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Old 01-13-2019, 09:45 PM
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Wifeís YJ budget build

Hey all! Well we finally did it. My wife has wanted a Jeep for a while now and I have wanted to find her one for some time but canít afford to buy one really nice plus I wanted to find one that could really work on together. So professionally I am a customer car builder specializing in metal fabrication and upholstery. Unprofessionally I know nothing about building a Jeep so Iím honestly really excited about this mainly because itís something new. So I guess then into the details. I was lucky enough to be scrolling through fb marketplace just before leaving to go to camp with our youth group kids and came across a 94 YJ that I was able to pick up for $700 the usual rusted out frame (and I mean bad!!!) but I was able to find another frame that still rusty but repairable. And then we began to talk and plan what we wanted to do with this thing. The Jeep is a 2.5 automatic. When I started talking to the engine builders at work everything came back with $1000 price range for engines and that was hard to swallow so I started looking around for other options and came across a 1996 grand Cherokee with a 5.2l automatic. So begins the build. So plans are to swap in the 5.2l, the automatic, the transfer case and the front and rear axles. Then because I have off-roaded a leaf spring truck before I will also be steeling the coils from the grand Cherokee which came with a wonderful 6Ē lift already and Iíll be building a custom 4 link suspension front and rear to give her a much better ride.

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Old 01-13-2019, 09:56 PM
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And so it begins!

So today the fun began by dragging the new rusted frame into the shop so we could build a new back half for the frame. Gave my wife the plasma torch (which I think she secretly loves) and gave her some cut lines and she went to town while I tacked together the new rear frame rails. Honestly didnít have a ton of time but am really happy with todayís progress!
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:36 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum, looks like you're off to a great start!

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Old 01-14-2019, 02:45 PM
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Thanks blue baby! It will be an interesting build for sure. A lot different then I’m use to building every day.
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Old 01-14-2019, 02:57 PM   #5
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Welcome to the Forum Pwetmore,

Wow!! I'm impressed. Wife running a plasma cutter. I love to see women in the shop.
They seem to bring a certain finesse that guys don't have....Plus, we don't swear as much when the ladies are around. Can she weld yet?

Keep us posted on your progress.

Good luck, L.M.
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Old 01-14-2019, 05:25 PM
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Lol not yet. she did a little welding when I was putting the frame rail pieces together I had her throw some tacks on. She would jump every time it threw an arc and move the torch all over but for her first time welding I’m super proud of her. I really excited about the build with her because it gets hard to get her interested in cars and what I do for a profession so now that it’s on her own she is fully into it!
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Old 01-15-2019, 06:29 PM
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Didn’t have a ton of time to work on the Jeep today but I was able to at least tack the second frame rail together. I took a few measurements to make sure everything was coming out square. Tomorrow I have to start tearing the Grand Cherokee down and get the engine and transmission out. And then I have to start laying out the 4 link.
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:33 AM   #8
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Welcome.

I love the direction of your project. Mixing the GC and the YJ will make a really nice Jeep. The drive train in the GC is pretty long so be prepared to stretch the wheelbase a little. When you do this you will run in to clearance issues between the gas tank and the rear axle. Do some research there before you get too far. It sounds like you have the skills to maybe just stretch the whole thing. Build it to LJ length so the kids have more room in the back seat. I know.... I may be corrupting you with crazy ideas.

I have a couple WJ's and really like how they handle off road with a little speed. I have been considering turning one into an off road race car so I have been pushing them off road a bit to see how they handle.
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Old 01-16-2019, 07:53 PM
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Daddyjeep when I was looking it looked like the wheelbase of the gc was only 12” longer and I thought about moving it back to that anyways but wasn’t totally set on that. But when or if I do that it is also getting a lift that should keep the axle away from the tank if it’s gets to close but again not totally sure. I do like the idea of the Jeep also becoming all wheel drive all the time for her.
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:02 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum and one heck of a build! Looking forward to following this thread and your progress..... I am sure when your done, you and the wife will have transitioned the quality time you spent working on the jeep to those great weekend adventures together!
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pwetmore View Post
Daddyjeep when I was looking it looked like the wheelbase of the gc was only 12Ē longer and I thought about moving it back to that anyways but wasnít totally set on that. But when or if I do that it is also getting a lift that should keep the axle away from the tank if itís gets to close but again not totally sure. I do like the idea of the Jeep also becoming all wheel drive all the time for her.
My stock YJ rear drive shaft was only 16" long. If that extra 12" of GC wheelbase is taken up with a linger drive train that will leave you a 4" drive shaft. If I remember correctly, the 46RH transmission that I pulled out of a GC was 11" longer than my stock YJ TF999.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:27 AM   #12
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As a custom car builder, I expect you'll have the skill and experience to at least consider what I'm suggesting.

Since at the moment you plan on using a longer transmission, one option that I see for you has already been suggested. That's extending the wheelbase to that of a LJ (TJ Unlimited). That'll leave the body short the distance that you extend the frame. I'd start looking for a rear end of a parts YJ tub and plan on cutting the current tub just ahead of the wheel opening and the parts tub just behind the door opening. Then trim the excess to fit. I'd do the sides with a butt weld and a backing plate. If practical, I'd do the floor with a lap weld.

To help with your driveshaft angle, I'd also consider a super short slip yoke eliminator.
Since you'll be building a custom rear suspension you'll have a lot of planning, measuring and trial fitting to face.

Please post pics as the job progresses. This is a complicated undertaking and I'm sure you'll have a lot of followers.

