Jeep Diary: big catchup

December 23rd, 2009

Holy crap I’ve done a lot to my Heep since the last time I wrote here.  A quick recap:

  • fabbed up some rock sliders (but still didn’t paint them yet)
  • mounted a Superwinch LP8500 on the front bumper
  • Rusty’s HD tie rod and drag link kit (courtesy of Adam)
  • new/reman alternator (broke brackets on old one finishing MML install…)
  • 19 pound Mustang fuel injectors (have had them laying around for 2 years now)
  • Durango steering box upgrade (and a new PS pump)
  • 7″ flares (YJ fronts, TJ rears with some sheet metal trimming)
  • removed front track arm after my steering stabilizer got eaten by the relocation bracket
  • new Old Man Emu steering stabilizer
  • speed bleeders in new front calipers
  • new cat-back exhaust (<$50: AutoZone generic muffler and Quadratec tailpipe)

I just rolled 144k miles today/yesterday.  Changed the oil a few hundred miles ago the weekend after turkey day (5W-30 for the winter).  Tires are still holding up well, no crazy wear.  The fronts are slightly more worn (duh) so I’m likely going to rotate them soon.  I tore apart, lubed, and adjusted the rear brakes at around the same time.  Also, both of my front calipers are less than 3 months old courtesyof Whispering Pines Hideaway.  Mud sucks.

I recently removed my TC drop to get some good measurements for a Tom Woods SYE/CV combo.  I drove around a bit w/out the TC drop and decided to leave it out for now because the vibes are pretty manageable.  My rear DS joints are probably hurting pretty bad, but I should be able to get to the TW gear this weekend (garage time as a Christmas present?).  Speaking of TW, I ordered the el cheapo SYE/CV driveshaft combo, but they were out of the reman kits _and_ the AA kit _and_ the JB Conversions HD kit.  The sent me the HD Super-Duty SYE kit for the price of the reman SYE.  Score!  It has a 32 spline indestructible output flange.  My little 2.5L will never be able to make it sweat.  I bought 8 degree shims with the kit to point my D35 pinion toward the TC, but I fear that I might need a few more degrees.  I can either stack some shims, send away for bigger shims, or installed taller lift shackles.  I guess I’ll know in a few days.

With the SYE I’ll also be swapping out the transmission stabilizer stud (torque arm bolt).  I just replaced this bolt a few years ago because the old one was all bunged up.  Now I can’t take the skid off w/out cutting this damned bolt off.  I got new poly bushings for it, too, since they were only $2.  In the same 4WD order I bought a lube locker gasket for my D30 (don’t care about the D35 since I’m dead-set on a Ford 8.8 in the new year).  We’ll see if it lives up to the hype.

I guess I’ll take some pics of the current state of the union this weekend.  I don’t have any good pics since I put my flares on.  I want to paint my sliders before busting out the camera.  Rustoleum flat black, just like my old ‘Yota.

Jeep Laundry List

March 5th, 2009

When I got back from Rausch Creek this weekend, I realized that a few things on my Jeep needed some TLC.

  • front left brake line started to leak from where the banjo is crimped to the braided hose (4WD.com is replacing them for free, should be here in a few days)
  • the bolt that attaches my track arm relocation bracket to the axle came loose; I squirted some red locktite on it for now, but I think I need a longer bolt for the nylock to get a good bite
  • I broke two exhaust hangers and possibly beat up my muffler (coat hangers rule)
  • both ends of my front bumper are bunged up as is my passenger rear bumperette
  • on board air mounting plate came loose once (need to put some light-duty locktite on that…)
  • lower steering column bearing has some new wiggles (ordered new bearing for ~$10)

I haven’t yet looked at my diff fluid (to make sure it is still there, really), but I think my axle disco housing is leaking a bit up front.  It’s only been about a thousand miles since my last oil change, but I have new dino juice ready to go when I have a few minutes.  It just feels good to change the oil early every once in a while, especially after driving her hard.  I put a new air filter in a few nights ago.  Mileage hasn’t hit 140k yet.

