About 2 years ago I purchased this yj for $1000. It was running (barely) but was well worth the money spent. The owner prior to the guy I bought it from had done a full frame-off restoration before selling it. The frame was in pristine condition and the tub had been rhino-lined inside and underneath. The only problem was the rebuild motor caught fire when he went to start it. It scorched the underside of the hood and ruined quite a bit of the wiring. He gave up and sold it to the kid I bought it from. This owner went and purchased a running 4.2L from the junkyard which according to the receipt had 283k miles on it at time of purchase. He dropped it in as it was and got it running, but it kept overheating. He replaced nearly every single piece of the cooling system and it was still overheating. I found it on craigslist, made the 4 hour drive and snatched it up. Nursed it home over 8 hours without overheating it and got to work.
Here it is as it was the day after getting back with it:
I knew the headgasket was bad, but given that my work was only 4 miles away I wasnt too worried about it. I did however start troubleshooting some of the other issues. It had an older carter carb without the stepper motor, but the performance still wasnt what i was expecting. I decided I needed a new carb and started shopping. All this turned into a top-end rebuild, on which I spent a grand total of $650, most of which was for the carb.
Cylinders at time of top end rebuild:
The head after getting it back from the machine shop (the owner is a friend of the family, so it only cost me $120 for cleaning, surfacing the mating surface, 3 way valve job and assembly):
New timing chain and gears:
New carb on:
TFI ignition upgrade (helped quite a bit, but i had a lot of problems with the canister coil):
Purchased a full soft top for it and drove it just like that for a year:
Next I had to deal with the transmission fluid leak that was driving me crazy. Turns out it was the selector shaft seal. I'm still having issues with this off and on. I've replaced it a total of 3 times and after about 8 months it will start leaking again.
Eventually I wound up having the annoying ignition problems these engines are prone to. My solution:
Thats the ford style ICM ($25 rather than $105 for the identical Jeep one) with the plugs switched to the jeep style. I also moved it to the fender where it gets more air-flow to keep it from overheating. This worked beautifully.
I took it wheeling (nothing crazy, mostly just trails for fun) and camping quite a bit. Though I didnt get too many pictures of it.
I also wound up replacing the canister ignition coil with a true TFI style coil which again provided noticeable improvement:
Last February I finally got the funds together to lift it and do some other work to it.
Here's all the stuff ready to go on the jeep:
Bottom of the rocker panel prior to the lift:
Bottom of the rocker panel after the lift:
Thats a RE 2.5" lift kit. I couldnt be happier with it.
Here it is post-lift but before the new tires:
And with the new 31" duratracs:
I also purchased a custom-built rear bumper / swingout similar to what BESRK makes and had the reinforcements welded to the frame:
This was to pull the little off-road camping trailer we started making payments on to purchase from a friend:
Next came the Chile Challenge: I ran 4 trails that year, though I didnt get any pictures of the jeep in action as I was the only one in my vehicle.
A shot of one of the extreme trails at the Chile Challenge:
This is the way I drive it 9 months out of the year:
Another camping trip:
Installed an auto trans cooler to help with towing the trailer up into the mountains:
Electro-luminescent gauges that my (then) fiance purchased for me for christmas. They were for 91-95 YJs but with a little modification they work, and only the clock doesnt light up.
Last fall i started getting pretty bad knocking from the lower end of the motor. I had also lost 2 piston skirts in the last 8k miles, so it was getting close to time to rebuild the bottom end. I purchased this motor which someone had dropped for a V8 swap for cheap. It had already been bored .060 over and had 60k miles on that rebuild, but it had a serpentine belt drive system and the correct crank in good condition. $150 well spent.
That brings us up to date. Friday night I pulled the motor from the jeep and dropped both of them off at the machine shop. He's doing all the work including assembly and warranty for $1000. Not bad, and saves me time (which I dont have a lot of right now).
In the process I determined the PO had cracked the bellhousing where the started bolts and had re-attached it with JB weld. So out came the transmission and tomorrow it goes to a local shop to try welding it back on.
Here's a few pics of the wiring prior to pulling the motor:
So, while the motor is out I'm re-wiring the entire engine bay and pulling the computer out from under the dash.
I have quite a few parts to go on the Jeep along with the rebuild, including a new DUI distributor, KC lights for the windshield, and fuse / relay boxes that I'll be custom wiring myself. I also purchased a sears die-hard platinum 34/78 battery and a battery tray for a 91-95 YJ (mounts the battery horizontal to the firewall so the side-posts are easier to get to).
I'll continue updating this thread slowly over the next several weeks as the work gets done.
Back in February of this year we again participated in the Chile Challenge. This year we only had time to do a single trail, but we had a blast and pulled the trailer the whole way.
An arroyo on the trail:
Where we stopped for lunch:
Unfortunately I again dont have any action shots of the jeep, but it was a good trail. It was challenging, but not horribly so, and the trailer added a level of difficulty to it. It certainly helped me prioritize things to come on the jeep:
new exhaust (tore the crud out of my current one on a rock ledge)
front locker (going to need a new front DS, current one is not able to be balanced)
SYE so i can get the skid-plate back up
Taller MT tires for the trailer (trailer tires, even at 12 PSI, are stiff and bounce A LOT on the trail, i also drug the back end of the trailer a few times on the trail due to the angle it sits at when hitched to the jeep)
(sorry for the late reply) Is there a group you wheel with regularly there in El Paso?
No real updates as of yet, I havent had the time to dive into the wiring yet. Stopped by the machine shop to check on the motor and it's coming along, but will probably be another 3 weeks or so. I've got a huge pile of parts sitting in the dining room driving my wife nuts so I need to find the time to get to work on it here soon.
Small update here, I've been accumulating parts and electrical components and tools for the last several weeks. The motor should be ready late next week or early the following week. I started painting the brackets today. Any suggestions on ways to clean up the engine compartment? I'd like to spray paint the firewall, inner fenders and underside of the good black as they look really crappy right now. What would I need to do to get it down to paintable? Any suggestions?
You need to de-grease it with Simple Green. After you wash that off and it dries, get some scuffing pads at HD or Lowes and try to knock all the gloss off. If you have air, blow the dust off. Then use MEK or Acetone to clean. Blow lint off. Spray primer on any bare metal, then topcoat.