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Driveway Ornament To Daily Driver: 6 Years!

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Fiddly Bits and Wobbly Wipers: Early February 2014

 

I don't know anything about cars, but I don't think you're supposed to be able to see through a sealed beam headlight.

 

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Yes, this explains exactly why I couldn't see @$%! at night! The reflective coating was worn off, the housing was full of water, and the high beam pointed at the ground when aimed correctly. The other side was a knockoff piece that had about the lighting power of my cell phone. Also pictured: Mother's Day card I made in sixth grade.

 

A $30 pair of Sylvania beams to last until I do an H4 conversion, and...

 

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Much better, although the stock headlight wiring is limiting my potential for improvement here. In a few months it'll be out the window.

 

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I decided to keep this tailgate handle and paint it since it wasn't rusty. Whoever did the awful re-paint on the 89 MJ I pulled this from sure laid the crap on thick. They weren't big on masking either, apparently.

 

A little bit later (and after the paint had cured) it looked like this...

 

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Far shinier than a tailgate handle has any right to be, but I'm not complaining. I like to paint stuff.

 

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Purdy. The tow ball hitch is next on the list. I really don't care if anyone knows my license plate number.

 

After far too much time spent living with cowl slapping wipers, I decided it was high time to fix them.

 

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The wiper transmissions themselves are identical no matter what year XJ/MJ you pull them from, although the motor plugs differ. '98 motor on the left, '91 motor on the right. Fortunately, the motors can be separated from the housings, so I used my original motor on the 98's (far less sloppy) transmission.

 

Getting the wiper motor assembly back in can be pretty aggrivating. Work patiently, carefully and don't force it! If my mind serves correctly, you have to insert the driver's side of the assembly first and rotate it to get the rest to fit.

 

PcDEah0l.jpg

 

97+ wiper motor plug. Earlier models have a rounded plug with longer pins, but if your motor still works you can use it on a wiper transmission of any year without trouble.

 

Although I didn't replace the bushings, I now have a much newer (but somehow more rusty) wiper motor that isn't damaged by idiotic attempts to pry a bushing out with a screwdriver :oops: The wipers are now much tighter and return to the same place every time without smacking the cowl trim. It may not be a huge deal, but my OCD tendencies are now satisfied.

 

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A $300 list of truck parts! It won't be too long before I start tearing into mechanical things for real. I'll probably break some things along the way. Rockauto is having a closeout sale on Trico wiper blades. They're half price until they run out. For our trucks, that comes out to about $2 a wiper blade.

 

Total Expenditures since January 2014: $158
Junkyard: $105 total
Oil filter adapter stuff: $8
Upper radiator hose: $15

Headlights: $30

Junkyard Parts:
Door panels: 1988 Jeep Cherokee Limited
Front bumper guards: 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Windshield wiper motor: 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Tailgate handle: 1989 Jeep Comanche

Mud flaps: 1987 Jeep Comanche

 

Parts Purchased from CC Members:

Mud Flaps: mjben

Maintenance Status:
Last oil change: 6qt generic 10W-30, 150,580, next change will be synthetic

Since 12/17/13, I'm running ethanol-free fuel only.

 

Odometer: 150,822.6

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If you go to a parts store in the motormite section you can buy a wiper transmission bushings kit and rebuild you're sloppy linkage and its under 10 bucks

 

That's the main reason I got the 98 wiper motor - my original wiper motor's bushing holes were damaged to where new bushings weren't snug. The bushings in the 98 wiper motor are ok but I'll probably need to replace them eventually.

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Ohhh that makes much more sense! I was scratching my head as to how a Ram headliner could possibly be the same size as an MJ and how there was no dome light. Stupid question.  :thwak:

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Safe!: February 2014

 

Money has been tight recently, so I've mostly been doing easy stuff. Like ordering free carpet samples.

 

kIVGUovl.jpg

...and taking horrible blurry phone pics.

 

...and staring at my oil dipstick. The oil filter adapter fix did the trick - not a drop of oil lost after several hundred miles.

 

Each one of those matches a different color of the interior. I plan on carpeting the truck eventually as part of my interior upgrade. I think I'll go with the one on the top left. It matches the door panels. Any suggestions?

 

 

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These are the clips that hold the top of the "hockey stick" armrests in. Simple enough.

 

 

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I also bought this. No prizes for guessing what I plan on adding in the future. Not a cargo light!

 

 

ib9FSTKl.jpg?1

 

I got bored a couple of weekends ago so I decided to paint the bumper (it came with primer, didn't get around to painting it). Duplicolor gloss black on the metal, satin Krylon on the plastics.

 

 

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While I had the bumper off I cleaned up and painted the air dam to match the fender flares. And took another awful phone pic.

 

 

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Much better.

