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Old 03-25-2009, 02:51 PM   #1
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New TJ owner, maintenance help needed.

So I am finally joining the Jeep family! I am getting my new '97 TJ on Saturday. It is a green stock TJ with 4.0L engine (114k miles), tan hard top and black soft top, 5 speed, Dana 35 in rear. I bought it last night. The old owner is going to help me install the soft top when he brings the Jeep to my house, so I thought that was nice. I won't be registering it until next week so I plan to wash, vaccum, and generally clean the TJ over the weekend while I have the time. I figured I would make sure the coolant is topped off, make sure the power steering fluid is topped off, change the oil and oil filter, check the air filter and probably replace, and figured I would throw some new spark plugs in it.

Is there anything else I should do when getting it? From what I have read I plan to get Champion 4412 plugs as those seem to be what many are running. What am I supposed to gap them at? I am also wondering what weight motor oil would you put in. I will probably go with Castrol GTX.

When I bring it to the local Jeep place for my lift install I will have him do the diff fluid and tranny fluid as I have no clue how to go about doing that myself and don't want to screw something up.

Can't wait to get it. It is going to feel like the rest of the week is dragging by. I'm like a little kid at Christmas and the TJ doesn't even have any mods........yet.

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Old 03-25-2009, 03:14 PM   #2
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If you want your plugs to run like new for 90-100K miles, install Autolite AP985 or Champion 3412. Both are platinum coated plugs and will perform the same as the non-platinum Champion 4412 that may last only as long as 25-30K miles. They don't perform any better, their benefit is they last 3-4X as long. The surprising news on that is that the Champion 3412 is only 12 cents more per plug than the non-platinum 4412 that only lasts 1/3 as long.

10W-30 oil is fine, I personally use Valvoline but Castrol GTX is another excellent motor oil.

Congrats on the '97, that's what I drive and I believe it to be one of the better years for TJs.

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Old 03-25-2009, 03:14 PM   #3
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Congrats onthe Jeep, the first thing I recommend is going to the auto store and getting a Haynes manual for your year of Jeep, will have all the basic info you'll need and also the spark plug gap as well.

Changing the Diff fluid is as easy as changing your engine oil....
Loosen all the bolts, knock the cover loose to drain the fluid into a catch pan.
Remove cover and spray the inside of the cover with brake clean to help remove any deposit and wipe down with shop rag.
Scrap off RTV and apply new bead... (better yet, order a pair of Lube Locker diff gaskets) and don't ever have to mess with RTV or let set-up & cure.
Put cover back & and tighten bolts, then fill with new fluid.

Shop labor rates, especially at the Jeep dealer can be killer on a lift install. They typically charge 75-90 an hr and if it's an older Jeep where rust might be an issue, then that can be labor intense. Depending on what lift your getting or planning on theres a ton of write for lifts now a days and depending on where you live theres usually people willing to help out. Plus it gives you a better feeling of accomplishment as well and teaches you more about your vehicle too, especially when out on the trail.

I've been out with a couple people that the dealer installed their lift, something happened when we were at the 4wd park and they got a little nervous & paniced too quick. Was nothing major but had to help fix a few things and was good as new.
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:28 PM   #4
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I appreciate it. Maybe I will tackle the diff fluid change. Any specific kind to get?

The shop I was looking to have the lift done specializes in Jeep builds only. SVE Performance in CT. It isn't a dealer like you thought. I am sure the labor rate is about what you said, but maybe I can have him tackle the SYE and driveshaft install and do the lift myself with a couple of friends. I plan to talk to him to see what he recommends as far as lift height. I was thinking about a RE Super Flex 3.5" lift and plan to mount 33"x12.50" Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ on 15x8" Black wheels with 3.75" of backspacing.

I figured It is better to do it right the first time than to go cheap.
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:48 PM   #5
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Small update to above....couldn't edit my post.

I have been reading up on here and after checking out some different options I was thinking about a RE Superflex 3.5" lift with 33"x12.50" Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ on 15x8" Black wheels with 3.75" of backspacing. Ordering the lift from Offroadtoystore includes some free Doetsch Tech 3K shocks. If I order everything from there it looks like I can get the lift kit w/ free shocks, 5 tires, 5 wheels, and mounting/balancing for the tires/wheels for $2275 shipped to me. That also includes a free tire cover and a $50 gift certificate also.

Does this sound like a good overall plan. I plan on light off roading, mostly trails. Would you opt to get the SYE kit and TW driveshaft also or should I skip that for now. I want it done right the first time so I hopefully have minimal issues later on.

