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Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

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

Post  CrawlingForward on 4/7/2015, 1:09 pm

Damn, you've been busy! I've got some backlogs to start reading through!

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

Post  THOOPY3 on 4/7/2015, 2:01 pm

CrawlingForward wrote:Damn, you've been busy!  I've got some backlogs to start reading through!

If you think this is a lot just wait until I start updating the thread on the YJ in the next couple weeks. That thing is gonna grow faster than the computer nerd who went off to summer camp before high school and came back a pro wrestler.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 4/14/2015, 10:13 am

Did the front brakes this past Friday. Things went surprisingly smooth (with the exception of a few factory two-piece lug nuts which BLOW) and the brakes feel excellent. I'll be keeping an eye on things going forward because the passenger side pads were worn down considerably more than the driver side, but I also wouldn't put it past the previous owner to change one set of pads and not the other.

The brakes are solid as hell now, and after all the recent work it's a hell of a lot easier to drive than it was just a few weeks ago. I took it for a 'shakedown run' if you will to Foxwoods and back this weekend for my buddy's bachelor party, and it performed great. The only blip was that occasionally it felt like my TPS was on the fritz again, i.e. weird transmission/throttle hesitation, so I may pick up another one just to be safe. It only happened twice and both times were on back roads around 40 mph, but still it bothers me. I had this same problem a few months ago and it ended up being the TPS, and I replaced that one with an AutoZone unit so I may have to nut up and go with a genuine Mopar part.

Just for shits (and thinking it may have something to do with the hesitation) I adjusted the throttle valve under the hood yesterday. This morning I could already tell it's shifting smoother, especially 1-2 and 2-3. It's still going into OD a little too soon for my liking on the highway, but the slight adjustment helped that and it actually held 2500 rpm up past 50 mph in third without me having to mash the pedal to get it to stay in third/downshift from OD. I may also need to change the tranny fluid as that's something that (surprisingly) the previous owner said he did once a year. After all the work I've done to the thing the weak point now is the transmission, as its pushing (or already past) 300,000 miles, so I'm going to do everything in my power to get it to last as long as possible.

Unfortunately I do believe I have the beginnings of death wobble, as up around 70 mph I'm beginning to feel a vibration that seems to travel through the vehicle. The strange part is that I don't feel this vibration in the steering wheel, and at 65 mph it's really not noticeable, but right up around 70 it pops up. It's possible this could be related to the bad shocks, so I won't be tearing into the the thing to track this down until I replace those. I'm also a little disappointed that it's still wandering on the highway a bit, even after taking quite a bit of air out of the tires, but new shocks and additional front end work should help on that front.

This weekend comes the 'real run' when I drive it to New Jersey for my buddy's wedding, 600+ miles round trip. I'm not expecting much trouble but as with anything vehicle-related I plan for the worst and hope for the best. I've got all my tools, a bunch of spare parts, and every automotive fluid under the sun coming with me, so aside from a catastrophic failure I should be able to take care of anything that crops up.

I'll report back after the trip with a status report, including gas mileage numbers which are steadily increasing since the O2 sensors and front end work was done. I'm up to 15 mixed now, and if we can get a clear shot on the Pike, through Connecticut, and through New York this Friday (fingers crossed), I'm hoping that number could be even higher. Quite the difference from the 10-11 it was pulling just a few weeks ago.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  CrawlingForward on 4/14/2015, 11:14 am

What's your driveshaft situation again? Stock?

It coming on that rapidly and not feeling it in the steering wheel sounds like it might be a driveshaft balance or wheel balance issue. Have you done a tire rotation recently?

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

Post  THOOPY3 on 4/14/2015, 11:42 am

CrawlingForward wrote:What's your driveshaft situation again?  Stock?

It coming on that rapidly and not feeling it in the steering wheel sounds like it might be a driveshaft balance or wheel balance issue.  Have you done a tire rotation recently?

