a day trip. Fit hit the shan, let me tell you. Motor is hurt, broke a 1480 u-joint and ended the day in just under 2 hours. But, again its fixed back up; this time with 1550 shafts and 7qts of straight 50w oil to quiet that motor up. "Good enough for who it's for."

I have to give a huge shout out to my buddy Derek (POSFAB) for supplying endless knowledge and help and also the use of his shop for the almost two years the jeep was on jack stands. Robert, for helping get this deal thrown together when I got laid off and he was off for surgery, John for always being there when we needed more hands, and everybody else who came and lent a hand.

I'm no expert. The Jeep was built by a couple amateurs, welded by someone that learned in high school on gates and panels, and would probably be looked down on by most people on this forum. But it's mine, I'm proud of it, and I can say "man I did that" and laugh when it eventually fails.
Anyway, help make me insta-famous and follow me on the gram. @theprincessjeep




First trip on the road in nearly two years. Ran terrible, right on brand.


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