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Old 01-13-2020, 10:38 PM
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Repair the frame or sell as is?

New to the forum. Meant to make an account when I first got my Jeep, but now looking for some advice about selling it.

Story is bought my YJ a few months back and had it PA inspected. Shop passed it saying it needed nothing. Fast forward to now I took it to usual mechanic over the Maryland line for oil change and minor things and within seconds of getting it on the lift he noticed major frame rot at the front suspension that one good bump could have broken. Reported to PennDOT and they're deciding to suspend them (again since the day I reported my incident they just reinstated them after a 1 month suspension, and this is a highly reviewed shop) or revoke their license.

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Personally my options for the Jeep are sell as-is to try and recoup some money or see if a body shop can fix it (which I was told it could be repaired) and then sell it. It's a 1994 YJ 4 cylinder manual with about 141,500 miles and paid $4,500 (all in with work I had done it's closer to $5,500 all in as I had the cat replaced and the heater core). Other than the frame it's in amazing shape, even my mechanic is surprised of the condition of the rest of it. If anyone has any advice about if it's worth trying to get it repaired to sell or just sell as it sits that would be greatly appreciated.

I would like to keep it but knowing the condition of the frame and being lied to by a bunch of people through this whole experience at this point I'd rather just sell it and eventually get something else when I can afford it.

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Old 01-13-2020, 11:31 PM   #2

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Old 01-13-2020, 11:59 PM   #3
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Looks good.
New frame is ~1.5-2K
IDK if fits the budget but with a new frame it would be a very nice Jeep that you can sell anytime or keep.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:16 AM   #4
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I'm going to throw my opinion in the hat and say... that frame looks ok. Is that the only section of the frame that shows that kind of corrosion? I've seen plenty worse, absolutely diabolical frame rot with multiple sections being held together by 50% or less material, and the Jeep keeps chugging along. Whoever told you that "one-bump it will break" is completely over-reacting, and probably trying to get you to spend $. I think you also over-reacted by calling the first shop out for lying, that's by far not "major frame rot". Anyone who really knows YJ's know what frame-rot is and how common / DIY replacing sections of the frame are.

If it's just in that frame section, they do sell sections of the frame that are weld-in, buying a new frame seems excessive for a vehicle you just bought. I repaired a section of my frame for less than $200 (hyperlink in signature below). However, I'm going to venture out and say that DIY is not an option for you, since you take your vehicles in for oil-changes and minor-things, nothing wrong with that, but the money you spend on repairing the frame because you're paying for parts / labor is time wasted when you can just sell as is now. Whatever you gain in the sale of repairing the frame, you will lose in parts/labor, so just sell it as is now and save your time.
1991 YJ / MPFI 2.5L / AX-5 / Non-CAD D-30 / D-35 / 4.10's / 1" MML / 1" BL / 32x11.50R15 BFG MT-KM2 (See Jeep-Profile for Detailed List of Upgrades / Mods)

Past Project: Rear Shackle Frame-Rot Repair
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:26 AM   #5
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Frame looks like the one that came with the TJ I bought in June of last year. I saw it, poked a hole through it with a screwdriver and got $2000 off the price at the dealer. You paid about what it is worth (great body, rotted out frame) so don't fret.

I fixed mine myself by hand crafting the "kits" that you can buy to fix those specific areas of the frame. My bet is that all 4 corners of yours are just as bad but not visible just yet (mine were) . I pulled a good 3 gallons worth of rust chunks from the inside of the frame when cleaning it out. For $1500 to $2500 you can get someone to fix it for you and you would be good for another 25 years.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:36 AM   #6

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Welcome to the Forum Riku9131,

If you have a welder and a can weld (or a friend that does and can), I suggest you consider repairing it. The repair panels are relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

I agree with the above posts. Based on the pic you provided in your first post, one good bump isn't going to break that Wrangler in half.

If you don't have the resources to repair it (money, tools or ability), then your remaining options are:
1)- Drive it as is and budget to have it repaired, worst area first, OR,
2)- Sell it at a loss and loose any enjoyment you expected when you bought it.

Good Luck, L.M.
"Wrangler....It's not just a vehicle, It's a lifestyle".
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:16 PM   #7
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Respectfully disagree... I wouldn't drive that jeep above about 10 mph... that frame is bad shape... looks like about 8% of original strength...
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:40 PM   #8
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I"d have to poke it with a screwdriver to see how bad it is. It looks bad and it looks good. Glass half full or empty kind of thing. Were it mine, I'd fix the frame and go. Or pay someone to fix the frame. Depending on the repair, they may not have to pull the tub. Or they might. I would but I'd go over the frame and use this as an excuse to get it back 100% and be done with it.

If I sold it, I'd have to disclose to the buyer the condition of the frame as honestly as I believed.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:27 PM
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Sorry for lack of specifics in the original post, I didn't want to go overboard before I got some feedback.

The whole frame itself appears to have had a lot of patch work done to it. A lot in the very back which seems to have been done very well, but halfway up all the way through the front its definitely not the best work. Like directly under where the driver and passenger sit is reinforced with a piece of angle iron but instead of doing it properly and removing the bottom skidplate that supports the transmission they just cut into the angle iron so it wouldn't interfere/wouldn't have to remove it. The rest of the frame isn't nearly as bad as what's shown in the picture, but it's definitely not great looking.

