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89' Resto To 99' Conversion

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Well gents, I've been on the forum for a couple years now and after finally remembering my photobucket password, I decided it was high time to post up some of the wrenching I have done.


This thread is mainly for the 99' conversion but there will be a sort of a synopsis leading up to the 99' conversion of the restoration of the 89' from clunker to looker. Easier than having to switch from build page to build page.


So first things first, the truck:


An 89' Pioneer LWB 2wd. 4.0L/AW4 combo with a Dana 35 in the rear. (Did not pay the price on the windshield).

Straight body, with only a little rust.


There were spots through the passenger and drivers side, but nothing to serious.


The engine. (Complete with a free pair of gloves).



The interior:



Got her home and cleaned up:






Pulled the old carpet up, and lo and behold, rust. No suprise there. Cut out the cancer and pop riveted in new sheets.




Time for the tear down.



And stripped.



Engine was next on the list.




It went from there to its temporary home.



So did the transmission.



Time for paint.





(The bed was pulled back to paint the back of the cab).








Engine got a facelift.





And the transmission got a bath.








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Put it all together and this is what drove out of the garage back in '09.








Drove it around for awhile. Worked hard for a summer and saved up enough bones to give it a new set of shoes. 15x7 ATX Ledges coated with Teflon, wrapped in Michelin LTX A/T 2's.



Saw the thread on the tail light restore and had to do the same to mine





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Drove it like that until December of this last year. Woke up Christmas morning. Folks told me to go outside. Bam. 1999 Cherokee Classic. 4.0L H.O. with an AW4 NP242J Dana 30 Large knuckle and 8.25 rear.




It was a perfectly fine Jeep. Ran great, A/C was cold, only a little over 100k on it. Then I saw why the P/O sold it.



She had been T-Boned over in New Orleans. Never would have sold it if not for the accident. Really made me realize how the right deal can come across in an instant. The cat promptly decided to claim it as his...


Agate Interior



(Have the dash bezel, just took it off before I thought to snap the picture)




I wasn't sure if the impact had damaged something inside the 8.25, and wanted to possibly mitigate any problems so went and picked this up



I think the Jeep had an oil leak. Lol. The Dana 35 behind it is just a parts spare from awhile ago.


Cleaned it up and covered it up until the swap.




Little overspray on the 35...


Ground off the perches a couple days later.


Meanwhile, time for the tear down.




Marked the plugs with tape and a sharpie for easy installation




Interior halfway through



And out



Engine time



And out



Off it its temporary digs



Found something interesting on the T-Case. Don't see to many of them with the stickers still on these days.



Back in their corner until the next day.



The brown truck came and left a few goodies!



A full engine rebuild kit. Figured if the engine was gonna go in, it had better go in as close to brand new as possible!


Tore into it and started stripping it down to get machined.


Few heat marks and some pitting/ grooves on the crank bearings.




Stripped it down and sent the head to get milled and the block to get a nice hot bath. Got them back and dang did they do a good job!




The sleeves were still good so no over sized pistons.





First a little Rustoleom. Then a little color :D



If you're wondering what the box full of kitty litter was for, it was ot catch all the fluids when the engine was taken apart. Cleans up quick and leaves no mess! :thumbsup:


Pistons lined up and ready to drop in!



And in



Time for the head!


Gasket down



And head on



Now on the flip side


Crank and bearings in place and toruqued down.



Stiffener, seal, and oil filter on.



More paint!



And on



Valve cover next!



Header and intake and that makes for a good lookin' engine!




Meanwhile, on to the tranmission



Pulled apart, drained, cleaned, and refilled.



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Came back from college over in Mississippi and it was time for the tear down Round II!


Started with the interior



Finished out the interior and this happened...



Once you do it a few times it goes pretty quick I guess haha


Time to swap axles! Had to take mine out, then the one out of our other Comanche, put mine it the other truck, then take the one out of the donor Jeep, put that one in mine, and the one from the other Comanche into the donor Jeep. Confusing I know, but my axles had newish suspension parts on it, and the straight tube on the other Comanche was still OEM from '87. So I got the Dana 30, the other truck got my axle and the donor got the scrap axle. Pics might help.




