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99 Flex-Jay

6624 Views 37 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  XJmike0122
My beloved 92 was totaled in April of 2010. I moved on for a while, but got the bug to see what she could still do. After tinkering and playing with it since this past summer started (made a thread for that bit of time), I determined the body was toast. Nothing lined up and it was far too rusty to deal with. Yes, it could be fixed, but with the money I'd spend in steel, I figured I'd find a body and be done with it... that's exactly what happened.

The new rig's specs:
99 Sport
Blown 4.0 (overheated due to heater core pipe failure)
D30/8.25 w/3.55s & open diffs
Lots and lots of missing parts.

The first stage specs to be:
Bolded = complete
Stock 4.0

NP-231 with SYE


IRO 4.5" coils
IRO 3.5" leafs
Lift shackles
RC shackle relocation
Bilsteins with bar-pin eliminators
IRO double shear trackbar
4-link long arm front suspension
Bump stop according to tire+lift combo
Limiting straps

Coil sprung - Waggy 44 Front with ARB Locker, 4.88 gears, truss, and J10 flat top knuckles with hi-steer
Leaf sprung - 98+ Isuzu 44 Rear with Detroit locker and 4.88 gears

Table of Contents:
Initial Status and Engine Removal

Pre-engine install cleanup and initial fender trimming
Rockauto parts for engine transplant
Work prior to transplant of drivetrain
Drivetrain/784 neon injector install
Door molding adhesive removal (with eraser wheel)
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1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Now with the goodies-
The taped up windows are due to a lack of any internals in the doors.

No...the PO did not mark the connectors. I spent an hour and a half with the FSM going through wire colors to figure everything out.

The valve cover, dshaft, and compressor are from the 99, the intake, tb and sensors are from a buddy of mine whose engine got swapped out.

Said no thank you to fender flares, so I ground the heads off the bolts and pulled the liner.

Ready for trimming.

Sallie approves. Look how happy she is!

Because I'm a boss, I pulled the drivetrains from both XJs in a 3 day span. It's surprising how easy it is to pull these things.

Got some goodies at the junkyard. The engine still needs misc gaskets, timing chain and cover set, motor mounts and an alternator. The body/interior needs window regulators, door panels, mirrors, switch panel, header panel with wiring harness, and a rear bumper. After that, she should be ready to drive.

I was bored one night and decided to candy the tail lights. Scuffed up...

Cleaned and masked off

3ish coats of color and 2ish coats of clear. Ran out of both when I redid the drivers-side light. Might need to pick up more and respray it.

Dad scored some 2x3 and 2x4 steel from work. Can you say new rocker panels? :)
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Today, I cleaned the engine bay with Purple Power, trimmed and partially painted the front fender and cut and folded the rear fender. The lower quarter is next after I get some more paint and an orbital sander.

I'm guessing when the engine blew, it blew all kinds of oil and crap everywhere, hence the dirt.

After some time with the tire brush and a cloth. it's not perfect, but it's much much better.

Marked the top most body line as a guide to make sure that it matched the same line. My initial trim was rough, so I smoothed it out in relation to the top line. After it was smooth, I removed the marker lines and started to mask things off.

Under the white paint was SHINY red metallic. (Chili Pepper Red I believe) No sanding it seems. No wonder it flaked off so easily.

Trimmed and smoothed.

Masked and primed

Rear quarter with slits cut in between every 1 or so plug welds. Don't want to cut those as it gets rid of quarter rigidity.

Hammered over. This corner has been repaired so all the paint flaked off. I was going to pre-heat the paint, but said no to that as it'll get painted black anyways later on.

The best picture of this that I have so far. Once I get the whole Jeep done as far as trimming and paint, I'll whore it out. :)
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After setting idle for 5 months, I FINALLY got going on the thing. All the parts from RockAuto have showed up. Install starts a week from Saturday (spring break). Hopefully everything will be in by at least the Wednesday after that. That's my goal anyways.

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Day 1 of work began with a phone call from Mom telling me to take the dog to the groomers. Not how I expected to start my day. After dicking around with that for a couple of hours, I finally got going.

After doing miscellaneous stuff around the house, I got in the garage. So far, I've installed the injectors with new orings, throttle body with new gasket, and a couple trim pieces on the hatch. I also soldered the license plate light wiring together because the PO thought it'd be a good idea to cut it off (the guy's an idiot). Spent some time with the torch and ratchet getting the adjuster bolt out of the power steering/idler bracket. As usual, it wasn't moving very well and I was afraid it was going to break. All came out well and it should be good for the install.

