I've never had a car I thought was worthy of a build thread. But I thought it might be fun to track my progress on this one. This will definitely be a slow build, but I thought I'd share the pics.
About 4 months ago my wife's car died and it was time to look for a new car. We decided to look at Jeeps because that was my first car in high school, and it was her "dream" car. Unfortunately it was hunting season and Wranglers were going faster than you could call about them. We finally found a 2.5 L 93 YJ that we both seemed to like. It wasn't a 4.0... but we could deal with it. We knew it would need a little work and money to get it to where we wanted it to be.
First things to do: lift it and get rid of that ugly hard top. Check and check.
I got a new Bestop Supertop, neoprene seat covers, and did an SOA conversion. I don't have any pics of it sitting flat, but these are a couple flex shots after the conversion. I've still got a few more things to finish up from the SOA like the SYE and high steer. But for now it's doing fine. I've got the SYE in my garage, just need time to install it.
Everything has been running great until last week. My wife was driving it on the freeway and it overheated on her. I don't think she noticed until it was too late. She was on the side of the road on the freeway and tried to drive it off the freeway to park it somewhere. The next morning we went to pick it up and it was toast. Zero compression on cylinder 3 and it failed a leak test... so it was time for a rebuild or replacement.
Fortunately it was a great time to look into better options.
If I was going to drop money into it to replace an engine, I was going to ditch the 4 banger. I started looking into several options. I was considering a Ford 5.0L, also looked at buying a Chevy Blazer to pull everything from, and several other options. Then the other day I came across a trashed Cherokee for sale for $600. It's a 95 with the 4.0L HO/AW4/NP231/and the Chevy 8.25... too good to be true. I went up there today to drive it and bargain with the guy. The car is trashed. The steering box broke off the frame and the steering was insanely loose, every wheel bearing needed to be replaced, the interior was torn to pieces by a dog, the body was all smashed, somebody had had some fun with extra wiring, brakes were gone, etc. The engine ran strong as could be and has 172K(not awesome, but not terrible) and the AW4 had been rebuilt 60,000 miles ago. The car was meant to be an organ donor. Between the parts I pull from my Wrangler and the left overs from the donor I can easily make my money back. I talked the guy down to $550 and drove it home. I'll break-even at worst.
I'm trying to decide if I want to move to the AW4 or keep searching for an AX15. I know my wife would love the auto, but I'm not sure what kind of shift housing I'll end up with on the floor of the wrangler. It probably won't be pretty. What do you all recommend? If I could find a steering column from a YJ with auto tranny that would be ideal... but that would also mean more work.
This week will be mostly focused on the transplant. Then the plans will be installing the C8.25, maybe stealing some leaves from the XJ pack to add to my stock YJ pack, install the SYE and new drivelines, and then throw some 33's under there.
I know my rig doesn't compare to the other builds on these forums, but I thought I'd share if anyone cares.
Can anyone give me some ideas of what an auto tranny might look like installed on the floor?