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Thread: RADO's Off Road Rig- Build Thread

  1. #1
    Member Since
    Jun 2009
    99 Matte Midnight Sand Met... oh nevermind. VX #0377...Project ZU
    Thanked: 4

    RADO's Off Road Rig- Build Thread

    RADO's Rig
    1999 Vehicross

    Most Recent Pic: April 2016

    Project REBUILD 2014

    Why? ...well why not?

    Phase 1: Purchase daily driver to take place of VX. Completed August 22nd- RS licensed

    Phase 2: Remove 3" bodylift: this includes cutting off rock sliders, pulling air compressor & removing winch plate. Completed August 24th

    Phase 3: Install front rock bumper (acquired from Jo). Completed August 26th

    Phase 4: Remove IFS and all front drive-train components from VX. Completed September 4th

    Phase 5: Install Dana 44 solid axle under VX under the following configuration Completed December 12th

    • Jeep Wagoneer Dana 44
    • 12" ORI suspension
    • TnT Y-link control arms

    Phase 6: Increase rear axle spring height to match front, build adjustable rear control arms Completed January 15th

    Phase 7: Install 5.38 axle gearing Completed November 1st

    Phase 8: Purchase custom front drive shaft, finish front bumper, install rock sliders & air compressor. Completed April 2015 except sliders still need to be installed

    Future phase: Enlarge wheel wells, increase tire size to 37" Completed May 2015

    There it is. Project completed Summer May 2015, major work finished with small improvements on-going

    *This thread will be updated with on going projects.

    Rusty WJ 4.5 lift coils with 2" spacer
    ORI STRUTS 14" travel
    Rancho RS9000 Rear Shocks
    Currie anti-rock sway bar
    HD adjustable rear control arms
    Ranch RS5000 Steering Stabilizer
    High angle front & rear driveshafts
    Triangulated 3-link on rear axle
    Swapped direction of rear axle track bar

    KMC Enduro 18x9 0 MM offset replaced Cragar Black "D" Slot Steelies 15x8 +6mm offset
    37x12.50R18 NITTO Trail Grappler replaced 35x12.50R15 Goodyear Wrangler MT/R

    Off Road Upgrades
    Dana 44 Front Axle
    OX locker
    12 Bolt ARB Air Locker
    5.38 Axle Gearing
    Chromoly axle shafts
    Warn XD9000
    Warn Rock Bumper
    Kilby Full Skid Plates
    Warn Manual Hubs
    Indy4x Coil Spring Retainers
    Jeep Wrangler TJ Rock Sliders Custom Welded
    Project ZU Rear Tire Carrier
    Airflow Snorkel Custom Fitted with K&N Apollo Air Intake
    TOD off switch
    30" LED Light Bar
    Cobra 75WXST CB Radio
    Cobra 38WXST handheld CB Radio
    2 FT firestick & 102" whip antenna

    OTRATTW Contura V switches - LED bar/offroad lights/fog lights/zombie lights/air compressor/rear locker/front locker
    Black Door Inserts
    JDM VX Steering Wheel
    Vent Mounted Cup Holders (x2)
    Fire Extinguisher
    Alpine IPOD deck, Alpine Speakers, JBL Amplifier, Sony 10" Sub
    Rear Dome Light
    Gry/Blk seat swap

    Vinyl Wrapped Paint in Avery Midnight Matte Send Metallic
    Smoked Front Marker Lights
    Smoked Front Blinker Lights
    Showroom New Treatment Applied to Cladding (black)
    Project ZU Hood Insert Heat Extractor
    Debadged and Rebadged
    CREE LED Reverse Lights
    Yakima Rail Grabber Roof Rack
    Rola Cargo Basket

    Rear Bumper/Receiver/Skid Plate to Protect Rear Tire
    5-Speed Swap

    The First Picture July 2009

    November 2012

    My Links:
    Body Lift Install How-to
    Last edited by VXorado : 05/05/2016 at 07:05 AM

  2. #2
    Member Since
    Jun 2009
    99 Matte Midnight Sand Met... oh nevermind. VX #0377...Project ZU
    Thanked: 4

    Cool RADO's Off Road Rig- Build Thread

    Project ZU Modifications
    *Project ZU is just my fun way of saying, designed and built by me. Most of the projects take forever to finish because I'm usually figuring them as I go along.

