98 TJ Frame Swap

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jcpangborn
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98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by jcpangborn » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:34 pm

The rust on the frame has been getting worse and worse over the years. My uncle has a shop that I can use so I've decided that I'm going to do a frame swap on the jeep. I don't have a ton of experience so I'll be asking a lot of questions along the way as I work on it. First question though... does anyone have some advice on things I should deffinately consider doing while I have it all taken apart. Right now I have a 4" rough country suspension lift and 33" tires. Everything else is pretty much stock. Thanks.

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Boodyrider
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by Boodyrider » Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:04 pm

Background: I did exactly this swap when I bought my Jeep, as frame was bent. I learned a lot, and it's stood me in good stead the life of my Jeep. However... Including frame cleanup, I put about 150 hours into it, with the use of a fully equipped performance shop complete with a lift I could leave my tub on for over a week. It also cost me a lot; much may not apply to you, as I had to replace not only the frame, but hood, grille, radiator, and fenders, and I went to flat fenders at that time. I also stripped and cleaned my new frame, swapped from 4 cylinder to 6 cylinder engine mounts, and painted the frame. Total cost was over 2 grand.


First suggestion:
Get the new to you frame first, before touching the current rig. Buy as good a frame as you can, and make sure the frame matches your current engine, ie 4 cylinder or 6. Strip it down, clean up any and all rust, do any frame mods you might want in the next 5 years, ie outboard rear shocks, longarm, front shock hoops, etc. Then coat it with rust preventative chassis paint. Consider filling the inside of the frame with something like Eastwood's frame sealer - BUT be sure you've done all welding beforehand, not sure how that stuff likes heat! I used the Eastwood 2k (2 part) Epoxy on my CJ frame, and it's really durable, strongly scrape resistant, and UV stable. Likewise, now is a good time for mods like flat fenders or body armor.

Second:
Before you start any of this, decide if it's better to sell what you have and buy something else complete.

Third:
Decide if you might ever want to do a drivetrain swap. If so, do it now.

Fourth:
Budget. It's gonna cost lots more than you think it will. It's also gonna take longer.

Finally, if you decide to go forward, you CAN do it. I strongly recommend pulling the hood, grille, and fenders before lifting off the tub, then pulling the drivetrain complete (obviously unplug the entire harness and keep it attached to the tub), and then stripping the suspension off the old frame and moving it to the new frame, then dropping the drivetrain back in, then setting the tub back over and finally reattaching all the front clip parts.

When you go to lift the tub... go slow. I promise you will have forgotten SOME wire, cable, or bolt somewhere!

A lift in my opinion is pretty much critical for this swap, or a LOT of room and several friends who are stronger than they are smart! (with a lift and an engine hoist it can be done without much help)

Good luck!
97 TJ. It has some stuff.

jcpangborn
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by jcpangborn » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:26 pm

Thank you for the response and the great advice! It took me a while to get around to it but I finally went frame hunting. I went to a local salvage yard and found a frame that is in really good condition. It is off of a 2005 with a 4 cylinder. My jeep is a 98 with a 6. Aside from the engine mounts needing to be re-located, are there any differences with the 2005 frame that I might run into? Also, any advice with re-locating the engine mounts? Thanks!

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john3676
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by john3676 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:03 pm

Boodyrider wrote:Background: I learned a lot


First suggestion:
make sure the frame matches your current engine, ie 4 cylinder or 6.
must of missed this part? :flipoff:

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Boodyrider
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by Boodyrider » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:04 pm

jcpangborn wrote:Thank you for the response and the great advice! It took me a while to get around to it but I finally went frame hunting. I went to a local salvage yard and found a frame that is in really good condition. It is off of a 2005 with a 4 cylinder. My jeep is a 98 with a 6. Aside from the engine mounts needing to be re-located, are there any differences with the 2005 frame that I might run into? Also, any advice with re-locating the engine mounts? Thanks!

IIRC:
2005 may have metric nutserts in the frame, not a problem if you get the skidpan with it.

As for the engine mounts, carefully carve off the 4 cylinder mounts (TRY HARD NOT TO CUT INTO THE FRAME ITSELF, just cut away the 4 cylinder mount) and find reference points that exist on both frames and are in the same place (fair number of holes in the frame should be identical), measure numerous times, carefully carve the existing mount off old frame, then place as close to that position as possible on your 4 cylinder frame.

