1. In the beginning: stock
2. Add-a-leaf 2.5" suspension
lift, 31" AT tires, rear
3. Switched to 2.5" McCoy
spring lift and 31" mud
tires. Added an 8274 winch,
custom tire rack/bumper,
KC lights and a 1" body lift.
4. Removed the 2.5" McCoys and
installed a Rubicon Express
using stock springs.
5. Big changes: installed front
and rear Dana 44 axles from
a Scout II, a Dana 300 xfer
case from a CJ7, and converted
the axles to a spring-over-axle
configuration using stock YJ
spring packs with an extra main
leaf in each pack. Upgraded to 33"
General Grabber MTs.
- Feb '08 - Installed Banks Torque Tube exhaust header to replace the cracked factory unit.
- Summer '07 - Removed rear Revolvers and replaced with home-made boomerang-style shackles. This fixed the axle hop problem that occurred when climbing very steep hills. Around the same time, I also got rid of the stock + extra main leaf spring packs and switched to BDS 2" lift springs. To prevent them from going into negative arch, I welded some bump stop extensions onto the spring plates.
Replaced 8274 motor with the new, higher speed motor used in current models. Also replaced the cable with 100' of synthetic rope. Feels like a brand new winch and the rope is so much easier to work with.
- July '06 - Installed 36" Interco IROKs. Awesome improvement in traction.
- June '06 - Added front bars to create a full cage.
- Feb '06 - Installed Ford F150 shock towers and M.O.R.E. rear shock mounts. Installed RS9000 shocks.
- May 1, '02 -
Kilby Gas Tank Skid Plate was installed.
- May 1, '02 -
Hi-steer conversion completed.
- Aug, '02 -
Upgraded the transmisison with a Kilby high volume automatic transmission pan.
- May 1, '02 -
Bestop TrailMax Aqua Sport seats were installed.
- May 1, '02 -
Teraflex Revolver Shackles.
- Jun 17, '01 -
TJ flares were installed.
- Mar 15, '01 -
Re-built transmission and installed cooler and torque converter from AutoTrans Inc. Installed TransGo shift kit. Installed Go 2 Twister re-indexing adapter to rotate Dana 300 front output height.
- Jan 26, '00 - Upgraded from Powertrax Lockright lockers
to Detroit Softlockers and 4.10 ring and pinion gears.
- Jan 22, '00 - Installed the Tera Mfg. Dana 300 4:1 transfer case gear kit.
- Jul 27, '99 - Rhino
lined the tub.
- Jul 1, '99 - Installed a Tuffy security console.
- Dec 1 '98 - Bought and installed the steering
brace from Jim Mijali's YJ. He was trading it in for a new
XJ so I snagged the brace.
- Aug 1 '98 - Installed
another Dana 300. Why?
Because the first one's low range rear output started
popping in and out of gear. The newer case is a couple of
inches longer which means I have to modify the rear
driveshaft. I am not amused.
I also installed a stock transfer case
skidplate / crossmember which I modified to accomodate the
extra drop of the Dana 300. This crossmember provided me
with another inch or two of ground clearance over the
custom-made one I originally used with the D300.
- May 11 '98 - Swapped a pair of Scout Dana 44 axles
and a CJ Dana 300 transfer case into my YJ.
- April '97 -
April Fool's Trip '97: on my first
visit to Pigpen's Revenge on Vancouver Island, I snapped my
transfer case output shaft. The shaft was a cut-down,
re-splined unit which was part of the MIT slip yoke
eliminator kit which I had installed a while ago. I called
MIT and they told me a replacement shaft would cost US$250!
I ended up buying a complete Currie Kit for US$400. From
that, I got US$100 back when I sent them a stock output
shaft which I happened to have laying around. I got
what I believe is a stronger output shaft than the MIT
shaft. Why? Because Currie doesn't cut new splines into
their shafts. This is a good thing because you generally
have to remove the metal's hardening when cutting splines,
thus reducing the strength. Besides, even though I could
have paid less by buying a replacement shaft from MIT, I
decided to try something new.
The transfer case was showing some signs of wear: one shift
fork and some of the fork insert pads were changed, as was
the chain which, in retrospect, probably did not need to be
changed after all.
Shortly after this, I welded a small rack to the back of the
tire carrier which allowed me to store two small ammo boxes.
I also bolted a taller ammo box beside the spare tire. Now
I was able to store my electric compressor outside the
vehicle, along with a lot of bungees, spare fluids and my
handy dandy entrenching tool (don't get me started).
In the fall of 1997, I replaced the hitch pin latching setup
on the rack with a pin which had a built-in pivoting pin.
- March '97 - One evening I decided to use a filter I
had sitting on the shelf when I did my oil change. It was
slightly different from the ones I normally use but it
seemed to fit ok. The next morning, on the way to work, a
horrible knocking and squealing from the motor provided a
not-too-subtle hint that I screwed up. The oil filter had
fallen off and the motor pumped all its oil onto the
pavement while it was spinning at highway speed rpms.
