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Malcom – Light & not quite stock build

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Malcom – Light & not quite stock build

Old 11-13-2017, 10:37 PM
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Year: 1991
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Engine: 4.0 L I6
Default Malcom – Light & not quite stock build

I started this build last year and just catching up now on posting the build log. I’ll pace the build log so it’s not just one giant post.

My wife and I really love to go backpacking – it’s our favourite hobby and pretty much the only thing we do while on holiday. Up until we got an XJ, hiking was pretty much the only thing we spend our money on… We live in the city, so we’ve never had a vehicle and we usually just rent something or take other transport (busses, shuttle busses, taxis, etc) to get to hiking trail heads.

In the summer of 2016, as a couple of naďve newly weds, we decided to buy a vehicle to take us out backpacking. We were exhausting our other options and renting vehicles gets expensive.

The wife looked into a lot of overlanding vehicle reviews, dug around and came across the XJ as her primary choice. I have to admit I was trying to get her to consider other vehicles, but in the end the XJ won out with me for three reasons:
  1. They’re cool
  2. Parts are easy to find
  3. They are clearly tough to kill (or at least, they’ll keep going when you think they shouldn’t)
This is pretty much everything we need for backpacking. We have some expensive hiking gear, so having a closed hatch is important. The space in an XJ is perfect for us to gear up, or sleep in the back if we’re stranded. They’re clearly great for logging roads, and can be good for highways. They are nice little “soccer mom” SUVs that work well out of the suburbs, so an XJ could really grow with us we our needs change (kids, dog, etc) but our hobbies (hopefully) stay the same.

So we started looking. And looking. Everything was clean and expensive, butchered and expensive or straight up not available anymore. Eventually we lucked out and found one for $600 CAD and decided to take a look. This is like 1/10th any other price we had found so far…

We went down and looked at it. The PO said it was clearly a parts car and didn’t recommend us buying it as a vehicle to drive. It hadn’t been driven in years he said. Looking at it, the interior was mouldy, window seals rotten, and it was clearly sitting under the shrubs for years. Tires looked OK, overall no major rust, after jumping it the car started up and ran quite smooth. Engine seemed to be in good shape, fluids clear and the ‘bones’ good so we were off to a good start.

We drove it around the block a few times (uninsured, mouldy, vines hanging off it) and my wife had a big grin on her face. “Feel like a project?” she said. “Sure! I said. You know what we need to do, right? Lots of work”. “Yea!”.

So we bought it. 600 in cash.

Details

We ended up with a burgundy, 1991 Cherokee XJ Limited.
  • 1991 Cherokee XJ Limited
  • 4 door
  • 4.0 L I6 MPI “High Output”
  • AW4 transmission
  • Transfer Case: Need to check!
  • Rear: Dana 35
  • Front: Dana 30
  • Exterior Colour: Burgundy
  • Interior Colour: Beige

Extra features:
  • Power everything!
  • Working rear wiper!
  • Most electronics work, despite the mould and rust
  • Mouldy interior! Thankfully the power windows worked
  • Engine ran smooth, despite whatever else was going on
  • No leaks
  • Mouse feces under the hood
  • “Clear” coolant (not brown)

The Plan
We are kind of taking this as we go, but there is a general plan.
  • Overland-ish build to take us backpacking, hiking, snowshoeing and hopefully eventually take us on some long roadtrips
  • Not intended for wheeling.
  • Stock-ish ride height. Either a low lift or just the upcountry package
  • Clean, dry, quiet interior
  • Keep the engine stock
  • Possibly a roof top tent

Photo of Malcom!

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Old 11-14-2017, 04:18 AM
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I love your story by the way and if my wife and I didn't have kids or a dog then I think we would be close to what you and your wife have been doing. Though we just finally got really into hiking and by that I mean with the kids as well so nothing too crazy but one day we do plan to do some overnight trips without the kids and just get lost in the wilderness lol.

Anyways finding what you found for the price you paid I think you guys did well. I'm not a fan of the limited edition with all that plastic on them but rust free or for the most part you did well. Not to mention you said it runs and considering it has been sitting for a lon time to start up and go is great. Goes to show the dependability of these XJ's. 4.0's from what I gather are bullet proof with very little needing to be done to them except gas, oil, coolant, maybe tune up when needed and your golden! Keep us posted on your build looking forward to see what you do with it.
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Old 11-16-2017, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by XJIrish4x4 View Post
I love your story by the way and if my wife and I didn't have kids or a dog then I think we would be close to what you and your wife have been doing. Though we just finally got really into hiking and by that I mean with the kids as well so nothing too crazy but one day we do plan to do some overnight trips without the kids and just get lost in the wilderness lol.

