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Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Jake on 10/16/2014, 3:06 pm

Personally I tend to be wary of those small mods that claim to MPG gains or horsepower gains. Generally there's a reason that things are the way they are. Moving the IAT to a location where it reads a colder temp than it should (I doubt the engine cares what the temp in the airbox is, it cares what the temp of the air going into the cylinders is) doesn't seem super smart to me, but what do I know lol. Cleaning it of course can't hurt.

Glad to hear your fuel efficiency has gone up! I too have a major evap leak and I don't know if its hurting me or not.. I think I might just try to bypass the sensor
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/16/2014, 3:58 pm

Yeah I may or may not do the IAT thing, most likely I won't because you're right about the colder air factor, especially in the winter around here. In a different thread from the one I posted, that original poster claims that he actually runs two IATs (original location in winter and air box location in summer) acknowledging that there really isn't much benefit to it.

Tonight (provided it's not still pouring rain) I'm going to reset the ECU so it can relearn my driving style and the new modifications to the vehicle, something that I completely forgot about doing after all the work done to it. God knows how long it was running all the stuff I replaced. I know the MAP sensor was original so it's likely many other items have been on there awhile also. The reset should help things as well since I tend to drive the thing like I have an egg shell under my foot, and my guess is this was not the case with the PO.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  dongalonga on 10/16/2014, 5:34 pm

Gaining mpg is always a welcomed change.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/20/2014, 3:03 pm

Well I just filled up after this weekend's trip, and did about 265 odometer-corrected miles on 16.7 gallons, which comes to almost exactly 16 mpg. I'd say it was about a 60/40 highway to back road ratio (maybe even 55/45) with about an hour and a half total of light wheeling thrown in there (a couple heavy gas moments but that's it). Top speed was 65 mph (actual) on the highway and there were some hilly spots on it and the back roads that required higher rpm oomph. I had my full size spare and my box of tools/recovery gear/fluids/other items in the back as well.

It's obviously an improvement from the previous tank, but still not quite where I want it for a daily driver. Now I'm obviously reasonable in that it's an older lifted Jeep with bigger tires, but I'd like to see that 16 number around town and even better performance on the highway. Overall though she performed pretty much flawlessly with no issues at all on the road, and you can't really ask for more out of a $500 vehicle (with obvious fixes here and there but you all know what I mean). The brakes and the steering box did present themselves as a bit of a hindrance on the windy roads where we were, but obviously I'm able to compensate for this by adapting my driving style to take them into consideration and take things easy where necessary. And it goes without saying that it was a much more comfortable and laid back ride than those I've made with the YJ, though shocks all around would make it that much better. And there was still plenty of room for two rear passengers, the spare/gear, and some overnight bags and other items in the back, which is a welcomed change from the ridiculous game of Tetris that loading the YJ was/is while trying to accomplish the same thing.

All that being said -- and it really pains me to say this -- it didn't perform off-road nearly as well as I was hoping. I'm not sure exactly why this was the case: whether it was my inexperience with an automatic off-road, the fact that the trail was covered by wet leaves, not airing down enough, the bigger motor having more torque, or a combination of all of those things. A few rock obstacles that I've walked right up with the YJ (with these same tires) actually gave me some difficulty this time around, something I really was not expecting with the added flex, clearance, and motor/tranny combo.

What surprised me most was that it actually seemed to perform better in 4-Hi than 4-Lo. While attempting/checking off-camber flex, I was able to crawl further up dirt and rocks in 4-Hi, whereas in 4-Lo I experience a tremendous amount of wheel spin both front and rear. I tried a variety of gear combinations, i.e. overdrive, 3, and 1-2 in both 4-Hi and 4-Lo, and in 4-Lo they all resulted in basically the same amount of wheel spin. In 4-Hi 3, it walked right up the off-camber stuff, and same thing goes for a rock I climbed straight on (not off-camber). The only conclusion I can draw from that is that there was actually too much torque getting to the tires for them to dig in. Again there was a solid layer of wet leaves everywhere, but this was something I really wasn't expecting. I was running about 14-15 psi in all the tires, up a little from my usual 10-12 when doing heavier wheeling, but I really can't see that 3-4 pounds making that much of a difference in this particular situation.

