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Old 05-30-2018, 07:48 PM
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My YJ monster build

So I introduced myself recently, shared a story about this 1995 YJ.


20 years ago my wife needed a new car, and we went to a tent sale event at the Anaheim Stadium in Orange County California. lots of cars, lots of walking. Half a day into our trip, my wife saw this beautiful bright shiny red YJ wrangler with a nice lift on it and larger than stock tires.



She fell in love with the car and we bought. IT was her daily driver until tragedy struck in 2006. She had collapsed while at work and was rushed to the hospital. By the time I got there, the bad news had been diagnosed, she had an attack related to Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. She was paralyzed from the neck down, and I truly thought that was the rest of my life staring me in the face.



Fortunately, she recovered her mobility, she got out of the wheel chair and could walk but often required assistance and she tired easily. Driving was a thing of the past for her.



However we had 4 boys, each in turn as they were old enough got to "own" the jeep as their daily driver.


3 Weeks ago, two cars were stolen from my driveway in the middle of the night. One of them was the Jeep. The little snot who stole it totaled the car. 50 mph into a pole or something, and the car is mangled. (I'll add pictures of the mess later)


When I went to the tow yard to look at it, I was devastated. I remebered stupid things like the time a ginat shiny green dragonfly flew in the back window and scared the hell out of the boys (they were very young) and they started screaming. Or the trips to Disney land piled into the Jeep.


Or the time we passed El Pollo Loco on the way to the beach, and we saw a chicken running across the street away from El Pollo Loco. far too many memories, it was going to be hard to let go. But we were planning to let go and move on. Then the tow yard dropped the bomb on me, they would file a collections suit against me if I didn't pay the charges that they had put a lien on. AND I had to remove it from their property.


1400.00 due for a tow and 5 days storage. I realized I'd been victimized twice.


So we decided to hell with this, I just spend 1400.00, in for a penny in for a pound.



So we towed the beastie home and put it in the garage while we decide what to do. I took to the internet, and started planning what I was going to do. Now I could just replace everything, it wouldn't be my jeep anymore. A new Tub would come with a new VIN, and that wasn't acceptable to me. IT still had to be OUR Jeep, not just a rebuilt tribute car.


So we are starting the long and tedious process of having the tub set up on a jig, pulled out with hydraulic jacks, tweaked and massaged back into shape. After market Floor pans are readily available, as are a number of body panels. It's costing me more to do this than just a re-body, but again, it has to be my title, my license plate, my car.


We have a chassis procured, and after having asked numerous questions in the other threads I posted, I decided not to do a junkyard build and mess with stuff I might not be 100% comfortable with. Cutting, welding fabricating etc. I have narrowed down the new suspension to three direct replacement custom axle possibilities:


1. A Currie 9" setup

2. East Coast Gear Supply 8.8" custom rig setup specifically to mount up with all standard Jeep hardware.


3. And this beastie looks the wickedest of the bunch, and my personal favorite of the three.....the Core44 YJ direct replacement setup from G2 Axles.


And for wheels, the KMC XD. specifics to be determined on if I end up with 5 bolt, 6 or 8.


And I plan on photographing and video of the whole thing in great detail.


Our plan is to salvage as much as possible off the original. Engine, transmission, transfer case etc. Anything and everything that can be restored.


First time I've gone to this kind of extreme, I suspect it's going to be quite the adventure.

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Old 05-30-2018, 08:09 PM   #2
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Wow, good luck. I will follow this build for sure from Michigan.
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[B]To be continued....:
You Don't Buy a Jeep, You Build One.

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Old 05-31-2018, 11:15 AM   #3
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I will follow along as well. That is quite the back story, but it does explain why you are going through the trouble of repairing the tub. I have to say that I was a little confused when you kept mentioning a car. A car is a car, a truck is a truck, but a Jeep is neither... it is a Jeep.
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Old 05-31-2018, 11:25 AM
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I have to say that I was a little confused when you kept mentioning a car. A car is a car, a truck is a truck, but a Jeep is neither... it is a Jeep.



20 years of Laura calling it her car.


tough habit to break.
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Old 06-09-2018, 11:56 AM   #5
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Definitely looking forward to updates! Good luck!
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Old 06-09-2018, 04:34 PM   #6
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That's deep. I'll follow along for the ride, see where this adventure goes. Good luck to you in your quest!
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:01 PM   #7
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subscribed.
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:02 PM   #8
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also, GOOD LUCK! A story and a memory are always worth more than a car. So while this isn't the cheapest route, I'm with you. It's the best route.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:26 PM
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Ok, so a minor update and a question........