Both driveshafts are stock, and it has a 1 inch transfer case drop. I had the tires balanced two weekends ago and that did help things at lower speeds considerably. I haven't done a rotation since about last September but all the tires are wearing very evenly and there's no apparent strange cupping going on. That doesn't mean they couldn't use a rotation though.

My thinking is it could be driveshaft-related as well, I'm just not sure if it's front, rear, or both. I had the u-joints in the rear shaft replaced, wanted the front done but it was going to take an extra week that I didn't have, and it's entirely possible both shafts are out of balance. The angles look good to me, but that doesn't mean they don't need work. The rear did have 6.5 inches of lift at one point, so it's possible there are shims there that are not at the correct degree for the now 4.5 inches of lift.

I may have to just nut up and take both shafts off and have them checked after my trip this weekend. I believe Ryan (and you Geoff) recommend a place in Wakefield, Montrose if I'm right? That's probably where I'll end up taking them to.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  CrawlingForward on 4/14/2015, 11:51 am

THOOPY3 wrote:

I may have to just nut up and take both shafts off and have them checked after my trip this weekend. I believe Ryan (and you Geoff) recommend a place in Wakefield, Montrose if I'm right? That's probably where I'll end up taking them to.

If nothing else, just pull the front DS to see if that eliminates the issue. If so, then it's already out and you can bring it to Montrose Machine (I think that was the place's name. Definitely great shop) and have them check it for true and balance.

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

Post  THOOPY3 on 4/14/2015, 11:57 am

Yeah that was part of my plan. I'm a little concerned it may not come out easily because of years of grime, and since it's a double cardan shaft it needs to be unbolted at both ends to get it out. I've read some horror stories on a few forums of people stripping the heads off the bolts at the transfer case end, and apparently there isn't room to get an impact wrench in there so it's by hand. It would be my luck that I'd strip the hell out of those bolts and never get the thing off.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  CrawlingForward on 4/14/2015, 12:06 pm

THOOPY3 wrote:Yeah that was part of my plan. I'm a little concerned it may not come out easily because of years of grime, and since it's a double cardan shaft it needs to be unbolted at both ends to get it out. I've read some horror stories on a few forums of people stripping the heads off the bolts at the transfer case end, and apparently there isn't room to get an impact wrench in there so it's by hand. It would be my luck that I'd strip the hell out of those bolts and never get the thing off.

If the XJ is like the YJ (I know the t-case is clocked differently, so not sure), you could probably get an impact in there if you just put a jackstand under the transmission and drop the skid plate...

....shoot....unibody. Well, I'm clueless.

Extensions?

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

Post  THOOPY3 on 4/15/2015, 11:08 pm

So I was poking around underneath the Cherokee last night, and while doing so I got around to yanking on and checking the front drive shaft. I discovered that the front output shaft yoke on the transfer case has a bit of up and down play to it and makes an audible "click" when you push up on it. My understanding is that this is not normal.  

So tonight I went ahead and pulled the front drive shaft in hopes that the yoke bolt was loose, and to see if pulling the shaft affected the vibes I've been experiencing. Unfortunately the bolt wasn't loose and the up and down play is still present in the yoke with the shaft out. Removing the shaft also made a decent difference in the vibes at highway speeds, so now I'm beginning to fear that one or both of the front output shaft bearings might be dusted. A bummer for sure if that's the case.

For now I'm leaving the shaft out since I won't need four wheel drive anytime soon, and I'd like to replace the u-joints. Amazingly the shaft is in such good condition (visually) that you can still read the original factory sticker with its build date and part number.

