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YJ unlimited build

'92 Vegas YJ

Well-known member
May 25, 2020
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Well I figured I show throw my build up here. I've had a build thread on JF for a bunch of years so I'm going to spend some time transferring that over. I am active duty US Navy so you will notice in a lot of posts I reference leaving and then coming back home.

So a little background. I’ve had my ’92 YJ since I was 16 years old, so about 2003 time frame. Current setup is as follows

Engine/trans: 4.0l/AX15
Transfer case: NP231 with true neutral plate and Teralow 4:1
Axles: front-vacuum delete/trussed D30 with MORE high steer, Spartan locker and 4.56 gears
Rear- 8.8 w/ welded spiders and 4.56 gears
Suspension: bastard leafs SOA with a 3” front stretch and 1” rear stretch
Armor: poison spyder rear crusher corners, some random rocker guards that used to be on the Redbull jeep and some custom tube fenders that I built. I have some cheap Smittybuilt rear bumper and a procomp front bumper that I chopped up and welded back together to make a stubby
Safety: 6 point cage that I build a couple years ago with Mastercraft suspension seats
Wheels/tires: cheap Crager steel wheels with 35” Goodyear MTR’s

There is a lot more little things done to the Jeep just too much to list. This build will start from about 2 weeks ago and go forward. If you have any questions about my old setup feel free to ask.

The plan is to stretch the body and frame 15" to LJ length. 80's front D60 with outboarded leafs, Eaton HO72 rear with 4 link and ORIs, 40's and whatever else some how falls into the build as I get deeper into it.

To start off here are some pictures that I have showing some of the various stages from the old setup. If I find more I will post some up.

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So now lets start on the current build. I started installing the front D60 by outboarding the leafs. The Dave's customs unlimited brackets I am using ended up taking me longer to get the 60 under the rig than if I had just built them myself. They needed a lot of work to fit right. The crummy thing is I spent $400 on this kit to "save myself some time". I could've built everything for free with what I have laying around my garage. Oh well, lesson learned. Dont buy things when you can make them yourself. You'll end up spending more money and more time trying to make it work.

Anyway here are some basic pics from the last week. I haven't been taking a lot of pictures but you get the idea.

I still have more work to do. I have a J20 pitman arm on the way, I need to redo my lower shock mounts and maybe move the upper hoops a bit, need new longer brake lines, finish welding frame mounts, build final steering links, notch frame for drag link, bump stops ect.....
So I literally spent ALL day working on my shock mounts. Originally I just planned on using some standard shock tabs off the rear of the axle tube. That didn't work though because my hi steer arm on the drivers side would contact the shock before it reached full lock steering left.

You can see how I originally tried to mount them in this picture

The only other way to mount them would be on top of the axle tubes. The only problem with that is it really doesnt give me much up travel with the way my current hoops are set up. So that meant I had to do new lower and upper mounts.

First thing I did was make some new lower mounts. I chose to integrate the tube and the inner C.

Here is the initial trim work

Then I trimmed it some more and came up with this. All of this is being done in 1/4" steel.

Then it was time for the upper mounts. To get the amount of travel I want I had 3 options. Either cut the hoops off and move them forward and up some(still wouldnt gain that much more travel), cut them off and build all new hoops, or cut the shock tabs off the current hoops and raise them to allow sufficient travel. I chose the 3rd option for now. We'll see how it works out.

Here's how the current tabs come off of the hoops.

I then came up with these.

Upper and lowers tac'd in.

I plan to run some bracing along the top and some gussets off the side to help support it.

Cardboard bracing

Thats it for now. Again I spent all day cutting and measuring for these tabs. I did everything you see with a 4 1/2" grinder with a cutting wheel and flap disk. Tomorrow I need to put the tires on and do some flexing and turning lock to lock and cross my fingers and hope everything clears
Got the upper shock mounts finished today. I used 3/16" plate for the top.

I received my J20 pitman arm yesterday. Its got a little bit longer throw plus isn't near as much of a drop. With the current YJ drop pitman arm I only have about 1-2" of uptravel before my pitman arm hits my D60. My front axle is pushed about 2" forward from stock right now.

Small update. I was able to get the pitman arm switched out.

Heres a shot of the J20 pitman arm vs a YJ 4"(?) drop PA.


Once I installed the new PA I had to cut down my drag link just a little bit. about 1.75". That's why I hadn't fully welded it yet. I knew I was probably going to have to trim it down.

to cut it down I used my trusty new/used bandsaw that I picked up off CL. Man I should have bought one of these sooner. I always hated using my chop saw. If I only knew.

