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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I'm brand new to this forum although I have been reading it for years. This is my very first post. I have had 3 Wranglers during my lifetime. My current '93 4.0 5 speed manual sadly has a rusted frame beyond repair. My only option has been to do a frame swap and that of course is very expensive for my shop to do. I'm by no means mechanically inclined when it comes to vehicles. I also contacted my local vocational automative school but they will not do frame work. The instructor did tell me if I can find a YJ with a blown engine that is something they can do. He said they can take my current engine out and put it in the YJ that does not run. With that I have some questions.

1. Do I have to find a '93 model with a 4.0L engine? I believe the answer is it yes and it is best. I know things like the radiator, exhaust system, and wiring harness/intake as well as the motor mounts on the frame rails are different. My guess is if I can find a 92-95 with the 4.0 that would be ideal.

2. If I found a 1987-1991 Wrangler with a 4.2 would that be the same as finding a 92-95 4.0 for the swap?

3. I just had a ton of work done to my Jeep including a new clutch (master and slave), new exhaust, new brake lines, shoes, and drums as well as a new starter. The Jeep runs great and is mechanically sound. Now since I don't know anything about fixing cars can the mechanic take all of this out of my jeep and put it in the jeep that does not run?

4. Does the second Jeep have to have a blown engine or can it just be a bad transmission (not sure if they are connected or separate).

My current Jeep is in pretty good shape except for the frame. There are a few rust spots on the body but that's it. The interior is in nice shape as well. It also has the optional sport aluminum wheels. I would love to find another Jeep with a blown engine (or transmission) in better shape with no rust at all on the body and of course a solid frame. Even if it doesn't have the nicer wheels I figure I can swap them as well (including the tires since they only have a few thousand miles on them as well).

They way I figure it I can probably only get about $500 for mine if I’m lucky. I would love to get what it’s worth but if someone were to buy it they can’t even drive it home even though it runs fine. If I can find a donor for under $500 the instructor at the Votech said he will do the swap for free with my understanding that it may take some time. I think this may be my best option but wanted to see what you guys thought. Thank you in advance. I always turn to this forum for advice and it’s nice to finally post something here in hopes that I can get some solid advice on how to proceed.

Thanks,

John
 

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It sounds like you have a good relationship with the vocational instructor. If he comes through, I think it would be appropriate to give him a gift certificate for him and his wife to a real nice restaurant or something similar. A 6 pack or case of his favorite beverage isn't enough.
While the job is in the shop, a box of donuts or cookies for him and the class once a week or so would be nice.

Your best bet is to find a 6cyl. 1992 to 1995 Wrangler that has a good frame and a good tub. Whatever else is wrong with it doesn't matter (within reason). Once you find a probable donor vehicle, talk to the instructor and see what he thinks. I'm sure he'll have some good input. When he states "It could take some time", that could mean all semester or longer.
A 4 cylinder frame has different motor mounts and swapping the mounts sounds like it's beyond the scope of what the school does. A blown or missing motor or transmission would be ideal, but you don't get to choose what a donor vehicle may be suffering from.
The 1987 through 1990 YJs are carbureted and the wiring, computer and emission controls are vastly different and although doable, makes for a much more complicated swap.

Your best bet, depending on your budget and other resources, is to look in the Craigslist ads in the Southwest. Then plan on having the frame and body shipped. Or if you have the time, truck and trailer, picking it up yourself.
It's unlikely you'll find a rust free frame and tub in New Jersey or anywhere close. Possible, yes, but unlikely.

If you do find a possible donor vehicle close to you and he offers to go with you to look at it, take him to lunch or some similar treat.

Even with limited mechanical skills and a limited tool kit, swapping the interior, wheels, and other goodies isn't especially difficult and will bring a sense of pride to you and you'll learn about your Jeep.

Keep us in the loop. Post some pics. Other posters may have more or better advice, or perhaps may know about a good frame/tub in or near New jersey.

Good Luck, L.M.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the reply. I think my biggest challenge is finding a donor. I have been searching craigslist for some time now and have never found one that does not run. How much should I expect to pay for a donor? What is the max you would pay if it has a solid frame and body. It would be easier to just sell mine but I really don't think I could get much for it. Thanks!
 

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I looked in the Central Jersey CL ads. There's a 1991 for $2500.00 that might be a good donor vehicle. Simply combine the best of both Jeeps into the donor vehicle and sell what's left. It's got some rust on the tub and I don't know about the frame.
If there isn't anything now, keep looking. It looks like you can get a decant YJ in the $5K range. Anything that's 22-30 years old will need work.