Got both the straight tubes out. Put mine in the other truck. The got the 30 into mine and the old tube into the donor.



Didn't connect the steering arm because the '99 steering box still had to go in.


Earlier in the post, I mentioned the rust in the floor pans. New patches of metal were pop riveted in after the rust was cut out. Well since the truck was originally a 2wd, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Now that its getting a 30 under it, now seemed a good time to fully replace the floor pans so the flexing from the demands of off road wouldnt pop out the rivets and give me a nice leak.



Spot welds are probably one of my least favorite things to work with...


After about 5 1/2 hours of sweating, cussing, and drilling the top of the frame rails finally came out and I could cut out the damaged sections of the floor pans and grind down the rails







Put the new floor pans down




Got the holes drilled for the new frame rail spot welds and put a couple rivets to hold it in place for welding tomorrow.



Then it was time for the fire wall. Cut the whole section out of the donor and placed it over mine.




Now there are a lot of different ways to get the right holes in the right places. The best option for structural intergrity in my opinion was to place the whole section as seen above, mark and grind out the holes that didnt match up like the steering wheel and wiring loom holes, seal the ones that were not needed, and weld the whole thing to my exisiting firewall.It gives me the advantage of a thicker firewall as well as not having to do as much cutting of the exisiting body.


The welding will be done tomorrow, and if all goes well, the rest of the interior can go in with a few more steps like the new plates needed on the top and such then the engine!

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Got a little bit more done than I had hoped tonight and got all the brackets cut for the top of the dash.




Made use of the exisiting holes and bolt inserts. Cut a piece of scrap metal to fit across the exisiting bolts then put the dash up and marked the hole. Drilled it out and used another bolt insert to tighten it down. For the two holes on the very end of either side of the dash just cut out a small square, pop riveted it and drilled the hole same as the other. Lines up great!


For the bottom two, used the plan listed in the DIY section by Backdraft who referenced 87Warrior. The wiring harness has a push plug right above the U shaped bracket that would normally hold the dash in a 97+ body. In the Comanche, the mounting bolts are to high to use the U so popped out the wiring holder and drilled out the hole. Lined up perfect!


You can see the hole for the wiring just drilled out. The insert connected to the wiring is directly to the left of the hole.



Here's how it bolted up



The U fits right into the recessed part of the A pillar where the hood release sits. The brackets may need to be trimmed but more on that later.


Pop riveted the brackets up top in preperation for welding tomorrow.




Put the dash all the way up just for fun. Looks almost like a Jeep again haha! :rotf:



More to come tomorrow!

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I got the Jeep fever bad haha! If I stop working on something my hands itch :rotf:


Got most of the floor pans welded up today


Put the top of the frame rails and seat brackets back on just to see how much "convincing" they will take to sit flat.




Welds don't look to bad I think.




Only a little bit left to do on the drivers side pan and fire wall. Speaking of which




Got the top dash brackets welded up too



Got the bed off too




For 20+ years of having a bed rub on them, the frame rails look fantastic. Not a spot of rust I could see anywhere, even when I shined a light on the inside! The new bed will go on after the frame is given a once over with some POR-15.


Tomorrow the welding will be finshed up then the back axle will be replaced with the new 8.25!

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Lots more progress today. Got the back axle and doors on!


So the doors. They are one of the four major problems with the '99 swap. The firewall, gas tank, and wiring being the other three.


To switch the jambs? I think thats how you spell it, first drill the old ones out. There are 4 spot welds in a line down the side closest to the cab. (There are 5 holes because I missed one spot weld a little).



The plate the holds the washer inside the frame just falls right off. Afterwards grab the door and hang it. Adjust it to sit properly.



If you replaced the hinge because of wear and tear, the door will take a lot of convincing to sit right. Also, to measure the gap between the fender and the door, the tabs on the fender had to be trimmed.





Once that is done, put the striker plate into the door jamb like so.



Minor problem:



Plate wouldn't sit straight or flat. So came up with a quick fix.



Piece of rolled up tape to keep it straight.



