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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is the story of my 94 YJ so far. I have a more drawn out project thread in another site, but wanted to transplant it here for you all & myself to keep track of what I have done & what I am currently doing to my Jeep. It has become a reliable daily driver now, but wasn't always a reliable daily driver lol.

Here's the story from the beginning .......

About 8 years ago, I bought my Jeep from one of those "Buy Here / Pay Here" type places for $4,995.00 & she was a beauty. Black & Chrome with some favorable trimmings like the 4" suspension lift, mag rims, billet add-ons. She ran stout too, very healthy motor. I had always wanted a Jeep so I bought it, I had just enough to buy it free & clear.

We were like two peas in a pod, cruising around, just the two of us. I drove it to the rig & everywhere else. (Short explanation: "The rig" means I used to work on a drilling rig for a living)

Then after about 2 months, the transmission dropped into 2nd gear & jammed... I MEAN WOULD NOT COME THE [email protected]&! OUT OF 2nd gear......period.

So, I waited until I had enough money to get the AX-15 completely rebuilt with beefier parts & hardware, if I'm going to have something rebuilt, it never goes back stock, something is always upgraded. As I didn't have the time to reinstall the transmission due to a busy work schedule, I had to have a shop put it back in.

Ok, transmission is back in & better than new, we are back in action for a while ................ so I thought.

Two weeks later I am cruising around Loop 250 in Midland, TX & KERRRPLOWWW!!! My transfer case explodes all over this busy 4 lane roadway in front of the local mall. When I say exploded, I mean one driveshaft went one way, the other driveshaft went the other & pieces of the case itself were scattered across all four lanes. Talk about embarrassed & PISSED. Luckily, there was a local police officer (& Jeep owner) behind me who helped me get it to a secluded area of the mall parking lot.

Again, we wait until I can get a new NP231J transfer case for her, along with being taken to a shop that will make sure my DRIVESHAFT ISN'T TOO LONG along with making sure everything else lines up correctly when it goes back together. Eventually, a year or two later along with alot of $$$ & parts, she is back on the road & we are together again cruising in unison.


This time we go about a year & a half without any problems, dated my wife in it before we got married, etc...

Then...... The steering starts slowly acting up & all of the sudden I am dealing with "Death Wobble" as well. So here we go with all new front end gear, a major steering upgrade, & new hub assemblies. Now we're back in action again, so I thought............


This is about 2 years ago now....

I don't get to put 250 miles on it & the rear gears along with the rear wheel bearings are grinding & the front axle will not kick in when put into 4wd.
So I park it again


I save up again & get all of the parts gathered up for it, then take it back to the shop. Once they tear into it, I find out I have to replace the rear axle shafts as well, oh goody. But luckily I found a good set of hardened shafts for nearly the stock price for them to replace the old stock ones with. So, this time we replace both front & rear gears to 4:10 ratio along with a Detroit Tru-Lock limited slip rear diff & other little goodies like it.

I get the call that it is finished & rush up there to get it so we can go play in the dirt ....... so I thought


On the way home from the shop, haven't even made one stop anywhere, while slowing down at the stoplight, I encounter the worst "Death Wobble" I have ever seen in this thing. Well crap!!!!
So I limp this thing home again & discover that one of the braces to my rear left leaf springs has torn due to a crack that could not be seen before. So due to being transferred a couple times with work, etc... It's a while before I get it back to the shop.

Soooo.......... I get it to another shop & get the frame & mount issues fixed. Cool, we're good to go for some long deserved wheeling ....... So I thought


On my way back from the shop, the exhaust manifold presents the common crack that happens in the older 4.0 exhaust manifolds. Along side of this, the radiator stops up & the motor comes close to overheating. I shut the [email protected]&^ thing down & call a tow truck to take us back to the house.

My wife has a love/hate relationship with my Jeep & calls it my "Albatross" because I have sunk over $12,000.00 into the whole project & have only driven it maybe a total of a few thousand miles.

I keep telling her & everyone else, "Hey, I've replaced almost everything on it, why stop with minor details? By the time I'm finished, everything will be pretty much new, or better"

I wish I could find the pics of it from when I first bought it but have no idea what happened to them. It had stock tires on it & a worn out soft top when I first got it. Here are pics of it after I added the Bestop hard top & 35" BFG M/T's.



