Back in early August my dad purchased a totalled 2006 Unlimited for me to fix (I had been begging him for an unlimited for a while). He figured it would be a good way for me to get some mechanical experience. However, since he bought it right as I was starting college, it has just been a weekend project, so it is taking a while to finish. I've got big plans for it, but right now the main concern is getting it running and on the road.
I was kinda lax with taking pictures, so there are some gaps. This is the earliest picture I have:
The PO apparently caught the front left tire in a ditch or something and flipped it, causing some pretty major damage. The frame was messed up pretty bad, and the transmission and transfer case were trashed, so we did a frame swap.
The PO didn't adjust the track bars when he installed the BB, so had to spend the rest of the day fixing that problem. I don't see how in the world he could stand to drive it with the axles being so missalligned...
My dad convinced me to install a dual exhaust that had come with the blue LJ frame that we weren't using. Turned out to be a lot more trouble than it was worth. Whoever had installed it originally did a crappy job. On BOTH sides the pipes were TOUCHING the shocks, and had burnt right through the tubes. I swear, if you are going to do something, take the extra time and make sure you do it right. We had to cut both pipes off and re-weld them so the exhaust was routed correctly. Another half-day of work gone for a mod that doesn't really help anything. Now that I was finished with the frame I began work on the body tub.
First thing was to get it on the frame machine and straighten the tub. My dad had to take care of that part. I don't know the first thing about using a frame machine.
I had decided I wanted the Jeep red, so while we had it off of the frame I had my dad trim out the front of the tub and the wheel wells(he's the proffessional after all).
I think that is long enough for one post. I'll be sure to update will more of my rebuild later on. Questions or comments are appreciated.
What was the cost of the wrecked Unlimited and the parts rig, if I may ask? I want to build from a salvage, but the prices are pretty scattered. Looking at an 06 Rubi right now. PM me if you don't want to post it in a thread.
Okay, so I've put off this update for wayyy too long. After trimming the tub it was time to reunite it with the frame. In the first pic you can see the other side of the dual exhaust.
It turns out the body was still tweaked a little. The body was too high at the front left body mount and the bolt wouldn't reach, so the Jeep went back to the frame machine...
After another half-hour of work the body was on the frame for good! While we still had it on the frame machine we decided to mount the windshield frame and doors to make sure everything fit right.
The windshield frame fit good, the doors didn't. The passenger side door sat too far out at the back of the door frame, and the drivers side door sat too far inward at the back of the door frame. Nothing the frame machine couldn't handle (I LOVE that thing, fixing this Jeep would have been impossible without it).
All we had left to check was the roll cage and windshield frame. The Roll cage looked straight but the windshield frame looked a little crooked, and since the Jeep had been flipped we needed to make sure everything was square. We decided the easiest way to check was to mount the hardtop I had picked up on craigslist for $750 (which at that price was a great find considering the major lack of unlimiteds in my area)
As we feared, the flip did get the roll cage. It was leaning (if I remember correctly) about an inch and a half to the right (the passengers side). It was just enough to contact the hard top, pushing the top outward and preventing it from latching to the windshield on that side. Back to the frame machine again.
In order to straighten the roll cage, we chained down the frame on the passenger side, and then pull straight over on the roll cage on the drivers side (up high where all of the bars come together, sorry, no pics of that side)
After pulling at it a few times and measuring after each, we finally got it straightened. We pulled the Jeep off the frame machine, made sure the hard top fit correctly (which it did) and the Jeep hasn't been on the frame machine since!!!
Now all that is left in making this Jeep street worthy is doing the body work and painting it, but sadly it sat for over a month with relatively little progress done to it. My dad had gotten a little behind schedule at the shop and needed my help. I was already restricted to only working on the Jeep on weekends because of college, so now I had basically no time for working on it. In my free time I was able to get a few things done, but nothing huge.
First thing I did was prep the new grill (which came from the silver parts LJ I mentioned earlier) and the silver windshield frame for paint. After my dad painted them, I had new glass put in the windshield frame, reassembled the grill, and them mounted them both. I mentioned to my dad that the paint didn't look right when he was painting them, but he just ignored me . It was only after he saw them in the sunlight that he agreed that the paint was too pink (it is supposed to be the stock flame red color), so they will have to be painted again when we paint the rest of the Jeep (we sent the paint back to our supplier and they darkened it).
The next small-ish thing I did during the stand-still period was to put the dash back in (it was hard to move the Jeep around without a steering wheel). The airbags were blown, so they had to be replaced. The airbags from the silver parts LJ were good, so I swapped those in (skip the rest of this paragraph if you want to avoid a long, boring rant about airbags). Originally I was just going to use the whole dash from the silver LJ, but it had gashes and cuts ALL OVER IT. Who treats the interior of their vehicle that way? I had no choice but to replace the airbags, which was a major pain in the but (for the passenger airbag anyways). When the airbag blows it ruins the airbag cover on the dash, so that had to be changed. The airbag from the silver LJs dash had a cut in it, so I was gonna get a new cover. Turns out that a new one is 300 DOLLARS!!!!! THAT IS INSAIN!!!!! I decided that for 300 bucks, one little cut on the dash wasn't going to bother me. Chrysler could not have made these covers harder to change without ruining them. Two of the torx bolts (I loathe torx bolts) that held it on were impossible to get to with a ratchet, so my only option was to very slowly loosen (and later tighten) them with an L-shaped allen wrench. It was a MAJOR PAIN.
So... after several hours of very irritating work, I finally had the dash and steering column back in the Jeep. Now we no longer needed to use the loader to move it around if more than a straight line was required, we could steer it . It needs an allignment BADLY, but that is the least of my worries right now.
Two weekends ago we finally got started on the body work. We started with the most damaged part, which was the right quarter panel. It had been smashed in right on the corner pretty badly. It wasn't bad enough that it couldn't be fixed, but my dad figured it would be easier to just replace that section of the quarter panel. So, after about an hour of drilling out the spot welds the damaged quarter panel was free.
Now that I knew how to remove a quarter panel, my dad sent me to take the undamaged panel off of the parts LJ. Took a while because the battery in the drill kept dying, but I got it off eventually. Heres a few pictures of fitting the new panel.
The hardtop has been invaluable in making sure everything lines up correctly.
Last weekend my dad got it welded together, and then I ground the welds flat.
I have the thread up to date for the first time so now I'll update as I progress instead of posting several months worth of work all at once.
Good news! MetalCloak had free shipping for black friday, so I ordered my fenders, flares, and rock sliders yesterday. Saved me almost $300 on shipping! They said they would try to get them shipped out before the end of the month, so they should get here fairly quick! Can't wait!
Hopefully I will be out of my TJ and into my LJ by New Years. Heres a pic of the TJ I drive right now:
I really need to get a better camera than what is on my phone