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Old 09-18-2012, 08:08 AM   #1
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Default Tommy's Class 1 Jeep

Hey y'all,

After about a year and a half I got a little bored with my "Boring Toyota". I like it a lot, but Toyotas were already so common and then when RC4WD released the TF2 with an even more detailed Yota body.....well, it really let the wind out of my sails and I lost enthusiasm for that body. Time for something to change... so I decided to retire the body for now. Too much money/labor in it to sell it, really.

I'm a bit of a Jeep guy and thought it'd be great to make one for Class 1. But the Jeep JK is too big for the small C1 tires so it's out. The New Bright TJ is great, but has too short of a wheelbase. I could make another YJ, but prefer the open top of the New Bright Jeeps. Eventually, I decided to bite the bullet and build a custom Jeep LJ.

For those unfamiliar, the LJ is a longer wheelbase version of the Jeep TJ. It was only made from '04-'06. And it's just what I'm looking for to replace the Toyota! It would require a lot of custom body work with ABS, which will be a new challenge for me. But you only live once, right?

I decided to re-use the chassis from the Toyota since it's well built and a proven performer. Not to mention the rear suspension setup should work well for the dropped bed/interior of the Jeep. The wheelbase should work well for the stretched Jeep, as well. The current transmission location will not work, though. I refuse to cut up the interior and let that spur gear show through. So it'll get a front mounted motor/transmission and a transfer case will go on the skidplate. I have a Felsenfest unit that I'll be using. Eventually, it may all get replaced with a Dinky R/C setup. Here's the chassis as it sits now...


But how to convert a TJ into an LJ? I've heard horror stories about the material that New Bright uses and how the typical styrene bonding agents are ineffective with it. Well, I did some research and picked up some chemicals that were recommended to me. Figured I'd give them all a try. But first I would need to do some cutting. I mulled this one over for weeks before I made the first cut. But here it is hacked in half and very roughly mocked up on the chassis....in "monster truck" mode.


You'll notice I didn't cut straight across the body. I did this so that when the body is put back together it will not have an easy bending point for the body to flex. With a stepped cut, it should ultimately end up stronger. I'd picked up some styrene and began the task of rejoining the body parts. Once again, I spent a lot of time trying to decide the best method to do this. I wanted it strong and I wanted the body panels to line up properly. Ultimately, I think I settled on an effective plan. But what chemical to use to attach the styrene to the ABS?? I have Bondene, Pro-Weld, Tenax, and even picked up some MEK. I tried them all on some sample parts and the results were mediocre at best. Then last week I was at the hobby store and they had some orange labeled Pastruct Plastic Weld. What the heck, I'll get some. Turns out it's the stuff! It bonded the styrene to the ABS quite well!

Now that the bonding agent has been determined, it was time to put things back together last night. Here it is with the new side panels and showing off it's new, longer wheelbase.


Obviously, it has a long way to go. The interior needs to be sealed off and I'll add some metal for support so the new plastic weld isn't the only thing holding it together. But so far, I'm digging it! Here it is again mocked up on the chassis. It'll sit a bit higher than this, of course.


The body's wheelbase came out to ~11.25". It stretched about 1.5" from stock, if I recall. With the 1/4" stretch that's allowed in Class 1, it'll put me at 11.5" and it should mate up perfectly with the chassis. Since my Class 2 build is on hold for the time being, I hope to pass the time working on this thing.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tommy's Class 1 Jeep

Looking sweet, I like the LJ's. Well, really I love all Jeep's!
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:01 AM   #3
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ive been waiting for this to be posted! i cant wait for this Tommy. i bought a NB TJ to do the very same thing. definatly gonna be watching you work your magic on this.

that 11.5" will be nice! definatly has my clod beat.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:15 AM   #4
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Thanks, y'all!

Yeah, Cory, I think the wheelbase will work well.....not too long, not too short. And the minimal overhangs inherent in the Jeep bodies will certainly be a welcomed change compared to the Toyota! However, the cg is likely to be quite a bit higher due to the full roll cage it'll be getting... Nonetheless, I hope it performs better than the Yota. Time will tell!

