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Old 05-04-2012, 12:29 PM
sealegs's Avatar
sealegs sealegs is offline
Join Date: Jan 05, 2011
Location: Denton TX
Posts: 103
Moab Build List

After seeing all the picture and videos posted on FB this is on my list for next year.
I am fairly sure that I have selected my trial rig at this point…. So now I need to know how far to take it.
I would like to build a trail rig that can be driven to the trails. In Ouray that is simple as most of the trails could be run in a factory FSJ.
Moab from what I can tell is a very different story. I am not building a tough truck competition vehicle so please keep that in mind.
I would like to know the minimum requirements for being able to run a large amount of the trails. I’m sure as with anyplace the extreme will always be out of reach and that is not my intention with this truck.

The Chevy drive-line installation started this week in the 76 Cherokee.
V8 fuel injected with headers
NP241 transfer case
D44 front and rear.

At this point everything else is yet to be purchased so I have a blank slate.
Tire size – can I get away with 35”s? I would prefer not to drive to the trails on 37’s
I figure if I take it easy on 35’s I can live with D44’s. I’m sure that anything longer will require larger axle gear also.
Lift – tire size will drive this to some extent however will at SOA be acceptable?

Locker in rear is a given Is the front required and/or suggested.

Winch will also be part of the standard equipment
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Old 05-04-2012, 01:00 PM
Blake Blake is offline
Bleedin' Gasoline
Join Date: Dec 22, 2005
Location: longmont, colorado
Posts: 2,123
Sounds like a good start. Here are some pointers;

Lockers front and rear. Period.

Swap in some 8 lug axles so that you have a rear Full Float setup. You can drive on broken FF axles, but not your stock semi float. If you don't wanna go with FF, then at a bare minimum, carry some rear spare shafts. Although the Moab part stores carry lots of axle shafts, I don't think they have an ones for FSJ's.

Replace the P/S pressure hose. Or at least carry a spare. Lot's of folks seem to lose them while rock crawling (I lost one on my ram).

Sliders, sliders, sliders. Period.

Front/rear bumpers, or at least some GOOD recovery points front/rear.

Spare ujoints for all your driveshafts. Also carry a ujoint tool so you can easily change them out. Better yet, carry spare driveshafts.

Spare fluids, antifreeze, motor oil, P/S fluid, etc.

Spare brake line hoses, or at least some brake line plugs.

Address any electrical gremlings prior to the trip. Go through the entire engine harness looking for wires that are chaffing, exposed, etc.

Spare battery (for when your charging system dies).

Yes, you can wheel Moab on 35's. Bigger is better. Don't be afraid to drive on bigger tires. I've put 10's of thousands of miles driving my Honcho all over the country on 42's, including towing on a few occasions (not being towed, but doing the towing).

IMHO the machine needs to be in tip-top condition for trips like this else you run the risk of spend the entire trip wrenching rather than 'wheeling.

I'm sure others will chime in , but I listed many of the things that others seem to overlook.
Please come on over to and have a look.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:40 PM
dusty's Avatar
dusty dusty is offline
Gear Head
Join Date: Jul 20, 2006
Location: Left Coast, Right wing. Nor Cal
Posts: 744
take a serious look at my 608.9 build thread here and on pirate. some grinding to clear the ring gear is sometimes necessary but the added gearth and piece of mind that it will give you is significant. the JK rear 8.9" ring gear is much larger in many departments than a std dana 44 R&P and will really buy you some wiggle room with a dana 44 front and especially rear end.

Depending on tire size i ran moab on 35" tires that measured 33" in diameter two years ago in my cj and had no issues but a few spots had to pass on some lines. this year i ran 37's that are 36" in diameter and they made the trip a little bit easier. also i should add that in the last 2 years the trails have changed alot. ledges are steeper and holes deeper than they were 2 years ago. I wouldnt hesitate to setup a 4" lift like bj's and run 33's on dana 44's but know there will be limitations (im not a big fan of a detroit in a rear dana 44 without alloy shafts our rigs are heavy and detroits are hard on splines), 35's will open a few more doors and 44's will work but id consider a dana 60 upgrade. 37's open up a can of worms both in potential and neceissary upgrades.

alloy shafts are an option later and with that R&P and alloy shafts and a detroit i wouldnt hesitate to ask it to handle 37's on or offroad

all of the above. i go through my crap with a fine tooth comb and examine anything that looks like it could wiggle or move

I carry spare u bolts. a full spare steering linkage and TRE's, pitman arm and pressure side hose. spare center pins, spare rear drive line and spare rear yokes. when a ran a dana 44 front end with stock knuckles i carried spare ball joints, spare drive slugs for my hubs and i ran warn axle shafts with ctms. on 37's the only thing that ever gave me issues was my 4.56 std dana 44 r&P sicne upgrading to the 8.9 jk R&P its night and day difference in size. with alloy sahfts and ctms i was fine but i wanted a little more wiggle room int he knuckle area and did the upgrade. i later went with KP knuckles from a 60 and 35 spline 60 shafts.

