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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
An opportunity has presented itself to purchase a TJ frame, suspension, and axles that had an engine fire. What damage should I look for? I anticipate the front coils and shocks would need replacing, but would the frame have suffered? How about the front axle? My thoughts are, with my CJ reconstuction, that I could swap a decent frame and suspension under it while it is torn apart. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree. Your thoughts/opinions would be appreciated.

 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I don't really think a firs could damage the heavy parts like the frame and axles. That stuff is usually cast iron just like the cooking wear you would use on your stove, which withstands high temperatures for long periods of time. Maybe it would be even stronger since it has been heat treated, kind of. I guess that might be totally different though. I am sure that are a lot of valuable part of the TJ that could be used without any damage from the heat. I can't be sure though.
Russ

 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It would depend in great measure upon where the fire was in the engine compartment, and how substantial it was. If it was bad enough, it could've cooked bearings/oil in the axles. The wiring harnesses are almost certainly destroyed, as are the rubber/poly bushings in the suspension. I don't think the coils would be damaged unless the fire was really, really hot...and if they were, then you'd certainly want to replace the steering components (if it was hot enough to ruin springs, then do you really wanna trust that tie rod?) Speaking of which, anything that is greased or oiled has a good chance of being ruined/scorched. Especially the engine. There are probably parts you could salvage, and depending on where the fire was and what it burned, you might find a bargain or a lemon. Look for not only fire damage, but heat damage. Look at the bearings, bushings, etc. Look for paint/sticker bubbling everywhere to try to see just how hot it got and where. Moreover, instead of just looking, use something hard (knife, screwdriver, etc.) to prod around. If rubber gets really hot and doesn't burn, it should be very, very dry and probably will flake off with gentle prodding. The signs of heat on a newer vehicle (like a TJ) are everywhere...plastics that have melted, wires burned clean...finding the extent of the damage should be a matter of looking, and it would probably pay (since you're the buyer and not the seller) to assume the worst. If you do buy it, obviously, drain, clean, inspect and refurbish everything you use before you trust it.

Measure once, cut twice...or is that the other way around?
 

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I look at the axle seals and bearings. If the water was applied when the metal was hot look for surface rust, check the inside of the frame along with the outside.

 

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Heating and cooling metal changes its properties. If the frame was heated too much it will probably be weaker than a regular frame. It could end up being brittle or soft so you could hit a bump and the frame could crack or bend. Unless you know that the fire was small, I would stay away from it.

 
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