Tomorrow, with the help of Dad, the plan is to get the timing set installed, exhaust manifold crack welded up as well as put in new downpipe flange bolts. If all that pans out, I can installed the new manifold gasket, install the accessory drive and bolt up the transmission.

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Got some real work done today. Installed the new timing set, welded up the exhaust manifold, got the manifolds installed, got most of the accessory drive installed, and got the a/c compressor separated from the bracket. Will have to drill and tap that later.

The old timing set. The amount of slop in the chain was amazing.

This looks like a lot of wear to me. Could be normal but sure looks odd.

Here's the old cover. Notice the lack of a snubber or any place to mount it? Yeah. I reckon that the chain did that. Also, the nipple for the cam preload button is gone. We pulled the cover from the blown 99 engine, which was whole and had a snubber, cleaned it up and installed it.

Dad cleaned up the head while I finished the timing set install.

Dad's attempt at welding. He's never had any instruction on any of this stuff, so this is how it turned out. I don't know much myself, so I could really offer any advice. Not to mention that's steel weld on stainless steel pipe... When it cracks badly enough again, I'll spend the cash on a new style manifold with flex joints.

The new hotness. Notice the lack of slop??

Here's most of the accessory drive bolted up. Test fitted my belt from the modded 92 setup and it's too long. Gotta order a goodyear 4060805 (80.5" long) belt tonight. The old is a 4060827 (82.75" long).

Video of the chain slop.
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Got a bunch of stuff done yesterday. Got the engine mated with the transmission, transmission filter changed, put anti-seize on the tcase studs because all AW4 owners know how much of a ***** those can be, got the cb radio mounted up, reinstalled the rear brake line, put on rear brake drums, swapped the rear wheels from the 92, drilled and tapped a broken crossmember bolt (not so sure on the strength of that one), and last but not least, I installed my cruise control controls. Haha

Dad helping with the tcase studs

This is my location for the cb. If I hate it, then I'll move it. Seems like it should be okay for now, though.

Have to buy new engine mount bolts and she'll be in today (Monday, 3-12)!

End of the day, at 4:15am.
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Big update time:

Bought the world's best fluids for it. I was going to put in 10w30, but they didn't have any single quarts left, so I opted for 10w40. The engine doesn't seem to care, so I'm not worried. At least it's CLEAN oil. Haha

Got the drivetrain installed Tuesday-ish. Went to fire it up and it wouldn't start, running on maybe one cylinder. After process of elimination, we narrowed it down to the injectors. One was firing, with another barely spitting and the others doing nothing at all. Great fuel pressure, just no flow.

The new Quadratec catalog sitting on the brake booster of course. Haha

I headed to the junkyard, Thursday, to get some parts. While I was there, I picked up a TPS (was throwing a code) and a set of 784 injectors. I installed them, of course, without the pintle caps because I didn't know what those were. So right now, there aren't any caps installed. Seems to be fine, so... yeah.

Here she is, smoking out the garage. Our hypothesis is that when the old engine blew, it poured coolant down the exhaust and, thus, into the catalytic convertor. The burning has gone down quite a bit, though I can still smell a hint of coolant in the exhaust. Also, the IAC is stuck in high idle mode and is idling at about 1700 rpm. If you blip the throttle it'll hold at 3k. Shut it off and restart, back to 1700...and it's been cleaned, so it's definitely not dirty. Corroded and rusty, sure.

I ordered an IAC from eBay tonight, so that should solve that problem. The idle sure makes getting the Jeep in and out of the garage quite interesting. :)

Pulled out of the garage for the first time under it's own power since we got it in august. Man do I love the sound of the 4.0l.

Took the air-snips to the front drivers fender. I think it turned out okay. Needs some smoothing out, then the lip painted.

Hooked up a set of battery tender ring terminals permanently to the Jeep because the battery is on its last legs, so keeping it plugged in should prolong its life somewhat.

Going for a different look this time around, I took off the roof rack. I'm kind of torn on how it looks, but think it's *different*. We'll see if it stays that way.

Went to complete the passenger rear quarter trim tonight. Thought to myself "I need to take this trim off so I can see if something in there could catch fire". Surely enough, a sealed bag with fiberglass insulation was in there (along with tons of dirt, rust, and rocks that somehow make their way up there). I'm assuming that the body shop, that fixed the body from a wreck, threw it in there to quiet it up before putting the trim back in.