Anyways finding what you found for the price you paid I think you guys did well. I'm not a fan of the limited edition with all that plastic on them but rust free or for the most part you did well. Not to mention you said it runs and considering it has been sitting for a lon time to start up and go is great. Goes to show the dependability of these XJ's. 4.0's from what I gather are bullet proof with very little needing to be done to them except gas, oil, coolant, maybe tune up when needed and your golden! Keep us posted on your build looking forward to see what you do with it.
Thanks!

Hiking and backpacking is lots of fun, but I can totally understand having to take it a little easier with kids in the picture.

I agree about the price, but (spoiler alert) it has had it's issues and we have certainly spent more than originally thought on getting it running better again. I'll update this build slowly, starting with the history (what I've done) until I catch up with where I am today.

As for the Limited, much of the plastic has been removed. I like a lot of the bells and whistles (and a lot of them work) but I agree that a lot of the trim is excessive. I've also been changing the aesthetics.. so I'll include updates there in this build thread.
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Old 11-16-2017, 12:16 AM
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Engine: 4.0 L I6
Default Stage 1: Fresh air of bell prince, and give it a name.

The name as easy. The colour scheme of the vehicle reminded us of Malcom Reynolds (from the TV show firefly) and we thought of it as our captain on our adventures. Malcom it is then. For now anyways.
Diagnosing the issues is another story.

The day we bought it, we drove to the gas station to fill up the tires (with the car running; battery was dead).

Then we drove it to a (cringe) Jiffy Lube to get the fluids changed and battery changed. The car sat there idling, on old gas, in the Jiffy Lube parking lot until we could get them to work on it. I watched them like a hawk. They flushed the fluids, changed the battery and bent me over for the bill. But at least we could drive it a few more minutes without it dying or without moving waterlogged oil around. Work done:
  1. Oil flushed and replaced
  2. Coolant flushed and replaced
  3. Transmission fluid flushed and replaced
  4. New battery installed (Interstate)

We then drove straight to Canadian Tire and bought …
  1. More oil
  2. Windshield wipers (front & rear)
  3. Fuel stabilizer
  4. Mould killer, rags, gloves, mask
We then went straight to a gas station (again), poured the fuel stabilizer and filled the tank. Then drove the car through a car wash.

Which then caused a drain and killed the battery the next day. Ooops.

Went to Canadian Tire and bought a booster pack to jump start the car.

The battery still drained when the Jeep was dry, but much less quickly. But it still drained and we had to use the battery booster a bunch. So we then went back to Canadian Tire and bought a battery disconnect switch. Temporary solution!





Our next set of affairs was to clean the mould so we could at least drive it without dying. We lived in an apartment in a nice area of town so we parked on the side of the road. Stripped a bunch of parts out of the interior and cleaned. And cleaned. And got weird looks. And cleaned.

We found a donor Jeep on Craigslist with good seats and some interior parts (headliners, seat belts, visors, door panels, overhead console). The next Friday we rented a minivan (lots of space to lug seats around) and drove to part out another XJ.. until 1130pm on a Friday.

Got our seats and interior bits. Parked the minivan on the side of the street. Malcom was parked in our apartment garage.

The next morning we woke up early (before we could get caught and reprimanded in our apartment) and stripped the seats, headliner and replaced them. I carved the mouldy carpet out of the car with a big knife. I started with a carpet knife but ended up using my Olfa and killing a pack of blades. I got asked if I was living in my car by another guy in the apartment garage.

Uhh no.

Anyways, removing the wet, mouldy carpet and replacing the mouldy seats, door panels, headliners etc made a huge difference. The interior smelled mostly normal again. Also good - once we swapped the corroded, damp visors the battery drain went away. i think the visors had a short internally.

When we swapped the door panels, we also lined the door with plastic and tuck tape to seal it off (to keep the drafts out). The old plastic was just falling off. Not totally necessary but it helped with the sound and temperature a little bit. We also installed speakers.. but more on that in another update.





