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Hey YJ Wrangler people - Need to talk


terrawombat
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One of my co-workers approached me today and said his neighbor has a 1991 Jeep Wrangler that he doesn't need/want. It's been sitting in his front yard for a couple of years and he had mentioned that he'd like to get rid of it because it's usually in the way. My co-worker, knowing full well I have a Jeep addiction, told his neighbor that he might know of a guy that was interested and got some basic information about it. It's a 1991 Jeep Wrangler with about 117K on the clock and the straight-6 and a 5-speed manual transmission. It has a hard top, full metal doors, and he thinks it runs, but hasn't started it in a while, but it ran fine the last time he needed to move it - just needed a jump from a good battery. The current owner says the synchros are grinding and is confident it will need transmission work. He also said he would want to get at least $500 for it.

 

My co-worker only lives a couple miles from our office, so I took a peek at the Jeep today during lunch to get an idea of what I'm working with. It's sitting in the guys front yard, but I didn't want to get out and walk around as I would be trespassing on private property. Instead, I took the company camera and used the zoom lens to get some relatively close shots. Here are the only ones that really came out well:

 

 

 

 

Right off the bat I can tell that the tires are toast. It also has some rust issues, which can be seen behind the fender flare extension. Looks like some damage to the front left fender and rear bumper cap. That's about all I can really tell from this one picture other than it looks to be a complete car. I told my co-worker I was interested and he said he's going to get me the guys number.

 

I'm not really sure why I even want this thing other than I used to have an '89 YJ in high school and it was a lot of fun, but I truly hated the 4-cylinder it had and I sold it for a faster car...a much faster car.

 

Anyway - anyone have any good tips to share if I get to go back and look at it in more depth?

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For $500 buy it. Check the frame around the shackles, the front floors, the body mounts and the windshield frame for rust. Also look at the spring packs, the main leaves like to bend around the eyes. Check the hard top for cracks around the mounting points and where the back hatch lift struts attach. Looks like a great start for a project or just drive it as is.

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If I had the owners telephone number, the money would have already changed hands, it would be in my shop, and I'd be changing out all of the fluids and fixing the oil leaks. As it stands, I'm working through a middle-man (my co-worker). He says he sees the guy every now and then on the weekdays, but will most likely see him over the weekend.

 

Richasco - Thanks for the tips! I'll look at each of those, although I'll likely wind up buying it anyway. A buddy of mine has a '91 YJ and has some bad frame rot around the shackles (but DD's the thing anyway). He wants me to cut him some steel plates to weld onto the frame for reinforcement - might need to make two sets of those plates.

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GET IT!! Tell your friend to go look him up knock on the door what ever it takes. don't wait at that price it could dissapear if you don't stay on it.

 

Believe me - I know. I just missed out on a killer deal on a '93 Cherokee Sport. I called the guy about it early last week and left a message. He called me back the day after and I couldn't get to the phone so he left me a message. He never mentioned a price and by the sounds of the info he gave me - 4DR, 4.0L, Auto, 130K miles and a good, straight body, I figured he wanted at least $1K for it. I wound up calling him last night to see if it was still available. He told me he sold it to a junkyard...for $150!!! I nearly fell off my chair. I would have given him $500 for the thing!

 

Anyway - as for the Wrangler, I don't want to be pushy. My co-worker assured me he would let the owner know I was interested at $500 and would get his number for me. The car isn't actively for sale or anything (no for sale sign in it and not listed on CL - I checked). It's just one of those situations where he wouldn't mind getting rid of it, but just doesn't want to put in the time to list it for sale.

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get it, you've already gotten good advice from obviously another yj guy. check those spots, if the frame is rotted, or the floors are gone i'd skip it unless you are really looking for a yj project, and obviously you weren't.

 

for a reference i spent 1000 bux for my frame off build in my sig, it is an 87 with a bad 4.2, but almost rust free. it took me about 4 yrs to find. 1991-95 are good years.

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If I can get this for $500, I'll definitely do it, but I have visions of the owner thinking to himself, "Jeez, if this kid will take it for $500, I might be able to get way more for it." I was very coy about the whole situation telling my co-worker that it looked like it needed some work, but I was still interested. I didn't want to come off like this is a deal (because I know it is). So, we'll see how it pans out and I'll keep you guys in the loop!

