The Joopacabra build thread.

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
so back to recounting my joopacabra build.
well I have been working late this week so the jeep is coming along kind of slowly. and of course I continue to do dumb things which slow me down.

monday I had to work very late so I did not get anything done and yesterday I only had about an hour to work on the jeep. so we started to run the wiring harness. I tell you this kit from hesco is awesome everything is pretty easy to do. the wiring harness is very straight forward. I made most of the connections in that hour.

we installed the Diode into the field wire of the alternator.

then hooked up all the sensors. the CPS is supposed to have a little paper wafer on it that sets the gap. I could not see any paper wafer but it said in the instructions to push the CPS right up against the harmonic balancer which I did.

then I ran the harness back to the transmission and hooked up the new speed sensor.

on back to the fuel pump. in the instructions it says make sure you know which terminal is positive and which is negative because it is very difficult to see once installed.... I read this little piece of advice after I had it installed of course. so out comes my handy dandy iphone which can get in places my head can't and has a zoom function.

I have found I use that trick a lot. when I could not read what my paint code was on my mustang I just took a pic of it and zoomed it out. if I need to see something under the dash where I can't get my fat head, pic. very useful tool.

anyway I got the fuel pump wired. coated it with dielectric grease per the instructions.

now I had to buy a different downpipe for the exhaust that has an o2 sensor in it. I found the right piece at napa. I had to cut it and it will have to be fabbed back to the catalytic converter. I think I will just run it over to the exhaust shop and let him deal with it. my welder needs to be replaced one of these days. Dad keeps talking about buying one. hopefully he will or else I am going to hopefully this summer.

once I got the exhaust pipe in place I installed the new o2 sensor and wired it up. then I completed the fuel connections by cutting the pressure hard line and splicing it to the new fuel line with a short piece of fuel injection grade rubber hose.

all hoses on the pressure side of the fuel pump are fuel injection grade and double hose clamped.

then I went back up top and hooked the constant 12 volt wire to the starter relay.

the switched twelve volt supply to the yellow wire that went to the old coil.

the ground went to the dipstick hold down bolt.

neutral safety switch wire to the ground wire on the starter relay.

with all the wires connected I hooked the battery back up, turned the key on and purged the fuel lines through the schrader valve

you may notice in that picture above that there is only one hose clamp on that fuel line. that is the first of my minor messups. after reading the instructions again I had to go back and put another hoseclamp on all my connections.

once all that was done I could not resist cranking the jeep over. crank sputter crank sputter crank,,,,,nothing.

crap,,, about that time my Dad showed up and he is convinced the timing is off. I told him that it can't be, we checked it six ways from sunday. he thinks that the stupid distributor must be 180 out.

I did not think so. after all my research and checking I was sure that part was right. but I was not sure about that stupid CPS. Dad says he told me to gap it with a feeler gauge and he probably did. I did not do that however. so we reset the cps with the feeler gauge to .025 and what do you know it fired. we shut it down as soon as it hit because we still did not have the radiator or anything in it.

then we put the front end back on connected the radiator hoses and filled it with water.

she's alive. obviously we have no exhaust on it yet, and I still have a vacuum leak because I have not replaced the brake booster hose yet.

I still need to loom up the wiring better, and I just stuck the old spark plugs back in it so I will get some new champions and install them after I get the exhaust done.

next dumb mistake. I looked through the contents of the kit when I got it and thought I had everything, except the kickdown cable. hesco lists that as a separate piece so I thought it was not in the kit so I ordered it. it came tonight and it is exactly the same as the cable I already have. crap again, it was the throttle cable that was not in the kit and when I checked the packing sheet it does say the kickdown cable is included so I should have checked better. I am going to see if I can steal the one off the cherokee and make it work, if not I will have to call hesco again.

anyway I am not done yet but it is alive. it ran a little rough at first but then settled down, I am sure the computer is getting dialed in and it may take a bit before it is all recalibrated. the throttle response so far is pretty good so I am looking forward to getting it out and driving it. hopefully this weekend.

I also bought a K&N FIPK since it is designed for a 91-95 jeep I am going to have to do some judicious fabricating to make it work but I think it will look better than that funky thing they sent in the kit.
I took the jeep over to the muffler shop and had the exhaust hooked back up. it was missing pretty obviously on the way over so once I got the exhaust on it I swapped the spark plugs to some new champions and then changed the oil. took it for a spin and it seemed like everything was working perfectly. so I took my wife to the football game in it and it ran great but when I tried to start it after the game it barely started and the lights were really dim. I just about got it home and it died. obviously the alternator was not charging for some reason, and I obviously had not even looked at the voltmeter. so I walked the rest of the way home, came back with my jump starter battery. hooked it up to the battery and it started up and I drove it the rest of the way home with that hooked to the battery.

so we checked all the connections and they looked fine so I pulled the alternator out and took it over to o'reilly's this morning and had it tested. it tested fine. so we took it back and checked the wiring again. I powdercoated the mount so i thought maybe I wasn't getting a good enough ground.
1. so I ran a dedicated ground from the alternator anchor bolt to the chassis ground.