Somewhat related to this is that now I believe the remaining highway speed vibes are being caused by a poor rear drive shaft angle. I'll be honest and say I thought it looked fine when I've looked at it in the past, but a harder look tonight makes me think I was wrong. I think the problem was masked by the fact that my commute up until a few weeks ago was all back roads and never more than 40 mph, and when I had it on the highway I attributed the vibes to all the work the front end needed. However I now realize the angle of the rear shaft most closely resembles that of the third diagram in the below photo:



Not ideal as you can see. So my question is: how do I go about fixing this without the use of a SYE and double cardan drive shaft? Obviously the place to start would be degree shims, but doing so makes me feel like I'd ultimately end up looking like the fourth diagram, which is not ideal. I'd be happy with the second diagram, but I just don't know how I could get the slip yoke at the transfer case to be more level without adding a larger drop kit there. I've never experienced this problem with the YJ so I'm new to correcting this sort of issue.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Mark on 4/16/2015, 10:36 am

Degree shims are what you need to be installing.
You will need an angle gauge to determine how many degrees that you are off because you don't want to take it apart more than once if you can help it.

Are the u bolts in good condition or do you need new ones to do the job ?
If i remember correctly the largest degree shim you can get was 15 degrees.

I had to install shims on a friends yj and it worked out just fine .
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 4/16/2015, 11:39 am

I'll more than likely replace the u-bolts just to be safe, since I have no idea how long they've been on there and they may be stretched some (though likely not). After looking around a little more, I found these two diagrams that better explain the current drive shaft angle:

Diagram 1


Diagram 2


Diagram 1 is very close to what the current setup looks like, except I obviously don't have a CV shaft. Diagram 2 is where I need to get to. I haven't looked closely but I'm thinking the axle may already have shims that brought it to this angle, and I may be able to get away with just removing them and seeing if it helps. It needs to be taken into account that at one point the rear was lifted 6.5 inches (4.5 inch lead packs plus 2 inch shackles) and not the 4.5 I have it at now, so it's entirely possible it was shimmed for the 6.5 inches and me taking 2 inches out completely changed the geometry of everything. If it isn't shimmed then I guess I need to order shims and actually install them backwards to point the pinion more towards the ground. I'll try and take a picture of the shaft later to better show what it looks like.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 4/20/2015, 5:28 pm

So I got back from my trip to New Jersey and back last night, and the Cherokee performed absolutely flawlessly. It pulled ~17.4 mpg on the way down (we hit a traffic in almost every state) and ~18.6 mpg on the way back, both ways running 60-70 mph. I'm extremely pleased with those numbers considering I was down to 10-12 mpg just a few weeks ago. My drive line shakes are still there once it hits about 67 mph and up (thus why I kept it to around 65 the entire trip), and I still think the steering is a bit too loose, so I'm going to have to take care of those items before I'm completely satisfied with the thing.

This trip also reaffirmed (not that I needed it to) that I have to address the under hood temps through my aux. fan plans and/or hood louvers. It ran perfectly cool the whole way while moving, but any sort of traffic and the temp immediately creeps to 210 or above. I imagine once outside temperatures begin to hit the 80s and 90s that this issue will only get worse, and my terrible work commute won't help things. Cooler under hood temps will also be good on the trail for obvious reasons, and should help with the heat soak issues that's cropped up a couple times.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  dongalonga on 4/20/2015, 7:43 pm

What shape is the water pump, radiator, and coolant in?
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 4/20/2015, 9:37 pm

dongalonga wrote:What shape is the water pump, radiator, and coolant in?

New, relatively new, and perfect. The cooling system is working just fine. I can't tell you why but it's just a characteristic of Cherokees to have extremely high engine bay temps. The residual heat from the engine and exhaust manifold is actually what causes the coolant temps to rise when moving at slow speeds. If it had issues with the cooling system things would be even worse. The heat from the manifold is also what causes the heat soak issue, most commonly in injector #3. Jeep/Chrysler actually issued a TSB back in the day regarding the heat soak issue (wrapping injector #3 in heat wrap), but since I'm planning on changing the injectors anyway I'll address the issue myself when that time comes.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  dongalonga on 4/21/2015, 2:43 pm

Damn. Too bad you couldn't have wrapped or coated that manifold. That would make an enormous difference and be cost effective.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 4/23/2015, 12:28 pm

Yeah, I may still try to wrap it but we'll see how it goes.

