Project Potimus

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Thanks for checking out my new build thread! Originally I was going to call it Smokey 2.0, but due to a really unfortunate event I decided to name it as a tribute to my furry four legged best friend that was tragically lost right before starting it. His nickname was Potimus.

Onward and upward to what I am building. While I love the XJ platform it just wasn't big enough for what I wanted. After my last XJ being filled with gear, 2 dogs and the wife I was tapped out on space. We added the little peanut to our family and there was no way I was getting all the junk in the XJ. Ideally, this is going to be our camping/overland/road trip vehicle. I've always loved the WJ's just never found myself in one until now. Enter the 04 Columbia edition with the 4.7HO. I picked it up at Copart for $500 and knew it needed a new engine (which I wanted). It was a 2 owner car and overall pretty clean with the exception of needing a new bumper.




It did not have the factory Columbia seats anymore, but the covers are decent
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
First order of business was addressing the engine. I had my engine guy rebuild the 4.7HO. It had spun a bearing and was toast. While he was at it I added in a fastman bored 68mm TB and AFE intake and a bunch of other "maintenance" items

(forgot a pic but it's a engine.....)

Also I went ahead and ditched the silly 247 t case in there in favor of the 242HD. By doing so I get 2wd vs all time 4wd. Also I get to add in a lunchbox to the rear. Freshed up the 5454rfe with new fluid and a filter.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Next was freshening up the underside. I am going to be running a 3" IRO lift along with Bilstiens 5100's, extended sway bar links, ADDCO rear sway bar and some other things.

Go figure the coil buckets were toast.....waiting on my IRO replacement kit to finish up the front


I also replaced all the control arms, here's the rear. That a arm was a bitch to get out. Ended up having to cut the upper ball joint off as it had seized to the a arm.


Replaced all the brakes; calipers, rotors, pads and lines.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
This brings me to current. Next weekend will add in some more pics and hopefully have it road worthy. Will still have some other items to button up but I'm stoked!

Things still to do.....
-Finish up the front end (rear is done but forgot a pic)
-Replace coil buckets
-Add in Aussie to the rear D44
-Get the 3" exhaust in
-Wire up the traildash
-Wire the stereo
-Get the rubber on running 265/75/16
 
Last edited:

PacificEd

YOLO!
NAXJA Member
Nice! I was wondering when you would start a build thread.

I've never seen a coil bucket rust like that. Crazy! We had a 02 Dakota Quad Cab with a 4.7. That was a good motor for that heavy truck. It was 4x4 and get 18 mpg on trips.

I'm planning something very similar for the ZJ. A little lift and the right parts in the right places. Keep up the good work.
 

trippled

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
Nice! Odd the seats were swapped, I thought the Columbia seats were pretty decent. Rest of the body looks clean and rust free aside from the coil buckets. I picked up an 02 overland for the woman for the same 500. I forget how much fancier the wj is over all.

Does that one have the actual ho heads? I wonder if the throttle body opens it up much.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Nice! I was wondering when you would start a build thread.

I've never seen a coil bucket rust like that. Crazy! We had a 02 Dakota Quad Cab with a 4.7. That was a good motor for that heavy truck. It was 4x4 and get 18 mpg on trips.

I'm planning something very similar for the ZJ. A little lift and the right parts in the right places. Keep up the good work.
Yeah, I'm in this weird spot on moving so haven't had the time to do a lot or the space. It spent a few years in IL but most of it's life in CO. I know they buckets are prone to issues but didn't know it was that bad until I removed the spring and the isolator took the bucket with.:doh: It should be nice when I get it all done. If I can get 18mpg I'd be happy. Luckily my new commute is less than 5 miles round trip so not too worried about MPG more SPG.


Nice! Odd the seats were swapped, I thought the Columbia seats were pretty decent. Rest of the body looks clean and rust free aside from the coil buckets. I picked up an 02 overland for the woman for the same 500. I forget how much fancier the wj is over all.

Does that one have the actual ho heads? I wonder if the throttle body opens it up much.
I was thrown off because I know the Columbia's had the special seats but someone threw on the Classic seat covers. All in all it's pretty clean. Few little rust spots here and there but not as bad as somethings I've worked on. Yep, legit HO. I can only compare it to the 4.0 WJ I've been driving and lets be honest that motor has no business in a full size suv. Thing is a turd. So far all its done is a romp up 285 and I was up past 80 in no time. Im sure once I get the exhaust and run the tune it will move. Originally I was looking for an overland but dual climate control and the wood inlays turned me off. This is a nice balance of the laredo features with Overland drivetrain. It's also got a 44hd but no varilock.
 

