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Old 05-11-2019, 01:56 PM
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1991 Red YJ Revival

For the past couple of years I've been casually looking for an older Jeep. My wife always wanted a YJ since she was in high school, and I've always thought it would be fun to own one (probably thanks to MacGyver). After a few years in two different JKs (first a 2 door, then a four door when our first kiddo arrived), my wife finally gave me the go ahead to find a YJ.

I spent a few of weeks looking on eBay, local classifieds and CraigsList. Most of the YJs that I could find were either total rust pits, didn't run or "sort of" ran, or were so modified and wheeled so hard that they were barely recognizable. I finally found one at the right price about 4 hours away from my house and just picked it up yesterday. The "4 hour" drive back home ending up taking 6 hours at 60 mph, getting a whopping 9 mpg in my 2016 Tacoma (V6.............), but we made it.

It's a 1991 YJ with a 4.0L and the 5-speed AX-15, half doors and a soft top. The color was originally Radiant Fire, but it has been painted since to another red color that is close but not exactly the same. Overall the Jeep is very solid, very little rust except the common trouble spot around the windshield. I have become pretty handy at welding and repairing rust since I bought a 67 Pontiac Firebird a few years ago, so I am not too concerned with rust in this area (and worst case I can just replace the windshield frame). It runs very well, except for some occasional trouble getting it into 2nd gear and a bit of a wandering as it goes down the road. The Jeep already has what I speculate is a 3" lift and SYE of unknown brand. Overall the list of issues isn't too bad:
  • Rust around windshield - repairable or easily replaced
  • Minor issues getting into 2nd gear - need to have a transmission shop check it out
  • Wandery on the road - I'm 99% sure this is due to the lift. The shackles are much longer than stock and the leafs are of unknown brand. I checked and the track bar and drag link are parallel (must be dropped pitman arm), so the issue is probably elsewhere. I'm not sure what components were used, if this was a kit or home-brew lift so everything should probably just be replaced.
  • One of the soft top spreader rods is broken - replacement ordered for $9, really not a problem because the top will be down 90% of the time, top is also missing the bar that goes over the tailgate door to ensure that the back window closes snugly
  • The passenger's door and tailgate do not lock/unlock with the key - need to look into this
  • Some minor wiring issues, spliced wires and winch wiring is a little questionable - easy to repair
  • Fuel gauge is unreliably - likely the little plastic piece around the fuel sender in the fuel tank
  • Fuel tank skid plate is rusted - will replace when I drop the tank to repair the sender
  • Tailgate sags and is hard to close - will simply remove spare tire for the time being and eventually upgrade hinges to something heavier duty to fix the sage and install an aftermarket tire carrier to prevent it from happening again
  • Parking brake does not work

The only somewhat major issue is my wife told me I couldn't buy a Jeep without air conditioning. Fortunately, the place where I bought the Jeep is conveniently located 45 minutes from JeepAir, so I just swung by on my way home and picked up an A/C retrofit kit in person. The plan is to get that installed sometime in the next week after I have a mechanic give the whole Jeep a look over. I plan on using the YJ as a pseudo-daily driver (I still have my 4 door JK and don't plan on getting rid of it), so my initial goal is to get it to be as safe and roadworthy as possible so we can enjoy the summer and trips to the beach (phase 1 if you will). I also plan on using this Jeep for off-roading trips, camping, hunting etc, so after I've driven it for a while, I plan on some major upgrades to make it as capable if not more than my current JK (or phase 2 if you will). Here's how it looks like broken down:

Phase 1
  • Get a full inspection by a mechanic - then fix any issues they find
  • Replace current lift with RE 4" extreme duty system - hopefully this helps with the steering / wandery feeling issues
  • Replace the current aftermarket fender flares (kind of dorky looking imo) with something narrower
  • Fix wiring issues
  • Install a vinyl floor covering or bedrug throughout the interior
  • Repair fuel sender / replace tank as necessary, replace skid at the same time
  • Repair door locks
  • Replace most of the exterior lighting (everything is either non-DOT compliant or cracked/broken)
  • Interior cleanup (seat covers, remove some previous mods and give everything a good clean, maybe replace roll bar covers)
  • Exterior cleanup (POR-15 frame, undercoating, fix soft top issues including spreader bar and missing piece over tailgate, remove spare tire, repaint/PC some components that are peeling/rusty)
  • Tuffy security trunk - so I can leave some tools and other things in it with the top down - will need to fix tailgate lock at the same time
  • Replace aftermarket cold air intake with factory airbox - ordered already
  • Fix parking brake - probably needs a new cable