This weekend I'll be addressing the awful pinion angle. I crawled under the thing the other night and determined the Rough Country springs definitely have shims attached to them, so those have to go. They're completely unnecessary with the transfer case drop, and at right height it looks like I'm setup for a CV shaft...not good. My best guess is that the shims are angled for the 6.5" inch Rough Country lift kit (4.5" spring plus 2" shackles), which means they are likely 4*+ shims. Removing them should definitely help alleviate the vibes I'm experiencing, which shockingly are actually getting worse by the day. I'm guessing my 600 mile trip this past weekend with such a poor angle didn't help things, but at least the u-joints are new otherwise I may have had a disaster on my hands.

I will also be removing the rear drive shaft to grease the splines on the slip joint and output shaft to try and address a bit of a clunk I get from time to time (during deceleration/acceleration and when shifting out of Park), which is a combination of the Cherokee just being old and also what I believe is axle wrap. Fixing the pinion angle will help with the clunk also, but greasing up the shaft can't hurt things.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 4/27/2015, 11:06 am

So I was able to remove the degree shims from the rear springs. As is always the case things did not go according to plan and both of the centering pins snapped, so I replaced them with grade 8 cap head bolts. The passenger side one was so mangled even if it hadn't snapped there was no way it was going to be able to be reused anyway. At the same time I also removed the rear sway bar, which was a breeze. It's just unnecessary with a leaf sprung rear end, and I'm sure I won't notice any additional body roll because of it. It's a lifted Jeep not an Indy car; I already take corners and off ramps slower than your grandmother does so I'm not worried.

Taking out the shims was worth the effort though as doing so completely eliminated the vibration the thing had from 12-20 mph. I'm really surprised it had that much of an effect, as I thought the low speed vibe was definitely tire- or shock-related. Unfortunately I only gained about 5 more mph on the top end before those vibrations show up, so I still need to poke around the front end and figure out what the root cause is. It still looks like the rear pinion is pointed too high up, but the perches are in their stock location so aside from using the shims to point the axle down more (which to me seems incorrect to do) there's not much more I can do on that front.

Separately, as is the case with me and Jeeps, as soon as it's running well something decides to give up the ghost, and this time it was my passenger side front axle seal. While getting ready to pull the rear tires to do the spring work I happened to notice the back of the tire was 'wet' which didn't make sense. Further inspection led me to discover that it was gear oil and that the knuckle was pretty soaked with it. That fucking blows.

Now I can't say for sure it's because of the front end work I just had done, but there's a good chance that when the axle shaft was being re-installed after the u-joints were replaced it wasn't done so with enough caution and the 17 year old, close to 300,000 mile seal was disrupted. So now basically the entire front end (including its guts) needs to be taken apart again and the seals replaced. I'm not comfortable doing that myself so again this is unfortunately something I have to pay to have done. I think I'm going to take this opportunity to have the ball joints replaced as well, as at this point those are the only things in the steering system I haven't replaced and can only be done when all the same components are off. I was going to do them myself probably later in the summer but might as well do it now if everything is coming apart again.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 5/6/2015, 9:55 am

So as most of you who have followed my build threads know, I'm not exactly graced with the best of luck when it comes to mechanical failures. Yesterday morning was no exception as the crankshaft position sensor decided that (out of the blue as is usually the case with these things apparently) my commute to work was the best time to die. So at 8:30 in the middle of rush hour traffic on 128 the thing crapped out.

Since traffic was only moving like 10 mph tops and I was off the gas I didn't even notice anything was wrong until I looked at the tach and it had no reading. I thought maybe the cluster was acting up (as had happened before) but a quick push of the gas pedal quickly ended that thought. Luckily it cranked over after a few seconds of trying and with absolute reckless abandon I shot over into the breakdown lane determined not to be that guy you heard about on the news with a dead car in the middle of the highway.

