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Project Wilderness Wanderer: A 96 2 Door DD built for exploring New England

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Project Wilderness Wanderer: A 96 2 Door DD built for exploring New England

Old 08-15-2012, 08:40 PM
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Default Project Wilderness Wanderer: A 96 2 Door DD built for exploring New England

Hi Guys, thought I'd introduce myself first. I'm 19 in college and have interests in boating, camping, fishing, mostly anything outdoors. for the past few years I have been looking for a project vehicle that I could learn on. It also needed to be 4wd because I live in NH and because I would like to use it for exploring. I needed something simple that had enough cargo room and was reliable. An XJ was what I came to and searched for one over the summer.

The one I decided on is a 96 2 door sport, aw4, chrysler 8.25, np231. It has 146,000 miles on it and was diagnosed with a blown head gasket. I rented a uhaul truck and trailer to drag it home getting the owner down to $350. Then I drained $50 worth of gas out of it so I like to say $300. It has the head gasket issue, some rust in the rear floor, and a leaking brake line. Other than that it's in great condition.

The build will be slow and in phases as I am in college but will focus on being a dual purpose vehicle and not a hardcore rock crawler and will give a suttle nod to classic products that were used before my time. Phase 1 is to restore it back to working condition. Phase 2 will be to lift it and give it some offroad ability. I plan on a 3-4.5 in lift with either 31s or 33s with bushwacker cut outs, cragar wheels, and MT tires. Phase 3 will be an engine/transmission overhaul and maybe a 4.6 if budget allows.

As I start to update feel free to ask questions or give suggestions. I'm learning on this jeep so I will take as much advise as possible and try to help others as I learn.

-Taylor

Before I bought her:

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After cleanin it up a little:

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Old 08-15-2012, 09:17 PM
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wow cleans up nice, about the motor you probably know this but they will go way past the 200k mile mark mine is at 311k now and doing well might want to put that money elsewhere, if you want power and speed might wanna consider a v8 zj
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Old 08-19-2012, 09:53 PM
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Default An Update

Over the past few days I was able to change out the head gasket with the help from some of you guys and my neighbor.
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Lots of sludge. The majority of the time was spent cleaning this out of the head and where I could in the block.
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And back together:
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I also put new plugs, rotor, and distributor cap on today. Tomorrows plan is to pull the oil pan and clean the sludge from there, check the brake systems, and work on reassembling the rest of the engine compartment. I have it torn apart more than necessary because originally I was going to replace the engine. Hopefully I can try and start it on Tuesday. The plan is to run it for a half hour or so and then change out the oil and filter to help get rid of the sludge that has broken free that I can't get to.

-Taylor
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:57 PM
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Man I was really looking forward to a Picture of the head off. However you got the Xj for a Great price in the condition it is in now. I look forward to your progress and
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:33 PM
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Thanks for the interest! Here you go: In all it's antifreeze covered glory

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I forgot to get a piicture of it cleaned up after. I was mainly focusing on pics for reassemble purposes.
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by tmac View Post
Thanks for the interest! Here you go: In all it's antifreeze covered glory


I forgot to get a piicture of it cleaned up after. I was mainly focusing on pics for reassemble purposes.
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Thats what I like to see! keep up the good work and how long did it take you?
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by zebvance View Post
Thats what I like to see! keep up the good work and how long did it take you?
Maybe ten hours or so, most of it was spent cleaning the enormous amounts of sludge out. The old gasket wasn't coming off too easy either.

-Taylor
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:29 PM
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Today I got the majority of the engine compartment together and got to replace a few more parts. I didn't get to pull the oil pan but will work on that tomorrow. I have to wait until tomorrow to continue. I have to pick up some rtv for the thermostat hosing. Also have to grab a clamp for my replacement tranny cooler line. Hopefully I can try and start it tomorrow night, that would be awesome.

-Taylor

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Old 08-21-2012, 09:21 PM
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I got what was needed to start it finished today and fired it up on the first try. I let it idle for a while but it was on it's way to overheating. It was also running pretty rough. Will do some research and work on it tomorrow to figure it out. But, at least it's running.

-Taylor
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:50 PM
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Dude is that a factory color option? Never seen that before, it looks like one of the new colors offered on the JK. I think it was bushwacker who painted up a demo XJ in that color and it looks awesome.
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:45 PM
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yea thats factory i love that freaking color im salty hahha keep those pics coming man
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:35 PM
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Thank you very much. Yes it is a factory color called citron pearl. I guess it was only available in 96 and 97. Ive never seen another in this color, only a couple on the internet.

-Taylor
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tmac
Thank you very much. Yes it is a factory color called citron pearl. I guess it was only available in 96 and 97. Ive never seen another in this color, only a couple on the internet.

-Taylor
I've the one on the internet and one in a jy sad sad day I wanted to strip the panels and put em on mine lol
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:57 PM
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damn thats a lot of sludge. what the heck did they change the oil with? (if they even did that)

im liking the color too. don't see too many of those.
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Old 08-23-2012, 10:30 PM
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I don't know what the deal with the PO and oil changes was. At some point I would like to pull the oil pan and clean that out as well. I can only imagine what it must look like. I was reading what needs to be done to get the pan out and am not too motivated about it atm. I replaced the thermostat today with a superstant 195 degree model and it fixed my overheating issue. New rear soft brakeline tomorrow as well as a new fuel filter. I thin Ill try and get the rear drums off too to inspect. There rusted on very tightly. THen I'll start work on repairing the rust situation.

-Taylor
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