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YJ 2.0, Reviving an Ol' Friend

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Well since I have been on here for almost 4 years now, maybe I should start a build thread. I will get it updated when something changes, but for right now it will be slower than molasses in January. More for the fact that I’m still unsure on where to take the build. I’m still debating on a lot of things that I don’t want to spend the money to fix if I don’t like it or I decide to change directions with the build.


Current specs are:


1988 YJ Laredo

converted to 4.0L

Torqueflite 999 3 speed auto

NP231 T-case, still has the slip yoke

Dana 30/35 non C-clip axles with 3.55 gears

Rancho 2.5 spring under with RS9000 5 speed shocks (16-17 years old)

Cooper STT 31x10.50s on the stock 15” rims

100 watt KC Daylights on windshield frame

Dick Cepek fog lights on rear bumper to act as reverse lights


So a little history on this Jeep, I bought it in 1995, on of the first things to be put on were a new set of tires, upgraded the 225/75R15 Goodyear Wrangler Radials to a set of BFG AT’s one size bigger. Then I got tired of having to take it down multiple times to get it to pass emissions. I changed carbs. and still had to lean it way down just to pass but it wouldn’t run good so I would tweak the carb again after passing to make it run. I ordered the Mopar MPI kit for it, there was a night and day difference between the fuel injection and the carb. Then I ran into a different problem, driving around town it was fine, but either traveling from Tucson up to Phoenix to visit friends or from Tucson to Safford to visit my parents, you would here the fuel pump get louder and louder until it would vapor lock. I don’t think the fuel pump is being cooled enough since it is mounted on the gas tank skid plate instead of being in the tank. Next came a Rancho 2.5” lift with a set of the RS9000 5speed shocks with an in cab controller and a set of 31’s. The engine started to give out, so I decided that since I was running the MPI kit, it would be a good idea and swap put the 4.2L head and block of a 4.0L, it was actually a simple plug and play swap, well as simple as an engine replacement is. It stayed in this version of the build until I sold it to my best friend back in 2004.


I know, “Quit talking we want pictures.” back from about 2003 give or take, after moving out to Oracle.




About a couple of weeks after I sold it to my best friend and picked up my 2005 TJ




Then in April of this year, my best friend was thinking about selling the Jeep to thin out his personal fleet, so a price was set and I bought it back, I guess that makes me the 2nd and 4th owner of it. From the time he bought it until now the only upgrade that he had done, was swap out the AC system from the old R-12 to the newer R134 freon, at least it will be cheaper to recharge the system if it leaks out.


I was a little worried to drive it from Safford back to Oracle since he hadn’t really drove it around for the past year and no more than 20 miles or so for any given time he had driving it in the past 5 years. Made it 10 miles from home when my old vapor lock friend returned. Funny thing after a friend came to give me a tow back to the house, it fired right back up. I will have to drop the tank and make sure there is no debris in it and at the same time replace the fuel pump with an in the tank pump and new fuel filter, hopefully that will fix the problem.


The Arizona sun has finally started to catch up to the paint and the fender flares. I know you use to be able to order replacements of this version, but I can’t find them anywhere now.




Not sure what was placed on here but it destroyed the paint.




Needs a new window, kid next door to my friend's threw a rock at the Jeep, I don’t know if it was accidental or not.




It will take some work but it is a solid place to start, when I know where it has been through in the last 19 of it 26 years. Since bringing it home, I have ditched the sway bar, front and rear track bars. Removed the factory bumperettes and a receiver that I put on (hung down too low) and installed a bumper with a built in receiver that I had sitting in my shed.


I do know that I'll be repainting the hard top and keep it black. The body will be treated to Ford's dark blue pearl, I think that will look good with the chrome grille and KC's (I know, chrome won't get you home) but I'll run the chrome for the haters. If I can find a set of the full flares, I'll order a new set of decals for it. I asked three of my daughters on what size tires to put on, the 14 year old and the 9 year old said to put the size that was on my old white Jeep (35's) and when I asked my 2.5 year old, if the Jeep needed bigger tires, her response was, "I help." which meant yes in my book.

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Started making a list of things I need to get the Jeep road worthy again. It still won't be pretty, but can a YJ ever really be pretty? The back seat was the parts holder.




I started with the easy stuff, pulled the hardtop off and put on the bikini top for summer. My supervisor was loads of help, well as much help as a 3 year old can be. She won't let me work on it with out her.




Next came new headlights, one of the old ones burned out, so I upgraded them to the H4 bulbs. New H4 on the left and old sealed bulb on the right.




Since I like having the extra lighting of the fog lights, and we don't have street lights out here. I had to replace the old switch.






Next came upgrading the alternator. I remember the last time I had it, with the headlights, the radio and a turn signal on the voltmeter would dance to the turn signal. More annoying to me than anything, plus it was also the original one so I thought it would be a good time to upgrade it to a 105 amp alternator.




Then I started to tackle the fuel pump. The first time I had it, I ditched the old Carter carburetor for the Mopar MPI kit. The kit has you put the fuel pump on top of the fuel tank skid plate. After installing it there, I could not drive from Tucson to Phoenix without it vapor locking on me, and eventually I could not drive the half hour down to the grocery store and back without it dying. I tried the Hesco high volume pump, changing fuel filters, blowing out the fuel lines, checking for debris in the tank that was getting sucked up to the screen. My friend installed a second high volume pump as well as the adjustable regulator and it seemed to work for him. But he was not driving it more than 20 miles at a time. After buying it back I worried about getting it home, since it was a little over a two hour drive, and it happen again 10 miles from home. So I thought hopefully replacing the fuel pump with one from a '95 Wrangler and dropping it in the tank with more cooling properties than outside the tank will alleviate that problem. Only time will tell.




While the tank was down, I thought it would be a good time to upgrade the shackles and replace the leaf spring bushings. the frame side bushings were the originals and the leaf side were put on 17 years ago with the lift. Black original and red were the Rancho replacements.




Might as well as upgrade to the Currie Boomerang shackles. Angle of the shackle is off, because the axle is still at full droop.




After the rear shackles and the tank was back in place, it was time for rear brakes. Again original rear brakes, 27 years old and 111,000 miles. I still have a lot of travel in the brake pedal so I'll have to investigate that further.




Coming up next on the list and haven't been done yet, replacing the front shackles and bushings, a new front shackle mount and a transmission rebuild.


The reason for a new shackle mount.



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Nice project! Your assistant is simply protecting her first vehicle! I think she has dibs on it.

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I think so too, as long as her two older sisters don't kill it first.

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