Since our last update, our mighty little Project KJ went on a diet shedding excess unibody and bulky fuel tank as the guys prep for mounting the new steering, suspension, axles and 40” tires. After stripping down the front bumper support, inner fenders and firewall, we’re making progress towards our small lift/big tires goal. The stripped unibody looks very similar to a frame rail allowing us to tie in the cage, suspension mounts, and mount a steering box up front. Our plan is to run a OE style box with hydro assist for easy turning in precarious situations offroad. Which steering box setup will best suit the build and our limited space constraints… stay tuned for more information as we figure that out.
For axles, we wanted to go with an attainable axle and show it can be built to handle some abuse. We picked up a set of JK Rubicon Dana 44s and are in the process of building them up. After cutting off the brackets, the axles received an outer sleeve and brackets were tacked in place as we figure out the suspension geometry. The JK 44s have a WMS of 65”, 3” wider than the KJ (and TJs) 62” width. This additional width will help give us additional room to mount the coil-overs, steering, and allow the 40s to turn lock-to-lock. The housing on the front D44 fits tightly between the engine and “frame” rail at full compression making it ideal for us to achieve a low center of gravity. There is a slight interference with the mechanical fan, which will be resolved by swapping to an electric unit.
In the rear, the unibody has been cut to roughly the shape we need to extend the wheelbase and clear the 40s with minimal lift. The rear corner is an important structural part of the KJ’s unibody so rather than hack it up and potentially tweak the body, we are moving to the interior as we mock up the cage to provide additional support and rigidity. We’ll have more on the cage as the guys build it into the little KJ. Stay tuned for more as the guys continue to turn this little Liberty into an ultra cool low-slung trail buggy to take on the Petersen’s 4Wheel & Off-Road Ultimate Adventure 2013.
To check out past updates from this build, head to Project KJ.
Video update Number 3: http://youtu.be/wtTp0aEzWMg