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New build - Starting with a donor - Then onto the build

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New build - Starting with a donor - Then onto the build

Old 11-02-2018, 02:40 PM
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Default New build - Starting with a donor - Then onto the build

Just a quick intro folks.

My name is Josh and this is one of a handful XJ's I've owned over the years (5th one I believe).

We relocated from WA to FL just over two years ago and I had to part with my latest build (in my sig - Previous build). It took us a while to get settled and in the end I learned a lot about the exact rig I was looking for. I wanted the best XJ ever, I wanted a later model XJ because of the 29 spline Chrysler 8.25 rear but I also wanted the HP 30 so that left only a few years to search for. Most come with a 4.0 and most are the AW4 auto which mine has, however I also got a hold of one with the NP242 which is pretty rare down here (this one came from NY). I plan to swap out for a 231 but that'll come later.

In my opinion this is the best XJ platform to start from given the availability in the market today, this combination of drive-train is strong enough to last with a mild build and some challenging trails. I've been keeping an eye out locally for something that fit the bill for some time but most were either very good examples and as such $$$ or they were complete trash and beyond saving. When I stumbled upon the listing on Craigslist I pulled the trigger as fast as I could on this two owner 98 XJ that had been lightly Tboned on the passenger side. The thing that won me over was the care the previous owners had taken, almost everything had been touched and it showed with a 4.0 that started right up and ran quite well even after sitting for some time, so I paid the man his $300 bucks and came back the next day to limp it home.

I had originally planned on just stripping this thing for parts but so many folks have chimed in saying it looks salvageable I think I'll give that a try.

**Update - Due to the title situation on this thing it looks like parts is all she's good for to me. Out of state lost title and FL doesn't honor bill of sale in lieu of one even on something this old**

Onto the pictures!









My Plans (so far)

From the very beginning of this build I wanted to end up with a chop top XJ that could still use the doors. I'm wanting to make a poor mans JKU out of it basically, and I'll add a canvas top to the passenger area with some overhang in the rear. With living in central FL we only have a couple months of rain on and off, so I'm not to worried about it having a cover right now. Whether this one gets the saw or a different one does either way it'll happen, it almost seems fitting with this one since I need to remove the doors on the passenger side anyhow to get at the damaged pillar. I'll supplement the structure with a cage tied in along the pillars and onto the plated rails underneath. I'll be adding bumpers and sliders and I'm sure that will tie in as well to the overall structure of the XJ when I'm done.

As for as the build of functional parts that's all pretty standard. Somewhere around 4.5 inches of lift, flares, long arms, lunch box lockers front and rear, re-geared appropriately, winch, 35s, and I'm sure other things here and there.

Last edited by Joshua White; 11-08-2018 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 11-02-2018, 07:46 PM
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Looking at the pics there that looks like a fixer! Replace 4 doors front fender and a rocker and floor section pull the B piller before removing rocker and golden! rear leaf would be replaced with lift anyways
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by RockinRonnie View Post
Looking at the pics there that looks like a fixer! Replace 4 doors front fender and a rocker and floor section pull the B piller before removing rocker and golden! rear leaf would be replaced with lift anyways
​​​​​​
I'm contemplating it, but I want to get it home first and investigate the damage. I've never repaired unibody to this degree before.
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:39 AM
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Its not as bad as some thinks they are built from factory with a bunch of panels and parts put together and spot welded. As most cars and trucks today. Some harder then others if you can get good replacement panel or part being it used or new a lot can be changed. Salvage yards the bigger ones anyways even will supply a side cut or quarter cut front or rear whatever you need you take it apart and get panel or part you need and reweld into place a little time and as good as new. Not for a lot of people but can be done and save a clean car or truck from becoming scrap!
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Old 11-03-2018, 01:47 PM
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I'd agree with Ronnie--that really looks like a fixer! It'd really be a shame to see such a clean-looking jeep (apart from the t-bone damage, of course...) get stripped and thrown away. Maybe use that one as the build and find a worse-off jeep as a parts rig?
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Old 11-04-2018, 12:36 AM
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Ok so I got it home, my temp fix was some bar stock bent in a hook clamped to the bent and broken leaf spring.



