Blitz134's 90 YJ Build
I've been lurking on these boards for quite a while even though I didn't have a Jeep. My gf and I recently bought an extra parking spot in my apartment complex so I could have more project space. I had been looking at "old" jeeps for a while, and my gf was totally supportive; she occasionally comments about lifted Jeeps when we drive around town. My uncle had an 84 CJ as a first car, which he still owns. I'm one of the few that is allowed to drive it and I always wanted one of my own.
I came across this nearly stock '90 YJ on Craigslist with 180k miles, 5spd, I6, hardtop and hard doors. Completely rust free (kinda typical for out here I guess), needs lots of work, but I can see the potential.
So here is my build thread. In general I want a jeep that I can take out for a cruise or hit some moderately difficult trails. It won't be a daily driver, but it'll need to be reliable enough that I can feel comfortable taking it out in the local desert and trails. For looks, I generally want to freshen it up as much as possible.
There are lots of things to fix. Initial plan is to tackle the interior while I figure out the rest. Probably move on to the interior after that. I want to post pics and narratives as I go along in hopes they'll be of help to someone else.
Here are some pics...don't have any of day one for some reason. So these are after having it for a week.
First thing I tackled was getting getting the doors off. The passenger door didn't open. It seems the pull rods have broken connectors, so I play around with a screw driver until I could get the door open. Somehow removing a broken part seems like an upgrade. I'll get to rebuilding the doors at some point. SoCal winters are nice! I need to order mirrors though.
Secondly, the brake lights didn't work. Turned out the brake switch plug was disconnected under the dash. And someone had put a single-element bulb in place of the dual-element bulb. Everything seemed to be working well at that point.
Then I tackled the old car alarm. I was afraid this one was going to take awhile to address, but it only took me about an hour. Someone else had basically disabled it, I just needed to remove the old wiring and reconnect some wires. The kid I bought it from was really excited about the "kill switch" under the dash. You had to press in a momentary switch while cranking it. I'm not real worried about this thing being stolen at this point. Unfortunately, this switch didn't work well, so you had to play with it to make contact. That seemed like a good way to be stuck somewhere, so out it came. Before and after pics are below.
I do have three open connectors that I haven't quite figured out what they are for yet. I think the pink one is for pulling service codes, but that is just a guess.
After that I added some new lift struts to the back hatch so it would stay up while I removed the tint. I picked the struts up at O'Reilly for $25 each. A bit more than I expected, but they work well.
I don't have any before pictures of the tint (see after pics in first post), but it was purple, wrinkled and bubbled up. The glass was in really good shape. One scuff on the rear glass and some small ones due to the rear wiper. I used a heat gun to loosen the tint and tried to peel it as cleanly as possible. Several wipes with acetone cleaned the rest of the adhesive. Some Armor-all Glass cleaner finished it up. I do want to retint, but I want to refurb the top first.
When I got the jeep the front and rear wipers blades were completely shot. The wipers didn't work so I guess there was no need to swap the blades.
I did some diagnosis work. Using a multimeter, set to continuity check, I checked the continuity on the front wiper circuit breaker that is located on the fuse panel under the dash. No continuity, so I bought and installed a new one. Wipers still didn't work. I pulled the breaker and found it to be kinda hot. I disconnected the wiper motor connector and started to get voltage through the breaker again. Seemed I had a bad motor with a short.
I noticed while doing some inspection that there was a dent in the window frame just above the pass-side wiper (see pic). I think something spun and forced the arm up into the window frame. This subsequently overheated the motor since it was stalled and caused a constant short circuit.
A search on Craigslist netted me a wiper motor about 5 min from work for 15 bucks. Better than 60 on the parts websites. Turned out it had the linkages too. I went to replace the motor but the windshield hinges were frozen. I did try the new motor out and it works! My intermittent wiper module seems to be shot, so only high and low from now on. New hinges are on order order, along with CJ mirrors so I can be street legal again. Probably won't have doors until I get around to fixing them.
I've started to pull the interior so that I can apply some Herculiner. I am beginning to think the jeep was submerged at some point given the consistant layer of dirt and scum over the entire tub. There is also a definite line of rust on the rear seat.
