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Old 07-02-2017, 08:03 PM
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89 YJ street driver/ rock crawler build

Just to introduce myself, my name is Jeff, live in Memphis, and I am currently building an 89 YJ. This is my wife's jeep. This will get driven on the road quite a bit, and the plan is to keep it street legal(ish), drive down the road good, and do well on the rocks. This will not be a huge 1 ton build, but a mild family cruiser that can go on road trips as well as hit the rocks. Well that's the plan at least. We actually have had this YJ for a couple years, and have yet to put a front driveahaft in it. It was basically like a convertible to us since we had other jeeps to take off road.
I will start off at when we got it, and catch it up to where I am currently

This is how we bought it.

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Old 07-02-2017, 08:08 PM
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When we bought it, it had, and still has at this moment, 35x12.5 15 almost, now pretty much wore out km2s on faux locks. Pro-comp lift springs (leafs) all the way around, and lift shackles.

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Old 07-02-2017, 08:39 PM
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Painted the grille black, added some roll bar grab handles, cut the rear fenders and slapped on some TJ rear flares and it became a daily driver for about a year. During that time, I got rid of the factory trailer style tail lights and installed flush mount leds. I also built a rear bumper out of scrap metal that I had laying around. I also built some rear coner huards as well, but they are only 14 gauge. I guess they are more for looks, but it does double the factory tub thickness back there.

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Old 07-02-2017, 08:46 PM
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Next I built a a set of rock sliders out of scrap metal. When I say scrap metal, if I needed 4", and had 3" and 1", then they got welded together and ground down. I also bolted up a set of tube fenders on the front as well.

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Old 07-02-2017, 08:51 PM
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To match up with the tube fenders, I built a new stubby front bumper, you guessed it, out of some scrap metal that I had around. I then bolted a warn winch onto it. I also added a light bar as well.

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Old 07-02-2017, 09:17 PM
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Up until recently, this thing was a side thought. I would do odds and ends between other projects. Recently, this became my wifes only jeep, so I wanted to try and focus on this and get it finshed. The AX15 that had been swapped into it had the internal slave going bad again, a bearing was howling, and in reverse it made a loud popping sound. The wife really wanted automatic to begin with, although she was fine with the stick, this seem like the perfect time to swap in an aw4 I had picked up along the way.

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Old 07-02-2017, 09:40 PM
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Forgot to mention, the cam flattened out on a lobe, so we swapped in an aftermarket comp cams camshaft, lifters and timing chain. I also put a new oil pump in while everything was apart.

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Old 07-04-2017, 12:13 PM
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Started gathering the other parts needed for the automatic swap. A throttle position sensor would be needed. I'm sure I could rig up something on the side of the webber carb, but this seemed like a great time to switch over to fuel injection.

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Old 07-04-2017, 12:28 PM
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Picked up a 4.0 head. I already had the 4.0 intake and injectors laying around. I also pulled a wiring harness from a 95 XJ at the local U-Pull-it. I also bought an ECU frim a 95 XJ. I removed most of the original YJ wiring, and got to work hooking up the new harness.

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Old 07-04-2017, 12:31 PM
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New header to fit the 4.0 head


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Old 07-04-2017, 12:40 PM
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While working in it, I noticed the motor mounts. How this thing wasn't clanging around while driving is beyond me, but never really felt anything. Built sime new mounts, and added a motor mount lift into them.

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Old 07-04-2017, 01:02 PM
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Of course I wasn't very smart anf built the motor mounts while not around the jeep, so one was off a little. I cut and rewelded it to fit, but still need to clean it up at some point. With the mml in, I had a piece of .25 steel sheet, that I cut a flat skid plate out of. I think I may go back and weld some support on the top side at some point just for good measure.
I had to clock the transfer case to be able to get the belly completely flat, so I also had to do a 1" body lift to make room for the t-case. To take out the extra height, I cut out some boomerang shackles for the front and rear that took 1" of lift out of them. Yeh, the old shackles where pretty big, and I could not stand to look at them on the jeep all hanging down in front. The new ones looked much better. At the same time as all this, I also installed a SYE into the transfer case.

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Old 07-14-2017, 07:50 AM   #13
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Damn Jeff nice work so far.
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Old 07-14-2017, 08:35 PM
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Thanks Roger

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Old 07-14-2017, 08:46 PM
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Next it was fuel cell time. Ordered up a RCI fuel cell. I cut out the back floor and sunk the cell into it. I installed an in-tank pump, then I ran 6an braided line for the supply and return. I still have to neaten up the lines and secure them to the frame. The sending unit that came with the cell wired right up to the factory fuel gauge and seems to work fine.