I didn't even bother to open up the motor to check the
damage. The sound definitely indicated that the bottom end
was shot. Through a fortunate turn of events, I was able to
obtain a '95 4.0L with a mere 8,000Km on it (it was a
warranty replacement motor for another one which had a
piston slap problem). Cost was a very reasonable C$725
Since I had never done a job of this
magnitude before, I once again called upon my friends for
assistance and my Jeep was back on the road 11 days after
the tragic end of my original motor (which had 120,000Km on
- February '97 - With a LOT of help from my friends, I
Rubicon Express spring-over conversion kit. The
resulting wheel articulation is fantastic.
- December '96 - I removed the windshield
hinge-mounted KC Daylighters and mounted them on the
fenders, just in front and outside of the side hood latches.
I did this because the KCs light up my white (!!) hood which
reflected back to my windshield at night. All the bits of
dirt, dust and scratches caught the light and were very
distracting. From an aesthetics viewpoint, I don't think
the KCs look very good on the fenders but functionally, they
work very well. No more glare. Of course, now I'll have to
weld some vertical bars to the ends of my front bumper to
protect the lights from being hit when driving through dense
brush. Other plans for this winter include building a
locking console box (using a 100-round, 20mm ammo box),
re-gearing the axles to 4.10s and maybe upgrading one or
- September '96 - After breaking my third
fiberglass antenna, I bought a K40 removable antenna. The
signal reception is much better than previous antennas.
- August '96 - Installed a hood lock. I'll soon
be adding some kind of vehicle theft-proofing so I figured
it'd be a good idea to limit access to the engine
My girlfriend, Sue, volunteered to remove
the "Islander" graphics package stickers from my hood and
the little orange "sunshine" decals from the doors (guess
she hated them more than I did). She used some kind of
adhesive remover but it's still obvious that decals were
removed because the underlying paint was very white compared
to the scratched and faded paint around it. I'll have to
cut-wax the Jeep sometime this winter.
- July '96 - Finally completed my rear
bumper/tire carrier. Utilizing
rectangular tubing, I constructed a bumper which used a pair
of posts on either side of the tail gate to support a
swing-out tire carrier. The design was simple enough for me
to construct even with my rudimentary welding & metal
fabrication skills (although I still spend more time
grinding than welding). My 31" tire no longer weighs down
the tailgate plus I now have a new mounting location for my
CB antenna. It's tucked between the tailgate and the spare
Around this time I also drilled a couple of holes
and welded nuts to the front winch mount. I can now mount a
Jackall (Canadian equivalent to the Hi-Lift) jack
horizontally just above the cable drum by cinching it down
with bolts going through the holes & nuts. I also welded
some angle iron over just enough bolts so that my winch
cannot be unbolted from the Jeep.
- June '96 - During our Windy Ridge trip, I
managed to tweak the driver's side front spring pack,
puncture the driver's side rear tire sidewall of my 31x10.5
BFG MT, snap off my factory am/fm radio antenna, and lose
the metal trim piece covering the rubber seal around my
windshield. I've managed to replace everything so far
except the metal trim piece. For some reason, the dealer
can only supply me with one which appears to be shorter than
the one I originally had. Typical.
- April '96 - During my first offroading trip of
the year, I managed to damage both rear quarter panels. I
was planning on adding aluminum plate to cover the quarter
panels after the tire carrier/bumper
Unfortunately, this little incident forced a change in
plans. The installation went fairly smoothly but I would
like to suggest that everyone learn from my experience and
mount the armour with stainless steel screws instead of
rivets. The armour didn't perfectly conform to the body's
shape so mounting was difficult, even with the use of
various c-clamps. By using nuts & bolts, I was able to
compress the armour against the body, a little bit at a
time. The aluminum rivets I was thinking of using would not
be able to exert the same clamping force afforded by the
nuts & bolts.
Also, it's necessary to remove the plastic sheathing inside
the fenders so you might as well jack up the Jeep and remove
the tires, too. It seems like a lot extra work (if you're
lazy like me) but trust me, it's the easiest way to do this
- March '96 - Since the new springs gave me much
more lift than before, I had to do something about the front
brake lines, which was tight as a guitar string when the
axle was at full droop. I popped by Jim Mijali's house and
looked at the ones which came with his Rancho lift kit.
Basically, they gave him a couple of pieces of thick metal
straps, about four inches in length, with holes at both
ends. I made the same thing at home and used them to
re-locate the brake hoses' frame mounts. The driver's side
was the toughest, requiring careful bending of the metal
brake lines. I also lowered my emergency brake cable by
bending the bracket mounted under the body from a vertical
to a horizontal position.
