Bought a YJ. Now What - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 48 Old 08-04-2020, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
Boughtayj
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Bought a YJ. Now What

I just brought home a 1990 Wrangler. Mostly to give the boys something to do outside. I have never owned a jeep and have zero jeep knowledge.

When I was taking it off the trailer I noticed the rear most passenger shackle mount frame area looked weird, so I scratched the frame (painted black) with a key and pushed into expending foam painted black.

My questions are:

1.) Is there a list somewhere or a book I can get that lists the areas on a YJ that should be examined for safety or weakness?

2.) I have seen several brands of frame/shackle weld in repair sections. Which brand or type is recommended?

3.) The Jeep has a rather anemic 2.5L 4cyl with 194K miles on it. How much more life should I expect out of this engine?

4.) I'm an old guy, so the 2.5L isn't terrible, but it's not zippy like the CJ5/Buick 225 I test drove while I was looking for a Jeep. If and when a new engine is required what engine/transmission should I install?

Thank you for any input or tips.

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post #2 of 48 Old 08-04-2020, 06:15 PM
Boojo35
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Provide more info on what year the Jeep is and fill out your profile. Pics really help on the condition. You do not have enough posts to the forum to post pics. Others are going to help you along with that I am sure.

What part of the country are you from? This can really matter how bad your Jeep has rotted or not.

I hate to say it but if you forced a key into a frame section that was foamed and painted black... You need to be on high alert for a lot of shoddy stuff and sort through that before throwing more money at it.

We are here to help..

Welcome to the forum.
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If you cannot fix it with a hammer then it has to be an electrical problem.
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post #3 of 48 Old 08-04-2020, 08:26 PM
IRQ
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Safe T Caps is what’s most commonly used on our YJ’s https://www.autorust.com/product-category/jeep/jeep-yj/

The 2.5 if well cared for will last as long as the 4.0 engine, some say 300k+

Here are some options if you want more power, although I’m not sure how long the AX-5 transmission would tolerate the extra power.
https://505performance.com/shop?olsP...r-crate-engine
https://www.boostedtech.com/supercha...-supercharger/

It is probably cheaper in the grand scheme of things to just buy a YJ with a 4.0 though, that is unless the body and interior are pristine or the a Jeep has some sentimental value to you.

1995 Rio Grande • 2.5L • AX5 • Stock • 58k miles
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post #4 of 48 Old 08-05-2020, 05:23 AM
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My 2.5L is hardly anemic... and I run 33x12.5 heavy Duratrac tires.

Just run through all the maintenance items you would do on any new to you old vehicle.

Considering the previous owner foamed in and painted the foam around the rear shackle area (which is a known issue area for our YJs to start rusting out) chances are he didnt take too good a care of the old gal.

I would support the transmission/drive train and remove the skid plate/cross member to see if there is any corrosion occurring at that section of the frame as well.

Inspecting also the fuel filter area (rear drivers side inside of the fram ahead of the fuel tank, by the shock mount).

If you sign up for a free image hosting account at imgur.com, you can post the direct links for any images.

Change out all the fluids for now... remove the valve cover if you want to and show us some pics.

~YJOTM MAY '16, JULY '19~


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post #5 of 48 Old 08-05-2020, 06:44 PM
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Hi and welcome -
Everyone here is friendly and will help you out!
I agree on Safe-T-Cap and I even brought my YJ to them to have them do the frame work. They also did some sheet metal patches but they do not do paint. Auto Rust in RI.

Here is a good set of resources for you:

https://www.fourwheeler.com/project-...toring-a-jeep/

Ken
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post #6 of 48 Old 08-06-2020, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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IRQ: Thank you for the reply. I will look into these.

Bruinjeeper: I'll take a look at those areas. Good to hear that your jeep is not anemic. I'd like to keep the same 2.5L class in it and not change engines because I'm sure there are a lot of other parts that would need to be changed. I'm not anti-4cyl, but it just feels like I am not getting a lot of power out of this particular engine. I remembered that I have a compression tester. Maybe I should start there.

Kweinstein: Thank you.
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post #7 of 48 Old 08-06-2020, 08:36 AM
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If u know what you're doing then yes. Compression test is a great idea to gather some info on it.

I should note, I do have 4.56 gearing and rebuilt the 4 squirrels in 2016. So it is fresh.

~YJOTM MAY '16, JULY '19~


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post #8 of 48 Old 08-06-2020, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Does the 2.5l need any specific attention at 200k? Timing chain or belt? I must admit I know nothing about this engine. Iā€™m assuming it does not use a points and condenser type distributor.? Head bolt retorquing?

I have ordered a Haynes Service Manual. Hopefully it will show where to check the fluid levels in the axles, trans and transfer case.
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post #9 of 48 Old 08-06-2020, 01:18 PM
IRQ
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You are probably due for a timing chain with those miles, you can find some literature in my signature by following the Red Cross.

