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1990 Minnesota MJ Project: Preservation....


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Hey Folks,

So, I'm new to MJ's, and new to the forum. I recently picked up this 1990 MJ 2wd 4 speed manual. As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to find a rust free late model vehicle of ANY type here in MN. I drove an hour outside of Mpls to see this truck. Previous owner was 17 and getting ready to head off to college. He did all the mechanicals himself:

 

New clutch

New rear main seal

New valve cover and gasket

New VC "breather" (don't know the tech term) and hose

New exhaust front to back

New tires!!!

 

The 4 cyl. has 140,000 miles on it and runs like a top! My main objective over the coming winter is strictly to keep the current rust in check, and try to minimize the spreading till next spring, when at tax time I hope to have it repainted. I found a friend who is going to help weld in new drivers side floor pan, new rocker panels, and new cab corners before winter sets in, then hopefully next year I can get the box repairs done.

I started by spending a couple days with the die grinder, an orbital sander, and a hand scraper, grinding and sanding as much of the blistered paint away, and rust bubbles that I could get off of it, then giving it 3 coats of rust inhibitor, then primer and then pre-mixed "colorado red" The premixed color is not quite right, but close enough from 5 feet away, and will keep the neighbors happy not seeing so much rust. Aside from the usual rust areas, the truck is pretty solid. I plan to make this the Daily Driver. I'll warn everyone, this mild resto will be VERY SLOW. I hear you folks like photos....here is a few.

 

 

My buddy the die grinder:

 

Drivers side:

 

Passenger side:

 

Tailgate:

 

IF anyone has any tips on how to handle the tailgate rust (bottom edge is rusting from the inside out) I cleaned and treated both sides of the rotted area, but ther are already holes that are pretty bad on the bottom edge. Meanwhile waiting on repair panels to arrive. All for now.

-E.

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Yeah... I'll take a look at that.

 

Another member to look out for is Naterenfo1. He's from your area when he's back home. Look him up! I've shown him a couple spots where to find good parts at... not all though (everyone needs their own honey-hole, right?).

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So...Ive been chasing some noises for the last few days. Finally I crawl under the truck....Apparently the kid forgot to clip the fuel lines back up after pulling out the tranny to do the clutch. (although it looks like they could stay in place) The clip was up there, but closed with no fuel lines running through it....Instead, they were laying on the driveshaft!?! Needless to say, I now have 2 really nice shiny spots all the way around my driveshaft. I did catch it in time as to not wear through the fuel line (both metal and rubber there) Got them clipped back to their respective location, and voila....that particular noise is gone. No photo. Then on my way out from under the truck....I find the rear pinion seal leaking. Grr. Doh. That was not there when I bought the truck. (most likely covered in a layer of dirt) I'll post a photo when I get to dealing with the leak. Diff cover bolts are crusty as heck, so I'm letting it soak in some PB Blast. (need to crack it open to find out what gear set to order new pinion seal) Trying to keep a positive attitude. :banana:

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Ford Radio!?! hehe. The kid let me know it would blow the fuse, and not work occasionally. I pulled it out to find the usual rats nest of clipped wires. Heat shrink applied to the loose wires, and new wire nuts, and she works like a charm. Crappy radio, but at least Ive got tunes.

 

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Yes! :nuts: So...guys...I just got done doing my valve cover gasket, and I swear Ive got a small leak on the drivers side between 2 of the bolts toward the back. I really do not want to re-do it, and I'm quite certain that means a new gasket (the one I had was brand new) The valve cover is plastic, but looks outstanding visually. Any help?

-Erin

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Ok, so, the plastic cover did not seal at all. (warped) I just finished my valve cover conversion from plastic to an aluminum cover from a 1994 wranger. here are some photos. I did a DIY in the tech section as well....

 

Removed plastic valve cover....

 

sizing the gasket (make sure its rubber) Tacked the gasket on with ultra black rtv in the corners (not pictured)

 

Here is the metal cover installed. You can also see the breather hoses re-routed.

 

Whew. Enough for this week.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Trip to the JY this morning yielded the under dash/floor lights, so I did that mod. Passenger side comes on when the door opens, drivers side comes on when you turn on the headlights. Pretty slick, makes it alot brighter in the dark. Also fixed the passenger side window crank handle. Thinking about the dash cluster upgrade, but did not know what year to swipe out of an XJ, and none of them were 4 cyl models :( No photos, but pretty basic stuff.

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Got any pictures of the under the dash/floor lights? I don't think I've seen that mod done well, although I believe someone on the forum here did do it at some point. Just want to see where they would mount at. :cheers:

 

Great looking truck btw man, the aluminum valve cover is a great upgrade from the flimsy plastic one. :thumbsup: Only reason I haven't done it is because I like the AMC logo on the edge of mine. :yes:

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I'll see if I can snap a couple. The lights came from a stock cherokee. On a cherokee, if you look up under the dash, right at the bottom edge, there are mounting clips with light holders. The plug is there on the comanche, but nothing plugged into it, also the holes to mount the bracket are there as well. I think if you do a search for lighting you'll find a guy who did it. I wish both sides came on when the door was opened, rather than the drv side coming on with the headlights...I'll have to see if there is a way to change it.

The reason I went with the aluminum cover is, I could not get the plastic one to stop leaking oil everywhere, and the cover I had originally was a junk aftermarket. Overall the truck looks pretty good, but there is a lot of rust to deal with.

-E.

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