When I wheel the YJ (which is a manual transmission) I usually climb this one particular obstacle in first gear (usually the torque helps not hurts) and occasionally second, with a good mix of gas and clutch to get the job done. The issue I had was that with the Cherokee's tranny in overdrive or 3 and the case in 4-Lo it had a tendency to very rapidly shift out of first before reaching the obstacle (as it required a little bit of speed to get up), thus in my mind signaling that second wasn't torque-y enough. However with it in 1-2 and 4-Lo tire spin was a huge problem, signaling to me that first gear was in fact too torque-y to get the job done. Eventually I ended up just having to take a different line and made it up and over in one go, but it irks me that this relatively easy climb was an issue for what I consider to be a more capable vehicle. The only time this spot ever gave me trouble in the past was when the YJ was riding on flat, inverted factory leafs and 28 inch tires, and even then I made it over on the more difficult line.

Maybe you guys with automatics can chime in and give me some methods/advice on wheeling with one. It will obviously take some practice and adjustment to learn the new vehicle, but any push in the right direction would be helpful. I know I should be able to accomplish everything while in 4-Lo, and I'd really like to avoid having to shift back and forth between Hi and Lo because there is a bit of a grind in the case when doing so (and I did follow the correct shifting procedure which also is different from the YJ). I most likely won't get another chance to wheel it before hitting the trails with you guys at some point and I'm not looking to be the club anchor (yet again, haha).

Oh and I do have photos of it flexing, which -- despite all the negativity I just spewed out -- I was happy with, but I rather unfortunately switched my camera to raw image mode, so I have to figure out a way to convert those from .CR2 files to .JPEG. Once I do I'll get some posted here.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Jake on 10/20/2014, 5:26 pm

Nice! There's a pretty decent open source photo editing program called raw therapy if you're looking for something free.

I personally hate autos, but that's my only experience wheeling, and minimal at that but for the most part it seemed like a slow craw in 4lo got over most obstacles? My experience is really minimal though and I haven't wheeled it with non-bald tires yet either.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Mark on 10/20/2014, 5:51 pm

Hey there TJ, is the method that you use to shift t case from low to hi or hi to low correct ? as it should never grind.
When shifting from 4low to 4 hi you should move the shift lever to hi in one motion,do not stop at neutral, just push lever forward until you hit 4 hi.
Same way from 4hi to 4 low.
Usually if you put t case in neutral or stop at neutral it will grind when shifting out of it, so shutting engine off and then shift to 4 hi or low works in that situation.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/20/2014, 6:35 pm

Going from 2-Hi to 4-Hi is a breeze, no grind at all. Going from 4-Hi to 4-Lo or vice versa is when a small grind happens. I messed around with shifting it a little before I went wheeling and determined that if the vehicle is not moving at all the grind from Hi to Lo or Lo to Hi is atrociously awful. And by moving I mean under the 5 mph that Jeep recommends. If I'm moving it's just a brief, small grind as I pass from 4-Lo to 4-Hi or the other way around. And as I learned this should all be done with the transmission in neutral (exception is 2-Hi to 4-Hi) or bad things happen.

The problem is the case doesn't shift very smoothly (again exception is 2-Hi to 4-Hi), so making it a swift motion hasn't worked out thus far. I've tried quickly going from Hi to Lo or Lo to Hi; when going from Hi to Lo it seems to get 'snagged' a bit in the process and when going from Lo to Hi I tend to pop it completely out of 4WD or end up in between 4-Hi and 2-Hi. I'm not sure if there's a problem brewing with the case or if it has something to do with the fact that there's a transfer case drop on the vehicle. I read somewhere that a little grind when shifting it isn't abnormal, and that's what I have going on now. I will say that the YJ case doesn't grind at all, and with it if you're moving even the slightest bit going from 4-Hi to 4-Lo it grinds like a mother. It's a totally different process from shifting the case in the Cherokee though.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Mark on 10/20/2014, 7:37 pm