We start tear down this week, so I'll have pics of the wreck as my before pictures. You guys will get to see how awful this looks starting out.


As an update, parts purchasing has gone really well. Lots of goodies headed my way.


KBS chassis kit has been ordered, and I expect it shortly.



Classic tubes will be doing my new fuel and brake lines, full set.


Rough Country 4" lift full suspension kit is on it's way courtesy of Amazon Prime (includes shocks), as well as a dual steering stabilizer.


Complete body/chassis bushing kit is on it's way. NOT the stock rubber bushings, some new fancy stuff that is supposed to be vastly superior to the rubber stuff.


I'm in a bit of a holding pattern on the wheels at the moment. Originally planned on KMC XD rims, still am, but not sure on specifics yet. Saw an awesome black rim with an outer ring that is bolted on. I was going to paint the ring the same color as the body, but this was when I was contemplating a 3/4 axle, so I was looking at a 17" rim, 8 bolt for 35" tires.


At least temporarily, I may be restoring this mostly stock for the moment just for the sake of getting it back on the road in short duration.


I read a flame fest on one of the forums where someone ripped using ford 8.8/9" axles. Others responding, stick to the 35's etc. Thought I had a plan, now I'm not sure.



Still planning to upgrade, but I need to spend some more time on this. Currie has a direct replacement, drop in and go, no modification necessary 9" Ford setup brand new. front and rear. 8 weeks set up time.



Then there is the Core44 front and rear axle setup. Very impressive looking and frankly, I kinda want it...... But then someone told me that there isn't a Core44 front Axle for the YJ, even though I see it on their website.....????? HUH? I haven't had a chance to call yet, so I have no idea. Time hasn't permitted yet, but it is on my list of things to do, thank god for Evernote.



Now comes the REALLY cool part. I found a donor Jeep. A really NICE donor Jeep. first glance it looks rough as hell. On closer inspection, virtually no body work required, ZERO cancer. surface rust is all but non existent. The frame is immaculate. FYI the tub being pristine except for crap paint, will be for sale soon.


The bad news.... the chassis is a 4cyl. Chassis. But it is so clean I could power wash it tomorrow and spray KBS and call it done, that is how clean it is. FYI the 4cyl engine, transmission and transfer case will make it's way to the sale are of the forum as well fairly soon.




Now comes the question......


The 4 cyl frame and 6 cyl frame are identical EXCEPT for placement of the brackets for the engine mounts correct?


Also, Originally I was going to just take pics as I go, and post them, now I'm thinking I should do full on videos in stages as this gets rebuilt, documenting my journey from a tragedy to an amazing new Jeep.


Pretty sure you guys are going to overwhelmingly tell me to do video, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway. Is there too much of it already? or go for it?
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:58 AM   #10
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The frames are the same except for the motor mounts. Sounds like a good score on a complete donor. That will be way better than looking for individual pieces.

Either of those axles would be great. Myself, I would love to have a set of Currie 9" axles.

Myself, I am kind of partial to pictures vs videos. I can scroll through pictures and move on. I don't always have time to watch a 4 or 5 minute video.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:26 AM
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The frames are the same except for the motor mounts. Sounds like a good score on a complete donor. That will be way better than looking for individual pieces.



Other than the motor mounts, are there any other issues I need to be concerned about? On occasion, the search function can be a horrible thing. I did a Google search on this last night and it caused my blood to run cold.


I found several old posts on the internets saying the 2.5 and 4.0 frames were distinctly different, including an article posted that had me groaning in agony saying that going from 4 to 6 cyl. was a massive undertaking and extremely expensive. Citing Motor mounts, transmission mounts and a bunch of other issues.


Then more posts than I can count saying frames are the same, followed by no they are not, followed by yes they are. LOL.


This article kinda scared me as it makes it sound like I'm in for a ton of modifications:


1987 Jeep Wrangler YJ - Wrangler Four-Banger To 4.0L Six Engine Swap - 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:41 AM   #12
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That article is certainly not an apples to apples comparison to what you are doing. You already have all of the components needed to put a 6 cyl in your Jeep because it already has one. The article is putting a MPFI 4.0 litre in place of a TBI 4 cyl. Of course the radiator, fan shroud, wiring, exhaust, and a bunch of other stuff needs addressed for something like that. You are just going to need to move the mounts and go about your business.
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Old 06-21-2018, 07:59 PM
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Thanks for that!



