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DrBoost MegaDork
11/21/17 6:21 a.m.

Nice looking Jeep. How much did that OME stuff set you back?

ultraclyde PowerDork
11/21/17 9:18 a.m.

In reply to DrBoost :

The springs were $289. I think the standard duty ones are a little less, but since I'm towing I went with the HDs. It also allows for a brush guard and/or winch if I decide I want one in the future. Bilstein 5100s were about the same. I probably could have saved a little on them, but I'm getting them from Kolak Off Road in Phoenix. Nick has been really helpful with my questions about the setup, so I was willing to spend a little more to buy from him.


ultraclyde PowerDork
11/21/17 9:25 a.m.

Here's a few pics of the Jeep doing its thing for the Sasquatch 125/200 ride this weekend.  It ran great towing a trailer all over south GA and hauling gear and cyclists. I did smell coolant just a little from time to time but I haven't found the leak yet. My assistant said the first time she got in the Jeep she didn't think it would survive the weekend, LOL.



And then when I was unloading, Cooper decided he liked the Jeep and didn't want to get out:

Vigo UltimaDork
11/21/17 9:29 a.m.

I'm seriously considering D-hole steel rims similar to these soft 8s, but painted or powdercoated gold

You're my hero. I can't believe i'm not the only person that liked the white/gold and green/gold combos Chryco used in the 90s.  

ultraclyde PowerDork
11/21/17 10:42 a.m.

In reply to Vigo :

LOL, thanks. Right now white wagon wheels and some recreation of the white steelies with Chrome Jeep centers from the 70s Wagoneers are also under consideration. Black wheels are fine but every old 4x4 around here has black steelies.

Vigo UltimaDork
11/21/17 9:13 p.m.

For a softer look you could also just do the white wagon wheels with a gold stripe around the edge. Easy to apply with a small brush if the wheel is spinning on jackstands.laugh


I think pre-'96 F150 coil springs will give you 2" or so of lift and a bit of an increase in rate, if you're after that.

Excellent, that means i can cut them in half and have high-rate rear springs for a K-car. I found XJ lift springs to still be too soft even when cut in half.  cheeky

ultraclyde PowerDork
11/22/17 7:28 a.m.

More dirt road adventures on the way home from work. I was cruising up a new dirt road about 20mph and popped over a rise to find a big mud puddle. Managed to get mud splatter on the entire jeep. 


And a gratuitous stock flex shot, which just looks dumb:

onemanarmy New Reader
11/22/17 9:58 a.m.

re: your inspiration pic...please don't do those god-awful bushwacker flares


slight lift, stock wheels (to keep the tires tucked under) and slightly more aggressive larger tires...good to go


cheap and easy coils/shocks work just as well as considerably more expensive OME and Bilstein items.

ultraclyde PowerDork
11/22/17 10:30 a.m.

Don't worry, no tire coverage laws in Georgia (or at least not enforced ones) so no flares planned. As for the OME / Bilstein setup, there are plenty that would do just as well off road for less money. The difference is I consistently hear only high praise for the pavement drivability and stability of that setup, plus complements about how comfortable it is. Since I'm specifically running this truck for towing a boat 4 hours on the interstate, that's my prime concern. Looks and actual offroad function are (kind of sadly) a tie for second place.


Besides, they're already ordered. wink

LifeIsStout Reader
11/22/17 11:49 a.m.

For those that may have problems with the aftermarket roof racks in the future (I know you solved this already), most good stores that sell them also have a master set of keys.  I popped into a REI locally and they were able to open my locks, with the option of ordering keys for me, since I didn't get any with the purchase of my truck either.  I think it was around the same price that you paid.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/22/17 12:09 p.m.

I've been happy with the OME parts on the XJ, although I went further than Bilstein. I'm a suspension guy, what can I say...

The_Jed PowerDork
11/22/17 10:53 p.m.

I've noticed my XJ doing the same "chirp chirp chirp" from the front when turning, regardless of direction. I keep shifting the T-case, verifying over and over that it's not in 4wd, at least it says it's not.  :)




I assumed mine needed an alignment so I performed a DIY alignment with a tape measure, some chalk and a very straight board. I was going to max out the positive caster but the little bolts were very rusty and didn't move when I applied some pressure so, instead of breaking them, I left them.



The chirp remains.



I need to find some areas like what you've found to get my Jeep dirty.  :)

Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee UberDork
11/23/17 12:34 a.m.

There is a ZJ face page group if you're interested. While you're ordering parts, add the striker reinforcement plates to your order list. Cheap insurance against this happening. 



