There have been calls over the years from some sections of Jeep owners for a Jeep TJ frame recall. The major reason for this has been the fact that the frame of this iconic Jeep model has been susceptible to rust damage on certain parts leading to significant risk.
The Jeep TJ has actually never had a frame recall despite the many calls for it. The problem is, however, so prevalent that there are independent companies that manufacture repair kits for this particular problem.
Current and aspiring Jeep owners need to be mindful of this in order to take necessary preventative action or to be aware of this issue when shopping for a Jeep Wrangler JT.
In this article we are going to look into the various issues that affect the Jeep Wrangler JT in order for you to be on the lookout for them and take preventative or remedial action where necessary.
Jeep TJ Frame Problems
The Jeep TJ frame has well documented issues that affect it but not all TJs are affected by them. The numbers are large enough, however, to justify some action being taken in order to address them.
The Jeep Wrangler TJ line ran from 1997 to 2006 and was replaced by the JkU in 2007. The JKU has since been recalled multiple time over different issues.
The major problem with the TJ has to do with its frame. The frame tends to rust in specific places particularly on the lower parts and close to the wheels. You only need to visit a few Jeep forums to see just how prevalent this issue really is among TJ owners.
Where to Look For Rust on a Jeep TJ Frame
If you own a Jeep Wrangler, there are generally a few places where you can look to see whether your Jeep has been affected by rust.
It mainly appears on the frame near the wheels and on the lower parts of the frame where water collects. In some instances, you will also find it on the front part of the frame near the fender and where the frame attaches to the control arms and axles.
As stated earlier on in this article, it’s not easy to see the rot physically until it has already worked its way through the metal.
There are some things that you can do though to make sure that the frame is intact. When inspecting your own Jeep or one that you are considering buying, take a hammer and smack your way around the frame.
You want to hear a sound with a slight ring to it and not a thud. Be sure to hit it hard but not so much that you dent it. When you hear a more blunted sound, the frame has some internal rot going on.
It is quite normal to find some surface rust on the frame and generally isn’t any reason to be alarmed. If you are already an owner and find that your frame is affected by rot, there are a few things that you can do in order to get your Jeep frame in good shape again.
If you don’t happen to have a hammer on hand, you can conduct a physical inspection by putting your finger through one of the holes in the frame and feeling around the inside.
If the insides chip off, this is a sign that there is internal rot going on. This is not as efficient way of doing an inspection because there are a few places that your finger will go into.
Jeep TJ Frame Repair
It is quite common to find that the rot on a frame can affect the bottom part of that section but not the top part. Instead of fixing that whole section, all you simply need to do is replace the affected portion.
There are companies that manufacture and sell frame repair kits and one of the most popular is Safe T Cap. If you are proficient enough, you can conduct the repairs yourself here is a guide on jeep wrangler rustproofing.
If you are taking this route, you need to make sure that you do it the right way because a bad weld job will lead to safety risks.
The most ideal route would be to have a professional shop do it so that you’re rest assured that the job is done perfectly.
A repaired frame can be just as good as a brand new frame as long as care has been taken to ensure that the all the compromised portions of the frame are repaired properly.
Once fixed, it’s a good idea to clean the frame with a wire brush then coat it with a protective compound so that it’s not affected by rust in the future.
Frame Replacement for Jeep TJ
If the damage to the frame is so bad that a repair is not possible, you will need to replace the whole thing. Taking this route gives your Jeep a new lease of life, as it were. Just like with frame repair kits, there are lot of companies out there that make full Jeep frames.
It is important to conduct some research when it comes to Jeep frames. Go for companies that have a good track record. A Jeep is an off road vehicle and the demands that are placed on it generally trump those of other vehicles.
You, therefore, need to ensure that the specific frame manufacturer you are going for meets the required standards. The last thing you need is a further issues with your frame down the road.
The Jeep JT has had a number of issues when it comes to frame rot. Though there have been calls to have it recalled due to them, it remains one of the most popular Jeep models and a good number of Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts own this machine.
If you are a current owner, make sure to inspect your TJ’s frame so that you don’t run into some of problems highlighted here.
A good idea is to have drainage holes drilled in the frame so that water doesn’t collect. If you are looking at getting one, make sure that you do your due diligence in order to ensure that you don’t get one with a compromised frame.