Just got a 91 YJ with LOTS of sentimental value. Super rusty and neglected, but hoped to do a little work a little at a time. New engine (40k miles), rust in the tub has been cut out and patched, and body is pretty clean. Drove it 2 weeks and the shackle mount in the rear on the passenger side broke clear through the frame and the tub is now sitting on the leaf spring (also rustier than shit). Looks like the whole suspension needs replaced, need to swap out the frame (it's swiss cheese in most areas), and will probably need to swap out just about everything else underneath while I'm at it. Oh, and the exhaust manifold is cracked (but has been for about 5 years, so I wasn't in a rush to fix it, but it is one more thing that will need to be swapped).
I don't have the schedule or the skills to take something this major on myself, but I do have a husband who welds and works on his old car and a friend who is a mechanic (neither have the time to do this project on their own though).
1) Who would you recommend in the Atlanta area to take it to? Jessie at Fortec is booked and Allsouth Sports quoted me $5000 as a base price with a timeline of about 4 months. I have a guy in Baltimore who has worked on the car since my dad bought it new who said he'll do the whole thing for no more than $4000 if I trailer it up there, but I feel like there have to be some other local folks worth talking to? Aren't there some indy guys doing one-off projects like this out of their garages OTP?
2) Does it make more sense to just buy another YJ for a couple grand and drop the body on, swap the engine and avoid replacing everything and swapping the frame?
Sorry for the long post--I'm out of my league. Trashing the Jeep is not an option.