I figured It is better to do it right the first time than to go cheap.
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:54 PM   #6
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Sounds like a good plan and good on reading up on the lifts as well. Don't forget about Extended Brakelines as well for Front & Rears.

Yea I would do the SYE & Rear CV shaft... do it right the first time, plus never really makes sense to me to lift your Jeep, just to drop the transfer case back down and giving something to get caught on.

Diff Fluid, since you probably have the D30/D35 combo would probably say I think it's 75-90 for Diff fluid if I remember correctly and I usually use Mobil 1 or Royal Purple

Price out the kit from a couple different vendors as well... I would recommend checking with the following: Northridge4x4.com 4x4rockshop.com and redrock4x4.com

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Old 03-25-2009, 04:18 PM   #7
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Thanks Chris. The RE kit includes extended brakelines.

If I understand correctly: If I do the SYE and TW driveshaft I do NOT need to lower the transfer case. It can stay where it is.

I'll start getting a list of all the maintenance stuff I need so I can go shopping this weekend for the basics. The seller thinks he has one of those Haynes manuals too.

Funny thing I forgot: I never tested reverse when I took it out for a test drive....gonna have to check it when he drives it up on Saturday. LOL...
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:18 PM   #8
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Don't forget about Extended Brakelines as well for Front & Rears.
Extended rear brake lines are never needed, look at how the brake line comes down the control arm directly to the axle and you'll see that the brake line doesn't know or care if the TJ is unlifted or has a 6" suspension lift on it.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:24 PM   #9
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If I understand correctly: If I do the SYE and TW driveshaft I do NOT need to lower the transfer case. It can stay where it is.

I'll start getting a list of all the maintenance stuff I need so I can go shopping this weekend for the basics. The seller thinks he has one of those Haynes manuals too.

Funny thing I forgot: I never tested reverse when I took it out for a test drive....gonna have to check it when he drives it up on Saturday. LOL...
First, don't be shocked when the transmission grinds when you shift into Reverse. That's because Reverse gear is not synchronized like 1-5 gears are. No worries on how to stop that Reverse gear from grinding, simply do a momentary shift into 1st or other forward gear first, THEN shift into Reverse and that will synchronize Reverse so it doesn't grind. That age-old technique was taught to me when I was learning to drive a '57 VW back in '64 or so as a kid.

On the Haynes manual, I wouldn't. Haynes and Chiltons manuals are too generic, they cover too many model years to be very specific in any one particular model year. Many comments will say something like "should look like this" rather than "this is what it looks like"... better to spend the $$$ $80-90 or so for the official Jeep Factory Service Manual for the 1997 TJ as I have. That manual has paid for itself countless times since buying it in '96 when I bought my '97 TJ new.

And yes, installing a SYE kit and CV driveshaft completely eliminates the need to drop the t-case after installing a suspension lift.
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:35 PM   #10
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Thanks Jerry. I will look into the factory manual. Any links to the one I am looking for?

I know the little trick about shifting into 1st than reverse. I have to do it on my '02 GTI 1.8T also

EDIT: I found a place but they want $160 for it.

http://collinsbros.stores.yahoo.net/jeepshopman.html

Found it below for $109

http://thejeep.com/shop/HOT+SELLERS/...ce+Manual.html

Has anybody ever delt with these places before?
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Old 03-25-2009, 06:58 PM   #11
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+1 on the factory manual. Jerry is right. Haynes is a hard manual to follow due to all the variations of options IMO. I don't know your automotive prowess but putting the lift on yourself is a fun project. RE makes a good product and if you can change your own brakes, you can put a lift on. Now tackling a SYE conversion is a higher level of experience. Have you ever checked out Stu Olson's Jeep site? Stu is the shizo! He has a good review of doing a SYE. And I don't know your money situation but Tom Woods makes a very good CV tailshaft kit but it will cost ya. Anyway welcome, a jeep will put holes in your pockets!!! Chad
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Old 03-25-2009, 07:35 PM   #12
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True about the Haynes & Chilton, but it gets you started atleast and gives you the basics. I too finally got a copy of the 03 FSM for my Rubi from a fellow jeeper on another forum and is way better.

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Old 03-25-2009, 10:22 PM   #13
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dont put synthetic oil in the axles.. it makes em run too hott put regular oil in those
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:29 AM   #14
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"Diff Fluid, since you probably have the D30/D35 combo would probably say I think it's 75-90 for Diff fluid if I remember correctly and I usually use Mobil 1 or Royal Purple"

This isn't synthetic oil right? I am assuming it would say it right on the container if it was.
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:09 AM   #15
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The Synthetic makes the Diffs run hot... is based on what....

