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Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

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

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/2/2014, 3:10 pm

Mark wrote:If you remove the accessory belt and noise is gone then it's not the engine. cheers

Also to address this, I know it's somewhere in the drivetrain because when the water pump failed and the belt came off when I first bought the thing, she was still clacking away. If only it were that simple, haha.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Mark on 9/3/2014, 11:38 am

TJ,, Is it a clacking/ticking noise ? or a knocking noise like someone banging a hammer on the side of the engine?
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/3/2014, 11:52 am

Mark wrote:TJ,, Is it a clacking/ticking noise ? or a knocking noise like someone banging a hammer on the side of the engine?

The latter. It's a very rapid, constant thunk. It's not the worst noise you've ever heard, but it's impossible to ignore it and it's there from start-up and until you shut it down. Best way to describe it is a rough sounding diesel engine. As the revs get higher so does the pitch of the noise. Occasionally right as you shut the motor down you can hear a "thu-think" sort of like a rod moving up or down, but again only occasionally. It's most certainly not a sticky or failing lifter, as I think that's what you might be hinting at Mark. I have a video of it but unfortunately it's on my cell phone and I can't seem to get it off there to share it on here.

In other news, I discovered this morning that the A/C compressor or something running to it is spewing oil/refrigerant, as there's a nice bright green coating all over everything mounted behind it. I am 100 percent certain it is not engine coolant. I'm gonna go out on my lunch break and clean everything off and see if I can track down the leak. The A/C is still blowing cold, and hopefully it's just a clamp or something that needs to be tightened, but we'll see. I'm afraid that we may have overfilled the system which caused a seal to blow out. It was damn nice having the A/C yesterday but it may have been a one-trick pony depending on how things go.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Mark on 9/3/2014, 12:02 pm



Does it have oil pressure?   { thu-think } noise when you shut it off sounds like a cracked flex plate / loose converter bolt issue.
Does it make the same noise if you put it in gear, step on the gas and hold the brake on?[/quote]
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/3/2014, 12:13 pm

Yes it does have oil pressure. On initial start-up it holds about 40-50 psi; while driving it maintains about 40 psi; and while idling at a stop light in drive it holds between 20-30 psi (all according to the gauge in the cluster, not verified through any other means). All of these readings are very similar to if not better than why the YJ reads as well (different motor though so take that with a grain of salt). This is part of the reason why I don't think it's a rod, because I would think a bad rod would give me constant low oil pressure readings, though I'm no expert by any means on this. Problem is, while I was tightening the flexplate-to-torque converter bolts and spinning the plate I didn't see any cracks on it, but I couldn't see up around where the plate mounts to the crankshaft itself so I can't verify it's 100 percent not the issue.

And yes it does make the same noise when you put it in gear and do gas and brake at the same time. The noise becomes much, much fainter once the transmission reaches overdrive and you coast around 40-45 miles per hour (around 1200-1400 rpm). However even the littlest bit of gas makes the noise reappear.


Last edited by THOOPY3 on 9/4/2014, 3:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/3/2014, 1:26 pm

So I've been known to be 100 percent wrong before...I guess I do have a small coolant leak somewhere, but I don't think it is entirely what covered the right side of the engine bay in green fluid. It would have to pull some serious Matrix-dodge-the-bullet shit in order for that to happen, but I suppose there have been stranger things. The A/C is still cold though so here's hoping it's fine. The coolant trail I was able to follow was seemed to be coming out of the water pump and running down behind the harmonic balancer and dripping off the oil pan. So I think the best bet is to tighten all those bolts up and see if that takes care of things. I don't have all of my tools with me in this Jeep like I did in the last one though so hopefully I've got the stuff I need to remedy the situation.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/4/2014, 3:54 pm

Well I've come to the conclusion that we overfilled the A/C system, as once again today I've got green fluid all over the right side of the engine bay (after having run the A/C last night). It looks like the relief valve is on the back of the compressor itself; I didn't see it yesterday when I was cleaning everything off but did today, which explains the spray pattern. No coolant leak today so maybe somehow that was also spray from the A/C that made its way over there. At this point I think I need to take it to an A/C repair shop and have them evacuate the system and refill it at the proper level or risk damage, so until then the A/C stays off.

