More '03 Jeep "Expedition" Grand Cherokee Episodes

Xtreme 4x4 Builds

Parts Used In This Episode

Hayes Brake Controllers
Genesis trailer brake controller
Loctite
Sealant, RTV 598, Silicone, Black, 80 ml, Each
PSC Motorsports
'95-02 Jeep, Extreme Duty Cylinder Assist Kit
Reese Hitches
Trailer Hitch, Class III, 2 in., Square Tube, Black Powdercoated, Each
Rod End Supply
Heavy duty shank steering rod end, 5/8 x 3/4-16
Rusty's Off Road
Custom tubular/plate front bumper with winch mount, black powder coated, WJ
Rusty's Off Road
Custom tubular/plate rear bumper with D-rings, black powder coated, WJ
Rusty's Off Road
Superwinch, LP8500, 8,500 lb., Hawse Fairlead, Power In/Out, 12 V, 5/16 in. x 94 ft. Cable, Each
Tom Wood's Custom Drive Shafts
Slip Yoke Eliminator (SYE) fixed yoke kit, short shaft kit or tail shaft conversion.

Episode Transcript

(ANNOUNCER)>> WITH THE RIGHT VEHICLE AND A BIT OF PLANNING YOU CAN TRAVEL WAY OFF THE BEATEN TRACK TO SOME OF THE MOST SCENIC PLACES ON EARTH. TODAY ON XTREME 4X4 OUR EXPEDITION SUV PROJECT CONTINUES WITH BODY PROTECTION, HYDRAULIC STEERING, AND MORE. PLUS ALL THE ACTION FROM THE DIXIE RUN.

(IAN)>> WHEELING, ROCK CRAWLING, BOGGING, OR EVEN TRAIL RIDING, WE USE A LOT OF DIFFERENT WORDS TO DESCRIBE WHAT WE DO WITH THESE RIGS WHEN WE GET THEM OFF THE PAVEMENT. BUT IT ALL REVOLVES AROUND ONE KEY ELEMENT AND THAT IS THE QUEST FOR ADVENTURE. WITH A WELL BUILT OFF ROAD TRUCK, YOU CAN SEE THINGS AND GO PLACES THAT NORMAL PEOPLE NEVER GET TO, LIKE MINED OUT GHOST TOWNS IN THE WEST, ABANDONED COAL MINES IN THE EAST, ICONIC PLACES LIKE THE RUBICON TRAIL OR EVEN TOP SECRET LAND AREAS WHERE YOU NEED TO KNOW THE OWNER TO GET THROUGH THE GATES. AND WITH THAT ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT IN MIND WE DRAGGED THIS JEEP WJ INTO THE SHOP TO BUILD A RIG TO EXPERIENCE ALL OF THAT. IT'S SOMETHING CALLED EXPEDITION TRAVEL. IT'S ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING AREAS IN THE WORLD OF OFF ROADING. AND AFTER SPENDING SOME TIME TALKING TO SOME REAL EXPEDITION TRAVELERS, WE KNEW IT WAS TIME FOR US TO BUILD AN EXPEDITION RIG OF OUR OWN. SO WE ROLLED THE WJ INTO THE SHOP, THREW A SUSPENSION LIFT AT IT, AND SOME LARGER WHEELS AND TIRES. FINISHED IT OUT WITH A COUPLE OF ARB AIR LOCKERS FRONT AND REAR. WHEN YOU'RE BUILDING A TRUE EXPEDITION RIG, YOU'VE KINDA GOT TO THINK OF IT AS A COMBINATION BETWEEN A DUAL PURPOSE STREET TRUCK AND A HARDCORE OFF ROADER. YOU MAKE COMPROMISES TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE LONG HIGHWAY DRIVES, LIKE INSTALLING SMALLER TIRES AND NOT A HUGE SUSPENSION LIFT. BUT AT THE SAME TIME YOU'VE GOT TO BUILD IT TO HANDLE SOME SERIOUS TRAILS. SO YOU DO THINGS LIKE PROTECT THE BODY. NOW TO DO THAT WE HAVE TWO NEW BUMPERS FOR OUR WJ. THESE ARE FROM RUSTY'S OFF ROAD AND THEY'RE HEAVY DUTY ONES MADE OUT OF TUBULAR STEEL AND FLAT PLATE. THEY HAVE DRINGS BOTH FRONT AND REAR TO HELP WITH RECOVERY AND THE FRONT BUMPER HAS A WINCH MOUNT BUILT INTO IT. THE WINCH WILL BE MOUNTED LOW INSIDE THE BUMPER TO GIVE US LOTS OF AIR FLOW ACROSS THE TOP TO KEEP THE ENGINE COOL WHEN WE'RE DRIVING ON THE HIGHWAY. IN THAT BUMPER WE'RE GONNA SLIP IN THIS SUPER WINCH 8,500 SERIES WINCH. IT'S NICE, AND SMALL, AND COMPACT, AND IT'LL FIT IN THERE PERFECTLY. NOW ONE THING YOU'VE GOT TO REMEMBER ABOUT AN EXPEDITION RIG. YOU'RE GONNA USE THE WINCH PROBABLY MORE THAN ANY OTHER TYPE OF OFF ROAD BECAUSE WHEN YOU THROW THE TRAILER BEHIND THAT TRACK AND HIT SOME SERIOUS TRAILS, YOU'LL BE PULLING CABLE MORE TIMES THAN YOU THINK. THE WINCH SIMPLY BOLTS IN PLACE ON THE BUMPER AND THE FAIR LEAD IS MOUNTED ON THE FRONT. [ wrench spinning ] THEN THE FACTORY PLASTIC BUMPER GETS PULLED OFF OF THE WJ, AND THE NEW RUSTY'S OFF ROAD BUMPER IS MOUNTED TO THE JEEP'S SUBFRAME.

