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Old 02-09-2017, 09:13 AM   #1
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Advice for new Jeep owner in D.C.

Hi y'all!

On Sunday, I became a first-time Jeep owner with the purchase of a 91 YJ. I have very basic proficiency with auto repair, so I'm planning on taking the old girl to a shop to have them give me an idea of what needs to repaired or replaced. I'd really appreciate any guidance on what they should be looking for.

Her former owner was a Navy mechanic, so he did a pretty solid job on upkeep with everything mechanical. That being said, he never did much cosmetic upkeep. When my old man and I changed the fluids this weekend, there was a good bit of rust on the frame.

I live in D.C. and mostly got it so my dog and I could make occasional trips to parks and beaches within about three four hours. That being said, I'd like to be able to do some light off-roading (mud trails, but no rock crawling). I'm not keen on a lift kit or tire upgrade, though I'd like if the ride were a little bit softer.

With all that in mind, are there any DMV folks on the board that could recommend a local shop to me?

And once I get there, what should I be sure they're looking at?

Thanks in advance for the advice. This is an awesome board.

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Old 02-09-2017, 09:59 AM   #2
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I would check the obvious, any wear items. Brakes, tune up items, fluids, etc. Any time I get a vehicle that does not have a record of fluids or tune up items, I just go ahead and replace them all. I assume you already checked the transmission for shifting. Every one I have ever owned has needed syncros when I got them. Check for leaks, compression. Check your suspension components, especially ball joints. U-joints are old, and they do not come with a grease fitting so they go bad. The clutch hydraulics are a known issue on these too. If it is leaking inside the bellhousing, that can cause major issues later.

If you want it to have a softer ride, you kinda picked the wrong vehicle. You probably are not going to get much softer of a ride. Although, being that old, I would probably replace the shocks, unless they have been done recently. And if they have, see what they put in. Maybe they put in some stiffer shocks?

These are pretty reliable with some basic care. Mine sat in a field with no top on it for years before I got it. I had to replace a lot of things that were directly related to that.

If the shop is competent, they should be able to give it a thorough inspection. I would try to find a Jeep or 4x4 shop in your area and have them take a look. A regular chain shop is only looking at what will yield the most profit with the least amount of work.

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Old 02-09-2017, 11:34 AM   #3
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Thanks!

Regarding the rust on the frame and the undercarriage, what should be looking for/worried about?

Really appreciate the help!
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Old 02-09-2017, 11:41 AM   #4
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Well that is a whole other issue. I would take a screwdriver to the worst parts and see how bad it is. If you can poke through it, you need to address it, unless it is already too bad. If its still solid, with no rott through, then scuff it up and paint it with a rust converter/inhibitor. Mine had a bunch of surface rust, and a couple extremely minor heavier issues, but no rott through. I wire brushed most of what I could get to, soaked it with rust converter, let it dry and sprayed with rustoleum, then a coat of bedliner. I live in Florida though, so as long as we clean it after beach trips, we will likely not have any rust issues in the future.

One thing to be mindful of is the inside of the frame. Try to get up in there with a hose or pressure washer and get any mud or dirt out. Mine was full of mud, which in time would have rotted it out.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:07 PM   #5
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If you see that there is lots of rust post some pics of it on here. There are lots of people on here will help and tell you what and how to repair if any is bad enough to repair. On here a pic says 1000 words.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:24 PM   #6
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Congrats on the Jeep purchase. Check out these guys in Tyson's Corner. I've never used them myself, but I stopped in and talked with them and was pretty impressed. Good luck.

Auto Repair, Servicing and Maintenance in Tysons Corner, VA
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Old 02-10-2017, 07:43 PM   #7
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Congrats on your purchase and welcome to the forum! I don't want to discourage you, but unless you are willing to do the majority of the work yourself you might have bought the wrong vehicle. I don't know about DC, but in my area (Boston), most shops charge around $100/hr for labor, which quickly adds up.

You are better off picking up a service manual or two, reading stuff on the forums, watching YouTube, etc, and tackling the repairs yourself. Your Jeep would quickly tell you what it needs, trust me
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:48 AM   #8
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Check your leaf springs to be sure they aren't sagging. If they are that can affect the ride, so replacing them would be a good start.

From the small amount of your springs visible in the top picture it looks like you have a small lift. But that could also be due to the Bushwhacker Flat Fender flares that are on it...haven't seen those in a while.

The shocks are just as critical to the ride as the spring condition/quality is. Bilstein 5100's are highly praised for their ride quality. They aren't bargain basement priced, but worth every penny from what I've read. (Personally I'm running OME shocks and will change to Bilstein when these wear out.)

The best way I've ever heard how great a guy's Jeep rode was, "It rides like a Cadillac...that was pushed off a cliff."
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:08 AM   #9
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It doesn't have a body lift, which is a happy thing for the most part. And the brush guard on the front was a factory unit that could either be installed by the dealer or the owner. I thought about getting one for mine after I bought it new in '92.

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