Phase 2
  • Larger lift to accomodate 35s+ - either SOA or 4 link with coilovers (might be overkill, but we will see)
  • Stubby bumpers, rocker armor, tire carrier
  • New Winch
  • LS V8 Swap - Probably from Novak or similar, will also include upgraded axles (tbd) to be done at the same time as the suspension upgrades, lockers, bigger brakes, new driveshafts, etc.
  • Paint - either a quality repaint in the factory Radiant Fire or full Line-X
  • New Wheels/Tires
  • CB radio

I'm taking the YJ to a shop on Monday to get it checked out. In the meantime I'll probably go ahead and install a new Spiderwebshade and start fixing some of the electrical. More to follow soon.

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Old 05-14-2019, 11:26 AM   #2
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That's a good looking Jeep there. I see the track bar is still there in the front. Contrary to what you might think that thing can lead to the strange feel when driving. It moves in a different arc than the springs and can create that feeling.

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Old 05-15-2019, 07:20 AM
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That's a good looking Jeep there. I see the track bar is still there in the front. Contrary to what you might think that thing can lead to the strange feel when driving. It moves in a different arc than the springs and can create that feeling.
Thanks. I got the Jeep up on jack stands and one problem area might be some slack in the steering box. I’ll probably give that a small adjustment (1/8th turn) to see. The Jeep has brand new ball joints and tie rod ends, so I didn’t see any abnormal movement in those areas. I had read that removing the track bar could help, but it seemed counterintuitive. It makes sense if they are on a different arc that it could cause issues. I’ll give it a try later this week to see if it is the problem.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rexenator View Post
Thanks. I got the Jeep up on jack stands and one problem area might be some slack in the steering box. Iíll probably give that a small adjustment (1/8th turn) to see. The Jeep has brand new ball joints and tie rod ends, so I didnít see any abnormal movement in those areas. I had read that removing the track bar could help, but it seemed counterintuitive. It makes sense if they are on a different arc that it could cause issues. Iíll give it a try later this week to see if it is the problem.
It is free to take it off. If you don't like the way it drives without it you can just put it back on. I am pretty sure you will be happy with it off though.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:31 AM   #5
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It is free to take it off. If you don't like the way it drives without it you can just put it back on. I am pretty sure you will be happy with it off though.


I agree with this! Lifted Jeeps need longer trackbars, if it is the stock one itís too short. YJs donít need them anyway. It was added from the factory as added precaution from the CJs which had a rollover issue.

Good luck with the build!


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Old 05-26-2019, 12:34 PM
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I got to work on the wiring this weekend. With a 30 year old Jeep I expected to find some aftermarket wiring. Overall, the rats nest of wiring I pulled out was not as bad as I expected (see picture).

Oddly, before I started removing the aftermarket wiring, I found 15 connectors that were not plugged in, and had no mating connector to plug into. I know for sure I did not remove any OEM wiring (the stuff I removed was all 14 gauge red wiring attached via white zip ties to the OEM harness), so now Iím left to reference a factory wiring diagram to figure out what everything is. I also removed the roll bar covers and found that the sound bar has been rewired at least twice, and that people kept splicing new wiring into the factory wiring harness without removing old wiring.... Iím not overly concerned about this because it is an easy fix, I just need to decide if I am going to keep the factory sound bar. I am considering running with the roll bars exposed, and if I go that route I will remove the sound bar so I donít have to run any exposed wiring up the tubes. I also found that a previous owner wired in a DIY 4 pin towing connector. I am happy that this is there, but not so happy about the bundle of vampire taps/butt connectors wrapped in a single piece of electrical tape. Iíll be rewiring that as well.