So now we have fresh air via a clean(ish) interior. New seats, headliner, door panels, overhead console and visors. Time to figure out what we need to do under the hood.
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:11 PM
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Default Stage 2: Figure out what’s wrong with this sucker

We brought Malcom down the street to a close by shop. They have a good reputation and generally were good to deal with at that time. They gave the car a once over and gave us a hit list of things we needed to do, as well as gave us some advise: Don’t do much to it. It will cost lots to repair due to the rust (I’m assuming extra labour to remove rusty bolts), but otherwise good ride.

The hit list included:
  1. Upper/ lower rad hoses (Not quoted)
  2. Exhaust. Cat back needed replacing.(Quoted over $600 for replacement)
  3. Nothing actually wrong with the engine…(foreshadowing?)
  4. Air filter (Replaced during inspection)
  5. Belt tension (Done during inspection)
  6. Tires were feathered but generally OK. We were told they are safe but loud; good amount of tread everywhere and rubber is in good shape. (Not quoted)

Other than that, Malcom got a clean bill of health. Whatever that means.

I took a look a little more and had these observations to add:
  1. Should do a full maintenance round on it (spark plugs, fuel and oil filters, double check air filter, fluid change in differentials, etc)
  2. The window and door seals were shot and need to be resolved. We plan on parking this at trail heads for days at a time while we go hiking – if they leak water through the doors it will start to mildew again, and possibly short wiring or drain battery again.
  3. Carpet needs to be fully removed to finish getting rid of the mould smell.
  4. Headliner sagging – needs to be redone (touched the top of my head!)
  5. Tail light bulbs burned out – upon further inspection, the entire socket was rusted up. Photo of that below.
  6. Left turn signal indicator in the gauge cluster not working.
  7. Multiple bulbs not working in gauge cluster and interior.
  8. Power windows worked.
  9. AC not working
  10. Rust REALLY isn’t that bad. I used to work for my dad, who was a mechanic with his own shop. This is a very low rust vehicle. When compared to the other XJs on this forum, it’s a really good find as far as rust goes.
  11. As per advise on this forum, grounds should all be cleaned up and wiring checked after it had been sitting for some time.
  12. Driver side rear door power lock sticks. Window on that door is also a bit low power.
  13. Some rust on the roof, on the corner by the rear hatch
  14. Under hood light does not work. No bulb. I probed with a multimeter and found the switch works, but the bulb socket is rusted and shorted (ground to power).
  15. Leaf springs were sagging and need to be replaced
  16. Rear shocks were rusted out
  17. Rear dome light did not work

So I started building a plan. I’m an engineer, so this plan made its way into a schedule/ gantt chart. I also started planning more long term.

I don't have a lot of great photos from this time. We had to fly by night a little bit... but I tried to take more photos once I started doing work on it.





Rotten window seals



Rust on roof, driver side, by gutter/ rear hatch



Engine bay



New battery (photo taken after ~ 6 months)



Bad splice and some of the rusted tail light sockets
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:09 PM
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Default First Trip: Heading to the Rockies

The Jeep was running fine, and we took it out for a short hiking trip a few hours away to make sure it was reliable and safe on the highway.

The only issue we had was how loud it was inside with loud exhaust, loud tires, no carpet, bad window / door seals and deteriorating headliner. The speakers were blown so we couldn’t even drown the noise out with music. The stereo (aftermarket Sony CD player) worked fine.

So in preparation for our larger trip to the Canadian Rockies to hike the Rockwall Trail we:
  • Bought 4x cheap 50W speakers at Princess Auto and installed them – front doors and in the rear hatch
  • Bought “fatigue” mat from Canadian Tire and lined the floors with it. This acted as a sound deadening barrier and cut the sound down quite a lot
  • Used a tube of silicone to close up the largest gaps in the window seals (temporarily)
  • Covered the rust pinholes in the roof using tuck tape (temporarily) to keep water from running in

Then we packed and took it on the trip and hoped for the best.

The trip went well. Lots of driving. Lots of hiking. We camp on our way - no hotels.



Parked at a car camping spot on our way to the Rockies!


The trip out, to the Rockies, was great. No issues with the Jeep. It ran cool and with plenty of power. Still QUITE loud though - we could barely talk to one another. Fuel economy was VERY good. We hit around 20 mpg or more on the highway. I was impressed. The Jeep has larger tires than stock so the speedo was a little inaccurate so we might want to change that if we keep the wheel size.

