Project KJ Update: Lots of progress for the day, the rear window chop is getting capped off as well as the tailgate. Pac Racing coils are installed on the Fox 2.5 remote coilovers and will be going back into the Liberty soon. Our fabbed motor mounts are being modified to allow the 4-link to fully compress. The roof has been cut to accept the sliding rag top. While up there, the remaining “ribbed” roof panels were cut off and a patch panel was installed. Body/Fender modifications continue as we mock up the fenders to accept our 40” Maxxis tires on 17” B.A.D. beadlocks at full stuff. Stay tuned fore more as we prep for the 2013 Ultimate Adventure that begins 6/29/13.
There was plenty of commotion around the BDS R&D Shop when I stopped by Friday late afternoon. Seems the approaching deadline to have the KJ prepped in time for the 2013 Ultimate Adventure has brought the team together as they work to complete suspension, drivetrain, cage, body mods, fuel cell and more. I mentioned in the last post parts have been arriving on the daily are are prepped for install. There’s still a number of areas that require fabrication and finish welding. Suspension linkage is nearly completed and uses a 4-link front and triangulated 4-link rear. 14” stroke Fox 2.5 remote coilovers arrived and are awaiting a set of Pac Racing springs to be installed (will have more on the coil specs when they arrive). Fox 2.0 bump stops will be installed soon to help keep our soon to arrive 40” Nitto Trail Grapplers off of the fenders. Up front our PSC JK steering box has been mounted to a reinforced front “framerail” and accepts the OE steering shaft linkage. The “framerail” is being notched to allow the track bar clearance at full compression.
Parts awaiting to be installed are heavy duty ball joints and axle seals from Alloy USA, our Nitro 5.13 Gears, Nitro 30-spline front shafts and Air-Ox Locker front, ARB Air Locker rear and Nitro 35-spline shafts, JK NP-241 Rocktrac T-Case with 4.0:1 low range, and an ARB air compressor. A shiny new Warn 9.0 Rc winch is sitting on deck ready to get recess mounted into a front bumper that we will be built in the coming week(s) to protect the front end and the new radiator, intercooler, and electric fan we have to go in. Driveline’s Plus is building a custom set of driveshafts for us as we move towards having this Jeep Liberty CRD mobile again. The fuel cell is being built in CA and just for fun we opened up the sunroof hole to accept the larger 36×40” Sliding Ragtop. Plenty more to come on this project, stay tuned for updates and more.
BDS hit the road this past weekend for the 11th Annual Adams Jeep Jam hosted by BDS Distributor Adams Jeep of Maryland. This yearly event attracts past customers and Jeepers alike for a fun filled day out at the dealership. From car crushing action to the obstacle course, show-n-shine and tons of giveaways the event boasted tons of fun activities for the whole family. BDS reps Jeff and Bryce made it out for the day to hang out and talk to customers. More than 350 Jeeps and hundreds more spectators made it out for the event making it one of the best turn outs yet. The obstacle course stayed busy all day long as Jeepers brought their rides out for some fun trail riding. The PA Jeep Club brought out an RTI ramp and Adam’s had their ever popular car crush that brings in quite a crowd.
Bryce and Jeff had a great time at the event and wanted to give a big thanks to Chuck and the rest of the crew from Adams Jeep as well as to all the customers that stopped by to say hi. This is always a great event and the guys are already looking forward to next year’s Jam.
This week the guys are fabbing up the rear of the KJ. After discussing the options to mount the rear suspension, roll cage, spare tire, fuel cell, dual batteries, air compressor, and more into the rear of this Liberty, the decision was made to remove the OE trunk floor and build a new subfloor that will act as a skid plate and give us additional storage space. We’ve seen some comments on the message boards about not much Liberty left, and this week’s update won’t help our case. That being said the guys are making progress and while the visual of the rear layout may not make total sense yet, it should as they fab work comes together. The plan is to build a fuel cell to mount at the bottom of the subfloor. It will be taller on the driver’s side to incorporate additional fuel storage and allow us to reinstall the OE fuel sending unit and OE filler door location. Dual batteries will be mounted driver’s side forward of the fuel cell, air compressor mounted on the passenger side. Spare tire will be mounted at slant and additional space will be allotted for tool storage and spare parts.
