watching this one!
As I start to move forward on my never ending Cruiser project (named “Jillian” if you didn’t catch that yet), I realized that I have never done a build thread on her. I have posted threads on projects I have done but I’ve never actually had a build thread. I figured why the heck not?!?
The first part of this may be a bit boring but I’m going to start at the beginning. My 80 is a 1997 40th Anniversary Edition that I bought in early 2005. She was locked and had 125k miles on her. The price was perfect and she was exactly what I wanted… The first things I did was pull off the running boards and take it wheeling!
I installed a CB and Alpine head unit and did the best thing ever: Joined TLCA and Cascade Cruisers.
My next upgrade was a set of 33x12.50R16 Trxus MT’s on a set of black steal wheels my cousin gave me off of his K5 Blazer:
Next stage was the addition of OME “J” springs with “L” shocks, removing what was left of my fender flares and pulling off the roof rack:
I then stepped up to 315 Toyo MT’s on a narrower steel wheel… With all of the capability this thing has, it wasn’t long til I was putting it in places it didn’t belong. And the body started showing it:
I finally picked up a set of MetalTech’s sliders… And the beating continued:
I ended up rolling some bedliner on the sides of the truck to cover the holes left by the trim.
And continued to beat the snot out of my poor 80!
After breaking a couple of birfs, I ended up buying Longfield’s super set and regearing to 5.29’s with the help of a fellow club member. I also got some custom plates and an anti-j**p sticker as a birthday present from a good friend.
LT at MetalTech was nice enough to spend a day with me and build me a custom one off bumper. And I painted the grill black:
I then decided to follow Mark’s example and copy his MetalTech Style fender cut. I opened the front fender up 3”s and trimmed up the rear as much as I could.
I also hacked the rear ¼ panels so that they were the same as the tailgate:
While the tailgate was off, I cut a big hole in the back and reinforced it with angle. This gave me a nice place to store stuff and took care of the tailgate bowing from weight:
After ripping my exhaust off multiple times (and eventually just running a turn-down after the cats), I finally had an exhaust built. Ed’s in Beaverton did a beautiful job using a Magnaflow universal cat and a Mk5 GTI resonator as a muffler:
I added 1.5” wheel spacers from All-Pro all the way around and upgraded to Tundra steel wheels:
Not long after, I upgraded to 37x14.50x17 bias Iroks on 17x8 steelies… Mounted in my driveway with a little help from a buddy:
Passed my amature radio license and installed my 2m radio:
The next project was a storage / sleeping platform. This was built with random 2x12, plywood and steel I had lying around the shop.
My Dad and I went one to design and build a trans crossmember and trans / t.case skidplate. We have since built 4 more and they are amazing!
After talking with a buddy from www.timbercrawler.com, he designed and punched me out a set of beadlock rings for my wheels. My loving girlfriend helped me get them all together.
I finally got around to replacing my bent suspension pieces with new / better ones:
It is at this point I did my most expensive modification of all time… I bought a 2005 Dodge Ram Cummins and a trailer!
With the addition of the tow rig and trailer, as well as my daughter, I have entered into a new chapter for Jillian. My Dad always wanted to have a rig for the two of us to go wheeling with and he never got to finish one until I was graduated high school and had a wheeler of my own. His regrets that he let life get in the way and that we never got the opportunity to have a rig that we wheeled together, worked on together, etc. Sure, in a perfect world that would be a 40 but this is what I got. I will not that that opportunity pass me and my daughter by. If she gets older and could care less, then I will deal with it but I have to give it a chance! On that note, I have decided to document “Stage 2” or the rebirth of Jillian…
Thanks guys. I am really excited about the next stage, so to speak... It will be slow going but it will get done! Of course, any project with a toddler running around is slow going... LOL
80-series LCs are the best all around 4x4's ever built but for the type of wheeling that I focus on, the 80-series has a few fatal flaws IMO:
1) Lower transfer case gearing is needed badly. The only doubler available is from Australia and is very cost prohibitive.
2) Way too much rear overhang. The room inside is awesome for an expedition rig but there is way too much body hanging out back there!
3) Weight. The 80-series was built to be "bullet-proof" and the scales prove it. I would love to get the weight down to the 5000lb mark but that is next to impossible.
4) Front suspension is very limited in flex compared to the rear. It works very well as a system but I would like to free up the front a bit.
I am planning on addressing all of these issues to some degree and make it look good as well. Right now she just looks beat! LOL
Very true. And if I was building an expedition rig I would run the spare on a swing out rear bumper, add the biggest sub-tank I could and probably a BajaRack roof rack with a roof top tent...
But that is not what my focus is on this project.