 

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You either have terrible luck or you need to find a better repair shop or both
Wouldn't hurt to get everything addressed once so you can be done with it
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This year (2012) I have done a LOT of repairs & mods to it to make it more of a reliable daily driver. This includes fixing some rats nest of poor wiring by the original owner, replacing the cracked stock exhaust manifold with the much better flowing new style exhaust manifold, rebuilding the intake manifold & throttle body, & fixing many various vacuum leaks. After that, flushing the engine block & putting in a new radiator & Flex-A-Lite electric fan to help keep the motor nice & cool.

More before pics of the interior & engine compartment






Rats nest wiring ... there was a lot more, but here are a few pics


 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
You either have terrible luck or you need to find a better repair shop or both
Wouldn't hurt to get everything addressed once so you can be done with it
Thanks lol, I would agree. That was a mixture of three different shops actually, just pitiful. I used to do ALL my own mechanic work but for quite a few years there, I just didn't have the time. After all that mess, I decided I would do every bit of the rest of the work myself as I have more home time now. I know if I do it myself, it will be done right, so that's what I have done this year, & will continue to do. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here are some before pics of the engine compartment & starting to prep it for some major surgery.






 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
More before pics & prepping for engine compartment surgery





Gave it a good bath before backing it back into the garage for tear down



Prepped & Ready...



Ok, I didn't snap a pic of removing it, but I removed the driver's side front fender for easier access to everything. (I highly recommend this to anyone who intends on pulling the intake & exhaust manifolds for any reason)

More pics ....

Fender pulled




Radiator, shroud, & front accessories pulled



Intake manifold pulled




Both manifolds pulled




 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
After pulling both manifolds, I soaked the intake & exhaust ports with "SeaFoam" intake manifold cleaner & let it sit for about 30 hours, thoroughly cleaned & blew out the intake/exhaust ports. While that was being done, I removed the thermostat, reconnected the housing/upper hose, & rigged up a high volume transfer pump to the upper & lower radiator hoses, then let the pump run continuously for 8 hours to thoroughly clean the cooling ports inside the block. For the first flush, I used distilled water & 15% CLR. I repeated the process two more times with straight distilled water to thoroughly rinse the block.






Flushing it with clear distilled water


 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
While all of this was happening, we prepped the new exhaust manifold. Prior to backing the Jeep into the garage, I thoroughly cleaned the new exhaust manifold with paint thinner & gave it 4 coats of 1,200 degree high heat black header coat then let it cure.



Now, while the flushing was taking place, a good friend of mine & I wrapped high quality header wrap around the primary tubes of the new manifold to help keep heat away from the intake runners on the intake manifold.







Then we gave the new manifold two more coats of high heat coating, replaced the old studs, & slid it onto the engine



As you can see in the pic above, I also replaced the old valve cover gasket with a new high quality Fel-Pro gasket that has a metal frame core to prevent over torquing of the valve cover bolts which ensures that the gasket does not get pinched.

Here is a pic of the old valve cover gasket I took off



and a picture of the old exhaust manifold, we found 5 large cracks in it



 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That brings us to about April of this year, more to come tomorrow ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I did not take pictures of it, but we thoroughly cleaned the intake manifold & polished/gasket matched the intake runners. Then we cleaned & honed the throttle body. Once that was done, we went ahead & replaced the Idle Air Control Valve & ALL of the sensors for piece of mind. Once that was done, I finished cleaning & putting everything back together.

Here are progress pics of it mostly put back together...



 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I also decided to go back with an electric fan, I put this little thing on until my Flex-A-Lite fan came in from Quadratec.




Got the Flexalite fan in, drilled a hole in the shroud just large enough so the wire loom would fit through, then gave it 3 coats of high heat clear coat to protect it from the elements.



 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Still at about April/May ............ To be continued this weekend ;)
 

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Use a high amperage relay for the cooling fan and add a overide switch in so when the fan controller acts up you can cool things down that way.
I have seen more than a few aftermarket fan controllers fail. Last one the guy got some nasty burns when the radiator started spewing. Rigged him up a few hot wires and we could finish our trail ride. Be definitely hurt for a week or so
 

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Looks great so far. Wish my engine compartment was that clean.
 
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