Once in the breakdown lane it died again, eventually started again, and so began my slow trek back to Woburn and to the AutoZone on Main St. there in hopes they could do an OBDII scan for me and pull a code. I eventually got there, but I'd say it cut out on me at least six more times between Concord and AutoZone, the last little bit accompanied by my girlfriend in her car so no one would rear end me and really ruin my day. Once at AutoZone they ran the scan and came up with P0320 (the crankshaft sensor), P0420 (this one is new to me and points to a bad catalytic converter), and P0455 (my never-ceasing EVAP leak).

I decided not to go with an AutoZone sensor (for pretty obvious reasons) and found that Kelly Jeep in Lynnfield had two of them. So 25 minutes and 120 ridiculous dollars later I was in possession of a new sensor. I removed the old one and put the new one in last night, which isn't terribly difficult but is very awkward due to the fact that the sensor is located near the top of the bellhousing. Some creative extension work made things easier, as did the fact that the front driveshaft is out. With the driveshaft there the process would have been a real pain in the ass. After the new one was in I took it for a spin and everything is back to normal, and I got to work this morning without incident. Amazing how that little rinky-dink sensor can stop the thing completely in its tracks.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  CrawlingForward on 5/6/2015, 6:00 pm

That sucks.

Is the dealership one covered by any type of warranty?

Sometimes the Autozone ones have lifetime warranties which always make me debate the best course of action.

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

Post  dongalonga on 5/6/2015, 11:09 pm

Glad it didn't happen on the way to GTD!
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 5/7/2015, 11:48 am

Well as always when it rains it pours, as this morning it seems that one of my calipers has given up the ghost. Currently feels like I'm dragging a boat anchor behind the thing and I can actually hear the pads dragging. At least this time it happened in my apartment complex parking lot so I just parked the thing and took my girlfriend's car to work.

I'm going to replace both because that's the proper thing to do, and I should have just done it when I replaced the pads and rotors a few weeks back since I noticed then that the pads on one side (driver I think) were far more worn than the other. I knew that pointed to a bad caliper but thought I could get away with it but it seems that's not the case. The silver lining is that I'd much rather all this stuff go wrong now and not 100 miles from home at MaBell next weekend.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 5/7/2015, 11:59 am

CrawlingForward wrote:That sucks.

Is the dealership one covered by any type of warranty?

Sometimes the Autozone ones have lifetime warranties which always make me debate the best course of action.

To be honest I have no idea if the dealership one is covered by any sort of warranty, but all discussions online point to the dealership part (Mopar) lasting for about 150,000 miles. By that point this thing probably won't have any good metal left on it and will probably need another motor so I'm hoping this will be the last one that I need for its lifetime.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 5/11/2015, 11:53 am

Not to be outdone by the YJ, the Cherokee also received some love from me this weekend. Friday night my father and I changed out the old calipers and installed the NAPA reman units I picked up to help with the seized brake situation I had going on. On Sunday I removed the old beat to hell front shocks and replaced them with the new Skyjacker Hydros I ordered. I ended up going with shocks designed for a 6 inch lift to provide me with lots of droop (I actually don't want much up-travel to protect the fenders). Pressing those bottom bushings into the shock was a bitch and took some seriously creative finagling of our vice and multiple sockets of varying sizes.





While the tires were off I threw on the 32 inch mud tires, and once those were on I re-installed the front driveshaft so I can possibly hit some trails this weekend at Go Topless Day and MaBell. I never got my trailer hitch installed so I don't think I'll be tackling all of MaBell, but I know I can at least get it up the first part and park it off to the side of the trail.



I can definitely tell the difference in the ride after changing just the front shocks, and it is noticeably less-jarring and much smoother. Going from the E-rated General Grabbers to the C-rated mud tires also helps on that front, but I can tell the new shocks have made a huge difference. Once the rears are changed out the ride will be even smoother.

