I figured I should start documenting my project before I get too far into it, so I took some pics of my 1988 YJ in "as delivered" condition. I've got big plans for it, but it's got some pressing issues (exhaust and brakes) that need to be addressed before I really dive in to the "fun stuff".
So... Here it is as it sits today:
You can see that the original body mount bushings (under the goofy 3" body lift spacers) are shot. I've got a Prothane 1" body lift coming to replace that.
While I've got the mounts off I'll be wire brushing and painting everything frame related with Chassis Saver. I've also got a few cans of Eastwood internal frame paint on the way for the inside of the frame.
The exhaust is shot as well. I've got an OEM-type Walker exhaust (manifold-to-bumper) also enroute.
I ran in to a couple snags this weekend. As it turns out, whoever did the 3" body lift really "engineered" more than I thought. I spent a few hours just getting the radiator and fan shroud back where they needed to be, a few hours (and three really expensive sawzall blades) getting the nerf bars off, and that was before I even started on the body mounts!
Out of the 11 body mount bolts, I got 6 loose without much problem, 3 won't budge (I used my impact wrench and even tried a breaker bar, but didn't want to snap the bolts) and 2 are just spinning... Time to call in some reinforcements I guess.
The real problem is that the lower bushings on the body mounts were just barely hanging on (se picture above). When I started loosening bolts, they just fell off so, if I need to take the Jeep somewhere there is no way for me to tighten the body back down. Should make for an interesting ride.
I called the local 4x4 shop to discuss options, and they said it'd be 2-3 hours for EACH stuck or spinning bolt, at a cost of $95/hour for labor. So that'd be $200-300/bolt x 5 bolts =
Looks like it's the angle grinder and some cutting wheels for me!
Right now I'm looking for pictures of where exactly to cut the floor to get at the bolts. I'm seeing miscellaneous pictures of people cutting their floors, but there doesn't seem to be a "definitive" pictorial out there... or maybe my Google-fu is just weak.
Now the hunt for the appropriate nuts and washers begins! And I need to decide how many of the bolts I'm going to do, since I'm cutting anyway.
which body mounts are in question? I may be able to find a pic or two from when I replaced my floors. Let me offer this much, There is a small bubble in the floor behind the front seats near the bottom of the cage that is there for clearance for the body mount bolt. The front most mount on the body is the easiest to deal with if you have to cut it. There is separation from the support and the floor and you can get your hand up in there and just use a nut when re-installing. There was a rubber splash guard thing covering the gap so it is not obvious. Hope this helps a little.
Please be sure to check the frame rails at the rear wheels (near the spring mount).. From the looks of the rust on the frame in your pics, you may have some cancer there. You may want to be prepared to take care of it while the in is up.
IIRC (haven't looked at it since Saturday), the red stars are not moving, the yellow are spinning and the green are loose without issue.
I've tried the "pry down with a crowbar while turning the bolt" deal on the spinners. No go.
As for the frame rust, it is all superficial. A lot of the rusty scale in the picture was old undercoat and surface rust. I scraped and wire brushed the crap out of it and it looks pretty damned good. No rot. I drilled the drain holes in the frame while I was under there and washed it all out.
I've also got some Eastwood internal frame paint and some Chassis Black for the outside. I'll be doing that while I have the body mounts off each side and the tub in the air.
I'm not going for full restoration. When it's all said-and-done, it'll still be a beat-up, old Jeep.
I'm going to paint the tops of the frame rails and all the body bushing perches while I'm swapping body mounts (one side at a time). Once it's back down on the new mounts I'll do the internal frame paint, then finish the outsides of the frame rails.
I got bolt #4 (as pictured above) loose, and I drilled some little access holes for the two rear bolts so I could get some PB Blaster on the business ends. I'll hit them tomorrow and Friday again, then try the impact wrench again on Saturday. If they come out I should have the body drop done this weekend!
I may end up having to cut quite a few of the bolts, but not because they're not turning. I'll post a picture of what I mean when I get time but, let's just say that my opinion that big body lifts are bad has been reaffirmed with this project.
I agree that body lifts suck, but I think your issue is more of a "buying a Jeep in the rust belt problem". I feel for you. When I was tearing down my Jeep I got to the point where I just stopped trying the wrenches and cut everything.
I guess I should've qualified that by saying that body lifts that stack a puck on top of the factory bushings suck. A lot.
I did have some rust issues, but that's not my main problem. I got all of the bolts loose without cutting or breaking any. The big problem is that having the stacked spacers gives everything too much play, and the extra long bolts just make things worse.
I've got a few bolts that are actually worn out-of-round because, evidently, they had to much play and rubbed on the factory retainers. The "lips" worn into the bolts are making them difficult to remove as they are wedged in to the factory retainers at an angle.
Having the stacked spacers has also caused the top part of the rubber factory mount to get hammered down into the holes in the perches. Since it's mushroomed out the bottom, it puts even more pressure on the retainer's sleeve, locking it fast in place. I've had to cut out what rubber I could get to and use a crowbar to pry out the retainers.
Now I see why the 4x4 shop wanted to charge me $200-300/bolt!
I made some really good progress on my Jeep this weekend. I did a LOT more scraping, wire-brushing and painting on the frame and underbody. I'm ready to drop the passenger side back down onto the new body bushings. Then I can start on the driver's side.
I started looking for all the bits and pieces I'd need to rebuild the rear (drum) brakes. Did I mention I *HATE* drum brakes? I got to thinking, and did some online reading, and then I bought the entire rear disc setup off of a 1996 Grand Cherokee instead. I've got the backing plates, calipers, rotors, brake lines, and e-brake cables on the way. Total cost was $100 + $35 shipping.
I haven't posted any pictures of my Jeep for a while, so here are a couple with the new Prothane 1" body lift (2" drop for me ) installed.
I still have a bunch more frame painting to do, and the exhaust, and the brakes... I also have to fix my transfer case linkage now that the body is back down to a more normal height (it has the spacer bracket in there for the 3" BL that was installed).
I got the old exhaust off tonight. I got the downpipe and new cat in place, but I'm having issues routing the tailpipe over the trackbar. Is there a way to do it without taking the trackbar off, or am I stuck taking it off?