I've been busy on this the last few days, I got solid confirmation on what you said...but decided to purchase an "A" grade 6 cyl. chassis that is absolutely stunning. I tried to find the brackets, and did on eBay, but honestly all of them looked like they were salvaged from the bottom of the ocean.



This Jeep is really making me work hard for every inch of ground I gain...



Which begs the question, what do I do with an immaculate "A" grade 4cyl chassis?
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Old 08-31-2018, 11:53 AM
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Ok, it's been awhile since I posted, here's the current status of this whole mess.......


I got an immaculate 6cyl chassis from Jeeps Unlimited. They call it an A grade, it's about as perfect as you can get.



I also purchased a rough Country 4" lift kit from them. And a Rugged Ridge driveshaft for 4" - 6" lifts. Plus extended brake lines kit for lifted Jeeps.


Complete brakeline kit from Quadratec to completely re-plumb the brake system.


New master cylinder.


Now the weird part. I purchased a really sharp donor car from a seller on Craigslist. Body is immaculate, frame is also immaculate, but for a 4 cylinder.
Couldn't pass up due to the low price, as it was basically a complete vehicle for 1300.00, I felt like I'd be an idiot to pass it up.


While search for parts, I also found another YJ, chassis and tub only. 400.00. Chassis was also immaculate, tub needed only very slight repair. It had the typicla rust spots under the roll bar plates on the floor. The c channel below was perfectly intact. SO I bought it. But, it was yet another 4 cylinder chassis, which I've already found was impossible to find decent grade 6 cyl. brackets.


And Finally, yet another YJ advertised on craigslist, mostly complete, body in great shape, chassis is immaculate. it was a 6cyl chassis. 400.00


So I now have a ton of parts. Way more than I needed to build just one jeep.



My son was like Dad, do we need to have an intervention or something? I laughed it off, but I had an idea......


So I now have 4 immaculate chassis, two 6cyl and two 4 cyl.


I have two COMPLETE sets of stock suspension with the anemic 30 and 35 DANA combos, one with no suspension, and one with a wrecked front suspension.



To my rescue comes a vendor that deals in salvaged suspensions, and will custom build them up for me. (there is going to be a question in here later). So they are building a set of DANA 44's for me, disc brakes and whatever gearing I want.


So the original Jeep is being rebuilt basically stock, nothing fancy. My son isn't into extreme off-road or anything like that.



SO.....1st 4 cylinder chassis is going to be donor suspension for the wrecked Jeep. The Dana 44's are going on this (the 4 cylinder) chassis.

I'm ordering an Nth Degree Long arm suspension kit for this Frame, roughly 2k for the entire setup. And yes, I did say I hate 4cylinder. This one is getting a slightly upgraded engine. A Dodge Hellcat Hemi with a supercharger. Probably going to go with 35" tires, I thought about larger, but i didn't want to have to cut fenders or anything for tire clearance.
This one will be MY new Jeep.


The other two I'm not 100% certain what I am going to do, but I will say that I saw some ridiculous mods on this forum that have inspired me to go a little bit crazy. I'm currently contemplating an extreme mod that will entail some Rockwell 2.5 ton axles..... 3 of them


Our progress was really slow over the summer, we got hit with horrific temperatures whilst trying to work, and at one point my son had to go to the ER as he broke out into an absolutely horrible heat rash that covered 70% of his body. It was 120 that day......


I'll start posting pictures of the progress soon as we start building the chassis up which should be in a couple of weeks.
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:02 PM
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And I completely forgot my question.......


Regarding Axles.


At this point, this vendor pretty much has ANY axles I want. I just have to tell them what I would like to have, they pretty much have it.



After a couple of discussions with them, I've settled on Grand Wagoneer axles as they are a pretty damn close fit to the stock width, but I have a passenger side drop with those so some transfer case fun is involved, but minimal.



I chose these due to the stock width, or close to anyways, but it occurred to me with a long arm suspension with a 5.5" drop, I might be making a really top heavy vehicle on a narrow suspension, especially with the hellcat engine being double the size of the stock 6cyl. engine.


I was going to use spacers anyway to add some width, but I'm not sure it's enough as I'll only add a total of 3" width, and the Wagoneer axles were already 1/2" shorter.


As I have the options open and I've yet to have them start building up my axles, should I look at a slightly wider axle? I don't really want to go with crazy 1 ton rock crawling gear, that is a bit over kill for what I am trying to build, but part of me thinks I should go for a little wider.


Does this make sense to do?
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:36 PM   #16
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Sooo this has little to do with the build but I’m just wondering how the heck you got 4 kids in the back of that thing😜

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