I took ownership of the WJ in August of '09. It had a spun bearing, and a busted Progressive Coupler in the 247 Transfer case. My boss gave it to me, as he was quoted $2500 for labor+ junk yard engine, and didn't want to mess with it. I wish I would've thought to get some pictures of the early days of my ownership of it, but I didn't.
In September we pulled the engine and sent it to NC with my father-in-law who has a garage that would make most Nascar crews jealous, complete with his own personal hot-tank. He tore it down and told me what all the engine absolutely needed. I ended up spending a little less than $1000 on a complete timing set, a complete gasket set including new rings, and one rod. (#8 was the spun one, and it was discolored). Late September the engine was brought back up to WV, and we had it in within 24 hours. She started on the first crank, and purred like a kitten. I slapped my license plate on her and drove her home from where we did the work.
These are really the only pictures I have of it when I got it. It had TOYO HT 265/70/16 tires on it.
Stock flexing on a curb:
After the first 2000 miles, I took it to Valvoline to have it's oil changed. ( I was busy, wanted it done at 2000 miles) And they pointed out that both of my drag link TREs were shot, so I left work early that day to go swap 'em out.
I very quickly learned that the auto-magic 4hi-ALL TIME didn't work, and when put into 4-low (part-time, locked) it would jump out and grind the second it was put into drive. I did TONS and TONS of research on swapping in a 242 Selec-Trac case, and after driving through a rough winter with 2wd and ****ty tires, it was time.
I found some lights I spent $5/pair on at Harbor Freight years ago, and decided they needed to be on the luggage rack:
March and it's decent weather rolled around and I drove to Columbus, OH to pick up a 242 from a 2001 I6 WJ. It had 71,000 miles on it, and would require me to swap over my input shaft from my V8 case.
Taking apart the 242:
Taking apart the 247:
Not my picture, but you can see the length different in input shafts between the I6 and the V8:
I also had to get the rear drive shaft from an I6 with the 242, as the 242 case is longer than the 247 case. I pulled the longer slip yoke from the V8 shaft and put it on the I6 shaft to make it slide all the way onto the output shaft of the case. I also put new greaseable u-joints in while it was all apart.
July rolled around and I decided it was time to get some new meats. I ended up with a General Grabber AT2. I got 265/70/16, as it was the same size that was on it before, but they're about an inch taller than the Toyos were, and rubbed pretty bad. Good tires for $150 each though.
Since I was rubbing a bit, I immediately ordered a 2" spacer lift to get the bumpers a little bit out of the way of my new treads:
My front CV-CV (Rzeppa-style) drive shaft had some cracks in the boot, and about 100 miles after putting the 2" lift on, all the bearings came out of the transfer case side. Here is a current pic to show the angle at just 2":
I grabbed a junk yard replacement for now for $50 until I decide to go bigger, when I'll need a custom double-cardan shaft.
I also grabbed a factory hitch from the junk yard, along with wiring harness. I wanted the factory look over the aftermarket ones which hang down below the bumper cover.
Here is the only pic I have of the hitch, which also shows where I bedliner-ed the hitch and gas tank skid. I still need to get the black hitch bezel that cleans up the bumper cut out.
I then got trigger happy and bedliner-ed the lower mouth of the grill, and just about everything steering and axle related up front. I also installed some more Harbor Freight lights on the front bumper cover and cut out the stock fog lights for better tire-approach angle:
Things were pretty uneventful for a while, and then I dove into getting rid of the clunks.
I replaced the bushings in the rear upper control arm, as well as the ball joint that holds the arm to the rear diff. One of the three bolt holes is a bit stripped out, but it's been fine.
I also changed out the rear sway bar links and axle-side bushings:
I was changing the oil and noticed that there was red fluid going down both sides of my engine, and was all over both sides of the oil pan. I traced part of the issue to a leaky power steering hose and replaced it, and found one of the trans cooler lines leaking.
Here is a current picture, taken 1-1-11. It definitely shows off the stock flex, with both sway bars still connected:
I'm currently deciding whether I want to lift it higher, or spend the cash on a beater.
Either way I'm planning on a 2008+ intake and throttle body upgrade and H.O. cams.
If I decide to get the beater then I'll replace the cut front bumper with a 2004 model to get round fog lights and the updated facia.
I've left a few things out, like rigging my dead blower motor resistor with a switch and relay to have some A/C while waiting to gather the cash to pay for the $200 replacement resistor, but I'm sure I'll find time to throw some of that in here sometime.