I'd been thinking about getting a Jeep for a really long time and finally decided to pull the trigger when I found this 89 YJ for a fairly low price, and I thought I'd start a build thread in an effort to give back some of what I've learned on this excellent forum.
This 89 YJ has a 4.2L 258 with the inline 6 and 5-speed manual, factory A/C, and that's about it. I found it listed on ebay as well as Craigs List and the description sounded pretty good, making it appear to run an drive well.
When I went to pick it up the heater core was leaking like crazy and it ran like crap. It was driveable, but barely, and we had to bypass the heater core just so I could make it home. The ride home was interesting with it wanting to die at every stop and it would backfire every time I let off the gas. I got it home safely and that's when the fun and discoveries began.
Here are some pictures from the original ad:
I recently purchased the Gronk MC2100, 1.08 venturi, rear throttle pull, non-smog kit from eBay with the TFI kit and round air filter, and wanted to share some pictures and experiences with everyone.
I had just finished installing a new exhaust manifold because my original was cracked so I already had some stuff taken apart.
I should add that during this process I plugged the old oxygen sensor hole and installed a new EGR valve.
The kit came with a carb, brackets, and nuts & bolts and at first glance I had no idea what was going where. I followed the instructions on removing the original Carter BBD carb, and once it was off, I went ahead and did the Nutter wiring bypass while I had a bunch of stuff out of the way. Make note of the wire connected to the electric choke if you intend to use it again. I also removed the original bracket that holds the original down-pull throttle assembly and unhooked the throttle cable from the square hole that it’s clipped into. That assembly is held on by two bolts on top of the intake manifold and one below the manifold.
At that point, I took the old electric choke out of the Carter BBD, pulled out the spring, and reversed it as described in Gronk’s instructions. It installed easy and I adjusted it so the choke plate closed easy, but not really tight.
It wasn’t hard to figure out the order with which to install the base gaskets, but the instructions aren’t very specific in this area. When you put the carb on, just finger-tighten the bolts because you’ll still need to add the throttle brackets….and the installation of the throttle attachment is not covered in the instructions….you have to figure it out based on old pics from other docs and forum posts.
The kit came with an L-shaped bracket that bolts to the left-rear carb bolt, and then to the top of the intake manifold using one of the bolt holes that used to hold the original throttle bracket assembly. I had to add a few washers to the underside of the bracket where it mounts to the intake manifold to keep it nice and flat.
Another thing I had to do was figure out how/where to connect the throttle cable. i ended up using on of the existing holes in the L-bracket and then drilled another to get the throttle right where I wanted it.
I then turned my attention to the return spring mechanism. My original return spring was connected to a bracket that was attached to the bolt holding the front of the EGR valve. The kit came with a new bracket but I could not figure out where to mount it such that I would have enough tension on the return spring…..so I just used the old bracket in the original location. Later on, I will fab something up to make it look nicer.
Forgot to mention that after the Nutter, Exhaust Manifold, and new carb, it was actually drivable....but still not really 100%.
I had a terrible exhaust rattle and the Jeep was still a bit sluggish....and would diesel occasionally when shut off.
In looking at the exhaust, I could see a couple things right away. The muffler installed in it was the wrong one...it had a pipe in the center on both sides, and the OEM one is supposed to be offset on the exhaust side. The muffler was installed backward (HELLO!, there are arrows on it!), the seams were busted, and the tailpipe upper hanger was broken so the tailpipe was resting on the axle. And someone used bailing wire to fasten it to the rear shackle.
I thought about just wrapping the whole thing with duct tape but didn't want to keep adding to the mess.
Over the weekend I installed an RC 2.5 lift. I put a review for it in the Lift Reviews section. The installation was pretty straight forward and easy. During the install I also added some Crown 3/4" greasable boomerang shackles to replace the hideous lift shackles that were there when I bought it.
The shock bodies did not hit the axle so I was happy about that but I did have to relocate my front brake lines and also replaced the rear line.
On the front lines, I just took the torx bolt out of the bracket inside the fender well on each side. On the passenger side, I unhooked the banjo bolt from the caliper and quickly took the line back over then under the frame rail and re-attached the banjo bolt to the caliper.
NOTE: USE NEW COPPER WASHERS ON THE BANJO BOLTS, or they'll leak like mine did at first.
I replaced the rounded out brake bleeder (with a vice grip) and bled that side....easy enough. Oh, and I used the same torx screw and mounted the brake line bracket to an existing hole that previously was used for a plastic fastener.
On the driver's side, I unhooked the banjo bolt and routed the brake line up and over the shock mount then reconnected it to the caliper. Now, some people will actually take off the caliper, but I thought it was easier to unhook the line and then bleed it afterward. You just need a person tall enough to pump the brakes...I used one of my kids.
For the brake line bracket I just drilled a hole at the bottom of the shock tower and used a self-tapping screw.
After the lift, my before and after measurements showed that I had lifted the Jeep 3.5 inches.
Forgot to mention that during the lift I replaced the steering damper, swaybar bushings, and swaybar end-link bushings...all rubber because I hate poly bushings in the suspension.
So i was hoping I didn't have any drive line vibrations because the rear leafs in the kit had the degree shims already installed and I thought that was a nice touch.
Well I was wrong, it vibrated like crazy from start to stop and at everywhere in between.
Just out of curiosity I ran over to the local hardware store and spent $15 on some bolts and washers for a DIY t-case drop. I dropped it about 3/4 of an inch and it helped, but the vibrations are still there.
At that point I'm thinking it's SYE time and I'm not really happy about that and I figure if I'm going there, I might as well replace my transmission mount. So I go out to look and see exactly what transmission I have and make an interesting discovery......I have no transmission mount!!!
