JTBerger's '87 YJ Build - My first car... 15 years later. - JeepForum.com
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Unread 10-06-2012, 09:58 PM   #1
JTBerger
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JTBerger's '87 YJ Build - My first car... 15 years later.

I'm a long-time lurker (searching and researching 'old' threads) and officially became a JF member in '10.

I'm finally at a point where I can bring my first car back to life, and I'm hoping this thread will be a good place for me to get answers and advice while sharing my build.

A little back-story: I bought my '87 Wrangler back in '97, when I was 15. I learned to drive manual trans on this Jeep and made all of my 'first car memories' in it A few years later my passion for 'fast cars' took hold and I bought my first BMW ('96 M3). I parked the Jeep at my parent's house in late-'99, where it sat covered for the past 12-or-so years. Every car-guy knows you never forget your first, so I always knew I wanted to bring life back into this Jeep at some point. Here I am, some years later and ready to get it going again.

I've named my Jeep 'Waldo' as my Dad has moved it around his property over the past decade, prompting me to ask 'Where's Waldo' every time I would visit.

On to the details...


1987 Wrangler 'Base'
Sebring Red on Black
157,000 as of 10/6/12
Stock 258, 5-speed,Stock gearing
Currently on 15" Jeep 10-hole Aluminum wheels with tiny dry-rotted GY Wrangler tires

I bought the jeep with a worn soft-top and full-soft doors, but 99% of the time I was driving with no doors and a bikini top. It also came with Centerline wheels and BFG MTs, which are long gone

A picture circa 6/99:


Pics of when I pulled Waldo out of the woods and into the driveway, to wash him for the first time in 12 years:



You can see small spots on the hood and RF fender where I hit it with some cleaner wax, THERE IS HOPE!!




When we first started him we had to use a little starting fluid, which may have caused a pretty large backfire. What sounded like a shotgun blast left me with this:



I guess I need to add a muffler to the to-do-list!

After washing Waldo I had to inspect everything, hoping to get a better idea of what lies ahead of me.

There’s no real rust to speak of, just a spot of surface rot on the driver’s floorboard:



I took a wire wheel to the area and hit it with some rust inhibitor:



Yes, that is a Bigfoot gas pedal… it was on the Jeep when I bought it and is a great conversation piece.

I should mention that my Dad liked my Jeep so much that he bought another ’87 YJ back in ’99 which was his DD for 4-5 years. Being that my Jeep was parked it often times served as the parts-car for his YJ… as is evident by my missing center gauge panel:



I’ve got a good parts list going, starting with the essentials (engine, flush ALL fluids & various other maintenance items) and extending to suspension & tires.

Suspension will need to be addressed before she is road-worthy, not only are the leaf springs sagging (flat) but a couple of them actually curl the opposite way!

...and then there’s this:



The LF leaf has seen MUCH better days! (don’t mistake the Georgia clay for rust!)

I should be ordering my OME 36R springs, Bilstein 5100's, 5/8" boomerangs and accompanying hardware next week!

Luckily my YJ is 25yrs old now, so I don’t need to do an emissions inspection!

With that in mind I began to remove the unnecessary vacuum hoses/valves/etc. from the engine bay and I’m working on a suitable air cleaner assembly.

This is where I’ve run into a bit of a hurdle, as all of the threads and vac diagrams I’ve seen look different than what I’m seeing under my hood (I’m finding more and more ‘quick-fixes’ made by the PO).
It began like this (going through wiring loom to undo any BS done by PO, I'll wrap it back up don't worry!):





Here's what I'm looking at now (I know the engine will not run at the moment, and some of the hoses are hooked to each other to keep them in place):





















Going to do away with the Pulse Air system, too:



PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT OR MARK ON ANY OF THE PICS IF YOU KNOW WHAT I'M LOOKING AT OR HAVE ADVICE!!

Until next time!

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Unread 10-07-2012, 12:01 AM   #2
ghbatt
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Hey, like this idea for a thread. It's amazing how you can bond with a jeep! I'm going to follow this thread!
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Unread 10-07-2012, 09:12 AM   #3
tarznatz
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Can't wait to see it come back to life!
Might help to post some of those "what is this" shots in the YJ Technical section. Might get a quicker response.
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Unread 10-07-2012, 10:45 AM   #4
JTBerger
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I made a thread in YJ Tech. Hope someone can help me sort it all out, I'm ready to drive!
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Unread 10-21-2012, 09:05 AM   #5
JTBerger
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A bit of an update, I installed a new valve cover gasket last weekend and cleaned the old cover of the built up oil and mud.