My opinion... 05 frame could be a good choice, but not sure if any other differences to 98 than above. Frame with skid shouldn't cost more than about 400.
97 TJ. It has some stuff.

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JackPangborn
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by JackPangborn » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:00 pm

Alright the project is finally under way! I was able to find a frame off of a 97 that was in real good shape. Only thing that I will have to change is the engine mount brackets. Cut off the 4 cyl mounts and relocate ones for my 6.

I spent a lot of time cleaning up the new frame so that I wont have the same issues again. Blew out all of the crap that was collected inside the frame out, power washed the whole thing, coated every surface with some phosphoric acid and then power washed it again. I also drilled some additional drain holes in the bottom so that water should not collect inside.
IMG_3510.JPG
IMG_3515.JPG
After everything had been cleaned up as best as possible I used Eastwood rust encapsulator inside and out. Two good coats then I top coated it with Rustoleum.
IMG_3567.JPG
Now it's time for the fun part. Take apart my jeep and re-assemble.

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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by frosty » Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:09 am

Where is the rust on yours? Got any pics of it?
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by JackPangborn » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:54 pm

It's mainly in the middle and towards the rear. The body mounts on the tub have also rusted and pushed through. I'm traveling back and forth from York to Hagerstown while i'm working on it. I'll take some pictures when i'm back in Hagerstown this weekend.

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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by JackPangborn » Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:39 am

Boodyrider wrote: Finally, if you decide to go forward, you CAN do it. I strongly recommend pulling the hood, grille, and fenders before lifting off the tub, then pulling the drivetrain complete!
Thanks for the advice. I was just wondering, does disassembling the front clip just make the tub removal a lot easier? Or is it not possible to lift the tub without removing the front.

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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by sherwoodiv » Thu Oct 22, 2015 12:01 pm

JackPangborn wrote:
Boodyrider wrote: Finally, if you decide to go forward, you CAN do it. I strongly recommend pulling the hood, grille, and fenders before lifting off the tub, then pulling the drivetrain complete!
Thanks for the advice. I was just wondering, does disassembling the front clip just make the tub removal a lot easier? Or is it not possible to lift the tub without removing the front.
Boodyrider has more experience, but doing fender swaps, the front grill is only held on by 3-4 bolts to each fender so you might bend the fenders. Plus you'll get way better access to the motor
91 YJ with some rust
01 TJ barely legal

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JackPangborn
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by JackPangborn » Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:40 pm

Started working on the front of the Jeep this weekend. Got the radiator out and disassembled what needed to be on the fenders.
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JackPangborn
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by JackPangborn » Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:44 pm

Here are some shots of what my current frame looks like. Towards the rear is the worst. Almost all of my body mounts have pushed through the tub as well.
IMG_3598.JPG
IMG_3599.JPG

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sherwoodiv
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by sherwoodiv » Wed Oct 28, 2015 4:58 pm

JackPangborn wrote:Here are some shots of what my current frame looks like. Towards the rear is the worst. Almost all of my body mounts have pushed through the tub as well.
If the tub is bad too why are you doing a frame swap?
91 YJ with some rust
01 TJ barely legal

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Boodyrider
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by Boodyrider » Wed Oct 28, 2015 10:48 pm

Tub does look kinda rough....
Then again, ya need a good frame to not break in half, and the tub arguably could be repaired too... If I'd seen this thing in person I'da said buy another Jeep. However... call Appalacian Offroad in Westminster, he may still have a few good tubs, and you can reuse front clip, drivetrain, etc.

Good on you for diving in!

Front clip off makes life just ever so much easier... and makes the tub a hell of a lot lighter and better balanced to move over to new to you frame.

Frame work looks awesome, well done!
97 TJ. It has some stuff.

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JackPangborn
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Re: 98 TJ Frame Swap

Post by JackPangborn » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:05 am

The rest of the tub is in pretty good shape. It's just those rails that sit on the body mounts that have really crapped out. I'm hoping I can weld some new sheet metal in there and patch them up. If they are too far gone i might be able to find another tub or parts off a partial one to patch in to mine. The frame and those rails are really the worst parts and the reason I decided to do the frame swap. Everything else I think should be fine to take off my jeep and put right on the new frame. I couldn't bare to sell it for cheap with a rotten frame after putting a lot of work in it over the years. Figured I could salvage it and learn a lot along the way. Hopefully it doesn't burn a hole in my pocket. Which it will.....

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