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Looked at a YJ today, got some questions...

Ravenbar

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Been in the market for a pre-OBDII CJ7/Wranger for a few years, but never found any in my price range close enough for me to take a look at. Recently posted a "looking for" post to the local Jeep clubs(I'm a member, with a WJ) chat, and had an offer from a member, as he is losing interest and wants a boat. Hasn't advertised it, and keeps flip flopping about if he wants to sell or not(he admitted when asked, but if I want it and have the money, it's mine.) Took a look at it and took it for a test drive today. Told him I'd give him some time to make up his mind.

It was a full frame off build/frame replacement about 7-8 years ago, with a 5.7l Vortec(Chevy Transmission/Jeep transfer case) installed at that time. Only on the road in the summer, so no winter road salt rot. Frame is solid, Engine has a belt chirp, slight fuel leak from a hose to hardline connection. Aside from the usual dents and dings and slightly rusty body(rear tailight panel, rusty fender extensions, lower tub rockers were roughly bondo's and covered during the build, floorboards need replacement, ect(normal stuff)). There were a few stand out issues during the test drive.

First off, the steering seemed a big squirrelly. He didn't seem to have any trouble driving it as he drove for part of the test drive, but it seemed wandery when I drove. First time I've drove a Wrangler. Has a 4" suspension lift(settled quite a bit according to owner) + 2" body lift + what he thinks were 1 1/2" boomerang shackles. Not sure if it's my lack of Wrangler driving experience, a steering geometry issue, of just worn parts. I didn't think to look for swaybar/tracbar presence.

There is also a shake from the drive line. Owner attributed it to potentially being the rear pinion angle as it's got no shims to set pinion angle.

I'm honestly pretty set on buying it, but those couple issues give me a little pause. The plan for it is to be a street legal trail rig/backup to my daily driver, as the DD is going to need a decent amount of work in the near future.
 

Austin

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Been in the market for a pre-OBDII CJ7/Wranger for a few years, but never found any in my price range close enough for me to take a look at. Recently posted a "looking for" post to the local Jeep clubs(I'm a member, with a WJ) chat, and had an offer from a member, as he is losing interest and wants a boat. Hasn't advertised it, and keeps flip flopping about if he wants to sell or not(he admitted when asked, but if I want it and have the money, it's mine.) Took a look at it and took it for a test drive today. Told him I'd give him some time to make up his mind.

It was a full frame off build/frame replacement about 7-8 years ago, with a 5.7l Vortec(Chevy Transmission/Jeep transfer case) installed at that time. Only on the road in the summer, so no winter road salt rot. Frame is solid, Engine has a belt chirp, slight fuel leak from a hose to hardline connection. Aside from the usual dents and dings and slightly rusty body(rear tailight panel, rusty fender extensions, lower tub rockers were roughly bondo's and covered during the build, floorboards need replacement, ect(normal stuff)). There were a few stand out issues during the test drive.

First off, the steering seemed a big squirrelly. He didn't seem to have any trouble driving it as he drove for part of the test drive, but it seemed wandery when I drove. First time I've drove a Wrangler. Has a 4" suspension lift(settled quite a bit according to owner) + 2" body lift + what he thinks were 1 1/2" boomerang shackles. Not sure if it's my lack of Wrangler driving experience, a steering geometry issue, of just worn parts. I didn't think to look for swaybar/tracbar presence.

There is also a shake from the drive line. Owner attributed it to potentially being the rear pinion angle as it's got no shims to set pinion angle.

I'm honestly pretty set on buying it, but those couple issues give me a little pause. The plan for it is to be a street legal trail rig/backup to my daily driver, as the DD is going to need a decent amount of work in the near future.

Every one of those issues can be attributed to the stupid square headlights :flipoff2:

I've never owned or driven a CJ that didn't wander a bit, especially when lifted. A new steering box can make a world of diff, and, I never realized it until my 4dr JK, but tire pressure can play a really big role in that too.

Shims are a quick and cheap fix for a driveline vibration assuming thats what it is. Makes you wonder why he'd do a frame off restore and not throw a few $10 shims in to fix that?!?

either way ... this post is worthless without pics
 

Ravenbar

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Every one of those issues can be attributed to the stupid square headlights :flipoff2:

I've never owned or driven a CJ that didn't wander a bit, especially when lifted. A new steering box can make a world of diff, and, I never realized it until my 4dr JK, but tire pressure can play a really big role in that too.

Shims are a quick and cheap fix for a driveline vibration assuming thats what it is. Makes you wonder why he'd do a frame off restore and not throw a few $10 shims in to fix that?!?

either way ... this post is worthless without pics

I wouldn't say so much it was loose steering. Steering wheel input seemed tight seemed not to correspond to change in direction of travel. Steering wheel turning seemed excessive to amount of steering change. I also didn't notice if it was manual of power steering. It has a front lunchbox locker, and big tires, so possibly that's what's throwing me. A rear lunchbox locker comes with for the D35(not installed, + a bunch of other spare parts.) Both axles have upgraded shafts.

I suspect the lack of shimming it has more to do with the droop from the sagging springs, rather than it needing them in the beginning. I wouldn't call it a frame off restore, but rather a frame replacement for his old Jeep, with an engine swap, and numerous other upgrades. He started with 2 complete Jeeps, His old one had issues, so he bought a donor, swapped all the goodies onto the new(used) frame tub.


