By: Bonnie Brock
After standing the Jeep on its rear wheels at Choccolooco Mountain in Alabama and then again at the 2014 Crawl 4 Christ in Disney Oklahoma, we decided it was time to stretch the wheel base of our 99 TJ. Stock wheel base for a TJ is 93", but with the long arm kit that was currently on it, she was sitting at a 92" wheelbase. Way too short for what we do with our Jeep. My husband and I agreed upon the fact that a stretch was a big deal, and would take quite a while to do it right, so we might as well do all the things we ever wanted to do while it was pulled apart. And so it began.

I still wanted to be able to drive my Jeep until we absolutely had to put her on jack stands, so we bought another frame, and a "dummy" tub that we could use to take all our measurements and do all our test fits with.

We got the frame and tub settled on jack stands and began to plan out our next move. We separated the tub from the frame and started removing the old body mount brackets. They would be replaced with the heavy duty ones that Undercover Fabworks offers. They are much better than the OEM ones as you can see from the comparison picture.

Next up were the brackets from Novak Conversions for the TPI Small Block Chevy that was going to power it. Once the brackets were in place, we bolted a "dummy" block in and put the tub back on the frame for more measurements.

Bolted the heads and valve covers on to make sure they cleared the tub, and put grille in place to check clearances.

Once we were satisfied with the placement of the engine, we moved onto the hoops for the ORI struts that would be supporting it.

We were ready to move the Solid Industries HP44 that was currently under my Jeep to the new build. So my Jeep went on blocks and we removed the axle and began to cut the existing brackets off. It was a sad and exciting day all wrapped up into one. Yes I was sad that I wouldn't be able to drive her for a while, but excited that the next time I did drive it, it would be sitting on ORI's and powered by a lot more horses.

Once we got the brackets and gussets welded in place, it was time to see how the ORI's would look. I must admit, I was pretty excited at this point. It was starting to come together nicely.

Took the tub back off (that Harbor Freight Gantry Crane definitely earned its keep) and bolted up the Atlas Transfer case to the "dummy" trans case. We went with 4.3.1 ratio.

Next, we put the Solid Industries HP60 housing in place and welded the control arm brackets and made the control arms.

We went with the Genright Comp Gas Tank which holds 15 gallons. .

Since this was just a "dummy" tub, we cut the rear of it out with a torch and started on the buckets for the rear struts.

Once we had the buckets and ORI's in place, it was time to test clearances and see how it flexed. ORI's rubbed, so we had to tweak the mounts and flex it again. Once we knew everything was where it was going to be, we could permanently weld everything up and get it all ready for powder coat.

Axle housings were done in Argento and control arms in Stone White to match the body color of the tub, and frame was done in Jollipop Blue. Now the fun part, putting it all back together for the last time.

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