If you can get the instructor at the Votec school to help, it probably won't take all semester.

Good Luck, L.M.
 

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Honestly I think you're looking up a pretty steep hill. Normally I would be all for project like this if you can do it yourself but I think trying to get someone else to do it is possibly a little unrealistic. There's usually a lot of little things that need to be addressed with a project like this that will require changing plans often. In all honesty I don't think you're saving that much money by doing the swap. I think you're probably better off just buying another Jeep and swapping various small parts that might be better on your current Jeep such as doors knobs levers seats Etc and then selling or parting out what's left.
 

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Gottagofast said it better than I did.

Good Luck, L.M.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input guys I really appreciate it. I agree I think it is probably best to just find another Jeep that is in better condition. My problem is that I want a YJ simply because that is all I have ever owned. I know finding one in good condition rust free due to their age is going to be difficult. I really did not want to spend more than $1000 to get mine fixed. I just dumped over $3000 into it over the past two years so at this point I am going to have to save up some more money before I buy another one. I guess I am just really bummed out. I just drove it home from the shop (first time in over 6 months) and man do I miss driving that thing!

So I think at this point it's time for me to pull out my stereo and put it up for sale. My new question to you guys is how much do you think I can get for it? It's worth $3200 in fair condition but with a rotted frame I'm sure that puts it much lower. My Uncle says it's junk and call the junk yard. He may be right but mechanically it's fine...engine runs strong and with the new clutch it feels really good. I know parting it out I can get a lot more (both tops, both sets of doors, etc.). I would like to put the whole thing up for sale first and if I keep getting low offers then I may just part it out. I was thinking of asking $2500 and then take $1500 if someone offers it to me. If the offer is around 15 I will sell the hard top and hard doors separately. Any more advice? Thanks!
 

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Hard top should net $500.00-$700.00
Full doors in decent shape should bring about the same or slightly less
Motor, running well, complete with distributor, carb and water pump (no alternator) should bring $350.00 to 500.00
AX15 trans, should bring $350-$400.00
Nice front & rear seats...maybe $200.00
family roll bar $200.00+
Good dash pad $50.00-$100.00
alternator
radiator
steering column
front axle
rear axle
gas tank
driveshafts
transfer case
soft top
half doors
hood
fenders if they're not too rusty
grill panel
undamaged front stock bumper or aftermarket front bumper
rear bumperetts or aftermarket rear bumper.
exhaust system with cat
steering box
tailgate and spare tire mount
tail lights
headlights
computer
underdash wire harness if it isn't cut up
underhood wire harness
seatbelts

Hard tops and full doors go for more in the North and less in the South. They go for more in the fall and slightly less in the summer. In Jersey the prices should be fairly constant.
If you don't part it out, whomever you sell it to will do so. Taking stuff apart (to sell the used parts) is easy. Putting it all back together is what takes time and experience. Luckily when you sell a part, the buyer gets to put it back together.

If you have the place to do so, you might consider parting it out and simply buy a good running and rust free Jeep.
Before you part it out, find your next YJ and put the best parts from the rusty one on the new one, as per Gottagofasts advice and mine.

Good Luck, L.M.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for this list...it's a huge help. I did some more research and found some guys selling their rusted out YJs near me for $3000. Do you think that is too high? Do you think me accepting $2000 would be in the ballpark?

I am still taking my time. My best friend is very good working on cars. He and I are talking about possibly doing a frame swap. We do not have a lift so I don't know if it's doable without. Can it be done with jackstands and creeper lights? He has all the tools and can borrow an engine hoist. My friend's only fear is that things attached to the frame that have to be removed are too rusty and will need to be replaced. Thanks again!
 

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The body could be swapped with creative use of lumber, barrells, and jacks, your friend is right tho....

Tearing apart an old rusty vehicle can be a huge undertaking and is a fluid situation.... constant changes to the plan as new problems are encountered.

It's possible but is a BIG project.
 

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And take it from me.I did a frame swap on my TJ and ended up costing a lot more then I planned. You will get into this,well, as long as Im here I should replace this,then that,then something else.
Not that it cant be done just be prepared.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the input. I think if we do anything the best would be to do an engine swap. Seems like a frame swap is not worth the time, money, and effort. I have seen a couple of YJs in good shape for $3000. My question still is without parting out my current jeep how much do you think I can get for it "as is"?

Thanks.
 

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Whatever someone will pay.... 300 to 1500.... who knows, some dope might give you 5000 and brace the frame w wood and ratchet straps

Add up the value of the parts and then divide by 3.... there's what it's worth as a whole.
 
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