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YJ Makeover II - 1989 Jeep Wrangler YJ

Posted in Features on August 1, 2012
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A few months ago, we ran a feature on making over a 1989 YJ in which a few things were repaired and new seats, bumpers, winch, sport cage, and softtop were installed. The owner, Chad Hughes, finished the Jeep and made it a fine ’wheeler.

The Deaver springs sat the YJ too high for this application, so Chad removed a few leafs from each pack. This made the YJ just the right height to clear 33-inch BFGoodrich KM2 Mud Terrain tires mounted on 15x8 MB Chaos 5 wheels. Bushwacker flat panel YJ flares fit perfectly and provide plenty of tire coverage, as well as give more clearance.

Chad rebuilt the Carter carburetor and installed a new aluminum O’Reilly radiator to replace the leaking OE one. Sparkplugs, wires, and distributor cap were replaced. Chad was looking for new shocks, but couldn’t find any that worked as well as the old, generic hydraulic shocks that were on the Jeep when he purchased it. Leaf sprung vehicles need very little compression and rebound damping in their shocks.

The YJ is made-over and it works fine. We drove it during the photo shoot and it was a pleasure to be reminded how well a simple, basic Jeep can work. What fun.

Vehicle: 1989 Jeep YJ Wrangler
Owner/Hometown: Chad Hughes/Riverside, California
Engine: Jeep 258 I-6
Induction: Carter carburetor
Transmission: AMC 999 Torqueflite three-speed automatic
Transfer case/low range ratio: NP231/2.72:1
Front end: Currie Enterprises Ford 9-inch
Rear end: Currie Enterprises Ford 9-inch
Ring and Pinion: 4.10:1
Front Differential: Detroit Locker
Rear Differential: Detroit Locker
Suspension: Deaver leaf springs, hydraulic shocks
Tires: 33x12.50R15 BFGoodrich KM2 Mud Terrain
Wheels/Backspacing: 15x8 MB Chaos 5/3.7 inches

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