 

get it, you've already gotten good advice from obviously another yj guy. check those spots, if the frame is rotted, or the floors are gone i'd skip it unless you are really looking for a yj project, and obviously you weren't.

 

You're right - I'm not looking for another project at this time. I'd really like to finish both of my MJ builds before I even think about starting something new. I wouldn't mind doing a little bit of rust repair on the YJ if I wind up getting it. I was even thinking of just leaving the hard top and doors off of the thing, yanking the carpet, and driving it around on sunny days. If I get caught in a rain storm, it wouldn't be any different than if I were on my motorcycle - it'd actually be a lot more pleasant!

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At $500 I would buy it just off that picture.

I bought a rusted out tub one for it's engine to replace the engine in our 91 YJ last year for $800.

Sold the axles, the top, dash, and everything else to it and made about $600 over what I paid.

Heck I even got $30 for the bumperettes from someone.

Still have the title and vin plate for sale if anyone needs one. :D

 

Like was said check the shackle areas for frame rot. It's very common on YJ's. It isn't easy to fix either.

 

Might want to carfax it though, it's taken at least two hits. Front left fender at the very front has rust there on the corner like something creased it. And the left rear bumperette is out of shape.

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I stopped and took a quick look at it on my way home from work today. I didn't get any more than a couple of minutes to poke around as some other people in the neighborhood were out and about and I didn't want them thinking I was up to no good! I checked the interior and the rear frame rails mostly. The rear frame looks to be real solid - no rot of any kind that I can see. The interior is all there, too, and it looks to be in pretty good shape. There is an aftermarket radio and some real cheapo speakers in the back that looked like they used to be hooked up to an amp that sat under the rear seat. Amp is long gone, but radio and el cheapo speakers remain. Also found some rust on the drivers door and a couple more flat tires. Knocked on the door of the house - no one was home so I decided to leave before someone called the cops on me!

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My co-worker got me the name and number of the owner over the weekend. Called him up after work and I'm going to look at it tomorrow and I'm 99.9% sure I'll be purchasing it. He told me that 3rd gear grinds pretty bad and it may need a new clutch, but it is still very drivable in its condition. I only need to take it about 5 miles so it should be fine. I'll have my roommate drive me over and follow me back just to make sure.

 

Also, this was a pretty big bummer - he can't find the title for it, but he's got a couple of other places to look. Although, he was a real nice fellow and said he'd even go down to the motor vehicle place and apply for another tomorrow if I was serious about buying it. Told him I was so we'll see what happens with that.

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Sounds like you are on the right track.

 

Heck, worst case you end up with a HO 4.0 for your MJ.

 

My old 90 YJ had major rust issues under the battery.

 

I'll be going over the truck with a fine-tooth comb. I've been replacing the floors in both of my MJs so I'm somewhat set up to be doing rust repairs at the moment - my MIG is gassed up and ready to go, got plenty of sheet metal, seam sealer, paint, brushes, and warm weather coming up this weekend. That hardtop will be coming right off!

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Sounds like you are on the right track.

 

Heck, worst case you end up with a HO 4.0 for your MJ.

 

My old 90 YJ had major rust issues under the battery.

 

Most of the YJ wiring and accessories won't work too well in an MJ. :(

 

It's okay. One of my MJs is getting a transplant from a '98 XJ donor and the other MJ only has 78k miles on the drivetrain so I suspect it'll go for much longer. If not, I have a couple spare 4.0L's lying around, but who doesn't these days? :rotf:

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I buy them for that price in a hartbeat and part them out in a weekend... yjs like any other jeep have their problems.. frame rear shackel mounts.. drivers side where fuel pump is heald on.. they all rust out their, spring hanges in the front crack, floor rust out around the rollbars, windshild frames go, bottom of front fenders, rear door, seatbelts, bottom of grill, and other stuff but all in all well woth fixing or selling off any good parts you can nad make a buck....

the last one I bought was a 95 on was last thursday. on friday afternoon I put it in the grage. Friday night I had people showing up from 2 and 3 hour drives away to pull parts off and its now tuesday.. only thing I have left is the rotted frame, tub, engine and tranny... the rest is gone....