I also got my tie rod mocked up with PVC. I will try to get the new one cut out tomorrow.

Its been snowing all day today and will snow again tomorrow. Been in the 20s-30s here. Gotta tell you though, I LOVE having a heated garage
Been working like crazy again lately but I did get some time to do some work on the Jeep today.

I wanted to get everything bolted up and take it for a quick spin real quick before i did all my final welding. All of the mounts had some beads on them to hold them in place but it wasn't fully welded yet. Here are a couple pics of it out of the garage before my test drive.

the test drive went ok. I was a little squirrely but I'm hoping that's just because I wasn't running any shocks for the test drive. I also don't think the tires are balanced at all. After the test drive I welded everything up and laid some paint.

here's an obligatory weld shot

while waiting for paint to dry I decided to measure and notch up a new piece of tube for my lower windshield bar. The old one will get cut out when I pull the cage. Its going to look so much better and be a lot easier to see with this newer bar.

you can see it at the very bottom on these pics

Well that's all for now. I leave tomorrow morning for work and won't be back until next weekend so I wont be able to get everything bolted back up until I get back. All that is left for the front is bump stops, longer brake lines and notch the frame for my drag link.
Worked on my bumps today. I'm probably going to bump it with around 5-5.5" of up travel. First thing I had to do was try to flex it out a little to make sure everything will clear.

This is about 3" of up travel right here. I still have plenty of clearance for another 2-2.5". I might have to notch my frame for my drag link a little bit. With this setup i should have around 7" of down travel.

To start off the bumps I built these little pads that will get welded to my spring plates. 1.75x.120 DOM capped with 3/16" plate.

Then I built some bump cans out of 1.75x.120 DOM and built the bumps using 1.5x.250 DOM again capped with 3/16". I welded a nut on the inside of the plate and threaded a rubber bump stop into it. I hope these will work out.

And this is how I'm hoping to mount them.

I need to flex it out again and see if the bumps will clear the shocks at full droop. If not I may need to french them into the frame a little bit. I'm pretty happy with them seeing that I built everything with scrap I had around the garage and only spent an afternoon building everything. I leave again tomorrow morning until next weekend so the Jeep with sit until then.
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got the upper mounts for the bumps built and welded up. Heres the final setup.

I bought myself a nice Valentines gift yesterday. I snagged a complete YJ minus drivetrain for $800. The body and frame are in perfect condition. I plan on using the body on my rig for the tub stretch and selling off everything else. I'm pretty sure I can sell everything and make my $800 back. Plus I can sell my current tub for a few hundred bucks and be in the positive.

Here it is when I brought it home last night.

And heres what I woke up to this morning.

Spent $118 on brake lines today. Ordered them from WFO concepts. Everytime I order something from them I am more than impressed. I leave on Monday again for 2 weeks but when I get back I'll install the brake lines and I'll be done with the front end for now. I still need gears, diff cover and shorten my driveshaft but that doesnt have to be done right away. Once I get the front buttoned up I will remove my cage and start cutting up the spare tub for the swap. I'm excited but nervous at the same time. I also bought a cheap $400 plasma cutter from Amazon the other day. I'm tired of cutting everything with a grinder, but I also dont feel like dropping $1,500 on a Hypertherm. I read good reviews on this unit to hopefully I'll be good.
Decided that since I'm waiting on parts to work on the current YJ that I can start disassembling the parts YJ. I ended up getting it all torn down and the body removed from the frame. Now I'm relaxing on the couch icing my back and popping Motrin. My body has trouble keeping up with all the jobs I try to get done at work and around the house. Im only 28 but my body feels WAY older. Unfortunately my next Chiropractor appointment isn't until the end of March

Went from this...

To this...

And one of the other Jeep sitting sad on jackstands

Finally back home again today. All my parts came in while I was gone so I should get a little bit of work done tomorrow. Jessica was really excited about the plasma cutter so that was the first thing I got put together when I got home. Going to have to learn how to get good at using a plasma now.

Been tinkering here and there on the Jeep in between work and family life.

I didn't want to start a build with 2 dirty Jeeps so I started by pressure washing the parts jeep. I did the outside, inside and the underside. Even after pressure washing the underside though I couldn't get it clean enough. So I decided to wire wheel it. For now I just threw some primer on it until after the stretch, once I get the stretch finish welded I will probably POR15 the underside.

I also got the cage pulled from the white jeep and started prepping it to pull the tub. I got the all the armor, hood, steering column and dash pulled. Here are some pictures.

