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Discussion Starter #1
Last weekend I bought a 98 TJ with 177k miles on it as a project for my kids. It’s the 4.0 with a 5 speed manual transmission. They want to learn how to work on cars and being a Jeep enthusiast I picked this platform for cheap price point and easy to work on. This is my first TJ.

Goals:
1. Teach kids to wrench
2. Reliability for kids to drive to school
3. Lift with 35” tires for SoCal trails

Known issues :
1. Power steering pump needs a rebuild
2. Transmission is really hard to shift
3. Top end clattering loudly
4. Needs new front seats and seat belts
5. Air conditioning doesn’t work
6. Parking brake doesn’t work
7. Transfer case doesn’t engage 4hi or low

I’d like advice on the order I should tackle the build. I was going to do the lift last thinking it was least important but if I start playing with the steering, should I have a strategy before I rebuild the power steering pump ?

All advice and other comments welcome, including pointers or links to other threads. I do try search first but I find Tapatalk very hard to use the search.



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Expect to spend $10,000 in upgrades beyond the cost of repairing the rig to properly run 35” tires on So Cal trails.

I would address the engine issue first. May be something simple or a full rebuild. Transfer Case is likely a simple fix requiring linkage adjustment.
 

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Hmm...top-end clattering loudly is not a good sign. I'd suggest getting that fixed ASAP. No telling what that could be. Could be just bad gas or worse, a broken piston.


Thank you! The previous owner just replaced the head gasket. He seemed like a good guy. I’d like to think they would not put the head back on with a broken piston. I suspect valve clatter or something of that nature. But I will look at it ASAP.


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Expect to spend $10,000 in upgrades beyond the cost of repairing the rig to properly run 35” tires on So Cal trails.

I would address the engine issue first. May be something simple or a full rebuild. Transfer Case is likely a simple fix requiring linkage adjustment.


You are second person to suggest $10k to run 35’s. I’m starting to re-think that strategy and might lean towards a 3”-4” inch short arm lift on 33’s.

Thank you!


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A piston skirt could be cracked or broken, thus causing the clatter. This would not be evident when replacing the head gasket. Then again, the clatter could be a number of other things such as valve lifters, etc.
 

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How old are your kids that you want to use it to drive to school. I would not suggest a TJ on 35's for a first car. Don't get me wrong but there are a lot safer cars for kids.
 
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