Awesome's MJ Build Thread - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 15 Old 02-12-2020, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Mj Awesome's MJ Build Thread

Picked it up today. This will be a very long-term project, with the end goal being a vehicle my oldest daughter will drive when she turns 15.

The first step is to get it running.





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post #2 of 15 Old 02-14-2020, 06:07 AM
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post #3 of 15 Old 02-14-2020, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Well, today I went to the junkyard and they gave me four used tires to use as rollers.



Then I tried to turn the engine over. My daughter took out the three spark plugs that are easy to get to, and I took out the other three. After trying for a while to get the motor to turn, I checked the fluids. There is oil in there and the transmission fluid looks relatively good. Can't check the radiator because it has no cap. Whoever thought of that design was an idiot. Sprayed WD-40 into the cylinders and then took the electric fan off to get more room to turn the crank. I can get the engine to turn about halfway around before it becomes difficult enough that I'm worried about snapping the crank bolt. I'm thinking broken piston, or just lots of rust. I may try pouring some Kroil into the cylinders and letting it sit for a day before trying to turn it over again.

So far it looks like I'll have to pull the engine though.

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post #4 of 15 Old 02-15-2020, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Picked up some Marvel Mystery Oil today, split the bottle between all six cylinders. Pulled the truck off the trailer, got it on jackstands and my daughter removed the wheels. Also removed the front grille. There's fire damage from wires that shorted across metal when the front skid/crossmember thing got ripped halfway off. After a few hours, I tried to turn the engine over. It turns over more easily now, but still stops in the same place. I'll let it sit for a few more days and try again.



The truck was last registered in '05, and the date on the tires was '04. The front tires didn't look very worn. I think '05 is probably when it quit running and got parked.

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post #5 of 15 Old 02-15-2020, 09:52 PM
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I'm always up for a MJ love story.

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But I still wouldn't trade it for a Coupe DeVille."


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post #6 of 15 Old 02-20-2020, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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I learned how to mount tires on Tuesday. Today we installed the roller tires and wheels.



I also cut the old belt off (it was too small) and tried turning the engine over again. Smooth as butter. Engine seems perfectly fine.

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post #7 of 15 Old 02-22-2020, 10:53 AM
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I'm waiting on the end result. I should have bought this one when it was for sale.
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03' Rubicon/Zone 4" coils with 1" spacers up front/Rancho shocks/5.13 gears-35" MTZs/Black Magic brakes. ***SOLD*** for Covid-19 pandemic rent money. :(
99' XJ /4.0L-AW4/ 5.5" lift / Rancho RS5000X shocks/33" DC Extreme country MTs. Jeep #18
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post #8 of 15 Old 02-25-2020, 11:45 AM
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I think you can replace those old closed cooling systems with an "open" system from a newer model. That way you get yourself a radiator cap. Probably ought to flush it all and replace the thermostat and check the water pump anyway. Flush your heater core and lines too. Do it now or do it later when you need heat.
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-01-2020, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, today we got it started.


My daughter and I worked on it all afternoon. The first thing we did was try to siphon the tank. That didn't work, so I disconnected the line going to the filter, then jumped the pump wires with a 12v cordless drill battery. Pump worked great, tank emptied pretty quickly. Then I put a few gallons of fresh fuel in, and we pumped that out as well. Fuel looked great, so we replaced the old filter and hoses with a new filter and new hoses.

My daughter spent a few minutes cutting the burnt wires out of the harness up front and in back. I think they are just the headlight/taillight wires, but there's a bigger harness running in front of the radiator that has a few burnt wires in it too. I wrapped those with electrical tape while my daughter cut the other wires.

After that, we attempted to get the motor to turn over using the starter. I used jumper cables hooked up to my YJ's battery. It turned over slowly, but fuel began spewing out of the fuel rail. Back to the auto store, grabbed some o-rings. We took the fuel regulator off and replaced its o-ring. Now the injectors leak. Not as badly as the regulator was, though. Verified I had spark. So, we grabbed the spark plugs, put some anti-seize on them and threaded them in. I installed new spark plug wires.