Now itís time to start diagnosing the handful of electrical issues that I have:
  • Figure out what the 15 unconnected wires go to
  • Interior lights do not turn on when door is opened
  • Fuel indicator stuck on full
  • Oil pressure gauge intermittently reads zero
  • 2 of 4 stereo speakers have no sound (whole stereo should be rewired)
  • Clock does not maintain time (pretty sure it just needs to be replaced)
  • Heater fan does not turn on
  • Rewire towing harness
  • Prepare wiring for aftermarket air conditioning
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Old 05-27-2019, 12:53 PM
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Got a few small things done today. I started by attempting to install the JeepAir kit that I have, and was quickly thwarted by the ash tray... there is one screw that is frozen in place and no amount of penetrating oil is going to help get it unstuck. I need to decide if I am going to just break the ash tray assembly to get it out or try to drill the screw head out. I donít plan on putting it back in since the location under the air conditioning blower seems like a good place to put a switch pod to control lights and other accessories in the future, so now itís just a matter of trying to save it for someone else to use or trashing it.

After about an hour of trying to get that screw unstuck I decided to close out a few unfinished projects. I removed the spare tire and tire carrier. My tailgate now shuts correctly, so Iím going to just run without a spare until Iím ready for a new bumper/tire carrier.

I finished up most of the electrical repairs. With the help of some people on the forum, Iíve identified the remaining connectors (turns out they are for factory air conditioning, 4WD light and the windshield washer bottle). I just need to solder together 4 wires for the sound bar speakers that were damaged from some poor splicing. Iím thinking about removing the entire sound bar so I can run with exposed roll bars, so I may not even keep those wires.

I finally removed the front track bar, Iíll see how I like that once everything is back together. I also need to find a replacement sway bar and some disconnect links, mine was removed by a previous owner. Still need to diagnose my steering issues, it feels like the linkage is hanging up somewhere when I turn the wheel. Hopefully I can get that knocked out this afternoon.
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Old 05-28-2019, 07:58 AM   #8
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Keep up the good work! Itís amazing the stuff youíll find working on an older Jeep. It seems that whenever you fix one thing youíll find another to fix.


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Old 05-28-2019, 08:48 PM
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Keep up the good work! It’s amazing the stuff you’ll find working on an older Jeep. It seems that whenever you fix one thing you’ll find another to fix.


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Thanks, it is really easy to keep going down the rabbit hole of perfectionism. I have to constantly remind myself that my goal for this phase of the build is to get the Jeep to be safe and reliable enough to be back on the road so I can enjoy summer before I take it down for the big build in the fall.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:29 PM
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I had about an hour after the kids went to bed, so I decided to make some progress on the A/C install. I got the evaporator/blower unit installed, as well as the compressor and drier unit. I still need to install the condenser, which unfortunately requires draining and dropping the radiator. After that I can get everything plumbed up and charged.
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Old 05-30-2019, 08:45 PM
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Got a good amount done on the YJ today. I was able to get the condenser for the a/c mounted and I replaced the serpentine belt to drive the compressor. The kit has a condenser fan which should ensure I always have cold air for our hot summers here in Florida. I still need to connect two hoses, finish the wiring and have an a/c shop charge the system, but its much closer than I was earlier this week.

While I was repairing the wiring I removed an aftermarket winch control panel which had been installed in the blank panel to the right of the steering wheel (I think this is where the hardtop switches would be if I had one). This left a gaping hole which has been bugging me. I ended up ordering some switches from OTRATTW and wired up a mini switch pod to fill the hole. It turns out the 3 switch Contura V panel is a perfect fit for this panel. I built something similar for my JK (it has an A-pillar switch pod tied to a Bussmann fuse/relay box). I'm not quite ready for a new winch or lockers yet, so I'll just leave it unhooked until the next phase of the build (I'll be building another Bussmann box and another switch pod to control all of these accessories plus lights, CB radio and maybe an air compressor).

Hoping to get the a/c hooked up and get the Jeep back on the road by next week. More updates soon.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:43 AM   #12
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I got to work on the wiring this weekend. With a 30 year old Jeep I expected to find some aftermarket wiring. Overall, the rats nest of wiring I pulled out was not as bad as I expected (see picture).
Seems like every vehicle made prior to 2000 has had some jerry rigged wiring to deal with!

Nice work so far, looking forward to the finished product...
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:14 PM
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Seems like every vehicle made prior to 2000 has had some jerry rigged wiring to deal with!

Nice work so far, looking forward to the finished product...
Thanks. I've been tracking your build thread and it looks like you pulled out a much larger rats nest than I had.