As promised, here's some photos of how she sits without the lift shackles.



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

Post  dongalonga on 9/4/2014, 5:21 pm

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

Post  Jake on 9/4/2014, 5:21 pm

Looks good! What wheels are those? Look like 16's or 17's off of a newer Jeep?
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/4/2014, 7:19 pm

Jake wrote:Looks good! What wheels are those? Look like 16's or 17's off of a newer Jeep?

They're the same 16" Moabs I had on the YJ. I think they were originally off of an '05 Rubicon. They've come full circle now because the guy I bought them from also had them on a red XJ.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/7/2014, 9:52 pm

Took care of some more items on the to-do list this weekend.

Took it for a badly needed alignment on Saturday, which was confirmed by the before and after numbers Town Fair gave me. Today I replaced both the front and rear washer pump motors, and now have functioning front and rear wipers (sort of, the rear motor is still cooked but that's easy enough to replace). I also switched out the cooked steering shock with a new Rancho one that I picked up. The new one was a bit of a bear to get in, but aside from that the process was as straightforward as you'd imagine. Last order of business was an oil and filter change, as I have no idea when the last time that happened was. Also threw in some STP ZDDP additive; I figured it couldn't hurt things so why the hell not.

Up next is adjusting the steering box, dealing with the A/C mishap, getting the flexplate checked out, and eventually dealing with the evap leak. Aside from those it's just a bunch of really small things here and there. She's come a long way from where she started.

Here's a breakdown of what I've got into her so far. This is mostly for me to keep a running tab, which is something I should have done with the YJ but didn't think far enough ahead about.

-water pump ($45)
-serpentine belt ($30)
-rear interior panels ($16)
-hood release ($10)
-rear wiper arm ($5)
-exhaust manifold ($125)
-manifold gasket ($50)
-drag link ($80)
-motor mount (~$30)
-shackles ($30)
-steering wheel cover ($12)
-radio and harnesses ($98)
-rear speakers ($50)
-plugs, wires, cap, and rotor ($90)
-A/C recharge ($45)
-steering shock ($62)
-bulbs ($4)
-oil and filter ($38)
-4.0 out of a 1997 Cherokee, 161,000 miles ($299)
-miscellaneous gaskets ($100)
-rear brake overhaul, includes drums, shoes, springs, and hardware ($185)
-wiper blades ($18)
-Solid diff cover, used ($35)
-gear oil ($20)
-axle seals ($8.00)
-Rugged Ridge tow hook kit ($71)
-MAP sensor ($72)
-air filter ($20)
-fuel pump relay ($15)

Total: $1663


Last edited by THOOPY3 on 10/15/2014, 12:04 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Andrew Miller on 9/8/2014, 1:36 am

Nice work TJ, be careful when adjusting the steering box. They are really only designed to be adjusted 1 time, or even not at all. I adjusted my old steering box when I had my old tire because I had some shimmy in the front end. Once i realized the shimmy was caused from the tires I adjusted it back and it drove like a go-cart. Lesson learned was having to replace the old steering box (which was leaking anyways), and don't buy a shitty set of tires. Good luck!

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

Post  Mark on 9/8/2014, 8:27 am

Very true Andrew! maybe check to see if a Durango steering box will fit.
I have one in my tj, it is bigger and stronger, Durango 4x4 steering box.
A steering box brace would be a good thing to have on an XJ as the frame cracks from stress.

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

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/8/2014, 2:54 pm

Yeah the steering box adjustment is certainly meant to be a temporary fix, as after close to 300,000 miles this one is probably on its way out. My guess is it's never been adjusted before, but it's got a good amount of play in it right now that I know is not the tires or loose/old/worn-out components in the front end so I'll give that a try before I give up on the current one. If the box is no good the Durango upgrade is an option for sure.

