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Restoring a Uniframe

Root Moose

NAXJA Forum User
ON, Canada
I have a 2 door XJ that I bought a long time ago to be a drivetrain donor for my MJ. This was a long time ago, maybe 12-13 years and well back before XJs were becoming collectible.

It's a moderately built Jeep with typical northeast rust. The uniframe at the driver's side foot well is basically gone.

Turning it over in my mind I was wondering how far gone a Jeep has to be before you consider it not worth the effort to try to bring it back. I mean, nice XJs are starting to fetch good money but this one is not that.

Does anyone know what grade of steel the uniframe is made from? Is it practical to bend up a new one if someone wanted to give it a go just to build some sheet metal working skills?

I kind of feel "bad" potentially scrapping an otherwise complete, rare-ish 2 door Jeep XJ.

I guess this is more of a philosophical question than anything.

I think it would be reasonable if the repair area is relatively small, I have never heard of anyone doing a major restoration. I have seen a full frame (like a tj) being made with a xj bolting on it!
I think I read once that the unibody rails are made from a medium carbon alloy, something like a 1035 steel.

You gotta figure if that one spot is that bad, the rest of it isn't far behind.

I remember seeing the framed XJ awhile back and not understanding it at the time. Now I get it. The unibody was a phenomenal design at the time of production, but its much less friendly to working on like a framed vehicle. After I did my floors, I had wished that instead of just patching the rust holes I pulled the floor panels up completely so I could've treated the inside of the rails. Thinking about doing that with questionable rails sounds like its not worth it.

I could see an argument for doing a box tubing frame under an XJ body. I think if I were to do it, I'd weld the body right to the frame to keep it "unibody" rather than making a body mount system. Sure would be a pretty badass project.
Any XJ would be a donor for good metal. A few years back I bought a complete rear 1/4 panel with the frame rail plus 12 inches of roof and cargo floor to use as parts for a crushed rear 1/4 panel. I think I paid about $250 for the parts.
Everyone like pictures, no? Horror shows below...

Being realistic, this Jeep is too far gone.




Getting front/mid/back cuts and/or making a new frame are interesting ideas. Maybe if I didn't have 2 other XJs and an MJ I'd consider looking further into that. There's only so many hours in a day so not likely for this Jeep.
Floor pan/s, rocker/s and at least one section of frame rail looking rough there. Could be fixed with enough time and effort. If not there is likely alot of good parts that could help someone else out like the 2 dr specific windows, door/interior panels, seats etc. And parts that anyone could use like hatch, front and rear windshield, grill etc. I would break it down and either sell the good parts to people that need them to complete their vehicle or keep them incase you need them down the road. The XJ (repro) aftermarket is not great and these parts (especially 2 dr specific) are not growing on trees anymore. Scrap only what has no hope. Like Tim_MN said, there are people out there that need rear quarters etc. Just me personally, but I really dislike vehicles getting crushed, knowing that they never will be made again and someone out there has a vehicle that can never be complete without a part (or panel) that is not availible in the aftermarket.