TRAILHAWK WJ

josh_sx4

Observer
Day 6

Rugged Ridge Floor Mats. Theres nothing better than being able to pull your floor mats out and hose them down. For my camping trip adventures I choose Rugged Ridge 12987.22 Black Floor Liners Kit.
  • Custom fit for the WJ
  • Raised edge provides containment for spills and dirt

Rugged Ridge.png
 
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josh_sx4

Observer
Day 7

Bar Pin Eliminator install. Currently, I have removed my front bumper for trimming and adjusting the fender plastic. While I had the bumper off, I thought it would be good to test the clearances with the bigger tires. After taking note of what I will be trimming, I unhooked the bottom of the shocks. The compressed end showed it could compress 1-2 more inches (I stuffed the BPE mount in there to compress it more just for the pic. Its holding the shock from going back into the bolt holes). The stretched end showed it was maxed out, so it it would be nice to extend it another 1in. Also considering there is an upcountry suspension on it with stock length shocks gave me another reason to to this upgrade. Using rear sway bar brackets from the back of a donor WJ, I made these bar pin eliminators and attached them to my factory shocks. I had to cut off the stud bolts and pound out the bar pin. Using the original sway bar bolt, a new shock bushing and a trimmed down steel sleeve, now I get and additional 1 inch or so of flex! Not much to brag about, but it was an easy upgrade that only cost a couple bucks.

Bar Pin Eliminator.png
 
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josh_sx4

Observer
Day 9

Because the WJ's lower sway bar link has two tabs... it really makes any type of sway bar disconnect funky and not aligned. The dual tabs literally make the Quick Disconnect options on the WJ too retarded. I mean your stock setup links are inside the sway bar.. then any aftermarket QDC kit out there makes you mount them on the outside of the sway bar. The bottom mount is the worst because it is two tabs that force you to mount outside, but doing so shoves the link out of vertical alignment..

So I cut the lower sway bar link tabs off.. then I welded them together and welded them back on in the right spot to align the QDC perfectly vertical... in the end I am really happy to keep my sway bar links on the inside away from my tires. This is more like the Cherokee XJ lower disconnect tab (single lower tab).

Here is the Before Picture with two tabs


Here is the picture after they are cut off


Welded them together and back on.


All finished and they are mounted on the inside (away from the tire)
 

josh_sx4

Observer
Day 10

Just up'd my spare tire size to match the others. This might be the biggest size spare you can fit in the WJ wheel well (265/65r17). The lid sticks up about a half inch right now. I'll see if a heat gun can help it relax a bit.

 
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josh_sx4

Observer
Day 11

Finally got the front bumper back on, fog lights installed, new headlights, and added dark gray as an accent on my inner grill (matches the tow hooks).

 

josh_sx4

Observer
Well yes, all Trailhawk Models have tow hooks... but do all Trailhawks have red tow hooks? :unsure:

I realize that most Trailhawk branded Jeeps have "red" tow hooks. I even thought about getting some actual red trailhawk tow hooks and fabricating a mount for them inside the bumper... but in the end decided to stick with the original mopar WJ tow hooks and avoid painting my WJ tow hooks red (making them look like bloody fangs?)

Luckily I might squeeze by without "red" tow hooks as there are a few trailhawk models out there that are black or grey.




Even the famous Moab Grand Cherokee Trailhawk concept sported grey tow hooks.



Hopefully, I'm still on par with the Trailhawk trim criteria!
 
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kmroxo

Observer
Just out of curiosity, did you consider the Overland model? It seems to me me like the WJ Overland was the Trailhawk of its generation. Before it morphed into a regular, but not off road focused, trim level.
 
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josh_sx4

Observer
There are a few reasons I picked to do a Trailhawk Edition. The overland has some Chrome Headlights, Chrome Towhooks, Chrome Grill... And as a personal preference I stay away from chrome anything. The
Overland also has a 4.7HO Engine, which my rig will never have.. So I'm happy just staying with a Trailhawk version. I think all I need to do is finish the front wheel well plastic guards and I think my rig will finally earn it's Trailhawk badge!

 

josh_sx4

Observer
Day 12

I finished my bumper modification and shallow fogs lights.

Here is how much I took off.


Next I use the fog light bracket for a straight edge and mark parallel to the back of the fog two center lines. This is where the main bolt will line up later on and I want it to be straight.



I cut off the bumper edge and then cut the back off the fog light housing.



Here is the new mounting solution I used for these new fog lights. They are pretty thin like hockey pucks. They are brighter than the factory OEM fogs and thin, so that my wheel won't touch them.



Here is the fog lights from the front with the covers.



Finally finished my inner wheel plastic. My old ones had holes rubbed in the front from the wheel touching, so I got some replacements.

On my front bumper, I took the pieces and bondoed it back inside so I would have a trim piece to mount the liner to. I also used a cutting wheel and trimmed the back pinch seam down to the spot weld, then hammered the pinch seam over in the thinner areas. In the front wheel well, I trimmed off some of upper metal as well, to the bolt stud. Relocated my horns and the washer bottle. It may not look much different (but that was the goal, to gain clearance while retaining the stock wheel plastic liners)... so all the high metal points that the tire would normally touch while flexing have been removed. Three new holes have been drilled on each side for repositioning the plastic liner and it fits further up into the fender. Now she is all back together.








Final result was new wheel plastic and a larger opening for flexing my 31" tires



 
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josh_sx4

Observer
Day 13

Flex Test Day

Now that the front fenders wells are all done, it was time to test the articulation. I crossed my fingers that my trimming efforts were precise, so I disconnected the front sway bar and flexed it out. The end result made me smile, no touching while flexing and turning.

My wife kinda l laughed when I tried to explain everything I did to get a 31" tire with only an upcountry lift to flex into the wheel well. When she looked in the wheel well... she said everything looked normal (like it was stock). Yet I have trimmed about 2inches in the front and and inch in the back. Cut bumpers, reattached the bumper lip with bondo, relocated washer bottle, moved the horns, upgraded to thinner fog lights, trimmed metal, hammered pinch seams and repainted the whole front bumper.

I don't see too many WJ's that can flex a 31" and still have a wheel well that's looking clean... let alone has a inner wheel well plastic still intact.













 
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josh_sx4

Observer
Day 14

242 SWAP

Well a late winter and long rainy spring has kept my favorite camping spots deep in snow and mud... In the meantime I decided to do one more upgrade to help make this 4x4 even more capable.
Its time to swap out the 247 Transfer Case for a 242WJ Transfer Case. The 242 will give me 2WD and few more 4WD options.


Here's everything you need for this swap. Taking a closer look, you'll see I removed the short I6 242WJ input shaft and replace it with the longer 247 input shaft from the v8. Removed the garbage rezeppa yoke from the I6 case and replaced it with the V8 front output yoke. Notice in the picture, the front input shaft is now longer and the front output has been swapped.



242wj yoke on the V8 rear drive shaft.. ends up being the perfect length.



242WJ case installed with a I6 rear yoke and original V8 rear driveline. Replaced 2 u-joints.



New Shifter installed.

Overall, not too hard of a project... just a bit time consuming.
 
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jpat30

Adventurer
Nice looking WJ, IMHO, they are really capable out of the box and with few upgrades make awesome DD/weekend warriors. I really like the rubicon wheels on them as well. Here is a pic of my rig that I recently sold. man I miss this thing. Anyway, good luck on your build.512187
 
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