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ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
3/26/18 6:35 a.m.

On the way into work today I noticed the ABS light on the Jeep was no longer on. It's been on since I bought it. The dealership guy told me it was showing a motor or control fault in the system. It's pretty common for this to be caused by broken internal solder joints, like a lot of other issues on these trucks. 

I was thinking maybe the fault was a bad solder joint and it vibrated enough to reconnect, even temporarily. 

Turns out the bulb burned out in the dash. I'm calling it fixed anyway.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
3/27/18 5:14 a.m.

Never mind. It came back on. Must be a bad connection in the cluster instead of a bad bulb.

I'm still calling it fixed on the days it doesn't light up. 

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
4/5/18 5:14 a.m.

I finally got the power boat prepped for the season, and part of that was dragging it to the front yard where I could hook up the hose and run the outboard. This is the first time I've actually had the boat hitched to the ZJ but towing it on long drives is one of the two major duties for the Jeep. I decided to do a quick lap around town with the boat to see how it tows.

Great news! It tows really well. Like you can almost forget it's back there. The brakes could be better but they aren't bad. Certainly they're better than the Explorer was towing our popup all those years. When it comes time to get into the brake system I'll see about an upgrade but they'll be fine for now.  I do think I'll need to extend the trailer tongue a little to keep the rear axle on the jeep out of the water, but I've got some scrap around for that. I'd love to replace the trailer with one that carried the boat lower so I wouldn't have to back in as far, but for now extending the tongue is cheaper. 

paul_s0
paul_s0 New Reader
4/5/18 8:39 a.m.

Gotta be honest, I think that looks just right with the rack on the roof and the boat on the back yes

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
4/5/18 12:41 p.m.

Thanks! I'm diggin it. I'd like to add a flat rack that hugs the roof and sits between the bike trays at some point, but it's not important enough yet to take priority.

 

Speaking of priority, I finally started making a list of issues and sorting it based on the Universal Repair Prioritization Schema (URPS) I mentioned. Right now it looks like this:

All told, this isn't too bad. The brake parts are ordered, and I rotated the tires to see if the pull is in the alignment or the new tires. So...Keeping up progress. I'm sure I'll remember other issues to add as I go.

 

EDIT: Oh, and here's the category list for those that missed the other thread:

Parts on hand receives a -1 bump to category

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
4/5/18 12:44 p.m.
paul_s0 said:

Gotta be honest, I think that looks just right with the rack on the roof and the boat on the back yes

Jeep doing Jeep stuff > Jeep being hard-parked by a flat-brimmer

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
4/6/18 5:01 a.m.

Stupid Jeep tricks at the weekly mtb ride last night:

It's funny how it never looks as steep as it is. I'm pretty sure it would have crawled right up if i was willing to do some landscape damage. But i wasnt.

 

I realized on the drive to the trailhead that I overlooked one key problem with bypassing the heater core. Now I only have one setting on the AC. And that's cold as berkeley. Probably won't be an issue as the days warm up though.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
4/22/18 7:37 a.m.

The weather was great Friday and I knew I'd be doing the water pump on moms Mountaineer this weekend, so I played hooky Friday. I spent the morning driving the dog around the local WMA. I've decided I really like the Jeep now that it's running decently. 

 

Also, after digging into the water pump on a 5L mountaineer, I take back all the disparaging things I said about working on the ZJ. It's so much roomier under the hood of the jeep.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
5/7/18 10:53 a.m.

I finally got the chance to take the boat to the lake this weekend, which meant the ZJ got it's first run at boat towing - the other main duty for which it was purchased.  I forgot to take any photos, but here's a couple from my wife's FB feed:

 

The Jeep handles the weight fairly well as far as ride and control. Running without OD was required to maintain speed and keep the heat down, and there were a few times that slamming foot to floor and leaving it there were required. I was hoping for a little more authority since the boat only weighs 2k lbs at most. Ever since I changed the fan clutch the the truck is very loud over about 2000 rpm. I suspect the fan clutch is stiffer than it should be from the box-truck-like noise level. My mileage is also lower and it seems like the truck should have more power at interstate speeds. Driving with the OD off and the boat behind I was getting somewhere around 6-7mpg from my rough calculations. Daily average is more like 12.75mpg empty around town.  All of this points to either some serious parasitic fan drag or possibly a leaking plenum gasket (common issue.) I'm still pulling about 20" of vacuum at idle, the plugs aren't fouled, and there's only a light oil mist in the intake instead of a puddle, so I'm leaning toward fan. Also, the fuel pump could be a little weak on the top end. No idea what the fuel pressure really is. The brakes weren't bad but upgrading pads and rotors when the time comes will be welcome.

