Need advice on a Jeep

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Feb 10, 2024
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10
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Florida
Hello everyone, I’m looking at a 1992 Jeep Wrangler yj and need some advice. The seller says he’s put over $13k into it, as he’s turned it into his company car and has used it as advertisement for his company. He is asking $5,500( he said he can go $5,000). The fuse box caught on fire when one of his employees was driving it to an event… he says he and some of his guys have tried replacing it and fixing it and that one of them got it running but no fuel was getting to the engine. He says he can almost guarantee the car will work perfectly fine if I can fix the fuse box but I’m not sure if it’s worth the risk. I’m curious to know if the fuse box catching fire is a common thing and if it’s expensive/hard to fix? I’ve never worked on cars(and this would be my first car) but I’m good at fixing things and if it’s not too complicated of a thing I could probably fix it. I know this is a long one lol but just wanted to know other Jeep enthusiasts opinions before I make a purchase. Thank you in advance
 
I have seen a few fires occur in the 11 years I’ve been in the YJ world (fb posts, forums, etc), I still don’t exactly know why it happens. I do know sometimes people have wires pull out of their slots in the PDC. Not sure why on that either, maybe the retaining tabs weren’t bent out enough from the factory, or maybe they broke from years of use which then frees the wire to pull right out.

I do know the alternator charge cable that provides voltage to the PDC and subsequently charge voltage to the battery (+) terminal, splits into 2 10 gauge cables as it enters the PDC. Don’t know why Jeep did it that way, because it starts at the alternator as 6 gauge single cable. For whatever they split it into 2 and ran each through a fuse at the PDC that connect to a buss bar on the other side of the fuses. So the cable is essentially a Y.

My theory used to be that one of the 2 10 gauge legs pulls out of the PDC, because I know that sometimes happens with the PDC and these types of cables in general. However, say one leg did pull out and shorted to ground, while yes you would be able to short the battery to ground through the other leg, the fuse that leg is connected to should pop……

So I don’t know what the actual problem is. The PDC doesn’t have any large ground cables going through it. Maybe a relay ground comes loose and touches the buss bar. I really don’t know.

I do know you can buy a firewall harness from eBay which will have the PDC and firewall fuse panel bulkhead connector and replace in order to replace the harness if needed. My guess is the ones that catch on fire are a victim of neglect, but since it’s hard to find where the fire starts once everything’s burned, it’s truly hard to say.
 
I have seen a few fires occur in the 11 years I’ve been in the YJ world (fb posts, forums, etc), I still don’t exactly know why it happens. I do know sometimes people have wires pull out of their slots in the PDC. Not sure why on that either, maybe the retaining tabs weren’t bent out enough from the factory, or maybe they broke from years of use which then frees the wire to pull right out.

I do know the alternator charge cable that provides voltage to the PDC and subsequently charge voltage to the battery (+) terminal, splits into 2 10 gauge cables as it enters the PDC. Don’t know why Jeep did it that way, because it starts at the alternator as 6 gauge single cable. For whatever they split it into 2 and ran each through a fuse at the PDC that connect to a buss bar on the other side of the fuses. So the cable is essentially a Y.

My theory used to be that one of the 2 10 gauge legs pulls out of the PDC, because I know that sometimes happens with the PDC and these types of cables in general. However, say one leg did pull out and shorted to ground, while yes you would be able to short the battery to ground through the other leg, the fuse that leg is connected to should pop……

So I don’t know what the actual problem is. The PDC doesn’t have any large ground cables going through it. Maybe a relay ground comes loose and touches the buss bar. I really don’t know.

I do know you can buy a firewall harness from eBay which will have the PDC and firewall fuse panel bulkhead connector and replace in order to replace the harness if needed. My guess is the ones that catch on fire are a victim of neglect, but since it’s hard to find where the fire starts once everything’s burned, it’s truly hard to say.
Thank you for your insight I appreciate it. If I were to figure out how to replace the fuse box properly do you think it would give me any future problems?
 
Thank you for your insight I appreciate it. If I were to figure out how to replace the fuse box properly do you think it would give me any future problems?
Hard to say. If the fire only damaged wiring and that’s why it won’t run right now, then I’d assume picking up a known-good harness will fix the problem. Might need to give it a once or twice over to make sure it’s all good and buy one that looks clean in the photos. Don’t buy from either of the 2 dead Jeeps for wiring stuff.