PacificEd

YOLO!
NAXJA Member
I see in your signature you use Kolak for some parts. I've used him before when I bought my Bilstein shocks. Is that who you used for your control arms?
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
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I see in your signature you use Kolak for some parts. I've used him before when I bought my Bilstein shocks. Is that who you used for your control arms?
Yep, cool guy, super knowledgeable and good prices. I got all Crown control arms from him. That's who he recommends. Originally I bought MOOGs but since they have changed a lot of the manufacturing process their WJ arms are junk.
 

smokeyyank

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Well got more done on the WJ this weekend. Still can't drive it because of more stupid things happening. My dad wasn't paying attention when were compressing a side to put a spring in and ruined one of the new SS brakelines. Love the man but he has been fning up more things from just not paying attention and it's driving me batshit crazy. Here it is at least sitting at ride height

 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Fixed the coil buckets. Used the IRO kit. Worked well and didn't take to long to weld it all in.

Here's cleaning up the old area. had to grind down the old bucket as much as possible


Welded the new buckets together. This is the first project I've actually welded on. I've messed a round a little in the past but not actually throwing beads down. Some beads came out really good others looked like, well.... $h!t


Still learning but I totally dig welding. Need to figure out why I got some splatter


New bucket mounted ready to burn in


new bucket with coil and isolators in.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Here's the wheels and tires I'm running. Wheels are from mammoth. Took some searching to find, but they only market them for JK's. I love them. Think they are a good looking wheels and don't have a huge offset but enough to give it a little more of an agressive stance compared to just JK takeoff's. Tires are the Falken Wildpeaks AT3's I got LT tires all around. Heavy but I like them.

 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Last thing I got done was the new exhaust. Running a Kolak 3" with a flowmaster super 50 and magnaflow resonator. I did get it finished but it was took dark for my craptastic camera to get a good pic. Sounds awesome! Along with the intake work thing just rumbles.



Burning in some more welds.


Intake is a beast
 

trippled

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
We're you welding outside? Even a gentle breeze can blow your shielding gas away and give you porosity. Others aren't too bad tho. Mig spatter is pretty normal I'd say.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
We're you welding outside? Even a gentle breeze can blow your shielding gas away and give you porosity. Others aren't too bad tho. Mig spatter is pretty normal I'd say.
Yeah I was. Guess that would explain it then. I wasn't able to get a good pic of it but when doing the exhaust that was tricky. I think a large part was from welding upside down. I just couldn't get a good bead started. We also changed the spool to a smaller gauge wire and I don't think I had the welder set up right. We turned down the purge and wire speed but when I was upside down beads just did not like to stick.
 

smokeyyank

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Replaced all the steering this past weekend. The TRE's were in worse shape than I thought. They had 0 resistance when it came to moving them around. Also found one of the control arms was a little loose so tightened that up along with the track bar. I also corrected some issue with the steering stabilizer. I went with the MOOG trail boss and it didn't have all the correct hardware when I put it in. A lot less noise on the road but still not the smoothest. I will admit some of the roads around here are really bumpy and most of the time it's not a bad ride but fn a it's loud compared to my MJ, and that's stock for the most part with stuff that hasn't been replaced in I don't even know how many years. I'm going to air down the tires a little as I think that is another thing causing some issues. I'm running load E which is overkill (I know, but wanted 10 ply tires) and I think I need a little more cushion and not as much air.

I also started to finish up some of the stereo. I bought all new speakers, nothing special just some basic Kickers. Only thin I really changed was I put 3.5" in the dash vs the stock size. Few little cuts but they fit just fine. I'm not happy with the way to deck looks though. I moved up to a double din and the fitment is garbage. I'll take a pic later but it just looks terrible.



Old vs New


My "helper" for the day
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Well it's been a while....not a whole lot to report other than I finally got a free weekend to work on somethings. One of the things I've been wanting to do was freshen up the headlights.

They've been rough and at night can't see $h*t especially in the mountains where there is already limited light.







Process was pretty easy and I like the results.





 

PacificEd

YOLO!
NAXJA Member
What did you do to freshen them up and make them clear again? I need to clean some headlights up in my stable.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
What did you do to freshen them up and make them clear again? I need to clean some headlights up in my stable.
I just used this kit.
https://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-Two-Step-Headlight-Restoration/dp/B01M75GUJB

The sylvania kit is better but I couldn't get it shipped to me.

Took about 45 minutes. Only advice is use both of the scuff pads. I only used one because there is way more cleaning and spray than needed and wanted to do my wifes car. But there is a slight difference between how "clean" the first vs second side is. So you could probably find some scotch bright pads to do more than 1 set.
 
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