Since my last post, I almost finished installing my Brown Dog motor mount lift, but I didn’t have time to finish before Rausch so I went back to the stock mounts for now.  I’ll work on the MML some weekend in the future, no rush.  I also added cheap Costco OBA, under-the-hood lighting, a 36-tooth speedo gear (to compensate for larger tires), and a Borgeson steering shaft.  The steering shaft was a necessary upgrade because the slip joint in my stock shaft was 100% rusted solid.  After the JKS BL a few weeks ago, the shaft needed to get about 0.25″ longer to accomodate the new steering angles.  Rust is stonger than welding sometimes, I’ll tell ya’…  Oh, and I added a new 90amp alternator after I broke one of the ears off of mine when removing it for the MML.

Jeep is probably on jack stands until mid-next week.  Meh.

CB antenna mount

February 20th, 2009

I welded a piece of flat steel across the spare tire stopper for an antenna mount.  I haven’t run the coax yet, but here’s my 3′ Firestick with a Firestik K4-A stud mount.

oil change, JKS 1.25″ body

February 6th, 2009

Last weekend I installed a JKS 1.25″ body lift.  The install was relatively easy except for breaking a few bolts (to be expected).  This weekend I’ll tackle my new Brown Dog Offroad motor mount lift and get rid of my TC drop.

After the BL I realized that the slip joint in my steering shaft is rusted solid.  The body lift moved the steering geometry such that the shaft needs to be about 1/4″ longer.  I’ll buy a new shaft.  Steering is important…

I changed my oil and installed a new idler pulley last weekend, too.  Odometer read about 139,100 miles.  I used 5W30 for the first time due to the recent super-cold weather.  No ill effects thus far.  Idler pulley was likely fine, but I’m trying to get rid of squeaking noises.  No luck yet.

More lift

January 19th, 2009

A few thoughts:

I measured just over 3.5 inches of lift over factory this weekend. I plan on adding 1.25″ of body lift and a 1″ motor mount lift before March (JKS and Brown Dog). That should put me at over 4.75 inches total lift and I should be able to trash my TC drop.

new stainless front brake hoses

January 11th, 2009

I installed some Goodridge stainless brake hoses last night.  With some key coupon codes I got the pair for $42.  Here are some pics of the before (far left) and after.

I’m not too psyched about the p-clip attachment to the frame.  The rubber grippy on the p-clip doesn’t hold the brake line super firmly.  I think I’ll start to hunt for a few of the clips like the ones in these JK brake lines.  The same right-angle bracket came with my rear stainless hose in the RE 2.5″ lift kit.  Bonus: the brake hoses came with new copper banjo washers.  As you can see clearly in the third picture, I made some small hard line extensions to make sure that everything would clear the frame and not rub anything.

I can definitely feel a difference in brake pedal pressure.  It’s actually pretty substantial.  It probably isn’t just because I bled the brakes last night because I bled the front brakes two weeks ago.  The stainless hoses expand less under pressure.  Is it necessary to have that extra pressure?  Probably not.  I could lock up my brakes just fine with the rubber hoses, thus they were supplying adequate pressure.  With that said, the stainless hoses are damn sexy.  =)

Most importantly, however, is that my hoses are long enough for spring flex and the hard lines won’t get tweaked if something (axle or hunk of mud) tugs on the stainless hose.  Again, I’m not too keen on the strength of the p-clip, but it is waaaay better than what I had securing the hard lines before:  nothing.

At the same time I also replaced the rubber pads on my brake and clutch pedals.  Sticky rubber pedals mean my foot won’t slip off of the clutch anymore.

Jeep diary, take one

January 9th, 2009

I had this idea to start a Jeep diary.  I want to keep track of historical changes like when I rotate tires, driveline angles, etc..  Here goes:

Installed trXus MT tires (33×12.5) in November of 2008.  I’ve put about 1k miles on them so far.  The odometer read about 139k when they were installed.  I’ll probably try to rotate them in 2k miles (~141k), which will actually be inflated by 15% because my speedo is off.