As for the section in the picture it is worse than it looks. You could easily poke your finger through it and when PennDOT had it reinspected their mechanic pointed out that the knuckle there that connects to the leaf spring is actually starting to buckle in under the weight. Now both mechanics said that normal low speed city driving wouldn't hurt it, but it's a Jeep. My mechanic assumed I was taking it offroading which wouldn't be the best for it in its current condition, and I did take it on a 2 hour round trip where I was up around 70mph most of the time and that's on Pennsylvania's roads which definitely don't have pot holes every 5 feet.

If it would help I can get more pictures of the frame to better explain things, but I was told the rest is good enough for now and what's pictured is what needs to be addressed.

When I first bought it from the original owner, we did have a condition that if there were any major issues with it that were found during inspection (specifically mentioning the condition of the frame) then I would have gotten my money back for it. The shop that inspected it should have easily spotted this issue with the frame and never passed it, but they did. Apparently the shop just got off a suspension that day I reported my case for other vehicles they passed that shouldn't have, and I know most of you are probably like "why did you take it there then?" it's because it's been a highly rated shop in the area for the last 15+ years and we've taken cars to them several times over the years along with many of our friends to have inspections done and never had issues until now. If they did their job right the first time around then I would never have bought this specific Jeep.

If I got it fixed the way I would want I'd have the frame replaced due to the existing patchwork and all but once you get into that then who knows what else would need to be replaced along the way and I don't have a lot of money to throw around to get it done that way. That's why I'm at the point where I need to decide to keep and save up and just dump money into it or sell it/get it good enough to sell before I get too deep. And yes I understand it's a Jeep and they do end up being money pits, but since I was under the impression it was in much better condition and didn't need these type of repairs right away I just wasn't prepared for it.

Hopefully I didn't come across as too rude sounding in this post it's just this whole situation has been very frustrating. I do appreciate the number of quick responses on this.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:32 PM
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Also I did want to mention if I didn't get it fixed and sold the thing as-is I would be honest with the condition of things. Don't want to throw someone into the same position I'm currently in.

I just brought this whole thing up here as I don't know if I could get any decent price as it is or if I'd need to get it fixed up a bit more to not take a bigger loss on it.
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:35 AM   #11
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What I learned from my dad many years ago "if you make it or fix it or maintain it yourself you are first of all learning and secondly you are paying yourself for the work done." I'm new to the Jeep world as of last June (minus the several months I had a CJ in college before totaling it). Like the boat I had, I come into things with a desire to learn all I can and also get good and comfortable with working on whatever it is. Never once considered the boat a money pit as I enjoyed every last second I was using it or maintaining it or installing new gear on it. Taking the same approach with the Jeep. If I take care of it and get to really know it then I can fix most anything (its a Jeep!). If I add new things and customize it I'm enjoying the hound out of it and its worth every cent for those upgrades.

My suggestion may be a bit on the extreme side but its who I am ....

Buy yourself a $300 MIG welder and $300 Plasma Cutter (they exist at that price). They will be all you will ever need to work with the steel under your Jeep and will pay for themselves in no time as you fix things that most people toss when they break.

Practice welding some things together and get used to it and get to where you are making a nice penetrating weld.

Get the Jeep up off its wheels, remove them, the control arms, springs, etc. Remove the Skid Plate (10$ the frame is gone where it bolts on). Remove the body mounts. Jack the box up off the frame about 2.5 inches and put some blocks in there so you can remove the jack.

You then can work on the frame just fine and get to all the places you will be welding.

Cut the bad sections off with the plasma cutter and clean it up. Buy the SafeTCap sections you need to replace all the bad areas and weld them all the way around. You will have a frame that will be as good as new and will last as long as you keep the Jeep.

AND, you will have done it yourself, learned a ton about the Jeep (your adventure partner) and will never have to consider it a money pit again.

Did that myself last June. Three weeks of blood, sweet and learning but it was worth every cent and minute. Sold that Jeep to a friend and he is loving the hound out of it. Loving and learning about my 2013 JK now..
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Old 01-15-2020, 07:43 AM   #12
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Here are frame replacement sections

Don't make the mistake I did and buy the crap you'll see on eBay... it's basically sheet metal and comes in pieces of metal not complete sections. I ended up buying the ART sections and they worked perfectly.

'98 TJ 5 speed, 5.13 Super 35, D30 w/Aussie, Core 4x4 arms, Metalcloak front track bar, JKS rear track bar, ZJ tie rod conversion, 9500 Lb winch 4" lift sitting on 33's along with many others mods
'94 YJ 5sp 5.13, Super 35, HP30 w/Aussie, sitting on 33's, RE chromo drag link, 9500 Lb winch, 3" lift, 4x4 Posi Lock, it's a resto-mod in progress.
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:02 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Riku9131 View Post
Also I did want to mention if I didn't get it fixed and sold the thing as-is I would be honest with the condition of things. Don't want to throw someone into the same position I'm currently in.

I just brought this whole thing up here as I don't know if I could get any decent price as it is or if I'd need to get it fixed up a bit more to not take a bigger loss on it.
As mentioned before, I doubt you will recoup your repair costs. I see three options here and only you can tell which one is right.

1 Sell it like it is.... hopefully to someone that can fix it themselves so they aren't going to kill you on the price.

2 Pay for it to be fixed and enjoy it.

3 as @SirFisher recommended, teach yourself a new skill and fix it yourself.

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