It turns out that the PO had removed the EGR valve and capped the port with a piece of flat stock and a piece of a Bud Light box for a gasket. I bought and installed a new EGR valve and connected the line to the CTO valve.

With the help of a few JF'ers I was able to eliminate all of the unnecessary emissions controls and replace/simplify the vac lines in the engine bay. Now all of the vac system is all connected and sealed as it should be!

Before:



Currently:



The engine bay still has a way to go (mostly wiring) but it's cleaning up nicely so far (if I do say so myself )

I installed new Motor & Trans mounts yesterday (you can see one of the new motor mounts in the 'current' engine pic above) and removed a ton of built up mud from the inside of the skid plate



Also removed the pulse air system and plugged the ports on the cat and downpipe with random parts from the Plumbing department at Home Depot.

I plugged the cat port with a threaded 3/8" iron plug. It was a perfect fit and threaded nice and tight once I got it lined up.



Downpipe plug is a 1/2" copper cap, I used a lead battery post shim over the open port and hammered the cap on before heating it to melt the lead. Worked like a charm and it's sealed with no leaks!



I suspect the PO had advanced the timing to account for the missing EGR valve, as it was 'burping' gas back up through the carb. We retarded the timing a bit and it runs/idles very smooth! (as smooth as a straight 6 can idle)

Before I covered the Jeep back up for the week I hit half of the hood with some light polish to see how a larger section would clean up.

Here's a side-by-side before and after:



The paint still has a way to go, and I'll do a proper multi-stage clay-cut-polish-seal in a few weeks... for now it was motivating to see a red reflection, though.

Here's how it will sit for the next week, except under a cover:




I'll flush/fill all of the fluids and do the Nutter Bypass next weekend so I can cleanup the rat's nest of a wiring harness.

Then it'll be on to the suspension/tires followed by the interior cleanup.

I HATE only having the weekends to work on the Jeep!
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Unread 10-21-2012, 09:21 AM   #6
tarznatz
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Looking good. Wish I was there to help!
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Unread 10-21-2012, 09:28 AM   #7
JTBerger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarznatz View Post
Looking good. Wish I was there to help!
Thanks!

You've certainly helped out by grabbing those doors for me. Can't wait to get them down here and mounted, I've never had proper doors on this Jeep!
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Unread 10-21-2012, 10:52 AM   #8
freaknajeep
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Got a great ride to start with there..but what in the hell did jeep do to that carburator..that thing is an obnoxious growth...lol...oh yeah thanks (about my mail jeep)
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Unread 11-10-2012, 06:43 PM   #9
JTBerger
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Got a chance to work on the Jeep today.

Did the Nutter Bypass and finally started cleaning up/looming the wiring harness.

The engine bay looks a lot better now:



After the nutter I took it for a drive around the block. It started up and idled fine when parked, pulled well through all gears when driving... only issue is that it wants to stall once it's allowed to idle (clutch in or neutral). I only let it stall once and was able to pop the clutch to get it kick started (rolling at ~15mph when it died), the rest of the time I was forced to heel-toe to keep it alive since it wouldn't idle.

Any suggestions??

I've replaced ALL of the vacuum lines and fittings over the past few weeks, so I'm almost positive it's not a vac leak. It could always be an improperly routed vac line, but I'm pretty sure I've followed every diagram to a T. Maybe the carb needs adjustment?
I'm at a loss at the moment, and won't have a chance to look at it until next weekend.

I was also able to flush/bleed the brakes and change the oil & filter which was desperately needed.

OME springs, Bilstein 5100's, shackles, etc. should all be here this week... can't wait for the install next Saturday.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 09:53 PM   #10
tarznatz
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we need more cowbell.
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Unread 01-05-2013, 07:01 PM   #11
JTBerger
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This is going to be a very eclectic, yet long overdue update.

