Our 1989 Wranger Project Starts with an Interior Redo
We like YJ Wranglers. They have a strong frame and are simple. It doesn’t matter whether the headlights are square or round — real Jeeps work. After helping our friend with the red YJ you saw in these pages a few months ago, we wanted a YJ of our own.
YJs are plentiful, but those we found were in bad shape and the owners wanted top dollar. Collins Brothers had a super clean, low mileage YJ, but when we called it had sold the day before. Stewart at Drivetrain Unlimited had a 1989 black YJ with no drivetrain. It was well used, but the price was right. Soon, it was ours.
We had big plans for this YJ. It will ultimately get an aluminum block 5.3L GM V-8 and 6L80 six-speed automatic tranny from Motech in Las Vegas, Nevada. First, though, the rest of the YJ needed repairing.
As Jeremy at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive disassembled the Wrangler, he found that almost everything needed to be replaced. Even the windshield hinges were bad, as we’d bent them putting the windshield down. Once we removed the YJ’s plastic dash pieces, we found the steel dash had completely rusted. Even the half door handles were bad.
A call to Quadratec got needed parts heading our way. We ordered almost everything YJ, including Gauge Works half door panels and gauge bezels, new seatbelts, carpeting, seats, light lenses, Bestop NX top, and an OR Fab YJ sport cage. Summit Racing Equipment is the one-stop source for performance equipment. We ordered the Auto Meter ES Series gauges from Summit. As has always been our experience when ordering from Summit, the parts were on our doorstep in a couple of days.
The brake booster and master cylinder was a mess, so we contacted Dave’s Customs Unlimited for one of their power brake conversion kits. These kits use all new parts and are set up for disc brake applications. The push rod allows brake pedal height adjustment. It’s a clean, simple solution for better YJ Wrangler braking.
Check out the photos. Next time, the Black YJ gets new front and rearends, suspension, tires and wheels, etc.
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