- January '96 - Finally installed the MIT kit
which I bought used from Todd O'Connor, who was upgrading to
an NP241 transfer case (thanks, Todd!). Thanks to Gord
Pritchard for his invaluable assistance. At this time I also
decided to remove the front track bar since it always made a
banging noise when offroad and was impossible to tighten. I
removed the rear a few months prior and noticed no ill
effects on the handling. Unfortunately, I couldn't say the
same when the front track bar came off. Tight corners are
now more "interesting" and I have to drive
with the swaybar connected while on the pavement. I
definitely need to install some beefier front shackles or
else re-install that track bar.
- January '96 - The add-a-leafs had sagged, especially
at the front (I'm sure the Warn 8274 had something to do with
it <g>. I bought a set of McCoy 2.5" springs (made
in Canada) and installed them. When the Jeep was back on the ground,
it looked like the McCoys provided close to 3.5" instead
of 2.5". Maybe it just needs some heavy offroading to settle
them. By the way, on the advice of Dave Hansen, I installed rear
springs on the front as well as the back. Apparently, the
rear springs are rated for heavier loads which suited me just
fine since my 8274 and its mount weigh around 150lbs. The McCoys
provided a noticeably softer ride than the add-a-leafs, although
it's still significantly stiffer than stock.
- August '95 - The front tires still rubbed a little
bit so I lowered the front bumpstops by welding sections of 1"
square tube steel between the frame and the stops.
- July '95 - Bought a set of 31.10.5 BFG MTs. Nice looking
tires. They also improved the YJ's performance on loose and muddy
- July '95 - (Thanks to Pam & Dave Hansen
for this modification) The stock airbox on a 4.0L motor draws
its air supply through a horn which opens just below the front
driver's side headlight. This isn't a particularly good location
so, using some PVC pipe and a couple of 90-deg elbows, I made
my own air intake. The ends of the elbows are the exact same diameter
as the factory air intake so it's a simple matter to assemble
the PVC to form a snorkel which draws air from above or beside
the airbox. Then remove the factory air intake and plug the snorkel
into the opening in the airbox.
Note: Apparently, Chrysler also likes this idea because the
new TJs use a similar setup.
This can also serve as the basis
for a real, roof-height snorkel setup if you wanted to take the
time to seal all the air intake hoses and components.
- July '95 - The Coopers were getting bald and I also
noticed they measured around 29" tall when inflated and on
the ground. Even so, at extreme articulation, the front tires
where getting cut by the fender lips (the lips were getting kinda
dented, too). Due to their underwhelming performance in mud, I
was planning on buying some BFG MTs. The MTs are a tall 31 so
I had to address the problem of fender clearance. A 1" body lift
solved that problem for very little cost.
- June '96 - I finally got around to fabricating a mount
for my 8274 Warn 8000lb winch. I've had this winch on the first
vehicle I ever owned, a '78 Land Cruiser. That winch saw 4 years
of abusive service (hey, I was a teen-ager!) before being retired
to the swimming pool pump room at my parents' house for over a
decade. It still had silt from its last use (when I was stuck
on a tailing pile near my old home town) when I started dis-assembling
and cleaning it. All it needed was a new control socket and a
cleaning of the motor in order to become operational. I also changed
the oil, repainted it, and installed a new cable. Because Warn
no longer produces a mount for the 8274/Jeep YJ combination, I
made my own by using the salvaged main mounting plate from a full-size
Chevy. I cut it to a width which would fit my YJ and then used
the scrap for triangular gussetting on the side. The finished
unit blocks approximately 50% of the radiator. Even so, the engine
temperature is manageable; in the worst case situation, the temp
gauge gets up to half way when cruising at highway speeds. That
winch cost $350CDN new. Today, the cost of a brand new 8274 is
around $1300CDN. I'm glad Warn makes products that last.
- August '94 - Although the locker helped, the Jeep still
didn't have enough ground clearance. I found some used spring
packs with add-a-leafs already installed. In addition, I also
bought a set of RS5000 shocks, a slightly used set of Cooper Discoverer
31x10.5 tires and some Slickrock Disconnects for my swaybar. Woo-hoo!
Now we're gettin' somewhere! The lifted YJ made it up to Clear
Creek (a local rock-crawling trail) with not a single problem.
I finally had a worthy trail machine.
- July '94 - Started offroading the Jeep in the spring
and immediately noticed weaknesses. My friend, Clay Howey, owned
a stock Nissan 4x4 with the factory 31" tires which outperformed
my YJ in every terrain. Rob Bryce, was attempting to get a bulk-deal
happening with Lockright lockers so I bought one and installed
it. It made a world of difference.
- October '93 - Bought the YJ used from the wife of a
well-to-do businessman. From the smell, I deduced that she mainly
used it for those trips when she needed to take her dog somewhere.
They also owned a Jaguar and a couple of Cherokees so I'm sure
the YJ wasn't a daily driver. Only had 21,000Km and they took
it to the dealer twice each year to have the hard top and soft