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Unread 02-28-2015, 09:21 AM   #1
thegreatnardini
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 61
Project Rust Heep ('94 YJ V8 swap and rebuild)

I've had my '94 Wrangler for about 11 years now, and she was my DD for about 7. Then it sat for three years while I was away at training, rusting away in my parent's driveway and being driven occasionally. I finally got back a few months ago, fired it up and drove 1,100 miles down the east coast to where I live now (Iím surprised it made it ). The rust is getting really bad on the tub, with a nice huge hole in the driverís floor pan and on the side. 5th gear hasn't worked in a few years either. Itís time to strip everything down, fix some of these problems, and swap in a v8! I've never done anything close to this scale before so Iíll be learning a lot as I go and taking it slow.

My goals for the swap:
  • Fix this damn rust. Iím going to try and get the tub repaired but my welding skills are nonexistent, so if itís too much $ I may just buy a used tub somewhere.
  • Swap out the I4 for a v8. Iím planning on a Magnum 318 or maybe a 360 if I can find a good deal
  • Put in an Old Man Emu 2.5Ē lift and a 1 inch body lift with 33Ē tires. Iíve got a Black Diamond 1.5Ē lift and 32ís on it now, but I want something a little bigger. Iím probably going to skip an axle upgrade for now, if/when the D35 rear dies then Iíll get an 8.8.
  • Repair/replace the rusted parts, fix all the dents, and get the body repainted. Clean and paint the frame, under the tub, and re-apply new bed liner inside.
  • Install a winch, new lighting, and redo the interior.

Hereís what she looks like now.


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Unread 02-28-2015, 09:22 AM   #2
thegreatnardini
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Posts: 61
First thing is to strip the interior and get the tub off. As you can see thereís plenty of rust, and Iím worried the bedliner is hiding more severe rust. Even the hood latches are rusting throughÖ




Spent all of last weekend driving around picking up parts from craigslist. I scored a complete A/C system, two NIB BDS shocks, an AX-15 transmission with Dakota bellhousing, electric fan, and ECM for $440! The guy selling the trans had a complete 318 swap from a Dakota he was getting rid of. I was supposed to get the engine too but he sold it out from under me the day before I drove up (freaking craigslist peopleÖ ) At least I got everything else from his swap.
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Unread 02-28-2015, 09:23 AM   #3
thegreatnardini
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Spent the day yesterday with a buddy pulling the tub, engine, and transmission from the frame. The passenger-side engine mount was broken completely off where it bolts to the frame, and a few of the brake lines were rusted through! One of them broke in half when I pulled on it lightly. Glad something didn’t happen while I was driving…


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Unread 03-01-2015, 08:46 AM   #4
IA93Javert
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Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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You have a bit of work ahead of you... I haven't welded anything in 20 years but I am going to give it a go myself. The area on the driver side looks pretty bad but welding it yourself can give you a lot options. You can get a new foot pan on the driver side but might want to cut them both out. A lot has changed in the welding world and it really comes down to practice once you learn what you need. If you don't have access to welder compare the cost of decent rig with the work you need done. http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/ is a good place for information and the group is very interactive like here. Good Luck.
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Unread 03-03-2015, 04:03 PM   #5
thegreatnardini
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 61
Thanks! I found a welder that says if I provide the parts he can weld the tub for $300, so I'll probably just go that route. For now I'm slowly sanding down the frame and getting it ready to be repainted, thankfully it's in good shape.
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Unread 04-12-2015, 08:53 AM   #6
thegreatnardini
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I've been slowly making progress on my free time.

The front end is almost done: new brakes, shocks, OME 2.5" springs, BDS shocks, bolts all around, and u-joints. Gave everything a nice grinding with the wire wheel, then a thorough cleaning. After that I did two coats of Permatex rust converter followed by two more coats of VHT epoxy paint. It looks like it'll hold up pretty well! Painted the brake calipers red, not sure how I feel about that color so those may be coming off to get repainted.




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Unread 04-12-2015, 09:06 AM   #7
thegreatnardini
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While cleaning up the frame I noticed a few rust spots which will need to be fixed before I can continue with finishing the frame and suspension...



Both rear shock mounts are bad, and I was able to poke a hole in the frame by the passenger side with a screwdriver. It's also rusting through by the rear passenger side spring mount. I bought some replacement frame panels from Morris 4x4 and some new Crown shock mounts, along with some replacement body panels for the tub rust holes. I had the tub and frame picked up yesterday by a local guy who does body shop repair. He's going to fix all the bad rust spots on the frame, plus weld the new floor pan and replacement side panel onto the tub.

Also sold the old engine yesterday for $300, and the AX-5 trans with bad 5th gear for $100. However when I bought my replacement AX-15 trans I didn't think about the 2wd vs 4wd versions, and assumed (incorrectly) it would be an easy swap to get the transfer case on the 2wd trans. So now I have to decide whether or not to try and make the 2wd AX-15 work or sell it and start looking for a 4wd trans...
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Unread 04-14-2015, 02:52 PM   #8
IA93Javert
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Looking good. I have the same shock mount issue only one of mine completely blew out.
__________________
You can fix stupid....it's just a felony.

93 Olympic edition rebuild
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/9...store-2715858/
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