Motobilt: 1 Ton LS V-8 Jeep TJ Build
- by Dan DuBose
A brand new project is in the works at Motobilt Head Quarters. An LS powered Jeep TJ on 1 ton axles and 42" tires. Our customer brought us this really clean TJ that he had already swapped in a 5.3 LS V-8. He requested the usual hard core off road gear like the 1 ton axles, coil overs, and full hydraulic steering. His stipulation though was it needed to have a low center of gravity even with the huge tires, and work flawlessly. So the build list for this low slung LS powered beast of a TJ began:Jeep Tj 4 link kit Jeep TJ back half kit GM 14 bolt axle race truss 78/79 Ford Dana 60 axle truss and full hydraulic steering ram mount 42" Pitbull Rockers Motobilt fuel cell We started by stripping the frame of the axles, spring mounts, and other non essential parts.Next we started on the Motobilt back half kit. This kit allows you to remove the rear section of the frame completely in order to make room for coil overs and to move the rear axle further back.You can clearly see how the frame has moved further up and no longer dips down in the back. This means when we move the rear axle back we will have the necessary room, while allowing us to keep the Jeeps height as low as possible.On the inside of the long straight frame rails there is body mount tab with hole. This lines up with the factory body mount in the middle of the cross member.
Once we had the body mount bolted in we squared up the frame with the bumper and made sure we were happy with the placement of the kit. At this point we tack welded all of the sections together. Once we were confident with the placement we removed the back half kit and full welded it on our table.We made sure to test fit the frame rails during the process to ensure nothing moved. Remember its better to check and be sure then to rush things. We then reinstalled the back half onto the Jeep. You can see where we welded the reinforcement end caps that connect the frame rails to the bumper.The massive 3/4" thick steel d rings will provide a great recovery point in the unlikely case this TJ every does get stuck.Next up we tackled the Motobilt Jeep TJ 4 link kit. If you are running a traditional steering box then you will run this kit with a 3 link in front but this TJ is running full hydraulic steering so we are using the full 4 link.The really awesome part of the 4 link kit is how easy it is to install and the confidence in knowing it will work flawlessly. In the case of this model TJ only one bolt is used on each side to locate the skid plate system. This hole has a "tick" mark notched into the center hole.We maintain the factory ground clearance but now have an ultra smooth skid plate and transition point between the lower links and the skid plate. i.e. We removed the grappling hooks formally known as the stock control arm mounts.The Motobilt 4 link kit gives you the room to run a factory drive train, V-8, or even in some cases a 4bt diesel. We recommend a custom cross member in all of these cases so that you can fit your ideal drive train and remove the skid plate for maintenance without having to drop the transmission/transfer case combo. We can provide you with all of the necessary parts.The Motobilt truss reinforces the axle, provides mounts for upper suspension links, and and holds a double ended hydraulic steering ram.The grill hoop front bumper provides a winch mount, 2 heavy duty d ring mounts, and plenty of protection for the front end.
We cut the frame where the upward curve begins. This will allow us to slide on the first part of the Motobilt Jeep TJ back half kit. The new frame rail sections come welded and ready to slide over the frame rails.
The next step to was to mock up the long straight frame rail sections and rear bumper.
This TJ has a 1.5" body lift so we didn't have to cut the tub much but you can see where we notched the body just below the tail gate. This kit will work with no body lift but you will need to cut more in this area.
A Motobilt Race truss reinforces the massive GM 14 bolt rear axle and includes a pinion guard.