'98 TJ Build - FINALLY!! - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-16-2014, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Charleston
Posts: 4
'98 TJ Build - FINALLY!!

So here it goes. I finally am at the point in my life where I can afford to build up a jeep. When I was a teenager I would browse through Quadratec and other Jeep catalogs/magazines and dream about my perfect jeep. Well, I think I'm finally on my way.

Here's the blank canvas. It's a 1998 TJ completely stock with 120,000 ish miles. Some recent transmission and radiator work but in pretty good shape all around. Some minor surface rust. All in all a great starting point.

4.0L straight 6, Manual 5-spd Tranny, D30 up front and D35 in the back. Brand new soft top so that was a nice bonus. Half doors, which I have warmed up to.

I was amazed at the amount of money people were getting for their jeeps (online, craigslist, ebay, local paper, etc) in MUCH worse condition than this one. I had been searching pretty seriously for the last year and a half. I'm happy I found this one when I did.

The downside was the lack of the D44 in the rear, which I've learned is near impossible to find in a $5k TJ.

So here's my plan:
- Strip out everything in the interior. Clean, prep, paint almost everything and make it offroad ready.
- 6 inch long arm lift.
- Throw in a D44 rear end w/ 4.88 gears, locker, larger shafts, ext. SYE and new drive shaft.
- Re-gear the front D30, larger shafts, locker, etc.
- Replace/update all of the steering linkage up font. New ball joints, tie rods, hubs, etc.
- 35 inch tires, 15 inch steel rims.
- Rocker guards, flares, tube fenders, bumpers, winch, etc.
....whatever else I can get away with before my wife starts beating me for draining our bank account

More to come!

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post #2 of 3 Old 08-16-2014, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Charleston
Posts: 4
'98 TJ - Day 2

I'm off and running. Day 2 of owning the jeep and I've pretty much have most of the interior stripped out of it. My plan is to take everything out that I can and get rid of any surface rust and get it ready for a few coats of bed liner. I am going to clean, prep, and paint all of the vinyl console and dash parts. New front seats and a rear seat cover. New roll bar covers. Find a decent cheap head unit and new speakers.

Given that I don't have a large concern over the body and frame (it's a pretty good shape) I figure doing the interior first wouldn't be too risky.
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-27-2014, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Charleston
Posts: 4
'98 TJ - Skip forward a few weeks

So I've got the interior mostly done. The tub floor had a decent covering of light surface rust. I got rid of all of that with some wire brushing, grinding, scotch brite, etc. After a few cleanings with degreaser and lots of masking tape, I was able to get down 2 coats of spray-on bed liner and 2+ coats of roll/brush-on bed liner. It came out nice. Lots of grip and seems like it will be a good sound dampener (for what that's worth in a jeep).

Next was the dash and console. This stuff was beat up pretty bad, too. I took it all apart and laid it out on my garage floor. Took the hose and some mild soap to it all and cleaned it up nice. Then I sprayed and cleaned each piece with degreaser. Then some vinyl paint surface prep and a few coats vinyl spray paint did a pretty good job of changing the faded spice colored parts to a fresh new flat black. It was delicate at first, easy to scratch, but now that it's sat and baked in my hot garage it seems to have cured pretty nicely.

I threw in some new speakers, painted the sound bar, threw on new roll bar covers, put in a cheap stereo head unit, and gave everything a good cleaning.

Next was the seats. I tore out the original front seats. Rusted, old, torn, worn, etc. (I cleaned these up after and they actually aren't that bad, but still needed replacement. I'm hoping to sell them for cheap). I went with Smittybilt suspension seats. They were an easy swap to the original risers. They fit snug in the jeep, but are comfy and look great. Seems like they should hold up well. I also cleaned up the rear seat and threw on a Smittybilt rear seat cover so it all matches and should give it more protection.

I never thought I would find that many used pens, beer caps, and coins in a 16 yr old vehicle. At least the coins helped to soften the blow to my wallet!
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