YEAH!

ON THE REAR THE BUMPER INDEXES OFF EITHER FENDER MOLDING AND IS MOUNTED TO THE JEEP'S BODY. NOW IN ORDER TO PULL OUR EXPEDITION TRAILER, WE NEED A RECEIVER STYLE HITCH. NOW WE NEED THE RECEIVER BECAUSE OF THE ARTICULATING COUPLER THAT'S ON THE FRONT OF THE TRAILER. IF YOU REMEMBER, IT CAN FLEX IN MULTIPLE DIRECTIONS TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR THE TRAILER TO ARTICULATE WHEN WE'RE OUT ON THE TRAIL. NOW FOR THE JEEP THERE'S TWO DIFFERENT STYLES OF RECEIVER HITCHES, A CLASS TWO AND A CLASS THREE. YOU NEED TO STEP UP TO THE LARGER CLASS THREE STYLE HITCH CAUSE IT HAS THE CORRECT SIZE RECEIVER HOLE FOR THAT ARTICULATING COUPLER. ALSO IT CAN PULL 3,500 POUNDS. NOW THAT MAY SOUND LIKE A LITTLE BIT OVERKILL WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WEIGHT AND THAT SMALL LITTLE TRAILER, BUT YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER. YOU'RE GONNA BE FILLING IT WITH A LOT OF STUFF BEFORE YOU GO OUT FOR A WEEKEND OF CAMPING, AND YOU DO NOT WANT TO LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOU CAN SPEND OUT ON THE TRAIL JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A SMALLER RATED HITCH. NOW ON A TRUCK LIKE OUR CHEROKEE, THERE'S NO PROVISIONS FOR AN ELECTRONIC BRAKE CONTROLLER AND THE TRAILER HAS THOSE. SO WE NEED TO INSTALL A BRAKE CONTROL MODULE. THIS SENSES THE BRAKE INPUT AS YOU DRIVE AND WILL ENERGIZE THE TRAILER BRAKES. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, YOU CAN ENERGIZE THEM YOURSELVES CONTROLLING OUTSIDE OF THE VEHICLE BRAKES. THIS COMES REALLY HANDY WHEN YOU'RE ON THE TRAIL, GOING DOWN A NICE, STEEP HILL. YOU CAN SIMPLE REACH DOWN AND TURN ON THE TRAILER BRAKES AND BASICALLY DRAG DOWN THE HILL. THAT'LL NOT ONLY SLOW THE TRUCK DOWN, BUT IT'LL PREVENT THE TRAILER FROM TRYING TO PUSH YOU THROUGH THE WOODS AND POSSIBLY GETTING OUT OF CONTROL.