 

Tip 2: You can fit a full-size tire on the stock spare tire carrier. Do so.

 

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Between the tailgate and the bumper there's a hole. It's for your spare tire hoist - just insert a tire iron and turn it.

 

 

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The spare tire hoist lowers a cable. The end has an attachment that should fit any roughly stock sized 5x4.5 wheel. Never used factory spare also pictured. Maybe it would make a good frisbee?

 

 

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Here's a 215/75 that's been stored inside. It'll do for a while. The original wheel still looks nice.

 

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I managed to make lifting a tire take up half of an entire post! It looks like there would be enough clearance to at least mount a 235/75 in the stock location.

 

There's probably going to be some truck fixin' coming soon. My reverse lights are working less and less frequently (i suspect a dirty NSS) and my harmonic balancer is beginning to cry for mercy.

 

 

Total Expenditures since January 2014: $173
Junkyard: $105 total
Oil filter adapter stuff: $8
Upper radiator hose: $15

Headlights: $30

eBay: $15

Junkyard Parts:
Door panels: 1988 Jeep Cherokee Limited
Front bumper guards: 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Windshield wiper motor: 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Tailgate handle: 1989 Jeep Comanche

Mud flaps: 1987 Jeep Comanche

Maintenance Status:
Last oil change: 6qt generic 10W-30, 150,580, next change will be Rotella T6 or similar

Had to go back to ethanol gas due to lack of funds.

 

Odometer: 151,091.4

 

By the way: Does anyone care about these lists? If anyone has any feedback on this thread, please let me know.

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Thinking To Myself, Part 2: Wall of Text Edition

Since I'm sort of in the middle of a quiet time as far as truck fixin' goes (not much money or useful time) I figure I'd share my thoughts as far as the future goes. This will be more or less the plan for the next few months of my build. Beware of wall of text!

 

At the minimum, to be completely mechanically reliable for long term driving the truck needs a number of things:

 

- Wheel bearings on all four corners

- New harmonic balancer

- New windshield

- New starter

- New tires (I'm leaning towards Cooper Discoverer AT3s in 235/75/15)

- Full brake job (more for my peace of mind. The front brakes were completely replaced but that was almost a decade ago. No idea with the rear.)

- Owner must cease being an incompetent fool who breaks things.

- Clean the NSS. Reverse lights are spotty.

 

Nothing all that bad or particularly difficult to replace. The second priority stuff is things that aren't going to directly impact the truck's reliability on-road but are typical of a 151k truck:

 

- Adjust steering gearbox. Mine has about 15* of play.

- New shocks, including rear load levelers

- Sand and paint a number of surface rust spots. I've seen what a small spot can turn into with some neglect.

 

As time and finances permit I'll be doing a number of upgrades concurrently with the above. These are some big plans, but I think I can pull it off. Some of this stuff is factory options. Others are under-the-hood upgrades that wouldn't be noticeable by the untrained eye. On the outside, I want the truck to remain as original as possible. I don't think I'll lift it. I'm building this truck for me. I would rather drive it off a cliff than sell it nor would I subject an innocent person (such as a family member) to its obsolescence and lack of crash safety.

 

- Suspension upgrade:

     - Replace all serviceable bushings and tie rod ends.

     - Replace stock front sway bar with V8 ZJ or aftermarket upgrade unit.

     - Replace stock tie rod with V8 ZJ or equivalent unit.

     - Replace stock lower control arms with WJ spec units to eliminate any possibility of tire rubbing and improve ride quality.

     - Install rear sway bar as done by Jeep Driver. The Addco unit that mounts to the shock mounts is horribly designed.

 

- Drivetrain upgrade:

     - Replace stock intake manifold with 1999+ XJ unit.

     - Replace exhaust system to improve performance while retaining as close to stock sound as possible.

     - Replace stock fuel injectors with Dodge Neon 704 or equivalent.

     - Replace mechanical fan with dual electric fans.

     - Limited slip differential for improved wet surface traction and offroad ability. (I'm not adding large tires so I think the D35 will be fine)

     - Potential 4x4 conversion using a 242 transfer case (if staying automatic) or 231 transfer case (if converting to manual)

     - Conversion to 5-speed manual if and only if the AW4 dies before I do the 4x4 conversion (it's not giving any indications that it will)

     - If the engine needs to be rebuilt, it's not going back in displacing only 4 liters.

 

- Braking upgrade:

     - Replace stock brake booster and master cylinder with 95-96 XJ unit or equivalent

     - 10'' rear drum conversion? (more details on this swap wanted)

 

- Interior upgrade:

     - Bucket seats, center console, carpet etc. Basically the full Eliminator treatment with comfortable seats. I'll be doing a lot of highway driving.

     - Replace instrument cluster with full unit with tachometer. Undecided on how to address the column shifter.

