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The Nail Salon

So atlas I see?

What's the scoop lol
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Gonna have it installed before nwfest?
Doubtful. I could probably slam it in next weekend, but I'll likely be needing driveline mods, which doesn't leave much time (three days). Thinking it'll be a July project with some other stuff.

I'd like to run Quack Attack again this summer, so maybe that'll be a good proving ground for it.
Finally had a chance to wash and do a post OTC inspection on the Nail Salon. She really takes poundings like a champ, and cleans up well after. What more can you ask for. :dunno:

Had a pretty decent vibe from the front end on the drive home from OTC. Found both of my lowers had loose jam nuts on the axle side, and my driver side TRE had a good amount of play to the point where it was starting to pop. Tightened up the jam nuts, and after four hours and multiple parts store visits I finally had a replacement TRE sourced (ES2010L). Took it for a drive after I re-did the front end alignment, and it feels great again!

The next project was looking into my winch. At OTC it just wasn't pulling like it used to. It seemed to be drawing crazy high amps, but not pulling. Yarded the ole girl out, out living an inch away from my motor for the past couple years.

Few minutes later...

The planetary assembly was water free, but the grease was pretty thick and dirty. I cleaned up all the planetaries in some solvent to get out all the old grease. I picked up some new high pressure moly to repack them in. From what I've read the heavy duty wheel bearing grease will actually make it harder to free spool, which was an issue for me. Warn specs out a low viscosity, high pressure grease to use that's aircraft grade (Areoshell 33).

After repacking the planetaries, I looked the motor over, and didn't find any signs it was bad (didn't smell like a burnout, or show signs of water infiltration). While removing the winch, I did notice the ground wire was loose at my battery, which I suspect was the cause of the loss of performance all along. Loose ground connection, causing high resistance, and high current.

Back together.

Got the winch mounted, terminals cleaned up, and re-spooled my rope under tension. She's pulling strong again, and free-spool's like new. :cool:

Hoping to finish packing this week, and then hit the road for NWF, Thursday late morning. Looking forward to getting back to Naches for some laid back rec wheeling!
After NWF the Naches mud was hosed off, and the Jeep got parked in preparation for a little upgrade I've had on the books for awhile.

Out with the old trusty 231 (AA SYE, 2LOW), and in with the new Atlas 4-Speed 1.1, 2.7, 3.8, 10.3.

I like data, so here's some comparisons. 231 weighed in at 65lbs, the Atlas came in at 125lbs out of the box. The rear yoke on the Atlas is ~2-3/8" further back than the 231 (shorter rear drive line). The front yoke is ~1-5/8" further back from the mounting surface than the 231 (long front drive line).

The Atlas comes with a clocking ring that allows for a lot of different mounting variations. A little FYI, the shaded portion has a different spacing than the rest of the mounting holes. The sooner you wrap your head around this, the easier figuring out your clocking will be. ;)

I wasn't willing to give up ground clearance, so into the cab it went. :eek:

After seven times in-an-out test fitting, I finally had this fat pig in place for the final time. It sits a tad bit higher than my 231, so I was able to re-use my existing cross-member and skid. Full belly pan will come eventually.

Improved my cabin ventilation.

Worked on shifters. I have no idea AA's reasoning for these goofy "XJ" shifters, but they weren't going in my Jeep.

I had some 1/2" ID tubing, and some 1/2" all thread laying around so I made some simple straight shifters to use instead.

Mocked up.

Shifter linkage assembled. I used ample thread locker, and the supplied heat shrink to prevent them from coming apart. Time will tell.

The planetary shifter got re-worked too. I chose to mount it where the stock emergency brake handle sits, so the orientation had to be changed.

Working on mounting the cable shifter bracket.

Cable shifter mounted. I made a simple bracket to bolt to the trans tunnel, that the cable shifter bracket then bolts to.

Getting busy inside the console.

Tried to put my seat back in, and discovered that wasn't going to happen. Out came the sparkler wrench, and the seat bracket gave up a few pounds. It clears.

Interior is back together, but there's still a few little things to button up.

I was able to use my existing rear drive line in the front to get the Jeep mobile for the time being. Still need to figure out what to do for drive lines. At first I thought my Atlas was a dud, but then I remembered to lock in the hubs, duh. Then I had to figure out what all the shifters did. I will say 10.3:1 is stupid slow, but so awesome! I can't wait to take advantage of all the gearing options on the trail.

Thinking Hoodoo in a couple weeks!
Dustin, your rig is definitely one that has given me so many ideas for my new one! great looking ride brotha
Nice Work!

How do you plan to seal off the shifters?
Sealing up the big ass hole, and around the shifters will happen in time (kinda like the UCA hole). AA does supply a shift boot for the twin sticks, so in time I'll likely bend up a piece of sheet metal to box in around the shifter hole, and then mount the shift boot to that.