I pretty much have all of the wiring repaired now, except a mess of vampire taps and cut wires near the passenger side door. I've been trying to reference the factory wiring diagrams, but things aren't matching up. It looks like I'll be busting out the old test light again once I finish wiring the new a/c. Unfortunately I have to fly to New England this week for work, so all of this will have to wait until next weekend.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:20 AM   #14
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Thanks. I've been tracking your build thread and it looks like you pulled out a much larger rats nest than I had.

I pretty much have all of the wiring repaired now, except a mess of vampire taps and cut wires near the passenger side door. I've been trying to reference the factory wiring diagrams, but things aren't matching up. It looks like I'll be busting out the old test light again once I finish wiring the new a/c. Unfortunately I have to fly to New England this week for work, so all of this will have to wait until next weekend.
Mine was indeed a rat's nest! Luckily, all the taps and wire nuts were in relatively "safe" sections of the harness (not too close to the terminal) and thus easy to repair. There are a few wires/leads that are factory fused that go to nowhere (like the rear defroster) that I'm glad I repurposed.

Have few in New England! I just got back from the PNW, so I'll have a few chances to wrap up some stuff this week myself.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:59 PM
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I got home from my trip this afternoon, so I decided to spend a little time on the YJ after dinner. I noticed that the fuel smell was worse than I remembered (granted it might have something to do with being away from the garage for a week), so I decided to do some investigating. It turns out all of the rubber fuel lines have been recently replaced, so that rules them out. I checked the lines that connect to the fuel rails and those have been replaced as well with no noticeable leaks. This leads me to believe that the problem is somewhere around the tank (hopefully just some dry rotted fuel filler neck or vent). I plan on dropping the skid plate this weekend to see if I can locate the problem.

While I was under the Jeep I decided it would be a good time to measure the shackles to see how much lift was from the shackles and how much was from the springs. The shackles measured almost 6-1/2” from center to center, which tells me they are providing ~1-1/4” of the lift. A quick inspection of the front diff shows that it is leaning pretty noticeably forward, and there are no shims in the springs to correct for the lift. I’m guessing caster is all out of whack, which is why my Jeep is wandery down the road and the steering wheel does not center up after a turn like you would expect. I’ll bust out the digital angle gauge this weekend to try to measure the caster to see if this is the source of my problem.

After all the investigating I didn’t have much time left, so I installed new shifter boots and knobs. There was some bubba work with a welded on handle and the transfer case shift knob was from another vehicle (see photo, try to guess what’s wrong with that picture). I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out, and I’ll definitely be happier with a shifter that doesn’t require leaning over to use.
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Old 06-08-2019, 11:59 AM   #16
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I got home from my trip this afternoon, so I decided to spend a little time on the YJ after dinner. I noticed that the fuel smell was worse than I remembered (granted it might have something to do with being away from the garage for a week), so I decided to do some investigating. It turns out all of the rubber fuel lines have been recently replaced, so that rules them out. I checked the lines that connect to the fuel rails and those have been replaced as well with no noticeable leaks. This leads me to believe that the problem is somewhere around the tank (hopefully just some dry rotted fuel filler neck or vent). I plan on dropping the skid plate this weekend to see if I can locate the problem.
I've got a $10 spot on betting that it's likely the roll-over vent seals... I had the same exact issue that just happened to start one day. If you haven't replaced them, I'd buy a set before you drop the tank and do them preemptively anyways.
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:34 PM
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I've got a $10 spot on betting that it's likely the roll-over vent seals... I had the same exact issue that just happened to start one day. If you haven't replaced them, I'd buy a set before you drop the tank and do them preemptively anyways.
Thanks, I forgot about those valves. I just bought a kit with the fuel pump/sender gasket, vapor vents and gaskets, and the fuel filler/vent necks. I doubt any of them have ever been replaced, so I figured I should just replace it all while I have the tank down. Might be overkill, but it wasnít too expensive and I really donít want to have to drop this tank more than once.
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Old 06-09-2019, 04:00 PM
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Just a quick update. I went ahead and measured the caster today (using a digital angle finder on top of the steering knuckle). I measured ~3.5 degrees, so now I’m 99% sure that the longer shackles are the cause of my steering problems. The Jeep is currently running 33s, and I don’t think there will be enough room if I lose more than an inch of lift by going to OEM shackles. My interim fix will be to buy a set of Rubicon Express 5” boomerang shackles (~1/2” of lift) and see if that fixes it.
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:58 PM
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A/C install is complete! I purged and charged the system today and now have nice 43 degree air conditioning for the hot Florida summer.