I hear what you all are saying, but I don't know if I agree with everyone's position. The only "clean" area on this jeep is the rear hatch and quarters, maybe the front left fender, and the interior (ish). The rest of the thing has either tons of surface rust, dents, harsh damage, or it's missing completely. I'd say this thing is far from clean, and it's borderline worth saving. I've got more pictures below for you all to go over, and I'll have more as I get time. Keep in mind this thing came from NY and was used in the winters up there. I haven't found cancer yet...but it does have thick scaling rust on every major component typically affected by such things.




















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Old 11-04-2018, 12:43 AM
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Beyond all that I will say this...

I'm impressed by how well this thing drives in it's current state. It was FWD the whole way home since the rear DS was sitting in the back seat (bent leaf pulled the DS to far back to make consistent contact with the output shaft of the T-Case). Other than some sputtering that could easily be bad gas it ran like a top, almost smooth even with all that was going on with the rear axle/suspension. The blinkers work, all the wipers work, the factory stereo works, the power windows work (except the drivers), hell even the power mirrors work...It really seems like it's got some life left to live. I'm not just going to start stripping it, I'll give it a good once over and see if I'm comfortable getting it back into shape.
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:15 AM
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The more pics your post show's. The less damage I see the rocker would be an easy fix doors simply replace as with the fenders the only Question that would remain for me ifs the B post is the post from the floor to the roof between the two pass side doors. Is it damaged? the part that the front door closes on and the back door is bolted to. do both doors open and close?

PLEASE DONT! drive the jeep with your temp fix That is a good fix to move around your property or to move in and out of Garage but NOT TO DRIVE!
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by RockinRonnie View Post
The more pics your post show's. The less damage I see the rocker would be an easy fix doors simply replace as with the fenders the only Question that would remain for me ifs the B post is the post from the floor to the roof between the two pass side doors. Is it damaged? the part that the front door closes on and the back door is bolted to. do both doors open and close?

PLEASE DONT! drive the jeep with your temp fix That is a good fix to move around your property or to move in and out of Garage but NOT TO DRIVE!
I'm not sure what the condition of the B pillar is (no need for the explanation of B pillar) it looks to be pushed in, but until I can get at the doors and remove them I'm not sure. The rocker I agree, it would be getting replaced with square tube anyhow so I'm not to concerned with that.

Sad day for you I already drove on it (gasp). This isn't a fix, it's a bandaid to get this thing moved from one location to another. Without open access to a trailer and truck it is what it is. Every precaution has been taken to ensure the safety of myself and others on the road.
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Old 11-04-2018, 05:47 PM
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Onto more pics!



More photos if the overall condition of the Jeep highlighting the trouble spots. The interior is in pretty good shape, better than many others I've owned and better than you'd expect given the exterior condition.











The B pillar does look like it's pushed in and up, about 2-3 inches in and maybe 1-2 inches up overall at the worst point. I can get the rear passenger side door open just enough to fit my phone in for a picture (not a very good one). The other thing that concerns me is that the hood seems to sit up and over to the driver side a bit, and the driver side door also sits a bit "off" with a pop/clunk as you open it.






Passenger side doors and gap issues, obviously there is more going on here than just a jammed door.












Drivers side gap, not much of an issue here accept for the driver door not aligning properly, and in the end that could be a hinge issue.











Hood misalignment and gap issues, not really sure what's all happening here. It's pushed back far enough that it has pulled up the center cowl plastic and broken it.











Engine bay isn't half bad honestly, just surface rust on anything that can grow it.





The whole reason I even considered buying this thing was a rumored good drive-train, look ma...NO LEAKS!!



Last edited by Joshua White; 11-06-2018 at 09:41 AM. Reason: Formatting
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:24 PM
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A real nice looking slate for a great build is what I see will be watching!
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by RockinRonnie View Post
A real nice looking slate for a great build is what I see will be watching!
Thanks Rock, I hope it can be saved as well :-)
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Old 11-05-2018, 11:12 AM
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Stock replacement leafs $40

Picked these up locally from another Jeep guy today, I'll go ahead and just swap both out since these are in better overall shape anyhow. Should have these on this weekend...as long as I don't break every bolt getting the old ones out! Penetrating fluid is being applied every couple of days at this point...lol


Last edited by Joshua White; 11-05-2018 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 11-05-2018, 04:52 PM
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Edited posts for added context and formatting

Format might change here and there as I experiment with something I like to read.
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:17 PM
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well sounds like after this weekend will have a street worthy XJ
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