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ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
1/28/18 8:21 a.m.

Glad the Cure was worth the trouble. Once I get the control arms on mine I'll have to look into it too.

I'd really like to have some sort if LSD or selectable locker in the rear diff, but options are limited for the D44a in the ZJ. I figure I'll keep an eye out for a factory lsd in the yards but it will have to be cheap to justify the work for a factory unit. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/28/18 8:21 a.m.

I am impressed, then. The production methods looked awfully good for the aftermarket, but it was so burly. It has a tow hook bolted to it as well. This is a Laredo, but maybe the stronger skid plate was optional in the build sheet. 

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
1/28/18 8:25 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I am impressed, then. The production methods looked awfully good for the aftermarket, but it was so burly. It has a tow hook bolted to it as well. This is a Laredo, but maybe the stronger skid plate was optional in the build sheet. 

Yeah, the up country suspension was optional on Laredo models, standard on Country models, I think also optional on limited models.  And yeah, they do a good job of protecting the steering components. 

Ottawa
Ottawa New Reader
1/28/18 8:46 a.m.

Thanks to Jeep's website we have the build sheet but it doesn't make any reference to an upgraded suspension or an explicit skid plate entry. It says it has "Standard Duty Shock Absorbers" but there are a few ambiguous entries that might apply such as "Rubicon X" or it might even be one of the "DESCRIPTION NOT AVAILABLE" items.

I guess it could have also have been done by a previous owner, replacing the stock Laredo skid plate with a Country model. This XJ was sold to "Midland Corporation" under their discount so its possible they had a few to mix and match parts on.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/18 10:21 a.m.

Update time. It was a busy weekend. I was bouncing back and forth between doing terrible things to 2016 Miatas (it looks like a crazed mad scientist went all Frankenstein in the shop, with cars all hooked up to parts from other cars) and the Jeep. One got me much dirtier than the other.

As planned, the Jeep was reassembled with a new serpentine belt, new radiator, new upper and lower radiator hoses, new thermostat gasket, new coolant expansion tank, new PS pump, new PS hoses and all the fluids that go inside. Then I took the thermostat housing off again and added a bit of an RTV smear to make the gasket actually seal. Also threw some new Redline ATF in the transfer case, so at this point every single fluid in the Jeep has been changed.

Just for fun, I put a Flyin' Miata sticker on the top of the radiator. It's completely hidden when reassembled. That's going to mess with someone in the future. That's the plan, anyhow.

I paid a lot of attention to hose clamp alignment when putting this back together. Not just because it looks cool, but to ensure there's no rubbing and they're easily accessible for service. You can see the head of the one on the left, it had previously been in contact with the pulley and is half eroded.

A big part of the fun was the oil filter adapter. It's notorious for leaking (he says, speaking with the authority and experience of a new Jeep owner that has access to google) and is full of o-rings. Check this thing out. Not shown is one more o-ring that seals the adapter to the block. The rubber is cheap, but getting to it is a challenge.

The fun part is that giant banjo bolt has a Torx T60 head - and it's right beside the frame rail. You can't get a socket into it. I rolled in to HF looking for an L-shaped tool and struck out. But they did have an open box socket set with a T60, and I have a welder. So I figured  I'd make a tool.

Step 1 was to extract the Torx bit from the socket housing, which was done with a short, sharp shock delivered up the backside. Goodness gracious. The Torx bit turned out to have a 12mm hex, so my custom tool was now complete! I just stuck the bit in the banjo bolt and used a wrench on it. Sweet.

Check out that other socket that came in the kit. That's a 1/2" drive T20. If this is the tool you need, you should reconsider what you're about to do.

I now know that some people delete the adapter completely and put in a different filter. Maybe if this ever needs to be done again.

Put it all back together and drove it. The transfer case definitely shifts better even if the old fluid looked okay. Oil pressure is strong, PS noise is gone - and IT DOESN'T LEAK FROM ANYWHERE! It's no longer a real Jeep. This is weird.