We noticed the speedo doesn't work when the engine is too cold. Minor inconvenience. As soon as the engine/ drivetrain warms up the speedo comes on.





However the trip back was another story. The RPMs started dropping to zero momentarily when driving. It was a little more difficult to start. We thought it might be heat related (possibly heat soak) but through the trip home it didn’t make any sense and we had issues even when it was cool or had been sitting.

We stopped off at some hot springs on the way home, and then everything after that was a nightmare. Every time the RPMs would drop low enough the engine issues would cause the RPMs to drop enough to stall the engine. So at stoplights, or turn offs my wife had to rev the engine in neutral to keep the engine from stalling.

When we got home we brought the Jeep back to the mechanic. They replaced the CPS, and no improvement. We brought it back and they replaced the distributor and that seemed to fix the issue on our test drives but my wife complained about low power. We weren’t too sure though and didn’t hit the highway yet. I assumed this was a small difference and that it was normal torque/ power for the Jeep. More on this later.

Before we could drive it much more, the starter started smoking. So that needed to be dealt with immediately and was a reason to work on the Jeep more...

I don't have pics of me installing new speakers or putting the rubber mat on the floor, but I've uploaded some pics of the drive out to the Rockies.

Later on I'll do a giant post/ dump of everything I did to the Jeep after this and that should catch the build up mostly. Then I'll focus on what I am doing as I do it.
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Old 11-22-2017, 09:02 AM
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Hope you don't mind me sharing an observation. When I looked at your picture of the engine bay it looked like either my perspective is off because of how the image was taken, or the engine seems to be leaning more towards the passenger side from center than it should. Maybe it's just the way it looks from how you took the picture, but if the valve cover doesn't line up almost dead center in the bay when looking directly from the front, the passenger side motor mount may be sagging to that side and might need to be replaced.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bugout4x4 View Post
Hope you don't mind me sharing an observation. When I looked at your picture of the engine bay it looked like either my perspective is off because of how the image was taken, or the engine seems to be leaning more towards the passenger side from center than it should. Maybe it's just the way it looks from how you took the picture, but if the valve cover doesn't line up almost dead center in the bay when looking directly from the front, the passenger side motor mount may be sagging to that side and might need to be replaced.
Thanks! I don't mind the feedback and observations at all. This is my first build since I was a teen & working with my dad, so I'm open to anything the community catches.

I was thinking about the motor mounts lately. I'll take a look this weekend when I'm working on the Jeep.
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Old 11-23-2017, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by moonsandals View Post
Thanks! I don't mind the feedback and observations at all. This is my first build since I was a teen & working with my dad, so I'm open to anything the community catches.

I was thinking about the motor mounts lately. I'll take a look this weekend when I'm working on the Jeep.
I sent you a PM check that for some suggestions on motor mounts.
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:58 AM
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Good luck on the xj, I always tell the young guy's in are club to not get discouraged when building there xj's... Your probably going to have to touch every bolt, and your going to have to replace alot of parts. At least you know when your done everything about your jeep... People drive these things for years with no maintenance, then park em, that's why we get them so cheap..... It's all worth it in the end, it'll be part of the family...
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Old 12-27-2017, 05:56 PM
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So at this point, the shop had replaced the distributor and the stumbling went away. We lost a bit of torque and power but didn't think much of it (trusted that's how it was supposed to run when timing was fixed).

The starter was smoking and I couldn't get it to work when I smacked it with a broom handle, but it was pretty clear it was the starter. It was leaking all of it's black smoke, so of course it was no longer working! The thing was getting hard to start when driving it around and we actually had to use our booster pack a few times to get it to turn over.

I was really wearing our welcome thin in our apartment garage, so I found a residential 2 car garage on Craigslist to rent monthly that the owner was fine with people using for working on their cars. The price was OK and so I jumped on it and decided to knock off a bunch of work in that space instead of slowly doing it on the side of the road.

I rented the garage and had the Jeep towed there.

Starter
I immediately tackled the starter. Swapping the starter took less than 20 minutes and the Jeep started right up again. Fixed!

Battery Connections & Grounds
Next step was to clean up the grounds and replace the negative battery terminal. I got a new short battery cable for the battery to fender ground cable. I also got military style battery connectors and swapped (at least for now) only the negative terminal. I have one for the positive cable, but I have held off on doing that until I can replace all of the positive cables at once.