I've still got a LOT to figure out on this rig, though. Not sure yet how I want to mount the body. Not sure what winch(es) I'm going to use. Will the sliders be body or chassis mounted? How do I want to attach the cage and will it integrate into the chassis? My head hurts just thinking about it!!
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:31 AM   #5
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Oh snap! Ah boot time you did a jeep, shall we see yellow?
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:41 AM   #6
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Oh snap! Ah boot time you did a jeep, shall we see yellow?
LOL! That's awesome!

No yellow, though. I'm going to stick with black so it won't look so crappy after it gets scratched up.
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Old 09-18-2012, 09:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tommy's Class 1 Jeep

Looking good so far, have you checked out my build? Might help or give you some visuals anyways.

stretched 1ton Jeep LJ
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:28 AM   #8
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yeah the WB, narrower body and lack of overhangs will be tough to beat!
updates?
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:49 AM   #9
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just zach stretched an LJ but I'm not sure what he bonded the body back together with...unless he just used aluminum or steel panels. hmm...I have 2 TJ bodies sitting here.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:18 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by klabeaume View Post
Looking good so far, have you checked out my build? Might help or give you some visuals anyways.

stretched 1ton Jeep LJ
Hmm....actually, I hadn't seen that one. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out!

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Originally Posted by STANG KILLA SS View Post
yeah the WB, narrower body and lack of overhangs will be tough to beat!
updates?
Yeah, it's pretty narrow... Fortunately, the Bushwhacker flares are so wide they just barely provide half tire coverage. I may eventually go to narrower axles one day, though. I'd like to tuck the tires in more if I can.

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just zach stretched an LJ but I'm not sure what he bonded the body back together with...unless he just used aluminum or steel panels. hmm...I have 2 TJ bodies sitting here.
Yep! He just bolted his together with no glue. I'm hoping to bolt mine together, too, but also bond it. Hoping to have the body done in a couple days.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:28 AM   #11
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I love LJ's!!!!
This build will not be boring.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:33 AM   #12
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Yeah, it's pretty narrow... Fortunately, the Bushwhacker flares are so wide they just barely provide half tire coverage. I may eventually go to narrower axles one day, though. I'd like to tuck the tires in more if I can.
I found the CAC soft8 wheels help pull things in a tad.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Grizzly4x4 View Post
I love LJ's!!!!
This build will not be boring.
Ditto! I wish my 1:1 TJ were an LJ, but alas, money doesn't grow on trees so I think I'll be sticking with the short bus for a while longer. But no, hopefully this one won't be boring!

Quote:
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I found the CAC soft8 wheels help pull things in a tad.
I like those wheels quite a bit, but I'm really fond of my Locked Up RC wheels and really want them for this build.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:54 PM   #14
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I like those wheels quite a bit, but I'm really fond of my Welcome to Locked Up RC - Scale Performance Parts wheels and really want them for this build.
fixed!
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:57 PM   #15
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Don't hate!!
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Old 09-18-2012, 03:13 PM   #16
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nothin but love brother!
cant wait to see more!!!!
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Old 09-23-2012, 10:06 PM   #17
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Slow progress is still progress, right? Rather than just relying on some steel or aluminum to secure the body, I'm trying to reconstruct it with styrene. The angle aluminum that is shown will remain (with different hardware) and I may add some steel above the fenderwells. But it's amazingly stout and rigid right now as it sits. BTW, all metal will be painted black to match the rest of the body.

The conversion isn't yet complete. I'm really hoping to finish it off cleanly before I call it done so I've still got quite a ways to go. But it's getting close...





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Old 09-24-2012, 09:29 AM   #18
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Very nice. What length did you cut that angled aluminum?
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:42 AM   #19
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Very nice. What length did you cut that angled aluminum?
It's 4.75" long and the sides are ~1/2" each. And I should also point out that the entire interior (or at least the bed area) will use bedliner material, including the aluminum brackets. Once I use some smaller hardware and the back seat is installed, the brackets should barely be noticeable.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:09 AM   #20
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Tommy look up my Phoenix build for some motor tranny ideas. I used a GCM tcase and was able to drop the floor! It located the spur right behind the dash bulkhead when I was done. The servo winch was down on the sliders with a feed tube to help keep the CG low. The battery was the only part of that build I was not happy with and I never fixed before I sold it.

Great start can't wait to see this progress.
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