Sondra & Keith's   

1999 Jeep Wrangler Sport (TJ)

AMC/Mopar EFI 4.0L I6cyl

Dana 30/35 Axles

3.?? Gears

3-Speed Automatic Transmission (32RH)

NP231 Transfercase

P255/70R16 Bridgestone Dueler RVT Tires


The Job:

Planned Frame Swap Work:

Planned Maintenance: Un-Planned Work:
Replacement Frame Prep

Fuel Pump

Transmission Cooling Lines

1" Body Lift

Rear Brakes

Engine Rear Main Seal

Minor Tub Repair

New Shocks

Engine Oil and Filter


Transmission Oil and Filter

Front Brakes
    Fuel Tank Straps
    New Tube Steps

Excel File for Work Completed


Replacement Frame (from 2001 TJ)


The Jeep arrived safely, but proceeded to mark it's new territories by blowing the Transmission cooler line off the Radiator right after being un-loaded off the trailer.  (2015-02-28)


Quick look over and leak detection.  (2015-03-02)


Weather and schedules cooperated to get the frame media blasted today.  2+ hrs. and 400 pounds of media later I'm ready to start the work of making a couple of rust repairs and applying chassis paint and internal frame coating.  (2015-03-12)


I cut out the three rusted spots and the one thin spot on the lower frame area where it mates to the skid plate.  The area is a low point and prone to catching dirt and debris between the skid plate and frame and causing issues like this.  I then fit pieces of 1.5" x 3/16" steel to patch the areas and proceeded to weld them in and smooth the area to prevent any interference with the skid plate.  I then flipped the frame back over and coated the inside with Eastwoods Internal Frame Coating to protect and reduce the likelihood of the rust returning.  I then applied a coat of Epoxy Primer to the top and sides of the frame.  Next I'll flip it back over and coat the remaining areas.  (2015-03-13)


Flipped the frame over and primed the bottom side and the top of the Skid Plate.  (2015-03-14)


The weather (temps, not wind) cooperated this afternoon and I was able to paint the frame in Chassis Black outside rather than having to set up inside the shop.  I also welded new safety chain rings on the receiver hitch.  (2015-03-16)


Finished Epoxy priming the skid plate and quickly set up and sprayed it with the Chassis Black Paint.  (2015-03-17)


Started the disassemble process.  (2015-03-23)


At some point you stop cursing the previous mechanic, and just break out the sawzall!  After breaking the exhaust header to tail pipe studs, I tried to remove the exhaust pipe, only to find when the muffler was replaced, the shop must have used an impact wrench to install the clamps as the pipes were crushed/dimpled to the point there was no sliding them apart.  I dropped the skid plate and did the transmission fluid drain, and then installed the new filter and gasket.  I also disconnected the front drive shaft and a few other connections that have to be done to separate the body and chassis.  I then dropped the engine oil pan in preparation to change the rear main seal.  The lower engine initial looks good, and the timing chain has little play.  I found the Jeeps Skid Plate in better shape, even with a couple of missing bolts, than the one that came with the replacement frame, so I'll clean it up and use it for re-assembly.  (2015-03-24)


Installed the new Rear Main Seal.  While inspecting the oil oil pan gasket I discovered a torn and cracked area.  It aligned with where the exhaust header tied into the cross over pipe.  I suspect an exhaust leak, or just the proximity to the hot spot.  (2015-03-25)


Started the preparation for lifting and supporting the body/tub.  Fabricated the brackets to go between the support tube and the tub.  The support tube will be held up by Jack Stands.  The 12 ton stands were a little to large at the base to allow good clearance while sliding the chassis out, so I'll use the pair of new 6 ton stands and set them on some cribbing I'm building as well.  I'm hopping to get away with only having to lift it 3" up from it's current height and still roll the chassis out.  (2015-03-27)


Finished the other set of cribbing for the Left Side.  I also cut the left side running board off and removed the rear bumper.  The rear bumper ends will need to be worked on and one replaced.  The corrosion caused the fasteners to break off or tear out of the plastic.  I believe the Jeep came out of NH, so that helps explain all the rust and corrosion.  (2015-03-28)