Right now I'm trying to diagnose a strange mist that occasionally appears out of the defrost vents that I'd like some input from you guys on. Best way to describe its appearance is almost like a lit cigarette sitting in an ash try. The mist is very thin and really barely noticeable and has a whitish/clear appearance to it.

I know the first thing that everyone will say is that it's the heater core going but I don't think that's the case. There's no build up on the windshield or windows, the coolant level hasn't really moved, the mist doesn't seem to have an odor to it, the passenger floor is bone-dry, and it only seems to happen (at least to my knowledge) in the morning after the Jeep has been driven for around 10-15 minutes. It's not a constant flow of mist either and only appears while the heat and A/C are off. If it does appear and you switch the fan on it immediately disappears, and it's hit or miss as to whether or not it appears again. I have not noticed it in the afternoon, but it's been so hot lately that I've had all the windows open so the mist would blow right out anyway. Since it's a little cooler today I'm gonna ride home with them up and see if it appears. I've sat in the thing for long periods of time working on it and have never noticed it during those times either, so that leads me to think it's an issue only when the cooling system is under pressure. I have seen the mist after the Jeep is shut off, but because most of the time I'm pulling into work and running late I don't have time to sit there and see how long it continues for. I'd think though if the heater core was leaking and producing the mist it would be happening constantly.

I've been avoiding running the A/C because of the overfill issue, and I wonder if this is somehow related because I never noticed this until about a week ago when the A/C system shot out all that fluid/oil. At first I thought it was just the fluid/oil steaming off the block (since it got everywhere) as I was only seeing it out of the driver side vent where I know there's a missing grommet to the engine bay, but today I noticed it coming out of the passenger side as well.

I know there's a small coolant leak from somewhere near the water pump, but I have no idea don't know if it's related. I can picture the coolant steaming if it's coming in contact with the block, but what I can't picture is how/why it's coming through the defrost vents with none of the HVAC systems running. Only thing I can think of is that the Cherokee is like the YJ in that the HVAC system has a constant flow through it even with the HVAC system off (this happens even in my girlfriend's newer Toyota as well). If this was the case, coolant or fluid from the A/C system (or even water vapor) could be steaming on the block and be getting pushed into the vents by the radiator fans. I was amazed on Sunday morning at how much rain water had gotten into the engine bay after those storms on Saturday too. I actually thought the thing was overheating and gave me quite the scare until I opened the hood and saw all the water beginning to steam off the block, so it's possible that condensation or water is present somewhere causing this as well.

I'm really not looking to have to put a heater core in the thing as that's a pretty major job, but we'll see how things go. If I get lucky maybe it will be an issue with the A/C being overfilled and taking care of that alleviates the problem.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/8/2014, 9:09 pm

Slight update: no sign of the mist driving home from work. Just for kicks I turned the heat on to see if that made any difference (and to make sure it still worked): no mist and the heat cranked. This again makes me lean toward it not being a bad heater core. I think this is just one of those if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it kind of situations.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Mark on 9/8/2014, 9:49 pm

tj,,My TJ has an antifreeze smell coming out of the vents when the heat is on until it warms up and then it totally goes away.
The core definitely has a minute leak and it's kinda plugged up too but i don't want to mess with it right now as that's looking for trouble.
Plus, i don't drive it in the winter anyways.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/10/2014, 11:11 am

Yeah, the YJ has had a questionable core pretty much since we've owned it and we're in the same boat of just leaving it alone because it's asking for trouble messing with it.