Rodan
Rodan Reader
1/29/18 11:24 a.m.

LOL at the 1/2" drive T20!  cheeky

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
1/30/18 8:56 p.m.

Modules mounted with sheet metal screws and velcro. Some connectors that are big spades, some that are Weatherpak. Very few wire anchors. The wiring harness on this thing - from the factory - looks like something that just kinda happened by accident, not that was designed.

The way the harness was made was a big turnoff of the one Renix XJ i owned. It was the nicest XJ of the 4 i owned, but as a mechanic the harness really bothered me. Having said that, i probably never should have sold that one. But 60 cars later that line is a VERY slippery slope... 

 

 

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
1/30/18 9:08 p.m.

As written in The Jeep Mafia FB group.

" roses are red violets are blue I fixed my Jeep ,it's as good as n... son-of-a-bitch ,now what"

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
1/31/18 6:35 a.m.
Toyman01 said:

As written in The Jeep Mafia FB group.

" roses are red violets are blue I fixed my Jeep ,it's as good as n... son-of-a-bitch ,now what"

This isn't even funny.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
1/31/18 7:09 a.m.

In reply to ultraclyde :

I don't know, I laughed pretty hard. laugh

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/31/18 5:59 p.m.

Me too! 

We're actually getting pretty close to the end of the list on this one. Once again, remember that I'm going further into it than I would if I were living with the thing here or if it were intended purely as an off-road rig.

Anyhow, speaking of offroad, I took the Jeep for a walk today.

Seriously, if we're going to Moab, I need to get my skills back up. It's been a while since I spent any real time wheeling, and this is the first time I've done it with 1) horsepower and 2) a slushbox. I decided to drive out on to a plateau I'd eyed once before, now that the XJ has slippy diffs. They may not have been completely necessary, although there was one loose climb that certainly benefited. More importantly, I prefer to have more truck than obstacle when I'm dinking around without a safety net.

No worries. A little bit of loose clay/bentonite, a rock step and a bit of flexing. Like it was born to do it. And the turning circle helped a bunch.

Also, note the new stickers on the wind deflector. One of them is temporary.

Obligatory hero shot.

Nitroracer
Nitroracer UltraDork
1/31/18 8:48 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Also, this arrived today which made me absurdly happy. I got one for Eric to play with while he waits for his Jeep, and one for me to play with when it's gone.

 

Where did you find this?  I dig it!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/31/18 11:13 p.m.

It's a Johnny Lightning. Looks like they made a few variations. I have to admit it's off eBay, we have very few options for hunting down toy cars around here.

Which made me think I needed to make a toy out of the real one in Photoshop.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde PowerDork
2/1/18 7:08 a.m.

very nice.  Wish I had cool places like that to play around here.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/3/18 12:07 p.m.

Remember the GRM sticker? Wrong era. If GRM was giving out stickers in 1990, they would have looked like this. 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/8/18 6:41 p.m.

Hey, remember this thing?  I ended up buying a house so the Jeep took a back seat to...well, everything. But I do have a small update.

First, AC. Matt took another crack at it and found a bad rebuild on the compressor. Swapped that out and now it makes the cold air come out of the vents upon demand. Ahhhh. No pictures, but this pretty much sums it up: smiley

Next, we were clearing some stuff out of the FM shop. That included the big tires from this particular escapade.

Making another lifted Exocet or Miata is not in the plans around here, so the tires were surplus to requirements. They were also brand new with about 20 miles on them. And the 30x9.5x15 size was perfect for the XJ. The current 29.5" setup was working fine and had decent tread left, but with these ones being new the decision was made to swap them out. The fact that they happened to have white lettering and were free of the whiff of brodozer that comes with aggressive lugs on the sidewall was a bonus. I got a good deal on them and swapped them out.

