A YJ for my Dad

eric m

New member
I thought I’d put up a build thread on the 1990 YJ Sahara I’m building for my Dad. He bought the Jeep in 2015 or so, he drove it in the summer of ‘15 and ‘16 then had issues with it and parked it. Fall of ‘19 he decided he wanted it fixed up and turned into a driver.

What I started with:
-1990 YJ Sahara
-carbed 4.2
-Ax-15 with internal throwout bearing (that leaks)
-3” body lift (🤮)
-damages front fender

The plan:
-Holley efi
-Advance adapters external slave cylinder upgrade (new bell housing etc..)
-Flat fenders
-Rocker protection
-New exhaust
-Change 3” body lift for 2” suspension and 1” body
-Fix rust on tub
-Spray line inside and out.

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The Jeep came with a hardtop and 3 different sets of doors, my Dad settled on the half doors and I found the slider uppers on Craigslist.


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Started by replacing the factory gas tank skid with a Warn hd skid. Also replaced the rotting exhaust with a Banks Monster exhaust (91-95 yj, fits the 90 just fine.

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This was the front flat fender adventure, a lot of by guess and by golly with a grinder and I got them fitted up nicely.


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We started with dumbo style Xenon fender flares someone thought looked good and the factory body mounted side steps...

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...and went with these metal narrow rear fenders.




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Then it got fun, what should have been a simple 1 hour job turned into 3 days of fun and adventure when it came time to ditch the 3” body lift. The frame on this Jeep is immaculate no rust looks showroom new so I figured the tub would be very clean...
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This is metal rusted to plastic...which isn’t possible but yea. 3 of the 9 mounts unbolted the others fought me tooth and nail but in the end I won.

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I went with Daystar’s 1” body lift/polyurethane body mount kit.

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I went with a BDS suspension 2” spring lift front and rear. I did add Rough Country front sway bar disconnects as the factory ones are shorter than I liked. I will also be adding Crown extended brake hoses as I’m not a fan of the relocation brackets.


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My dad didn’t want the hardtop as he’s not driving this in the winter when it’s done. So I got creative, I decided to add a bowless TJ soft top...

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I found a TJ in my local wrecking yard (much to my surprise) I cut the top retaining bits off the tub and drilled out the spot welds before welding them to the YJ tub.

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Scored the doors surrounds from same TJ for $10, here they are located on the YJ where I drilled out holes to accept them.

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I used a Rampage header and top, this is where I had a moment of not thinking and ordered a tan top. I will be dying the uppers to match and making some top supports the clamp to the cage to lift the back of the top over the rear seat. Right now it looks like a CJ rally top that won’t last.



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This about where I ran out of warm weather and I wanted my garage space back...
I have the advance adapter kit and a new clutch to swap in, however I will drop the the exhaust from down pipe and cat which is so rusty it needs replaced. I will probably replace the manifold due to rust as well at the same time. Also when I lowered the body it took out the seal in the steering box which needs replaced, I have a Fabtech steering box skid plate to install when I do that in the spring. I will be installing an efi kit and spray lining it as well at that time so stay tuned.


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Nice build. Your dad must be very happy with this build.
 
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I finally got back to working on the YJ, been a crazy summer. I added some stainless hard lines my neighbor gave me that he couldn’t use from his YJ that I’ve been helping with. Also added some Rustys Off-road stainless hoses (made by Crown). I had to make some new lines between the master cylinder and the distribution block as the old ones cracked. I also added PowerStop calipers, pads, and rotors.


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That let me get it over to my new shop. Where I started by taking out the transmission to install the Advanced Adapters external slave bellhousing kit.

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Now I need a new flywheel so I can install the clutch and put everything back together so I can do exhaust and fuel injection.


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Good stuff!
When you made the brake lines, did you have to flare them yourself? I've tried and failed at that many times - the last time I just went to the auto parts store and found a pre-made that was "close enough".
 

Good stuff!
When you made the brake lines, did you have to flare them yourself? I've tried and failed at that many times - the last time I just went to the auto parts store and found a pre-made that was "close enough".

The stainless lines were pre-bent and already flared. The short lines I made myself and flared, it’s no big deal to make them. It just takes practice, plus I really like the nickel copper alloy line, it’s really easy to use and will never rust.


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that is looking great. its going to be a fun jeep to ride around in, for sure
 

Finally got back to the YJ for a bit. Since I have everything tore apart to do fuel injection and the exhaust is shot and has lots of unnecessary ports that won’t be used I thought I’d install an header. You can’t find many headers for the 4.2 in a YJ but you can find a ton of headers for the 4.2 in a CJ. So I ordered a CJ header, which involved making a new driver side motor mount...
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This is where I stopped taking pictures but I weld the pieces after I made them bolted the 3 pieces into my motor mount negative jig. With the header on and slightly “massaged” it all fits.
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While doing this I also addressed the shifters...
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Installed a B&M ax15 shifter which took forever to get as they are kind of almost unattainable right now. Then I installed the brackets for the Novak transfer case shifter (I need to bend the handle provided to the pattern piece but I need a bigger vise).
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Also bled and installed the slave cylinder to the old master cylinder and the new bellhousing.
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Next weekend I hope to run a new rear brake line and install the fuel injection kit.



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