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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought my 2000 Wrangler 5 years ago and it's been my DD up until a couple months ago. Considering it's been through 17 NJ winters the body is actually in very good shape:
2012-03-16_13-29-55_673.jpg

The problem is the underside. During the time I've owned it I'm pretty sure it's leaked every kind of the fluid it has. 3 years ago a rear lower control arm mount fell off, and now the front mount looks like this:
IMAG0439.jpg

Now that I don't need to run my Jeep all the time, it's time to pull it apart and fix everything that's wrong with it. Here's the plan:
Pull body off the frame
Repair rust damage around front control arms, make sure repairs from 3 years ago are holding up
Find the source of the transmission fluid leak and fix that
Find the leak in the air conditioning and fix that
Replace leaky rear main seal
Replace springs and shocks
Fix anything else that comes up as I pull things apart
Convince my wife to let me paint it

I don't take it off road, although I'll probably think about it now that it's not my DD. But for now I'm not looking to lift it or do many other mods. Just try to get back to having a reliable, safe, and leak free Jeep
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I actually started this a week ago, and had a couple friend over to start pulling everything apart. After wrenching on it all day the body was just about ready to come off:
IMAG0430.jpg

The plan was to roll the frame out from under the body, but the short ceiling in my garage caused some issues. I had to remove the rear springs, take the tires off and use some wheel dollies to drop the frame enough to roll it out. But the two are finally apart:
IMAG0435.jpg
IMAG0436.jpg

Other than the control arm area the frame is actually is actually is good shape. Just a little surface rust around the spring perches, and the bumper area is solid. I ordered some auto rust patches and will start on the metal work next
 

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Do you plan on spraying some kind of rust preventative? Por-15 is good from what I hear. And also Eastwood makes some good stuff too
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yea, I'm going to coat any part I can with something to prevent it from rusting. I used POR-15 and their topcoat a few years ago when I patched a different section of the frame and that's held up great. The topcoat says it can be applied over existing finishes as long as you clean and scuff them up, so I'm leaning toward that
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Did a little bit more work today. I noticed red trans fluid next to where the shifter enters the transmission, so I figured that was the source of my leak. It also explains why I thought it was the neutral safety switch, since all the fluid would run down and collect near that.

Then I went to pull the transfer case and a bunch of fluid poured out from the adapter housing which is supposed to be dry. The transmission output shaft seal is not doing a whole lot, it's dripping constantly. My garage floor looked like a murder scene. On the plus side I won't make a huge mess when I drop the transmission pan.
IMAG0438.jpg

I also fought with the upper rear shock mount bolts (only broke 3 of the 4) but was able to get enough heat and grip with some big vice grips to get them out.

Muffler and tailpipe is also out. Looks like I'll be replacing it too. It's the factory one, which looks like it's double walled, but the outside is cracked right down the middle. I'm not doing this much work to put back a muffler that's near the end of it's life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's like Christmas for the Jeep:
IMAG0446.jpg

Bunch of oil seals, new engine transmission mounts, new control arms, and several bushings. For the suspension I went with H&R springs and Bilstein shocks. Should give me about 1" of lift while improving the ride a bit.

I also bought a new AC compressor. Over the last 18 months I had to replace almost every other belt driven component, and when put back the together the compressor is going to a huge pain to get to. The system is also open so it's a good time to do it.

The Jeep is almost completely disassembled. The transmission and exhaust downpipe are out. Right now the engine is supported with a jack, so I'll need to build a bracket to support it so I can get the jack out of the way and drop the oil pan.

Here's what it looks like now:
IMAG0447.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Late last week I got the Autorust frame patches, so I started the metal work on the driver's side. After finally breaking the control arm bolts free and hammering the arm out I started cutting. The rust was bad, but nowhere near as bad as the rear was when I did that a few years ago.

The area closest to the skid pate was very thin and the bottom was flaking:
IMAG0449.jpg

The front of the mount was solid, so I know the upper arm mount is OK. I cut the Autorust patch back so the access hole for the upper arm mount is clear and cut it to fit:
IMAG0453.jpg

I have a lot of prep work to do before I start welding. Mostly I don't like the area where the two patches meet. My options were cut off the factory mount and tie the patch in just after the mount, or keep the factory mount and join the two pieces one the other side of the mount. I think I'm going to cut a slit in the mount to make room for a plate to reinforce that area. I was planning on plating any areas where the frame patches touched anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Welds!!!

Metal work takes me forever, but the front control arm mount is fully welded. I made plates for where the patches joined to reinforce the area:
IMAG0461.jpg

Next up is to make some plates for the rear section to reinforce that area. And a lot of grinding
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Over the last week I finished up the the driver's side frame repair. I made plates to reinforce the areas where the patches joined. The copper paint is some weld through primer. I like to use that when I have metal overlapping to give it some rust protection.
IMAG0473.jpg
IMAG0472.jpg
IMAG0471.jpg

I should probably spend some more time grinding and cleaning up some spots but with those plates the repair will be plenty strong and I shouldn't have any issues for a long time.