2. then I found out that one of the wires in the connector that plugged into the alternator was loose, so I took it out of the plug, wire brushed it, bent the little retaining tang a bit more and plugged it back in. put it back together fired it up and it still didn't charge so I revved it up a bit, and then it was charging. shut off the switch and it wouldn't shut off. so I disconnected the alternator plug and it died. at this point we looked again at the diode we installed in the alternator wiring harness and it was installed per the instructions with the "pink connector toward the alternator". so we researched, and tested the diode and read until we decided the pink connector must have been installed wrong in the kit. we switched it around and it worked perfectly.

so I drained and flushed the radiator and hooked up the heater hoses.
installed the 91 style washer bottle and fixed the wiring so now the rear windshield washer works.

took it for a cruise and it is running perfectly. now I have some minor things to finish up, like
1. cleaning up and looking the wires so it looks better,
2. figure out how to make the tachometer work with the new coil and wiring harness
3. make the k&N FIPK work with this 90 wrangler.
4. swap the throttle cables for the correct one when it arrives.
5. wire up the check engine light.
6. I also discovered I have a slow brake fluid leak that i did not know about so I am going to have to sort that out as well.

once I get that done this jeep will be pretty well restored I must say.

ok here is where we started

here is a pic of where I am at now.

I picked up a piece of strap iron today to make brackets for the air filter assembly. since this K&N FIPK is made for a 95 wrangler I do not have the proper mounting point for the stock airbox to tie into and the powersteering bracket is different as well so I had to improvise. the first thing I did was roughly place everything in where I wanted it. then I marked it. I cut a couple pieces of strap and bent them to fit the angle where I wanted to make my mounting holes. then I attached them to the bottom of the enclosure, and made sure everything lined up. then I cut a piece to go in between those two angle pieces and welded it together. I had to bend them at different angles because the front mount hits right about where the shock tower starts. once you position the bracket and tighten it down it sits pretty level, and is nice and solid. adequate for the job anyway.

not pretty but it worked. then I cleaned it up a bit more and powdercoated it. bolted it in place to the jeep fender and then bolted the enclosure to it. next I had to make a new bracket for the "saddle" that is supposed to attach to the upper bolt on the powersteering pump adjuster. that does not line up well on my jeep so I used the front intake and exhaust manifold bolt, and I powdercoated it red as well.

then I put it together and tightened all the clamps. I think it gives it a more finished look.

after I got it to this point I let my daughter drive it to school for a while. then I bought a tj and gave it to my daughter because it had air conditioning and cruise control etc. then I gave the yj to my son who promptly sold it to my daughters boyfriend, deep breath, then he drove it for a while till he went to college and needed a more reliable vehicle for long distance driving. so I traded him for my 99 F150. my old truck was a really nice truck. He definitely got the better end of the deal, but I wanted the jeep back. I really like this kid and I wanted to help him out. so anyway long story short I got my jeep back in December and started right in fixing all the stuff that a year and a half of neglect had caused. come back next time for more adventures with the yj
wow it has been a long time since I have been on this forum. but I have done a lot of stuff to my yj.

I put in custom speedhut gauges.

i put the joopacabra decals on it also.

new bumpers and winch

2.5 inch rubicon express lift with 31 10.50 general tires

I did a dana 44 rear axle and regeared both front and rear to 4.10 and added arb air lockers front and back. with dual arb air compressor and 1 gallon tank.

and I just pulled the trigger on a golen 4.6 stroker that I will be swapping in next month

I plasti dipped the head light bezels and the door handles

converted to a tj style one piece front axle and upgraded to black magic disk brakes and pads with a dual diaphragm brake booster.

bushwacker flares.

now the old joop is looking good, it has the lockers to back up the looks, the winch to get me out of the trouble I get in, and soon I will have the horsepower to get me into more problems
well, this arrived yesterday. I drained the radiator, and removed the exhaust mid pipe last night. so the tear down is in progress.



I figured my motor mounts would be shot when I pulled the engine, (and I was right) so I ordered some brown dog replacements. they are not in yet so I went ahead and spent some time with the pressure washer and degreaser to clean the engine bay up a bit.

I still have to take some stuff off the old engine, but I don't want to do that until I am ready to drop the new engine in.


last night I decided to clean up the grill and mount the new griffin aluminum radiator.


it has been raining so much and hailing the last few days so I am parking my new truck in the shop. tonight I hope to be able to pull my brother in laws toyota in to see if I can start tearing the exhaust manifold out. if I can get that done by this weekend I might be able to get a few more things done on the jeep like cleaning up some of the accessories. but I am on hold right now waiting on my motor mounts, and a night off call to drop the engine in.

Latest posts