Cut up a wine cork to make it sit flat. This ensures the door (which is already aligned) will sit properly when the stiker plate is put in. And this is the passenger side door (taken from another Jeep since the donor got wrecked on the passenger side) which is why it is blue.


After hanging the striker plate flat in the door, mark the plate with something that will leave marks on the frame where it meets.



Push the door closed and it will mark the path of the striker. Where it stops, drill the hole in the frame the length of the edge of the striker to the hole on the line of marker you used.



The line is right by the bottom spot weld hole. Then drill the hole with a large-ish drill bit to allow movement of the backing plate.



Then fit the backing plate in and screw it down. The bottom hole is the one that is drilled and the top fits into the exsiting hole from the pre '97 jamb.



The passenger side



For the door to seal properly, both the holes had to be elongated for the striker to sit far enough in. It exposed most of the original hole for the single pin jamb and will have to be covered and sealed. Afterwards, seal all holes with something of the nature of RTV, and you're done!


After the doors, got the back axle swapped.



Bye bye Dana Turdy Five!


Hello Chrysler 8.25 :clapping:



Got it all buttoned up after taking this pic! All thats left for the axle is to weld the perches but that will take place after the driveline is in to get the right pinion angle.


Stay tuned folks, much more to come! . :MJ 1: .



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Ryan, that looks great so far.  The picture of the Cherokee from the front is pretty funny.  It looks pretty crazy with the roof line so C#*@-eyed.  I've got a 360 waiting to go in my Barracuda that needs painting; any advice?  Your motor looks clean enough to eat off of.

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Hey Ryan,


Thank you for your kind words!


Well the rebuilt engine was hot tanked first but if that isn't the direction you want to go in, you can try what I did on the first engine. First use a some Purple Power to clean most of the grease and undesireables off the engine. Follow it up with a little NAPTHA in a spray bottle (the bottle will be ruined so use a cheap one) to get the stubborn stuff off. After that scuff it up a little with a fine sandpaper. Shoot it with a primer of your choice (I prefer Rustoleom but thats just me). Give it as many coats as you feel are necessary, then follow with the color of your choice. On both engines I used this:



It resisted the heat pretty well and held its color on the original engine from the '89. It comes in a variety of colors but I love the color of the original Mopar blue :yes:


For the application I followed the instructions on the can and gave it 2 to 3 coats and it came out very nice! If you are getting the engine hot tanked no need to do the degreasing steps just buff it a little with the sand paper and paint away!


Hope that helps!



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Got the bed rails wire brushed today





The rinsed it off in preperation for painting the rails tomorrow!





Sprayed out the engine bay too!



One step closer to the finished product!


Stay tuned!

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Got some more done today


Put the primer on the frame rails








Tomorrow I'll finish it out with some Rustoleom Satin black and some Undercoating!


Got some of the brackets cleaned up too





After painting the frame rails I get to tackle this



Picked up a new bed to replace the one that got wrecked when I was hit at college this past semester. Going to wire brush the dirt and grime off of it then hit it with some primer and undercoating.


More to come tomorrow!

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Progress for the day


Got the frame rails painted:





Then I moved onto these



After cleaning and sanding them on went the paint






After applying 3 coats just as the can specified, I compared the dry results with a piece of the '99 dash. I was very miffed. They do not match AT ALL. The painted parts are SUBSTANTIALLY lighter than the original. Research said this product to be the closest match short of the expensive Mopar cans. Could it be something I did? Or just false advertising? Any suggestions or help would be much appreciated.

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Update time!


I haven't kept up to date the past couple of days as I was at the Indianapolis 500, but while I was away, my father did quite a bit of work to the 'Manche.


The door jamb back plates were welded on and ground down.




The seat brackets were welded in.




Then he primed the entire cab



The underside of the frame and new floor pans all got a nice few coats of undercoating



The fenders, hood, nose piece, and bumper were put on to check clearances and begin the body work for paint!




And the hole for the 3rd brake light got cut!



Big shout out to him, all the work he has done got the build a little ahead of schedule and hopefully the paint and reassembly can finish before the beginning of June!


Stay tuned!