Most of the wiring is complete now as well. I did uncover a few issues though:

1) My condenser fan runs all the time even when the ignition and a/c are both in the off position. I pulled the relay for now. I’m thinking the relay is wired backwards, should be an easy fix.

2) I re-wired the under hood light (a PO cut the wires apart) and now it stays on all the time. Probably the reason someone disconnected it in the first place. I need to dig into the factory wiring manual to see if there is a switch or something that controls it. Disconnected for now.

3) Now my right sound bar speaker isn’t working. I’m thinking it is just a loose wire in the connector, I had some issues with pins popping out when I tried to connect it back up.

On the suspension, I’ve removed the front and rear track bars. I took it for a test drive today and didn’t notice any difference (maybe a little smoother ride), so I’ll probably just leave them off. The wandery steering issue was still there, so I’m in the process of installing some shorter boomerang shackles in the front to see if that will correct the caster. I’ll also be reinstalling the sway bar once I can figure out what size bolts hold the bushing clamps on (been to the hardware store twice already....................).

After I button up the front end, I’ll start tackling my fuel vapor issue. More updates soon.
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Old 06-14-2019, 07:57 PM
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Suspension work is done. The 5” boomerang shackles brought my caster back into spec (measured ~7 degrees). I also installed a factory sway bar (got it cheap from someone who was adding antirock). I scored a set of JKS disconnects for less than half of retail cost (guy bought the wrong part thinking it was for a JK). I’ll admit, I’m glad I did not pay full retail for these. The install was extremely easy up until I tried to connect the upper and lower halves with the pins. The passenger’s side took 20 minutes and required the use of a mallet. The driver’s side took me over 45 minutes and the only way I could get the pin to go in was to bust out the air hammer. The instructions say that the pins will get easier to install after the Jeep is driven a bit. Hopefully that is the case, but right now I’m not too confident that I’ll be able to disconnect the sway bar links when I go off-roading.

That said, the Jeep handles 100x better now. The steering is spot on, no wander and returns to center as you would expect. Turning is much more predictable and the body roll is significantly less. I’m extremely happy with the ride now, and it is much safer which makes me more comfortable putting kids and family in it.

I’m looking forward to having the Jeep back on the road. I still need to tackle the fuel smell and some miscellaneous electrical issues, but I’m still planning on taking it out to the beach next weekend. Can’t wait!
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Old 06-15-2019, 09:06 PM
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Spent about 4 hours today fixing my fuel vapor leak. The whole job really wasnít that bad. Dropping the tank was much easier than I expected (hardest part was finding a tube long enough in my garage to siphon the gas out). I just propped a floor jack under it and slowly lowered it away. The first thing I did was a quick inspection for cracks and other issues. Only issues were pretty much all the gaskets were rotted (expected this) and I had two supply lines for some reason (turns out a PO replaced it but never removed the factory hose). I also found that the drivers side rollover valve wasnít even connected to the tube (probably the source of the smell). I then pulled the fuel pump to see if my tank had the warped plastic baffle that is known to interfere with the fuel gauge float. A PO had already removed this and replaced the fuel pump at some point, so my fuel gauge issue must be a bad gauge or a bad ground (Iíll tackle this some other time). After that I got to work swapping out what seemed like most of the fuel system.

I replaced all of the gaskets, both rollover valves, all of the soft lines coming from the tank (didnít really need it but I already had the tubing on hand), the fuel filter (including the two short rubber lines attached to it), the fuel filler/vent necks and all of the hose clamps. Probably overkill, but I didnít want to have to do this job more than once.

My tank skid plate is pretty rusty, but I havenít decided if I am going to go with a fuel cell or some other route for phase two so I didnít want to drop $200 on a replacement. The previous owner took the YJ to Jeep Beach a few weeks before I bought it, so I also removed about 20 pounds of Daytona Beach from the undercarriage while I was down there.