The linkage is probably the issue as it should go in and out like a breeze,
Is there slop in the linkage or a binding feeling?
When you are shifting the t case are you anticipating the pattern that the shifter has to go through because it is notched at the shifter base.{zig zag}
You might want to try pulling the shifter towards your right leg when shifting from 4h to 4L .but it may be that the linkage is the issue no matter the technique.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/21/2014, 11:02 am

I guess you could describe the noise as a binding. Just for shits I played with going in and out of 4-Hi and 4-Lo last night and again it seems like nothing I do can stop the little noise from happening. It goes nice and smooth through N but as soon as you get to 4-Hi or 4-Lo there's the small hesitation and grind/bind that occurs. I'll try messing around with the linkage this weekend if I get some time, as I do plan on doing a few small things before it starts to get too cold. While I've been under the thing I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary but that doesn't mean much.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/21/2014, 11:11 pm

As promised, photos of this weekend's activities. I've got plenty more but for some reason I can't get them to upload. Not sure if it's on my end or the forum.







All in all I was happy with the flex and the overall comfort of the ride off-road. Much easier and more relaxing than the YJ. As I noted before my only real issue was with the wheel spin in 4-Lo, which you can see a bit of in the middle photo above.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Posimoto on 10/22/2014, 8:57 am

Nice pics thanks for sharing
On the t-case, when was the last time you checked fluid level?
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/22/2014, 10:43 am

I haven't checked the fluid at all to be honest. The PO said he used to have all the fluids changed once a year and I took him at his word on that, but it wouldn't hurt to drain it and check myself. I think it may probably just be that the linkage needs some adjusting because of the drop that's on the t-case. Like I said it's smooth as butter going from 2-Hi to 4-Hi, and there was no whining or grinding from the case when I was putzing off-road this weekend.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/27/2014, 1:32 pm

So I got a chance to poke around at a few things over the weekend that were giving me trouble.

Project 1: My defrost issue (which is being documented here so I won't get into that too much here for sake of cross-posting). But, while poking around with the dash and checking things on the passenger side, I noticed that the passenger side carpet mat seemed really wet. At first I thought it was just residual dampness from my girlfriend sitting there after the heavy rains last week, but after pulling the mat up I realized the floor was soaking wet. So I tore up the carpet as best as I could and discovered at least half an inch of water sitting on the passenger floor board. Fuck me.

I traced the dampness with my hand and determined that my passenger floor was/is soaked all the way back to the floor in front of the rear seat, meaning most likely there was even more water in there than I encountered on Saturday (a few days of drying in between the rain and then). The only good news in this scenario is that it was 100 percent not coolant that was on the the floor, which it goes without saying is good news.

Only the Jeep gods know where the leak is coming from, and my prayers to them have always gone unanswered so once again I'm on a witch hunt for the cause of my problem. Possible areas of concern are: windshield gasket; blower motor gasket; gasket around fresh air intake underneath hood cowl; antenna gasket; weatherstripping around door; or improperly positioned/messed-up door. There's a million threads on the internet about a million different things that could be causing this so it's going to take a full day of investigation to really pin it down I think.

I'm leaning towards the last area -- messed up door position -- as the culprit. I noticed that the door itself has some home improvement store bought foam on it that none of the other doors have that's clearly not a factory thing. I believe the Jeep was damaged at some point in the right front (there's a decent dent on the lower right front fender near the door, and the PO mentioned something about an accident) so maybe, just maybe, it's an issue with things just not lining up correctly as a result and his temp fix was the foam stripping. I did notice that it was dampest right under the door, and that the floor and carpet up near the firewall were not wet, again making me think it could be around the door.

Complicating the pinpointing process is the fact that there is no level ground virtually anywhere in the city of Woburn, so whenever I park at night I'm facing either uphill or downhill (mostly uphill in my situation), which I'm sure aided the water in reaching the back seat. At some point soon I'm gonna grab an assistant and take a garden hose (before things freeze over) and blast the thing and try and find the exact culprit. Regardless I think I'm going to silicone a number of the above areas that I mentioned just for peace of mind regardless of whether or not I can pin down exactly where the leak is. I honestly thought I left my wet floor problems parked at my parents' place, but you'd think I would have learned by now that things aren't that simple.

