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1995 YJ & 2012 Rubicon 2 door
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We live in SE Wisconsin between Chicago and Milwaukee. In July 2020 we were supposed to travel to my hometown in Wyoming to pick up a '53 Jeep I have there. Covid changed our travel plans so I began looking locally for a Wrangler that we could build for my son to drive when he turns 16, in July of 2021.

Just 4 miles down the road found a guy selling his Dad's '95 with 61K miles on it. Had the 2.5L and a 5-speed. All my kids drive manual transmissions for first cars. ;)

Jeep had sat outside for most of it's life. Driver floor pan is gone. Flintstone without the floor mat. Front fenders had rust at the outer edges. Other rust includes right rear fender and under the gas fill. It also needed a windshield, muffler, and the PO thought it needed a clutch. He was asking $3500.

After putting the jeep on a lift and verifying that the frame was solid, we negotiated a sale for $1600. Found some half doors, replaced the windshield, muffler and Clutch master / slave cylinders and started driving it around town.

This is our first Wrangler and we fell in love. So much so that my wife said that she had no desire to share this one with him when he turned 16, so she would "need" one before Spring. She works in the school district, so as a "Back to School" present I bought her a 2012 JKR as a surprise. We are now a Jeep family.

As a father and sons project, we began tearing the YJ down in January 2021 for the build. The goal of our build is to get all the metal back to snuff, blast and powder coat the frame and axles and outsourcing the body work with a color change, plus a small lift to run 31s.
YJ Jeep 2.JPG

Before we tore the YJ down, we joined a local off-road club for a trail ride and "Trunk or Treat" on Halloween. My wife, Heather, has never driven off-road and we hadn't had either of the vehicles out yet, so it was a little sketchy at times. Heather did a great job and the Rubicon proved to be a great vehicle for her first time out. She even crossed a level 6 rock obstacle! She used the "faster must be better" mentality... 🤦‍♂️ This was my fault. I should have provided more instruction before we went.

I drove the YJ and had a blast. It got stuck a couple of times but the group was great to help us out.

On the Rock sideview.jpg On the Rock.jpg Getting Muddy.jpg posing.jpg Sunny.jpg YJ Backing up.jpg
 
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1995 YJ & 2012 Rubicon 2 door
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Before we took the body off the frame, we wanted to fit new aftermarket front fenders.

We bought a pair of Smittybilt XRC Tube Fenders and began the process of modifying the rusted fenders on our jeep. The boys have never used a cut-off wheel before so there was a learning curve. We also discovered that the instructions really left a lot to be desired. It took us two weekends to finish both sides.

We really like the look.

IMG_2673.jpg IMG_2665.jpg IMG_2682.jpg IMG_2684.jpg IMG_2703.jpg IMG_2720.jpg
 

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We live in SE Wisconsin between Chicago and Milwaukee. In July 2020 we were supposed to travel to my hometown in Wyoming to pick up a '53 Jeep I have there. Covid changed our travel plans so I began looking locally for a Wrangler that we could build for my son to drive when he turns 16, in July of 2021.

Just 4 miles down the road found a guy selling his Dad's '97 with 61K miles on it. Had the 2.5L and a 5-speed. All my kids drive manual transmissions for first cars. ;)

Jeep had sat outside for most of it's life. Driver floor pan is gone. Flintstone without the floor mat. Front fenders had rust at the outer edges. Other rust includes right rear fender and under the gas fill. It also needed a windshield, muffler, and the PO thought it needed a clutch. He was asking $3500.

After putting the jeep on a lift and verifying that the frame was solid, we negotiated a sale for $1600. Found some half doors, replaced the windshield, muffler and Clutch master / slave cylinders and started driving it around town.

This is our first Wrangler and we fell in love. So much so that my wife said that she had no desire to share this one with him when he turned 16, so she would "need" one before Spring. She works in the school district, so as a "Back to School" present I bought her a 2012 JKR as a surprise. We are now a Jeep family.