When I patched my frame 3 years ago I knew I did a terrible job welding the patch to the inside frame rail. That's one of the main reasons I took the body off. Well I sandblasted the old welds and this is what I found:
IMAG0463.jpg

Wow that was worse than I thought. Welding that right was a tough too, because I couldn't clean any POR15 that got on the inside frame rail through all those holes. When I made the first welding pass the POR15 would burn off and the gasses would get trapped in the weld. It took several passes and a lot of grinding, but here's what it looks like now:
IMAG0474.jpg

On the subsequent passes I cranked up the welding amps to try to penetrate as far as I could, and i ended up building up the metal a bit. However it's significantly stronger than it was, and the previous repair didn't have any signs of failing. It could use some more grinding if I want to even everything out, but its the inside frame rail. At some point you reach good enough.

Next the engine comes out so I can get more room for tools at the front passenger control arm area. Engine stand and hoist should be delivered in time to do it this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
For what it's worth, this is what I used when I did my restoration.

MasterSeries Coating West Milford - Can I Paint Over Rust?

Time will tell on how it holds up but it's got high regards on the hot rod forums.
This stuff looks pretty strong, thinking of giving it a shot too. How much did you need to buy?

I used POR15 3 years ago, and while it's held up I've noticed some surface rust under it in some spots. So I'm going to try something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Spent Saturday pulling the engine. Took all day, but finally got it out:
IMAG0482.jpg

I also discovered a PO somehow broke every single fuel injector connection on the engine harness side. You would think by accident they could have managed to get one off right. Most where just held in by friction and slid right out when I pulled. So now I need to find some EV-6 engine harness side connectors.

With the engine out I have plenty of room to access the inside control arm area on the passenger side. I was taking a good look at the area before I cut and it looked like the PO spent some time making a poor weld. Turns out I was right:
IMAG0483.jpg

That's a lot of mig wire poking through. The other side was a ground down blob that somehow held up for the 5 years I've owned this Jeep. Anyway, it's going to be a lot stronger now. I cut out the bad area and got the patch to fit. Coated it with weld through primer and will weld it up tomorrow.
IMAG0485.jpg
 

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please keep us updated, awesome!!!

If there was rust under por 15, the metal was probably not prepped correctly....
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
please keep us updated, awesome!!!

If there was rust under por 15, the metal was probably not prepped correctly....
That bothered me too, because I used probably a whole quart of degreaser and their metal prep. It wasn't flaking and it didn't come right off even after a pass with the grinder, so it seemed to have stuck well.

But they were small and round, so I wonder if it was something as dumb as me grabbing the prepped frame rail with my hand to slide myself under the Jeep when I went to put the POR on.
 

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This stuff looks pretty strong, thinking of giving it a shot too. How much did you need to buy?

I used POR15 3 years ago, and while it's held up I've noticed some surface rust under it in some spots. So I'm going to try something else.
Hard to say. They sell a "frame kit" I believe, if you're just doing the frame. I did every inch of the jeep and used a gallon probably.
 

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That bothered me too, because I used probably a whole quart of degreaser and their metal prep. It wasn't flaking and it didn't come right off even after a pass with the grinder, so it seemed to have stuck well.

But they were small and round, so I wonder if it was something as dumb as me grabbing the prepped frame rail with my hand to slide myself under the Jeep when I went to put the POR on.
Touching the surface after preparation will cause problems. You leave a film of oil that acts like a barrier to por 15.

I just worked on my skid this week. It seemed to do a great job and the finish was excellent.
 

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I just purchased a 1998 that is a basket case. I am going to pull up he tub off and figure out how much rust is hiding once it is sand/media blasted. I'm going to go a little further and install a V8 after the rust and paint is taken care of.
Are you doing to the engine?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just purchased a 1998 that is a basket case. I am going to pull up he tub off and figure out how much rust is hiding once it is sand/media blasted. I'm going to go a little further and install a V8 after the rust and paint is taken care of.
Are you doing to the engine?
The plan is to replace some oil seals, but otherwise the engine is going back in as is. I'll buy a compression test gauge to see where it is and I'll clean the thing up, but that 4.0 should have a lot of life left in it. I have 138,000 miles on it, and since it isn't my DD anymore it will probably see about 3000 miles a year. I don't have any signs of engine trouble, so I should be OK with that engine for years.

I don't really have the budget to do a rebuild right and I'd rather spend extra replacing old suspension parts to improve handling a bit. I'll have the oil pan off soon so this could all change if I see something I don't like
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Finally got over a cold and made progress this weekend. New front control arm mount was welded on and I made a plate to go over the joint from the control arm patch and center frame rail patch
IMAG0492.jpg

I then stripped everything else off the frame, which at this point was just the front and rear axles. The way the frame is setup at the front bump stops is basically a cup. The top bolt is from the rear bump stop cup, the bottom two were from the front. Not much bolt left, and I'm going to replace these with stainless.
IMAG0495.jpg

I prepped it with a wire wheel (hate using those things) and sand blasted the worst areas and any spot I couldn't get my grinder in. Then coated it with the MasterSeries silver and one final coat of black
IMAG0498.jpg
IMAG0499.jpg

You'll notice the rear spring perches are still silver. That's because I started on the rear driver's side and ended on the rear passenger side. When I was on my back painting the perch I noticed I could see through it around the bump stop mount. I missed it while sand blasting, but that perch is rusting through so I'm going to replace both. Rather do it now then have it fail after all this work
 
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