1.5hrs or so, here's it *mostly* done. Still needs riveting/welding, filled, sanded (more) and painted, but it looks alright.

That's all folks. Heading back to Btown tomorrow for school. Should be getting the new IAC this Wednesday, then back home for a truck show and more work. I'll report back then.
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Yeah. I saw that you didn't do the cut and fold on yours and I got immediately sad. You should get that seam welded up before the thing gets too tweaked. Your XJ's body is too nice for that.

The plan so far is Waggy 44/98+ Isuzu 44, 4.88s, 35" Treadwrights, 4.5-5.5" of lift, front Clayton 4link long arms, high steer with flat-top knuckles, hybrid cage, 2x4 rockers, custom inner fenders, and when all that has been achieved, Dana 300 with 4:1 and a stroker. :)

Maybe a bit ambitious, but hey, can't a man dream? :laugh:
Small update. More coming tomorrow

Used this: go from this this

Only pieces were the drill, the pad, and the arbor. The arbor is a standard 5/16ths piece, but I didn't have one, so I bought one. The pad just screws in and then put the arbor into the drill.
The pad:
The arbor:

Most definitely the easiest way to remove adhesive, and it doesn't scratch or wear the paint if you do it properly (move the side to side when in use). I love it.

I also painted the grille and bezels flat black and installed the wiring harness and turn/parking lamps.

Next up, bedlining the quarters, doors, and fenders.
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Thanks Robert. Have you started a thread for that thing yet?
Bedlined the side today
Masked off

Light coat of primer

Second layer of primer. Spotted in the next layer.

Lined. I did a light coat the first couple layers. The third (and final layer I think) was more of trying to achieve the texture I wanted. It's not perfect, but it seems to be blending better as it cures.

The texture I was going for. I got pretty close.

RC shackle relocation. Makes me realize how badly I need new leafs and shackles.

My modified cb antenna mount. Was originally a hood-mount, but I made it work for the quarter panel. It's a little thin where the bend is, so we'll see how it holds. It's made of stainless, so I think it should be okay.

IRO front recovery. This thing is beef. Requires drilling a 1/2" hole in the front crossmember, but it should do the job nicely. The powdercoating on this is MUCH nicer than the RC crap. Never buying anything from them again. Great service, just crap for a finish.
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Pulled/bought one-a-deeze today.
-63ish" WMS-WMS
-3.167 (what I got on the caliper) or 3.180 or 3.250" axle tubes (Don't have a caliper with long enough arms to correctly measure the tubes)
-Disc brakes
-30 spline 1.5" wide shafts. Haven't measured for length yet.

This completes my selection of dana 44 axles to build. The front is a waggy 44. Very excited to get these going.

This isn't your average 44. The center section used a thicker pinion gear (not gear size, but actual width of pinion bearing surfaces and what not). I'll have to get a set of crossover bearings to bring it back to standard gear sizing so I can run standard 4.88s and a regular detroit/arb.

No c-clip axle here. I thought it was, based on appearances from the outside. Very happy about that.

This is the pass. side shaft. Bearings and all look to be good.
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Update time. Pulled the front doors off about 2 months ago. Haven't had time to make them removable yet (I'm 70 miles away from the thing). Here I am flexing the thing with the broken drivers rear shock mount. Things go a little tippy.

Got a set of worn 31 BFG ATs from work. They're worn oddly, some places 10/32s, some 6/32s. Bought some cheap-*** 15x8 3.75"BS 5x4.5 rims from summit. They're summit brand and were about $40 a piece. Bought five because I got a spare 31 also from work.

Picture the girlfriend took of me mounting them up at work when I had a day off.

The next saturday I'm home, gonna mount these puppies on the Jeep, go get it titled and plated and go for a ****ing drive. Can't wait.
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Went home put the wheels on and checked stuff over. Dad insured and registered it and then we went for a drive. Amazing.

Brought it down to btown...I went a little deaf. No muffler nor front doors calls for a noisy ride, but man was it fun. Now when my muffler shows up and the rain stops, I can truly go for a cruise. The girlfriend approves too. :cheers:

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Put my custom-cut tailpipe on and went to the lake with my girlfriend. On the way back, we noticed some funny smells. Get back to the garage, open the hatch to get our cameras out and I something burning. The carpet feels oddly warm so I pull it up and see black. Turns out the exhaust is burning the floor, insulation, and carpet. Looks like I gotta pull that tailpipe and weld on some more pipe to push it down to the ground. Here's to hoping that I didn't melt my gas tank. :eek:

Photographic proof.

