1995 YJ by FiveLakesYJ - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 20 Old 12-31-2015, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
FiveLakesYJ
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1995 YJ by FiveLakesYJ

My love for Jeeps began when I was a kid. The dad of one of my friends built dune buggies (we lived on the Oregon coast) for fun and profit. One day they stopped by my house with a Jeep that was to be the dadís next project. I remember thinking that I would one day own a Jeep. We went for a ride up into the mountains on old logging roads and then to the beach. While that dream never died, life managed to get in the way. Time in the Navy, raising a son as a single dad, twenty years working with Boy Scouts and at-risk boys. The list could go on and on.

Two years ago, my now grown son and I were talking while eating some barbecued ribs and drinking a few beers. I hadnít thought about Jeeps for quite a while. Somehow, the subject came up and David (my son) said something like ďIíd be a millionaire now if I had a penny for every time youíve said you wished you had a Jeep.Ē After he went home, I started looking on Craigslist.

The story of how I found this Jeep is in my introductory post here.

Considering its entire life has been on the salty roads of southern Minnesota, it was in better condition than I expected. Itís a 1995 YJ and was completely stock. The PO took out most of his stereo and all the speakers but left the huge mess of wiring. Youíll see the mess of wires in some of the photos to come. What amazed me most was I took out close to 20 feet of 2 gauge copper that fed the stereo! I found the mounts and wiring for at least SIX speakers in addition to the sound bar.

Hereís a photo of it the day I bought it.

[IMG][/IMG]

It was my daily driver for a year while I decided how and where I would be driving it and deciding on how to build it. I had the money to spend on it so I decided to just take it out of service and do a complete frame off rebuild.

First up was the fact I had no garage. I found a good deal on a Ďportableí 12 x 24 shed that would serve nicely. To get it into my back yard, David and I cut down two trees and removed a small portion of the lilac bushes. We dug a patch of turf out 16 x 30 feet, laid down plastic and then six inches of packed ĺĒ limestone. The shed was delivered and the driver centered it to within an inch on either side on the first try.

[IMG][/IMG]

Once that was done, I bought a tool chest and gathered up all my tools and sorted them into an Ďorganized messí. Off to the store once again to get an angle grinder and impact wrench. I borrowed the floor jack and welder from a friend that was getting ready to move and he was very happy to let me keep them until I was done.

Everything was sliding into place and we decided the first weekend of this past May would be the day we drove the Jeep into the shed and get to work. Unfortunately, a couple days before the appointed time, the Jeep quit running. Iíll detail the fix later, but I did get the engine running long enough to get it into the shed under itís own power.

[IMG][/IMG]

You can't read the bumper sticker, but it says "Buy a hybrid, my Jeep needs the gas!"

Seven and a half months later (two weeks ago), the Jeep proudly rolled out of the shed once again running great!

What youíll be seeing in this thread is taking the Jeep down to the frame,

[IMG][/IMG]

welding in patches to the frame,

[IMG][/IMG]

rust proofing, OME lift, new brakes, brake lines, fuel pump, lots of hidden rust, huge holes in the tub

[IMG][/IMG]

and frame, reassembly, probably more than a few beer cans, and the final (for now) photo of it street legal and running again. Itís nowhere near being done, but its close enough to drive for the winter and do the paint and some other tweaks in the spring.

The list of people that helped is long, but includes my son, brother, some of the boys (now men) Iíve helped in the past, one current Scout (earning his auto maintenance merit badge), assorted friends and even a couple complete strangers (now friends). Iíll be cashing in my party jar soon to fund a party for all that helped. Whatís a party jar, you ask? Well, itís a jar that I put all my change in. Itís been building for quite some time and has several hundreds of dollars in it.

Well, enough rambling onÖ. Itís time to get to work.

My next post will show most of the disassembly and getting it to the frame.

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post #2 of 20 Old 01-01-2016, 07:54 AM
responder
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I am in a similar situation with mine, except you are ahead of me. Bare frame right now......subscribed! Good luck
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post #3 of 20 Old 01-01-2016, 10:54 AM
chris87xj
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Subbed, this one starts off worth watching.

