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Old 05-15-2012, 10:23 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Austin, TX
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Rust repair, Lift install and overall enhancements

After taking my 93 YJ to the Jeep shop to have them evaluate and hopefully fix the rusted out rear frame (you know what I am talking about), they kindly told me "your frame is wasted". $4200 to get another frame and move everything.

After I picked up my jaw, I said thanks I will take it home. I read (and read) the forums about how all y'all have fixed this very problem I decided I would too.

Oh and I had already purchased the Rough Country 4" lift kit (sitting in my garage when the shop gave me the news). I might have cried just a little that day. But as I said the forum gave me the courage to move forward salvaging this jeep.

Side note... I bought this jeep in Austin Texas it was registered in Texas (mid Texas). I noticed they had sprayed the frame recently but on initial view it looks good (no rust and no holes). Not that I knew what I was looking for. Shoot I didn't learn until after purchase the common rust problem on the YJ's. But I also didn't think a Texas jeep would be rusted out. Anyway turns out the jack ass that had this jeep before me boundo'ed the crap out of the rust and then painted over it. Once I got to poking and chipping is when I decided to take to a shop. Now it is in my shop (the garage). Needless to say not safe to drive.

So I have a buddy that is a welder by trade, awesome!!! he can help me with the Safe T Cap braces I bought (posted in another thread a bunch of questions about the installation of these). If you have advice on installing these I would love to hear it.

I begin by dropping the gas tank. Only to get to the gas tank I have to remove the "bumper guards" (the round things that seem like bumper stops or something). Every single bolt is a pain in the butt. Then I have a class B hitch which is a monster 50lb hunk of metal. The two bolts on the ends of this were rusted through. Snapped right off. Now I have access to the tank. I read the forum on how to drop this guy (just to make sure there are no surprises). This actually when quite easy, except every single bolt snapped. Well I just put them into a baggy and will have to get replacements along with all the others that are soon to follow.

Now gas tank out of the way I tackle the leaf springs. I don't have air wrench, but I do have some muscle I am able to get U bolts off and passenger side spring off. The bolt holding spring to frame was rough. It required some hammering to come on out. I think I jimmyed the threads just a little, so might have to bring him to the bolt shop with the others. But alas I have the passenger side spring off. I refer to the terse instructions with the RC lift and notice is talks about brake relocation bracket.

I take a break from springs and take a look at the rear brake connection bracket. Rusted to hell. Matter fact I cannot attach wrench (even went out an bought flare wrenches) to the fitting. While playing with it the hard line sprung a leak. Of course it did, it is all rusted!!!. Man... feel like its getting deep. So I finally get the rusted clip off so that I could at least pull the hose, but the fittings on the axle were not so friendly either. Required vise grips to loosen, but after that they behaved. Spent a couple hours learning how to flare (and double or inverted flare and even the other kind that I can't remember right now) brake lines, as the whole replacement kit is another $200. Anyway I will be replacing the brake lines, doesn't look too difficult.

OK now back to what I was doing, oh yea... looking back at the RC lift website they do "suggest but not neccessary" brake line extensions for front and rear. Now I know why, what they tell you to in the instructions seems a bit cheesey, when what they should do is provide the dang brake line extensions as part of the lift (ah but then it wouldn't be so inexpensive ). BTW I bought the front brake line extensions from RC (actually from eBay as RC sells stuff on eBay. Saved a couple bucks that way). I figure I will run some extra hard line to the rear to compensate.

Ok... Ok... I am now removing the other leaf spring, only here is where the rough patch comes. The bolt holding the spring to the frame won't come out. The nut was really hard to get off (making me re-think the air tools). I am now a little cautious of banging the bolt with my handy hammer since I did just ding the threads on the other one. So I take it easy and use a piece of wood. Only this thing is not working with me. Back on the Inter-tubes to see what others have done. This is when I learn it could be FUSED to the sleeve in the bushing. Holy crap!!! I watched a guy cut the spring off, then cut the metal off around the bushing, cut the bushing, then heat the sleeve, and finally cut the sleeve and finally the bolt. Ooouuch! Is that what I have in store next?

I now own a grinder (needed one to clean the frame to weld the SafeTCap's on... remember that?). So I bought a cutting blade for it, only I feel like I bought the wrong kind as it doesn't fit too snug. I think something that spins at 1100 rpms should fit really snug Gotta look into that.

I have spray almost an entire can of PB Blaster on every bolt, nut, and hell some just in random places that look like it needed it. The rear of the jeep is definitely more rusty than the front. I sure hope the lift installation on the front goes smoother.

I will upload some pictures of the frame and brakes as I make progress.

Other things that I have done for the jeep since I bought it:
  • VDP Sound bar
  • new front speakers
  • new Rough Ridge security console
  • safari top
  • new starter
  • new emergency brake cables (apparently you need the parking break to work to pass inspection
  • new rear drum brake hardware (stuff was all nasty and rusty in there)
  • came with Kargo Safari roof rack. I have taken that big heavy thing off for now.
  • took the hard top off second week I had it.

Man... that reminds me about my brakes. While I am pouring out about my Jeep let me tell you about my brake story... I took the jeep to get state inspection. I was worried about the tires and emissions, but turned out the parking brake didn't work. OK E brake cables can't be that bad. I have done brakes before so I figure I can tackle this. As a matter of fact I had a 77 CJ while in college. When I get the jeep home tires off, I can't pull the drums off. I mean I bang, I wiggle, I cuss but they will not come off!!! Man... do I need a puller?