I installed Old Man Emu 36R springs on all 4 corners, Bilstein 5100 shocks, Crown boomerang shackles and all new hardware/bushings. All of the parts were ordered through Kolak Performance and the prices were unbeatable. Out of the box I was amazed at the quality of these parts, and seeing them next to the old stock parts they were replacing nearly blew my mind.

Bilstein 5100 vs. 25yo stock shock:



OME 36R spring vs. stock spring:



Moog steering stabilizer vs. stock steering stabilizer:



The hardest part of the lift was having to press-in the spring eye bushings since I used rubber instead of poly bushings. Luckily I have access to a 20ton press at work, so 5mins per spring netted me this:



My Dad and I were able to install the springs/shocks in an afternoon, including the brake line relocation mod (posted in the YJ Tech section) and removing the front and rear trackbars.
The difference is fairly obvious:



OME advertises the 36R springs as a 2.5" lift with most people posting a real-life gain of 3-3.5". Due to my flattened and worn-out stock springs I netted over 5" of lift after installing the 36R's and Crown boomerang shackles!

Before measurements on top and after measurements on bottom:



225/75/15 Goodyear Wranglers really look tiny under the Jeep now!!

I plan on ordering (5) 31x10.50x15 Falken Rocky Mountain ATS tires this week, as the Goodyears are extremely dry-rotted on top of being undersized.

After the lift it became obvious that a t-case drop was necessary, so I ordered the RE 1" drop and installed it this morning:



Before:



After:



I'd still like to do a SYE down the road, but hopefully this will get me by for now.

We had a day last week where the weather was in the upper 50's so I took that as an opportunity to clean out the tub and remove the rear seat brackets and belts.

Before cleaning:



After cleaning (I also hit the driver's floorboard with rustoleum to seal the spot that I had hit with the wire brush):



I went to the hardware store and found a grade 8 eye-bolt that threaded into the center (rear) seatbelt mounting point, perfect to connect my Australian Shepherd's harness so he can safely ride in the Jeep with me.



The warmer weather meant I was also able to pressure wash the front and rear axles/hubs and most of the frame. It looks almost as good as new without all of that 12year-old Georgia red clay caked on everything!

It's much easier to access everything underneath the Jeep now that it sits a bit higher. I was finally able to remove that annoying rear hitch bumper that hung WAY too low:



I'm in the process of sanding and painting the bumperettes which I'll install with new stainless hardware.

I'm also repainting a set of black CJ mirrors and replacing all of the hardware with stainless as well.

My sport rollbar will be going on Craigslist this week in hopes of trading it for a family bar. There are just too many top options available for the family bar and none for the sport bar. I helped Tarznatz install a softopper on his YJ about a year ago and really liked it, so as of right now that's what I plan on buying once I get a family bar.

As for the engine, I replaced the upper and lower radiator hoses this morning and flushed the coolant while I was at it. The old hoses were very bloated at each neck so at $10/each new hoses were cheap insurance!

I ordered a Motorcraft 2150 carb and adapter kit from 'the eBay guy' this evening as my Carter was leaking from several points and I couldn't bring myself to swap it out with the other Carter carb I have new in box... So we'll see what all the MC2150 rage is about. Hopefully I'll get to install it next weekend!

That's about it for now, sorry if it's so disorganized haha!
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Unread 01-05-2013, 09:55 PM   #12
CDW_327
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Awesome job on picking the 36R leafs man! If I were you I would go with 33s. Believe me you will want them shortly after you buy the 31s. 33" wild peaks are nice tires!

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Unread 01-06-2013, 12:28 PM   #13
JTBerger
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To be honest I've been really torn between 31's and 33's. I'm just worried I won't have enough clearance to have any sort of articulation with 33's.
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Unread 01-06-2013, 08:26 PM   #14
CDW_327
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTBerger
To be honest I've been really torn between 31's and 33's. I'm just worried I won't have enough clearance to have any sort of articulation with 33's.
You will, that's what I run with my 36R leafs, actually I just bought 35s and plan to run them with the same height.

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Unread 01-06-2013, 08:35 PM   #15
CDW_327
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Here, 36R leafs no lift booms and 33/12.5/15 GY MTR l. Plenty of room to flex no rubbing.


image-1396274394.jpg

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