***Chris***

"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 #4 of 20 Old 01-01-2016, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
FiveLakesYJ
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Separating tub from frame

Thank you for the kind words. Chris, I hope to not let you (or anyone) down with the thread. I've got lots of pictures, a little imagination, and hopefully ability to tell a good story as I goÖ

Before getting it into the garage, I tried to document the previous owner's incredible body work skills. I knew when I bought it that I would be doing some body work myself and I hoped to be able to at least equal his work.

Before I get into that though, I found a better shot of my bumper sticker. I can make them at work and they're just magnetic tape such as the signs you might see on cars and trucks.



The passenger front fender is a work of art displaying unimaginable measuring and fitting skill. And no, I'm not really that fat and ugly as the reflection on the Jeep's hood would have you believe. It's the curvature of the hood.... notice the back door of the house in the reflection....



Passenger side behind the door. This was my favorite patch for a while. Then, I lifted out the carpet and discovered the hole in the floor. I'll post a photo of that when I show the work on restoring the tub. Suffice it to say there was more hole than floor.



OK, I'm done with the sarcasm. In all honesty, the PO did a good job of taking care of the Jeep, mostly. Mechanically, it is sound and I would have no problem with driving long distances with it. I know there are horror stories about previous owners here, but I believe the guy did a good job overall.

One of the first decisions I made was to take as many photographs as possible so that when it came time to put the Jeep back together I'd have a good reference. Each part was photographed from different angles before it was removed.



In addition, before the part was removed, it got a piece of blue tape with a description and/or number on it. The corresponding spot it came from got a piece of tape with the same description and/or number. When it came time to paint something, the tape was photographed, removed and replaced when the paint was dry.



Here's David removing the driver's front fender. We had a heck of a time with the support rods for both fenders. I had already read the instructions for the Metalcloak fenders and knew what to keep in good shape, but I wanted to keep everything reusable. PB Blaster was quickly becoming one of my best friends!



I don't remember what this discussion was about and I probably never knew. This is David and the Scout that was helping every step of the way. As usual, I'm sure they were conspiring against me on something. I'm not paranoidÖ. I knew they were out to get meÖ



I should also mention here that the FAQ page for YJs became almost a bible for this rebuild. I followed leftlanetruckin's tub removal thread extensively for this part.

With the hood and fenders off, we finished with taking off the grill and radiator. I wanted to have the most free access to the frame as possible to check everything and repaint it. One extra thing I did was once the radiator/grill was off I set the body mount back on the frame and photographed it. I figured it might help in installing the new body mounts. I ended up doing that with one of each of the other sizes for the tub. It turned out to be a great idea.



I left the dash in since my original plan for the tub was to weld patches in. Later, after finding out how extensive the rust was I changed directions and bought new side panels rather than try to weld a hundred patches in. About the time of this photo we were double checking that we had everything separated and would be able to lift the tub off.



The day came to lift the tub off! We had my trusty Scout, David, myself and one of David's buddies. David and his friend took the front corners of the tub, Scout and I took the rear corners. A side story hereÖ Whenever the boy was asked to lift or move something, he always pulled his "I'm too skinny/not strong enough" routine. Oddly enough, this time he didn't. Anyway, he pulled his own weight lifting his corner of the tub. After we were done, I told him that his 'skinny' routine would never work again.





I was very surprised with the body mount bolts. With all the stories here about breaking bolts, spinning captive nuts, etc., every one of mine came out on the first try with the impact wrench. No problems with any of them.

Well, that's the story for getting the tub off. Next up will be inspecting the frame,



Prepping the frame for patches,



And welding the frame.



We're comfortable enough with our welding skills to do the tub, but the frame was beyond our abilities. A pro welder buddy of mine agreed to do the frame welding. His price was decent also: two full racks of barbecued ribs, a batch of my secret recipe baked beans and a pint of my secret recipe barbecue sauce. I threw in a couple pounds of my barbecued pulled pork as a gratuity. And, yes even the tires got blue tape recording which corner they came off of.
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post #5 of 20 Old 01-01-2016, 08:50 PM
lovett86
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Nice work on the yj

its a rusty one

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/90-yj-frame-swap-build-up-1434246/
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post #6 of 20 Old 01-03-2016, 05:18 AM
responder
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Ah, these YJ's are always a surprise when you start ripping them apart! What are your plans for the rear shock mounts? Are you going back to factory ones or aftermarket?
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post #7 of 20 Old 01-03-2016, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
FiveLakesYJ
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Thanks, lovett86. We did the best we could, sometimes got to do something two or three times, but in the end, the Jeep drives great.

