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Old 11-10-2012, 12:40 PM   #1
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1997 TJ - First timer - need help & opinions (pics)

Ok so I picked this '97 up last week and while I've owned lots of ever type of vehicle I've never owned a Jeep. It has a 2.5L 4cyl w/ 95k miles and an automatic transmission. I drove it 3 hours when I picked it up and while it was quite noisy it made it home ok. The AC blows cold and everything else seems to work well. This is going to be driven by my wife to work and home and maybe as a weekend cruiser. We do not camp or do the off roading thing so I don't think this Jeep will every be used for anything other than a commuter. Reliability and road friendliness will be the biggest concern. As of right now I have $2700 in it and I really don't have a budget yet but I don't want to exceed the value of the vehicle with add ons.

Things it needs that I know of so far: Complete exhaust from the manifold to the tip - brakes (the passenger rear wheel hub is dumping fluid) - both front fenders / flares - carpet / sound deadening material - top windows are cloudy.

I would like opinions / thoughts as to the best source for the parts I'll need and any short cuts that may be applicable to what I'm doing. I'm not a mechanic so I'll have to pay for everything that gets done.

Is there any solution to the rusted front fenders other than replacing them? I was thinking of trying to cut the rust out and add large fender flares. The fender thing is going to be the most expensive aspect of this as far as I can tell.

I would also like to do a mild lift (thinking 2") and a nice set of wheels/tires (found a mint set of Ravine's locally). I would also like to add a nice spare tire carrier.

Thanks in advance

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Old 11-10-2012, 02:38 PM   #2
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Do the brakes first that's a safety issue and don't drive it until it's done. It's probably the cylinder but could be something simple like a broken/open bleeder. You can do it yourself it just takes time...there's write-up for everything.

Those fenders are shot and i'd replace them but really it's just a cosmetic thing. Check the frame and pull the carpet to check the tub. If everything looks good i'd prep and bedline the tub...it'll be cheaper and more durable than carpet. But if you really want carpet the set that's in there looks decent...while it's out shampoo the hell out of it. You can lay down some dynomat or other brand for deadening.

There's some vids on youtube showing how to polish the windows. If I remember right they used a rubbing compound/polish with an orbital buffer...it turned out good.

For the flares just sand them down, wipe them with alcohol and spray with bedliner.

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Old 11-10-2012, 02:49 PM   #3
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i agree..do the brakes first.then the exhaust.those fenders are done and not worth the time to fix them properly so no rush.when you can afford it either look for some nice used ones or upgrade to some nice tube fenders.do a search on here for a "how to" on restoring your flares.its a pretty easy do it yourself job.krylon fusion spray bombs seem to be the paint of choice for restoring flares...and since you got an automatic,it might not be a bad idea to do a fluid/filter change.for a 2" lift i'd look into a bds suspension lift.i agree with you on the ravines,nice looking wheel and u can usually find them used for a reasonable price.
recovering toyotaholic.
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:37 AM   #4
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I'm starting on the exhaust and brakes today - has anyone used aftermarket replacement fenders from Summit Racing (made by Sherman)? I've found a few on ebay but shipping is a killer and I can't find anything locally.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:27 AM   #5
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Repair the Brakes 1st Shoes-Wheel Cylinders-Hardware-Possibly Drums or Have Turned, As far as the Fenders have you considered a cover? Something like this Warrior Products Front Fender Covers (98-06 Wrangler TJ) 91601 - Free Shipping!
Covers might get you by for a lot less $,The Flares Prep & Spray with Rustolem Truck Bed Coating $7.99 a Can @ Wally World.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:14 AM   #6
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I've been hammering craigslist this morning and found a few fenders that may work - I also have a friend that paints cars for a living and owes me a few favors. I'm looking forward to this project and I'll post pics as improvements are made.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:08 PM   #7
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I don't want to start a poll but after looking at the Smittyilt tube fenders they seem to be a lot less work than replacing the stock ones. I was hoping to stick with a stock appearance but I'm not opposed to some changes. Do these replace the inner fenders as well? If anyone that reads this has these fenders and would like to comment I would appreciate it.
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:05 PM   #8
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Update! Almost complete - pic added and new questions

So after months of work the Jeep is almost completed - All I need to do is decide on a top for it. I have learned more than I ever wanted to learn about a TJ. I basically touched every part of this thing - bedlined the tub, replaced the front fenders, complete exhaust system, completely replaced the entire brake system, new to me wheels and new tires and a complete tune up. So the wife complained about engine power out of the 2.5. Anybody have any v8 swap suggestions?

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Old 07-20-2013, 06:45 PM   #9
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Nice job...! Looks great.

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