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Unread 11-04-2014, 12:20 PM   #1
Psyclops
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
 
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Overall reliability upgrades 1989 YJ 2.5l

hey folks!

I have a new to me 1989 2.5l, fresh rebuilt ax5 transmission (that was painful, right after I bought the jeep). Previous owner said engine had been rebuilt 60k km ago, not even sure what that means or if it was true but it runs pretty solid seems good. Just welded in a new driver's floorpan, next to bedliner the inside.

I'm going to put in a 2.5" lift and 31x10.5x15 tires. How about my steering assembly? What should I be concerned about upgrading next at this point? What would be the weakest link now?

I don't plan to be a wheelin god but I'd like to know it's solid as a rock if I'm doing trails wayyy into the back country. I just want a really reliable daily driver/trail riding jeep, the best I can get from a 2.5l.

Thanks

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Unread 11-04-2014, 01:50 PM   #2
mike134
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Cleveland, OH
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The biggest risk on these is the rear axle. You should be ok for moderate wheeling with open differentials and 31 inch tires. If you lock and/or go bigger, You can upgrade to a Dana 44 if you find a cheap one available. A lot of people have good luck with the Ford 8.8 rear axle.

Check your Dana 35 rear axle model number. You need to know if you have the c-clip design or not. One version will hold the wheel on if you break the axle. The other will not.

You should be ok for a little while as long as you are light on the gas. If you do a lot of offroading, you eventually WILL want lockers. But right now I would recommend:

1.) If you're going to be in the backwoods by yourself, invest in a winch (5000lb is just barely enough, get more than 8000lb so you don't have to unspool the entire roll every time), winch plate, tow recovery hooks, snatch block, tree hugger, D shackle. Practice with your winch before you need it...Watch youtubes of other people's winching techniques. Some of the new (expensive) winches even come with onboard air for putting air back into your tires to go from offroad to highway! There is a saying: "Locking differentials get you further in... A winch gets you out"

2.) get a CB radio in the cab and an extra handheld now, and/or ham radio after passing your FCC Amatuer Radio Technician Class Licensing Exam (~$15 maximum). find your next exam here: http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-...e-exam-session . study for it here: http://ncvec.org/downloads/2014-2018%20Tech%20Pool.pdf . In an emergency, you want an FCC licensed radio tech to help you, not a CB nut job. CB is not just for emergencies, people may also try to guide you over obstacles over the CB radio. The handheld is for your passenger to get out of the cab and check the path, obstacle, or depth of the water you are about to ford. Usually one CB radio is required equipment to go with clubs and groups. Practice with your radio before going out.

3.) Always carry A wool blanket, hiking shoes, tarp, and a couple days of MRE type rations, plenty of water (during survival mode, drink the water yourself. You can always pee it back into the radiator if need be). You can always hike out.

4.) Basic tool box. Sockets, ratchets, open end wrenches, duct tape, screw drivers, alan keys, zip ties, flashlights, breaker bar, jack (some people love/hate hi-lift jacks), etc

5.) Basic Maintenance: Is everything up to date? Champion Copper plugs (Not platinum!),wires,distributor,FUEL FILTER, air filter, oil, oil filter, Throttle body clean, IAC valve clean, transmission fluid (change after water crossings!), transfer case fluid (change after water crossings!), differential fluid (change after water crossings!), Coolant full and clean with enough distilled water in the mixture, Windshield washer fluid (needed for mud splatter!). Brake fluid and clutch fluid must be fresh, if it is old, change it! check your brake pads, rotors, shoes, drums. Check vent hoses are attached to transfer case, transmission, front differential, rear differential and that they are clear of obstruction so your moving parts don't fill with water or mud.

6.) Extra fog lights and driving lights or LED light bar. This could be optional depending on how far you go and what time you head back. If you get stuck out there and nightfall hits, you may have to spend the night if you don't have enough lighting. Rock lights are also a good cheap addition to the bottom of the jeep. Can't get over the rocks if you can't see them...

Some people carry drive shafts and crank position sensors. I think that's a bit overkill unless you are sharing and coordinating what to bring with a large group.

Most important thing: Drive your jeep A LOT before taking into the back country alone. you need to shake the bugs out. You don't want to get out there and find out that the previous owner patched an oil leak with bubble gum.

If you want to go do some easy to moderate off roading with some other jeeps, go right ahead. Just make sure there is someone to tow you home until you have all of your ducks in a row.



Steering Assembly:
It's hard to tell if your steering is ok without seeing pictures. Is it driving ok on the highway? any play in the wheel? drifting? tracking straight? Any Bump Steer?

Best you can get from a 2.5L
No problem, 31 inch tires are about as large as you can go at street speed, you only notice a difference between 2.5L and 4.2/4.0L on the highway. If you're really into wheeling, consider purchasing two sets of wheels. You can Calibrate your speedometer for the street, and put bigger wheels on for offroad. Your 31" may be all you need for your purpose, I have seen some jeep jamborees require at least 33" tires and one locker. it depends entirely on what you will be doing.
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Unread 11-04-2014, 03:37 PM   #3
Psyclops
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thanks for the info! much appreciated.

I noticed the rear axle says "95 YJ 4:11" in white grease pencil, so it was probably picked up at a wrecker yard I assumed, I saw a stack of axles at a local yard and they all had similar notes on them in white grease pencil.