Project 2: Transfer case lever. As I wrote about previously, the transfer case was giving me a bit of a headache when shifting from 4-Hi into 4-Lo and vice versa. An internet search led me to the shift linkage, which is where I started to address my issue. I put the case into 4-Lo and noticed that there was a bit of play in the lever and the rod, i.e. is was not fully back when the case lever was pulled all the way back into 4-Lo. So I loosened the nut, had my helper pull the lever back all the way, and I moved the linkage back slightly further to eliminate any excess play (full disclosure: it took some minor blows with a hammer to accomplish this).

I tightened everything back up, and on my initial test ride it did seem to shift smoother than before, but I still get a small grinding/clunking noise when passing through N. What I really need to do is see one of you guys shift your TJ or XJ into 4WD on an upcoming run to see if it engages or even sounds like mine does, because it's possible the noises I'm getting are normal noises of the forks in the transfer case engaging. Also, as I feared, while I was under the thing I noticed that some of the corresponding linkages to the shift lever are 'bent' downward as a result of the transfer case drop that was installed by the PO. Because the case is lowered an inch the linkages (that are attached to the unibody or actual body, can't remember which) are not straight like they were from the factory, and this could be causing some binding as Mark mentioned in one of his posts. It's definitely already causing some wear of the plastic washers/spacers that are attached to it.

The saving grace here is that 98 percent of the time the Cherokee will be in 2-Hi, even in the winter, and because it is smooth going from 2-Hi to 4-Hi I'm not all that worried about it. Most of the time on the trail I'm not switching between Hi and Lo anyway, so again not an area of huge concern. This would be more of an issue if this vehicle was going to be a dedicated wheeler, but it will not be one of those and won't be seeing any double black diamond trails probably ever while I own it.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  dongalonga on 10/28/2014, 2:41 pm

Get another person and find that leak. One person sprays the suspected area with a hose and the other watches for water. Obviously remove the carpet and dry everything first.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/28/2014, 3:28 pm

Yeah that's the plan for Saturday morning (provided the hose doesn't freeze during the night). I've got a few areas of probable cause, and I may do some door adjusting for the heck of it. The door is messed up in one way or another because the retaining strap pin is long gone.

I'm beginning to wonder too if the mist I was seeing coming through the defrost vents isn't somehow linked to all of this in one way or another, i.e. both my defrost and leak issues. I'm pretty confident that the mist was the vaporization of the refrigerant system dye 'burning' off the block and coming through the window defrost vents. The only way it could do that would be if the blower were pulling it in, but it only ever happened with the HVAC system off, so I wonder if there's a gap between the blower motor and the firewall letting it in. If not this may point to a larger problem with the HVAC system than originally thought, i.e. the blower is always on when the Jeep is running, or the blend door never correctly closes or is broken. A gap or bad seal around the blower motor would explain the water getting in as well.

Stuff like this is always such a crap shoot.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Mark on 10/28/2014, 5:28 pm

Does the jeep stay outside in the rain?
Did you check the heater box drain ? that will make water leak in jeep if it is clogged?
If you haven't yet it's worth a look see,, if for nothing else than the peace of mind knowing that is or isn't clogged up.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/28/2014, 5:39 pm

Yeah it's always out in the rain. Only accessible garage is at my grandmother's place, and the YJ on flat springs and 29s barely got into that. I might be able to pull the hood of the Cherokee in there as a last resort, haha.

I have not checked the drain but it is on the list of things to do. I know exactly where it is coming out of the firewall and plan on giving it a quick cleaning just to check. I'm fairly sure it's not just water backed up from the drain though because this was literally a gallon of water, and I hadn't run the heat much during the time before I found the puddle (as in during the week beforehand). But never say never as I've learned. Now the drains for the cowl are another story as they're tucked in behind the fenders. I don't think I've got much hope of getting at those, and I have a gut feeling that they're probably clogged up and part of the problem after reading up on them. More investigation this weekend will hopefully turn something up.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Mark on 11/7/2014, 10:05 am

Did you locate where that water leak originates ?
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 11/7/2014, 11:04 am