responder, yes, we had many surprises with the Jeep. One of the biggest was just how much work the frame took. I'm glad we took the tub off. The more we poked and prodded, the more holes we found in the frame. We replaced one shock mount, the passenger side rear. All of the purchased frame patches were from Safe-T-Cap. I did make some from flat stock that weren't going around corners or anything. I'm hoping tonight I can get a post ready showing the frame work. The work on the frame almost doubled the length of time for the rebuild.
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post #8 of 20 Old 01-03-2016, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
FiveLakesYJ
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Frame Repair 1

Iíll start off this post with saying ĎIf I only knew then what I know now.í

This entire rebuild has been a giant learning experience. It will come as no surprise as you see the photos here that I had very little knowledge about checking the frame for damage. Looking back, Iíd probably buy the Jeep anyway, since it was the best one I had looked at. After checking the frame with the tub off, I did a LOT of research to find my best options. The front of the frame was solid with only surface rust. Most of the sides were good. The rear third of the frame was a disaster.

As I said earlier, the frameís rust cost me a lot of time. For this postís journey back in time, we arrive around the middle of May.

Hereís a shot of the rear of the frame. We had already cut the rear cross member off by the time I took this angle of a photo. Youíll be able to see it in other photos. I should also mention that before doing any cutting, grinding or anything, I spent hours measuring and measuring again. I found the photo of the measurements in a post by mightybg in a thread by busajoe.



Hereís a photo with the rear cross member still attached. I just noticed that the track bar is also still attached so this must have been even earlier in the process that I first thought. I removed both track bars and will be putting the sway bar disconnects on in the spring.



A close up of the cross member that supports the front of the gas tank and skid plate. The skid plate was a total loss as well. I was sure the cross member would not be able to support the new skid plate and a full tank of gas.



You canít see the gaping hole in the skid in this shot, but it was big enough to want me to replace it. It was too easy to do the 15 to 20 gallon tank conversion like this, but I did it anyway. The fuel pump looked like it was the original one and had more than 140,000 miles on it. I replaced that also.



Hereís a photo of the grill body mount. I reassembled it after taking the grill/radiator out so Iíd have a reference for putting the new one on. I also did this with one each of the two sizes of mounts for the tub.



The worst of the rust was at both rear shackle mount areas. Hereís the passenger side. As I cleaned it up, the hole grew much larger. We ended up cutting much more out that I thought we would have to.



The passenger side upper shock mount was replaced. Two photos of the initial cut and clean. We removed a bit more and as with all areas to be welded we cleaned down to clean solid steel.





Two more holes in the frame.





Thatís pretty much all the damage. I wasnít expecting anywhere near that much. I was very happy to be at the point of welding the new parts in and getting back to what I thought I would be doing at that point.

Hereís one last photo for this post. All the patches are welded in and the chassis is back in the shed for painting and the rest. My next post will show the patches and finished frame.

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post #9 of 20 Old 01-03-2016, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
FiveLakesYJ
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Frame Repair 2

I decided to make this part into two posts instead of one long one. In the last post, I showed the frame damage and some of the cleaning and prepping we did. This post will show the patches and finished chassis.

All of the purchased frame patches are from Safe-T-Cap. I made a couple out of flat stock that didnít have to go around any corners. For the paint, I used Eastwoodís Extreme Chassis Black and their internal frame coating. I have enough of that left over that I will be recoating my Metalcloaks with it in the spring. It got too cold too fast to do it properly, so I did what I could with some less expensive stuff on the Metalcloaks to last until then.

This was the most trying part of the entire job. I broke one tape measure from throwing it across the garage. I lost one because I didnít see where it landed in the pile of scrap and had no desire to try to find it. If it had been small holes with small patches, no problem. But, I removed two cross members and spent many hours measuring and re-measuring since they both hold body mounts.

Hereís a shot of the new shock mount getting positioned. Once I had it marked I knew how much area it would cover and made sure I could leave enough good steel underneath it for welding.