I cycled the ignition on and off a few times to let the fuel pump prime the system, and she fired up with no issues. While I was sitting there admiring my work, I went to adjust the rear view mirror that I glued on a couple days ago, and it immediately fell off again! Does anyone know the trick to getting the mirror to stay on?!?!?!
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:32 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rexenator View Post
Suspension work is done. The 5Ē boomerang shackles brought my caster back into spec (measured ~7 degrees). I also installed a factory sway bar (got it cheap from someone who was adding antirock). I scored a set of JKS disconnects for less than half of retail cost (guy bought the wrong part thinking it was for a JK). Iíll admit, Iím glad I did not pay full retail for these. The install was extremely easy up until I tried to connect the upper and lower halves with the pins. The passengerís side took 20 minutes and required the use of a mallet. The driverís side took me over 45 minutes and the only way I could get the pin to go in was to bust out the air hammer. The instructions say that the pins will get easier to install after the Jeep is driven a bit. Hopefully that is the case, but right now Iím not too confident that Iíll be able to disconnect the sway bar links when I go off-roading.

That said, the Jeep handles 100x better now. The steering is spot on, no wander and returns to center as you would expect. Turning is much more predictable and the body roll is significantly less. Iím extremely happy with the ride now, and it is much safer which makes me more comfortable putting kids and family in it.

Iím looking forward to having the Jeep back on the road. I still need to tackle the fuel smell and some miscellaneous electrical issues, but Iím still planning on taking it out to the beach next weekend. Canít wait!
Glad your steering woes are fixed!

Just a heads up, the front shackles are actually installed upside down. While in the back, the booms are installed to clear the crossmember. However, in the front, flipping them around prevents shackle inversion as the center bar keeps them from "flipping" the other way under compression post a full drop.

https://www.quadratec.com/Assets/Ins...ion/153348.pdf
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Old 06-16-2019, 02:17 PM
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Glad your steering woes are fixed!

Just a heads up, the front shackles are actually installed upside down. While in the back, the booms are installed to clear the crossmember. However, in the front, flipping them around prevents shackle inversion as the center bar keeps them from "flipping" the other way under compression post a full drop.

https://www.quadratec.com/Assets/Ins...ion/153348.pdf
Thanks, I was questioning if this was the right way, but I tried the other way around and the center bar on the shackle was rubbing the metal mount in the frame. Maybe I had the axle drooped too far during the install?
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:36 AM   #24
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Thanks, I was questioning if this was the right way, but I tried the other way around and the center bar on the shackle was rubbing the metal mount in the frame. Maybe I had the axle drooped too far during the install?
Possibly - that's exactly what it's designed to do
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:17 PM
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Possibly - that's exactly what it's designed to do
Thanks, I’ll try to flip them later this week.

I figured out a few of my remaining electrical gremlins today. Turns out my heater fan does in fact work, it just doesn’t turn on in the “vent” position (stupid operator’s fault).

I got the condenser fan to work correctly. Previously it was always on, regardless of whether the Jeep or a/c were on. Turns out that the supplied relay was fused in the on position, and oddly both pins 87 and 87a were always receiving power (which should never happen since they are supposed to be opposite from each other). Got a new relay and the system works great. I also replaced the relay for the horn. The relay now clicks when the horn button is pressed, but still no horn...... I’ll bust the ole test light out later this week, but at least I am working my way closer to the issue.

I also played around with the door open/closed switches, and now my dome light comes on, and stays on all the time unless I jiggle it..... need to do more investigating on this, but it looks like a PO may have removed the connector for the driver’s side door, so I need to track that down first.

These are all small fry issues, the Jeep drives and works fine as it is now, but I would like to get everything working as it was from the factory. Speaking of which, maybe I’ll tackle my parking brake issues this week as well... more updates soon.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:49 PM   #26
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Nice Jeep! Keep up the good work!...its a labor of love to bring these old jeeps back into their prime...on your locks not working...its probably the plastic clips on the lock rods...they get brittle and just fall apart and need replaced. Good Luck!
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Old 06-22-2019, 05:07 PM
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The wife and I took yesterday off to take the YJ for a spin and spend some time in Destin. The Jeep drove great and we had a fun time cruising around to get lunch and ice cream cake. No off-roading or beach driving though, I still need to figure out how to get a beach driving permit for the county.