It's not a change that looks like much, but they look right on the truck. Just...right. They're also a lighter load rating than the old ones, which means a softer sidewall. This has translated into a better ride on sharp hits. The white lettering is just dirty, I'll shine them up and give the truck the correct look.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/8/18 6:43 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Also, this arrived today which made me absurdly happy. I got one for Eric to play with while he waits for his Jeep, and one for me to play with when it's gone.

 

This makes me laugh. My coworker Brandon discovered that you can open the hood on this little guy. But once you do so, it'll never close again. It's a Jeep thing.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
6/8/18 6:54 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

How true, how true.  Hood pins or bungee chords, to the rescue.

XJ's are a blast.  We've had a few in the house.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/11/18 11:59 a.m.

I have been enjoying the newly functioning AC in our recent heat. It is a satisfactorily competent system.

But the Jeep decided that it didn't like the heat. This era of XJ has a closed cooling system with a pressurized expansion tank, just like most modern cars. It's a known failure point, so Eric had me change it out with a new one.

And then this happened.

This Dorman part from Rock Auto has a lifetime warranty, but with this level of quality I'm not going to waste my time trying to get another $20 part. A fabricated aluminum tank has been ordered.

I know that Jeep guys like to convert these to "open" systems, but that's kinda moving backwards in my mind.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
6/11/18 12:46 p.m.

Pulled the front skid plate off. This is not stock, it's one burly piece. Looks like plastic, very much is not.

Agreed that it is stock, mine has the same plate.  The bottom edge looks like welded-on angle iron, so I also thought it was aftermarket.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
6/11/18 10:33 p.m.

It's not a change that looks like much, but they look right on the truck. Just...right.

I get it. The tread pattern looks the same age as the truck, and i mean that in a good way. yes 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/24/18 7:37 p.m.

The new aluminumimum expansion tank arrived today. Installation could not have been simpler, especially since the plastic one had peed out all its coolant already. Two hose clamps and a rubber strap.

As a bonus, it uses a standard radiator cap and not the plastic thing that the Rock Auto part used. Nicely built. I am happy.

It was also available in diamond plate, should a no-slip surface be required.

Sk1dmark
Sk1dmark New Reader
8/19/19 11:51 a.m.

Any update on this thing? I'm looking at XJ's and love this thread.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/19/19 1:05 p.m.

Sure!

Eric - the actual owner of this rig - has yet to make it out to Colorado for our back country adventuring. Maybe this fall. Plans are afoot. He travels a lot so I send him pictures to let him live vicariously. I can't wait to get it out on the trails, which just hasn't happened yet other than my quickie runs through my local spot.

Mostly, I've just been driving it. The ice-cold AC is very much appreciated these days and it's just easy to get in and bomb around. It's big enough to haul reasonable loads without requiring the big diesel truck. I do make it a point to do a little 10 minute dirt excursion every couple of weeks. Janel never asks why there's mud on the hood of the car I drove to work, oddly.

It's not without faults. The steering felt odd, which was fixed by adjusting the toe. But how did it get off in the first place? I shall monitor. The carpeted panel that covers the rear hatch has multiple broken fasteners, so it rattles over bumps and makes the whole thing sound like it's falling apart. That's going to be fixed with some screws. The driver's door power lock actuator has become weak - I don't recall if this is one of the ones I changed already, but it bears investigation. The paint is sunburning more and more and I've had problems with the door cladding falling off. Haven't lost a piece yet, but even the good 3M tape isn't holding. Odd. The heater is weak, which apparently means a clogged up heater core.

The biggest problem is a water leak. It's a known problem with these, where the HVAC system protrudes through the firewall. In order to address it, I'm going to have to poke a hole in the cowl. It's hidden by a fake grille so you'll never know. I just have to do it. Luckily, the deep plastic floor mats collect any water and it doesn't rain much here so it's not a high priority.

Sk1dmark
Sk1dmark New Reader
8/19/19 4:06 p.m.

Very nice! I really like that this thing isn't done up crazy and yet can still tackle any reasonable road thrown at it

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