This shot will give a clue as to why I would get so frustrated. I had to go through this twice, once at each corner and no matter how tightly I had one side clamped down, even the most minor adjustment on the other side would screw up the first side. This is the new rear cross member being fitted to the new shackle mount cap which is clamped to what remains of the frame. Looking back at it, I can laugh and wonder why only two tape measures bit the dust.



In this photo, we were working on only the end cap with the new shackle mount on it. No matter how well we thought we had the frame cut just right, we would have to grind off just a shad to get it perfect. At this point the body mount on the rear cross member only had to be a certain distance back. Once the end cap was in place we had to worry about the side to side of the cross member. I gotta say though, Safe-T-Cap did a great job of manufacturing these pieces.



Old school logic vs new parts applied here. The mark at the bottom center of the hole for the shackle was spot on in itís measurement. The rear cross member fit too tight to get where it needed to be. Remembering a lesson from my dad, we got it to fit. The lesson? Donít use force, just get a bigger hammer!



With all the measurements done and parts tack welded in place to survive the trip, we set off to the welder. The instructions for the U-Haul trailer gave a specific size for the largest tire that would strap down. Donít tell them, but ummÖ. We kind of forgot that part for the trip. It was strapped down tight and safely. On cautionís side we did make it a slow trip.



One of the happiest moments of this entire thing was standing back and watching him weld the frame together.



Sheís back in the shed and ready to prime and paint.



The new gas tank skid plate finally arrived and is ready to have the gas tank installed and the whole assembly mounted to the now fully painted frame.



I guess Iím getting tired and skipped a bit and donít want to go back and correct itÖ Anyway, hereís the rear of the frame painted and ready for the gas tank.



And the front of the frame is done. Any threaded holes were filled with cotton balls to prevent paint from getting into the threads.



I was really happy with how the new shock mount turned out. Iíve been driving the Jeep for a little more than two weeks now and everything seems solid. I havenít had a chance to push the limits yet, but Iím sure there wonít be any problemsÖ. I hopeÖ.



The final photo for the frameÖ Itís ready to roll out of the shed and get chained to the tree while the tub goes inside for itís make over. The whole time we were working on the chassis, the tub sat outside chained to the tree and covered. They traded places with the help of several friends and the tub will be the subject of the next post. It will probably be next weekend before I have the time to arrange the photos and write it all up.
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post #10 of 20 Old 01-04-2016, 09:45 AM
jmart2119
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Man I do not envy those of you with all those rust problems on the frame. Nice work so far! Subbed along for the ride!

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post #11 of 20 Old 01-05-2016, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
FiveLakesYJ
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Many thanks! The rust on the frame was a lot more than I expected. On the bright side, I learned a lot about fixing it and frame repair in general. Hopefully, I'll be able to help others in the future. Along with the rust (the bad thing), we have snowmobiling, ice fishing, skiing and the occasional snowball fight.... Hmm... I need to practice throwing snowballs.... I have a grandson due soon....
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post #12 of 20 Old 01-05-2016, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
FiveLakesYJ
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I just now discovered that I was even more tired than I thought the other night. Here is the last photo of the frame post. This is the chassis ready to roll out of the garage so we can bring the tub in and start working on it.

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post #13 of 20 Old 01-05-2016, 10:04 PM
leftlanetruckin
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Glad to see folks still reading the stuff I put together many moons ago.
Looking great, keep up the good work!

Martin

1998 XJ on 37's.JK Rubi axles with chromo shafts and ctm's, 4:1 transfer case, etc etc etc.
2003 Range Rover HSE, 4.4 Quad Cam.
1998 Range Rover with a 6.0 LSx
1994 YJ, 4.3/700R4/OME SOA, etc
Western Star 4900EX 4 axle.
4.3/700r4/new frame buildup (YJ)....

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post #14 of 20 Old 01-06-2016, 08:37 PM
responder
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Coming along nicely. What did you end up painting the frame with?
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post #15 of 20 Old 01-07-2016, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
FiveLakesYJ
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I used Eastwood's Extreme Chassis Black for the exterior of the frame and their Internal Frame Coating for the inside of the frame. I'm not sure how well it will hold up but I'm keeping a close eye on everything. I'm being especially vigilant on checking things every couple of days right now since it's winter and salt is on the roads. I have some left over, so doing some touchup here and there won't be a problem. I'll probably use the same stuff on the Metalcloaks in the spring. It's too cold now for painting.
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