The one drawback to the big tanks is that when full they have a tendency to self-destruct. With 200 liters you've got more then 400 lbs of fuel in a tank. They tend to break off mount points and leak under stress.
FYI the last time I filled up everything, the tanks, the jerry cans, the works, it cost $266 (USD). I got just over 1300 km before we refilled (Windhoek to Capetown is 1500 km).
Last edited by CBJ; 03-01-2011 at 04:10 PM.
Awesome work man. Watching this for sure.
That truck will really help you beat the crap out of it. And I mean that in a good way.
How you planning to tackle the rear over hang? Move the rear back or bring the bumper in?
What's the front set up, 3 or 4 link or radius arms?
The front suspension is the factory radius arms with panhard. The rear is the factory 4-link w/ panhard. It will be a custom 3-link with panhard in the front eventually but I need to get everything else dialed in so I can set it up with the proper weight.
On 3/19, Jillian got to go play at a fellow club members property for our annual Bearing Packing Party!!! Here are some videos I stole.
Last edited by CreeperSleeper; 03-24-2011 at 05:49 PM.
This Friday, Brittney and I were able to bug out of work a bit early and take a little road trip. Leaving Tualatin, OR at 3:45p, we made it to The Dalles, OR before we had to stop for a quick bite to eat.
After that, it was set the cruise control and keep truckin’ east. It was dark by the time we got to Pendleton, OR but we just kept on pushing. Going over Cabbage Pass we hit snow and icy roads. After LaGrande it looked pretty clear until just outside of Baker City. The temps dropped almost 10* without warning. I noticed emergency lights up ahead and changed lanes. As the trailer started fishtailing I realized the highway was a sheet of black ice! I was able to get back into control and didn’t have an issue but there were a few drivers that fell victim to the ice. We saw at least 4 cars in the ditch and one roll over in the span of maybe 3 miles. After 5 miles, the temp went back up and the ice was gone. Needless to say we were watching the thermometer like a hawk after that!
We ended up shutting down in Boise, ID at 12:30 local time (darn time zone change). The place we stayed at had a little bar, so we went down to grab a drink and unwind a bit. We had fun but it was weird going into a bar where you could smoke! I’ve gotten used to clean air in OR bars!
Saturday morning found us nice and relaxed. We were able to get a good breakfast in and picked our way out to Mountain Home, ID to meet up with Eric (Generic) at his home. We got there around noon (local time) and got the opportunity to BS for a few hours. I haven’t had the chance to see Eric for a few years now, so it was great to catch up! With the trailer loaded, we pointed the ol Dodge west. We now had a fresh 80-Series body both on the trailer and in the bed of the truck! (Thanks again, Eric!)
We made it back to Boise in time to eat a good dinner, top off the fuel tank in the Dodge and stop by Cabella’s store. Brittney had never been to a Cabella’s, so we took are time and looked at everything. Personally, I think I could be there everyday! We decided to head back to the same place we stayed the night before instead of heading farther west. That way we would be able to see the landscape and not run the risk of ice again.
The little bar at the hotel had a blues band playing that night, so we headed down to the chamber of second hand smoke once again. The band was awesome! So was the indoor hot tub we got to enjoy before heading off to bed.
Sunday we got up and started picking our way west. It was fun seeing the sights as we blew past them in the Dodge. The trailer was pulling great and we really had no reasons to stop. Road tripping at it’s finest! We pulled into the driveway a little around 5:30pm, dropped the trailer and went to find dinner. All in all it was a great trip!
Now I just need to get the body into the shop and start modifying it for Jillian. I am super excited… Now I just need to figure out what color to paint her. I have narrowed it down to a bright red to match the Dodge and the trailer or stick with my original plan of tan… Hmmmm….
Here are some pics of our trip home:
My current body is by no means straight! It's to a point where the doors don't seal very well anymore... I don't mind the dents but I want to bob it 7 - 9 inches and that is a pain in the a$$ with dented sheetmetal! I also want to recess the sliders into the rocker panals to gain breakover clearance. It's a heck of a lot easier to do those modifications on a straight body than trying to line up dented panals.
Just to clarify, I have no intention in turning it into a buggy! My plan is to bob 7" - 9" off the back and weld it back up. I also want to cut the rockers out and recess the sliders. The only other tube work will be a rear bumper and tube fenders.
This 80 has a 7" bob:
And the tube fenders will look something like this:
And here are the only shot I can find of chopped rockers on an 80:
I do like the idea of it but something I think you should change Chad but I know you will make the cage look good when you get to it. I think the guys idea of keeping it some what along the lines of the body looks good. Having MetalTech down the road from you will be nice as well to make the bending match the body line nice! Cant wait to see what you come up with.