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j20brett 06-03-2009 01:19 PM

j20 build
Edit: Since this is a build, im linking my old threads here also.


Well since i am slowly building this pig, i might as well start a thread.

From the begining when it was stock

To a new grill, front bumper, lift, tires, and wheels

Cut the fenders for the first k-rocks run, and built a skid started a chain reaction of mods

After thrashing the bed pretty good at k-rocks and Gilmer, it was time for some drastic changes. I hated how long it was and the lack of traction i was getting. So i got an aussie locker for the front and took 18" out of the frame in the rear, ditched the bed, and built a nice flatbed for it. I had to relocate the gas tank, so i made a cradle out of quarter inch plate and bolted it up to my 4x4x.25 rear crossmember. I also built some have doors for better visibility. The bench seat was pretty crappy also, so i picked up some suspension seats also.

This is what i am thinking of. So pick the top or bottom left design. the other 2 are the bracing designs. Feel free to add pointers as this is my first cage

TexTJ209 06-03-2009 01:21 PM

Bottom one.

Gonna run it into the cab?

j20brett 06-03-2009 01:36 PM

I havent decided yet. I would like to make a decent looking exo for it eventually, but i dont have enough tube right now. This should keep me from completely crushing the cab and killing me if/when i roll it...i hope :)

DevEmp 06-03-2009 04:32 PM

You're making this out of DOM and not HREW, right? What size, what thickness? Do you have the chop saw/bender/welder/notcher or are you paying for stuff to fab'd?Triangles are your friend, and keeping it simple helps while actually trying to bend and notch and weld it all together....

I'd pick neither. If you're making it as an actual cage to save your life, put it inside the cab and not behind it, especially if you're limited on tube. The top of cage to somewhere between the top of the engine block and top of the radiator is all likelyhood the angle you upside down rig could be sitting at. If your (or your passenger's) head has any chance of moving into that zone, it probably will if you're rolling the rig over and trying to fight gravity. If it's just for show, a simple hoop behind the cab and some stiff legs down to the back of the bed and tie it in to the frame.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no master cage builder, engineer, or journeyman welder. I just see it as putting the cart before the horse if you're building it as a safety device and not something to look pretty while it takes up cargo space in the bed. You've got a hard top on the rig, and that should help somewhat if you roll it, but if you're wheeling it and you feel like you might need some protection, why not start out right and put it where it'll do the most to benefit you?

My vote goes for in the cab.

jeeping1974 06-03-2009 06:17 PM

If your not going to build a whole in cab cage, at least put the hoop inside the cab and have the bars go out back to frame under the bed.

X2 on triangles.

misfittom138 06-03-2009 07:31 PM

Bottom design. And I agree with something internal. I'm not a fan of external cages. I mean you can bulid an exo around a soda can, but you can still twist and mangle it up under the tube. At least with internal, the sheet metal will only come in as far as the tube allows. Just my .02.

j20brett 06-03-2009 11:28 PM

Thanks for the advice. No, the cage would not be for show. I have seen too many crushed hard tops to go without some type of cage. For me, its all about the ease of fabrication, without sacrificing strength and reliability. It also needs to protect teh sheet metal. This is only the beginning point for my full exo cage. More will be added to it next year to finish it out when money becomes available. I am confident that the cage itself will protet me more than the hardtop alone ever could, even without the rest of the exo done. And as far as outside versus inside goes, it is really personal preference. DEsigned and built correctly, they perform the same.

And yes, i do have access to all necessary exquipment and tools to safely build this cage. It will be 1.75x.120 DOM

And it will tie into the flatbed, which will be further tied into the frame to prevent any failures. I just didnt have time to put all the extra detail into my drawing.

j10jim 06-04-2009 05:42 PM

I have a in cab cage that goes thru the dash. Also the front part of the halo bar actually goes into the brow on my truck

j20brett 06-07-2009 10:08 PM

Well here is how she turned out.

DevEmp 06-08-2009 07:44 AM

Did you end up using HREW? What's the wall thickness? Did you reinforce the frame where the hoop ties in? Tad sells some pre-cut plates that fit nicely if you didn't.

j20brett 06-08-2009 08:06 AM

Havent finished it yet. Still need to box the frame ties and it is all 1.75x.120 DOM. I stiil need to add bracing underneath and in the back.

j20brett 06-15-2009 09:41 PM

And the rest of the build pics that i finally got around to taking. She wheels!!

jeepjerry 06-15-2009 09:48 PM

Nice shiny tires....:thumbsup:

j20brett 06-15-2009 09:54 PM

haha! just washed them off in the stream lol

AlsChopShop 06-16-2009 12:43 AM

nice work brett! did i miss the post on your square drive shafts?


jeeping1974 06-16-2009 02:57 AM


j20brett 06-16-2009 07:43 AM


Originally Posted by AlsChopShop
nice work brett! did i miss the post on your square drive shafts?