The rear with 35's i would do a dana 60 even if it is just semi float 35 spline the upgrade in R&P and shaft stength is worth the investment and peace of mind. a cheap traction aiding device is a Power Lok limited slip rob some side gears out of a dana 70 power lok and install them into a dana 60 power lok (which are very common in many wrecking yard dana 60's to this day for cheap) and upgrade to 35 spline. a little bit of an investment but the used PL can be had for $100 or less at PNP and a for a clutch kit order a set for a dana 70HD and it will come with 6 flats and 4 curves all steel clutches and that has worked for years to get through most everywhere out there for several guys in our group

Id suggest at least a power lok limited slip for the front, if not then an ARB or OX are my choices. one of the guys that comes with us runs a 35 spline semi floater 60 rear with 36's his rear is a Plok with 6 curves and 4 flats in the clutch pack and it works great. his front end used to be a plok dana 44 and a few years ago he upgraded to an ARB. talk about a solid rig the Plok isnt as good as a detroit but is pretty darned close. his rig made it through prichet and did just fine. his drive train had yukon axle shafts up front and spicer non servicable forged u joints with full circle clips a few years later he upgraded to super joints and still hasnt broke anything. he does carry spare ball joints and they are moogs IIRC. his rig was a carb'd 350, sm465, np205 and 4.88's back then. he is now a tbi 350 with stall savers turned down to keep it running if rpms drop down as low as 200rpm, nv4500, dana 300 and 4.88's on 36's and recently upgraded to arb but still runs the Plok in the rear. pretty mucha discount rig that works well.

Be sure to install a very large transmission cooler, do not route your tranny lines through the radiator. a good shroud and consider your fan clutch. if it is new adjust the spring to get it to engage sooner, most new ones even the severe duty ones fully engage too late... 200-210 degrees+ which contributes to heat soaking the underhood.

so since im wordy above my list would be

Large tranny cooler as big as you can fit

winch- i suggest a 8274

spare rear driveline

spare center pins for leaf springs i carry 4

spare rear T-case yoke and spare rear axle pinion yoke

full circle clips on cheap alloy shafts (alloy usa works) for the front end

steering shaft get rid of the rag joint (ebay has cheap borgesson knock offs)

I build a clamp brace similar to that of the CJ's from pass frame rail to drivers frame rail to stiffent the steering box. as well i usually reinforce the frame areea where it is bolted down

Upgrade to a J20 steering box

I ream out to chevy steering linkage parts but thats me and then i do a parts mike or WFO steering setup and carry spare tierod, drag link and TRE's as well as a spare pitman arm reamed out to the 3/4" stuff. I consider all my steering parts as essential to limping out. or just use the stock stuff but carry a full set of stock parts, tie rods etc.

Spare ball joints for one side

1 spare set of outer wheel bearings and a tub of grease

1 set of drive slugs incase you blow a hub

a severe duty fan clutch adjusted to engage at lower temp

hummer 10 blade cooling fan upgrade or some nasty fan 7 blade fan with high pitch

I also install a small 16" or so electric fan as a pusher for those times when things start to heat up

mechanical gauges. use copper for your oil pressure line not plastic

spare electric fuel pump

spare ignition modual

dual batteries. if you cant or dont want an isolator buy a constant duty 200 amp solenoid wire it in as an isolator

motor mounts i like to convert to spring bushing bombproof style that or i sometimes do a tight piece of chain incase a mount breaks.