It happens quick. Google ZJ Latch plates. Another ZJ or WJ will likely be in our future since SWMBO liked our 94 so much, and those will likely be the first thing that goes on it.

Oh and how's your MPG? Our 94 limited with the 5.2 got 14 period. Loaded, unloaded, AC on or off, highway or town. I couldn't break 14. Got 14.8 hypermiling it. Decided it wasn't worth it.

ultraclyde PowerDork
11/28/17 7:12 a.m.

The parts pile grows.... But I'm about to be doing out of town stuff for work for the next 2 weeks, so no work happens. Also, not shown is the plastic header panel (mounts headlights and grill) that was broken and had to be returned, and the PIAA H4 bulbs that came in.


I'll have to look into striker plates, that's good advice. I'm generally averaging around 14 but I reset the overhead computer while on the interstate and averaged a displayed 16mpg for the interstate portion of the trip.  Not great, but only a little worse than our 2wd V8 explorer of the same v1ntage.


The latest problem has me grounded until the replacement parts come in. It developed a constant high squeal that I'm pretty sure is coming from the AC clutch. It's worse when the clutch is unlocked, but still there when locked, and they are kind of a known issue. I've got a clutch on the way but I figure I'll check all the other pulleys while I've got the belt off.


Only progress I've made recently is getting the new trailer wiring harness put in. I pulled the build sheet and it listed the truck as having the "tow package" so I ordered the Curt connector kit for the factory tow pack. Once I dug into the truck it was missing one of the connectors that should be there if it was so equipped. I ran my own wires and used what I had, but it makes me wonder.  Wrong build info or assembly mistake?  I also found a defunct U-Haul trailer wiring install and was able to use the power wire that they had run to the battery. That also explained what the mystery fused wire was near the battery that was disconnected.  

Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee UberDork
11/28/17 1:26 p.m.

Yeah... I will never again allow a uhaul hack to touch one of my vehicles after the job the last one did of installing a pigtail for me.  (my defense for allowing him to do it was I had back surgery a month prior and was still quite sore). Ended up removing EVERYTHING he put on, and doing it again . What a mess!

ultraclyde PowerDork
11/28/17 3:03 p.m.

The original install didn't look too bad - although zip tying the battery power feed to the rear suspension might not be the best plan - but they also use a weird UHaul flat-4 plug that didn't seem compatible. Plus the power lead was unhooked up front so I thought the whole unit was fragged. I probably could have powered it up and just changed the plug, but I didn't realize it at the time. At least now I know it's right.

Come to think of it, the hitch is a UHaul model as well. Which makes me think the build sheet was completely wrong about the tow package.

Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee UberDork
11/28/17 4:09 p.m.

Or it's been changed significantly. 

ultraclyde PowerDork
11/30/17 7:18 a.m.

So far this Jeep is teaching me to quit rushing things and go back to step-by-step troubleshooting like you're supposed to do. On several things I've made a snap decision and ordered parts without fully diagnosing an issue and found out what I bought and installed didn't fix it. First case was putting in a battery when it needed a starter.  Less so ordering the towing harness above without actually checking the wiring.  As a long distance vehicle, I'm okay with known good critical parts, but it's getting old.

The latest version is a sudden persistent belt squeal at anything off idle. I read several accounts of the AC clutch causing such an issue, so I ordered one without dropping the belt and checking all the accessory pulleys for function.  Last night I installed the clutch. It still squeals just like it did before.

I checked all the pulleys (alternator, PS pump, waterpump, tensioner, and idler) and they all seem pretty good. The tensioner pulley has just a little roughness in it but is in no way tight. The alternator makes some clicking noises when free turned, but it seems like general bush/component noise. The PS pump was just replaced by the PO and seems good. The belt also appears to be new (probably done with the pump), but also looks like a cheap one.  Water pump seems tight and doesn't leak, and I've never head one make the squeal I'm hearing as a failure mode.  I pulled the tensioner and idler pulleys and tried to force a little light oil into the sealed bearings, but both spin well anyway. I also cross hatch sanded the smooth steel idler. Belt still squeals. You can spray a little PB blaster on it and it quits for a few minutes.

I think my next move is replace the tensioner and the belt. When you rev the engine you can see the tensioner slack up a little, and the pulley bearing is a little rough. The belt doesn't seem noticeably loose by hand but the tensioner also backs off with a wrench easier than most I've dealt with. Given the PO's nature I'm sure the belt is the cheapest thing he could find.  I think the combination of a cheap belt and a tensioner that's got 160k miles and 20 years on it is allowing it to slip.


