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Hey all! Well we finally did it. My wife has wanted a Jeep for a while now and I have wanted to find her one for some time but can’t afford to buy one really nice plus I wanted to find one that could really work on together. So professionally I am a customer car builder specializing in metal fabrication and upholstery. Unprofessionally I know nothing about building a Jeep so I’m honestly really excited about this mainly because it’s something new. So I guess then into the details. I was lucky enough to be scrolling through fb marketplace just before leaving to go to camp with our youth group kids and came across a 94 YJ that I was able to pick up for $700 the usual rusted out frame (and I mean bad!!!) but I was able to find another frame that still rusty but repairable. And then we began to talk and plan what we wanted to do with this thing. The Jeep is a 2.5 automatic. When I started talking to the engine builders at work everything came back with $1000 price range for engines and that was hard to swallow so I started looking around for other options and came across a 1996 grand Cherokee with a 5.2l automatic. So begins the build. So plans are to swap in the 5.2l, the automatic, the transfer case and the front and rear axles. Then because I have off-roaded a leaf spring truck before I will also be steeling the coils from the grand Cherokee which came with a wonderful 6” lift already and I’ll be building a custom 4 link suspension front and rear to give her a much better ride.
 

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And so it begins!

So today the fun began by dragging the new rusted frame into the shop so we could build a new back half for the frame. Gave my wife the plasma torch (which I think she secretly loves) and gave her some cut lines and she went to town while I tacked together the new rear frame rails. Honestly didn’t have a ton of time but am really happy with today’s progress!
 

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Thanks blue baby! It will be an interesting build for sure. A lot different then I’m use to building every day.
 

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Welcome to the Forum Pwetmore,

Wow!! I'm impressed. Wife running a plasma cutter. I love to see women in the shop.
They seem to bring a certain finesse that guys don't have....Plus, we don't swear as much when the ladies are around. Can she weld yet?

Keep us posted on your progress.

Good luck, L.M.
 

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Lol not yet. she did a little welding when I was putting the frame rail pieces together I had her throw some tacks on. She would jump every time it threw an arc and move the torch all over but for her first time welding I’m super proud of her. I really excited about the build with her because it gets hard to get her interested in cars and what I do for a profession so now that it’s on her own she is fully into it!
 

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Didn’t have a ton of time to work on the Jeep today but I was able to at least tack the second frame rail together. I took a few measurements to make sure everything was coming out square. Tomorrow I have to start tearing the Grand Cherokee down and get the engine and transmission out. And then I have to start laying out the 4 link.
 

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Welcome.

I love the direction of your project. Mixing the GC and the YJ will make a really nice Jeep. The drive train in the GC is pretty long so be prepared to stretch the wheelbase a little. When you do this you will run in to clearance issues between the gas tank and the rear axle. Do some research there before you get too far. It sounds like you have the skills to maybe just stretch the whole thing. Build it to LJ length so the kids have more room in the back seat. I know.... I may be corrupting you with crazy ideas. :)

I have a couple WJ's and really like how they handle off road with a little speed. I have been considering turning one into an off road race car so I have been pushing them off road a bit to see how they handle.
 

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Daddyjeep when I was looking it looked like the wheelbase of the gc was only 12” longer and I thought about moving it back to that anyways but wasn’t totally set on that. But when or if I do that it is also getting a lift that should keep the axle away from the tank if it’s gets to close but again not totally sure. I do like the idea of the Jeep also becoming all wheel drive all the time for her.
 

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Welcome to the forum and one heck of a build! Looking forward to following this thread and your progress..... I am sure when your done, you and the wife will have transitioned the quality time you spent working on the jeep to those great weekend adventures together!
 

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Daddyjeep when I was looking it looked like the wheelbase of the gc was only 12” longer and I thought about moving it back to that anyways but wasn’t totally set on that. But when or if I do that it is also getting a lift that should keep the axle away from the tank if it’s gets to close but again not totally sure. I do like the idea of the Jeep also becoming all wheel drive all the time for her.
My stock YJ rear drive shaft was only 16" long. If that extra 12" of GC wheelbase is taken up with a linger drive train that will leave you a 4" drive shaft. If I remember correctly, the 46RH transmission that I pulled out of a GC was 11" longer than my stock YJ TF999.
 

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As a custom car builder, I expect you'll have the skill and experience to at least consider what I'm suggesting.

Since at the moment you plan on using a longer transmission, one option that I see for you has already been suggested. That's extending the wheelbase to that of a LJ (TJ Unlimited). That'll leave the body short the distance that you extend the frame. I'd start looking for a rear end of a parts YJ tub and plan on cutting the current tub just ahead of the wheel opening and the parts tub just behind the door opening. Then trim the excess to fit. I'd do the sides with a butt weld and a backing plate. If practical, I'd do the floor with a lap weld.

To help with your driveshaft angle, I'd also consider a super short slip yoke eliminator.
Since you'll be building a custom rear suspension you'll have a lot of planning, measuring and trial fitting to face.

Please post pics as the job progresses. This is a complicated undertaking and I'm sure you'll have a lot of followers.

Is there a shorter transmission that'll hold up to the GC V8 and bolt to the back of the block? Other posters may chime in or perhaps your local salvage yard has an interchange book.

Good Luck, L.M.
 
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Is there a shorter transmission that'll hold up to the GC V8 and bolt to the back of the block? Other posters may chime in or perhaps your local salvage yard has an interchange book.

Good Luck, L.M.
That is the option I was searching for, but could not come up with one in the time frame I had. A 727 transmission would be a better option fitment wise. Maybe an even better option would be convert the whole system to OBD2 and use the 46RE as it is a fair amount shorter that the 46RH for some reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Lucky Mac and daddyjeep I understand what both of you are saying and I would like to do something like that just not sure if it’s in my plans this time for the build. We built an FJ cruiser exactly how you are saying and yes it turned out awesome and I was jelous of his truck and of his budget lol.
 

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Yep... That land cruiser is what we are saying. I'm not sure I have ever seen one done like that.

My point is that you are going to have to deal with your drive train length vs wheel base in order for this Jeep to function. It is better to plan for it now than to get further along and throw the drive train in there and have to change things. I'm just looking out for you since I have been there and put the same drive train in my YJ.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Awesome ok thanks daddyjeep I plan on having the engine and trans pulled out of the gc this weekend and possibly mocked in to place so I can start really laying everything out.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Things have been pretty busy at the shop with Detroit autorama around the corner but I was able to get the other frame rail on and lined up. Almost done with the welding and then I have to tackle a small section on the front. Drivetrain come out of the go Sunday so we will see how things start to line up
 

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