(ANNOUNCER)>> UP NEXT, WE GO WHEELING WITH THE JEEP'S AT DIXIE RUN, AND WE MAKE OUR DRIVETRAIN DEPENDABLE WITH A SLIP YOKE ELIMINATION KIT.

(IAN)>> FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS OFF ROAD ENTHUSIASTS HAVE FLOCKED TO THE DIXIE RUN, THE SOUTHERN FOUR WHEEL DRIVE ASSOCIATION'S CELEBRATION OF THE JEEP. HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE THE ROCK CRAWLING CHALLENGE, GROUP TRAIL RIDES, AND A CHANCE TO TALK SHOP WITH MAJOR VENDORS.

(HAL)>> I LOVE THE PEOPLE GETTING TOGETHER AND THE FRIENDSHIP EVERYBODY'S GOT.

(DUSTIN)>> IT'S THE BIGGEST OFF ROAD EVENT OF IT'S KIND ON THIS COAST.

(IAN)>> GOLDEN MOUNTAIN PARK OFFERS A WIDE VARIETY OF TRAILS WITH SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE. ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS WAS THE APPROPRIATELY NAMED HELLEVATOR.

BUT IT'S ABOUT MORE THAN HAVING A GOOD TIME. THE DIXIE RUN HELPS FUND TRAIL MAINTENANCE AND PLANNING THROUGHOUT THE SOUTHEAST.

(GREG)>> IF WE SEE SOMETHING ON THE TRAIL, WE'RE GONNA PICK IT UP. IF THERE'S AN ISSUE WITH ANY TYPE OF SILTATION OR DRAINAGE, WE'RE GONNA TAKE CARE OF IT.

(IAN)>> ALL KINDS OF VEHICLES COME HERE FROM ALMOST STOCK RIGS TO HIGHLY MODIFIED ONES LIKE THIS '78 CJ SEVEN WITH ROCKWELLS AND A 600 HORSEPOWER BIG BLOCK.

(HAL)>> IT'S A NEW ENGINE. A BUDDY OF MINE BUILT THIS MOTOR AND IT'S A LITTLE BIT TOO MUCH FOR WHAT WE'RE DOING.

(IAN)>> ALL THAT POWER LENDS ITSELF TO AN INTENSE DRIVING STYLE THAT COULD BE BEST DESCRIBED AS TAKING THE HILL BY FORCE.

(HAL)>> JUST POINT IT AND GO, THAT'S THE WAY I LIKE TO DRIVE.

(IAN)>> DUSTIN MURPHY WORKS FOR FOUR WHEEL PARTS. HE SEES DIXIE RUN AS A GREAT CHANCE TO SPEND TIME WITH HIS CUSTOMERS ENJOYING THEIR COMPANY IN A CASUAL ENVIRONMENT AND GETTING FEEDBACK FROM THE GUYS WHO RUN HIS STUFF.

(DUSTIN)>> EVERYONE IN OUR COMPANY IS ALSO AN ENTHUSIAST AS WELL. WE DO THIS, WE DO THE SAME THING OUR CUSTOMERS DO. SO WHEN THEY COME IN THEY CAN ASK US A QUESTION. MORE THAN LIKELY WE CAN GIVE YOU AN OPINION, WE CAN GIVE YOUR OUR EXPERIENCES THAT'LL HELP YOU MAKE A PURCHASE.

(IAN)>> ERIC CATES DRIVES AN '83 CJ SEVEN WITH A BED LINER PAINT JOB THAT GETS SOME INTERESTING REACTIONS.

(ERIC)>> AH, SHOCK! THEY SAY, WELL, NEAT IDEA. THEY WOULDN'T DO IT TO THEIR JEEP.

(IAN)>> A RESPECTABLE RUN BUT HE CAN'T QUITE MAKE IT TO THE TOP. HE'S GONNA HAVE TO PULL SOME CABLE.

