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2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 4x4
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there. In the comings weeks I will be preparing to install a huge batch of parts on my WJ. I'm planning for the week of the 24th to the 31st but we'll see how that works out. All parts are present except for some hardware and a few tools.

There is ALOT to do:
1. Repair driver rear bumpstop: rusted out.
2. Install IRO 3" foundation lift kit w/Bilsteins.
3. Partial front axle rebuild; CV shafts, inner axle seals, wheel hubs, ball joints, calipers, braided brake lines (maybe rotors) + new diff cover.
4. Paint front axle, front wheelwells, and all spring mounts before lift install
5. Prime, paint, and install, Goliath rocker rails.
6. Bonus: Complete and install my custom airbox to match the ram air hood. It's about 70% complete.

So, yeah....it's alot. The prime, paint, and mounting of the rock rail, and the airbox will be done in the coming weeks though, so the 24-31st will only be the suspension/ axle stuff. It's not a do or die deadline or anything, id just like to start 2023 all fresh and upgraded. But we'll see, itll take what it takes. I'll definitely need a plan though.

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2003 Laredo 4.0 4x4
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So, thats the general plan. I will be gathering the remaining things and info I need all throughout December. I will also begin prep work and paint on the Goliath rails, as well as document the entire process starting today.

Alrighty, the first thing is first and the least cool; bumpstop repair......sigh....
 

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2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 4x4
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've always modded and tinkered with every vehicle I've ever owned, but I've never really built anything exactly how I wanted it. I've never actually got anything exactly where I want it, and complete. And I decided I should do it now while I'm still young enough to crawl under these things.
So, yeah, that's why I have no problem spending $$ and effort on it. In the end it'll be cheaper and cooler (to me anyway) then if I just bought a late model Cherokee which I also think are very nice.

I had a C6 vette, but by the time i modded it how I wanted, I could've bought a C7 or a C6 Grand sport. So I sold it and will look for another when the used market returns to earth. Until then, I'm playing with my WJ.
 

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2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 4x4
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh it'll be super fun I'm sure, right up until that 1st bolt snaps, this part doesn't quite fit right, and I just dont have the right wrench to get to that bolt.....so on and so forth.
 

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2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 4x4
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
So I ordered a 2 3/4" exhaust pipe coupler which I think will be a good replacement for the stock rear passenger upper bumpstop mount. I plan on welding a top with a 7/16th nut on it for the IRO 3" bumpstops I ordered to screw into. I measured the coil spring isolator which slips around the bumpstop to get the diameter.

Sidenote: a section of 2 3/4" pipe in just plain steel is IMPOSSIBLE to find. Locally or world wide. It's either galvanized or aluminized and that's IF you find it in 2 3/4. I found one online place that would sell a foot of 2 3/4" carbon steel pipe (with 1/2" thick walls!?).....for over $60 shipped. Pass.
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2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Today I test fit both Goliath rails. I wanted to do this before any prep for paint. There's no sense in scratching up the finish just for a test, even if it were only primed. I also marked the holes but will wait to drill until I finalize my hardware choice. The Goliath hardware is good but I'm not in love with self-tapping bolts of any size and would also like a slightly bigger pinch seam bolt then 1/4".But more on that later.
My observations:
1. They look great.
2. They fit very well. I was expecting to have to modify at least a little. But nope.
3. One pinch seam hole is too low on the pinch seam. (pictured) Not the end of the world, and really the only flaw I've found.
4. Although the "feet" that attach to the unibody are angled nicely to sit flush, the frame rail overlaps itself under where the front "foot" would bolt. So it will require some slight shimming so the foot sits flat. Not a problem at all really.
5. The rockers don't actually run the entire length of the rocker panel. It's about an inch short on front and back when the rails are centered. I could move them back to cover the entire rocker, leaving the bottom of front fender unprotected; but honestly not having them centered will drive me crazy everytime I see it. So they will sit as pictured. I seem to remember someone else mentioning this about some other brand in a thread or video. Either way, I don't consider it an issue for me.
It's not a rock crawler. In fact the only big rocks for hundreds of miles is the local jetty. So unless I intend to drive my WJ off the jetty and into the Atlantic; while still for some reason wanting to protect my rocker panels,these are quite adequate for my purposes.
This part of Florida is as flat as Kansas. The most common enemy here isn't hilly terrain and big rocks, it's flooding, sand, mud, and infinite combinations of all three. For this reason my WJ won't have alot of armor and skid plates. Keeping the rig light as possible will probably be of more benefit. Maybe a skid on the transfer case idk.
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Monday, I will take them to work and begin prep and paint.
 