Is there a shorter transmission that'll hold up to the GC V8 and bolt to the back of the block? Other posters may chime in or perhaps your local salvage yard has an interchange book.

Good Luck, L.M.
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:44 AM   #13
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Old 01-17-2019, 11:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckymac View Post

Is there a shorter transmission that'll hold up to the GC V8 and bolt to the back of the block? Other posters may chime in or perhaps your local salvage yard has an interchange book.

Good Luck, L.M.
That is the option I was searching for, but could not come up with one in the time frame I had. A 727 transmission would be a better option fitment wise. Maybe an even better option would be convert the whole system to OBD2 and use the 46RE as it is a fair amount shorter that the 46RH for some reason.
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Old 01-18-2019, 05:34 AM
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Lucky Mac and daddyjeep I understand what both of you are saying and I would like to do something like that just not sure if it’s in my plans this time for the build. We built an FJ cruiser exactly how you are saying and yes it turned out awesome and I was jelous of his truck and of his budget lol.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:31 AM   #16
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Yep... That land cruiser is what we are saying. I'm not sure I have ever seen one done like that.

My point is that you are going to have to deal with your drive train length vs wheel base in order for this Jeep to function. It is better to plan for it now than to get further along and throw the drive train in there and have to change things. I'm just looking out for you since I have been there and put the same drive train in my YJ.
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Old 01-18-2019, 02:15 PM
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Awesome ok thanks daddyjeep I plan on having the engine and trans pulled out of the gc this weekend and possibly mocked in to place so I can start really laying everything out.
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:44 PM
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Things have been pretty busy at the shop with Detroit autorama around the corner but I was able to get the other frame rail on and lined up. Almost done with the welding and then I have to tackle a small section on the front. Drivetrain come out of the go Sunday so we will see how things start to line up
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Old 02-23-2019, 04:43 PM
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Finally got a little time to work on the Jeep and was able to get the engine pulled out of the grand Cherokee.
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:35 PM   #20
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:15 PM   #21
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Did GCs ever come with standard transmission?
Will a '94 & newer bell housing mate to the back of the V8?
Will a 4.0 flywheel bolt to the GC crankshaft?

You can see where this is headed. The 8 cylinder engine is probably shorter than a stock Jeep 6 cyl engine and should be about as long as the stock 4 cyl engine.
If you're able to convert the auto to stick you might save some headaches.
Moving the engine forward the length of two cylinders and using a 6 cyl shroud is perhaps another option.

Please keep posting. This is an interesting thread. And please keep posting pics.

Good Luck, L.M.
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Old 03-03-2019, 03:09 PM
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So got the engine, transmission, and transfer case sitting into the frame where it will sit so I can start making the mounts. So from my research a manual from a 4.0 will adapt with some help to the v8 but nothing from the 4 cylinder will transfer over. The v8 is roughly 3” longer then the 4 cylinder because of the offset from side to side. But as far as the length of this set up to the four cylinder set up it is all really close to the same length. The 4 cylinder was an automatic as well. I am also taking the axles and coils out of the gc and utilizing the 4” lift coils that are on the gc. If the Jeep was just mine then Yes I would be looking at a manual all day for it, but this one is for the wife.
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Old 03-07-2019, 01:59 PM
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Got the first parts of my mounts built and sitting in place. The GC transmission crossmember is dam near perfect size so I am going to weld in some nuts into the bottom of the frame so to bolt into and that cross member is done!
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:23 PM   #24
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Nice work Sir.
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Old 03-07-2019, 10:44 PM   #25
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Looking good!.
Keep the pics coming.

Good Luck, L.m.
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Old 03-08-2019, 07:44 AM   #26
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You, that frame, and a wire wheel are going to spend some time together at some point. Maybe sandblasting would be a better choice though.
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Old 03-08-2019, 02:36 PM   #27
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Quote:
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You, that frame, and a wire wheel are going to spend some time together at some point. Maybe sandblasting would be a better choice though.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Before you get too far along, pull the motor/trans back out and lug the bare frame to your local sandblaster.
If you have a spray setup, use some etch primer and then chassis black paint.
If no spray setup, have several cans of Rustolium black with primer in the paint handy when you get it back from the blaster.
You can mask off the few parts that you don't want sandblasted with duct tape.

Good Luck, L.M.
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12K Badlands winch with dual batteries.
Warn front bumper. Matching imitation Warn bumper on the rear.
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Old 03-23-2019, 08:18 PM
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Finally got some time to work on the Jeep it has been non stop work which is great for the overtime but not when I have a wife getting impatient. Any who went in for about 4 hours and feel good about the progress. Was able to get the axles and suspension out of the gc and sitting under the frame so I can start locating them. I can honestly say and know on wood but I am very surprised by how smooth all of this is going so far. Most of the measurements for gc to wrangler have been ending up very close. I’ve had just a few things to figure out but so far very good!
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:25 AM   #29
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Highland, California
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Dang, seeing builds like this makes my problems with my engine swap seem so small. Good luck! I'm very curious to see what you're going to do with a few things that catch my attention. I will be watching this one!
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Build Thread 1989 YJ, Chevy 355 TBI, 700r4, np231 sye/wide chain/6 pinion planetary, D30/8.8/4.56, 33" A/T's, bds 3.5" springs, 1" Boom Shackles, crossover heim steering
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:18 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Ravenna Michigan
Posts: 36
Was able to do a little more today. Got all my measurements in place to start getting my lower link mounts welded into place on the frame. The plan is to move the front axle forward 2” and the rear axle will move back 7”. I was able to somewhat use the original leaf spring mounts in the front and attach to them the rear however nothing there to use.
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