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Old 07-14-2017, 08:57 PM
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Tossed the Dana 35 in the scrap pile, and installed an 8.8 rear. I used 4.56 gears and a Spartan locker. Welded up the axle tubes and built a truss. I also added a Blue Torch Fab DIY dif cover. I just realized that I do not have any pictures of the rear axle going in. I do all the work by myself, so sometimes I forget to step back and snap a picture.

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Old 07-14-2017, 09:07 PM
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Getting ready to match the front gearing, I wanted to get rid of the disconnect axle. Weaker, Stronger, I don't know, I just did not want to deal with it. I tossed another HP30 under it from a 99 XJ. Geared to 4.56 with a Spartan locker, and a Solid dif cover. I also had the XJ steering, with Rustys HD tie rod.

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Old 07-14-2017, 09:17 PM
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The stock steering box was leaking pretty good. I had changed the seal at the arm, and it only slowed the leak down. I went ahead and swapped it out for a dodge durango steering box while swapping out the front axle.

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Old 07-14-2017, 09:24 PM
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So I have the XJ axle on jack stands, and I can Just cut the old link mounts and coil buckets off and weld on leaf perches.....or I can create more work for myself and change the YJ to front coil springs. I chose the latter. After all I had a set of 3.5" lift XJ coil springs sitting around.
So I built some links to do a radius arm style long arm suspension in the front.

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Old 07-14-2017, 09:29 PM
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I notched out the frame to inset the coil springs to line up with the axle, and built some coil buckets.

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Old 07-14-2017, 09:33 PM
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Built new shock mounts, and gusstted the bucket. The antirock bar that is in the picture is just stuck through the front crossmember. Once again, something that I had laying around that I am going to make work.

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Old 07-14-2017, 09:45 PM
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I had pushed the front axle foward probably 1.5" , so I found out that the steering that I had just wasn't going to work. I had to build a new panhard bar and mounts anyways, so might as well go ahead and build new steering also. I sit in front of it trying different configurations dir a while, and finally decided on an inverted Y steering OTK. I used 1.5" 0.25 wall on all the steering and track bar, along with 3/4 chromoly heims.

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Old 07-25-2017, 12:08 PM
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The original plan was to stay sua in the rear. After linking the front, it did not sit level. I decided to go ahead and convert the rear to coil springs with a triangulated 4 link. I had to cut the exhaust off to fit the upper links, so I will have to figure out have to rebuild that and clear everything. I also stretched the back out some in the process.
Also, in true me fashion, to make sure that I have everything started at once, and nothing finished, I pulled all the accs. off of it and started sanding on it also.

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Old 07-25-2017, 12:12 PM
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More sanding done. Not looking for a perfect paint job, and did not want to pay for one since I'm sure it will get scratches on the trail. The clear coat was flaking on most of it, and original paint was rough, so I had to do something.

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Old 07-25-2017, 12:17 PM
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I think that basically brings this thread up to were I am currently. It has been about 180 degree here lately, so I haven't been getting much done to it after work. I am hoping to test drive it by the end of August. We shall see. I have it converted over to auto, and I know that 1st and reverse work, past that, I am unsure. Right now it doesn't have driveshafts or brakes.

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Old 07-26-2017, 11:44 AM   #26
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I like where this is headed. It is coming along.
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:44 PM   #27
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This is turning out awesome. Not trying to thread Jack but where can I find dimensions for a four link? I want to do the exact same suspension.
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Old 07-26-2017, 09:58 PM
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"This is turning out awesome. Not trying to thread Jack but where can I find dimensions for a four link? I want to do the exact same suspension."

I have built a couple 4 links in the past, and seemed/seems to work really well, but I am by no means an expert on the topic. There are some pretty complicated formulas involved, most of which are over my head. In the end, the room under the jeep dictates alot of it. Off the top of my head, I believe on the frame side, I am around 4" of seperation, about 8" at the axle. Upper links are around 85% as long as the lower links. I don't remember the legths off the top of my head. Lowers are probably around 34". Lowers probably around 6 degree or so. Uppers are close to flat with the ground. I have 7/8" heims on the lowers on one end, and poly bushings in the other. Uppets are 3/4 heims and poly bushings. I threw the bushings in the mix top and bottom to keep ot quieter since it will spend alot of time on the street. Thats the basic overview of the rear suspension. But....this one hasn't been tested yet, so we shall see. I am shooting for a test drive with at least the rear driveshaft by Sept. 1st.

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Old 08-06-2017, 08:33 AM   #29
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Very nice! You did alot of work to that thing! Staying with 35's or going bigger??
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:28 AM
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The plan is to stay 35s. I hope to have a few more updates sometime this week.

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