I did get an actual test drive in today, only a few miles, but I will say the big ass hole under the seat puts out some heat. Wasn't expecting it to be so intense. I'll likely skin over it in some thin aluminum. It won't be structural, but it'll at least block out the furnace. It could have also been from having the windows down, creating an air stream. :dunno:
Dustin, your rig is definitely one that has given me so many ideas for my new one! great looking ride brotha
Thanks, dude.

My existing drivelines weren't going to work with the four speed. They were close, but needed some modifying. I dropped them off at Six States, and had the rear shortened to 30", and the front lengthened to 34". Got the call they were done yesterday. Little bit of a wait for them, but fair pricing, and good work. Not sure what my plan will be for a spare.

With drivelines finalized, it was time to hit the road, and start grabbing gears. A quick speed test up to 55mph showed no wierd vibes, it was actually quite smooth. Ran through the t-case gears, and got a bit more use to the pattern. No odd issues came up, so I think it's ready for some trail time!

Also got a 60W VHF radio installed. Ditched the factory "roof rack", and mounted the antenna centered on the roof.

So... anyone wheeling labor day weekend? (assuming trails are open)
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Finally got a chance to test out the Atlas. Headed to TSF for a quick day trip.





The Jeep exceeded my expectations. I cruised around most of the day in 3.8:1, and really liked the extra gearing. With the Rail shifter I was in second and third mostly, and then could grab first in the technical stuff.

In the deep rocks, it was 10.3:1 stupid low, and the control the extra gearing gives was amazing. No pedal dancing, it was literally point and shoot with no tire slip. The Falcon's seemed to hook up all day at 12psi.

I managed to snag a rear brake line in the deep rocks, which loosened the banjo fitting. Other than that, no issues all day.

I got the Jeep cleaned up this weekend.

To fully utilize the front dig capability, I picked up some CNC cutting brakes awhile ago, and worked on getting them installed. I managed to find space in the already crowded center console for them.

The lines are still roughed in, and need to be finalized.

Out back I punched two holes through the floor for the lines. The single lower is the inlet supply, which will connect to the existing rear line off the frame rail. The double line is the outlet to the rear brakes. The hard line will terminate just outside the hole, and transition to soft line to connect to each wheel brake. Again, just roughed in, and still need finalized.

I sat in the drivers seat and contemplated on where to put the levers. In the end the most natural place I found was to bring them through the first cup holder. I chucked up a 3" hole saw, and punch out the bottom. With my arm on the arm rest I can easily grab the rail shifter, cutting brakes, and Atlas shifters. Plus, the second cup holder is still usable!

Just need to track down some soft lines for the rear brakes, and I'll be able to put these to the test.
Got the cutting brakes buttoned up before Thanksgiving weekend. I ended up adding a 2lb residual valve for the rear brakes up stream of the cutting brake. The thought was to try and hold residual pressure on the cutting brakes to take out any play in the levers. Well, after a gallon of fluid through them during bleeding, the brakes still suck.

Holding the pedal in, I can lock a rear tire, but they don't build pressure by themselves. Haven't had the chance to dig into them, but I'm thinking I definitely need to upsize my master size, probably to 1-1/16. However, when they do work, front dig is awesome. Need more practice with the all the levers though. I'm starting to feel like a heavy equipment operator on the trail now.

TSF was a lot of fun Thanksgiving weekend. Only four of us made it out, but with two Jeeps, we covered a lot of ground without any issues. Played around a bit in Lower Crushers on Saturday. 10.3:1 makes the deep rocks so much more enjoyable. All in all, it was a good trip.

Turtled it once, but the yarn pulled me out.

In the meantime, I've had cage ideas floating around in my head. I'm well over due for one, and have been pushing my luck for years. It was time to pull the trigger.

My free time these days is very limited, and the majority of it is going into working on the 4506 MJ getting it prepped for KOH. Not wanting to half ass a cage build, I contacted Dan my co-dawg from OTC Team6. Dan has amazing fab skills, and an awesome attention to detail. We've brain stormed some ideas, and I'm excited to see what he comes up with.

Dropped the Nail Salon off today at Unobtanium Ironworks for Dan to work his magic.


I will not be doing the traditional "hybrid" cage. While that design is tried and proven, and makes a lot of sense. I really wanted something different, and no tube work on the outside. I like the XJ lines, and simplicity. My cage will be all internal, 1.5x.120 DOM with some plates and dimple dies thrown into the mix. :cool:
Just finished reading through this thread from the beginning.

Amazing fab skills and an awesome communicator Torx.

Enjoyed all the tech. It was truly inspiring. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Torx. Jeep looks good.
I just wanted to make comment #1000 on this thread.

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