I started to pull as much as I could...remaining carpet, pass seat and seat belt, rear seat, drain plugs. I still need to take the Jeep in for smog before I can take the driver seat out, so that stays.
I had to get a nice set of Craftsman torx bits to get some of the fasteners out. While I was at Sears I picked up a few extra tools :D...prybars, bolt-out set and a hand impact driver. I had been struggling to get some of the phillips head screws out of the tub. A few hits with the hammer and I was good to go. I like this tool!
Took the Jeep in to get smog'd on Friday. Didn't pass either of the emissons or the evaporative system test. Found a broken hose underneath, so that should fix the evap system. Not sure why it failed the other part, it passed about 4 months ago with the PO.
I think I've decided that I should just go ahead and put the Hesco MPI system on like I've been thinking about. No sense in spending money/time to figure out the current problems. And with the price of gas out here, that extra 4-5 mpg will help to pay it off pretty quickly. I'll look to order that soon.
In preparation, I did a dry compression check (cold engine) and pulled these numbers:
I think my engine is in good enough shape to do the MPI kit. Not wanting to rebuild it just yet.
Also been thinking about Herculiner vs Raptor vs Monstaliner. I have 3/4 of a gallon of Herc left over from another project, but I dont know if its hardened yet. I do have a new 20g compressor, so I'd probably be able to spray either of the other two liners. I'd like to do this pretty soon so I can move on to getting the engine and tranny in better shape.
Also found a set of TJ flares on CL, planning to go and pick those up tomorrow.
I've got the next two weekends completely free. Hopefully I can get the hardtop off, wipers fixed, roll bar painted and the tub lined.
The build is coming along great. You'll love the TJ flares and the room it will give you. The compression numbers look fine and will most likely rise if you put a little oil in the cylinders and do a wet test. Keep us posted on the progress!
Put in a few evenings of work the last few nights. I'd like to say that I am making progress, but I'm not so sure yet. Pulled the hard top and dropped it off in a friend's backyard so I have better access. Hit the tub with a pressure washer while I was there. Pretty much gutted the interior a few days ago too.
Picked up a wiper motor recently from CL. Went to fold the windshield and it didn't budge. A week of PB Blaster and it still didn't move. So I ordered new windshield hinges. Broke three bolts off in the windshield frame in the process of pulling the windshield...great! Had the gf come out and help me pull the frame.
Went ahead and put the new wiper motor on. Pretty easy to do. Pull the three screws, use a prybar to pop the linkage pivot closest to the motor and then take it out. I was barely able to get it, but it finally popped free. Then replace. I found an old cd changer remote in my window frame, it seemed to have jammed up the linkage and killed the motor. I also found a couple of old taco sauce packets, one of those long lighters that look like a big matchstick, and a dried rose. PO must have been pretty smooth back in the day with his rose on the dash.
I got a nice delivery from the UPS man today. Raptor liner kit and lots of replacement parts: windshield hinges, lower door hinges, driver side striker box, clutch pedal rubber cover, cowl seal, CJ mirrors, and hood latches.
I managed to get my broken bolts out today. Drilled them out with an F (?) sized bit that came with my 5/16-18 tap. The old bolts pretty much fell out. I did have to try to retap one, but it cleaned it out for me. Pretty happy that the broken bolts are fixed.
Tried to remove the lower windshield hinge bolts tonight. They just spun. Seems the nut on the backside isn't welded and it's covered with body seam sealer. :rolleyes:
So, I guess the dash needs to come off. Made good progress with that tonight. Some surface rust on the rear dash panel. I need to pull the column or remove the steering wheel to go further. I wanted to change the interior color anyways to black. I guess I'll do that while I have things apart. Gonna pick up new speakers tomorrow too, no way am I going to pull all of that stuff again just for speakers.
So swapping the windshield wiper motor has led me to pulling the windshield, removing broken bolts, new windshield hinges, getting new speakers and starting the interior color change. Not exactly my plan...but its been fun. :2thumbsup:
Looking good. I'd say you got your hands full at the moment but it will be coming back together soon.
Finally made progress this past weekend...one step forward turned into about 5 steps back, but I'm caught back up.