So I decide I will take the jeep to the brake shop and see what they might charge. They wanted something like $50 for the cables and $60 for the work. However they were good people, as when the technician came in to show the manager after he got the drums off, I asked if I could come with them to inspect. He said sure, come on back. That is unusual (at least from my experience). So we all looked at the brakes, which looked like crap with all the rust, but pads were good, cables were bad. We zipped it up an they needed to order cables. I called Autozone and they were like $19, so I decided install the cables myself. I mean now that they "loosened" the drums for me

Only now is where the crazy starts. I get home and off with the drums (still a little work to get one side off). I decide while I am here I am going to put new hardware in (kits are not expensive and while I am in here). So I purchase the kits from Autozone as I pick up the cables. Now when I get home, the springs in the kit just aren't matching up to what I have on the brakes. After trying to make them work I give up. I decide the pads are not the right pads, as they don't match up with what I see on the Internet. I go back to Autozone and buy the pads. When I get home, the pads won't even fit in the drums. OK OK OK maybe I am not so bright. Obviously I am dealing with something that is not Wrangler YJ. I found some great site that lists axles and differential pictures to help you identify what you have. I definitely did not have a dana 35 or 40. Best I could tell it was a GM corporate 10 bolt.

So I take this thing back to the brake shop and explain that I don't really know what axle is on there but that it is not a Wrangler axle. They guy was cool and said he would figure it out. They did and applied the new hardware. It is an axle from a Charokee 93 was his best guess. Nice... I have no idea what that is, I have deduced (based on some fire damage in the wheel well lining, and carpet melting) that it must have been in an accident at some point and someone must have decided to put a Charokee axle on there. Anyway.. brakes are great now (well right up until the rear brake line broke from rust ).

More to come...
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Old 05-15-2012, 10:29 PM   #2
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About the Safe T Cap braces. I have to cut the existing bushing out of the frame and the circle sleeve out. How have you done this (cutting blade or torch)?

Did you remove the rubber bushing before cutting out? How/where to get new bushing?

Do you just butt the brace up against the rear metal plate (the one running perpendicular to the frame)? It looks like the frame is welded to this.

Thanks for any pointers.

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Old 05-17-2012, 01:50 PM   #3
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yes, you have a Dana 35 rear axle. it might have come out of a 93 cherokee, but it is still a Dana 35. You can tell that by the rounded cover on the back.

I dont understand why you have to cut the bushing out of the frame. take the rubber bushing out, they are readily available from most of the offroad websites. just look for bushing kits.

the rear metal plate, as you call it, is the rear crossmember. but your braces against that if the curve of the bottom of the brace matches the curve of the frame. you might have to adjust the plate as needed to make it matche the frame as best as possible.

I dont know what state you live in, but here in Pa. you can patch your frame(i have to do my own this summer), but you cant show where you patched it. In other words, if the inspection station can clearly see that you patched your frame, it wont pass inspection.

So, take your time and do it right. Grind down all the welds to smooth everything out, and make it look like it was never patched. its possible. mine is in alot worse condition than the pics of yours, and when im done it will look brand new again.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:29 PM   #4
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Location: Austin, TX
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Thanks for the reply.

I was able to pull the bushings out (will me and a pair of vise grips). Now I just need to figure out how to get the circular housing (where the bushings slide into) cut out. The grinder I am using is a bit bulky to cut around it.

Interesting about the inspection. I just got my jeep inspected here in Texas and the guy never really looked at the frame (I stood with him the whole inspection).

I think with the SafeTCap braces it should look pretty clean.

Spent some more time cutting away at the leaf spring. I cut the spring off, and am working on the porting wrapped around the bolt and sleeve.
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:23 PM   #5
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Spent about another 5-7 hours this weekend. Was able to get the sleeve holes out of the frame using mostly sawsall and elbow grease. Also ended up pulling the rear cross member off because I didn't feel like the braces fit right. So I have now ordered the rear cross member.

Something I didn't expect to do was modify the SafeTCap braces. I would have expected them to just fit, but I had to cut the bottom portion off so that it would fit where the gas tank cross member connects to the frame. You would have thought they would have taken care of that. But after looking on their website, there is a magazine write up about using these braces and it mentions they had to make "minor" modifications to the braces to fit.

Once the rear Xmember comes in we should be ready to weld. Next weekend will work on the brakes.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:11 PM   #6
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Got the brake line wrapped up, was a bit tricky to get it bent to fit in the existing clamps, but it is done now . I received the rear Xmember yesterday and of course it doesn't just fit. As a matter of fact I think if I didn't have the frame braces it would have just fit, but with the frame braces in place there is no way the Xmember can fit without modifications. I called Safe-T-Cap guys to confirm, and they said "no problem just cut the part that is in the way".

So now this weekend I get to do some more cutting and grinding. Gotta make sure this stuff is measured correctly now as I have a gas tank and springs to put back together!!!

While waiting I did complete the rest of the RC lift portion in the rear. Getting the rear trackbar adjustment piece in was a bitch. Had to grind out extra metal inside the factory mount to get the adapter to slide in. Just like everything so far, a 1/2 hour job is a 3-4 hour task. Got the shocks on. Had to order frame spring bolts from dealer since I couldn't find an appropriate sized replacement.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:11 PM   #7
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every single thing that has happened to you has happened to me. I now have tub off frame and am repairing frame and tub the right way once and for all. Oh btw, forget about the track bar relocation brackets. The track bars are pointless on these leaf sprung yjs
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:38 PM   #8
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Damn! I thought my indiana jeep was rusty...

Looks like good progress. keep it up!
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:28 PM   #9
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Hang in there sounds like you are a determined Jeep owner. Keep the words and pics coming on your build I am hooked. Can't wait too see what is next.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:04 PM   #10
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the rear frame area on mine was really bad but that should be expected for a 1989 jeep from Canada, but I found the Safe-T-Cap repair kit fit fine and was a simple fix.
Hope the rest goes together easy for you good luck

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