I cleaned and painted the Skid Plate that came with the Jeep.  It had been recently replaced and was in better shape than the one I got with the replacement frame.  It's now on the frame and the replacement frame is ready to accept parts.  I then proceeded to remove the existing frame to tub bolts.  Of the 11 total, two were rusted out on the tube and were a non-issue in removing the frame, of the reaming, two broke.  both on the drivers side, the front and rear ones.  Next came the lifting of everything to set the tube on the supports.  I ended up having to go an additional 3" to ensure clearances to slide the chassis forward out from under the tub.  Once it was all supported I proceeded to pull the front axle.  Not too bad, but one shock would not unbolt from the axle, so I had to cut it off.  you know that point when you are cutting something and you realize a split second to late you are cutting it in the wrong spot.  Yes, well I got a shower of shock oil.  After the front was out I proceeded to remove the rear.  You can see from the below images of the rear axle spring mounts, there is some serious rust going on.  Next I'll double check that everything is disconnected between the chassis and tub and proceed to lower and slid the chassis out.  (2015-04-07)


Started out by double checking to make sure everything was disconnected before lowing the chassis from the tube.  As I lowered I found I missed 4 connections, two grounds, batter cable to starter and an ABS cable.  Once everything was disconnected and the chassis lowered onto the dolly and the front supported by the engine hoist I proceeded to pull it out from under the Tub.  All went well and I rearranged things to put the two chassis side by side to facilitate the transfer of items.  I also added a couple of extra jack stands to the rear of the tub as a safety measure.  As you can see I now have a hover tub.  you can also better see the broken tub bolt and the one that the nut spun on.  also better visible are the two rusted tub mounts.  I then started the swap of components between the frames.  I discovered the recently replaced fuel tank skid plate left out a new set of fuel tank straps, so I'll have to order a set.  Also I'll have to get the plastic frame line mounts and replacement brake and transmission cooling lines.  I'll need these items and the back ordered tub mount bushings before it can go back under the tub.  (2015-04-08)


Some parts started arriving, more should be here Tomorrow and hopefully by weeks end enough of them will be here to allow me to put the chassis back under the tub.  I worked on cutting out and building new tub hat sections for the center frame mount locations.  Wouldn't you know the section isn't straight forward as it crosses the floor pan elevation change so it's a complicated cut and bend.  Speaking of bending bending 16 gauge steel (yes heaver than was originally in the tube) is not easy.  Also the original body mount was recessed into the hat section, but with 1" body lift, I'll just shorten the center mounts to fit.  Also I will have to drill and install captured nuts as there is no good way to drill in from inside and tighten the nut.  (2015-04-14)


Well, I don't like laying on my back welding overhead, and a really don't like laying on my back welding overhead on undercoated galvanized, dirty thin rusty sheet metal.  No matter how hard to try and get the old metal clean it's never clean enough.  I finished fabricating the replacement hat sections by welding in nuts to a plate that I captured inside the section.  This will allow the body bolt to tighten with out having to find a way into the hat section and install a washer and nut.  I then welded them into the tub, hence my first statement.  Not very pretty welds, but it's in and welding in decent.  Next to prime and undercoat the area to prevent future rusting.  (2015-04-15)


Well, the new Tub Bushing 1" Body Lift Kit arrived.  Nice straight forward and complete kit.  I started out by trying to remove the broken front tub mount bolt.  Tried welding on a Nut and removing it that way, three times, but it wasn't budging.  So I ended up having to cut what was left off, and drilling it out and tapping a new 1/2" hole.  I then cut in and removed the rear broken tub mount bolt as well.  I next taped off and sprayed some rust converter and undercoating on the bottom of the tube.  Still need another coat, but looking much better.  I then installed the new fuel pump assembly.  wasn't sure why Keith wanted a new one until I pulled the old one out and found the pickup sock loose inside the tank.  He had apparently had some fuel delivery issues or pump problems, and it was a good thing I installed a new one.  I also installed the new fuel tank straps to replace the missing ones.  Next came the installation of the new transmission cooling lines.  The supply line was straight forward once I cleaned the side of the transmission.  The return line, well it has one of those slip in locking lines, and I'll have to pick up a tool as i was unable to get it to release.  I ran a brake line and realized I need a longer line, so when I pick up the clips that came in today to finish the frame lines I'll pick up a couple of longer lines.  As you can see in the last picture, the front brake pads were id very bad shape as they were separating from the backing plates.  (2015-04-16)