Didn't take any while I was there, Stupidly left my phone on the fender before the test drive, so it's quite battered(flew off ~45mph), still works but shattered screen.

Not sure if this picture will be visible, but this is a photo I dug up off his Facebook page. Taken just before he parked it last fall. Some of the mud is still on it.
68644696_2174299732876918_1229932828024635392_o.jp  g?_nc_cat=109&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_oc=AQlQRfXl7nldkn6H_wlhsdkwEqH0nUcwk7uUTvEScTm  kFoe5xOGCDucu4XSMSFyUXDg&_nc_ht=scontent-lga3-1.xx&oh=ad4f7f5969eac03145b2580e796f4f40&oe=5F32D2BC.jpg - Click image for larger version  Name:	68644696_2174299732876918_1229932828024635392_o.jpg?_nc_cat=109&_nc_sid=110474&_nc_oc=AQlQRfXl7nldkn6H_wlhsdkwEqH0nUcwk7uUTvEScTmkFoe5xOGCDucu4XSMSFyUXDg&_nc_ht=scontent-lga3-1.xx&oh=ad4f7f5969eac03145b2580e796f4f40&oe=5F32D2BC.jpg Views:	0 Size:	227.3 KB ID:	68841


Here's a video of it in action, it's the red one with "Mister Jaxson" on the hood at the very beginning. This is also the type of terrain I'd be playing with it on.

 
Last edited:

Beat95yj

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Check the caster and front spring bushings. Extended shackles play hell on both.

also check the draglink angle.

I have built a couple CJ7’s and they drive better or equal to the TJ’s I have had.
 

Ravenbar

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Check the caster and front spring bushings. Extended shackles play hell on both.

also check the draglink angle.

I have built a couple CJ7’s and they drive better or equal to the TJ’s I have had.

Springs are wore out and there are extra spring bushings included with the extra parts. I'm sure the draglink angles screwy, although I didn't notice how the lift was done, wore out 4" springs + 2" body, + ? shackles, I'm guessing add up to around 6" of lift. I've got a parts WJ that's got to go to make space for this rig, so I already have the big parts for a WJ knuckle swap. Just need new brakes, and the little adapter parts. That should correct the drag link angle.
 

Beat95yj

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If the shackles are longer than 4” center to center, you probably want to change them. Hopefully the sides are connected to each other in the middle w/ a bolt and sleeve or welded tubing.
 

Ravenbar

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If the shackles are longer than 4” center to center, you probably want to change them. Hopefully the sides are connected to each other in the middle w/ a bolt and sleeve or welded tubing.

Look to be 3-4" from what I recall, with a welded tube in the middle.
 

Ravenbar

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We can't help you make a good decision without knowing the price ....

$3k, not that it really matters. More interested in possible causes of the issues mentioned that I'm concerned about.
 

The Freeak

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If you buy it, and you want it to steer nicely (like a car) I'd suggest a shackle reversal and possibly a JKS track bar with "Disconnect"; the track bar will go a long way to firming up the steering, and the disconnect will allow it to flex when off road.
It's a bit of a bandaid fix, and I'm sure someone will chime in that it's not hardcore or whatever, but... it will tighten up the steering response.
 

Ravenbar

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Just an update. Owner decided he'd like to keep it. Given the amount of work he put in to build it and the length of time he's had it, I suspected that was what his decision would be.

Also, the more I though about it, the more I felt it wasn't the right one as it was too closely built to what I'd build for myself, so I wouldn't have the fun of building it. And I had a nagging feeling I'd never feel like it was mine and always be worried what the previous owner thought about what mods I was making. Just how my mind works.
 

Lilyota

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When I picked up mine and drove it for a few days i noticed a vibration. I put up in the air and nut and bolted everything...

Did a little research and it turns out the DANA 35 in the back is notorious for the pinion nut coming loose.

turned out that was the problem .

Tightened it up with the big impact gun and am still driving it everyday.

Been 6 months now.
 

Ravenbar

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When I picked up mine and drove it for a few days i noticed a vibration. I put up in the air and nut and bolted everything...

Did a little research and it turns out the DANA 35 in the back is notorious for the pinion nut coming loose.

turned out that was the problem .

Tightened it up with the big impact gun and am still driving it everyday.

Been 6 months now.

I'd be putting money aside for a diff rebuild or a replacement axle. Pinion bearing preload is set via the yoke nut, using a crush sleeve, as I recall. I know that's the way Dana 30's are set up and a quick google search indicates thats how dana 35's are set up as well. So that means what you did by impact driving the nut down super tight is to completely crush the crush sleeve and overload the bearings. I'd look at a Explorer 8.8 as a swap, as the Dana 35 is a weakling and the Explorer 8.8 is nearly a bolt in replacement.


I've got the opposite problem on the Dana 30 in my WJ. Replaced the yoke to upgrade the driveshaft, and was planning on counting the turns and putting the nut exactly back where it came from. Upon retightening the nut, I couldn't get the nut tightened back to what it was. I was spinning the tires with the full vehicle weight on them. 3 years later I've got some side to side play in the pinion(can move the yoke up/down 1/16th", sometimes.) Now I need to buy all the tools and tear the entire axle apart to replace all the bearings. I've got a decent amount of $$$ into the axle already, which I'd need to replicate on a used replacement, so it's more cost effective to rebuild by a long shot if I do the work.
 
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