Now that I'm getting in pretty deep into this project, I decided I might as well start a build thread. If nothing else, it will help me keep track of everything I'm doing here. I'm going to include everything I've done to the Jeep so far, along with a to-do list of upcoming modifications.
Okay, let's start at the beginning, the spring of '08. I was 17 and driving around my sister's old '87 XJ Cherokee. it was a piece of junk, but it was enough to make me want a YJ. My parents, as they did with my other siblings, bought me a car for my graduation from high school. This is what I got:
Blue 1992 YJ with the 4.0. At the time it had about 146,000 miles and no mechanical issues (other than blowing oil into the air filter, which I understood was normal). No lift, everything was bone stock except the top. It had a cracked hardtop and lower half doors. First thing I did was order upper half doors and a soft top with hardware. That at least kept the Oregon rain out.
Now, the other issue the Jeep has is rust. Even though I lived in Oregon at the time (which is not a very rusty part of the world), the Jeep had apparently been in Massachusetts and had rust issues (you can see in the pic. Most of what I found was cosmetic and on the tub, but as I dug deeper, I found more and more on the frame. Eventually, it became clear that I needed to do some repair. I had my brother, who was a welder, patch it up the best he could to get me through the next few years until I was out of college, when I could start up a restoration project on it.
Here's a good pic of the side where you can see the work done on it. It's not pretty, but it's not rusty either.
Fast forward a couple of years (spring 2013), and I'm in my last semester of college and I'm student teaching. I was using Rusty to get to and from the high school I was teaching at (about 20 miles away). That's when the death wobble started. Changed the shocks. Nothing. I'm not going to say I know for sure that the death wobble was because of the the sagging stock springs, but I knew it couldn't be helping anything and I was just aching to get a lift. Long story short, my brother and I spent spring break that year installing all new 2.5" Old Man Emu lift springs.
Anyway, I was running the 2.5" OME lift with 235/75/R15 tires for about a year. Sorry, I don't have a pic of this setup, just picture the same jeep from before, just a little.....taller?
Alright, if you're still with me, congrats. You've gotten to present-day. Now that I'm out of college and gainfully employed, I have parked the Jeep and have a separate daily driver. I'm also a teacher, so I have plenty of time during the summer to work on this sort of project.
Engine needed an overhaul, so that's where I started this summer. Pulled out the head first and sent it to a machine shop, then pulled the engine itself out. The machine shop I sent the head to gave me a great deal on bearings, rings and gaskets, so I got everything I needed for an overhaul there. I had the head resurfaced, crack checked, and vacuum checked, along with rings, bearings, gaskets, and a new thermostat housing (corroded onto the head) for under $300.
Here's some pics of the rebuild (in progress):
I'll get more pics of that and show the finished product when it's done.
On to the body. I told you about the hobbled-together repairs that were just to get me through college:
After poking around the rust damage and the repairs done on the body tub, I started looking into the prospect of a new tub. Not cheap, but sometimes you can find a deal on a good used one. Well, I did. I'm living in Texas right now, but my family still lives in Oregon, and I found a CJ7 tub near them with a frame for a steal. I know a CJ7 tub isn't ideal, but its dimensions are the same as a YJ and this frame is rust free, so I'm all over it. I can do a little fabrication to make it work. I know YJ tubs are galvanized and CJ tubs are not, but I don't live in a high rust area, so I'm not really worried about that too much. I just want something that is structurally sound. It comes with a frame, and I don't really have any use for it, but for the price I'm getting the frame and tub for, I can turn around and sell the frame by itself to almost break even.
So, for now, the plan is to put the CJ7 tub on the YJ frame. While the tub is off, I'll be doing some repair to the frame as well. I'll get pics of that when it starts happening.