All in all it succeeded in towing the boat, but I really hoped it would be a little better. It could be I'm expecting a bit much since the last thing I towed the boat with was a diesel F250, and even that kicked out of OD on the hills at 65mph.  I think the being down on power and the atrocious mileage are the biggest issues. The engine temp worries me a little but...

Let's talk cooling. How hot is too hot when towing?

Current Jeep setup: New aluminum radiator, new water pump, new 195* t-stat, heater core bypassed, new fan clutch, 30" tires, 3.73 gears. Ambient temps between 70*F and 80*F. To run 70mph on the interstate I'm turning 3100 rpm (5200rpm redline) with the OD off. With the AC on max and maintaining 70-75 mph I was seeing the temp hit 224*F on long shallow hills. Turning the AC off dropped it about 10*.  I backed down to 65mph and it dropped to a steady 200, even with the AC turned on.  Off the interstate and running 55 it runs 196-199 with the AC blasting, which seems pretty good with a 195 t-stat. It currently has the (somewhat leaky) factory trans cooler in front of the AC condenser, which is partially coated with dirt and trans fluid from the leaky cooler. I've pressure washed it, but there's still some fins blocked down low. Whenever I pull the front end apart to replace grill structure and headlights, I'll have access to scrub up the condenser. I'll also be installing a larger trans cooler that I have sitting in the shop.

What do you think? Is this running in what you'd consider a normal range?

docwyte
docwyte SuperDork
5/7/18 2:29 p.m.

I wouldn't worry about those temps at all...

nlevine
nlevine New Reader
5/11/18 9:46 p.m.

When I was racing my '87 CRX Si, I used a V8 ZJ ('95 Laredo) as my tow vehicle. Towed great - ~2,000lb car + tires and tools on a 2-axle steel open trailer with weight-distributing hitch. I would regularly cruise at 75, OD off, with no issues at all... I miss that rig.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
5/25/18 6:30 a.m.

After our discussions elsewhere about air management in the engine compartment above 60mph, I decided to reinstall the lower plastic radiator shroud. Actually, it may just be a splash guard, I dunno. In the pic below it's the part that is obviously more muddy than the others. I left it off after swapping out the factory radiator support, but it does seem to hang low enough to have some effect on air flow under the Jeep, especially after I cut the lower portion of the factory bumper cover. It has a decided downward curve so I'm thinking it may assist in creating low pressure right behind the radiator to draw air under the vehicle. I also added the white aluminum flashing piece to seal the bumper cover to the bottom of the radiator, and then on to the lower shroud. There was about a 2" gap that might have allowed air to bypass the radiator and blow out the bottom. Given our discussions about air stuffing the engine bay, maybe that was the plan since I'm pretty sure the factory stock pieces left the hole there too. Who knows, maybe I've made it worse, lol. We'll find out...

From the front you can barely see it. If anything the white panel makes it look more factory finished, which I like. Long term I'll probably make another piece in actual sheet metal. I have a dryer shell sitting behind the shop begging for some use...

 

This weekend (Memeorial day) we're making the first run to the coast towing the boat, so this is the big test run. Expect a report and photos afterward...

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
5/25/18 10:05 p.m.

3 hours at 55 - 65 mph without OD towing the boat and blasting the AC. Engine temps were steady between 195 and 200. Mileage was a solid 9.75 mpg.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
5/25/18 10:23 p.m.

I like that bumper trimming. Might be doing that myself soon

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
5/26/18 2:56 p.m.

Thanks Doc. I like it enough I'm not in a rush to add the push bar.

 

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
5/29/18 6:33 a.m.

So a little further trip update with some fun photos of something other than the actual vehicle in question. Snoball did great all weekend. It's so much easier to maneuver the boat trailer around the really tight public ramp than it was with the F250 which was longer than the actual boat trailer.  It towed great coming back. Outside temps were running mid 80s, we had the AC kicking, and with the cruise set and the OD off the temp sat solid on 208 through the easy south GA rollers and flat lands. I do need to go ahead and fix the heater core. Not having the ability to warm up the ac/defrost output means you fight window frosting continuously when it's hot and wet, and Lord knows, it's always hot and wet in Georgia in the summer.