No mist the last two days, so I'm still perplexed as to what it is. This may just be a coincidence, but I did switch the temperature setting on the HVAC control to heat and have left it there and since that point no sign of it. The occasions that I have seen it it's either been very humid or rained the night before, so maybe I'll luck out and it's just a case of moisture in the air/on the block vaporizing and coming through the vents. I guess the only part that really bothers me is that it does it with the heat and A/C off, otherwise I probably wouldn't give a second thought about it. Luckily there's no burning smell or anything to it; my first thought was an electrical short somewhere (which would be real trouble) because of the color and it appearing even after the Cherokee is off but that seems highly unlikely at this point.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 9/18/2014, 10:28 pm

Well, this thread has been quiet for about a week but big things are happening. Today I bought a 4.0 out of a 1997 Cherokee with 161,000 miles on it. Paid $300 for it with a three month warranty. It was already pulled but a video was available of it running, and it sounded healthy. It's definitely a bit of a risk, but once it's in the Cherokee will have a solid drive train and won't be just a (very slow and loud) mall crawler. I got an excellent quote on the swap from the guy who replaced the exhaust manifold (hindsight being 20/20 I would not have had that job done) so that's where it's going for this job as well.

I'm hoping that because I take good care of my vehicles (knock on wood) I'll get a good 100,000 miles more out of this one, and the 4.0 being the beast it is I expect that to happen. Not exactly sure when the new motor is being dropped in, and I go on a week-long business trip starting Saturday morning which slightly complicates things, but it should be taking place in the next few weeks. I'm excited to bring another neglected Jeep fully back to life like we did with the YJ.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/6/2014, 11:27 pm

So, got the Cherokee back from the motor swap last Friday and I am happy to say she purrs like a kitten. From what I'm told everything went pretty smooth. I was a little surprised to hear that some of the connectors for the various sensors were different going from a 1997 to a 1998, but it all worked out in the end. I am having a bit of an issue with the oil pressure sending unit. Occasionally on start-up there's no pressure reading and the "Check Gauges" light is illuminated, but as soon as you start moving the pressure reads correctly. Most likely just a bad unit that needs replacing. It runs cooler, idles smoother, my gas mileage is already tremendously improved, and obviously it's much, much quieter. I guess I really didn't realize just how bad the other motor was until I heard and drove this one.



This weekend we took to tackling another set of issues in the form of a leaky left rear axle seal and replacing the rear brakes. I replaced both seals because it doesn't make sense to do one and not the other (especially on a 16 year old neglected vehicle). Here's a photo of the offending seal:





As you can see, it was toasted. Since I had to open the diff up to change the seals, I decided it was a good time to put a beefier diff cover on there, so I purchased this Solid cover off of Jake and threw it on there. As you can see its paint job matches that of the rear axle perfectly.



Last project of the day was the brakes, and of course it did not go according to plan. We started with the right rear and right off the bat we ran into problems. I had picked up a new spring kit but not a new hardware kit, and it turned out that some of the parts in the right rear assembly were bent and mangled. No idea why some things were the way they were but I can't say I'm surprised judging by how everything else on this thing has been. We fixed what we could and assembled it together as was thinking things would be fine, which turned out to be a mistake. I will note the left rear went together no problem.

So after everything was back together we took it for a two-ish mile spin and everything seemed fine. I then headed home and this is where the problems started. It's about six miles highway from my parents' house to my apartment, and in that time the right rear brakes managed to drag so badly that by the time I parked it (unknown to me until I got out of the thing) smoke was pouring out of the wheel well and the drum was hot enough to cook an egg on. Not good. Ended up having to tear the right rear apart again and replace all the hardware earlier tonight, and that helped a bit. The right rear drum is still getting pretty warm, but not nearly as bad as last night. It may need a wheel cylinder, but for now I'm just going to keep an eye on things and see how it goes.