     - Bedline floor pans to reduce noise and eliminate any possibility of it ever rusting again.

     - Replace all weatherstripping to reduce wind noise and prevent leaks.

 

- Electrical upgrade:

     - Install upgraded headlight wiring harness. I'd rather not have a fireball on my hands

     - At the same time as that, upgrade headlights to H4 housings and bulbs.

     - Add fog lights/driving lights.

 

-Misc.

     - Add recovery points/towing implements (rear receiver hitch and front tow hooks - the factory units will suffice)

     - Line the bed in some way. A factory drop-in would be preferred but SWB ones in good shape are unobtainium.

 

As always, suggestions/complaints/curses/repentences are very welcome. I want people to double check my plans - that's why I'm posting them here.

 

 

 

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Very impressed at your attention to minor details in regards to your build. I wish I had done more of that when I first bought my truck than I ended up actually doing. Still, better to learn from one's mistakes than to continue making more. 

 

:popcorn: Very interested in seeing where this goes next. I always love reading long build threads. :cheers:

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Very impressed at your attention to minor details in regards to your build. I wish I had done more of that when I first bought my truck than I ended up actually doing. Still, better to learn from one's mistakes than to continue making more. 

 

:popcorn: Very interested in seeing where this goes next. I always love reading long build threads. :cheers:

 

Thanks. Sometimes I almost feel like my compulsive attention to detail gets in the way of more important stuff but I'm glad someone can appreciate it. I'm a very detail focused kind of guy and I think it's really reflected here. I'd hardly consider anything you did as a mistake - I follow your thread and love your truck. :thumbsup:

 

This build is going somewhere... eventually. Money is tight now so truck stuff is on hold except for the essentials. This summer, though, I'm gonna be going at it full force. I have to have the truck reliable and ready to go by August. Hopefully, I'll be crossing items off of the list above quite rapidly.

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Insert Chapter Title Here: March-April 2014

 

Several weeks ago I cleaned out the neutral safety switch because my reverse lights didn't work more often than they did and I would occasionally not be able to start it in park.

 

b3WFQz9l.jpg

 

Here it is right after I got it out. You won't be able to really tell what kind of shape it's in from the outside.

 

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Fully disassembled. It was nasty and the contacts were essentially glued to the wiper, which explains the lack of reverse light function perfectly.

 

 

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All cleaned up and shinier. Make sure to give the copper parts a quick scuff with fine sandpaper to shine them up. Make sure you keep track of the several small parts in there. A new switch is $$$. Make sure to use grease.

 

I did this over two days but I really didn't have to. I started at about 3:30 PM and had the switch out within 90 minutes on a very poor surface. The hardest part was finding the correct tool to cut the zip ties from the bottom. Slim wire cutters work best.

 

h0PMehZl.jpg

While I was cutting the zipties to get the NSS out this fell on me. I'm pretty sure this was chrome the last time I saw it. Curiously, it matched the valve cover bolts. Gave them a quick tightening (they like to work themselves loose on my engine) and it's back in the toolbox good as new.

 

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I had these laying around. I decided to fix that problem.

 

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Yeah, that's good. The ones on there right now are parts house cheapies - I'll get a nice set later. This was more of a proof of concept, as I intend on acquiring a factory install kit. All of the wiring is temporary and can be undone easily.

 

H2xRXeEl.jpg

This is how the interior looks right now. That eyesore of a switch won't be there for long. I hate it when my switches don't match. At least I didn't drill into my dash, right?

 

hipz7aRl.jpg

In somewhat related news, the MJ (and my family) will soon have a new home. You have no idea how happy I am about this - I've done all of my previous work on a horrible gravel driveway.

 

9EZcjZQl.jpg

Moving means my poor pavement queen has to do some work :( That's a couple of old, crappy bedframes. I believe everything combined weighed about 400 pounds.

 

...however, my poor pavement queen will be getting some significant upgrades soon!

 

VJpyBT3l.jpg

 

... so I made a spreadshet. Full size version here. I'm aiming at a $5000 budget (actual value of the truck be damned!) to finish the first stage of the build so some of this stuff probably won't get done. I've already ruled out a 4x4 conversion.

 

That's all I've done recently so have some pictures!

 

kJtzkbOl.jpg

 

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Total Expenditures since January 2014: $210.44
Junkyard: $105 total
Oil filter adapter stuff: $8
Upper radiator hose: $15

Headlights: $30

eBay: $15

Junkyard Parts:
Door panels: 1988 Jeep Cherokee Limited
Front bumper guards: 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Windshield wiper motor: 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Tailgate handle: 1989 Jeep Comanche

Mud flaps: 1987 Jeep Comanche

 

Maintenance Status:
Last oil change: 6qt generic 10W-30, 150,580, next change will be Rotella T6 or similar

Had to go back to ethanol gas due to lack of funds.

