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theksmith

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

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and the carnage from the Woodpecker trip, nothing too bad:

 

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finally got my clayton belly skid plate installed last weekend, it's just a ZJ one that clayton sent me, then i had a local fabricator bend and weld up the tube for the rear mount. normally clayton sends a pre-bent tube with the skid, but i was concerned it might not clear my exhaust, so i told him to just send me the plate.

 

the plate is pure beef, 1/4" steel all the way, with nice countersunk holes. unfortunately, since this was a ZJ specific plate, the holes for the transmission mounts don't line up with anything (not without moving it far to a side instead of centered) :( clayton told me he would be making WJ specific skids last fall, but i've yet to see it on his site.

 

overall it's a nice skid, but i think i would have come out cheaper to just have the fabricator come up with something on his own... (by the time i paid for the skid, plus shipping, plus the install).

 

one extra thing i had the fabricator do was punch the 5 drain holes you see. i had a full belly skid on my old XJ and it was always a PITA to wash out mud from, so i thought drain holes would be nice!

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rotated the tires today after getting an oil change... and i always have to lookup what the 5-tire rotation pattern is.. so i'm going to stick it here for next time:

 

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ran across this old picture of my ride when it was stock, can't believe it ever looked like this!

 

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removal of tire/jack mounting crap in the spare tire-well...

 

couldn't just drill out the spot-welds as you normally would (since the gas tank is right below), so at first i started to use the dremel to cut around the welds... but then when prying, it seemed some of the welds were just breaking loose...

 

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unfortunately, the one in the middle ripped things up a little instead of coming loose cleanly

 

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so i used some roof sealing tape to seal up the holes (the kind with aluminum on one side and a tar-like material on the other side)

 

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and now my little suitcase of rarely used items can fit nicely in there (full of extra fluids and parts like u-joints that hopefully i won't need very often)

 

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before i did this, the metal stuff i cut out was poking through the suitcase, and i was woried the pointy edges were going to puncture a bottle eventually

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Predator trail in Table Mesa

 

ran Predator and all i can say is Predator won. i'd been feeling a lot more confident with rock crawler type trails after running a few in the Florence Junction area lately, but this was much tighter and more challenging. i really need lockers... or a couple more inches of lift might have helped on this trail, but overall lockers are going to be required if i'm going to keep doing this type of trail. also need some real bumpers (hey kevins/protofab and iceland: get off your a$$es and ship a WJ bumper already!)

 

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no pic of me on the last major obstacle (v-notch), but here is the guy in front of me. i had to take a strap to finish getting over this one:

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hard to see in this pic, but the outer part of the slider is now arched up in the middle:

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also the right front fender got pulled in by the tire and bent a little, under extreme articulation the tire still grabs the fender... i'm already at a 5" bump-stop extension, so i can't really go anymore without loosing all my up-travel, so i guess i really need to trim the fenders more.

 

:brickwall

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installed a new steering stabilizer this weekend. i moved it up high like the kit that Kevins sells.

 

i just used the hardware from my original ss, the new hardware, and the 2 end-clamps from my original tie-rod (i replaced the tie-rod with a JKS one a while back).

 

so for anyone else that has a stock tie-rod laying around, re-cycle those end-clamps and make either a dual stabilizer or at least move yours up out of the rocks.

 

this is basicly how it assembles:

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and here is how it looks on the jeep:

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also finally purchased the greasable rear bushings for my addco bar (Part #9.5161G, summitracing.com $16), and got those installed this weekend. yay! no more squeeky!

 

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just finished packing the cooler, jeeps all ready to go, leaving for Anza-Borrego in the morning, be back Sunday night.. woo hoo!

 

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