Stoic - 92 YJ Build story thus far -
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-17-2019, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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1992 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fuquay Varina
Posts: 42
Stoic - 92 YJ Build story thus far

The first Jeep model to hold the Wrangler name, the YJ has always had something special to me. Though often looked down on for its square head lights, this Jeep has always held it's own in my opinion.

My Jeep came to me In February of 2017, after what appeared to be a gentle life with its first two owners. No modifications had been done, the maintenance had been kept up flawlessly, and there was zero rust throughout. It was still a 1992 with 190,000+ miles on it so there were a few minor things to keep an eye on, but overall it was a turn key daily driver.

The plan was to keep this YJ as a good general purpose vehicle. Something that was just as comfortable on the road as it would be on the trails or beach. I have always liked the idea of having a Jeep that could get you to the trail, camp and wheel, and then get you home. Now I'm sure I'd be called an overlander but this has been my style since my first YJ build back in the early 2000's.

Over the last two years I've been slowly building this into a reliable rig and think I'm nearing the time where its mostly just tweaking from here.
Here is where it all started:

As I was in no rush to build this up, the mods started small based on deals I found and specific needs. With that the first thing I added was a Smittybilt SRC Classic rear bumper with tire carrier. I needed a 2" receiver at the time but knew I'd eventually need the capacity for a larger spare. Nothing special with this bumper but it gets the job done and is at a price point that I'm not worried about replacing it down the road if needed.

Next it was time to do something about the soft top. The frame in the rear was missing and the previous owner attempted to make his own out of black iron pipe and whatever was left of the front door surrounds. This sort of worked, but as you can see in the picture, it did not work well. So I needed to find a complete replacement, and while I was at it I wanted a black top. The spice on black did not work for me. After doing some digging I decided to go with the Rampage frameless trail top. It came as a complete replacement including new door surrounds, tinted windows, and some features that were nice to have. For example, it has integrated storage for all the windows. This way unless you go completely topless you don't have to worry about where to put everything. Also with the frameless design it has a nice fastback look as it hugs the roll cage. Here is a pic of the top added

After the top came a few additions that were done earlier than needed, but I figured it was worth adding a bit of protection if I was going to take it off road before adding a life. So fairly quickly I added a generic crawler/winch bumper (with small led light bar), Super Winch 10,000 pound winch, tube sliders, and on board air with 3 gallon tank.

The idea was that these were not going to go to waste in the future, but in the short term they would let me have fun without too much worry. As a point of reference, the primary OHV area I have close by is Uwharrie in NC. With this in mind a few buddies and I took my Jeep and a stock early 90s Cherokee out to Uwharrie to get a base line. It was far more technical, but we were able to do a large portion of the trails with what we had. No doubt even a mild lift, or better tires would have made a world of difference, but still I was proud of the old guy by the time we drove home. Oh and I should say, the Jeep got me to the trails (over 1.5 hour drive), wheeled all day, then got me home.

Now comes the fun stuff. It was time to add a mild 4" RC suspension lift, followed by some basic AT tires. I actually ended up buying a full set of take offs for a few hundred bucks. So now its riding on 255/75r17 Wrangler ATs which are close enough to 33x12.50 that they will do for now. Only down side is they required a set of spacer/adapters for the lug pattern.

After the lift and tires, I had only put a few hundred (less than 500) miles on the Jeep with mixed road use before I had my first major set back. I was on my way home from work, which is a solid 25 mile drive, when I started to hear a ribbing sounds. I thought maybe a brake line was rubbing the raised lettering of a tire or something. Well I couldn't see anything rubbing and decided to push on home. Fortunately I made it home, but the ribbing noise had gotten far worse in both intensity and volume. Long story short, despite mild use, it was determined that my rear gears had given up. I suspect they were likely already nearly done but the lift and larger tires just did them in.

I had an old set of 4.10 gears that were out of my old '95 YJ that I was just going to swap into this jeep. Figured the 4.10s would be a better match for the tires anyways. Yet my buddies came through and had other plans in mind. One guy had a Ford 8.8 sitting around that he had planned to use for a project that never happened. He essentially gave it to me for free and thats where a simple regear turned into an 8.8 build and swap.

While the 8.8 was out, I added a rebuilt trac loc limited slip and a Ruff Stuff diff cover to it. Ultimately I have also added new rotors and calipers along with typical hardware like new brake lines, etc. I had it completely stripped, and used the Barnes 4x4 hardware set to add new spring perches and shock tabs, along with new u bolts and base plates. This sounds easy as I write it up, and in reality the concept was not hard, but it took far more work than I ever intended. I currently have it matched up to the drive shaft with the Spicer flange adapter.