The diffs are going to run warm/or hot especially if daily driver and most with the LSD or Lockers usually require the anti-friction or synthetic to be used. It's metal and friction, since consistanly moving it's going to be hot, pretty much like the engine.
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:19 AM   #16
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Check eBay for the factory manual I got mine there for less than $40 shipped
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:30 AM   #17
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So Chris, is the diff oil you recommended synthetic? It won't be a dail driver...just a weekend truck with some driving during the week as well.
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:41 AM   #18
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Yea I typically use synthetics and I've been running Mobil 1 or Royal Purple synthetic since 05 when I got the Jeep and I change the gear fluid on a regular basis since it see's alot of trail action and daily driver.

Pick up the Lube Locker diff gaskets, (4wd.com or Northridge4x4.com) it's worth it, especially if you ever have to do a trail repair or check, plus makes changing the fluid that much faster as well.

For fluid just make sure to get the right wt, I think for your D30/D35 axles its 75-90 if I remember correctly, but check withthe manual as well, even the owners manual should list the correct fluid wt to be used.

My daily driver comment from above, was meant by alot of highway miles and in consistanly driving on freeway at higher speeds.

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Old 03-26-2009, 09:58 AM   #19
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Gotcha! You guys rock! Thanks for the help and I'll be sure to post up how it goes as well as some photos of my new baby!
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:45 AM   #20
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ive seen jerry post in previous writeups that most axle and gear manufactures will void the warranty if you put synthetic oil in the axles.. synthetics oil in their just makes them run to hott.. regular oil are better in those
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:49 AM   #21
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:17 PM   #22
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Hey Jamesbernatchez check your inbox
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:19 PM   #23
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ive seen jerry post in previous writeups that most axle and gear manufactures will void the warranty if you put synthetic oil in the axles.. synthetics oil in their just makes them run to hot.. regular oil are better in those
Exactly, one of those axle manufacturers being the well known and very respected Currie Enterprises.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:58 PM   #24
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That may be true as mentioned from Currie Ent., but no where have I seen, heard or read that Synthetic Diff fluid makes them run hot....

Depending on the application it seems to be more of preference as long as the fluids meets GL-5 and/or J2360 then you should be fine.
Your gear oils should meet SAE J2360 (which is also MIL SPEC PRF-2105-E)

When it comes to wts., the you can only get the 75W140 in Synthetic. If I remeber correctly both my manuals list that for the diff fluid wt to be used for my Jeep.
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:13 PM   #25
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Syn Diff & Motor oil is one of those never ending debates....
like ford vs chevy.... Auto vs. Manual, etc.

I learned from another forum to actually start reading the labels on the bottle now a days, to see what spec are listed on the back of the bottle. And actually was surprised reading the bottle on name brands vs store brands..... shocking how some of the name brands dont list certain things...... just my .02 cents
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:29 PM   #26
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That may be true as mentioned from Currie Ent., but no where have I seen, heard or read that Synthetic Diff fluid makes them run hot...
That you personally haven't "seen, heard or read" this doesn't exactly count for much, now does it. And this isn't exactly something that has been around a long time either, this is a relatively recent revelation that a few axle manufacturers have discovered and is why many are switching away from using synthetics in their axles. Not everything that is known or learned in this world is ancient knowledge, now is it?
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:39 PM   #27
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Ahhh hah!! interesting that its a somewhat recent discovery and now make me curious to contact a few mfgs for future reference & knowledge.

But I still wouldn't say that they make the diff run hot. The MFG's such as Currie maybe switching back to convential for other reasons.
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:44 PM   #28
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But I still wouldn't say that they make the diff run hot. The MFG's such as Currie maybe switching back to convential for other reasons.
You are frigging tough to convince, what, are you an expert on gear lubes? I had a first-hand conversation with John Currie himself on this very subject who was amazed at what they confirmed on this subject himself. Call Currie Enterprises so you can be enlightened, don't take my word on this.
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Old 03-26-2009, 03:49 PM   #29
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Well then maybe I am wrong, thats why I said it makes me curious to know more.

No I never said I'm an expert on gear lubes, but have learned and read things over the years and from different forums on which specs to look for on the bottles.

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Old 03-26-2009, 03:49 PM   #30
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