Started out by repairing the exhaust manifold.  I found while cutting off and drilling out the broken/rusted studs that the manifold had the typical 4.0 break/crack.  I noticed the bottom side had already been welded, so I proceeded to weld the top side.  I also installed the last of the frame line clips I picked up this morning and ran the fuel and brake lines.  I also gave the under side of the tub another coat of undercoating.  Next came the process of mating the chassis back to the tub.  After some work getting id under and aligned I lifted it in place.  Everything bolted right up.  So my hole locations on the repaired tub were good.  I then started reconnecting everything.  I think I'm down to axles, brake lines, and front end items.  (2015-04-17)


Degreased and Power Washed the axles.  Also sprayed some rust converter on them before I hit them with a coat of chassis paint.  (2015-04-18)


Repaired the rear axle spring centering/bump Stop portion and then painted the axles with chassis black paint.  (2015-04-19)


Started by connecting the tail pipe to the muffler, had to install a short piece of pipe to replace the one I gut out to remove the exhaust.  Next I slid in and installed the rear axle.  Then came the installation of the front axle.  And just as I had it installed the mail arrived and the front shocks that had been back ordered arrived.  Went to install the new rear brake pads and found the passenger side already had new pads.  So thought I'd be returning the pads, however when I pulled the drivers side drum off to clean it up some I was greeted with a surprise.  The adjuster cable fell out and WOW, park of a brake pad was missing.  Apparently the place that sold the Jeep, just fixed the passenger side and left the drivers side alone.  Seems to match some of the other repair for sale work I've come across during the job.  What can you cay about used cars salesmen?  The front rotors are deeply pitted on the inside, so before I can install the front calipers and pads I'll now have to go pick up rotors when I get the parts for the rear brake repair.  (2015-04-20)


Well, I had hoped to have the Jeep back on all four wheels today, but after two trips to the Parts Store today, I'm making another trip in the morning.  Picked up the front rotors and the rear brake adjuster parts and spring kit I put the brake on.  Then found the adjuster kit I picked up was the wrong parts in the right box, so trip two was to get the right parts in the right box.  After finishing the brakes, next came the brake lines and bleeding the brakes.  All went well there just two fittings to tighten a little more and no leaks and a good bleeding and resulting pedal.  Install the rear tires, no problem.  Install a front tire, and well the wheel would not turn.  Loosened it up to see what the issue was and it turned.  you see there are two front brake rotor options on these 99's, and one for 1.5" long studs and the other for 1.25" long studs.  I measured my studs (with out the rotor installed) and was 1.5".  Well I guess you are supposed to measure them with the rotor installed, and the hat section was too deep.  So off to exchange them for the other set of rotors in the morning.  (2015-04-21)


Well, after picking up the correct front rotors and getting them installed, it was time to drop the jeep back onto it's wheels.  So all my jack stands and car dollies are ready to be stored away.  Next came the slight alterations to the radiator and fan shroud to accommodate the 1" body lift.  I added holes to both to allow the radiator to mount 1/2" lower, and the fan shroud an additional 1/2" lower.  This keeps the air flow clean and gives the best hose/fan alignment.  Next I installed the grill and connected the radiator, hoses and wiring.  With this done the Jeep looks almost complete.  Next came filling the remaining fluids and getting the battery in ready for a test fire.  After a short cycling of the key with the fuel hose in a bucket to be sure no trash was there, it was time to fire the Jeep up.  She came to life great and after all the air was out of the fuel line she smoothed out and ran great.  Wit that complete and no leaks it was time to install the doors and front bumper.  Then after a quick sorting tools and items and cleaning a path it was time for a test drive once around the block.  Once back a re-check of the fluids and added some additional transmission fluid and all is well.  So I'm down to punch list and to start on it I needed the trailer hitch ready to install, so I primed and painted it.  (2015-04-22)