OK, critique my troubleshooting and tell me what else I should check before ordering a tensioner and a gatorback belt.

ultraclyde PowerDork
12/20/17 6:45 a.m.

AAAAAND I'M BACK!  Actually, the ZJ project is finally back on the stove. After several weels of off-an-on work travel I finally pulled the zeej in the shop and started the breakdown. I'm also taking the rest of Christmas week off, mostly to wrench on it. I'm feeling an overwhelming existential need to do something with this pile of parts:

(dude, those shocks are all machined aluminum and fresh black rubber. possibly the blingiest non-chrome parts I've ever bought!)

To catch up from the last post, in attempt to stop the serpentine belt squeal I installed a new tensioner with pulley, a new idler pulley, and a Continental (formerly Goodyear Gatorback) belt. Success! runs great, nice and quiet.


Last night I started with getting the heep in the shop and up on stands. My goal was to get the brakes pulled and soak the hub bolts in aerokroil so that I could try and pull the axles tonight. All of that was achieved, plus I was able to break all the hub retainer bolts loose and get them about half way out before they seized up. I soaked them again and they should turn on out tonight (I hope.) I can't get an impact on them so turning them by hand is a PITA. If they are still obstinate I'll try heating the hub body up since I'm replacing the bearings anyway. Today I'll pick up the 36mm socket I need to take the axle nuts off, and the ball joint press. If all goes according to plan (and when does it, really?) I'll be pulling ball joints Saturday.


Speaking of balljoints... last night I found out that they aren't the source of my front end clunking.  The front bearings are so bad that I thought they were loose ball joints. I ordered new bearings/hubs from RA and should have them by the time I'm ready to reinstall. The balljoints don't really seem bad, but it's got 160k on it and I've got the parts sitting there so I figure I'll go ahead and do them. I could probably skip it, but....well, peace of mind at 80mph towing a boat with he family on board.

In the good news column, the pads and rotors look great and the calipers seem to work fine although they are horrible looking. No major rust or evidence of major accidents discovered. Oh, and I threw a new TPS on as well. I don't think it was causing the sometimes-hard 1/2 shift, but it's a known issue area and it was only $24. Plus now I have a spare to carry. 

JBasham Reader
12/20/17 12:59 p.m.

My 97's steering is a mess.  The car changes direction every time the road camber changes.  How's yours?

I installed the Bilstein B6s in mine several years ago and I'm sure the B8s will be every bit as good.

Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee UberDork
12/20/17 1:14 p.m.

Ahhhh the joy's of 20+ year old cars. 

ultraclyde PowerDork
12/20/17 1:36 p.m.

In reply to JBasham :

The steering's not great, but like Mr. Lee said, 20 year old car. It's no worse than the F250 was when I bought it, or the Explorer was after many years. Still, I have no trouble driving it. I've put over 1000 miles on it since I bought it last month.

 I'm doing ball joints, bearings, all tie rods, and steering damper in this round. I suspect I'll follow all this with control arms and a track bar before long. After all that, the only thing left is the steering box. It should drive just fine when I'm done, and all the front end parts together so far are under $500 for Moog stuff. 

ultraclyde PowerDork
12/21/17 7:07 a.m.


Last night I got the hub retainer bolts all the way out on both sides, then pulled the driver's side bearing hub and axle. Actually, the outer piece of the bearing with the hub just fell off. The bearing had completely separated.


So, yeah, bad bearings. And the CV joint on the axle was starting to get loose and the boot was completely torn up, but at least there was still some grease in it.  When installing new hubs, would a light coat of anti-seize where the hub body mates into the spindle make future removal any easier?

The ball joints on the driver's side still seem tight and solid, but I still think that since I've got the parts and I've done this much disassembly I'm going to put the new Moog ones in. Less to worry about in the future since it's got 160k on it.

Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee UberDork
12/21/17 8:22 a.m.
ultraclyde said:


Last night I got the hub retainer bolts all the way out on both sides, then pulled the driver's side bearing hub and axle. Actually, the outer piece of the bearing with the hub just fell off. The bearing had completely separated.




That picture!  WOW. Makes you glad there was a nut on the end holding it all together doesn't it? No help on the antisieze. All I can say is, it can't hurt. I make it a point to use it, or a light coat of grease between any metal parts I'm putting back together. After having to kick wheels off hubs on the side of the road to change a tire held up by a factory jack it just seems prudent.

Enyar Dork
12/21/17 1:06 p.m.

I don't know about Yakima but Thule has been really good about getting me keys for racks I find on Craigslist.

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