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Rust bucket or diamond in the rough? '89 Pioneer

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First time MJ owner, glad to find this site. Lots of great info! I have some experience with XJ's. I had a '92 with a couple inches of lift.


Enough with the past. . The MJ has 70,000 original miles (not sure I believe that) and looks like 470,000. Wisconsin winters are wicked on metal.

HVAC system is filled with sound dampening material and there is mice poop everywhere.




I quickly pulled up the floor. So far I only pulled the carpet in front of the seats (PO has stripped 3 out of 4 beat seat bolt and 2 seat belt bolts! :doh: )

Here is the driver's side. As you can see the rust is bad. You might be able to tell the tires are bald from this same pic. . lol



To my surprise IIRC (been a while since the XJ) this is a good 'ole D44



Now I am looking into restoration. I have given the frame a quick once over. It is rusty but seems to be all surface. I didn't see any holes. The floors need to be further investigated. The bed needs some serious work. The driver's side leaf spring shackle is busted (drove 75 miles home on that!). The brake lines look like they are going to turn to dust with a strong wind. I am planning on grabbing some replacement front and rear cab panels (driver side and passenger side) and rocker panels from RockAuto.com. Prices seem to be pretty reasonable. Hopefully at the same time I can swap a clean '97+ front end on. I hope to get the body looking good before tackling any new goodies (bumpers, tires, winch .. )


I plan on using the Jeep as a DD in about one year. Hopefully everything will be set by then. Big plans, we will see how it turns out. Any advice would be great.


What kind of sealer (brushable) do you use on floor pan replacement?


Time for me to start dumping into the money pit!

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Sorry. When I said cab panels I was talking about the kick panels (floors). I am not sure on where to find cab corners. My plan was to fab up the remaining repair panels. I might go this route for the kick panels too (just need to buy a bead roller then).


Anyone know a good place to get metal? One of the local metal shops is charging x2 the price of metaldepot. . .any good online metal supply?

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I am from Indiana. We have similar rust problems here. Probably the same in fact. Underneath my MJ looked pretty clean. Mine sat in a garage for 12 years without a garage door. The scale on my d44 was bad but not as bad as yours. My floorboards were in relatively good condition. Other than that, the body on mine was probably equally as bad, if not worse than yours. If that were in Indiana, I bet 80k miles is correct based upon how "little" rust it has. The holes are much bigger if you get 120k+ miles on them.


One of my cab corners were too far gone to fabricate but I found one in a JY. Rockers are easy to get (XJ cut to length). Finding a bed can be a challenge but they show up on the forum every so often. The parts are out there if you are patient. There are a couple of pics in my signature that would show you how bad it was.


If the frame is ok, I wouldnt hesitate.

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