When people drive a specific vehicle for a long time, they become emotionally attached to it. But as the years go by, they get closer to the moment when the restoration is inevitable. This was the case with Marty from Long Island, New York, and his 1989 Jeep YJ restoration.
He called me one day to ask me to do a restoration on his machine. Even when we were talking on the phone, I felt how important this car was to him. We talked about every single detail, and he carefully described to me his wishes and expectations.
He quickly realized we can help him achieve his mission and add a new spirit to his adored machine.
After completing all the formalities and paperwork in the next few days, he sent his Jeep to our Palm Beach Customs workshop in Florida, and the 1989 Jeep Y-J restoration was ready to start.
New Body, New Chassis – New Parts Everywhere!
From the very beginning of this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration, we found that the chassis and the body were pretty rusty. We were expecting that from previous talks with Marty, but we all hoped that the situation could be better.
So I quickly located a solid, rust-free YJ body and chassis in New Mexico and picked them up.
As soon as we got back, we took everything apart. The next step in this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration was sandblasting. After we finished and successfully stripped all layers until the bare metal, we put the body on the rotisserie for white metal sandblast & b epoxy primer for high-quality protection.
In the next picture, you can see the completely rebuilt body.
Then we spray-on a Reflex Bedliner on all critical surfaces. We applied it on the whole underneath side, including wheel arches and the inside on the complete floor, tub, and tailgate.
The Reflex Bedliner is our regular choice. It always provides us with maximum protection, longevity, and durability. It also goes great with all the different colors, giving them both rigid and refined looks.
In the next picture, you can see how we did the underneath side in this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration. It looks awesome!
But that was not all. We completely rebuild the chassis and all mechanics underneath the Jeep too. So we:
- Put all new axle bearings,
- Did complete rear brake job,
- Changed all leaf springs and bushings,
- Redid the complete front end,
- Put all new tire rod ends, ball joints, idler arms, and steering stabilizer,
- Went with a brand new set of stainless fuel tank lines,
- Completely rebuild the suspension.
You can see everything in the next picture:
Then we started rebuilding the engine compartment. We went with the brand new 6 cylinder 258 engine with 3 years unlimited miles warranty.
With a replacement of the old engine with a new one, we achieved 3 major advantages:
- Extend the life of the restored YJ.
- Eliminate the need for small repairs in the warranty period.
- Move the attention from the Jeep’s engine problems to the driving enjoyment.
In that way, we could maximize the positive effect of this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration.
In the next picture, you can see the engine after assembling the suspension onto the chassis and all the mechanicals.
We carefully examine all the other engine and mechanical parts and changed many of them, including:
- new alternator
- brand new radiator
- brand new distributor
- new fuel pump
- new fuel regulator
- weber carburetor with a complete tune-up
- rebuild transmission
- (new) transfer case service
- all new u joints and the driveshaft
- new clutch, flywheel, pressure plate, and throw-out bearing
- new alternator,
- new batteries
- new radiator,
- new complete brakes, all new rotors, and calipers,
- new front and rear wheel bearings,
- new rear pads
- new brake kit
- all-new emergency brake lines,
- new stainless service brake lines
- new fuel lines
- all new shocks
The next step was painting.
White Satin For The Win!
From the start, Marty told us he wanted a white satin for his Jeep. He didn’t want us to use a high gloss clear in this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration. He wanted his Jeep not to be so refined, a little bit grainy, and less shiny. And all I can say is that he made a great choice.
In the painting process for this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration, we used a white base factory jeep color and then applied a satin clear finish. We also used the same procedure on the doors, hood, front grill, and the outside of the tailgate.
We completely restored the soft top and re-textured it with the same texture holding and then applied a satin-black finish on the outside. The effect was awesome!
Other exterior parts we’ve painted in black satin and finish were:
- front and rear bumpers,
- all the lower and rocker moldings
- all four new flares
- the rollbar
From the front side, we went with many smaller black satin attachments for the hood.
We also put in new factory stainless hood hinges and new wiper blades in this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration. We changed the windshield with a new one and we put a new cowl rubber underneath the windshield as well as a full weatherstrip kit on all the doors.
Adding Quality and Style to the Exterior
Marty’s Jeep included the Hard Doors package. They are more solid, tough, and durable and significantly improve passenger’s safety.
As always, we paid close attention to details. In this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration, not only we installed new inner and outer rubbers on windows, but we also put new channel runs and custom-made inner door panels with the loop and handles.
Another important detail in this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration was a new thick-wall stainless steel, rust-resistant exhaust. At the backside, we set a factory-new spare tire holder.
In this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration, we put all 5 new 33inch 12.5R Ko2 tires from BFG plus the spare tire. Rated as the best in class, they will last longer, providing Marty with safety even during aggressive driving periods – worth all the money spent on them.
They were black satin 15 inches rims made by the US Wheels. fenders flares were also painted separately black satin. They were all part of the Blackout Package.
Adding Some Charm to the Interior
For the interior changes in this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration, we choose the high-quality Bestop Trail max seats – very good looking and extremely comfortable.
Also, we put brand new lap belts and 3 point front belts. At the back, just behind the front seats, we set 6×9 inches speakers boxes with JBL speakers inside. Technically precise solution for the available space. We can’t imagine such a rough and stylish machine without good vibеs in the air.
As I previously mentioned, we completely restored the hardtop to follow the inside color and finish, we painted the inside part with white satin. In the next picture, you can see a sequence of the back top restoration process.
When we put the restored back top, the roll bar was completely inside of the Jeep. We painted it in black satin and it looked absolutely incredible.
At the front, we changed the old steering wheel with a brand new one and rebuilt the column. This will make steering easier and better than ever before.
At the central console between the front seats, we installed a Tuffy lockbox with a Sony stereo tucked inside. Personally, I love its functionalities. It’s awesome and it perfectly fits in the interior.
Additionally, we set some pistons to the tailgate, so Marty can easily remove the back seat with latch flips when needed.
Upfront, we changed so many things. The complete wiring harness was changed, and the shifter boots were changed with new ones.
We completely rebuilt the dashboard. We spiced up the look with new bezels and lights. The white satin and shiny chrome had their special happy story.
The Happy Ending
In the end, Marty loved how we performed his 1989 Jeep YJ restoration. It was his old Jeep’s soul, but its functionalities and look were better than ever before. He told us that he will transfer his YJ to a new destination – Naples, Florida. There it will stay at Marty’s parents’ house, so whenever he stays there, he’ll have something cool to drive around.
If you have any questions or need additional information, do not hesitate to contact us.
And do not forget to watch the video I filmed especially for this 1989 Jeep YJ restoration.
I’ve never restored a vehicle before so I’m really interested in learning about the process. I have a 1987 YJ Jeep Wrangler that needs TLC. Please help a old broad that has 2 Jeeps!
I also live in the Keys.