Not yet. Go figure it was too rainy to do it last weekend. I'm hoping to mess around with it sometime this weekend. The good news is that there hasn't been any additional water in the cab (even with it raining lately) since that major rainstorm a few weeks back, so it would appear it was a combination of a substantial amount of water in a short period of time and possibly the way the vehicle was parked. I'm still going to try and narrow it down because obviously I want no water in the cab at all, but I've been able to relax a bit. And I've been monitoring coolant level and it's not moving so looks like I'm clear on the heater core front as I thought.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  dongalonga on 11/7/2014, 5:07 pm

This is all good news.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 11/10/2014, 9:34 pm

Got a few small things done this past weekend. I attempted to change out the non-functioning rear wiper motor with a replacement one from Advance Auto. It's a pretty straightforward process, however it's very dependent on the part you buy actually working out of the box, which as is my typical luck it did not. So I returned it and got my money back and will eventually just buy a brand new one and not a reman unit. An hour and a half of my life I'll never be able to get back, but so be it.

My other project for the day was to make interior mounts for my axe and shovel. Up until now they've always just kind of floated around whichever Jeep they were in and I was determined to make something permanent for them. I looked online for various quick clamps and they were all way too expensive for my taste, so I got thinking and decided to get creative. I ended up settling on electrical conduits as my mount of choice. Since the axe and the shovel both have round/oval handles the contours of the conduits work perfectly.

Mounting them was a breeze; I went with two conduits for the axe (because of weight and balance) and one for the shovel. All that was required was the quick drilling of three holes into the plastic trim panel for the mounting bolts to pass through, and just like that axe and shovel mounts. I went with wing nuts and lock washers on the actual clamp part of the conduit to make taking both items out a breeze, and to ensure things don't rattle themselves loose (within reason).

For a total of about $10 you can't really go wrong. I only got one photo of things and that was of the final product, shown below.



I plan on mounting my power in the coming weeks as well. I'm torn between installing it on the front passenger side of the center console (well off the floor since I know now there's a leak somewhere) or on the trim panel opposite the axe and shovel. Both places have their pros and cons, I just need to weigh them all out and go from there.

I also think I've decided to go with a handheld CB unit for the Cherokee, as I really don't feel like drilling for the antenna and also figuring out where to mount the radio itself (as there really aren't any good places). I'm planning on going with the Cobra 38 WXST with magnetic antenna, i.e. the Cobra HH Road Trip. A handheld CB fits my multi-day hiking lifestyle as the unit I'm looking at has instant weather channels, and I can run the magnetic antenna on the roof during highway drives and on the hood on the trail if I felt like it. I've recently discovered the greatness that is Amazon Prime which is what I'll be using to pull the trigger on it.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Jake on 11/11/2014, 10:48 am

Looks good!

I mounted my CB on the passenger side of the center console, just drilled right into the plastic. Admittedly it does steal a little bit of passenger leg room.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 11/11/2014, 1:14 pm

I considered the console area, but having already experienced a radio in the YJ that I can barely hear without the use of a speaker hanging near my head I determined it's just not the right location for me. Passenger leg room isn't a huge concern, but since this is a DD I'd like to conceal the CB like I did in the YJ (which thus sacrificed ability to hear it which I'll admit was poor planning) and there's just no real place to do that in this vehicle. I considered under the steering wheel but again that presents a problem with being able to hear comms. The 38 WXST should fit right in the cup holder and it's small enough that I may even be able to rig up a 'mount' next to the steering wheel for quick access and easy listening.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 11/13/2014, 9:49 am

I paid $74 for mine after tax with free two-day shipping using Amazon Prime. And it comes directly from Cobra so no dinking around with a possibly sketchy internet vendor. Technically what I bought is called the Road Trip, but that's just a 38 WXST packaged with a magnetic antenna (and the radio has 'ROAD TRIP' written on it instead of '38 WXST'). If you half the price you found at Wal-Mart (since that's for two of them) that's pretty much spot on with what I paid so that is a real good price, as Amazon had the best price I could find on it. It will be on my doorstep sometime tomorrow so I should be able to mess with it this weekend and test how well it functions.
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