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I've always wanted a jeep, but never could find one in my price range, that is until last weekend. I bought a '89 wrangler for $3900. It has the 4.2 and 5 speed, and while the body is a little rough, there's no rust underneath and nothing more than surface rust to be found anywhere, and it only had 104000 miles. My goal right now is to fix it up enough to be a daily driver, then let the mods begin.

This is what it looked like when I got it home, minus the hard top. It was not in good shape and was missing the back glass, so it had to go.
 

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The first step was to get it inspected, and that meant getting the taillights working. Unfortunately it was dark, and I didn't get pictures of it. The taillights and park lights didn't work, and after several hours of chasing down problems, there was something wrong with the fuse box, and the wire running to the switch had no voltage, so I just ran a new 12v source wire to the switch and that got everything illuminated. I got it through inspection, but on the way home, the brakes started to fade badly. The brake lines were full of water and what looked like sand. After a few hours of flushing new fluid through it, it finally cleared up. I decided to check the brake shoes and pads while I had it up in the air and had the tires off. The shoes were worn down to the rivets, and they had started to wear into the drums.
 

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Uhhh the Texas kind of inspection:) It really depends on where you take it.

After coming home last night, I noticed it was leaking oil around the valve cover, and at almost the same time, noticed that none of the valve cover bolts were remotely tight. Like, I could turn them 2 rounds with my fingers. So, we'll see if the retightening will stop it or if I have to replace the gasket.

I also put a new soft top on it. I'll write that up when I have time to upload the pictures.
 

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Rampage soft top went on. I'm not really happy with it, and a bimini top is on the way, but here's how the instillation went.

First, the tools :
1/8 and 3/16 drill bit
Phillips screw driver
t40 driver
3/8 open ended wrench
pliers
Rubber mallet
ball peen hammer

It arrived damaged, not Rampages fault though. UPS managed to get through about 6 layers of protection.


I tossed the top out in the sun before I started. It was hot enough to be painful to hold on to by the time I attached it.


There was a soft top previously installed, but the holes for the windshield track didn't line up. I tapped dow the old holes with a ball peen hammer and filled them with silicone.


New 1/8 holes were drilled and the phillips screws were installed. Several of them never tightened down even though the holes were fresh. It seems to be held on well enough though.


The front of the door uprights all lined up with the previous holes except for the bottom one. It got drilled out with the 1/8 bit.


The bed side and corner rails went on next with the T40. These lined up perfectly with the existing holes. I recommend starting with the front of the rails as these were the hardest bolts to get to.


The holes for the tailgate latches had to be enlarged with the 3/16 bit, then the bolts could be installed. These were the only pieces that required the use of the 3/8 wrench.


Next the roof rail assemblies slid in from the back. These were super easy, but definitely benefited from having the help of another person.


The little slide locks at the front of the window channels were super easy.


It did take a little wrestling to get the B pillars in place. You need to lift up on them to get them to settle into the rubber part at the bottom. The drivers side got torn loose before I realized this.


The only thing left was to stretch the top on. It fit fine in the windshield channel and the bed rails, but the row of snaps above the door was another story. My father and I, both north of 250lbs were pulling and hanging on these things trying to get the top to stretch far enough to snap, and they just wouldn't do it. In the end, I had to stretch the top snaps down with a pair of channel locks while my father smacked them into place with a rubber mallet. The frame went together so well, but the difficulty snapping the top, combined with the door window channels which were a giant pain to get installed, coupled with the fact that the door uppers do not fit, even after trying to bend them into shape, made me really not happy with the whole soft top thing in general, but it will suffice for now. I ran out of patients and pictures towards the end, but here it is all together.
 

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Good step by step, glad to see it went smoothly. I did this recently by myself and it sucked. Should’ve asked for help.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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The 9000lb Harbor Freight Wench that was on it was DOA. The solenoid would click, but it would not rotate.

You have to take the four wires off the motor housing. Three on top and the ground on bottom. The wires and terminals are color coded.


Then remove the two bolts on the end of the motor housing. The cover slid off with the gentle persuasion of a rubber mallet.


Inside, everything was rusted pretty bad. The paper gasket on the cover failed, and the housing was filled with water at some point. I lightly sanded the inside, and had to force the brushes out of their house with pliers, then moved them in and out until the slid freely.


The windings were pretty rusty as well.


A quick spin on the lathe and a rub down with some steel wool got it fairly shiny again.


After that it was just reassembling it in the opposite order of taking it off. I did remove the springs on the brushes, making it easier to hold the brushes out during reassembly. A generous helping of silicone also replaced the old gasket, and it worked like new.
 

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I wanted to liven up the interior, so I thought about buying new dash pieces, but it was cheap enough to try and paint them. I figured if it didn't work, I could still replace the pieces. This is what I started with.


I pulled out the main panels to make it easier to paint. I used the scuffing pads dipped in the grease and wax remover to give the panels a good sanding, then did a couple more wipes with the grease and wax remover on some rags. When it dried, it got several light coats of the vinyl and fabric paint.


I masked off the interior using dollar store wrapping paper.


Here it is finished and reassembled. The black went on great and got three coats but could have been done in two. The red took like 12 coats before it started to look uniform. I also did the door panels after the dash looked so good, but the paint is starting to scratch off of them from just daily wear and tear. The dash still looks great though.


I also used this stuff to hand buff the plastic covering the gauges, and it made a big difference in visibility.
 

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The glove box door was broken off when I got the jeep. It had already been glued back on at least once, and when I saw the price of a replacement one, I decided I could make it work. I pulled off the hardware.


Then, it got the same paint treatment as the dash.


Some stainless hardware from the big box store, and it's back in action.
 
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