Our 1973 Chaparral 15 "Dragonfly" out at the sandbar in the marshes:

 

Sunrise view from the front porch Saturday morning:

 

The misses and her Goddaughter walking out the dock at the launch:

 

Still a good bit of hurricane damage from last fall when that giant storm walked up the opposite coast of FL.

 

In automotive news, the ABS light has stayed off in the Jeep for several weeks now. Since it's raining I decided to test them on a sidestreet on the way to work this morning, and the ABS actually works! It's not just a burned out warning bulb!  Not sure how it fixed itself, but I suspect it has to do with solder contacts on the ABS control module, but I'll take it.  On a lesser note, the solder joints I fixed on the Vehicle Info Center are going out again, I'm getting a phantom "Broken Coolant Sensor" warning again. Looks like it's time to ditch the VIC and turn that into a gauge and switch location.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
5/29/18 10:47 a.m.

I remembered one other change that I made before the trip that contributed to driving comfort, so I wanted to share it for posterity (since I'm pretty sure no one else still reads this thread but me.)  A while back I replaced the worn out factory bushings on the front antisway bar (to frame) with universal Polyurethane versions. After doing that the truck drove well but always had an odd side-to-side snappiness over small road variations. It wasn't bad but was just noticeable enough to be sort of uncomfortable or fatiguing. It just felt awkward somehow. I went back to fresh factory bushings and it smoothed out the ride noticeably, enough that my wife even commented on it. I can't tell any difference in body lean in the turns, so I'm calling it a better solution.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
5/29/18 4:25 p.m.

Been following.  Seems like you are finally turning the corner.. Nice pics too.

Seems to me, poly bushings work well in race type applications, but for DD activities, stock seems to be a better ride.   Keep up the good fight with this Jeep, it's turning out pretty nice.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
6/1/18 9:06 a.m.

...aaaaannnnddd now the ABS light is back on.   At least I know when the light is off all the components function. This sort of confirms my guess of bad electrical connections in the control board. I think.   

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
6/1/18 9:48 a.m.

Black duct tape,  cure all.

onemanarmy
onemanarmy Reader
6/1/18 12:27 p.m.

i have and will continue to follow along.   Pretty big fan of ZJs.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
6/1/18 1:01 p.m.

Thanks for tagging along guys. I'm beginning to be a big fan too.

Like a lot of the vehicles I play with, it seems like it's just a couple thousand dollars..okay maybe five...okay, maybe just a little more... okay, maybe....

...from being a permanent keeper vehicle. 

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
6/30/18 10:50 a.m.

I finally replaced the factory radio this week. If the factory tape deck had worked I might have kept it long term, but throwing an aftermarket deck in allows me bluetooth and hands free phone without using the radio tuner adapter. I also can bypass and remove the factory amp and improve sound quality. The truck has really nice aftermarket speakers but they are 4 ohm and the amp was built to drive 2 ohm.

I got a Kenwood digital media deck from Crutchfield for the free install bits. I chose the KW because they have an app that let's you tune the myriad audio controls through your phone instead of the limited single DIN display. The ap is a little clunky but it's still a vast improvement. The install was the easiest I've ever done. Prewired the plug in adapters and the deck literally snapped into the dash adapter the first time I test fit it. Plug in 2 wires, tighten 2 screws,  done. After bypassing the amp and fixing the wire break on one rear speaker, it sounds AMAZING.  Plus without the amp I have room for a small safe under the rear seat.

The other reason I went with this deck was that I can adjust the display color to match the factory lighting. 

I'm taking next week off to burn up some time off I would otherwise lose. I'm going to completely rebuild the ac system, fix the heater core, replace the front grill mount, upgrade the headlights, mount fog lights, upgrade the trans cooler, and maybe fix the parking brake. Woot!

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
6/30/18 3:23 p.m.

Tuning in for new tunes.  Sits nicely in there.     Plan a day for the heater core.  You may get lucky just pulling and twisting the P/S of the dash.    While in there take a look at the AC evaporator.  You don't want to do this twice.     Enjoy your week "off".    Following along, this merry ride.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
6/30/18 3:25 p.m.

I got a jump start on the vacation work. Good God what a pain in the ass.

 

Tomorrow I disassemble the heater box enough to get the ac evaporator out. The heater core pulls out the top. I'd like to figure out why the defrost vents never quite seal off, but we'll see how it goes.

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