I was wondering why the previous owner would have put that in, does the 95 have the c-clip? Is the c-clip the thing that holds the wheel in the axle?

Here's a couple pics I have handy, it's in my garage at home right now but i'll take a shot of the steering assembly soon.





I have a winch but I cant remember what size it is (6000lb maybe), the lights are pretty bright, probably good for now.

I mostly want a jeep for hunting and exploring so not planning to boulder crawl etc. but I have to be able to drive thru the odd treacherous trail and discontinued logging road etc. with water bars/ditches. I will probably get more and more into wheelin as I build this up but I own a dual sport kawasaki klx250s (street legal dirt bike) so I generally rock that when I feel like getting really aggressive in the back country. I had taken my bone stock 1998 grand Cherokee thru some crazy stuff and it was stressful as hell so I want to overbuild the YJ for what I will be doing for a bit of peace of mind.

I'm currently into this baby for like $7000 (bought for $3500, + $3000 for tranny rebuild - Jeeps hold a high value here - Vancouver BC Canada), so anything that can be done on the cheap would be great but I don't want to cut corners, might as well do things right the first time.

I appreciate all the help to get me thru this planning stage!
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Unread 11-04-2014, 04:25 PM   #4
mike134
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It looks really great!

The 6000 lb winch is plenty. If you have any trouble with it, just make sure you are spooled all the way out and consider using a snatch block to turn it into a 12,000lb winch. A snatch block also helps you spool the line out fully.

The 4.11 is the gear ratio of the axle. Two reasons the previous owner put in a junk yard axle. 1.) He broke his axle, or 2.) He changed the gearing.

The C-clip does hold the axle in for c-clip model dana 35's. If the axle breaks, the wheel falls out. They also come in Non C-clip types as well. If you have non c-clip, the bearing at the end near the wheel holds the axle in place even if it is split in half. So if the axle breaks it doesn't fall out.

If you want lockers in the future, just keep an eye on craigslist and grab a D44 from a jeep or Ford 8.8 from a ford explorer if one pops up with a good price. You need to match your gear ratio, match width the best you can, and try to get disk brakes. There are many threads on it.

Looks like you've already got a CB radio antenna mounted to the back!

The forum likes to talk about the cheapest mod:
Flip your rearview mirror upside down.
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Unread 11-05-2014, 10:15 AM   #5
Fozzybear42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike134 View Post
If you want lockers in the future, just keep an eye on craigslist and grab a D44 from a jeep or Ford 8.8 from a ford explorer if one pops up with a good price. You need to match your gear ratio, match width the best you can, and try to get disk brakes. There are many threads on it.
Nice quick reference guide for what to look for in an 8.8 below (post about 4 or 5 down from mean max). Axle code on the driver side door. Code 42 is 4.10 open diff, D2 is 4.10 limited slip. 95-2001 for disk breaks.

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f27/f...cation-227000/
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Unread 11-20-2014, 10:32 AM   #6
xlTravislx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike134 View Post

The forum likes to talk about the cheapest mod:
Flip your rearview mirror upside down.
Please enlighten me on this! tell me more!
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Replacing random parts on hunches spurred from other vehicles and peoples experiences with them is the safest bet.
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Unread 11-20-2014, 11:09 AM   #7
mike134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xlTravislx View Post
Please enlighten me on this! tell me more!
Step 1.) Grab rearview mirror with hand
step 2.) rotate mirror upsidedown
step 3.) Have some celebratory beers on a job well done.
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Unread 11-20-2014, 11:19 AM   #8
fishadventure
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Or pop it off and put it up here
image-3406794246.jpg

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Unread 11-21-2014, 11:44 AM   #9
Psyclops
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crap I just wrote a huge post and accidentally hit back page!

anyways thanks for the input and encouragement guys!

Its payday but a rent check so I have to keep it within reason.

I want to fix up my steering situation, it's very loose and floaty and there is a clunk when low speed steering. Last night me and my bro jacked up all the tires and checked for clunks with a pry bar, seems the front right has a loose ball joint. Besides that the tie rod and draglink bars are basically rolling together front to back about 2" when you turn left and right (this is with wheels on the ground sitting in the garage, so it moves that much without turning the wheels), I'm assuming it's not supposed to move at all, so it seems that's why I have a ton of play in the steering wheel. My bro said the rubber bushing in the tie rod (or rods) is completely gone allowing it to move all over the place. This was after we were watching tie rod changing videos they seemed to have a bushing that was missing on mine.

So, should I just replace the tie rod ends (only $20 each!) or should I upgrade the whole thing to this

http://www.gemini-sales.com/YJ_STEER..._YJ_87-95.html

Or is that only for running 35" tires and a huge lift? I have a 2.5l and will be running 31" tires and a 2.5" lift. I'd like the peace of mind in knowing my steering is overbuilt but I also don't want to throw money away for something completely unnecessary.

thanks guys!
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Unread 11-21-2014, 12:33 PM   #10
mike134
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I think I would do just the parts that are maintenance wear items unless you think the shift linkage is dented/bent and that is causing excess play.

However, while you're in there, take rods off and sand/paint them.

Don't forget to add alignment costs to your budget. Make sure you get all your steering stuff done at once so you don't have to align twice. You can align the wheels at home, despite what some people say, but its absolutely not worth it. You need to build some crazy large T-square type measuring apparatus to get accurate measurements. Take it in have them use the machine for $60-100.
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