Separately, like the YJ, I think the Cherokee is going to need longer brake lines to accommodate the amount of droop it will now have with the new shocks, so add that to the list of things to do. I can put this off for awhile though because it is the DD and will be seeing mostly street duty.
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THOOPY3
Moab Dessert

Posts : 624
Join date : 2012-03-13
Age : 26
Location : Woburn, MA

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

Post  THOOPY3 on 5/21/2015, 10:55 am

Well it seems that the sticky brake caliper wasn't the only cause of my "feels like I'm dragging a boat anchor" syndrome as today once again the Cherokee did not want to move when put into D. Combine this with the diagnostic codes that were pulled from AutoZone a few weeks ago (P0700 and if I'm remembering right P0758) and it seems that the 2-3 shift solenoid is about to give up the ghost. It shifts fine if done so manually (i.e. going from 1-2 to 3) but trying to go from a complete stop in D or 3 is like trying to drive with the clutch 80 percent depressed in a stick shift. The torque converter also doesn't seem to want to lock up once up to speed but my guess is that's also related to not having a solenoid engaging correctly. It seems this situation is referred to as the TCM or PCM entering "limp mode" in other online forums.

Oddly enough once I got to work, shut the Jeep down, and restarted it it seemed like first gear was back when I put it into D, but I was only moving a few feet back and forth in a parking spot so who knows. I don't think the solenoid is completely gone yet so I'm hoping it will hold up until I can get the parts here. I really don't feel like having to manually shift my automatic in traffic every morning.

I'm dropping it off at AAMCO tomorrow morning to have them run a (free) transmission diagnostic and see what they come up with, but more than likely I'll be dropping the pan and changing out all the solenoids and filter in the next week. AAMCO knows they can't slip one past me because the dude I spoke to was quite surprised I was able to give him the exact codes and that it was likely a 2-3 solenoid issue but that I wanted the diagnostic to be sure. Knowledge is power.
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THOOPY3
Moab Dessert

Posts : 624
Join date : 2012-03-13
Age : 26
Location : Woburn, MA

http://sorrygonecamping.com

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

Post  THOOPY3 on 6/2/2015, 3:15 pm

This past weekend I addressed my intermittent transmission issue and replaced the solenoids. I ordered a full solenoid replacement kit from Makco Transmission Parts, and it arrived in a week's time with free shipping. I also went ahead and purchased a new filter and rubber gasket.

Aside from a few bolts in extremely hard to access areas, and the extremely poorly located exhaust and crossmember, everything went fairly straightforward. To absolutely no one's surprise I discovered that two of the three transmission solenoids had been previously replaced: the 2-3 solenoid (which apparently went bad again) and the lock-up solenoid. You'd think after going through all the effort of draining and dropping the pan that you would just replace all of them at once (which is what I did), but that would apparently make too much sense.

Also to absolutely no one's surprise, the drain plug is apparently missing the washer that is supposed to be tightened with it. I was unaware there was supposed to be a washer at all until I started poking around the interwebs, and had planned to add one after seeing the small puddles left behind at work the last few days. This lack of a washer would also explain why the plug was cranked on there when I went to drain the pan. Actually a surprise is that the NAPA in Woburn has a new plug and washer in stock, and later this afternoon I'm planning on swapping out the old one and throwing on the new one. I'm hoping to accomplish this with as little lost fluid as possible, though I know it spewing some is inevitable.

Also, after seeing how the Cherokee performed at Go Topless Day and MaBell a few weeks ago, I've decided that I will not be building this Jeep to see off road action. There's just too much work involved in turning it into a more off road capable vehicle, as evidenced by just the entrance to MaBell ripping off my rear flares and lower rocker covers (the rockers which are completely rotted to shit). I'll still be taking it on some of the easier club runs and possibly still using it on some of my camping trips, but I've finally got it running well on road and have no desire to compromise that. Combine this with the fact that everything (minus the already replaced motor) has almost 300,000 miles on it, and sooner rather than later things are going to start failing on their own without the help of me beating on it on the trail. It was meant to be and is my daily driver, so from this point on it's officially full mall-crawler status for the thing. Consider this thread more of a "maintenance thread" than a "build thread" going forward.
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THOOPY3
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Posts : 624
Join date : 2012-03-13
Age : 26
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

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