Got the maroon tub thrown on today.

This is with a 40" tire in stock location

And here is where it'll roughly sit after the body stretch. Should be a nice wheelbase.

Also got the dash torn apart. Just need to finish removing some wiring and it'll be bare. Im going to use everything from my white YJ in this tub. Dash, guages, wiring harness etc....

Got a little bit of work done on the Jeep today. Had some friends come over and hang out and tinker on the rig. The pics should explain what happened. I've also received over the last week some more small parts that I needed like rear shock towers, A new hood-cowl gasket, some new big adjustable jack stands and also I have a very expensive part that's supposed to be in on Monday.

Got my frame cut today. I started working on my stretch pieces but ended up calling it a night after I got one of them done. I used my 4.5" grinder for the frame to get my cuts as true as possible and I used my plasma for the extension pieces. Let me tell you, finally having a plasma is AWESOME. Even if it is a cheap Chinese version. I used a piece of angle iron as a guide and my cuts are straight with very little slag. I didnt take any pictures of the extension pieces but I will post some up in my next update. Heres the frame cuts.

sanded and ready to get sliced

Going slow to keep it straight

and cut all the way through

The stock frame is 2.5"x4" which is an oddball size and very hard to find. I ended up getting a stick of 3"x4" .25" wall and will use the extra width as fish plates along the sides. I can tell you this stuff is huge!! I dont think I'll have any problems with my frame.

I bought the box tube and the 16G plate locally. The place I bought it from only sells by sticks and full sheets so I got a 5'x8' sheet of plate and a freaking 24' stick of 3x4". I am only using a little under 5' total of the tube so I'm going to have an extra 19'. Hopefully I can sell it on CL or if someone local wants to do a frame stretch I can sell it that way.
Got the frame mostly welded up today after work. I need to do a little bit more tomorrow then it'll be finished. Here a couple pics from today.

frames mocked up together

And burning it in

And I measured my wheelbase at 112". Thats with 2" front stretch, 15" frame stretch and a 1" rear stretch that I currently have with the 8.8 and 35's.

Spent a lot of time working on this so far this weekend but it feels like I got no where. One of those weekends where everything you do is so time consuming that at the end of the weekend you barely scratched the surface. It started out by removing the 8.8 and rear leafs and mocking up the Eaton. This whole time I've been planning the build my goal was to keep the tank under the jeep to maximize cargo space. This plan was immediately shot down the second I mocked up the Eaton. I dimpled my stock tank when I stretched my 8.8 a couple years ago and was hoping that would work. I knew ahead of time that the pinion on the Eaton is offset to the driver side a bit but I was hoping my notch would work. As soon as I mocked up the Eaton I realized there was NO WAY this was going to happen. Not only is the notch about 4-5" off center of the Eaton pinion but the Eaton would have to sit in the stock location(no stretch) just to even fit if the dimple was in the right spot. So that leaves me with 2 viable options, pay $1,000 for a Genright tank or run a fuel cell. I think I'm going to run a cell. As much as I want the tank under the jeep i don't think I want it $1,000 worth. Heres a couple pics of the Eaton to tank clearance.

So the tank came out. So much room now.

Then I started working on my truss. There are no Eaton trusses on the market so I did like Carey(Bgredjeep) and bought the Artec 9" universal truss. The fitment is close but still takes quit a bit of fab work to get it right. This took me a long time doing a bunch of cardboard mockups before I cutout the center pieces.

Here it is out of the box.

One side cut out

and both sides cutout. Everything is only tac'd together right now.

Then I rolled the axle to a rough placement of where its going to sit. This is approximately 3" back from stock. You can also see the frame stretch really well in this pic.

After that I started assembling the Artec dual 4 link brackets. These are a giant puzzle out of the box. I got one fully welded and the other one is just tac'd together right now.