Put the new hinges and cowl gasket back on. Found a little rust under the hinge brackets, so I wire wheel'd it, then some rust converter primer and then some color match paint. The hinges are from Rugged Ridge, I'm not super happy with them, but they'll do for now. They are thinner metal and the holes didn't line up quite right and they are slightly askew. I'd get some factory ones if I could do it again. Maybe I'll be able to get mine unfrozen.
Also changed all of the dash pieces to black using some Duplicolor vinyl and fabric paint on all the plastic parts. Rustoleum satin black on the column and metal dash panel. New speakers went in too.
I'm pretty happy with the way the dash turned out. Glad the gf could help me out this past Saturday too.
Started to prep for the Raptor liner, pulled the roll cage and the rest of the interior last night, washed and scrubbed the tub tonight, and got a jump start on scuffing the paint.
The Howell Fuel Injection kit showed up today too!
The dash looks good. Great job!
Making more progress...I'm pretty excited with how things have turned out so far...put in a lot of work Fri-Sun.
After giving the tub a good scrub, I started the prep stage for the Raptor liner install. I used some #1 synthetic steel wool pads from Home Depot to remove the shine and followed with several wipe downs with Acetone. I had a "fun" time removing all of the old adhesive along the tub rails where there used to be Velcro. Then I started to tape everything up using blue painters tape along any edge. This was a full two day process for me since the adhesive removal took so long.
This morning all I had to do was hang plastic in my now overcrowded garage (roll cage was removed) and do a little taping. I couldn't figure out how to easily remove the rear wiring harness so I did some rigging to hold it up out of the way by attaching some ropes to the garage door. Found out my gas filler hose is cracked while trying to disconnect the harness...could be why I failed that part of the smog test.
The spray process was really easy. Only tipped the gun once, resulting in a dollop that I smeared with my finger and sprayed over to hide. Set up my 20gal compressor to give me 50 psi at the regulator when the spray gun trigger was pulled. Followed the UPol directions otherwise. Shot 3 bottles, figured I had good coverage and wanted to save one for a yet undetermined project at a later date. 2 bottles in the first layer, then 1 bottle to finish. Pulled tape immediately after.
Went ahead and primered the roll cage and finished with Gray Rustoleum Hammercoat. Color came out lighter than the cap, but I think it'll be okay. Went ahead and installed the bar and fought the new gasket on the windshield to get it into place. Used more black Duplicolor fabric paint on the horizontal cage pads, the others were trashed (busted zippers). All in all I think everything has turned out pretty well so far. The entire interior looks nearly brand new now with the new dash paint. I definitely feel like I have made progress now. The gf is pushing for me to get some new seats...might order those in a bit! :thumbsup:
I'll try to get some better shots tomorrow. My garage is tiny and it was dark outside.
Any my windshield wipers work...:laugh:
Time for a quick update. Took a weekend off with family in town.
Earlier this week I installed new Bestop Trailmax II Pro seats in Black Denim. My old seat sliders were welded on in a couple of spots, but it gave my brother a chance to help me a bit while he was in town.
Cleaned up and painted the trans tunnel cover too. The interior is looking pretty nice now.
Some pics of the interior and seats...
Lots of new parts in lately too. I'm ready to tear into the engine compartment now. I only got to drive with the new seats for about 15 minutes while out on a parts run. Unfortunately, I'm not quite fully registered since it didn't pass smog.
Here is a run down of the new parts that will be going on:
- Howell TBI with K&N Filter
- Team Rush with MSD wires and coil
- New Radiator, Water Pump, T-stat and Hoses
- Timing Set
- Brown Dog Motor Mounts and Energy Suspension Trans Mount
- Valve Cover Gasket
Sprayed the engine down with Simple Green tonight and hosed it down. Then started the tear down.
Removed the radiator first. Mine was original and didn't have a drain. I broke off what I thought was the drain and drenched myself with rusty coolant/water. Unfortunately since I can't refill my radiator since I pulled a brazed-in plug, I'll have to figure out another way to flush my block and heater core before I reinstall new parts. The coolant was horrible.
Pulled the radiator, overflow bottles, fan and air cleaner housing after that. I thought the Jeep had a lot of hoses before, but the air cleaner housing covered so many. Found oil in the housing too...I figured I had a pretty bad vacuum leak somewhere. Eliminating all of those hoses should help.
Tomorrow should be fun:)
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