Now keep in mind the Jeep did not start with 4.10 gears, and I know I need to regear the D30 up front. Again I figure I was going to simply swap the gears I had into it and call it a day. Yet again my buddies had other plans. Now recall the project my one buddy had that never happened, guess how had a D30 sitting around unused with 4.10s already in it...yep. So it sounded like an easier plan to simply swap out the axles. Which while I was at it, I added a Spartan locker, removed the central axle disconnect by adding a solid axle, and installed a Ruff Stuff heavy duty diff cover. Oh an because apparently an 89 and 92 D30 used different style brake calipers, the 'new' axle received a new set of calipers and rotors as well. As part of the axle swaps, I had to run all new steel brake lines front and read, as well as extended stainless steel flex lines to boot.

Now after getting both axles in place and everything buttoned up I thought I was done for a while...guess again. As I go to take it out for a test drive, I hear some add scratching/squeaking as I operate the clutch. Additionally I have a fairly significant vibration that develops at about 50mph and get worse with speed. The clutch noise was not going away with a few short drives, in fact it was getting worse. Fine...time for a clutch kit. New clutch, fly wheel, and slave cylinder are now installed.

Now the vibration is the only thing left to figure out. I was confident in how I set the rear pinion angle, but who knows maybe I screwed up. So I pull the front shaft in an attempt to isolate the vibration. To my surprise the vibration goes away...hmm ok...maybe bad u joint or bad balance. Problem is only two shops withing 40 miles will balance a drive shaft and they range from 80 to 180 in cost depending on what is needed to bring it back in spec. Well after a little digging I decided to get a brand new shaft from Adams drive shafts. Brand new u joints already installed, full spine slip joint, and fully balanced and warrantied, all for 170 delivered to my door. Guess the Jeep is getting a new shaft.

A few upgrades that dont warrant much time:
LED upgraded headlights
Ammo can center console fabbed up and installed

Molle attachment panel and pouches on tailgate
In dash winch control

And with that we are up to date on the story of Stoic the 92 YJ project thus far. Now its time to plan the 'after' trip to Uwharrie to see the difference. Here is a pic of it flexing the ditch. The picture doesnt do it justice:

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post #2 of 5 Old 07-18-2019, 09:31 AM
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1990 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Goldsboro
Posts: 131
Your jeep looks very sharp. I need to make it out to Uwharrie one day myself. Im in NC as well. How are the trails set up? Are there several options? Can you do camping out there as well to make a weekend out of it? I am hoping to have my Jeep road/trail worthy in the next couple of weeks. Working on a bathroom in the evenings right now so one that remodel is done ill have more time for the jeep.

1990 YJ - 4.2L, AX-15, 2.5" lift, 33s" Lots more to come
89 & 95 XJ's - SOLD
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-18-2019, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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1992 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fuquay Varina
Posts: 42
Thank you.
Most of the trails have several options around obstacles. There are a few exceptions on some of the hardest trails, but there a few good maps floating around that have a ton of detail on whats on the trail. There are plenty of camping options trail side as well as a designated primitive campground. On our last trip we planned it around good weather and camped with nothing more than a hammock, small stove, and a few just add water type meals. Though there are lots of people that camp and use it as a base of operations. I'd just say be prepared for people operating on the trail at all hours, so if you are in a popular area it could be loud.

I hope the remodel goes well, I have a bathroom planned in the near future but while the wife is busy picking out the design I'm using the free time to get as much done on the Jeep as possible.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-18-2019, 07:41 PM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: New West
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nice starting position man

any photos of your OBA system?

Stop whining about the 'ride' - If your YJ ain't wrangling your soul free, then might I suggest you buy a stationwagon... at least you can fit all your bull**** in the back.
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-19-2019, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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1992 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fuquay Varina
Posts: 42
Originally Posted by bruinjeeper View Post
nice starting position man

any photos of your OBA system?
Attaching a few quick pics of the OBA.
I mounted the compressor in the old jack location. Unfortunately I could only use 1 of the existing holes but otherwise it fits well, and gets good air flow for long run times:

I purchased a kit that was originally designed for train/truck air horns. It is rated for a 100% duty cycle at 72 degrees F and 100psi, though only 1.7cfm. Plenty for what I need most of the time.

I have it plumed currently with a hybrid air hose to a remote tank currently tucked just up inside the frame rail. It is a little more exposed than I'd like, but this is one of the only real places it could mount without taking up the limited cargo room I have inside:

I like the system so far, but I'll probably plumb in another fitting near the rear of the Jeep. As of right now I only have the one fitting in the engine bay. Oh and in case you were wondering, it is LOUD.
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