Every ground and battery connection I could find got mechanically polished/ cleaned up and continuity checked.

Not exciting, so no photos of this.

Exhaust
The muffler was full of holes and falling off. I replaced the CAT back exhaust with a Dynomax system (DMX17463). This went pretty smoothly and took an afternoon. On the muffler I installed a flowmaster heat shield (FLO-51022) to keep the heat off the floor.

And oh gosh does it sound MUCH better.

At the time I left the CAT on but was planning a time to replace the CAT as well.

Rear Shocks
Rear shocks were dead and falling apart. While I wanted to replace the leafs that was too much work and not functionally necessary at the time. I wanted to work out the bugs before investing in new leafs and I wasn't sure what I wanted for a lift (or not) at the time. So I installed a couple cheap stock shocks in the back to improve the ride a bit. Brand is "Guardian". They were, I think, around $17 CAD each. The install went really easily. This XJ is so low on rust the bolts came right out with no problem. I made sure I put lots of anti-seize when installing the new ones.

Seals, fluids and Filters
I replaced the fuel filter, oil filter, and front/ rear diff seals. I pulled the covers off the diffs and drained the fluid, cleaned the inside right out and inspected for wear. The inside of the diffs looked great. So I reinstalled the covers with some new FELPRO seals and filled up with some Royal Purple.

I held off on replacing the valve cover gasket at this time.

At this point, most of the planned mechanical work was done. Next was to handle the little bits of rust we did have, mouldy interior, flaky wiring, etc.

Interior & Wiring
I gutted the interior again. This time pulling the dash and fully removing the carpet. I used a wire wheel and mechanically removed any rust, and scuffed up the paint real well. Cleaned the entire surface with solvent and did spray on bedliner.

I was going to add some photos here of the progress, but the photo uploader isn't working for those photos for some reason. So I figure you can use your imagination

Once the floor was bedlined I installed Noico sound deadener. I bought a bunch on ebay and had it shipped to me. I only installed the sound deadener in the front & passenger areas, not the rear compartment (for now). I bought the 80 mil thick stuff. I applied one layer everywhere a person is, but two layers in the very front of the Jeep below the front seats and at the front passenger feet. I did not apply any in the doors or on the underside of the ceiling.

I taped the seams with a high quality aluminum tape.


Sound deadening laid down on floor


Complete coverage of sound deadening material above the bellhousing


Sound deadening in progress


Sound deadning in progress

Once I pulled the dash and other panels, I scoured over the wiring and repaired every bad splice I could find as well as cleaned up every connection and ground. I found several bad splices under the dash. One looked like a bad splice on an ignition wire and I saw several bad splices on wires that seemed to be part of the tail light/ reverse light circuits. I prefer to solder connections so every connection was repaired with solder and heat shrink.


Troubleshooting and repairing under dash wiring

Much of the wiring was beefed up with new conduit as well.

I pulled and rewired a lot of the electrical related to the cigar lighter and ash trays. Instead of the (rusted) cigar lighter I replaced it with 2 USB ports. The cigar lighter has two grounds - one for the cigar lighter itself and one for a small light. The USB ports only needed one power and ground. I diverted the light ground to another purpose. In order to install the USB ports I had to enlarge the hole in the dash panel a bit with a dremel.

I diverted and reused the wiring from the ash tray light and the cigar lighter light to route USB in the back of the centre console. I cut out the ash tray from the centre console and had a bezel 3D printed to fit a new USB and AUX power port in to give some power to the passengers in the back seats. You get a bonus if you figure out where I made the mistake here


Harness in progress for rear aux power/ USB







I can't find a photo of it installed - if anyone wants to see it I will get a photo when I get the Jeep back from the shop
.
EDIT: Here is a photo of the rear aux power & USB ports installed. Please ignore the mismatched centre console armrest. This is the original one; I am thinking of re-upholstering the arm rest or making a new one (with compartments) when I make the cupholders.



In addition to this, I replaced all bulbs with LEDs. That got a lot of the interior lights working again (other than the left turn signal in the gauge cluster)

As part of my interior clean up, the wife and I decided to remove the beige interior and go with grey. While I liked the beige, the hard panels were stained from mildew and we just liked grey better with how we wanted the Jeep to look. So I replaced the dash with a grey one.