Thats all I got done before I called it a night. Im trying to continually work at this but Im not forcing myself to stay up all night or anything. I work on it for a few hrs when I want then whenever I'm tired or ready to call it I just stop and go inside. Hopefully going like this wont cause me to burnout on it.
I only went out in the garage today for about 30 minutes but in that amount of time I didn't like what I saw. I mounted my link brackets where they "need" to be and I wasn't happy. Here are some reasons why I mounted them where I did and some reasons I wasn't happy. First I am using the Artec dual 4 link mounts and Metalcloak Duroflex joints. Metalcloak says their joints need to be mounted in the neutral position for maximum life span. So in order to get the joints nuetral with my Artec brackets I had to move them further back on the frame than I would like. The brackets are 25 degree uppers and 10 degree lowers. So with them moved to the perfect spot it looks like my uppers will be about 35.5" long and my lowers will be about 33" long. Thats my first concern. Most of the reading I've done says you want your uppers about 75-80% the length of you lowers. Another thing is that I've also read that you want to try to put your frame mounts about even with your transfer case output. Well the way there are now they are about 13" rearward of my TC output. Those are just some basic observations without throwing any numbers into the link calculator. I'm honestly thinking of scrapping the single triangulated idea and going to a double triangulated setup. This should keep my AS and roll axis is check. Keep in mind all of my knowledge is purely based on the research I've been doing. I have ZERO real world experience linking a vehicle. If I do the double tri setup I think I might just make my own brackets so I dont have to shell out another $200 on brackets. below are a few pics of the setup. Those with experience please feel free to chime in.

Its been a little while since I've updated this so I figure now is the time. I've been plugging away at this as much as possible with a full time job (usually about 70-80 hrs a week) and a family. I decided to ditch the single 4 link and try to build a double triangulated 4 link instead. I ran the single vs double numbers in the link calculator and determined double will be better for my application.

Here is roughly what my numbers will look like. Obviously some things will change slightly once I actually have brackets mounted and run the numbers again.

I decided I will run 2x3" 1/4" box tubing for my crossmember. One reason is I think it will be plenty strong and the other reason is a buddy of mine down the road just bought a full stick for his backhalf :D

Getting the crossmember cut

Then it was time to make the link brackets. I used some 1/4" plate with a 9/16" hole for my hardware

I also cut out some brackets to help tie it into the crossmember.

Then I decided I wanted to make some weld washers out of 3/16" so my holes wont wallow out. I cut these out with a holesaw then welded them in place

You can see in the pics below that I also cut the crossmember at an angle so it sits flush along the frame. The center part of the crossmember and brackets will sit level with my current skid which is about 1.5-2" lower than my frame. I though about raising them up so they were level with the frame but then my anti squat number jumped up a lot. So they should be fine where they're at. I will be making a removeable skid that transitions from my trans skid to the crossmember.

Now its time to work on my lower axle mounts. I am running some modified Synergy mounts. They were originally 10* for my single 4 link so I have to grind them out for my new lower link angle (somewhere around 17* i think). They came with a 9/16" hole predrilled but I noticed that my hardware fit pretty loose in the pre-drilled holes so once again i decided to reinforce the mounting holes. I used 3/16" again and this time followed the shape of the brackets. I think they look pretty slick and will be plenty strong.

And some pics of the entire lower link setup

And a pic of one upper link just sitting there for reference

I ordered new upper link brackets that should be here on Thurs. They are the same adjustable Artec brackets just without the lowers built in. I will be pulling and selling the Dual brackets if anyone is looking for some. They're a great product just don't work well with my stretch application.
worked on my upper links today. Everything is just mocked up right now. I'll wait until i get my new upper frame mounts tomorrow to start tacking my uppers in place. I also threw my "final" numbers into the calculator. The only thing that changed was my anti-squat went up 2%. I can live with that. I still think my numbers are VERY good according to what I've read.

Worked on the rig a little more this weekend. Got my new upper frame mounts welded up and tac'd in place.

Here's the spacers I used so that the bracket wont pull while being welded. It worked perfect. The joint slides in/out with ease.

Weld pic

Then I worked on my disc swap. Started by removing all of the junk drum hardware and stripped it down to the spindle.

I have an older version Eaton with stock 1/2" wheel studs so I had to drill out the hub. I drilled the hub to 39/64" then pressed in some new 14B DRW studs. After that it was just a matter of bolting everything up. Given a chance to do it again I would have bought the entire kit from Lugnut4x4. I ended up spending more money buying everything local and I still dont have some things that come in the kit yet. I did end up replacing the hub seals while I had it apart though. I also dropped a hub and rotor combo on the top of my foot. That hurt like hell.

Then it was time to check some flex to see if there is any binding. There was zero binding with the amount that I flexed it today. You can also see in the pics below that I brought my axle uppers in more

this is about 5" of bump

Then i dropped the driver til it hit the deck

No binding of the joints

time to throw some tires under it

Figured I'd throw the back of the tub on it to see where the axle sits in relation to the body. It was at this point that I realized i have a monster jeep.