Yeah i made it when i built the flatbed back in march. Thanks!

jepj2000 06-16-2009 07:50 AM

The J20 is really coming along, lookin good!:thumbsup:

Looks like yall had a good time, wish I would have gone.:banghead:


janie 06-16-2009 07:51 AM

That's nice work Brett.:thumbsup:

Ristow 06-16-2009 07:51 AM

very cool. one of my top favorite trucks on the site.

j20brett 06-16-2009 08:45 AM

Thanks yall! And without Ristow, it wouldnt be moving! Thanks to Janie for the donor doors!

j20brett 08-27-2009 02:40 PM on to the winch mounting.
Had to rebuild the frame horns in the front, but it turned out well i think.

The final product

O and this happened at about 12:30 monday mornin on the way home from the shop.

So i unloaded the jeep, called my cousin to come drive he jeep, strapped the axle up as best as possible, and 3 wheeled the mile back to my house. Got home around 1:30am

Slick Willie 08-27-2009 03:10 PM


Well that's one way to do it! Bumper looks good. :thumbsup:

AlsChopShop 08-28-2009 03:44 PM

nice work, i gotta get my winch on my XJ installed this weekend.

how come the fairlead is off to one side?


j20brett 08-31-2009 09:55 AM

Fairlead is offcenter since the winch line opening is not center on the winch. The Winch body itself is centered in the bumper, but the drum is offcenter on the winch, if that makes sense.

And i put it all to the test this weekend pulling a 8x12 storage shed through some loose sand. Started pulling the jeep at one point lol.

j20brett 10-05-2009 10:22 PM some stuff done for a change. Gotta keep up with the jones's :D
Front stripped down waiting to be cleaned.

And cleaned up nice and pretty.

Yes, i went there. :shock:

In with the new

All buttoned up

Ordered one more heim joint and tube adapter from ballistic today, so i should have steering in a few weeks.

Michael 10-05-2009 10:39 PM

Looking good.:)

j20brett 10-11-2009 03:21 PM

Seems like the popular thing to do these i guess ill play too. 79 ford hp dana 60 :twisted:
My box-o-parts

A trail fix from who knows how long ago :shock:

Already torn down from PO

Its gonna be a slow build on this since i am out of funds at the moment. But at least i can start the cleaning process.

Slick Willie 10-12-2009 01:14 PM

Heck Yeah! Welcome to the club. :thumbsup:

j20brett 10-12-2009 02:42 PM

Thanks! Looking forward to digging in and spending some change lol :D

AlsChopShop 10-13-2009 04:29 PM

looks good. going to run it spring over i would assume?


Murphy 10-13-2009 05:44 PM


Originally Posted by j20brett

All buttoned up

It's looking good Brett. :thumbsup:

How did you clean up the axle and what did you paint it with? I need to do the same to mine.

j20brett 10-13-2009 08:43 PM

An hour with a wire wheel and some rustoleum semi gloss black industrial spray paint. Wasnt bad at all. Make sure yo wear glasses, i had wires sticking out all over my clothes and had numerous pieces hit my face.

j20brett 12-07-2009 11:52 AM

Well after 2 months of being on jackstands and put off to do homework, i finally caught a break. Got the steering all buttoned up. tube is 1.25" x.120" chromoly. 3/4" heims to finish it out. Also redid the trans pan gasket and thought all was well. Came outside this morning and 4 quarts of atf was running across the driveway :banghead: so i ordered a new pan this morning and will hopefully have it all done next weekend. Here are a few pics to tide ya over with.

Elliott 12-07-2009 10:50 PM

I like the high Y setup, your's looks great!

j20brett 12-07-2009 11:04 PM

Thanks! I tried to set it up how hi steer normally goes, but ran into issues with uptravel and frame clearance, then differential clearnce by keeping the tie rod under the arm. So the y-setup fits and fits well :)

Elliott 12-08-2009 07:29 AM

It all works right like that it looks like. When you go SOA on that Ford D60 I don't think you will have those issues running it on top, mine has plenty of clearance and then I added 3" springs on top of that so tons of room up there but now I need to stick a DPA on there.

jaber 12-08-2009 08:04 AM

Looking great Brett.:thumbsup:

Thanks for sharin'.....

j20brett 12-08-2009 08:09 AM


Originally Posted by Elliott
It all works right like that it looks like. When you go SOA on that Ford D60 I don't think you will have those issues running it on top, mine has plenty of clearance and then I added 3" springs on top of that so tons of room up there but now I need to stick a DPA on there.

Yeah when the 60 goes in it'll all be on top and with hydro assist.

Blair 12-08-2009 08:49 AM

In your 4th pic that shows the steering close up I noticed something that makes me think you are going to have loose feeling steering. Since all of the joints are heims and the draglink is connected to the tierod instead of the knuckle the tie rod is going to roll down when you turn right and up when you turn left. THis gives you a little looseness in the steering even though all the parts are new. Hope this helps, Blair


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