When installing the dash I had to replace the headlight switch. The headlight switch on my new grey dash was burned up and had melted the dash panel a bit. Since the headlight switch panel is built into the entire dash panel and cannot be removed, I 3D printed a new bezel that could house the switch so I could cut the old melted parts out. I saw a number of people make new bezels and panels using sheetmetal online but I really like how seamless the 3D printed part fits in with the rest of the dash panel. You can see from the design that I have a bezel that slides into the front and a large nut that threads onto the back to keep everything together. The headlight switch then installs into the 3D printed bezel normally. It's black and textured so it blends into the dash nicely.

















EDIT: Photo of it installed in the Jeep with the headlight switch installed. It blends in pretty well to the stock dash panel texture.


That's more or less the extent of the wiring work on the interior. I'll finish writing about the work on the interior in the next post in a bit and throw in some finished photos of everything.

Last edited by moonsandals; 03-19-2018 at 12:19 PM. Reason: Cleaned up formatting on some photos & images
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:05 PM
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Interior - Continued
At this point, the wiring was mostly done (ish) and I was ready to start assembling. The Jeep had a new headlight switch, new bulbs and the floor was cleaned up and covered in sound deadening material.

Since we were swapping from beige to grey interior I had taken all of the panels out and prepped, primed, painted and cleared them grey. I used a high pigment paint by a company called "Plutonium Paint". That stuff... goes on amazingly. Very high pigment and very nice to work with. Low propellants so it doesn't get you too dizzy.

So all panels were painted and cleared and reinstalled.

The new grey dash was installed.

I painted the steering column and we had gotten a grey steering wheel with grey seats and door panels. I had to clean up the contacts on the horn button to get it to work and then got everything together.

We then re-upholstered the headliner, visors and ceiling console. My wife must have taken these photos - I don't have many.

For the headliner, even though the headliner and panel was from a donor jeep it was still in rough shape. We scraped the foam off and used a wire brush to clean the foam off the board. The board was creased and broken in a few spots so we fibreglassed a lot of the board to repair it. That took us a few days but it got the board in good shape and nice and rigid again.

We then upholstered using actual headliner material (foam backed) and several cans of of the Permatex spray adhesive.



Got that reinstalled in the Jeep and it looks pretty good.

I upholstered the visors and overhead console the same way. I only have disassembly photos of the overhead console but it looks quite good as well. The visors are difficult with the foam backed material (it's thick) but they turned out quite well. I found the hardest part was upholstering the back of the mirror. I plan on putting LED lights in the visor lights.













I followed the BleepinJeep video to learn how to disassemble and upholster the visors.

I also replaced all seatbelts with ones off the donor Jeep. They are grey and not mouldy. I couldn't get one bolt out from the rear so I drilled out the bolt and replaced with a large 1/2" Grade 8 bolt.

Cargo area light
I replaced the stock cargo area light with one that works. I tried to replace it with one from a donor Jeep but even that one was corroded enough not to work properly. After having battery drain issues I wanted the light to work, not have a short, and be bright enough for us to sit in the back of the Jeep and gear up for hikes.

I bought an LED light from a trailer supply store and wired it up. The light is very bright and has an on/off switch you need to manually turn on. To be safe I wired it up to power on when the door or hatch is open. I terminated the other wire.

When wiring it up I made a nice harness so you can remove it easily.

The light is mounted to the roof using a custom panel/ bracket. I made the base panel out of a white plastic cutting board. It's light, flexible and self tapping screws thread nicely into the plastic. The plastic panel mounts to the roof using the stock mounting holes for the light. Then the light mounts to the plastic panel using self tapping screws. I did not need to many any new holes in the roof and the hole in the headliner is the same size as needed for the stock light - I didn't change the headliner. In fact, the light holds the headliner up a bit.


Rear cargo area light. The thin white panel between the light and the headliner is a cutting board.

This is BRIGHT. But the problem now is the rear hatch "open" switch is no longer working so I need to pop a door open to get the light to turn on. Not a big problem but just another thing to fix....


