'88 MJ getting a 97+ overhaul *lots of pics* - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-06-2013, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 119
'88 MJ getting a 97+ overhaul *lots of pics*

I found an 88 4.0 4x4 5 spd Comanche all ripped apart for $400. It already has nice grey 2 door 97-01 xj seats installed. It's rust free. The floors, bed and undercarriage look great. It came with the Peugeot 5 speed and whatever transfer case it had, and a whole ton of extra parts. It also has a comanche cap. The guy I got it from quit on the project.

For a donor I just picked up a 97 XJ Sport 4x4 Auto w power everything, cruise control, & stock radio. 220k on it with no reverse. I was able to drive it home no problem. It just passed smog here in CA and runs perfect with no check engine lights. It has a new power steering pump, alternator, AC, and water pump. Just had the oil changed.


My goal is to build a very stock looking truck with the full dash and front clip. I have done some crazy conversions in the past and am very excited for this project. I want it to get me around the city and run errands. Would be used off road sparingly. I am giving the old motor a major overhaul. Doing everything I can to make this a sweet truck. I have decided to go with an AW4 even though I spend most of my time hating on Automatics.

What a weekend. I had an overwhelming amount of help and let's just say $#!& got done. Had hot sun in mid day and freezing fog in the mornings. I simply cannot believe all that we accomplished in two days.

Almost did the job down here on the dirt, but thankfully my gf's family let me move the project up on level cemented land.

Much better:

Got the dash out and doors off pretty quickly. It came with nice 2 door XJ seats already mounted up in there:

The front end and drive train came out like nothing:

So much help made this such an awesome experience:

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post #2 of 7 Old 11-06-2013, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: South Jersey
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Engine out:

My beastly CL picker and motor w 224k miles:

One hell of a days work. My gf's step dad power washed every single ting that we removed from the jeep:
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-06-2013, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Day two started by getting out the XJ dash, seats, and ALL of it's wiring:

You guys have no idea how excited I am for cruise control! I have had so many jeep without it:

We also cleaned up the engine bay on the Comanche. It was NASTY!:

This is my gf's stepdad officially bolting up the first donor parts to the Comanche:

Continued to sort everything out and get the motor onto the stand. I tested compression and after 224k miles she still pumps 150 lbs across the board! I got a TON of new parts to throw at that old engine. She ran good before, but is going to run great after. What a weekend, this is where I left off:
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-06-2013, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 119
I did most of the work to the motor today. I installed new timing gears, chains and seals. I also did the rear main seal, oil pump, and pan gasket. Then I did the valve cover gasket and grommets. I pulled off the old intake and exhaust manifold. I got a 99+ intake and a new exhaust manifold to install:

I also replaced these worn out motor mounts:
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-06-2013, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 119
Found a bunch of gas tanks in the boneyard, but they puncture all of them! I didn't want to mess with trying to fix a punctured plastic tank, but I did manage to make it out of there with the vent tube and some neon injectors:

I also picked up another donor for 450 bucks. Runs and drives fine just has a little rust:

I now have an overwhelming amount of spare parts to deal with. PM me if anyone needs any parts. This new donor has a CLEAN tan interior, which is no use to me.

Continued progress on the truck this weekend. I made the executive decision to go with an AW4. It will make this project so much more simple. My life pretty much consists of constantly hating on automatic transmissions, but ehhhh I guess I will live.

I got mostly all of the underhood stuff done and also the dash mostly prepped. I decided to trace a template to cut the steering hole and I am going to fill it in with a weld and a piece of metal once I have it all in place. This just seemed very easy to deal with and the brake booster lines right up so it was easy:
I next tackled the steering mount. I decided to take the time to drill out the spot welds on the mount in the XJ. I then cut the bottom half of it off under the lip with an angle grinder:

After a simple measurement and a hole drilled I bolted it in w/ a bolt a tested it. It worked great! I encourage everyone to do this for support and because you also inherit the dash mounting stud on the bracket. I was going to weld it in, but there were so many holes in it, that I just bolted it in after drilling a few more holes in the firewall. I know a lot of guys aren't keen with a welder or don't have access to one, so this should be helpful if this is you:

Then I drilled some holes in the sidewall for the side of the bracket to fit. Use similar long bolts like the cherokee had. It mounted very nicely in there. Things quickly start coming together.

From there I cracked open the HVAC unit and went over it very thoroughly. I installed new heater core and AC evap core. You are insane if you use the old stuff. This is the perfect time to replace these parts. My heater core had a pinhole leak in it and was actually leaking down into the floor. I hadn't even noticed previously:

I only had to drill one hole to fit the HVAC unit and I cut up some old matting to cover the opening area where the evap n heater core hoses come out. It worked awesome. I wish I took a pic of that. I will get one up soon. I brought over all the firewall matting from the xj. I installed the TCM bracket and mocked in the shifters. I also got the fuse box installed. I had to drill a bunch of hole in the firewall for misc. items, but I had some good hole saws and it was a breeze:

Pretty much everything in under the hood:

Next up is the dash, doors, engine, and front end. I also ordered my Dakota tank.
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-07-2013, 06:25 PM
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1987 XJ Cherokee 
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Subscribed, because I recently picked up a 97 ZJ 4.0L that I'm hoping to slip under the hood of my 87XJ before spring gets here.

If you use the IMG tags instead of URLs your pics will show as pics instead of links and spice this thread up a bit. I changed the first one in your first post here but didn't want to change up your whole thread without checking in with you.

Good luck with this project, I'm interested to see how it turns out!


"You can set my jeep on fire and roll it down a hill,
But I still wouldn't trade it for a Coupe DeVille."

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post #7 of 7 Old 01-05-2014, 11:52 PM
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Any updates?
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