As a father and sons project, we began tearing the YJ down in January 2021 for the build. The goal of our build is to get all the metal back to snuff, blast and powder coat the frame and axles and outsourcing the body work with a color change, plus a small lift to run 31s.
View attachment 4488322

Before we tore the YJ down, we joined a local off-road club for a trail ride and "Trunk or Treat" on Halloween. My wife, Heather, has never driven off-road and we hadn't had either of the vehicles out yet, so it was a little sketchy at times. Heather did a great job and the Rubicon proved to be a great vehicle for her first time out. She even crossed a level 6 rock obstacle! She used the "faster must be better" mentality... 🤦‍♂️ This was my fault. I should have provided more instruction before we went.

I drove the YJ and had a blast. It got stuck a couple of times but the group was great to help us out.

View attachment 4488336 View attachment 4488337 View attachment 4488338 View attachment 4488339 View attachment 4488340 View attachment 4488341
Nice! I'm in Mukwonago, WI. I have an '87 YJ that my dad and I worked on, had it running well but it sat for an extended period of time, I am back to fixing it up now. They are fun capable vehicles. (I also have a 2020 JLR that I DD now) Sounds like you guys have a great project that you will remember forever!
 
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It does my heart glad to see father/son projects in progress.

FYI, 1995 was the last year for YJs. That's definitely a YJ with square headlights. Hopefully calling it a '97 was a typo. If the paperwork is clean $1600.00 is a great deal, even with the necessary work.

Keep up the posts, and be sure to include more pics.

Good Luck, L.M.
 
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1995 YJ & 2012 Rubicon 2 door
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It does my heart glad to see father/son projects in progress.

FYI, 1995 was the last year for YJs. That's definitely a YJ with square headlights. Hopefully calling it a '97 was a typo. If the paperwork is clean $1600.00 is a great deal, even with the necessary work.

Keep up the posts, and be sure to include more pics.

Good Luck, L.M.
Mac,

Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve always wanted to build a vehicle with my kids so they can drive it when the get their license.

I think we got an incredible deal for sure on this YJ.

You are correct, my 97 is a typo. This Jeep is a 95.
 
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You scored. The '95 YJ is the most desirable of the entire YJ line (dual diaphragm brake booster and external clutch slave cylinder).

Good Luck, L.M.
 
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1995 YJ & 2012 Rubicon 2 door
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello everyone,

It has been a crazy couple of months. I had surgery on my sinuses / throat and some home projects that took me out of the garage for a bit. We haven't touched the jeep since the end of March.

Before we stopped, we removed the body and drivetrain from the frame and got the frame blasted. We have posted a video of the body removal on YouTube and are working on editing the drivetrain video.

With the final disassembly and blasting we found a few things to be repaired. We would be very grateful for any suggestions you have for resolving some of our problems.

  • Right Rear shock mount was bent out of shape
    • Would you repair or replace?
    • Any sources for replacement parts?
  • We did find some rust holes in the rear of the frame (near the rear spring shackle)
    • I have ordered a repair kitfrom Taboo Customs and we will be replacing the rusted areas.
      • Dave has done a great job with the kit along with a great video for installing it.
  • Transmission / Transfer Case Crossmember & Fuel Tank Skid plate are both rusted enough to not be reused.
    • Any suggestions for replacement parts?

We are also looking for sources on a few things that we will be replacing. If you have purchased anything that you have liked please let us know.
  • Brake Line kit
  • Disc Brake conversion for the rear
  • Hardware kit - looking to buy all new hardware for reassembling the body after paint.

Thank you for the engagment and the feedback. It is great having a community to bounce ideas off of while doing something like this.

Here is a link to a short video of the frame being blasted: Blasting the Frame

Below are a few pictures that we took during the process.


IMG_2831.jpg IMG_3504.jpg IMG_2836.jpg IMG_2832.jpg IMG_2851.jpg IMG_2910.jpg IMG_2913.jpg
 
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