Just bought 89 Wranger, suggestions? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-24-2004, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Central IN
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Just bought 89 Wranger, suggestions?

I'm new around here and have a few questions I was hoping some of you could help answer. A little background: 25 years ago I had a couple of old Willy's that I had fun with. Then reality hit me, life, wife, kids, work, you know the drill. Anyway, I've had Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees but a couple of weeks ago I bought a 1989 Wrangler Islander. Buddy had to sell it so I thought what the heck. It has the inline-6, automatic, AC, 3-4" lift kit, 33 x 12.50 x 15 Bridgestone Duelers on American Racing Wheels, 89,000 miles. Body is decent only a couple of small rust spots. Fairly new soft top. This wont be a daily driver, just want to have fun;probably no hard core buried-in-3' of- mud-off-road stuff, but I'm sure it'll get stuck a few times.

A few questions:

It has the original pitman arm. He gave me the dropped one and said he didn't get around to putting it on. How important is this?

How much of the pollution stuff can I remove? All of it? There's more tubing than I can tolerate under the hood.

It idles kind of rough and fluctutes between about 800 and 1,300 rpm. Suggestions? Engine appears to be completely stock.

Dont' know the rear end but at about 55 mph, its running about 2,200 rpm. Is this about right? By the way, the speedo says 49 when its doing 55. I had a cop check it with radar. No ticket, I just saw him sitting there and asked him to check for me.

Seems to be leaking some trans fluid. I changed fluid and filter and put on new gasket and its better but still 3-4 quarter size spots on floor when I park it. It was real bad before I replaced the gasket. Area around new gasket is dry but fluid seems to be dripping from holes in the large transmission mount/skid plate.

I want to change spark plugs, cap, rotor, wires. Any suggestions for good brand name?

Exhaust system will probably last only a short time longer. Will header(s) do much good and if so, what brand and what mufflers. I don't want it too loud.

When its floored, it shifts at about 3,000 rpm and when you kick it, it doesn't downshift much at all. Is this just a linkage adjustment?

If I set a limit of about $1,000, what the most important things to do first?

Whats a good shop manual to buy for this model?

Sorry for the long post and all of the questions but I kind of feel like a kid with a new toy.

Thanks for any info!

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post #2 of 7 Old 05-24-2004, 04:29 PM
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Welcome to the Addiction
This is my 89 YJ that was bone stock 7 years ago when I bought it.

It is a long but fun trip.

Now to your questions. First off the auto tranny on your YJ should make the carb easier to live with as it will not stall as much.

Pitman arm: do you have bump steer? (if you hit a large bump does the jeep pull to one side) If you don't leave it alone for now.

I have no idea of what inspections you have in your area. They will check for leaks. Look into the nutter by-pass you may have to leave all the vac lines but they do not have to function.

Idles rough. clean the carb and get good at it this is normal.

Rear end is a Dana 35 w/o c clips. I am not sure what gears they put in a auto YJ of that year. You should be able to find a tag on the diff that will tell you.

Sorry no experience with that auto

The other questions I will leave to others to give you some ideas.
Enjoy your new Jeep.

89 YJ Nearly Stock:)
3 link w/ coilovers front. 4 link coil over rear, 39.5" IROC's, Walker Evans Beadlocks, Rear 60 w/spool, Tera Low, Front 60 w/ OX Locker, Warn 9000, & a few others. New 4.0 HO
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-24-2004, 05:15 PM
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the first thing i'd do with your jeep is replace the stock carb, weber makes a replacement kit that is pretty easy to set up. they also sell holley carb adapters, your call.

once you have the new carb on, if your jeep is "for off road use only", then you can rip out all the emissions and all the tubing. just make sure you plug all the holes, i used silicon.

next i would fix the ignition timing. there are also right-ups on the net about how to by-pass the ecu. this way when the your computer doesn't understand why all it's holes are plugged it can't do anything about it, and through all your hard work out the window.

the shop manual will cost around 120 i think. you might be able to find one on ebay for cheaper.

if i had a 1k, i'd start with the carb. the weber will run you almost 400. then i'd do something about the exhaust, free that up a little, 150.

if the jeep was a daily driver i'd suggest a hard-top, used from another yj or even a cj. but you won't be needing that....so headers, intake, down payment on a stronger rear axle, whatever. it's up to you.
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-24-2004, 06:30 PM
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Thread hijack ...
Hackle, that is one sweeet YJ.

Silly boys, Jeeps are for girls ;)
A girl and her Jeep: it's a beautiful thing :)
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-25-2004, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everybody for the info. I've been reading some on this site and scrounging around other places and I appreciate the info. At this point, I don't see my YJ looking like Hackle's, but who knows where this little hobby might lead. This looks like a great site for info on just about everything Jeep related.

Since there's no emission checks here in central Indiana I'll probably start with the ecu bypass, carb cleaning, and ignition timing (I knew I kept that old timing light around for something) and go from there. I kinda like the Weber idea.

Thanks again, MK
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-25-2004, 04:36 PM
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Yeah, I've never had emission checks up here in Northern Indiana either. I'm heading down to Central Indiana this week to pick up a 89 Wrangler too. Let me know if you find any good offroading trails down there. Good luck with your Jeep.
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-26-2004, 09:32 AM
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For axle gears you most likely have 3.54s, but you can look for a tag on the diff. to be sure.

As for emissions, if you replace the carb with a Weber and do the Nutter Bypass your computer will no longer function allowing you to pull out all the emissions crap it controls since they wont be doing anything anyway.

I Weber'd and Nutter'd my Jeep and only left the PCV and EGR systems since they are not computer controlled. My enigne compartment looks ALOT cleaner now.

I used this site when figuring out what to pull and what to keep as far as hoses and emissions crap... it has good diagrams and explinations of the different components:


Good luck with everything.

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