I took some time off last week after finally getting all of the pieces together and ready. Thought it would take about three days to get everything done I wanted to for the upcoming year. I was wrong.
I have to give big "props" to the guys at SKY MANUFACTURING
. I found them to be an excellent "one stop shop" for just about everything I needed. They shot me a package price to machine my RH knuckle, and provide their tall arms, install kits and 7/8 threaded inserts and jam nuts. I got everything back exactly two weeks to the day from when I shipped them the knuckle and the final bill was slightly less than the quote. How often so you see that nowadays.
The arms are super neat and very well made. The extra height is built into the arms so there is no block to install if you need it. The jam nuts and threaded inserts are also top notch and seem to be made of the same hardened steel. I had one very small issue with the tapered holes not being quite big enough for the GM TRE's. I purchased a reamer through Xcut on Ebay and finished them out and also used it to ream my pitman. Otherwise everything I got from Sky Manufacturing fit perfectly... Thanks Sky!
With the steering gear mounted at the stock location on the YJ frame, SOA with slight lift springs, my drag link ended up exactly level to the tie rod using the 4" drop pitman. The thing drives like an arrow and I can finally center my steering wheel properly!
As I said... I thought this would take two to three days. Here's what I "learned". I also had some overheating issues last summer and I have never serviced the cooling system on this engine. I have however run into some wierd stuff from the PO in other areas. The temp gauge I had installed during the re-build would only drop to about 175 at it's coldest. Since I had to drain eveything to R&R it, I went ahead and put on a new water pump and thermostat. I think I am going to be OK this year. I rearranged the gauges bnecause I ws having trouble reading the temp gauge due to the roll cage dash bar. I also fixed some other minor electrical issues and installed a brake light cut off switch for night wheeling. Those dang LED's are blinding in the dark!
While working at the front of the engine I noticed the steering gear was leaking at the input and pitman seals. Gonna have the pitman off to ream it anyhow... Bought a seal kist, but apparently I have an abortion of a gear because the input seals were the wrong size. Took a day or so of running around towm to finally get the seal itself from Napa using the measurements. No more leaks.
For the high steer I decided to use a rather strange combination of parts. I am running the GM knuckles, Jeep spindles, Scout caliper brackets drilled to fi the GM Jeep stuff, Scout calipers and brakes, and Jeep rotors. I went this route because it was most affordable because I had the parts. The Jeep rorots are slightly thinner than the scout pieces, but otherwise measure the same. The only problem I mayhave by using them would be if the pistin pushes too far out of the caliper when the pads get worn down. I don't put that many miles on and the difference in thickness is less than 1/8 inch anyway. I think I'll be fine, but if I have to I can change the $15 pads out at half life. I rebuilt the front D44 a couple of years ago when I built it for SOA. The cheap upper ball joints I bought were already getting loose. Just so happens, the Oreilly store stocked the Moog brand, but not the cheapies. When I took one out of the box I immediately noticed it was the ball joint with the special zirk at the angled base for service. They are $40 each, but better and easily serviceable.
I used .25 wall 1.5 inch DOM for the tie rod and drag link. I laugh every time I look at my old steering linkage compared to the new. I set it up with 1/8 in toe in and it drives great. My steering stabilizer had to be removed becasue it mounted to the old skinny drag link below the springs. I will not have to re-install it....yay! Bump steer is gone!!
The Dif cover for the doner D44 was thicker than the Scout piece so I used it and also installed a dif guard. I don't like the fit of this style dif guard on front axle because I have it tilted up for driveshaft angles. I have a plate style guard coming and will put this one on the rear when it gets here.
I relocated my lower rear shock mounts. Wasn't quite getting the compression I needed. Services all of the fluids, filled everything back up and I am ready for summer fun!!
Oh yeah... the bling. Had a jeeping friend's dad who owns a sign shop fab up some Laredo decals for the hood. I think they turned out great... not quite stock, but not over the top either. Here's some pics: