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  • #61
    Personalized Plates

    I was loafing around the other night, laughing at memes and torturing my wife on Facebook when an ad for Texas Conservation plates popped up. $22 of each $30 purchase goes directly to a Texas State Conservation fund. It seemed like a good cause, so I started looking for personalized options.

    Every combination of 88XJ that I could think of was unavailable (apparently there are a lot of 88 XJs in Texas!), and I was about to give up when it hit me. This isn't just any XJ...it's the venerable RENIX!

    ...and the RENIX camping plate was born! You can get yours at http://conservationplate.org/


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    - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

    - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

    - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

    - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

    - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

    - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

    Comment


    • #62
      I looked for you and it said "88EXJ" and "88XJAY" was available.
      2016 Wrangler 2 Door Willys
      Current Mods: Daystar Hood Wranglers, Cobra 29 LTD, ARB Stubby Front Bumper, ARB Rear Bumper, MetalCloak 2.5" Dual Rate Springs w/1in Spacers, Rock Krawler Adjustable Control Arms & Bumpstops, Currie AntiRock Front, Synergy Front & Rear Trackbar, Rock Hard Crossmember and Oil/Trans Skid, Teraflex tire carrier, 17x8 4"BS Steel Wheel 295/70/17 General Grabber X3, 4.56 gears, sleeve and gusset front axle.

      Comment


      • sjlplat
        sjlplat commented
        Editing a comment
        Yea, not a fan of alternate spellings. I'm a purist. If I had a misspelled plate, it would drive me nuts!

    • #63
      Thanks for the idea sjlplat

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      2004 Solar Yellow TJ : *Bad Shift Solenoid
      3.5" Rock Krawler Springs, Rock Krawler Adj. Control Arms, Fox 2.0 Shocks, 33x12.50R15 MTRs, TeraFlex High Steer System, TeraFlex 2WD Low Range Kit, TeraFlex Extreme Short SYE, Adam's CV Rear Driveshaft, G2 4.10 Gears, Dana 30 front with G2 Chromoly Shafts & Aussie Locker, Rubicon Dana 44 rear with G2 Chromoly Shafts & Detroit Locker, Durango 160A Alternator, Rugged Ridge Nautic 9500lb Winch with Synthetic Rope

      1998 Flame Red XJ Limited: *A Black Hole for Coolant
      SkyJacker 3" front lift springs, shocks, steering stabilizer, and adjustable track bar. Rubicon Express 3.5" rear leaf packs. 265/75/16 BFG A/T on TJ Moab Wheels

      Comment


      • sjlplat
        sjlplat commented
        Editing a comment
        Haha! Nice! =D

      • 2001TJ
        2001TJ commented
        Editing a comment
        Wow!!!!!!!

    • #64
      Optima Red Top Battery

      Another impulse buy. Optima offered a $50 rebate this week, which equates to 25% off the Red Top for XJ's. Given the numerous potential electrical issues, a solid battery is an absolute necessity for an old XJ.

      I discovered some minor corrosion under the battery tray, and the nuts were seized up, I was able to break out the tray and free the nuts, but I've definitely got some clean-up to do. One of my parts rigs came in handy, as I was able to swap another clean tray with hardware over to replace the one I broke.

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      - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

      - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

      - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

      - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

      - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

      - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

      Comment


      • #65
        Manual Remote Mirrors & Trim Bezels

        It was common in the 80's for base model cars to include only a single driver-side mirror, and my '88 was no exception. One of the first things I did was order a new set of manual mirrors for a more uniform look. While the cheap replacements I installed were functional, they were not well-built.

        XJs came with several variations of mirrors over the years. For a base model, the best option short of running wires for power mirrors is the manual remote mirrors, which allow adjustment from inside with a small knob. There are 2 variants of the manual remote mirrors: breakaway and non-breakaway. The breakaway mirrors are most common, and are failure-prone. The non-breakaway variants are much more rare.

        Ordering a set of manual remote mirrors is simple enough. They're still available from aftermarket manufacturers, but the interior trim bezels are another story. These generally must be sourced from parts vehicles or fabricated.

        This week I came upon an ad on Facebook for a set of non-breakaway manual remote mirrors with interior trim bezels. To me, it was worth the cost for just the bezels. These will make a perfect addition to my build, requiring just a little clean-up before installation, and I can finally get rid of the cheap manual ones I've been fighting with.

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        - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

        - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

        - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

        - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

        - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

        - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

        Comment


        • #66
          Very nice!

          Comment


          • #67
            A/C Swap & ZJ Fan Clutch Upgrade

            I came across an ad on Facebook for A/C repairs, and sent an inquiry about repairing my XJ. After recharging once and losing the refrigerant within 24-hours, it was clear that I had a leak somewhere.

            I was invited to bring my Jeep to Bullard, TX for a free evaluation, at which time I was informed I would need a new compressor and o-rings. Fortunately, my 1990 parts rig had a complete A/C system, and I was quoted $70 to swap it over. At that price, it was worth a shot.

            I ran back home and pulled the A/C out of my parts rig, then returned to do the swap. During the swap, we found that the original receiver-drier had a hole in the bottom, and the expansion valve was shot. The donor system was in good condition, so we proceeded to do a complete swap.

            After a full day of driving back and forth, and pulling half the engine bay apart, I finally had ice cold A/C. It's been going strong for a few weeks now, so I feel pretty good about the donor parts.

            With the heat of summer bearing down and the hours I spent driving between Longview and Bullard, I discovered that engine temps were rising to dangerously high levels in stop-and-go traffic. Given the open cooling system conversion I'd already done, I figured the fan clutch was shot. Sure enough, I checked the resistance of the mechanical fan, and it had none.

            The ZJ was outfitted with a heavy duty fan clutch, offering 85% lock-up compared to the 65% range of the standard XJ clutch. It's a bolt-on upgrade, and is very popular among the XJ community. I figured since I was going to replace it, I'd try the upgrade.

            The swap is pretty straight-forward. Remove the 4 nuts holding the fan assembly to the water pump and the 2 screws in the fan shroud, then lift them together out of the engine bay. With the assembly removed, the fan clutch can be removed from the fan. The ZJ clutch bolts right on, and the whole assembly is re-installed the same way it came out.


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            With the new fan clutch installed, I fired up the Jeep and took it for a short drive. The fan is noticeably louder, and temperatures are steady at 203 on an 80-degree day while idle with the A/C running.

            Last edited by sjlplat; 06-30-2019, 04:33 PM.
            - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

            - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

            - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

            - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

            - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

            - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

            Comment


            • #68
              ...and so it begins!

              There's no turning back now. After months of saving and flip-flopping, I've settled on the Rubicon Express 5.5" short arm lift for this rig. I couldn't bring myself to do any major mods to a clean classic, so this is a moderate compromise between an original classic and a capable trail rig.

              This will allow me to run 33" tires without trimming fenders, while still retaining the original suspension design. The rear Dana 35 axle will be replaced with a Chrysler 8.25" for strength, and the front CAD system will be eliminated in favor of a single-piece axle. Front and rear lunchbox lockers will be installed at a later time.

              I picked up a cheap '94 2-door last week that I won't feel too bad about chopping up, so that rig will be the candidate for a more capable trail rig.

              Stay tuned for the install and future wrench parties!

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              Last edited by sjlplat; 07-29-2019, 11:00 PM.
              - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

              - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

              - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

              - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

              - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

              - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

              Comment


              • #69
                Fantastic news! I look forward to us both going through the water in next year’s East Texas 150 trip
                2004 Grand Cherokee (WJ), Laredo 4.0
                4.5" Frankenstein Short Arm lift, Rusty ADJ CA's, trussed Waggy 44 Front & 44HD Rear; 315/70:17 Patagonia M/T mounted on Micky Thompson Classic Lock II 17x9

                Comment


                • sjlplat
                  sjlplat commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I've still gotta figure out how to move that alternator up to the top of the engine, but at least this will get it a good 8" higher!

              • #70
                16×8 Pro Comp D-Window Wheels and 285/75R16 Tires

                After spending my Jeep fund on a lift, I decided to search for some cheap wheels and tires to get me by until I have enough cash saved up for something new. I came across these on Facebook marketplace for $300. The wheels came off a Dodge truck and will require adapters, but the tires retail for about $200 a piece. For the price, I can't really complain.

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                - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

                - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

                - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

                - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

                - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

                - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

                Comment


                • #71
                  Axle Swap

                  Th Renix-era XJ had relatively weak axles in the entry-lexel models, and a buggy vacuum actuated 2-piece front axle. Starting in 1995, the front axles received bigger u-joints and the CAD (central axle disconnect) system was discontinued.

                  I have a '96 XJ with the stronger single-piece axle, and a '98 XJ with the 29-spline 8.25 rear axle, both of which are fantastic bolt-in upgrades to the older axles. Since I'm pulling the suspension for a lift, now is the perfect time for a swap. I'll also take the opportunity to swap the dual-diaphram brake booster and master cylinder from the '96, since the brake lines will be disconnected and will need to be bled.

                  Today I finished pulling the old axles. It took about 4-hours to remove the rusted spring and shackle bolts from the captive nuts in the unibody, but I managed to save all the nuts and avoid cutting and welding. I destroyed one flare nut, and will have to repair that, but overall it went fairly smooth. Not terrible for 30-years of dirt, rust, and grime buildup.

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                  Last edited by sjlplat; 08-28-2019, 07:48 PM.
                  - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

                  - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

                  - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

                  - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

                  - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

                  - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

                  Comment


                  • #72
                    Sounded like you had a good day. I would have wrenched with you but I wrenched on my TJ. Plasma cut the pin off my rack and re- welded it all back together. Took about 6 hours got it done.

                    Comment


                    • sjlplat
                      sjlplat commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yep, not too bad. Slow going, but patience pays off in the end. I've still got a pair of axles to pull out of other rigs, a booster and master cylinder to swap, a transfer case to rebuild, and a full suspension kit to install. Feel free to drop in anytime if you wanna get dirty!

                  • #73
                    Axle Swap (continued)

                    The '96 front Dana 30 was pulled from the donor today. Fairly smooth pull, aside from fighting the heat and humidity, and crawling around in the weeds. Also cleaned up the threads in the captive nuts for the rear springs with a hand tap to save some headaches in the future.

                    If I'm not too sore tomorrow, I'll start cleaning up the axle and bolting up the suspension.

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                    - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

                    - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

                    - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

                    - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

                    - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

                    - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

                    Comment


                    • #74
                      Axle Swap (continued) & Control Arm Drop Brackets

                      I got to a late start today, but I was able to make some good progress. I started the day with cleaning and rust-proofing the new front axle. After scraping off all the old grease, road grime, and dirt, the axle looked to be in pretty good shape. A good scrub and coat of rust converter had the axle looking almost like new. It'll get a quick coat of paint before bolting it up.

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                      After cleaning up the axle, I got started on the suspension. The Rubicon Express 5.5" lift includes a set of control arm drop brackets and support brackets to improve the angle of the control arms, and they must be installed prior to installing the rest of the front suspension.

                      These brackets are a bit of a pain since the old unibody is a little tired, and the holes didn't quite line up perfectly. The install required torquing down bolts to squeeze everything in tight for proper alignment, a big pry bar to squeeze the bolts in, and then loosening everything up to get the next piece lined up. After a few hours of profanity, a couple pinched fingers and a lot of sore muscles, I finally got everything tightened up.

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                      Last edited by sjlplat; 09-01-2019, 11:24 PM.
                      - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

                      - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

                      - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

                      - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

                      - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

                      - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

                      Comment


                      • #75
                        Axle Swap (continued) & Front Suspension

                        It was a long day yesterday! The first order of business was to prime and paint the front axle. While the primer and paint were curing, I started working on the front suspension.

                        When pulling the old axle, I rounded off the flare nut for the driver-side brake line. With an empty fenderwell, this was the best time to cut & re-flare the brake line.

                        With the brake line repaired, I moved on to suspension. The control arms went in flawlessly, but a lot of the "easy" parts threw me some curveballs. A few of the problems I ran into were as follows:
                        • The sway bar bolts on the axle end were pressed in to the axle. No amount of pounding would budge them. I proceeded to cut the bolts, then drilled out the driver-side, and used a pitman arm puller to press out the passenger side.
                        • The hardware for the tracbar was not in the box with the tracbar. I used some old factory hardware to bolt it up, and have contacted Rubicon Express to request replacement hardware.
                        • I installed the tracbar backwards (with the poly end at the frame), causing the bracket to cinch-up and making it impossible to bolt-in the end with the johnny joint. Pulling the bracket and straightening with a vice and a prybar had everything back on-track.
                        In spite of a few problems, things are progressing nicely. I'm hoping to have it sitting back on the ground in a couple weeks, at which time I'll start rebuilding the transfer case and working on the brake booster conversion.

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                        - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

                        - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

                        - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

                        - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

                        - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

                        - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

                        Comment

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