(ERIC)>> I NEED MORE CLEARANCE, NEED BIGGER TIRES. I'LL ORDER THEM FROM SOMEWHERE. ( )>> CAN YOU EVER GET ENOUGH CLEARANCE OR BIGGER TIRES?

(ERIC)>> IF THE WIFE WILL LET ME.

(IAN)>> HE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO WORK TOO HARD TO PERSUADE HER. AFTER WATCHING HER HUSBAND HAVE SO MUCH FUN BEHIND THE WHEEL, ANGEL CATES DECIDED TO GIVE ROCK CRAWLING A TRY. SHE LOVED IT FROM THE FIRST MINUTE.

(ANGEL)>> AND I THINK IT HELPS THE WOMEN TO SEE OTHER WOMEN DRIVING. YOU KNOW, CAUSE THEY SET OVER, USUALLY SCARRED, GOING OH, NO I DON'T WANT TO DO IT. THEN WHEN THEY SEE A WOMEN BEHIND THE WHEEL, WELL LOOK, SHE'S DOING IT. WELL MAYBE I COULD DO IT. IT'S NOT JUST A MAN'S SPORT.

(ERIC)>> YOU HAD TO SAY THAT.

(ANGEL)>> YEAH!

(IAN)>> ERIC MODIFIED THE STEERING WHEEL AND ADDED A BLOCK OF WOOD TO THE GAS PEDAL SO ANGEL COULD REACH THE CONTROLS MORE EASILY. NOW INSTEAD OF WATCHING ON THE SIDELINES, SHE'S PART OF THE ACTION. STILL AFTER CHECKING OUT SOME OF THE RIGS SHE'D BE WHEELING WITH, ANGEL ADMITTED TO BEING A LITTLE WORRIED.

(ANGEL)>> WHEN I STARTED SEE EVERYBODY LINE UP, I WAS JUST LIKE KINDA INTIMIDATED YOU KNOW. LIKE UH, WE GOT THE BABY JEEP OF THE GROUP TODAY YOU KNOW.

(IAN)>> BABY JEEP OR NOT, ANGEL AND ERIC PICKED THE RIGHT LINE AND CLIMBED TO THE TOP RIGHT NEXT TO THE BIG BOYS.

(ERIC)>> WAY TO GO ANGEL!

(ANNOUNCER)>> ONCE WE DITCH THE STOCK STEERING FOR A HYDRAULIC SETUP, THOSE LONG DAYS BEHIND THE WHEEL WILL BE A BREEZE.

(IAN)>> NORMALLY WHEN WE UPGRADE OUR STEERING SYSTEM TO HYDRAULIC RAM ASSIST STEERING, WE'RE DOING IT TO COMPENSATE FOR PUTTING ON LARGER WHEELS AND TIRES, BUT WE ONLY PUT 33 INCH TALL TIRES ON THIS CHEROKEE. SO THE FACTORY SYSTEM WOULD HONESTLY DO PRETTY GOOD JUST FOR DAILY DRIVING USE. BUT YOU'VE GOT TO REMEMBER, THIS IS AN EXPEDITION RIG. WE'RE GONNA DO LONG HOURS ON THE HIGHWAY, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY EVEN LONGER HOURS OFF ROAD ON A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT TRAILS. SO WE WANT TO UPGRADE THE ENTIRE STEERING SYSTEM AS A PACKAGE. IT'S GONNA START WITH A BRAND NEW STEERING GEAR FROM PSC. NOW THIS ONE HAS BEEN DRILLED AND TAPPED TO DIVERT FLUID DOWN TO THE RAM ON THE AXLE FOR THE HYDRAULIC RAM ASSIST. BUT THE TRUE HEART OF THE SYSTEM IS THE STEERING PUMP. NOW THIS IS A 100 PERCENT NEW PUMP. THERE'S A HIGH FLOW AND HIGH PRESSURE SPECIFICALLY SPECED FOR OUR ENGINE AND PULLEY SIZE. BUT THE NICE THING IS IS THE RESERVOIR IS ATTACHED DIRECTLY TO THE PUMP. NORMALLY WHEN WE'RE UPGRADING TO A PUMP LIKE THIS YOU'LL SEE US MOUNT THAT EXTERNAL RESERVOIR UP ON A PIECE OF TUBING. BUT BY HAVING THIS OVERSIZED RESERVOIR ATTACHED DIRECTLY TO THE PUMP, IT JUST MAKES THE INSTALLATION A LOT EASIER.