 

Odometer: 151,343.4

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Insert Chapter Title Here: March-April 2014

 

I'm aiming at a $5000 budget (actual value of the truck be damned!)

 

You would actually be surprised at how much your truck is actually worth.  With the work you have already done to it, it is a very clean vehicle, and up north you could probably ask and sell it for more than your budget.  I know a lot of guys would disagree with me on the price thing, but they are cheap asses  :D 

 

I like what you have done so far.  Great attention to detail, and excellent job turning her into a good driver again.  

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i gotta swing by one of these weekends and check out your truck 

looks good and theres been a lot of work done to it 

. :MJ 2: .

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Seeing pics of this truck never gets old.  :thumbsup:

:cheers: I'll have to get more, then!

 

Insert Chapter Title Here: March-April 2014

 

I'm aiming at a $5000 budget (actual value of the truck be damned!)

 

You would actually be surprised at how much your truck is actually worth.  With the work you have already done to it, it is a very clean vehicle, and up north you could probably ask and sell it for more than your budget.  I know a lot of guys would disagree with me on the price thing, but they are cheap asses  :D 

 

I like what you have done so far.  Great attention to detail, and excellent job turning her into a good driver again.  

 

 

Thanks for commenting. If I moved up north, I figure I could get a pretty penny for a rust free MJ, although I would be 100% certain it didn't leak from anywhere and would be sure to get proper undercoating first. It's not my biggest concern but keeping the value of this one up is a high priority. :thumbsup: Although that's not a problem since I'm never selling it!

 

i gotta swing by one of these weekends and check out your truck 

looks good and theres been a lot of work done to it 

. :MJ 2: .

 

We ought to set something up eventually. It still needs a few things for me to be comfortable on long drives with it but I'm getting there soon!

 

 

In the next week or two, this build is gonna start getting fast paced. I'll soon be ordering lots of parts so my next update will probably be then. Stay tuned! :banana:

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Tried my hand at throwing together an edited poser shot. Tell me what you think.

 

TlWvugUl.jpg

 

it's now painfully obvious that I cut off the very end of the bumper when I took the shot and maybe I should take my parking placard off the mirror next time. :doh:

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Nice lookin truck . Noticed it came from Underhill motors in Dickson. That's where my 89 came from.

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Nice lookin truck . Noticed it came from Underhill motors in Dickson. That's where my 89 came from.

 

Yup. Sold in October of 91. Got pics of your 89?

 

Still...... That's one sexy MJ.

 

Indeed... the MJ outshines my photography skills ;)

 

Never gets tired seeing a sexy "Swoosh". :thumbsup:

:cheers:

I like your truck more than mine. 'nuf said.

 

Trust me, yours is d@%n fine, too. :thumbsup:

 

 

Also, I remembered tonight that the MJ is officially 23 years old today! According to the build papers, it rolled out of Toledo North at 12:55 on April 17, 1991. . :MJ 1: . Real updates will be coming soon.

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Big 2: April 2014

 

I promised a real update, and it's time to deliver. Two years ago to this day, I began working on what would eventually become my pride and joy. It's been a long road, and it's all starting to fall into place now.

 

0UGxdcwl.jpg

Here's how she sits tonight. The new tires, Cooper Discoverer A/T3s in 235/75/15 were installed today. It finally looks like a real truck! It rides like it's brand new again and sits noticeably taller. They don't rub, either. You can't go wrong with white letters out :banana:

 

If you stare intently at the previous pic, you may notice something else has disappeared...

CmrBb2xl.jpg

My anti-theft device, a badly cracked windshield, was removed yesterday. I was very glad to be able to see once again.

 

yTSDYkKl.jpg

 

Almost $1,000 in parts have arrived (including the parts necessary to completely rebuild all four brakes, a factory service manual, and various parts to put the truck in more or less mechanically perfect condition) so I'll have plenty to do soon. I need the truck operational to move houses, but I might be able to fit in shocks and a tune-up tomorrow. I've been very busy recently but hopefully I will be able to start work on the truck again.

 

Total Expenditures since January 2014: $2,102.07 :eek:
Junkyard: $105 total
Oil filter adapter stuff: $8
Upper radiator hose: $15

Headlights: $30

eBay: $15

Tires: $675

Windshield: $210

Online orders: $985

Junkyard Parts:
Door panels: 1988 Jeep Cherokee Limited
Front bumper guards: 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Windshield wiper motor: 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Tailgate handle: 1989 Jeep Comanche

Mud flaps: 1987 Jeep Comanche

 

Maintenance Status:
Last oil change: 6qt generic 10W-30, 150,580, next change will be Rotella T6 or similar

Had to go back to ethanol gas due to lack of funds.

 

Odometer: 151,561.3

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