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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wanted to have a nice space to document a new project I'm undertaking. I've wanted a Wrangler for quite awhile but have always been stuck owning/wrenching Subaru's. I've casually shopped TJ's and they've always been out of the project budget range, but last week, this one sort of fell in to my lap.

1997 Wrangler - 2.5 - Manual. Guy across the street and up a few houses put it in the yard with a Best offer or Trade. After stopping by and chatting for a bit, he only wanted 1k for it. No brainer. Cranks but doesn't start. He said he was getting too old to keep f-ing with it. Pushed it down the hill and rolled it to where it now sits.

I was expecting a project but this has just been full of all sorts of surprises so far...

Pictures coming shortly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Work performed so far:
-Emptied of trash
-Carpet, seats, belts, pads removed. Dash removal in progress.
-Interior scrubbed and cleaned
-Oil, plugs, wires changed
-Bypassed fuses replaced


Pictures:

Both front fenders have a rust hole. The fender damage is supposedly from hitting a tree...


... most likely while enjoying a few nips & beers.


Power steering reservoir with a hole in it? This was 'sealed' with a rag jammed in it.


Fuse box. Nothing out of the ordinary in this picture. Note: The red wire is connected to a button under the steering column, which is hard wired to the starter. Again, all is normal.


Top off. Had to air it out before I vomited. How did I miss the smells while piloting it down the hill?


After 2 full extra large garbage bags had been filled with trash, a pillow and a pair of dirty undies.


Empty, but far from clean.


Little bit of rust developing on the drivers side. Also, missing the drain plug.


Hosed, washed and scrubbed. Getting there. Started dash removal today as well.


Glamour shot?



Parts list:
-Driver/passenger fenders
-Driver front flare
-Driver/passenger seats
-Battery
-Bed liner
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dash is out. More treasure. Found a viper 300 system hacked in to the wiring. A relay and some other clear plastic box that were fastened with self tapping screws to the air ducting.

All the wiring was just wrapped a few times and then held with electrical tape.

The dangling button is hard wired to the starter. Classy.


 

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In. I cant help but think this rig needs a full 4.0 swap. I see them all the time on craigslist and even saw a complete stroker longblock on the Charlotte NC craigslist last week for 2k.
Either way this looks like alot of fun. Looking forward to seeing the outcome of this build.
 

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In. I cant help but think this rig needs a full 4.0 swap. I see them all the time on craigslist and even saw a complete stroker longblock on the Charlotte NC craigslist last week for 2k.
Either way this looks like alot of fun. Looking forward to seeing the outcome of this build.
I agree^ however this is a big project in itself. So that might be something to consider down the road. Can't wait to see how this comes together in the end
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'll have to upload the most recent pictures. Wiring is neater. The tub was treated with some anti rust primer to help ward it off a bit and then given about a dozen nice coats of some bedliner-in-a-can. Looks much cleaner. Dash got power washed and is still stained in some areas and faded in others so that will probably be getting a simple rattle can job.

A new ignition switch actuator pin is going to be delivered today to hopefully remedy the issue of the engine not cranking when turning the damn key. Ripped out the ghetto wiring that bypasses everything and have a new battery because the old one was completely shot.

I also agree with the 4.0 swap. This engine may turn out to be junk which means making a bigger investment. But... not there yet. Supposedly the transmission pops out of first so when this thing finally moves under it's own power, then I'll have a whole new set of things to work on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Did a little more digging today after replacing the ignition part and found the clutch bypass plug. Engine cranks again but isn't turning over. No spark at the plugs so the troubleshooting continues.

Found the plug to the cabin air blower thing melted to all hell. Really looks awesome. This jeep could have went down in a blaze of glory!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Actually... wasn't a bad job at all! And for my efforts, it started perfectly. A little smoky but that's most likely engine degreaser/old oil burning off. We'll see. Wanted to drive it around a bit, but first time I pressed the brake pedal, it slowly went right to the floor. Consecutive pumps did the same thing. Turned the jeep off an then I heard the sound of squirting brake fluid. All over the front driver side wheel well. Looks like I know what's getting attention next.

Something easy to replace? Thinking I should probably replace most of it so another section doesn't fail. The rupture seems to be right after a connection point just before it heads around the front of the car. Took pictures... I'll put them up soon.

Anyways, on to the victory beers for getting the heep running. :)
 

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Actually... wasn't a bad job at all! And for my efforts, it started perfectly. A little smoky but that's most likely engine degreaser/old oil burning off. We'll see. Wanted to drive it around a bit, but first time I pressed the brake pedal, it slowly went right to the floor. Consecutive pumps did the same thing. Turned the jeep off an then I heard the sound of squirting brake fluid. All over the front driver side wheel well. Looks like I know what's getting attention next.

Something easy to replace? Thinking I should probably replace most of it so another section doesn't fail. The rupture seems to be right after a connection point just before it heads around the front of the car. Took pictures... I'll put them up soon.

Anyways, on to the victory beers for getting the heep running. :)
Subbed.
I bought. 98TJ /4,0L the frame is solid, PO had garage stored but unraveling a hornets nets of problems.
Fixed the following
Instrument cluster gauge (no signal)
Front / rear brakes
Replaced front / passenger & rear soft top upper windows
Repair driver side door latch.
New radiator/thermostat
Passenger side mirror.

Next to fix
Bought full doors (replace passenger mirror)
Replace / rekey door lock cylinders
New 31s mudkings or Kelly TSR/BFGs
2" lift kit
Regear axles 3.07==>3.73
Rear locker

New engine (eventually)
Hardtop.

It's getting renamed money pit!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Back from the dead. Jeep sat all winter with the busted hardlines. Old Subaru project is out of the garage and luckily got the Jeep in it's new cozy home. It's a lot of fun moving it around with no brakes and barely functioning parking brake.

And with that, new issue discovered. First gear does not exist. Let the clutch out and it just spins with a slight scraping sound. Second and reverse were no problem to move it around. So, I would assume that I am now in the market for a transmission... Going to start disassembling the front end to get to the brake lines and also start looking for replacement, non-rusted fenders and possibly front ball joints.

It was fun to actually move the thing around and hear it fire right up after a half year of lying dormant so i'll enjoy all the small victories and smiles this thing produces.


Kris
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wow, almost one year later...

Ordered new brake lines last year and just didn't have time or additional funds to dedicate so it's been parked in the garage for another year. Until last night. This project is back in action!

Last night, removed both fenders and the front grille/headlight section. Got all new front brake lines run. Will work on the rears shortly.

Today I'm pricing out new rotors, pads and shocks as they all are in desperate need of replacement. Also have to start hunting for a replacement transmission again and thinking of doing the clutch while I'm in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Whelp... been a productive day at work. Researched and sourced some parts and they're on their way.

Fenders
Rotors & pads
Quadratec minimum duty 2" lift kit with shocks (have to replace the shocks so why not throw in a little upgrade :) )
New lug nuts. (Strangely (or not) enough, while taking off the wheels last night I needed two different sized sockets.)
 

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This seems like an awesome project. I really am admire your undertaking such a big project like this. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this progresses and what else is in store for this jeep. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Have to get some new pictures up but been making slow progress.

New brake lines are in. Swapped new rotors and pads in last night. Never had a brake job go so quick and easy. Especially on a nearly 20 year old vehicle. Also dismantled much of the front suspension so that should be done soon as well.

Still on the hunt for a transmission and also looking to get new-to-me seats for a reasonable price. Also need to start thinking about what I'm going to do for an exterior color.

Hopefully..... fingers crossed..... I might actually be able to drive this thing before winter comes. Gotta pick up the pace, though.
 
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