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Bobby's 1987 Wagoneer build

Old 03-25-2013, 01:36 PM
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Location: Holly Springs, NC
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Year: 1987
Model: Wagoneer
Engine: 4.0
Default Bobby's 1987 Wagoneer build

Hello all, well I've decided to start a build thread for my new-to-me 1987 Wagoneer. A little back story first.

I currently drive a 2000 Wrangler TJ with a couple inches of lift, 33's and a few accessories. I enjoy driving it, but I'm the only one in the family that does. The kids don't want to go anywhere at highway speeds (with or without the top on) and there is zero space for camping or beach trips. So I decided to sell it and build up an XJ.
So...before I could even sell my wrangler, I found this 1987 XJ wagoneer on craigslist near my inlaws house. I went to take a look and the whole family loved it. It had been in a barn for about 10 years. The person I bought it from pulled it out, and did a complete tune up, new brake booster, front and rear end fluid change. It has 130k original miles on it, D44 rear and D30 front with NP242 transfer case, and aside from being really dirty and unloved, it's in great condition. I paid $1500 for it and started driving home. About 15 miles from the house it seemed like it blew a head gasket. So, $100 for a tow home and we're good.

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My plan this past weekend was to change the head gasket, oil pump, water pump and any other small items I found wrong. Once it was running good, I would start driving it and sell my Wrangler.

Well, I started pulling things apart and it was nasty. The old oil had hardened inside the head and block and was almost like concrete. Once I dropped the oil pan I saw that I had a broken connecting rod and had a nice half dollar sized hole in the block. After talking to a parts guy I found on craigslist, I found a block and pistons and got those to the house. Ordered the rest of the build kit online and should have it all at the house by Friday. Dropped the head and block and crank off at the machine shop and those should also be ready by Friday.
If I can get it put back together without any other surprises, I'll have about $500 in the engine. After the original cost and tow, that's still only $2100, which I can live with for now. As soon as I sell the Wrangler I'll be adding the items below.

Rusty's 3 inch lift
15x8 Ion 171's in Polished
31x10.5x15 Goodyear Duratracs
Detours Backbone system
A winch of some kind
roof rack
New stereo and speakers
Probably lots of other odds and ends

The carpet needs a good steam cleaning and the body is going to need a good buff and polish. I'll upload some of the engine teardown pics when I get the pics off my camera. And I'll definitely be updating once I sell the Wrangler and can buy the rest of my goodies.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:44 PM
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Year: 1987
Model: Wagoneer
Engine: 4.0
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Now, for anyone that has a renix based engine I have questions.

I'm completely rebuilding the bottom and top end, ie block and head. In terms of fuel delivery, is there anything I should look for when putting it back together? I've cleaned the throttle body, soaked the injectors with seafoam and cleaned them, bought a bunch of new vacuum hose. I've seen some threads about eliminating some extra vacuum lines. Are there really some vacuum lines I can remove or should I run it all stock? While I'm at it I will be eliminating the C-101 with straight through wiring.
All this is being done on a tight budget, which I have pretty much used up getting my rebuild parts. Is there anything I can do on the cheap, anything I can clean up or rebuild myself while I am in there?

Last edited by bobbylx; 03-25-2013 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:32 PM
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Looks like a really great project! I just found an 89 Waggy with D44's front and rear. it has been sitting for 7 years, but everything seems to be in good shape. As far as the renix stuff goes, i haven't a clue. I am new to the Renix stuff myself. Good luck with the build!
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:51 AM
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Okay, so I was up at 5am for no reason and decided to go into the garage and just find little things to do to the Jeep. I was just inspecting things and saw this black sensor thing near the hatch hinge on the drivers side. See pic. Does anyone know what this is? It only has one little black wire going to it. Anyone else have one? It's on there pretty good, not just a magnet or sticker, so I didn't try to take it off.

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:31 PM
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XM antenna
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by poorstang View Post
XM antenna
No way!! Wow, the speakers sound like crap so much that I haven't bothered messing with the radio. Wonder if that antenna will be compatible with a newer head unit...
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bobbylx View Post

No way!! Wow, the speakers sound like crap so much that I haven't bothered messing with the radio. Wonder if that antenna will be compatible with a newer head unit...
Id assume it would be never had xm myself but I know people who do
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:59 PM
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They had Dana 44's, and a Np242 in a 87 cherokee??
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jesse12296 View Post
They had Dana 44's, and a Np242 in a 87 cherokee??
From what I can tell they were options. The np242 was the selectrac 4wd option, and D44 was the towing package. Maybe just wagoneer options?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:02 PM
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Dude! That thing is amazing. Def subscribing to this thread, the more pics the better!
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:19 PM
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Nice, i always love reading the older model builds. If you ever get interested in roof lights then check out my 88'. I have 4 6" 55w HF lights on mine and I used a roof rack crossmember from a 90s chevy minivan from the jy for $10 and is solid and doesn't move at all. I say this because ours aren't very common since they changed the rack design and it's very strong
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:26 AM
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Well, no pics, but a little update. Turns out the block and pistons I got were from a 96. There are some slight difference between that and the 87. I didn't want to mix my pistons because they were different, there was one unique main bearing on the 87 and not the 96, and to top it off my crank was damaged.

So, after searching craigslist, I found a guy about 2 hours away parting out a 1996 GC. I picked up the engine for a good price. Turns out it had been rebuilt about 20K miles ago, before jeep was wrecked.

At this point I almost have it ready to go back in. I have the renix flywheel on, will be using the renix distributor/intake/exhaust and other necessary sensors. If all goes well maybe another week and she'll be on the road.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:15 PM
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No real update since the last post, but I did manage to get a few pictures off my phone. Nothing really groundbreaking. A couple of the interior, showing that other than dirty it's in very good shape. No sagging headliner at all. There's a ton of air fresheners hanging in there. My kids helped with that, it had an old, mildewy smell from sitting so long. Then a nice shot of what was waiting for me beneath the valve cover. That was just some nasty stuff, and it was like that all the way down to the oil pan. Lastly, just a a shot of the engine bay. The hole in the block was below the #4 piston, and you can see where the oil blew all over the inner fenderwell and onto the firewall.

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Old 04-03-2013, 09:45 AM
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Been working a bit during the evenings to get this thing ready. My father-in-law is coming over on Saturday to help with the reinstall. Just a few pics of where I'm at now. First is the old block, showing a nice sized hole. Yes, I broke the knock sensor pulling the engine out, oh well.

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This is the beast that's going back in it. Pretty much have everything I need swapped over to it. And then finally, the empty cavern where it will be going. Hope to turn the key at some point on Sunday and here it run!!

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Old 04-06-2013, 01:10 AM
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Sweet Waggoner. I'd love to find one. My 88 comanche also has a broken knock sensor, looks just like the one on your old motor but its still hooked up and working. These old renixs are tough. The manche of mine sat 5 years with no head. Slapped on a head, new gaskets and oil and it started been running since.
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