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After applying 3 coats just as the can specified, I compared the dry results with a piece of the '99 dash. I was very miffed. They do not match AT ALL. The painted parts are SUBSTANTIALLY lighter than the original. Research said this product to be the closest match short of the expensive Mopar cans. Could it be something I did? Or just false advertising? Any suggestions or help would be much appreciated.

All of stock agate interior pieces in my MJ that are not from the dash are lighter than the dash. The SEM paint may be formulated to match those and not whatever the dash color should be. There is something around three different agate colors, but they all use the same name. My dash is the darkest, the kick panels a little lighter, and then my center console is much lighter. I have another center console here that is darker than the center console I installed. :/ If the pieces are all pulled from the same XJ they will match since they were all done using the same mixture of colored plastic. So when it comes to matching with SEM it may end up requiring a custom mixed paint.
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So do you believe mixing in a little black into the SEM paint may make it dark enough? All of the non MJ specific pieces came from the same XJ, the donor.

Kind of hard to mix paint that is already in a spray can. Yes, it would need more black to darken the color.
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I figured I could spray it into an old plastic container then mix in a little black and paint them by hand possibly. However, broke down and got the MOPAR cans from the dealership. Should be here within the week so more on that to come. If it doesn't match either, mixing paint will be the only option I suppose.

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It's that time again...




Body work has officially begun. The cab was done for the first restoration, and the new body parts were still in good condition so just a little sanding and two spots of bondo for paint and this is what you get





Some of you may remember earlier in the thread that I mentioned purchasing a new truck bed. With the old one bent beyond repair from the car accident, a new one was sourced from the Pull-A-Part. Cleaned up the bottom and Undercoated it.




Then set it on the frame to work on it. The PO of the truck had a cheap blue paint job put right over the old one rust and all. After figuring out there was two coats and clears of paint, I saw the extent of the damage. There was rust all over the bed under the paint. There was no choice but to sand down to the bare metal in most places to get the rust off. The truck was also apparently used as a work truck at some point in its life because there were dents EVERYWHERE.






Broke out the stud welder and got to work!



I think that was half the studs we needed for that side. And this was the good side...


Anyways the dents have been pulled, all that is left for the bed is the bondo and primer!


If everything goes according to plan (it almost never does :shake: ) and weather permitting the engine bay will get painted tomorrow. After that the cab, and if the bed happens to be finished that too!


Stay tuned gents the reassembly is near :crossfingers:


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So as I expected, it didn't go according to plan today and the engine bay was not painted. :fs1: To humid.


But got a huge leap forward on the body work for the bed! This is after bondo and some primer to catch any low spots that were missed




(Don't let the paint fool you, the bed rail is indeed straight)



Just some finishing putty to go over everything and some epoxy primer and the whole truck will be ready for paint! :clapping:


Stay tuned!

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Today's progress was the interior panels.


Broke down and bought the Mopar cans



I was not pleased with the results




and decided to mix the paint to match


To make the MJ specific panels match the XJ dash pieces, which were the darkest version of the agate color, the panels were first given a coat of the Mopar paint. Then some Rustoleom Satin black was misted over it to make it darker. Afterwards a little clear gloss protective enamel to give it some shine. I found that the clear brought out the black in the panels so to give it a bluer sheen went and remisted some of the Mopar paint over the clear. It gave it the color I was looking for and took a little of the shine off of the panels which was good because you could almost see yourself in them! :rotf:  The results were great!




Before mixed paint next to an Xj dash piece



After mixed paint



The lighting isn't so hot in the pictures but you get the idea :thumbsup:


Stay tuned!





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Pressure washed the carpet earlier today. I think I got all the stains except some of the more stubborn rust around the bracket openings.




Back panel carpet (cut from the carpet in the back of the donor)



More to come today!


Stay tuned!


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Body work, body work, body work, I swear it never ends.


The passenger side is pretty well finished up. Got a coat of filler primer on there to see if any spots were missed. So far so good!



Drivers side is almost done. If there is one thing you can never put a time limit on its body work. Lol.



Hopefully the drivers side will be finished up tomorrow then nothing will stand between the 'Manche and paint! :clapping:


Stay tuned!



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