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Discussion Starter #1
Sold my 97 a while back but just picked up a 99. It's a SE with a 2.5 & AC.
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Overall it's a 6 out of 10. Needs a good amount of work but the frame is in good shape. Typical rust spots from being a midwest Jeep.

Here is a link to the photos & videos. Will be updating it as I go along. Gallery

Has an exhaust leak which looks like it's just the studs missing & gasket. Windshield needs to be replaced and instead of replacing the ignition switch & actuator they wired up a push button start. They obviously didn't know anything about cars so who knows what else I will find.

Biggest issue at the moment is the brakes. There are none. I always do new pads/rotors/drums/shoes but looks like I will go ahead and do calipers & wheel cylinders this time. Also looks like I will be doing all new hard lines. The proportioning valve has 3 lines...2 for the front & 1 to the rear, plus the 2 that go to the master cylinder. All of these lines while rusted are intact. Can't figure out what this broke line is supposed to connect to. Plan on trying to bleed the brakes tonight if the weather holds up to at least see if I get any fluid to each wheel. Worse case, I'll put in all new hard lines.
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This is the first TJ I have bought that didn't actually need a new soft top. This one is actually in good condition, just very dirty.

Not sure yet what wheels/tires or lift I will do, need to get all the mechanical/electrical figured out first. For the time being the plan is that this will be my winter car and the wife will get my Commander.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here is the wonderful push button start
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Discussion Starter #3
Well, looks like that mystery brake hard line is just another example of the PO for this TJ. They replaced the line but instead of removing the old one they just cut it some places and left it there.👍

Have a bunch of parts on order. Mainly just tuneup, exhaust & brake parts for now, should be a full weekend.
 

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Man I hope you paid peanuts for that Jeep. That looks like a ton of work just to undo all the halfassery of the PO. Its taken me 8 months to trace all the issues on my 2004 that the PO found zero cost "solutions" to. You are going to know TJs really well once you are done.
 
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Compared to my last 3, this one is a walk in the park. So far it's just really stupid things that have been done and normal maintenance items like tune-up, brakes, etc. It starts and runs and the 60' I drove it from the street to the driveway shows it at least can move. I honestly was expecting a blown motor or transmission. Paid a little more then I had planned but it's still well within budget.

Absolutely will be a budget build/cheap Jeep. When I sell it eventually I know I will do well. Even ones with bad frames sell for well north of $6k around me and they sell quick.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Usually the blower resister is the issue when your fan only runs 1 speed.
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Sometimes though, it's cause the idiot who worked on the car before shouldn't be allowed to, let alone own a screwdriver.
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Discussion Starter #7
Been a busy past few days.

Got all new brake hard lines installed. Went pretty easy. Discovered the evap hard line was also rusted through so that is on order as well.

New master cylinder, driver caliper, rotor & pads. Got to the passenger side and things started to get interesting.

Took 2 days of heat, sledge hammer and all kinds of fluids to get the passenger side rotor off. That was after a day of getting 1 stuck lug nut drilled out. Luckily I have a spare hub from a previous project so that will go on as the old one was grinding. Next is a battle with the front axle u joint. Driver is good. Passenger side...not so good.
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Exhaust is also out and waiting for new bolts. It was missing 2.
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Intake & throttle body have been taken apart & cleaned up.
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Almost forgot...got the ignition & wiring all cleaned up and fixed with new actuator pin & switch. No more push button start. Flash relay has been replaced with a good one and now blinker & hazards work correctly.

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It's had most of the interior cleaned up but still needs to be taken out and really cleaned.

Rear is next on the list. Axle will get dropped off at a shop to get the old U Joint out and new one in. Already spent an hour trying to get it out. Worth it to just have a local place press it out and a new one in.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I needed a sense of accomplishment tonight so knocked out a few easy things from the list.

New door pins. Now the doors come off easily
new wiper blades. Will be able to actually see when I drive
New air filter. Standard tune-up kind of thing
new front sway bar links installed. Still need to get the old sway bar cleaned up and painted so it isn't so rust colored.

The goal for this week while I am waiting for parts to show up is to get the transfer case skid lowered, transmission supported and get the rear seal replaced then do new filter & gasket. That is the goal so hopefully my son will bring the transmission jack over. If that doesn't go to plan then it's on to the rear brakes. Exhaust bolts/washers & evap line wont be here till next Friday at the earliest so need to keep moving.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
well, one more thing for tonight.

old leaking steering stabilizer it out and new one is in.
 

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Compared to my last 3, this one is a walk in the park. So far it's just really stupid things that have been done and normal maintenance items like tune-up, brakes, etc. It starts and runs and the 60' I drove it from the street to the driveway shows it at least can move. I honestly was expecting a blown motor or transmission. Paid a little more then I had planned but it's still well within budget.