1995 Rio Grande • 2.5L • AX5 • Stock • 58k miles
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post #10 of 48 Old 08-06-2020, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
Boughtayj
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You lost me at signature then Red Cross. Maybe all that is not showing up when I access this on a phone.
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post #11 of 48 Old 08-08-2020, 07:32 AM Thread Starter
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We finished up fixing the parking brakes, actually just put whole new rear brake drums pads and hardware. Went for a test drive at about 1am and the bright lights kept cutting out. Thinking Dimmer Switch on top of steering column.

Other weird thing was the Voltmeter showed 10 volts or so. We checked the battery with the Jeep running and the lights on and it showed 14.4v. How hard is it to replace the factory voltmeter.

Also, I found a used OEM Air Cleaner Assy to replace the silly K&N type. The fender bracket assembly I got from the salvage yard is not the same as what is currently on the fender. Mine is a 1990 2.5L, so I’m thinking that a fender was crunched and someone replaced it with a 4.0L or later model 2.5P MPI fender that used a different bracket to hold the Air Box. Can I just drill out the bracket rivets and install what I got from the salvage yard? It seems as if the fender may have holes punched for both Air Box brackets.(?)

It ran great.
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post #12 of 48 Old 08-08-2020, 07:42 AM
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Your headlights cutting out can probably be fixed by new neg(-) wires and cleaned attachment points. Your low volts may be fixed by that BUT probably that is related to the wonky ribbon plug thingy for the gauge set.

The switch with age also suffers from current woes that can be fixed via the “headlight relay upgrade” to solve it forever. And usually get brighter headlights to boot
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[size=“3”]Shackles & D-rings are different things.
Cranking IS turning over
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post #13 of 48 Old 08-08-2020, 08:48 AM
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As you've found, half your time will be spent figuring out what the previous owner did wrong and fixing it right - very common issue!

We all have different experiences, uses, desires on this forum. I personally disagree on putting any money into the 2.5L. Do a compression check - that's an easy no-brainer. If the 2.5L works for your needs, then drive it and be happy with it. If you want more power, then go directly to a drivetrain swap. I wouldn't think of doing any "power adders" to the 2.5L - all of those have proven to be snake oil (electric fan, cold air intake, 4 hole injectors, etc!). Especially look around for reviews of 505 Performance before you think of buying anything from them. The AX5 transmission is also rather weak (5th gear issue), which is another reason to not put any money into it.

I had a 2.5L in my 1995. I did a 4.0L/AX15 swap a few years ago, and it's great. It's not cheap or easy, and involves a ton of parts and components. I spent a couple of years collecting parts before I did the swap. The 2.5L to 4.0L swap is well-documented in this forum, but I wonder if the pictures are still available. Having a donor vehicle makes things easier. Doing LS swaps is more popular now, but I think that's more expensive.

Other stuff to consider:

+1 for the headlight relay fix as mentioned above

Also, if your front Dana 30 has the CAD (central axle disconnect), then you should consider a one-piece passenger side shaft swap to get rid of the CAD. I found it to be a problem area, and the one-piece shaft fixes it permanently. Unless you aren't really using 4wd, then don't worry about it

The rear Dana 35 is also weak, depending on your usage and tire size.

On older vehicles, I like to proactively replace all the rubber lines and hoses (vacuum, fuel, cooling, etc) to prevent future problems.

Replace all the vent hoses - front and rear axle and transfer case. These are commonly missing or damaged.


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post #14 of 48 Old 08-08-2020, 11:10 AM
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Stan is right.

I put SS long tube headers (dont regret this one as it was cheaper than a stock 2.5L exhaust manifold), 4.0L throttle body, 4 hole 19lb injectors (which made my junk smell of raw fuel so i put them back to stock), Cold Air Intake (had to as my jeep never came with an intake), e-fan (dont regret this one but did nothing for power)... and so much more. i can go on forever. My official conclusion is it's pointless other than getting to tinker with your jeep. Any threads you find on "2.5L power! WOW WHAT A DIFFERENCE" for any combination of these power grabbers is straight up falsehood. I think sometimes people try and justify things they've spent money on to appease themselves as they tip-toe around what is much harder work. In all, whatever money i spent probably could have covered half the cost of picking up a new engine/transmission/ECU.

In fact, my engine rebuild a few years ago put more power into the 4 squirrels than all of the above. When i stepped up to 4.56 gearing, it was a very noticeable difference - became a pleasure to drive. I stopped at 4.56 because i always knew when i was ready, the powerplant is getting replaced.

I do enjoy my 'fresh' 2.5L on my setup. But i am just trying to save you money here in the long run from someone whose gone down that rabbit hole. It was all pointless. Don't bother.

The only upside is i have a pretty fresh 2.5L runnng immaculately, good ECU and a flawless transmission to sell to offset the cost of whichever V6 or V8 i dump into it.

~YJOTM MAY '16, JULY '19~


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post #15 of 48 Old 08-09-2020, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate everyone’s input. I bought this for the boys to run around in with friends, learn stick, and most importantly to learn how to repair and maintain a vehicle. (They hated the rear drum brake rebuild.) I don’t intend for them to do any intentional off-roading. When those aggressive tires wear out I will replace them with more of a road tire.

Again, your guidance is much appreciated.
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