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Well, I just got back from meeting with the owner and looking the thing over. It started right up (after a little jump from my XJ) and seemed to be running fine. According to the gauge, it has really good oil pressure and the alternator is charging at 13-14 volts (also according to the gauge). The temp gauge is busted, but the heat works fine and the engine doesn't seem to be overheating. The clutch has good pressure as well as the brakes, but the transmission is very notchy. In fact, I couldn't even get the thing to go into 3rd while I was there, but every other gear worked fine. I wasn't able to drive it because two of the four tires don't hold any air.

 

Onto the body - the drivers side floorboard is badly rusted and will need to be replaced, but the passenger side is good. There are a couple of spots on the side of the body that are nearly rusted through and will need repair. The floor by the rollbars on the drivers side will likely need to be replaced, but the passenger side seemed fine. The frame seems solid throughout, even by the shackle mounts. Both the driver and passenger door will require some rust repair and the top of the windshield has a spot where it is rotted. I'm sure I'll find more rot on the underside of the windshield - I may just need to replace it. The rear door on the body has trouble closing, but I think some massaging of the door lock will fix that.

 

I intend to take the hard top off and leave it off. Until I can find someone selling a used soft top on the cheap, it'll remain with no top on. I may just get a bikini top for it, remove the carpet, and line the interior with some kind of bedliner after I fix all of the floorboard rust. I don't intend for this vehicle to be a daily driver. I have a super reliable XJ for that and I'm working on getting one of my MJs in road-worthy condition to serve as a backup. It should be done within the next month. As for the transmission - I'm going to look into it further. The owner was convinced that the AX-15 synchros commonly go out early, but I wasn't convinced this was true. I'll have to do some more research to figure out what to do with it.

 

Unfortunately, the transaction didn't happen tonight. The owner STILL cannot find the title and I think it's down to him applying for a new one. He said he would take care of it, but can't get to it until Friday and he would call me Monday to keep me in the loop on what's going on with it. I'm not sure if he realizes what kind of process it is so, but he said he was willing to go through with it. He can't ever get rid of the thing until he does...

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There are some threads on JeepForum.com that have some really positive reviews of Pennzoil Synchromesh where they essentially brought otherwise dead AX-15's back to life. I used synthetic gear oil from Redline on an older sports car that is notorious for horrible synchros and it made a world of difference with that transmission. I'm holding out hope...

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There are some threads on JeepForum.com that have some really positive reviews of Pennzoil Synchromesh where they essentially brought otherwise dead AX-15's back to life. I used synthetic gear oil from Redline on an older sports car that is notorious for horrible synchros and it made a world of difference with that transmission. I'm holding out hope...

 

Its all I use as it works well..

I sell a lot of ax 15 trannys. I have two to pull for people today.... sold one last week.. and 3 the week before.. 3rd and revers go and go fast...

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Owner called me up today and he's got the title for it. Going to trade him some monies for the title tomorrow and I'll slap on an extra set of 31's I have from an older Jeep. Then I think I'm going to take the legal route and get it registered and insured in my name on Wednesday during my lunchbreak and drive it home Wednesday evening. It's only about 5 miles from my house and it's mostly 25 and 45 MPH backroads, but don't want to take any chances - not with the cops in my town...they've got an eye for expired inspection stickers ;)

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congrats man.

 

i personally would not start and drive a jeep thats been sitting that long, unless i planned on tearing the whole thing down. i wouldn't consider driving more than a couple miles without changing most of the fluids if i wanted the current driveline to last. just a thought.

 

at least check and top off all the fluids, and pray the brakes hold up.

 

or consider the 75 dollar tow.

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congrats man.

 

i personally would not start and drive a jeep thats been sitting that long, unless i planned on tearing the whole thing down. i wouldn't consider driving more than a couple miles without changing most of the fluids if i wanted the current driveline to last. just a thought.

 

at least check and top off all the fluids, and pray the brakes hold up.

 

or consider the 75 dollar tow.

 

I've checked the oil and anti-freeze when I looked and both looked/smelled okay. I will check the brake fluid reservoir and power steering tomorrow when I get the title. I can also drive it up and down his residential, dead-end road to verify proper operation of the vehicle. It'll be a pretty crude test, but it'll at least give me a baseline of what I'm dealing with.

 

And I just remembered something...I have AAA. If the vehicle is registered and insured and in my name, it's covered under my AAA towing. I think I may just do that...

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