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TheKSmith's 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ Limited 4.7 H.O. - The Do-It-All Rig

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while under the jeep i noticed that the bolt heads for the bolts holding the trans mount to the crossmember hung down - and that just didn't seem right.


i took one out and sure enough, you could see how clayton designed the crossmember for the bolts to recess inside the crossmember, but apparently the bolts on my year had larger attached washers than were expected. the shop that did my clayton install should have noticed this as the washers were caving into the crossmember holes and if you tightened the bolts, the more they just caved into the holes.


here's a pic of how it was (one bolt removed already):



and here's a pic showing the OEM bolt on the right, and the ones I replaced them with on the left:



this fixed a slight CLUNK i had when going from acceleration to coast and vise versa.


i would have expected Absolute Offroad to notice this, but other than that I don't have any real complaints from the install.

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thought i would post a mini write-up for anyone that might be planning to do it. if you have access to a lift, then you can probably just droop the axle enough to remove the springs... but if you're in the drive-way, you might have to do it like i did:


make sure you use jackstands and do everything safely and don't blame me if anything goes wrong...


first, disconnect one link of the rear sway-bar (if you have one still), this makes it easier to articulate the axle with the jack.



use spring compressors to squeeze the coil down enough that you can get it off the bump-stop. i used the jack to first squeeze the coil a lot, so i didnt' have to run the spring compressors down manually except the last few turns, then let the jack back down.



pray that the cheap harbor freight spring compressors don't break. lay the coil out of the way, never let it point at your body/head.



spring's out.



drill as straight as you can up into the bump-stop hit plate. i used a 27/64" bit, worked for me. thre is a dimple in the center of the plate already, so the drill will self-center. i bought a cheap right-angle ryobi drill since i already had some other ryobi tools/batteries/chargers. the metal is fairly thin and will drill fast. the right-angle drill comes in handy for other things like mounting rock-rails.



tap the hole using a 7/16" - 14 (coarse) tap. again i just used a cheap harbor frieght tap & die set, but it worked fine for this. just remember that the tap's are hardened and therefore brittle, so don't put any side stress on them. if you brake it off in there, you will have a hell of a time drilling it out. move in a few threads at a time, then back out a couple turns and then back in.



here is the IRO bump-stop extension, i put the mounting bolt inside it, then taped over the end to keep the bolt from falling out as i dropped the whole package into the coil later.



here is the coil back on the perch, with the extension and mounting bolt dropped into the spring. i went ahead and put some threadlock on the threads of the bolt just before i dropped all this back in. the allen wrench needed is a 3/8".



again i used the jack to squeeze the coil and take most pressure off the spring compressors. loosen the last little bit of tension from the compressors, then remove them.



let the jack and axle down as far as you can, so that there is a large amount of space between each coil turn. then you can get your fingers into the coil enough to turn the extension and bolt to get it started. then you may have to raise the axle just a little to find a good point at which your allen wrench will fit between a space in the coil. tighten it up good!



rinse and repeat for the other side, put your sway-bar link back on, wheels/tires, and you're done.

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ok, so i finally got my exhuast finished. i know everyone has a different take on how to accomplish an exhaust with the clayton long arms, so here's mine:










I used the following parts...

(1) 2.5" ring clamp

(1) 2.5" ID to 3" OD adapter/reducer

(1) Magnaflow high flow 3" converter

(1) Flowmaster 50 Delta Flow muffler (3" center inlet, offset outlet)

(1) 3" ring clamp

(1) 3" mandrel bent turn-down

(1) muffler hanger from ebay:


(2) self-tapping bolts

(1) can high-temp ceramic header paint


i had to trim every piece down 1/2" to 1" to make it all fit. used a dremel to notch the adapter inlet to match the original pipe, bent the hanger with a hammer and vice, then just took it all too a guy to weld it up clean for me, painted it with header paint, then i clamped and bolted it down.


these are the type of quality ring clamps i used, they make a tight, even, crimp on the fittings (instead of crappy u-bolt clamps):



i clamped instead of welding the final turn-down in case i have any problem with emmisions and have to temporarily run a flex tube out to the back of the truck to pass.

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did this mod: http://www.offroadpassport.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112




also ordered LED replacement bulbs for the entire interior. also went wheeling and shot out a front spring, so ordered a couple more goodies from IRO to keep that in check.

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finally sold the XJ to have more money for mods to the WJ, farewell old reliable:





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finally got my brake hose issue resolved this past week, i had parkerstorephx.com make me some longer fronts, went steel braided as it only added like 10 bucks:




the rear was fine on length, but i had them do a new steel braided one as long as i was at it:




changing anything to do with brakes is a messy PITA!

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and here's a closeup of the new grille:






i purchased some raw material from grilleguy.com, then fabbed it up. kinda a pain in the *** to install, and we'll see if it holds. let me know what you think, i like it better than stock at least.. not sure if i'll keep it long term or try something else.


also filled in the fog light holes. (fog lights had to go early on because the bigger tires would have ripped them out):



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decided on a place to mount a fire extinguisher, did mag-lite while i was at it. there aren't many options with the interior so rounded in the WJ. it hasn't gotten in the way when getting in and out so far:




on the flashlight, i used some great clamps from a guy that's in my local clubs, he sells them on ebay under the user "TVPICARD", just search for "MAG LITE CLAMP", they are a very sturdy coated spring steel and won't break like the official maglite brand plastic ones.

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