If the fire damaged other stuff, it’s probably fixable. YJs are pretty simple overall. It’s the stuff like interior panels, heater parts, engine computers, etc that are getting hard to find.

Is it in good shape overall? If it’s a bucket-o-junk I’d skip it, but if it seems pretty clean and not too damaged from the fire, then I might would buy it and consider a harness swap. It’s easy to swap the harness.
 
Hard to say. If the fire only damaged wiring and that’s why it won’t run right now, then I’d assume picking up a known-good harness will fix the problem. Might need to give it a once or twice over to make sure it’s all good and buy one that looks clean in the photos. Don’t buy from either of the 2 dead Jeeps for wiring stuff.

If the fire damaged other stuff, it’s probably fixable. YJs are pretty simple overall. It’s the stuff like interior panels, heater parts, engine computers, etc that are getting hard to find.

Is it in good shape overall? If it’s a bucket-o-junk I’d skip it, but if it seems pretty clean and not too damaged from the fire, then I might would buy it and consider a harness swap. It’s easy to swap the harness.
It’s in pretty good shape overall, there’s some rust here and there but for a car that’s 30+ years old I think it’s pretty decent. The guy definitely put some money into it but it’s not as clean as a brand new car lol
 
It’s in pretty good shape overall, there’s some rust here and there but for a car that’s 30+ years old I think it’s pretty decent. The guy definitely put some money into it but it’s not as clean as a brand new car lol
Makes sense. If you’re decently handy or at least willing to learn, can find a good harness on eBay, and like everything else about it, I’d say go for it.
 
It’s in pretty good shape overall, there’s some rust here and there but for a car that’s 30+ years old I think it’s pretty decent. The guy definitely put some money into it but it’s not as clean as a brand new car lol
It also doesn’t look like the fire damaged anything but the fuse box and fuses as it melted quite a bit. Other than the fuse box though I didn’t see fire damage anywhere else
 
IMO most jeep/dodge/chrysler products have crap electrical systems. Purely my opinion which is far from Dorf's experiences, after 12 jeeps and working on a fleet of hemi cop cars. Common? no. See if " Painless" makes a wiring kit for it. My take on used vehicles that dont run is walk away unless its a steal and your will to invest untold amounts of $$$ to make it work. I've heard the "well it never did that before" line one to many times from untruthful sellers. It do look decent but prepare for the worst case scenario.
 
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I took pictures of the outside right before I left but forgot to take a picture of the burnt up fuse box. He’s replaced the fuse box and has some wires in some out but is saying it’s not the right fuse box or something. For those who were wondering (sorry I didn’t specify before 😅) it’s a straight 6, 4.0L engine. The car has some rust here and there but not to bad. If I can figure out how to post pictures here I’ll do that. Also, it doesn’t look like the fire effected anything but the fuse box
 
Here's some pics

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IMG_6603.jpeg


IMG_6600.jpeg


IMG_6598.jpeg
 
This is his description from the listing:

1992 YJ straight 6


So many new parts including the flowing :


New Ecm


Lights


Seats


Roll bar padding


Tires


Brakes


Wheels


Lift kit


Brake lines


Rhino liner inside and out


Rock guards


35" mt tires


So on and so on over $11,000 spent including a motor tune up


Used it every single day, fuse box had a corroded fuse, bought a new one to stall, but do not have time for a rewire if the fuse box


Ecm is good still warranty


You can by pass, direct connect . Your loss my gain


Don't have time any more and we are moving to another location.


$5500 please come by to see the work
 
The burnt up fuse box location is by the battery. I only thought there was one fuse box so I apologize for the confusion 😅
 
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that is called The PDC, and no photos of the damage.

it has no top? on Florida.
He’s half replaced the fuse box so there’s no damage to be found under the hood just a bunch of wires that are yet to be hooked up. The fuse box he removed which I should’ve taken a picture of but forgot is melted in the middle… I’ll ask if he has any pics. And no top that I know of
 
Chasing electrical gremlins can be the worst, especially after a fire. As others mentioned, if you wind up purchasing it, I would pick up another harness and swap out the entire thing. To my knowledge, Painless does not make a kit for the fuel injected YJ, only up to 1990. Looks like that YJ is in decent shape and has some aftermarket parts on it. If it's solid otherwise it would be worth saving. Swapping out the harness for another complete one is not a tough job, just a little tedious but worth it IMO. I would still offer less though as it's not a running Jeep and you are unable to verify any other issues it might have before hand.