good tranny mount seperate crossmember and then stamp out a good 1/4" skid plate to protect that tranny and t-case from a rock kicking up and ruining your weekend

good winch points on your front and rear bumpers

and like i said before id do some axle upgrades with at the least a set of ploks if you are on a budget. those lsd's will get you around most all of moab and once you learn to use the brake pedal and throttle to make sure they really bite you'll be in business

and if you do a dana 60 rear id highly recommend that either the 8 lug swap like suggested above and if you are tight for cash an old used dana 60 power lok limited slip in the rear setup real tight (dont be afraid to tear open 2 or 3 dana 70 ploks at the wrecking yard and scavenge enough steel clutches together to make it work if you want to wait on buying a rebuild kit or id upgrade to 35 spline rear shafts and still do the same

for the front end if you dont want to do alloy shafts i still think full circl clips, stock shafts and a power lok limited slip up front will get you a long ways. if you want to beef up the R&P while you are at it the JK R&P's like i listed above can be had used from WFO and other sources in 4.10 ratio take outs from a rubicon usually for $40-80. you can run an open front diff but the limited slip in the front just makes things a little nicer since it does not act anything like a detroit in the front end not affecting your steering in tight spots but is much less of an investment than a selectable locker.
Cherokee S Chief Widetrack W/ Cummins 4bta Diesel, 91 dodge intercooler, hy35/9, AC NV4500/D300 3.54's Ploks 4" BJ's w/ 33's, scout 33 gal fuel tank ( Sold, to a good fsj home)
The 608.9 hybrid dana 44 build

AMC 401 supporter

GO UM Montana Griz

"Dont worry the Coors light engineering department will be documenting this accordingly."

Last edited by dusty : 10-03-2012 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:59 PM
shimniok's Avatar
shimniok shimniok is offline
FSJ Maniac
Join Date: Jan 08, 2003
Location: Centennial, Colorado
Posts: 2,907
I don't think you need to overbuild. Just build everything to the same, reasonable level. And drive well.

Last time I drove Moab was like 2003? I went most years between 99 and 04 going with FSJs.

Maybe the trails look different now. First time out was in '99 with 4" lift and 31's. Ran Gold Bar Rim and Cane Creek Trail. Had a little trouble on the latter.

I've run the big Poison Spider / Golden Spike / Gold Bar Rim loop a couple of times on 33's with 4" lift and rear locker. Same gear on Fins n Things.

I ran Rose Garden Hill in another FSJ with 31's, 2" lift and rear locker. I banged a lot (clearance) but got up without too much trouble.

Maybe I've just been out of the game too long. Everyone considers 35's small now??

I'm not sold on a front locker unless you're doing some of the really hard trails. I hardly needed the front ARB on Poison Spider and Golden Spike. If you do get one, it MUST be selectable or turning on slickrock will be a total nightmare. I've seen that fail miserably several years ago. I'd rather have no front locker than a ratcheting or (ugh) spool type.

Hope to get out to Moab again ... maybe even next Spring. See if the ol' TC can still make any of the trails with puny 33's.
Broken Photobucket image in my post? PM me.
1986 Grand Wagoneer "Troubled Child"tc.wagoneer.orgFacebook • KØFSJ
Stock 360, TBI, 727 with TransGo, NP208, 4" Skyjacker, 33" BFG MT, WT Axles, Lock Right & ARB, OBA

Last edited by shimniok : 10-03-2012 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:35 PM
fulsizjeep's Avatar
fulsizjeep fulsizjeep is offline
Señor Jackhead
Join Date: Aug 21, 2002
Location: Jubilee Jeeps.SWCO
Posts: 22,478
Hey Michael, I have been riding on a similar platform with Wally for 10+ years. 33s are great for a lot of Moab trails. They would have a bit of a challenge on Steel Bender last time I saw it in April though. First time Krista and I ran that was in 01 and we were both on 32s and it was pretty easy with open diffs. You would have to have the right lines to get through there without lots of tire spin now. I have seen the trails degrade to where 35s make more sense. Next step is...
Ran when parked.
88 GW, 401/727/208, 5" lift, D44s/4.10s/locked up, 35s with a few Evil Twin & TT's Fabworks mods
76 401 Wag, 77 401 Wag, 77 401 J20
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:32 PM
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grand_wag_85 grand_wag_85 is offline
Murphy's Law Poster Child
Join Date: Dec 03, 2003
Posts: 10,710
I've run a git 'r dun lift and 31's with open diffs over Steel Bender, Fins 'N Things and a couple of others on that side of the valley. Did OK but there was some definite wheel stuffage and bumper scraping going on at points.
You know it's bad when your car's on the EPA's 10 most wanted list!

'82 J10
'65 J2000

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