THE NEW PUMP FITS DIRECTLY ON TO THE FACTORY BRACKET AND REUSES THE STOCK PRESSURE HOSE.

THE NEW STEERING GEAR BOLTS ONTO THE FRAME RAIL, AND AFTER REPLACING THE ORINGS WITH THE NEW ONES, THE LINES ARE HOOKED BACK UP.

WE THREW THE TRUCK UP ON THE LIFT TO FINISH INSTALLING THE HYDRAULIC RAM ASSIST KIT. BUT BEFORE I MOUNT THE RAM FROM THE AXLE TO THE TIE ROD, I'M GONNA REBUILD THE TIE ROD AND THE DRAG LINK. SEE ON THE WJ, THE TIE ROD'S MOUNTED DOWN REALLY LOW, MAKING IT VERY EASY FOR IT TO GET DAMAGED WHEN WE'RE OUT ON THE TRAIL. I'M GONNA REBUILD A HEAVIER DUTIER VERSION USING HEIM JOINTS INSTEAD OF TIE RODS. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, I'M GONNA FLIP IT FROM THE BOTTOM SIDE OF THE KNUCKLE TO THE TOP.

NOW WE'RE GONNA REBUILD BOTH OF THESE STEERING RODS USING SOME QUARTER INCH WALL DOM TUBING. AND THEN WE'LL REPLACE THE TIE RODS WITH SOME HEIM JOINTS. BUT THERE'S A COUPLE OF RULES YOU NEED TO FOLLOW WHEN USING HEIM JOINTS IN THE STEERING. FIRST YOU NEED A GOOD QUALITY CHROMOLY HEIM LIKE THIS ONE FROM ROD END SUPPLY. IT'S THE IDEAL SIZE FOR STEERING WITH A FIVEEIGHTHS INCH HOLE. THAT GIVES US LOTS OF MEAT IN THE BODY OF THE HEIM MAKING IT INCREDIBLY STRONG. NOW MOST OF THE TIME WHEN WE'RE DEALING WITH HEIM JOINTS, YOU'RE PICKING UP THESE MISALIGNMENT SPACERS AND USING THEM IN A SUSPENSION SYSTEM, BUT YOU DON'T WANT TO USE THOSE IN A STEERING SYSTEM. YOU WANT TO GET WHAT'S CALLED A SAFETY WASHER. YOU CAN SEE THAT IT IS HALF THE THICKNESS OF THE MISALIGNMENT SPACER. NOW WHY DOES THIS MAKE A DIFFERENCE? WELL IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN THE LENGTH OF THE BOLT. BY THE TIME YOU ADD IN A HEIM JOINT, A COUPLE MISALIGNMENT SPACERS, AND EVERYTHING ALL TOGETHER YOU'LL END UP WITH AN INCREDIBLY LONG BOLT MOUNTED IN THE SINGLE SHEAR. THAT BOLT CAN PIVOT AND THE POSSIBLY BREAK. YOU WANT TO RUN AS SHORT A BOLT AS YOU CAN AND THAT IS HOW THE SAFETY WASHERS HELP. BUT YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE YOU DON'T GO TOO SHORT. IF YOU USE A BOLT THAT DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH SHOULDER OR NO SHOULDER AT ALL, YOU END UP WITH WHAT'S CALLED THREADS IN SHEAR. THAT MEANS THE BOLT CAN MOVE AROUND INSIDE THE HEIM JOINT CAUSING IT TO FAIL. YOU WANT A BOLT WITH A LONG ENOUGH SHOULDER THAT WHEN YOU PUT ON THE HEIM JOINT, THE KNUCKLE AND THE SAFETY WASHER, EVERYTHING IS RIDING ON THE SHOULDER OF THE BOLT MAKING IT INCREDIBLY STRONG. BOTH THE TIE ROD AND THE DRAG LINK ARE BUILT USING QUARTER INCH WALL DOM TUBING THAT'S AN INCH AND A HALF ROUND. TUBING ADAPTERS ARE WELDED IN PLACE, AND THEN THE KNUCKLE IS REAMED OUT TO ACCEPT THE FIVEEIGHTHS INCH BOLT.