So that's where things stand for now. I've got no other major projects in the pipeline for the thing for now (fingers crossed of course). I did order a Rugged Ridge tow hook kit from 4WD.com with a coupon I had, which will replace the hooks that are presently only bolted to the bumper and no part of the frame...yeah. Again, par for the course. It definitely needs a power steering box (or some serious adjustment), new front brakes (pads and rotors), shocks all the way around, and sooner rather than later I need to figure out the issue with the defrost. With the exception of the defrost, everything can probably wait until next year, which gives me time to save up some cash for some new tires for the YJ, as the 32s that came with the Cherokee have officially not panned out (one no longer holds any air and one has a pretty decent leak). I do have a full set of 235/75s that came off of the YJ when I bought the 31s, and the plan is to mount those for the winter and save up for either another set of 32s or (preferably in my mind) 33/10.5s.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  dongalonga on 10/7/2014, 1:53 pm

The saga continues. Glad to seethe motor sway went well. Drum brakes are the devil.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/7/2014, 3:28 pm

Yeah it's been great driving the thing around, makes the whole investment entirely worth it with the fresher motor. After the brakes I'm in it for about $3300 now (including cost to buy and shop labor) which really isn't too bad if you ask me. Take out the shop labor and we're talking roughly $2100. Considering my initial budget was $2000 in search of a stock Jeep that needed work and that was going to have gobs of money sunk in it for modifications that this one already has, I'm well within where I wanted to be. That being said, barring unforeseen circumstances I am on a spending hiatus when it comes to Jeeps through at least the end of the year and most likely through tax return season next year. I'm actually afraid to add up how much I've spent this year on the two of them.

With the brakes, my father and I have done so many drum brake jobs over the years at this point it's second nature (admittedly mostly for him), but something is definitely still not quite right despite his/our best efforts. In fact when I think about it it only took us like 45 minutes to get jack and stands up from the basement, wheel off, old hardware out, new hardware in, and wheel back on, which is pretty good time if you ask me. What sucks is if it does need a wheel cylinder everything obviously has to come back off, and I'm not just gonna do one side (like we discovered the previous owner did with the rear brakes) so it's double the work, not to mention bleeding the brakes and all that. But that's the price you pay for doing things right the first time and having piece of mind.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  dongalonga on 10/7/2014, 11:14 pm

It's always worth the extra time and effort.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  Jake on 10/8/2014, 7:26 am

Ahh that's a bummer, eventually though you'll make it through all the po's bullshit and have a really solid rig, so that's something to look forward to at least.

Best to do it right the first time of course.
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/14/2014, 11:56 am

Well the brakes have figured themselves out, no more smoking or burning at all. For now I'll just keep an eye on things and look for premature wear. I think the next time will be a disc brake conversion, as I've read up on swapping KJ discs to the 8.25, which with the exception of the e-brake setup looks very straightforward. Hopefully I won't need to do this for quite some time though. The fronts are definitely cooked though; when hitting the brakes at highway speeds she shudders like crazy. Not really noticeable around town, which these days is where I do most of my driving. I'll probably go with the Black Magic setup like I did on the YJ when the time comes.

Took care of a couple other items of business this weekend. Had a bit of an "oh shit" moment Sunday while driving to my parents' place when out of nowhere the thing just died on me while I was taking a turn. I had no idea anything was wrong until I had no power steering, and at first I thought the pump had let go (because it whines like a girlfriend who claims you spend all your time working on your Jeep) but when I went to give it gas she was dead. It took a few cranks and a lot of pedal pumping to get it going but eventually it started back up (all pretty much in the middle of an intersection mind you) and I got it pulled in the driveway with no signs of anything wrong.

Checked fuel pump relay, ASD relay, other fuses, and everything checked out. Just for shits I took it to AutoZone to have them run a diagnostic, and lo and behold two codes were present this time around: P0455 (major evap leak that I couldn't give two damns about right now) and P0108 (MAP sensor cooked). The MAP sensor would explain what happened, and also explains a flukey moment I had last week when the thing started, ran for about two seconds, then just cut out suddnely. I didn't think much of it because on the next crank she started right up and there was no engine light on at that point.

You never want something to fail, but this was one of those convenient failures. I'm traveling with it this weekend and plan on doing a little bit of wheeling so better it happen at home and not two plus hours away on a trail, and one of my projects for the day was to remove and clean the throttle body, which I did at the same time. Piece of cake to do and well worth it as it was pretty gunked up in there. Little bit of elbow grease and bunch of carb cleaner and it's shining up nicely.

