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Project: Preservation

Old 06-19-2017, 09:00 AM
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Year: 1998
Engine: 4.0
Smile Project: Preservation

Well, after nearly 5 yrs of ownership and the desire to archive my labor of love with my XJ, the time is right to start a build thread on it.

I've never been a pic heavy person but I'm going to try and make the effort for this. Maybe, like many of you have done for me over the last several years, you will find some inspiration or an idea will be sparked.

Firstly, some background.

I've owned and/or built some pretty cool iron over the years. 60's & 70's Musclecars, a couple of Trans-Am's in the 80's (one of which was blown and alcohol-injected. What a nightmare that was...), European cars, Harleys, raced motocross and hare-scrambles in my youth and on and on. But one thing I have never owned in my nearly 51 yrs was a Jeep of any type. All that began to change in the winter of '09.

I was on a trip up north (I lived in Texas at the time) and some friends owned a '97 Country w/ 4WD. There was probably 2' or more of snow on the ground. We took the XJ out in it to scout out the area to see how it was affected and it suddenly struck me that there was literally nobody else on the roads; life ground to a halt for 10's of thousands of people. I knew right then in my mind that I wanted aquire one of these capable Jeeps and so I began to keep my eyes and ears open after I got back home to Texas.

Long story short, in Aug. '12, an aquaintance of mine mentioned he was looking to thin his herd of various Jeeps and so I made arrangements to see what he had.

A week later I picked up the '98 you see here and this is exactly how the poor thing looked:





The suspension was beyond shot in every way. It had some of the typical oil leaks. Although the paint looks nice and white and clean, it wasn't. It was full of environmental contaminants and needed the full treatment, which, fortunately, is within my skill-set. Otherwise, the paint and body were in remarkable, original condition and I knew with the proper techniques, tools and products I could bring it back to life.

After about 5 passes in multiple stages (~35hrs total), this is how it turned out and is today:



I'll have to leave off here for now and pick up again later.

Last edited by 4WD4EVER; 06-26-2017 at 09:54 PM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:26 PM
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Obviously, the door trim was removed for a more monochromatic look and to allow more of that beautiful sheet metal to show.
The bumpers and trim were painted a nice satin black finish.



Last edited by 4WD4EVER; 06-26-2017 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:42 PM
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Next, I focused on the interior. None of the plastic was broken or discolored and other than the all-too-familiar sagging headliner, a very small burn-mark(?) on the backseat and a small hole worn through the drivers side floormat, it was in very good condition and just needed cleaned up.
















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Old 06-26-2017, 10:55 PM
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Then the engine compartment got some much needed attention. It wasn't terribly dirty or oily but it did need some tlc to make it what I wanted it to be.




I'm going to post some other shots of it from different angles later; just this one doesn't do it real justice.



Okay, at this point some, or many of you may be asking yourself, "What the heck is he doing here? Where's the muddy, wheeling, glory shots?"
Truth is, I didn't buy this one for that purpose. I bought it to make it better (at least in my opinion) than Jeep did and to preserve it. I just couldn't bring myself to hack it up, cut it, or whatever.
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:59 PM
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Well, that's it for now. I'll pick it up later and concentrate on what to do about that totally worn-out suspension and "Canyon" wheels?
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