Rust Repair & Paint
I had the garage and was knocking off high cost repairs so I decided to deal with the little bit of rust the Jeep did have and try to get the paint in good shape again. The clear coat was coming off and there were some bad accident repairs that were starting to come to light:
  • Bondo over the rust holes on the roof in the back
  • Rocker panel rust (some) backed with JB Weld (from behind) to cover it up and bondo and paint
  • Right rear quarter punched in in a previous accident. All metal and no longer any dents (got pulled out) but paint & repair left a rust spot.
  • Some spotty repairs on hatch in the right rear quarter area as well.

I cut out any rust with a cut off wheel and although there was more rust than I thought it was not that much and not generally in a structural place (although the rocker panels are one area I am concerned about long term). I have a lot of experience with composites and all of the areas for repairs were appropriate for fibreglass (low stress) so I cut the rust out, prepped and repaired with fibreglass.

Eventually I'd like to cut out the rocker panels but the damage wasn't that bad and I'd like to (for now) extend the life and not do a thorough repair in that spot. I'll have to hire someone to do the welding, so the plan would be to cut those out in a couple years, weld in new panels and bedline the rocker panels black. We like the running boards (convenient for hiking and my wife and I are both short) so I probably wouldn't replace the rockers with square tubing. It'd probably either be an approximation of a stock rocker or just a stock rocker replacement.

I removed everything off the Jeep. I mean everything. Including door and window seals, mirrors, roof racks, front clip, fender flares, lights, basically almost everything. I sanded the entire Jeep down, repaired all rust, prepped, bondo, primed, sealed, paint and clear. I used high quality rattle cans and didn't a perfect paint job but something presentable. The nice thing about the rattle can job is it looks pretty good but I can touch it up if it gets scratched. The old paint and clear just flaked off so this is definitely an improvement and I'm glad I got it before the rust spread.

For the exterior paint and clear I used the Plutonium paint as well. So we changed colour from burgundy to a teal green.

Due to the messiness of paint I missed photos here too... I'll dig around and update the post.

Once the Jeep was painted I went ahead and reinstalled all the parts, trim, roof rack, etc. In doing that I replaced all of the rotten window and door seals with new ones. All four doors have new door and window seals. The rear hatch has a new door seal. The hood has a new cowl seal (i think the old one must have been removed to mitigate with under hood temperatures).

I can't understate how much work it was to replace all of the seals, in the winter, in a cold (not heated) garage. Some went on totally fine but others were a pain. Most of all it's just tedious work and sometimes my hands need to fit into tight spaced. Just not fun with cold hands.

Re-installed the roof rack and used new pan head stainless steel bolts and sealed the threads with RTV to avoid any leaks.

Most of the trim reinstalled. There is some plastic trim I didn't reinstall:
  • Pinstriping (although I love the retro "Limited" decals on this year!
  • Most badges. Kept the front "Jeep" one.
  • Plastic trim on the bottom of the door
  • Trim/ plastic rails on the roof under the roof rack

I reinstalled the bumpers and had painted them black with spray on bedliner. Eventually I may want aftermarket bumpers but that's not in the priority list at all.

I reinstalled the fender flares and got new mounting hardware/ brackets (rather than reusing the broken old ones).

We bought some rugged ridge window visors and installed those so we can crack the windows on the highway. Had to get a new windshield (old one cracked in half. Had a few chips on it when we bought the Jeep).

All this work payed off though.

The Jeep looks great. There's no rust. All of the doors and windows are water tight. The windows roll up and down fairly easily (although the rear left passenger window is a little sluggish) and between the window seals, door seals, sound deadening on the floor, new headliner the thing is super quiet inside compared to before.

Clearly need to replace the rear leaf springs but I'm still waiting for the other issues to resolve before jumping on that.



Now we need to finish ironing out the issues under the hood that just keep presenting themselves.

Last edited by moonsandals; 01-10-2018 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:23 PM
  #13  
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Lower Mainland
Posts: 165
Year: 1991
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 L I6
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Ok. I know I keep posting, but I think I'm mostly caught up now on the build.

Let me know if you want more photos/ details on any of this! I don't want to breeze past everything as this was a lot of work so far (but far from done). I know most of the work seems to be cosmetic but I'm working through functional issues as they arise and the key issues to resolve for us at the time were the mould/ water leaks and noise.

Getting that resolved keeps our gear dry and safe and makes it more enjoyable for us to drive.

I also knocked a lot of work off the plan while I had rented the garage so I jumped ahead in my plan and did things I didn't intend to do that early just to make use of the space. I no longer rent the garage so things are more difficult for me but I can deal with certain issues as they arise in my parking spot or with a mechanic.