The major project of the day was installing the Rugged Ridge tow hook brackets that I ordered. Unfortunately I don't have photos of anything as my camera was unexpectedly dead, but I will do my best to describe this bitch of a process in words.

We had suspected that at some point this vehicle must have been in some sort of front end collision because the clip has two barely unnoticeable cracks in it just above the grill and the bumper sits just a smidge lower on the right than it does on the left. Nothing major and like I said you can hardly notice this stuff unless you're looking for them. To install the tow hooks properly, you need to remove the bumper completely from the vehicle and tweak the factory mounting brackets that attach to it.

Getting the bumper off was a breeze, as I soaked all the bolts for a few days leading up to it and there really wasn't much rust up there to begin with. That should have been the hardest part of the process, but like most things Jeep-related that I do there was an unforeseen hiccup. The brackets that attach the bumper to the unibody and the bolts that hold the brackets onto the bumper were MANGLED BEYOND RECOGNITION. I'm talking bolts and corresponding metal that were all once straight are now threading in at 45 degree angles. Not good.

In order for the bumper to be re-installed correctly over the tow hook brackets, the bumper brackets need to be spread wider on each side by roughly a quarter of an inch (the thickness of the hook brackets). But because everything was so FUBAR, this turned into a major project. What should have taken all of five minutes became at least an hour of struggling to hammer and bend and push metal, which in the end accomplished almost nothing.

To complicate things further, the hooks that the PO had installed (through only the bumper as a reminder) were totally seized and required me to bust out the cutting wheel to remove. Note to everyone: DO NOT BE DUMB ENOUGH TO USE SCREW-HEAD BOLTS, ESPECIALLY IN A LOCATION ON A VEHICLE EXPOSED TO THE ELEMENTS, OR YOU ARE A FULL-ON HACK. Had to get that out of my system. Eventually, things lined up as they should have and I was able to get everything buttoned up as it needed to be. I also removed the busted-ass fog lights that were also Jerry-rigged onto the bumper as well, and yanked the wiring. Having done these things, I think I've now removed all signs of the previous owner with the exception of the front speaker wiring and one roof rack that I can't manage to bust loose. Praise the lord.

In conclusion: after much swearing and bloody knuckles, I now have properly installed front recovery points. I plan on eventually installing a hitch in the back to use as a rear point/guard against some idiot plowing into the back of me and immediately smashing the very exposed gas tank, leading to a certain catastrophic ending. Provided all goes well this weekend, the Cherokee and I should be making an appearance at the next club run. I'll try to post some photos of the installed hooks and the brackets in the next few days.
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THOOPY3
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/16/2014, 2:23 pm

Well I just did my first fill-up since the motor swap and I can report that I've gained around 4 mpg. Pulled about 230 miles on 16 gallons, whereas before I was around 100 miles per 10 gallons. I also learned that the gas dummy light comes on with 4 gallons left in the tank and not the 2-2.5 that it reportedly should; and here I was thinking that I'd finally own a vehicle where I didn't have to rely on the trip odometer.

I'm hoping with the new 'performance' air filter (AKA not the bottom of the line STP but not the top of the line K&N) I put it in and the new MAP sensor that I can pull even better numbers, as most of those miles were put on it with a dirty filter and (an unknowingly) faulty sensor. It doesn't help that I mostly drive around town and tend to start it and let it run for a few minutes (usually 2-3) also. I will be doing distance highway driving this weekend (with a little wheeling thrown in), so I'm hoping by the end of it I'll have a nice understanding of exactly what kind of fuel mileage she'll pull in most situations. I'm also considering doing the IAT relocation mod that I've read a fair amount about; it would look something like this: http://www.cherokeeforum.com/f51/budget-airbox-mod-iat-relocation-2599/
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THOOPY3
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Re: Little Red (T.J.'s XJ)

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