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Coming along real nice, My 04 is just sitting in the driveway not wanting to start, I put it on the charger over night and it’s still dead. I think I’ll use the jump pack, but that’ll lead to other shit and I really hate to start on it again, but I can’t seem to let it go either. And I need a shitload of rust repair on the underside. My Daughter had it for 3 years and it’s like she killed the damned thing, oh well. Keep us posted on the work, Mac
 

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2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 4x4
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39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Stripped and primed one rock rail at work today. I came in 30 min early thinking I would get it stripped and prepped then clock in and prime it along with some Chevelle parts for work.....it ended up taking me about 3hrs. Lol. Don't know what I was thinking. I just stayed clocked out until it was time to prime.
So the 2nd one Ill work on for a half hour each morning until it's primed. Then I'll shoot them this weekend maybe. Anyways, here's some pics

The patient.
Plant Outdoor furniture Gas Wood Street furniture

Step 1. Sandblast all the welds, corners, and crevices. Anywhere you can't get to with a DA or sandpaper.
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Rectangle Table Automotive exterior Wood Gas

Step 2. Sand with DA. I used a combination of 80grit and 180grit. But for maximum adhesion Epoxy primer loves 80grit DA scratches. The epoxy flows down into the deep squiggly scratches left by the DA sander and holds on tight in every direction. A.k.a adhesion. This is how almost all paints "stick" to things btw.
So I gave it one final overall sand with 80. If you zoom in on the round bar you can see the 80grit DA scratches quite clearly.
Automotive tire Wood Gas Engineering Composite material

Step 3. Mix epoxy. For those who don't know, there is no better chemical, corrosion, and moisture protection for bare metal then epoxy primer. It has only one weakness; UV rays a.k.a sunlight. Being exposed to sunlight fades and oxidizes it, so epoxy must be topcoated. I'll explain more about what topcoat I'm going to use later.
This brand epoxy is 1:1; meaning you mix 1 part paint, with 1 equal part activator/hardener. It cures/dries chemically, instead of evaporation, like spray cans or house paint does for instance. I don't usually use any thinner with the epoxy. It doesn't seem to need it. It always lays out nice enough.
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Step 3. Shoot it. I gave it 3 coats. 10-15 mins between coats per the manufacturer.
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1 down, 1 more to go. But like I said I'll have to do the 2nd one a half hour at a time so I don't miss too many hours off my paycheck.
After they are both primed and cured; this weekend hopefully, they'll get topcoated. When they are finished and cured they will be impervious to corrosion, salt and most other chemicals for many years.
 

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2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4.0 4x4
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Rust isn't really a huge problem down here even though it's wet and humid for many months in a row. Probably because there's zero salt on the roads ever. I did have to repair about 12" of drivers side rocker panel though. The front part was filled with water that got trapped in there by the foam insulation they put in there.
This......
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.....turned out to be this.....
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But I sandblasted all rust completely off the unibody and with the help of my very experienced boss at work repaired it good as new. If I didn't work at the shop that I work at it probably wouldn't have got done. I take full advantage of it for sure. Plus the owner is a very good guy as he's cool with it. Im lucky.
 

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I’ve spent more time chasing rusted bolts, sheet metal, collapsed brake line connector’s etc....I can tell you this, until you have to use some PB Blaster and let it soak overnight just so that you can can get the old propane torch out to heat everything up and then it breaks off or better yet strips and then it’s a whole other issue, you ain’t living, 😜Mac
 

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Nice

What did you use as a patch panel, does someone make them for the rockers?
 

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99 jeep grand cherokee
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i did most of the same modifications you did i also cut the fenders and installed 33 on 15" rims because i liked the look and decided to pint the lower half of my jeep with the raptar liner paint i found allot of parts needing to be replaced in the suspension once i got started i wish i bought 35 to in stall but most said it was allot of cutting to put them on and their was very few with 33 but since i have completed my suspension i had plenty of room for the 35 still a good look but could have been better now i am making a custom light bar holder for the roof and custom spare tire holder to fit the look not many people due these wj but i think they look great with a little effort .
 

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99 jeep grand cherokee
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Yes, I did after watching allot of you tub videos on WJ upgrades and raptor liner painting I have also done the cooling fan deletion and the K&N filter kit I am currently working on a rear hitch spar tire holder and a molded roof rack light bar since I want a lightbar to contour the front windshield slope and low profile.
 
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