Since we started, I moved apartments so I can now do minor work on the Jeep without getting reprimanded. But there is a limit to what I can do.

Latest status on issues on the Jeep are in this post:

https://www.cherokeeforum.com/f2/hel...-codes-239955/

I crossed a lot of maintenance and repairs off my list in the misfire thread.

Next steps:
  • Figure out misfire issue (above post)
  • Get new leaf springs/ coils up front for proper clearance and ride. I am heavily leaning towards the Upcountry replica.
  • Check tires including winter tires (we have bought black stock wheels for dedicated winter tires)
  • Repair some wiring I goofed up in interior. I'll comment on this later. I might do a more detailed writeup of the USB port installations.
  • Valve cover gasket & paint valve cover

Things I am sitting on/ can do whenever (not a priority):
  • Positive battery cables & install the military style terminal on the positive side
  • Look at engine mounts. I checked them out and they seem fine but I'll keep an eye on them.
  • Install LEDs in overhead console lights & visor lights.
  • Stop rear hatch panel from rattling (I have some ideas. A more detailed writeup will happen when I do this).
  • Finish design & 3D printing of integrated phone mount (where clock is on dash).
  • Cupholders! Rework/ modify the ones above the parking brake lever so they actually can hold a cup of coffee and not fall over.
  • Backup camera & small video screen (preferably Mech-less) stereo. I'd like aux in so we can plug our phones in.
  • Install front speakers under dash. I bought speakers that are a little larger than the stock tweeters (which came in the package included in our Jeep) but I need to manufacture custom mounting brackets before I can wire them up. I have prototypes made and just need to tweak them and laser cut the finished parts.
  • Install my '95 aux cooling fan. The current fan works but I snagged a 95 fan and it spins smoother. I'll install this in the summer.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:20 PM
  #14  
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Lower Mainland
Posts: 165
Year: 1991
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 L I6
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Got Malcom back from the shop and it seems like the misfire issue has been resolved. We'll drive it a bit and shake things out/ see if any other issues come to light.

New mechanic is great, so big stuff will go to him. I can still work in our apartment parking spot.

I talked to the mechanic about getting new leaf springs/ coils to do the Upcountry option. He's OK with it but I don't have the cash right now after the other repairs. We'll drive it a bit and shake out other issues first and save our money for now. I also sent a request to another local shop to get an estimate. I just want to know what it will cost me to have a shop do it (definitely can't do this in our parking spot!).

I'll be selling some parts I don't need as a result of those repairs .

Tonight I started wiring replacement switches for the power mirrors. The one that came out of Malcom was broken (the PCB was broken in half) so we had been manually adjusting the mirrors. Sure, I don't NEED switches for the power mirrors but I had some switches and wires already so I figured I'd give it a shot. I should be able to finish tomorrow and post some photos. Should be able to test the mirrors on Monday/ Tuesday to see if the motors even work!

I'll need to do a bit of work on it next week. I got a couple of the throttle body bolt threads stripped, so I need to install some Helicoils before we take it out on the highway and have the throttle body come loose. Buying the Helicoils kit now.

Last edited by moonsandals; 01-20-2018 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 01-20-2018, 11:46 PM
  #15  
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Lower Mainland
Posts: 165
Year: 1991
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 L I6
Default Cupholders

I've been working on some ideas for new cupholders. I have one of these cupholders.

https://www.amazon.com/Jeep-Cherokee-New-Holder-Hardware/dp/B001EMSPW8 https://www.amazon.com/Jeep-Cherokee-New-Holder-Hardware/dp/B001EMSPW8

Obviously, the cupholders are not deep enough.

I like the location, I just hate the actual cupholders.

Has anyone used these before?
https://www.amazon.ca/Amarine-made-Stainless-Holder-Marine-Camper/dp/B0097MF4DU/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1516512871&sr=8-16&keywords=cup+holder https://www.amazon.ca/Amarine-made-Stainless-Holder-Marine-Camper/dp/B0097MF4DU/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1516512871&sr=8-16&keywords=cup+holder

I'm thinking of doing the below. I still need to double check dimensions, but I'd like feedback before I buy anything.





This is a pretty big priority for me.. since we take Malcom out hiking or backpacking, I'll usually have a coffee or something with me. I'm tired of spilling coffee on my lap
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