After picking up a couple of 1/2" grade 8 bolts for the trailer hitch and the replacement bulbs to replace the burnt out ones I installed the rear bumper, hitch and bumper ends.  I also installed the 4 pin trailer wiring harness.  So I decided it was time to check the transmission oil one more time and then go for another test drive.  I started the Jeep up, ran forward and back a little to get the transmission fluid circulating and with the Jeep in neutral I applied the parking brake.  And just as I did the Jeep died.  Strange, so I tried to start it up but no success.  So just as I was about to give up I heard liquid hitting the floor.  Well noting in the front, look in the rear and there it is a big puddle of fuel.  So a quick look and sure enough the fuel line had come off the pump.  I'd already driving the Jeep some, and was lucky it happened in the shop and not out while I was testing, but gee.  I dropped the fuel tank down and tried to snap the line back on but it would not snap.  So I removed the line to discover the plastic retaining portion had apparently broken and was gone.  I could not find it and it's likely trapped between the fuel tank and skid plate as that is where everything seems to want to go when you drop them in the area.  So now it's back tot he part store to get the missing clip and parts to build a new hose.  Darn those crappy snap on fuel lines.  (2015-04-23)



Sondra selected her new steps for the Jeep.  She selected the Smittybilt 3" Sure Steps in Textured Black.  I checked to be sure the necessary existing bolts would come out and then ordered the new steps.  Should be here sometime next week.  I picked up a 3/8" fuel line replacement clip and re-installed the fuel line, but the clips are not good enough for me to trust, as I can with out a lot of force pull the line off the pump, and I should not be able to do that.  So I've ordered anew replacement factory fuel line (no aftermarkets available).  So the Jeep is setting waiting on parts at this point.  (2015-04-24)


Swapped in the replacement Radio they supplied, and once I had the correct wiring cross reference it went well, until I needed to connect the antenna.  The Antenna input was on the opposite side on the replacement radio and the antenna lead is about 2" short.  So no I need to pick up an extension lead.  Now the only things left to do is install the extension, Fuel Line and Tube Steps.  (2015-04-26)


The Fuel Line finally arrived, 2 days later than the seller stated it would, but it's a good proper line and snapped right in-place quickly and securely.  The new Tube steps also arrived.  buttoned the fuel tank bak up and checked the fluids and went for a little test drive.  All looks well and seems to be in good order.  Now to clean it up a little, install a radio antenna extension and install the Tube Steps and it will be ready for Sondra to drive and drive and drive.  (2015-04-29)


Put a few more miles on the Jeep this morning and all is well.  Picked up the needed Radio Antenna Cable and a can of Freon.  It took longer than I expected, but added the entire can of Freon and the A/C blows cold.  Still a little low on gas.  Apparently it had a slow leak before I started the Frame swap as they had to add Freon last year as well.  Next I cleaned the engine bay and the outside of the Jeep before pulling it back in the shop to connect the radio antenna and install the Tube Steps.  The radio was no big deal, rather then being able to install the extension between the two cables I had to actually pull the radio back out and replace the short radio end cable.  Now on the Tube Steps, well the Chinese made crap continues.  The front brackets were miss labels (stamped) with the wrong side information and the overall tub length was a good 3/8" short making the install not only very, very difficult but frustrating. In the end, ignore the labels, follow the pictures, and only tighten the brackets up to the Jeep after installing the tube.  I did open up the rear tube adjustment holes up some, but was not going to overdue it.  So now other than a few touch ups and a little more cleaning the only other thing left is to re-check everything.  (2014-04-30)


Did a little clean up and some checking/adjustments.  Also in these first three photos you can see the condition of the old frame.  In the 4th comparison shoot you can see the effects of the 1" body lift.  Then the rest are a little photo shoot showing the Jeep from all angles.  (2015-05-02)


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