With our Fox remote coil-overs and bump stops in the shop now, the guys will be finishing up the suspension, mounting C/Os and setting up the bumps to work with our low center of gravity suspension.We’ll have plenty more on the install and setup as the suspension comes together.
Lastly this week, we just received a cool retractable canvas soft top to install on what’s left of our Liberty’s roof. This 36×40 retractable sunroof came from slidingragtops.com and will be taking up the remaining real estate along the top of our Jeep. Call it JK envy, this retractable top is a cool way to get the topless feeling out on the trail and some wind in our hair, so to speak. It’ll also help as we finish building and finish welding up the roll cage.
BDS Project KJ Update: This week the guys are busy working on the suspension of our little Liberty CRD. Up front, lower control arms are fabbed up and the unibody has been reinforced to mount the LCA brackets. Upper arms and track bar mount going in soon. In the rear, a triangulated 4-link has resides to improve suspension travel and eliminate the need for a rear track bar as space is limited. Fox Racing 14” remote 2.5 coilovers and 2.0 bumps are in route to the shop to install next week.
After cycling the rear suspension, its becoming apparent that much more trimming will be necessary to clear the 40” meats. It’s something we had planned on with a modest preliminary cut, but the extent to which we will need to trim and rework the fenders will be extensive so we can get the full potential out of our new suspension.
We had some comments regarding the location of the spare tire. It’s tough to fit the 40” rubber, but here’s what we had in mind at the moment (see photos) To keep it as low as possible to increased visibility and keep the center of gravity down, we are considering recessing it down into the floor a couple inches and trimming the tailgate to allow it to occupy the inside of the tailgate when closed. In doing so the thought is to build a fuel cell for the bed (between the rear seat and spare tire) that would accept the OEM fuel sending unit and allow us to use the OEM fuel door.
There’s plenty going on in the shop this week as we make progress towards a Liberty based trail rig. Nearly every day we’re receiving parts for the project and hopefully she’ll be mobile in the coming week(s) with new steering, suspension, axles, t-case, and driveshafts.
It’s been a few weeks since we checked in on Project KJ, the ’05 Liberty CRD being overhauled in BDS’s R&D shop for this year’s Ultimate Adventure (UA). When it comes to building a rig for the UA, it’s got to be capable on any terrain; mud, rocks, dirt, sand, snow, and even asphalt. Reliability is key as each day of the week long 1000+ mile adventure is filled with trails, highway time, and varying weather conditions. The rig needs to carry driver/co-driver, food, camping gear, and spare parts.
At this point the guys down in BDS’s R&D shop are making progress on the Liberty. Cage is in and they’ve been going through finish welded all the seams. 1-3/4″ x .120 wall DOM tubing was used to secure the passenger compartment and extends forward into the engine bay to reinforce the frontend integrity now that the unibody and IFS subframe have been scrapped. Front and rear coil-over mounts are being built in as we’ll as we eagerly await the arrival of our new 14″ Fox 2.5 remote C/O and Fox 2.0 bumps any day now. Our PSC JK steering box is mounted to the front “framerail” after taking the time to sleeve and plate the unibody. OE steering shaft linkage bolted right up and won’t require much further modification. We’ll have more on this in our next post/video update.
Our wheels made it in from B.A.D. Wheels. They are a 17×10 with 3.5″ backspacing to get our desired stance and allow a bit more room for the suspension/steering components. They feature several cool design features for safety and rapid air deflation. For now we’re mounted them to a set of 40″ Maxxis Trepador radials to continue mocking up the rig. We’ve got a set of the brand spankin’ new 40×13.50×17 DOT approved Nitto Trail Grapplers on order with expected arrival at the first of June. We’ll have a closer look at the wheels and tires at that time.
For now enjoy a few pictures I grabbed while down at the shop today. As parts arrive we’ll see a quick transformation as this rig gets closer to being mobile again.