I just had the slip-joint replaced in my front driveshaft in early January of 2009.  It was $143 at Fleet Pride for parts and labour.  Odometer reads 139k.  

shiny new slip joint

shiny new slip joint

I measured some driveline angles a few days ago.  The rear of the TC was 8 degrees from vertical; rear diff at vertical machined surface was 10 degrees.  The rear driveshaft was at 19 degrees relative to the ground.  Net DS angle is 8 or 10 degrees depending on which end you are looking at.  I want to try to remove the TC drop to see if I can get the TC angle closer to 10 degrees without increasing the net DS angle (too much).  Tom Woods says that 15 degrees for a single cardon is the limit before certain failure.  U-joints are rated for like 5k hours at 6 degrees, IIRC.  Increasing the angle decreases life, duh.

I installed a fence clamp Hi-Lift mount on the roll bar the other night.  I don’t like it.  I don’t know where I want to put my Hi-Lift.  I had to move it from the bumper when I installed a pair of KC Daylighters:

KC Daylighters on my YJ

Tonight I should take delivery of some new stainless front brake hoses (Goodridge).  Pics and stuff later.

I was reading that some people complain about a stiff ride in their rig right after replacing springs and/or shackles.  Some of the problem has to do with a break-in period for springs and shocks.  One solution, however, is to stop short of factory torque specs on the shackle and spring eye bolts.  The FSM says something like 95 and 105 pound-feet for the shackle and spring eye, respectively.  A trend among Jeep owners that have Internet access is a 45/65 pound-feet spec along with some strong threadlocker.  I opted for 50/70 and red Loctite.  After only having done the back shackles I could already notice a difference in the springiness of my ride.  I’ll drive it tomorrow after the threadlocker has time to cure.  While I’m out I’ll be able to put about 18 gallons into my gas tank as per yesterday’s 20 gallon hack.  =)

I performed the Jeep “hack” described here.  It took me about 1.5 beers (just over 30 minutes) without dropping the tank.  I have yet to fill up, but I can’t wait for the first time I can put $80 of gas into my Jeep!  Yay…

My Jeep has been on jack stands for about 2 weeks now as I strip down the front end in preparation for a 2.5″ Rubicon Express lift.  I was working on my steering components when I noticed that my front passenger axleshaft u-joint was binding a LOT.  Turns out one of the needle bearings was nearly fused to the u-joint body.  Since it was likely the OE u-joint and has been riding in the rust belt for about 14 years, I couldn’t just use a big vise to pop the caps out while the axle was still attached.  So I had to pull the hub and the axle shaft out…  Since the hub has been riding in the rust belt for 14 years…you get the point.  About 3 hours later I had cut the old u-joint out (my BFH wasn’t big enough to pound both caps out at once, so I cut the middle of the u-joint out) and swapped it with a new greasable unit.  The bad u-joint was likely the cause of my steering mystery from an earlier post.

I also put Prothane polyurethane dust covers (boots) on my tie rod ends since one of the OE boots had a small rip in it.  I had the tie rod off so I could beat out my old steering stabilizer (BFH).  I think I replaced a drag link end while I was at it, but I can’t quite remember why (probably torn boot).  The red boots look nice and will match up with the Prothane polyU shackle and track arm bushings that are waiting to be installed.  I also found time to install my new Skyjacker Hydro 7000 steering stabilizer.

So right now my Jeep is kinda’ drivable.  There are no front shocks and the sway bar ends are on my workbench.  It would be fun to drive for about 10 minutes and totally dangerous over 20mph.

If the rest of my parts don’t come in tonight I’ll be driving to Albion to pick up 4 bald Super Swamper TSLs courtesy Adam Lake.  The tires are too big for my ride, but the rims are free.  =)  He’s also giving me some tan trim that he is replacing with black:  nerf bars (windsheild to roll cage) and a pair of visors.

I’m also looking forward to trying out this bad boy, which is way cheaper than the same thing from Quadratec.

Right now I’m thinking 31×10.5 SS TSL bias ply tires…  They would look sexy.

Pics of the teardown.