Thanks for the feedback.
A PO had the LS done a few years back. The heater is (was) in when I bought it but like many here it was blowing weak. I pulled the core and it had the expected pine needles (after reading threads here) so I suspect that was a big part of the problem. Since then I've pulled all ducting etc. from inside as well. Haven't pulled the blower yet but will.
Goal is a good looking and reliable daily driver.
I've never tackled a job like this ... scope and effort so this is a big and a little scary. I'm not mechanical in a sense of I won't get deep into the engine, rebuild a transfer cased or drivetrain like many of the folks here do. I'm envious of their skill. I've never done that, don't have all the tools and would probably just end up getting stuck and frustrated. Fortunately, I do have some buddies who are great mechanics and can help out when we get to that point. Having said that, it runs great so fingers crossed not a lot of work needed. A good tune up, new wire and injectors etc.
I have helped a few buddies add digital gauges, swap suspension components etc. I grew up riding and racing motocross and did work on my bike. Rebuild a few carbs and components over time on boats etc. So, not a total idiot but definitely a novice.
Time I have so that's a plus.
I can work on the rig and do things over as many times as needed to get it right.
My Girlfriends brother has been welding since he was a kid, worked in the industry almost as long and teaches at the local community college. His forte is Tig but he's accomplished across the board. I'm going to drive the jeep down to him, spend three long days doing rust repair, cutting panels open to inspect for hidden rust etc. Plan is to get a good working hands on crash course, then come back home and practice practice practice so I can do things I need myself as I move along.
I've been reading a lot of the threads here, reading books on wiring, relays etc. That combined with the help from the harness guys I think is enough to get me thru that. And my buddies here said give em a call if I get stuck.
As I pull apart and do rust repair it makes sense to probably paint it. A bit of budget issue so will figure that out. I'd do the body work, again time is on my side, not sure I'd paint it though. Also something I've never done.
I want to try to do things myself. Then when I'm done I'll know what I have and understand my rig. Having resources like friends, FSJN etc. is going to be a big help to learn from the real pros.
Ideally, on AC I'd buy and then have it professionally installed by someone like you, who has done it and knows how to do it right. I've seen too much bad work done by "shops" and don't know of any around I'd trust. Smaller town and new to area so that may change with time.
I've been taking tons of pictures as I disassemble and bagging and tagging all parts etc. I'm sure, like many have mentioned here, when I get to putting it all back together I'll curse myself for not taking nearly enough.
When I have a full plan in place and know exactly what I'm going to do I'll be posting pics along the way. May reach out to you on the A/C if that's ok. Perhaps even plan a drive when most of the work is done and let you do it in your shop. I think you said you do that.