    Rear Tire Carrier
    Description: Tailgate flattened and built to carry a 35" tire.
    Working time: 6 months (on & off)
    Link: Project ZU: Rear Tire Carrier

    Headlights --- Now Owned by ND92
    Description: LED Daytime Running Lights built into headlight bezel. Additionally, I installed Morimoto D2S projectors, 3five 35w ballasts, 5000k bulbs and blacked out reflector. Gun Smoked Lamin-x applied to lens.
    Working time: 5 months- mostly design
    Link: Early design thread


    Headlights On


    Hella 500 Driving Lights
    Description: I wanted Hella Driving Lights embedded in the bumper for a clean look. I used a 4 foot piece of fiberglass unistrut as an internal light bracket because the unistrut fits perfectly between cladding turn signal & OEM round light. Next, I carefully cut out a shape for the driving lights and used a mounting bolt to secure the lights to the unistrut.
    Working time: 4 hours

    Hood Insert
    Description: I wanted to add a functional heat extractor to the hood insert. I used a reverse hood scoop sold aftermarket for the Subaru WRX/STi. I fiberglassed the reverse hood scoop into the insert and had the insert professionally sprayed with Line-x
    Working time: 8 Months (on & off) - first fiberglassing experience and I kept improving the quality over time.

    Air Compressor
    Description: My goal was to install a belt driven York air compressor to make an on-board air system capable of 10 CFM. I used a York A/C compressor from a 70s Ford that I picked up for $20. I wanted to mount the compressor on the engine but couldn't find the room. Instead, I moved the battery and made a mount for the compressor to attach to the alternator with a V-belt pulley. I ran the air hose back to a tank behind the rear seat. The tank has a pressure switch that will automatically cycle the compressor when necessary. Unfortunately, I can't run the system full time because the compressor causes vibration through the VX. I leave the belt off unless I'm using the compressor for filling tires or impact tools. I can fill one 35x12.50x15 tire 15 psi in 1:20 sec. Overall, a successful failure.
    Working time: 2 months

    Compressor & Relocated Battery

    Air Tank with Hose
    Last edited by VXorado : 02/09/2013 at 09:46 PM

  3. #3
    Member Since
    Jun 2009
    99 Matte Midnight Sand Met... oh nevermind. VX #0377...Project ZU
    Thanked: 4

    Cool RADO's Rig- Mods & Pics

    Vinyl Wrap
    Description: Wrapped the VX body in 3M Brush Blue Steel Vinyl.
    -You need at least one helper
    -30 ft of material minimum.
    -Remove everything touching metal including roof rack, mirrors, door handle, tail lights, weather stripping, snorkels (), etc.
    -The cladding can be pealed back instead of fully removed although removing it completely will make the wrap easier.
    -Buy a decent head gun, you'll use it
    -Plastic dip works well for the door jams and won't permanently cover the paint
    -I choose a brushed texture because it doesn't show scratches easily. Based on my own testing, matte finishes will show the most scratches
    -The window edges are extremely difficult to wrap, so don't plan on them being perfect
    -Any noticable imperfections on the paint surface will show through the vinyl

    Working Time: 20 hrs including prep and reassembly

    Anyone remember Blue Steel?

    Magnets help

    Plasti dip can be used on the door hinges to cover up a different color

    The initial lay down is difficult

    Work from the inside out

    Put your helper to work

    Plastidipped door jams

    A good install will look close to perfect but requires some extra time for touch ups
    Last edited by VXorado : 11/12/2012 at 02:45 PM

  4. #4
    Member Since
    Dec 2008
    01, LineX tan/black, 1055
    Thanked: 0
    I would like some more info/pics of the tailgate flattening. That steel is pretty thick back there, as I have had my tire mounted on the rear door for a few years. Would love to bring it in closer so I don't have to remove it when I wheel.