Today I finally installed the ignition immobilizer that I bought from Digital Guard Dawg over a month ago. The unit I got is actually for motorcycles or ATVs, but was recommended by the company because I didn't need push button start or any of the advanced features like automatic door locks or window controls. This option is not on their website, but I appreciate the phone rep for telling me about it because it was about 1/4th the cost of a full push button start system. I mentioned in an earlier post that my ignition cylinder doesn't need a key to start the Jeep. I found out today that this is only partially true, I can actually force the ignition cylinder to the lock position which will require the key to unlock it. However, it is a real bear to get the ignition cylinder out of the lock position so I decided to press with the ignition immobilizer install and only use the lock position when I feel like I need additional security (which will require the use of the key). The immobilizer unit also gives me a deduction on my car insurance!

The unit itself is very basic, only four wires: constant hot, ground, and two wires to splice into the starter relay circuit. It requires the use of a wireless key fob to unlock the starter relay circuit, and the key fob can either be set to a proximity mode (like most modern cars use), or a manual mode which requires you to press the button on the fob and then start the vehicle within a few seconds. I ended up pulling the dash apart around the steering wheel and placing the unit just above my freshly installed a/c unit. Wiring was simple (ignore the first picture with the unit, I ended up cutting those long wires off), and finding the starter relay wire was easy because someone had already cut it and spliced it back together with butt connectors (they must have had an ignition kill switch and removed it prior to selling the vehicle).

I also took this opportunity to install the switch pod I build a few weeks ago. I carefully cut the hole in the factory plastic switch plate using a Dremel, and the switch pod snapped right in. I'm pretty happy with this location, and I wired it so all I have to do to add an accessory is to add a relay wire to the weatherpack connector that I located near the steering column.

Unfortunately, with all mods it seems like something inevitably gets broken in the process. After I buttoned everything up, I noticed that my turn signal indicator on the gauge cluster no longer works. The signals still turn on correctly, so I must have hooked one of those two connectors going to the gauge cluster up incorrectly. Oh well, the electrical gremlin saga continues!
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Old 06-22-2019, 05:23 PM   #28
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The keyless option does come in handy. When we were kids my Army buddy showed up for the weekend in his 70 something POS Corvette on leave to stay with me for the weekend. While out terrorizing what was a small town at the time, Austin, TX we were pulled over and hauled to the graybar hotel. They threw him in for drunk driving and firing his gun through the open sunroof while doing 100+ down the freeway. They impounded his car and refused to give me a free ride back home from the jail. Fortunately for me I remembered my friend telling me that you dont need a key to start the car, and I was able to simply walk out of the lobby and see the flatbed rolling that thing off in the parking lot. Jumped in it, twisted the cylinder and off I went 100 mph in the other direction!
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:53 PM
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The keyless option does come in handy. When we were kids my Army buddy showed up for the weekend in his 70 something POS Corvette on leave to stay with me for the weekend. While out terrorizing what was a small town at the time, Austin, TX we were pulled over and hauled to the graybar hotel. They threw him in for drunk driving and firing his gun through the open sunroof while doing 100+ down the freeway. They impounded his car and refused to give me a free ride back home from the jail. Fortunately for me I remembered my friend telling me that you dont need a key to start the car, and I was able to simply walk out of the lobby and see the flatbed rolling that thing off in the parking lot. Jumped in it, twisted the cylinder and off I went 100 mph in the other direction!
Haha, not exactly my intent by going "keyless" but still pretty funny!
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:05 PM
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So the good idea fairy hit me today. I've been looking at some options to upgrade the axles on my JK. It's a 2016 Rubicon, so it has Dana 44s, electronic lockers and 4.10s. Then it hit me, I could upgrade the axles in the JK and then steal the Dana 44s for the YJ. All I'd really need to do is cut off the factory brackets and weld on the appropriate brackets for a YJ. To me this has a few advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages:
  • Reuse the takeoffs from my own vehicle (I would say I am saving $$$, others would say I am just spending more of it)
  • Axles already come configured (gears, lockers, etc) like I would want for 35s on the YJ with a V8
  • Wider axles would allow me to run a little more backspacing versus stock YJ width axles (saves some wear and tear on balljoints and other components)

Disadvantage:
  • The JK Dana 44s are not the strongest axles available. Would likely need some additional upgrades (chromoly shafts, more stout lockers, etc.) to handle the additional torque that a V8 has
  • Requires more "figuring", need to assemble proper components (spring perches, brackets, etc.) to be compatible with the YJ
  • Wheel lug spacing is not same as YJ (not really a con, just something to remember)

This is more of me thinking out loud than actually considering this option right now. If anyone has any experience or thoughts on this, please let me know.

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