We tried to get it to crank again, but now that it had compression I couldn't get it to spin fast enough to start. I knew my jumper cables were getting hot, and my dad remembered that he had given me a really heavy-duty set of jumper cables for Christmas, so I grabbed those and hooked them up. Engine cranked and started. The above video is the third or fourth start. I only ran it for a few seconds at a time because it doesn't have a belt and it's still leaking some fuel from the injectors.

It seems to run pretty smooth and it isn't knocking. Still don't know if there is any coolant in the system. According to the oil light, it is building pressure. I also pulled the dipstick and found it definitely has been building pressure. Looks pretty nasty, needs an oil change. It's possible it also needs a head gasket but I don't know for sure yet.

So.... It needs:
  • Motor Mounts
  • Hoses
  • Belt
  • Brake Hoses
  • All fluids flushed and replaced
  • Filters
not necessarily in that order. I also need to weld the steering shaft so we can move it into my shop.
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-11-2020, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, yesterday I drilled a hole through the steering shaft and then got a bolt through it. It will turn now. I can get it into my shop where we can really work on replacing things.

Today my daughter helped get my old tires mounted on her wheels and replaced the battery cables by herself. I put the belt on while she did that.

FYI, I went to a welding shop and bought cable and had him swedge ends on the cables for me. Total cost was $14. Parts store battery cables are $15 EACH, and it's inferior wire. Waiting on a battery and then we'll see how it drives. We also picked up the injector o-ring kit.




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post #11 of 15 Old 03-13-2020, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Hooked up the battery today. Started it up and ran it for a little bit. It's really annoying not having gauges. It has dummy lights instead of gauges. So dumb.

Anyway, it runs. It isn't leaking fuel anymore, so I guess the o-rings swelled back up. I shut it off and it kept running for a few seconds after I turned the key off. That was weird. I guess a stuck solenoid somewhere?
After I shut it off, it wouldn't start again. So later I had my daughter lay underneath and hit the starter with a hammer while I tried cranking it again. It started. So, we need to pull the starter and rebuild it. No big deal.

It has no brakes because the rear brake hose is cut. I was going to crimp it off and drive it, but I got a little too excited and forgot to crimp it. I drove it into my shop by shifting it in and out of neutral. The transmission works, at least.

It's running pretty rough now that all the pulleys are turning and the oil looks baaaaad. Milkshake bad. Might be a headgasket. We'll change all the fluids and see what happens.



It's amazing looking at the same engine through three generations. The Comanche has such a messy engine bay with wires and relays everywhere (still have no idea where the fusebox or computer is!), the YJ is a little more organized, and the TJ is really laid out nice and clean.

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post #12 of 15 Old 03-16-2020, 03:40 PM Thread Starter
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My daughter changed the oil today. The old oil came out looking like mud. It sounds much better with the fresh oil. Haven't run it long enough to see if the head gasket is blown or not.

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post #13 of 15 Old 03-23-2020, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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Daughter removed the starter and started cleaning it up. I'll take some more pictures tomorrow when we tear it apart on the bench.


where did batman train

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post #14 of 15 Old 03-24-2020, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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My daughter got it all torn apart and cleaned up. She did a pretty good job. As I suspected, the brushes were shot.



I've got a new brush set on order, as well as all new brake hoses, coolant/heater hoses, thermostat, motor mounts, air filter and some smaller missing pieces. Should be driveable in a couple of weeks, but it won't be going on the highway until it gets a new (used) steering shaft.

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post #15 of 15 Old 04-04-2020, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update:

Since I last updated, the starter was put back together and reinstalled. The parts I had ordered all came in. We tried to replace the rear brake hose, but the nuts are frozen to the lines. Fine, I need to take the bed off anyway, and working on the lines will be a lot easier with no bed.

So my daughter started unbolting the bed today. She was able to get two bolts off of various things that are bolted to the bed, and the rest just spun. I kind of figured that might happen. So I might end up just cutting the bed off.

On the plus side, when I get the bed off, I'll be able to build a sub-frame that everything can bolt to, rather than having all this crap bolted to the bed from the bottom.

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