Absolutely will be a budget build/cheap Jeep. When I sell it eventually I know I will do well. Even ones with bad frames sell for well north of $6k around me and they sell quick.
I bought a running Rubicon with no frame or body rust, but with a check engine misfire that prevented state inspection and registration for $7500 last year. Its been a journey but she is damn fine now. I have replaced the head, intake manifold, water pump, Crank Shaft Sensor, plugs, transfer-case switch, shocks, console, track bar bushings, tires, thermostat, aux lights, muffler, lug nuts, blower motor resistor, winch, IAC, clutch hydraulics and fuel injector retaining brackets. I have also fixed quite a bit of wiring issues. I will also be pulling the transmission next year to have the synchros redone. However, after all the work I have done, I now have a good looking 2004 Rubicon that is an absolute goat. I'm not sure I would have dedicated all my time and efforts for an SE, but I might change my mind on that in 6 months or so. Building cheap jeeps and selling them would be more fun now that I know what I am doing a little better.
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Discussion Starter #11
Got a lot accomplished.

All new calipers, brake cylinders, hard lines, pads & shoes installed. System bled and ready to go.
Exhaust gasket is installed, waiting for new studs & washers to show up.
Front sway bar bushings & drop links installed
Front passenger axle U-Joint replaced & reinstalled
Front passenger hub installed
Front struts replaced
Factory trailer hitch removed
Intake & throttle body all cleaned up

In the process of getting the transfer case dropped so that I can get the transmission output shaft seal replaced then new transmission filter & seal.

Started the hunt for a new set of wheels and deciding on which bumper combination to go with.

Should be able to get it back on the road next weekend depending on when the exhaust parts come in.

Up for the next week will be starting on the interior once the transmission is all buttoned back up.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Tcase is out, transmission output shaft seal is in, new filter and gasket installed. Going to get the tcase back in tonight then the drive shafts back in and button up the underneath.

Since the rear shocks are the original 21 year old 200k mile shocks I am going to have a shop replace those. Have some new Gabriel ones that were dirt cheap and can go on it till I decide if/what lift kit to go with.

Already found $23 worth of change in the interior! Sure that shaved off a few lbs from the Jeep.
 

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****ing hats off, mate! She's a beautiful rig. I just bought my first TJ last week and am diving into a lot of the same PO reversals as you are (minus the push-button start).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's not really surprising the absolute lack of maintenance on cars. Simple things if they were just done would have gone a long way. If you notice a leak, get it fixed!

I scraped off 1" of oil/dirt from the top of the skid pate. 1" thick! I'm all for going a cheap route but if the transmission doesn't shift or slips, the solution isn't just keep adding fluid. A new seal would have only run no more then $300 to have a shop do it or $10 and time in a driveway/garage to do it yourself.

The push button start is another example. less then 1 hour labor & $25 in parts to replace the actuator pin that are known to break. Under $100 for any shop to do if you dont have the knowledge. Took more time to troubleshoot, cut & splice the damn button in then it did to replace the broken part. So far everything I have done is just normal upkeep on any car. Granted a few things weren't like the brake lines, but...they had done it already just used cheap Amazon line to do it. $100 for new formed line and a few hours and all is done.
 

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Got lucky today!

All 4 top bolts came out for the rear shocks. Was shocked. Been spraying with PB for the past week. Gave them a little heat and out they came. Used my 1/4" impact for the outers since my sockets were thinner then my 1/2 impact. Was also easier with the gas tank removed. Not bad for 21 year old shocks.
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Discussion Starter #16
Gas tank is out. This is all that is left of the skid plate for it.
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Just waiting for the new straps to show up today and then will get it installed after the new shocks are in.

Hope to get the transfer case back in today also. Hard to do it by myself. Transmission jack isn't all that helpful either so it's going to be bench press time. After this it's just waiting for the new exhaust bolts & washers and the evap line to arrive (hopefully next week).
 

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Transfer case is back in and bolted up. Need to get the drive shafts installed, wiring and the 4wd lever connected, but that's the easy stuff.

Previous owner strikes again though. Had the engine running, sounded awful like a bad lifter. Turns out the alternator was making all the noise. Now to hunt for a new bracket.
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Transfer case is back in and bolted up. Need to get the drive shafts installed, wiring and the 4wd lever connected, but that's the easy stuff.

Previous owner strikes again though. Had the engine running, sounded awful like a bad lifter. Turns out the alternator was making all the noise. Now to hunt for a new bracket.
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Yikes
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well the fun of having a mid year TJ has made today exciting. Looks like I have the newer size hub/rotor but ordered the older size. Pass side was fine cause I replaced the hub which was the earlier size. Driver side though would lock hard when getting the wheel on and torqued down. Looks like I will replace the hub now for driver side also instead of having 2 different size rotors/pads.

Just another delay unfortunately.

Looking to head out to Beards tomorrow to pick up a bunch of misc parts, mostly interior/trim pieces. Fingers crossed this coming week it will be back on all 4 and able to drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Few things accomplished the past few days.

new driver front hub is installed and now all is good on the front end.
New windshield got installed today
Keyless entry, power locks in the full doors and remote start installed. I know...but I had them laying around and figured why not. Need to run a wire to the coil still but going to wait till I get the engine bay cleaned up. Plus, haven't had much else to do while waiting for parts to show up.

Had a USB charging outlet laying around so I got that mounted into the center console. Can you tell I am getting bored yet? lol

Started cleaning out the tub and found another $4.50 in change.

Have a new alternator bracket coming in via the slow UPS delivery guy. Other then exhaust bolts that's really all I am waiting for to be able to get this thing on the road.
 
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