(IAN)>> TODAY WE'RE WORKING ON OUR EXPEDITION WJ AND THE LAST PART OF THE DRIVETRAIN WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH IS WITH THE TRANSFER CASE ITSELF. LIKE MOST MODERN JEEPS, IT HAS A SLIP YOKE BUILT INTO THE BACK AND WE WANT TO REMOVE THAT AND PUT A FIXED YOKE STYLE ON HERE SO WHEN THE SUSPENSION IS FULLY DROOPED OUT WE DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE DRIVE SHAFT BECOMING DISENGAGED WITH THE BACK OF THE TRANSFER CASE. FIRST UP IN THIS PROCESS, REMOVE THE CASE.

NOW THE TRANSFER CASE IN THE JEEP WJ MAY LOOK FAMILIAR. IT'S AN ALL ALUMINUM TWO PIECE CASE WITH A CHAIN INSIDE. IT LOOKS VERY SIMILAR TO THE NEW PROCESS 231 WE SEE IN A LOT OF MODELS OF JEEPS BUT IT'S NOT. IT'S ACTUALLY A 242 MODEL. THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE REALLY IS IN THE REAR SPEEDOMETER HOUSING. NOW THERE'S ONLY ONE GUY THAT TRULY MAKES A SLIP YOKE ELIMINATOR FOR THIS CASE AND THAT'S TOM WOODS FROM FOUR BY SHAFT. IT'S A TYPICAL SLIP YOKE ELIMINATOR KIT WITH A BRAND NEW REAR OUTPUT HOUSING AND A NEW OUTPUT SHAFT THAT'S MACHINED TO ACCEPT THE FIXED YOKE. TO INSTALL THE SLIP YOKE ELIMINATOR, THE TRANSFER CASE MUST BE COMPLETELY DISASSEMBLED AND THE CASE HALVES SPLIT.

THE INTERNALS ARE SWAPPED FROM THE OLD SHAFT ONTO THE NEW.

THEN THE INTERNALS ARE SLID BACK INTO THE FRONT CASE HALF AND THE GEAR IS SECURED TO THE FRONT OUTPUT SHAFT WITH A SNAP RING. FINALLY A TEST SPIN TO INSURE EVERYTHING IS ENGAGED. LIKE ALL OF THE TWO PIECED ALUMINUM NEW PROCESS TRANSFER CASES, THERE'S ONE AREA THAT YOU HAVE TO PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO AND THAT IS THE OIL PUMP. THIS OIL PUMP INDEXES OFF THE OUTPUT SHAFT AND DELIVERS OIL UP TO ALL THE BEARINGS INSIDE THE TRANSFER CASE. NOW WHEN YOU ASSEMBLE THE TRANSFER CASE, IT CAN BE VERY EASY FOR THE TUBE TO BECOME DISENGAGED FROM THE PUMP. YOU'LL GET NO OIL FLOW THROUGH THE PICK UP. YOU WON'T REALLY NOTICE RIGHT AWAY WHEN YOU PUT THE TRANSFER CASE BACK IN THE TRUCK. A COUPLE HUNDRED MILES DOWN THE HIGHWAY AND YOU'LL HAVE BURNED UP THE BEARINGS. A LIGHT COAT OF RTV SILICONE IS APPLIED AND THE CASE IS REASSEMBLED.

WITH A NEW TRANSFER CASE OUTPUT WE OBVIOUSLY NEED A NEW DRIVE SHAFT. SO TOM WOODS PUT US TOGETHER A HEAVY DUTY CUSTOM ONE WITH A C/V JOINT AT THE TRANSFER CASE AND A SLIP YOKE DOWN BY THE AXLE. FOR DETAILS ON ANY OF THE PRODUCTS SEEN IN TODAY'S EPISODE HEAD ON OVER TO POWERBLOCK TV DOT COM.
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