The frame is supported in the middle near the trans skid at a level so the frame is at the same pitch as my garage. So basically it is level from front to back based off the static height of my front suspension. I knew i was sitting a little tall with those damn leaf springs but this is ridiculous. I might try throwing some stock springs up front and maybe even cut my shackles down. I NEED to get this pig lower. I would love to link it but I cant really afford it right now so Im trying to make leaves work. I do like where my rear tire sits in relation to the end of the tub though. Nice little stretch with some 40s

So I ended up throwing some stock YJ rear springs up front with some stock shackles. I took it off the jack stands and my frame height is now at 23 5/8". I think thats a pretty good height for my wheelbase. Any lower and I'll be dragging my belly everywhere i think.

I decided I wanted to install the rest of the tub and start working on filling it in before I finish up the rear end. I want to flex the rear suspension with the tub on and set up my shock mounting with it on as well. So I have to get the frame to a roller status. I put a a small bead on all of my link mounts and welded a piece of tubing from the frame to the axle truss at ride height.

After that I rolled it out of the garage for the first time in a while.

and I threw the front of the tub back on. all the weight from the tub is in the cowl area. I struggled with a engine hoist and had help from my wife to get it in place.

Of course I had to see what it'll look like all filled in so I cut a piece of cardboard and taped it in place.

Measured my WB at about 113.5". Thats about 20" wheelbase stretch. 15" in the frame and another 5" with the suspension

WB from the stock YJ i have in the driveway is about 93.5"

You can see a noticeable difference between the two

Spent a lot of time on the body stretch this weekend. I did something really dumb that I am regretting right now. I was trying to line up the jeep halves and couldnt get them lined up. I thought I tried everything to line them up and for some reason the drivers side was always 1/8" off. The only thing I could think of was that my frame stretch was 1/8" off on the driver side. I stared at it thinking for a while and even decided to sleep on it. Well this morning the only thing I could think of to do was cut my frame and bring it in 1/8", so thats what i did. after welding the frame back up I got to lining the body back up again. I double checked all of my body mounts were loose to shift the body around and thats when I found one of my body mounts wasn't loose all the way. It wasn't torqued down but it was tight enough to hold the back half of the tub from moving. Once I loosed it the tub became a lot easier to shift around and I was able to get everything lined up... Well everything except the driver side. Its still off, guess by how much? Yup you guessed it... 1/8". The exact amount that I brought the frame in. Turns out my frame was square afer all. I decided it was close enough and started making all of my filler pieces. The passenger side is completely flat and straight along the side and the driver side is a little wavy. Man I really wish I didnt mess with my frame.

I had to cut out some filler pieces for where I cut the tub around the seatbelt/door brace on both sides.

Then I cut out the floor piece

I cut out all of the filler pieces with my handy $400 plasma. This thing is still going strong.

and floor installed. I'm about halfway through welding everything in.

Perfectly straight passenger side

and wavy driver side. This really bothers me but i have to remind myself that this is a trail jeep that going to get beat up and dented body panels anyway.

Well thats all for now folks. I think it was a pretty productive weekend. Probably wont work on it again until next weekend at least. Need to spend some time with the family.
I think once I finish up the body my next adventure will be to work on extending the cage. I want to get the cage extended and do some more flexing and checking with clearances with the rear suspension with the tub still on. Once everything is good I will pull the cage and tub again to finish up the rear suspension and finish the body work on the tub(weld the underside, add a floor brace, paint).

The whole purpose of this project is to make more room so I can run a rear seat for my son plus still have room for a cooler and tools etc. On that note I ordered a rear seat today. I bought the Corbeau 36" bench (http://www.4wheelparts.com/Interior-...t_pn=CBU63402B). I would have loved to order a Mastercraft to match the front seats but the bench that matches is 40" wide and wont fit in the back of a YJ. For a rear harness I'm thinking about ordering the PRP ones with the standard car buckle so it'll be easier for Hayden(6 yr old) to buckle himself in (i will still make sure they are tight). http://www.prpseats.com/product/4-2-harness/

I also want to order new harnesses for the front. I probably wont order them until the end of the build but I really like these PRP ones
The rear seat and harness came in on Friday.

Seeing if I'll have room for the cooler and fuel cell. I think I might have to make a rack above the cell to put the cooler on. If I do end up making a basket it'll leave me some room in front of the cell for some tools. I will also have room behind the front seats for tools as well with the body stretch.

In other news I found some rust I need to take care of. I removed the old windshield brackets to replace them with some new ones that I drilled out for removable pins. As soon as I removed the brackets I saw rust. I wire wheeled it and found some holes. Its like this on both sides. I'm going to have to cut this out and weld in some new 16G.