Looks like I have some work to do before wheeling, along with getting the tcase skid and temporary hitch on.
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Thanks, Straight. I like it too. It's no body shop quality work, but it'll do and looks great with the bedliner on there. I still need to seal it all up, but why bother when I'll probably cut the inner fenders out to make larger ones later. The extra clearance out back was definitely beneficial offroad. There were several times where I would have smashed my lower quarters in for sure.

Took the beast wheeling in October. Just now getting around to posting pics about it. First time offroading. Did well, considering what's done to it.

Just about all of the photos here are by Jeffro. (Thanks again, man) Here's his site. Go check out his stuff AND his sick Yellow Rubi TJ (

The trail report from the trip.
Towards the beginning of the day. Notice the lack of mud.

After about an hour of wheeling.

At some point, I got some mud in the RF tire's bead. Had to swap it out for my ****ty spare. Made it up a ledge/hill that some Xterras were having trouble with. Let's just say, there were a couple of tight trees up there. Any wider and I would have had some trouble.

Came across a small puddle early in the day. Stuck and churning up the mud. Rock the hell out of it and ended up backing out. Mud shot out of the frame rail (not pictured).

This was my second attempt at the same hole. I gave it hell. Only thing I ruined here was the air filter (didn't find that out until last month. ha).

Climbing. Let's just say, it wasn't having it.


and more spinning...

Sick shot by Jeffro. I dig it.
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Thanks. It was a blast wheeling it. It's been sitting around ever since.

A list of problems that need to be fixed as from the trip:
Alternator relocation and replacement (move to AC pump location)
Engine intake relocate
Seal the ignition up
Rear suspension had NO droop. Working on fixing that now.
Tire rub up front
Rear bumper
Replace and/or relocate the battery.

Went to start it up over Christmas break and it wouldn't fire. Narrowed it down to the crank sensor killing 5v power from the PCM when it was plugged in. Ordered a mopar sensor from Kolak for around 65 dollars. Cheaper than any parts store brand (they're all junk and don't last like the mopar ones do) and OEM. Installed it last weekend. Works great now.

I also have a new pair of 2" Old Man Emu Heavy Load leafs sitting in the back of the Jeep at home. Going to get the front springs, brake lines, trackbar and drop shackles before I install them. Going to bump stop accordingly and then measure for shock length once I have everything installed. Should work out great and even better once I go Clayton's long arms up front.
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Got some work done on the XJ this weekend. Took some photos too.

The state of the interior. It's muddy and the floors need cleaned and bedlined. A lot of wiring needs re-ran and tucked up. That door wiring is a mess.

My pride and joy.

New ACDelco master cylinder. Brand new with res. for about $50 off of amazon.

2" Heavy Duty OME leafs waiting to go in.

Removed the rear sway bar and factory bump stops. Broke two bump stop bolts in the process, even with a bit of torching before removing them.

Picked up a 4.88 Dana 44 ring and pinion from a buddy in my offroad club. Got a fantastic deal on them. New, never used Yukon-brand gears. Awesome! Thanks idiot magnet!.
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Thanks Mark. I enjoy it.

I've done a few things lately. Brought it down from home to drive while the niner's getting some rest. The thermostat gasket has been leaking for a while, so I did that today. Ended up replacing the thermostat housing because I buggered it up so bad from hammering it off. The top bolt broke and was corroded to the housing. Found exact replacements for the bolts and housing. Sweet.

Took the all 4 doors off and drove to the lake with my girlfriend. Gonna work on those hinges tomorrow and try to get them off so I can weld in my M10 bolts.

I bought an undercoating gun off of amazon to spray bedliner with. Have some floor pan patching to do before that can happen. Also need to wash the mud out of the interior. Hasn't been cleaned since it got wheeled in October. Gross.

Been working on a new wiring setup. Going to do it up real nice and use a sealed relay box and switch pod somewhere inside. The plan is to use Contura II switches as well, but I might axe that for the sake of cost. Here is what I have so far as far as a wiring diagram. Not done, just something to get started with.

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32" Coopers STTs. No other updates for now.


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