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1989Jeep Wrangler YJ - Why-J

Posted in Project Vehicles on March 1, 2009
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So a couple years ago I bought a '97 TJ from a dude who totally neglected it. He never put the top up, it had a blown rear end, the interior looked like the bottom of a pond that's been drained of all its water, and it needed a ton of work to pass smog. I paid him his asking price, which was something like $3,000 and called it "Project Steal-J". People lost their minds. I got called every name in the book for "taking" this poor chump with a plush computer job that paid probably three times more than I make a year. Whatever people; it's a fact of life that the strong will eat the weak and that good deals will go to smart buyers while dumb sellers will get fleeced.

And to prove my point, here's the '89 YJ I bought from a single mother of two for $500. Hate me? No? Well, how about if I tell you that the Jeep was one of the only things she asked for when she divorced her ex? Still nothing? Then I'll tell you how she and her girls loved the little red Jeep and one day wanted to paint it "sparkly pink" just like Barbie's. And that she almost cried when I loaded it on my trailer. Ah, now I can feel the hate flowing.

But I guess I should back up a bit. I had been searching for a new winter project that could seat my wife and two boys since most of my trail Jeeps are 2-seaters. I came across this ad for an '89 YJ that read like a scam. It said something like "Cute Jeep, good condition, needs clutch and some work, may need battery, $1000 obo." I e-mailed several times over the next couple weeks with no reply. Finally I e-mailed "Have cash and am serious - just wondering if this is a scam so I can move on." That finally got a reply from the girl. I phoned her and she told me she only stopped driving the Jeep because one morning she got in it to go to work and when she stepped on the clutch her foot went straight to the floor. She assumed it needed a complete clutch job or maybe even a transmission, so she parked it in the back of the house she was renting and ignored it for over two years. Then she decided to move out of state, so she needed the Jeep gone in a hurry. Some 48 hours before she was supposed to have it off the property I offered $500, loaded it on my trailer and made off with it.

What lies ahead for the Jeep saved from a sparkly pink nightmare? I've got plans I think most Jeep nuts will appreciate and parts are already ordered and arriving. Until the true buildup begins, check out how to bring a neglected Jeep back to life. Next time I'll tap the 4Wheel Drive Hardware catalog for some replacement parts to get the Jeep safe and reliable. Then the fun can begin.

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