With the t-case drop in place I can see clear as day that it's gone. The bracket it there, the torque bolt and bushings are just hanging loose from the transmission mount bracket, but the mount is totally missing. I'm going to put one in there tonight and see if that changes anything before I order the SYE.
There are a thousand reviews for this console it seems, some good and some bad but the problem is that the only thing comparable is the Tuffy....but the Tuffy is really expensive. So I decided to go with the Smittybilt Stereo Security console simply because you can get one for about $100 and th reviews aren't ALL bad. My main concerns were the size, the cup holders and the build quality as those seem to be it's major detractors.
So here's what I think:
The instructions are terrible, but seriously, you can figure this thing out without them.
The hardware is kind of a mystery because it appears to be missing stuff, and some of the things that are there just won't do the job....but you probably have what's missing lying around somewhere.
1. When I first set in the console, the width seemed just fine to me. I could get my seats forward and back, while still being able to access the seat belts without any painful process. I have the stock-sized seats in my 89 YJ with seat covers and had no issues.
2. I had no beef with the build quality...it seemed to be built as well I would have expected....better than a cheap gas grill, that's for sure.
3. I cut the cup holders off first thing. I really didn't like the way it extended into the rear passenger area because my kids need to be able to get in and out. So chopping off the cup holders was really easy with a cheap air cutting tool with a carbon cutting wheel.
After removing the cup holders, I installed the bottom support bracket and put it in the Jeep to mark the holes. I painted the ends of the 3 mounting bolts and just set them in so they would mark the drill locations on the floor. At that point I drilled the holes and installed the console. The hardest part may have been getting my wife to tighten the bolts from the top while I held the nuts from below.
I will probably get some angled Tuffy Cup holders to add to the front of the console but I can put them on with the console in it's current location without issue.
I found those on Ebay. I think they are Rugged Ridge or SmittyBilt and made of Neoprene. I paid about $127 for the set that covers the fronts and the back. Very easy to install and fit well on the stock-shaped seats.
how are you finding how it runs now with the new carb?
I think it runs great. It was terrible with the stock carb and all the vacuum leaks and plugged hoses and crap when I got it.
For me the toughest part was getting the choke adjusted right. I chose to use the stock electric choke and it was taking to long to come off the choke so I just had to work on the choke tension adjustment and adjust the screw on the step cam until I got it the way I wanted.
I also used a vacuum gauge to adjust the mixture screws and sit at about 20Hg but had to adjust very little from the way it was set when I received it.
The TFI and timing adjustment made a big difference too.
My build sheet
Base 87 wrangler 145k
5 bridgestone dueler 33x12.50x15
2 1/2" front lift hr
2" custom made rear lift
Rancho 5000 shocks
Rancho steering stabilizer
New front bucket seats
Hard top seals
Rewired hard top dome light
Full maintenance ( oil, plugs, wires, diffs oil, rad flush, transfer case fluid, led fuses)
Power point / 2x phone charger
Grant steering wheel
Rear seat w/ neopreen rubber covers
Cd w/ remote
Vaccum lines replaced
Valve cover gasket ( premium rubber / metal)
Stock Air filter
Over the last few weeks I did a whole bunch of work associated with installing a lift kit and thought I'd summarize it here.
I purchased the RC 2.5 inch lift kit along with some Crown Automotive 3/4" Boomerang shackles. The reason I went this route is because my original leaf springs were pretty flat and sagging, and the PO had installed some 1.25" lift shackles in the front, and some .75 lift shackles in the rear....I didn't like any of that.
The RC kit came with everything I needed to do the lift and if you do some research in advance, it's a pretty easy process except that some of the bolts will give you grief. I started spraying everything a week in advance with Sea-Foam so most of it came apart pretty easy.
After I installed the llift, I also installed a new steering stabilizer, a cheap Monroe model, and a Pitman Arm from 98 Cherokee. The Cherokee pitman arm drops the drag link by about 1 inch and it's a cheap mod.
I ended up at 3.5 inches of additional lift, compared to what I started with. When I took it for a test drive, I definitely had some driveshaft wobble/vibration.
I figured I would try to tame it with a home-made t-case drop and that didn't help. So I replaced my transmission mount and rear U-joints, but that didn't help either.....I still had vibrations between 30-40 mph. Besides, I hated the way the shifting felt with the transfer case drop...it wanted to jump out of 2nd and 4th.
At that point, I decided to get the SYE kit...on to the next post
I did some research on the SYE kits and decided I would go with Adams based on price and good reviews. I called them up before I placed the order to ask a few questions and ensure I wasn't going to need a bunch of extra "stuff" not included in the kit.....they were VERY helpful and the kit was complete.
Once I had the kit on order, I pulled the t-case out of the Jeep and started the process of pulling it apart.
I would recommend doing some research/watching videos before you start tearing stuff apart because there's all kind of little nuggets of information out there that will help you along.
Once the t-case was on the bench I tore into it and discovered there were a few things that needed to be replaced. The chain was rubbing the inside of the case and the plastic fingers on the shift mode fork were totally worn out so I replaced all of that. I was also missing the big magnet that sits by the oil pump pickup so I grabbed a new one from Ace Hardware.
One I had all the parts taking it apart and putting it all back together was pretty straight forward. Just take your time and follow the directions. As a part of the install in my particular case, I had to cut about 3/4 of an inch off the shift fork shaft and I also had to rent the bearing press from AutoZone so I could press the needle bearings out of that one gear. Those were hard to get out using just a bench vise.
I put it all back together and installed the t-case back onto the Jeep and just let it sit overnight so the RTV would cure.
The next day I hooked everything back up and took it for a test drive.