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Old 09-22-2019, 07:53 PM
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'89 Islander Rebuild

So, here it goes, I'm looking for some guidance/thoughts on a project I've been thinking about for a couple of years (or more).


I have a 1989 Red Islander that I purchased new in August, 1989 and have loved the jeep since the day I got it, so much so that I don't know if I could ever part with it. A few years ago I purchase a 2015 Sahara and the poor '89 unfortunately just sat (started rebuilding it but ran out of time due to other responsibilities).



I'm thinking of undertaking the project of rebuilding it and trust me, it's gonna need a lot! To start, I need to do some frame repair (front end/skid plate/rear shackle) which I have a quote of $1800 for. The motor runs but does need a rebuild. Tie rod, track bar, etc. are all solid, just need to be cleaned up. The same is true for most everything on the underside. The tub has some minor rust, but nothing serious. The interior is in excellent shape, aside from the split in the driver seat.



I suspect if I ever listed for sale on this site, for a fair price, someone would grab it and turn it in to a beautiful ride.


I'm pretty mechanically inclined but not to the point where I'll be able to do the complete rebuild without some help ($). Having said that, I'm not in any rush so I'd have plenty of time to try some of the more difficult things as a first-timer.


So I guess the heart of the question is this: I know it's not worth the money to do it (not a big deal as long as I don't go crazy), but what would you do? Feel free to approach it from any angle; I really just want to know if I'm nuts for even considering it.


Thanks in advance,


89RedIslander

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Old 09-22-2019, 08:33 PM   #2
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I don't think you're nuts. I'm sure that I've done crazier things.

The very first thing I am suggesting is don't allow the '89 Islander to deteriorate any further.
Keep it in the garage or rent a garage. Shoehorn it into a Tuff Shed if need be. Fill it full of mothballs and mouse traps and buy a $500.00-$800.00 welder and learn how to use it.
Once you are proficient with the welder, repair the frame.
The money you save by doing your own frame repairs will give you a start on a Jasper re-manufactured motor (or whatever brand of re-man motor is the best price for a guaranteed quality motor). Spend the dough for re-man rather than used.
With the frame repaired and a new motor, the rest of the stuff will be easy.
Just do one thing at a time. If you have the entire Jeep disassembled, it might seem overwhelming to finish the project.

Find a quality upholstery shop that can match the material on the damaged drivers seat.
An Islander is a desirable model and (IMHO) is worth the time and money to bring it back to attractive and reliable condition.

Post some pics and keep us posted on your progress. You might start a thread in the YJ builds forum.

Good Luck, L.M.

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Old 09-23-2019, 09:57 AM
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Thanks L.M.,


I do need to find a place to store the jeep. Ideally a garage, plus that would allow me to work on the jeep in the winter as well. Unfortunately I have a single car garage with a '73 vette in it, so that ain't going outside. Glad to hear I'm not totally insane, at least not according to this community.



Thanks again!
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:29 PM   #4
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Through the years I've had all sorts of hot rods and exotics. My old beater of a YJ satisfies what I want as a toy. (I'm 75 YO and retired from the car business).

Now, you might think I'm crazy but If I was in your situation, I'd sell the 'Vette and make room for the Jeep. I guess it's all based on what your priorities are. Selling the 'Vette will finance what you want to do to the Jeep, reduce your insurance payments and you can put whatever money is left over on the principal of your mortgage.

Good Luck, L.M.
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1987 YJ-4.2L-Standard Shift- Re-manufactured Carter Carb-2" body Lift-31X10.5X15 BFG KOs-190K Miles No back seat.
HEI distributor with computer and all related relays and wiring removed.
12K Badlands winch with dual batteries.
Warn front bumper. Matching imitation Warn bumper on the rear.
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Old 09-23-2019, 01:00 PM
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Hmm...the guys at corvette forum said to sell the jeep...


Fortunately money really isn't too much of an issue other than I don't want to just pay someone to restore the vehicle; that just won't be the same as having done most of the work myself.
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Old 09-24-2019, 04:03 PM   #6
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Well then, if money isnt a concern... As was suggested before, give the Jeep a new home, like a storage shed, a quonset hut, or somesuch. And then also a stick welder. I suspect you already have the other needed tools for a jeep restoration, like Clarkson devices and Rustoleum.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:34 AM   #7
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So.... you say winter is coming. I assume that the Vette doesn't see winter. Put the Vette in a storage location for the winter and use your garage to work on the Jeep. I think buying yourself a welder is absolutely the first step. Fixing the frame and body yourself will save you a ton of money and you will be teaching yourself a skill that can be used for many other projects down the line. Are you crazy to restore a vehicle you love? Not a chance. Many of us have brought back vehicles that were not fit for the road that many have considered junk. Myself, I live in PA where vehicles rust away pretty quickly. I have repaired the frames on 4 different vehicles this year and am perfectly confident in all of them. My wife drives one of them and we are teaching our son to drive in it as well. Two others serve duty towing campers and other trailers on a regular basis. Start yourself a build thread. There are plenty of here that have been there and will offer whatever help we can.
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Old 10-04-2019, 01:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by daddyjeep View Post
So.... you say winter is coming. I assume that the Vette doesn't see winter. Put the Vette in a storage location for the winter and use your garage to work on the Jeep.
Great idea and probably cheaper than a Tuff Shed that'd be big enough to work on the Jeep.

Good Luck, L.M.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:31 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I own some commercial property in town and am looking at putting some sort of shed in the driveway that would allow me to get the jeep out of the weather. Still going to have a pro do the welding though; I don't want to risk messing up the frame or doing something that leaves the frame unsafe.


My one car garage doesn't really offer enough room to maneuver around a vehicle since I've also got 2 motorcycles jammed in there.


On the positive side, I do have a buddy with a hoist, so we'll pull the motor for a rebuild and I'll do all the rest of the work while that motors out.


I bought a new battery so tomorrow's job is to get it running again.


Thanks again for the suggestions!
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Old 10-05-2019, 10:06 PM   #10
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When you get your storage and working space situation figured out I would suggest NOT trying to repair the frame but to replace the frame. You can get on craigslist and buy a solid frame for $250 in the right part of the country where rust is not your enemy. I think there is even a company selling a new frame. I did a frame off restoration. Get yourself a gantry crane hoist from Harbor freight for $700. Lift the body off the frame. Spend some time restoring a solid frame instead of trying to repair a frame that is destroyed by salt. Start your project with a solid frame and you will be happier in the end.
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:09 AM   #11
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Time to get busy!

I would go for it! I bought a 87 two years ago and stuck in the garage last fall. I get real bored in the winter time so that was my project..in fact I still have enough to do this winter as well but the list is not quite as long. What ever you decide will be the right decision for you.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:21 PM   #12
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I agree with the idea of just replacing the frame with a better condition one. You will need to pull the tub to properly repair the existing one anyway...So for the same amount of work if not a bit less actually you could have a solid frame under there and not one that is patched together. Hell could take it a step further and do most of the suspension work to the new chassis while it is still separate from the jeep. Then when you have the frame ready you swap the tub and drivetrain over to it.

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