    I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
    Thomas Jefferson

  5. #5
    Member Since
    Jun 2009
    99 Matte Midnight Sand Met... oh nevermind. VX #0377...Project ZU
    Thanked: 4
    The tire carrier is still my favorite mod on the VX. I didn't post more about it because there's already an extensive thread about it. You might of been out of the country when I posted it.

    There's a link above in the tire carrier section.

  6. #6
    Member Since
    Apr 2008
    2000 Foxfire Red Mica, 0555 (RIP) & 0717
    Thanked: 3
    So is the tennis ball there to guide you into the garage or was it part of the vinyl install process? Or maybe you were modeling the solar system?

    Looks great Jon, nice work!

  7. #7
    Member Since
    Jun 2002
    1999, Ebony, VX, #1679
    Thanked: 3
    New vanity plates? ZU LNDR
    Billy Oliver
    My Sponsors:
    Accelerate3Coaching (PM me for 1 time use 20% off code)

  8. #8
    Member Since
    Nov 2009
    2001Proton 1432, ex 2001 Dragon Green Mica 0168 (RIP May 2017)
    Thanked: 30
    Amazing....nice job Jon!
    Live, Love, Forgive and Never Give Up

  9. #9
    Member Since
    Jul 2005
    Former 00' Kaiser #0804, 98 White 4Runner SR5
    Thanked: 0
    Top quality design and work as usual Jon.

    The VX looks great!
    "Do Not Seek Praise. Seek Criticism."

    "If You Can't Solve A Problem, It's Because You're Playing By The Rules."

    "The Perosn Who Doesn't Make Mistakes Is Unlikely To Make Anything."

    -Paul Arden

  10. #10
    Member Since
    Mar 2012
    Thanked: 0
    i could look at pictures like this all day - very nice work

  11. #11
    Member Since
    Jul 2009
    '01, Proton Yellow, 1028. '01, Gunmetal Metallic, 1033.
    Thanked: 0
    All that right there is some fine work, nice job!!
    Vixer Fixer

  12. #12
    Member Since
    Jun 2009
    99 Matte Midnight Sand Met... oh nevermind. VX #0377...Project ZU
    Thanked: 4
    Thanks guys.

    Maybe some other members can start making threads to show off their VXes? Its always fun checking out what others have done.

    Quote Originally Posted by vt_maverick View Post
    So is the tennis ball there to guide you into the garage or was it part of the vinyl install process? Or maybe you were modeling the solar system?
    Definitely the solar system.

    Notice how the large tennis ball was tied up? That's the guide for my wife's car and she almost took out the work bench because I forgot to untie it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Triathlete View Post
    New vanity plates? ZU LNDR
    That is an awesome idea Billy. Zoolander was one of my favorite movies growing up...

  13. #13
    Member Since
    Mar 2010
    2001 Ironman 0588
    Thanked: 0
    I'm jealous. Your VX looks EVEN MORE awesome!!!

  14. #14
    Member Since
    Jul 2010
    '99, Matte Black, #1870
    Thanked: 0
    Awesome thread Jon! Love seeing all the work you have put into your ride.

    I will hopefully get mine into the shop this week or next to pull the SFIFS stuff to send to you. Sorry its taken me so long.

  15. #15
    Member Since
    Feb 2004
    '01 Ebony #0830
    Thanked: 0

    Thumbs up

    LOL I keep forgetting that you have my door panels.

    Love the look BTW... That wrap is awesome. It'll be a PITA when/if you decide to remove it though. I did my hood with standard decal vinyl rolls (x3) as a band aid until I repainted. It took 2-3 hrs and a lot of lacquer thinner/elbow grease to remove.
    Formerly: '01 Ebony VXSTLTH
    Now: '08 Saab 9-7x Aero 6.0L

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