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Old 06-17-2014, 07:16 PM   #1
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A tale of two TJ's

Posted this to the YJ forum by mistake. thought I should make amends; soooo,
Not really posting for help. Just posting to grow the knowledge and share my misery. Bought my son a 98 Sport with a 4.0 - manual. Rusted off rear upper control arm brackets. It's down until I get the new exhaust out of the way to patch the frame rot and weld brackets on. (Yes, both sides.)
Bought my daughter a 97 SE 2.5 - Auto. Had the dreaded power steer pressure switch leak, pumping hyd. fluid into the harness. Not sure if this caused the engine to blow or not, but #3 piston is no longer in the cylinder at all. It's in the oil pan. To the engines credit, it ran in this state for me to drive it 1/2 mile to get her in the garage and start tearing the motor out.
Soooooo. Since Ebay used engines are $800-1000, and I'm scared to death of scammers swearing all the CL engines are rebuilt, I'm going to get a crate motor for her. Should be a fun little jeep for her younger years. (The 97's frame is in really good shape.) I'll post the progress for both of em.
Full disclosure; at some future date, one or both of these TJ's will be dads!

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Old 06-17-2014, 07:18 PM   #2
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Ok, now for the update. Have the 98 back on the road! Suspension was all jacked up. Lost drivers side track rod link and clearly both upper control arms. New track rod link and lots of black smithing / welding. DONE. Have checked it every day to make sure the welds are OK and not seeing any fatigue issues. Will continue to check them.
NOW, pulling 2.5 out of the 97. No lift points? nice.... Guess I'll use straps and guess until I get the dangle of the angle right. Hope to have a new crate engine to install by the weekend.

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Old 07-02-2014, 02:06 AM   #3
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Well. I'm fuct. The 98 is still running. Bought and installed a reman 2.5 for the 97. Finally got it all in, and the starter isn't working. Clearly, nothing could have broken since she went down, so; I found a broken ground wire on the passenger side frame rail to? Yep. The starter isn't getting a ground. (sigh.) Wish I would have paid more attention to where all those grounds went now. Anyone have a pic of the area by the oil filter / dip stick? I need to see where all those damn grounds were supposed to go!
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:09 PM   #4
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All the engine grounds are refreshed. Still no start. Transmission linkage? Yep. Back up lights were on when the shifter was in Park. Adjusted the linkage bracket and it started right up. HOORAH! Noticed some brake fluid on the main line that runs to the rear. Sure enough. Bad line. (sigh) Replaced the line and the rubber line to the axle was leaking. Replaced all the rear lines.
Time for the big test drive before releasing it for service. An odd sound is coming from the tranny. A tapping type sound? Fluid is likely low, so I won't risk too long of a drive. Soon as I get out of the driveway it stalls and sets a CEL. Code 11. Cam / crank sensor issue. (sigh.)
I swear, I don't think I will ever see another evening or weekend that doesn't involve turning wrenches.....
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:03 PM   #5
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Well, it sucks now, going from one problem to another. Just try to think how great it will be when they are both running right and you will have the pride in knowing you did the work to get them to that point.
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Old 07-06-2014, 11:28 PM   #6
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Yea man. Can't wait until my main jeep issue is getting paint to match and putting in sound bars. lol. Tested the Crank sensor this morning and it tested bad. Clicking noise in the front end is the drivers side sway bar down link. So, I ran up to Advance and grabbed both. (Funny how they always have Jeep stuff in stock?) No more CEL when she warms up! No more stalling when hot! Hoo f'n Rah! Now I'm doing some short test drives. Had the top radiator hose leak a little so I tightened it up. Still not comfortable putting it back into service just yet. Need to check grease in the axles and diff. Doubt that anyone took care of this little SE for a long, long time.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:08 AM   #7
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Oh, forgot the bolt that connects the link to the frame snapped. Yes, I heated the crap out of it and oiled it first! It was the original 17 year old bolt and linkage. Sometimes even heat won't save them. That said, heat got the busted head out of the frame connection! (And a BFH.) Looks like the SE is on the right path. Will work through the little issues this week.
BTW, saw a really sweet Sahara for sale on my way to Advance this morning. (I'm hopeless.....)
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myelenik View Post
Oh, forgot the bolt that connects the link to the frame snapped. Yes, I heated the crap out of it and oiled it first! It was the original 17 year old bolt and linkage. Sometimes even heat won't save them. That said, heat got the busted head out of the frame connection! (And a BFH.) Looks like the SE is on the right path. Will work through the little issues this week.
BTW, saw a really sweet Sahara for sale on my way to Advance this morning. (I'm hopeless.....)
Yeah, you really could use another one!
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:27 AM   #9
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LOL. Well, got a bit braver with the 97 and continued the testing and commissioning. Drove it around and it was all good. Stopped to put a little gas in it and CEL came on after start up. (DAMMIT!) Put in a new cam sensor. (Or the sensor under the distributor cap.) AND on a hunch zip tied the connectors for the ECU. (I read they get goofy.) Could not get the CEL to set again....WTF? Could this really be the issue??? BTW, checked the OBD codes with a reader earlier and got a P1391. Will advise if this effort fixed the gremlins. Still have a LONG way to go, but making headway!!!
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:33 AM   #10
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Also, did I mention that the 98 backfires when going down hill? (4.0 standard x-mission.) I'm reading MAP sensor or maybe just a good ole fashion tune up. (plugs and dist. cap.) No CEL. Can't be too serious yet. How did we fix things before forums???? Hope all my posts help someone else. Dam, I would look good in that Sahara! LOL.
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:19 AM   #11
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Tonight's adventure was changing plugs in the 98 to see if it cures the backfire. (Old plugs were worn the f out!) Will find out tomorrow. Tired of test drive for now. 97 saga continues in it's still throwing a CEL, even though it runs pretty good. Non OEM parts issue? Worn out distributor gear throwing off the crank / cam timing enough to throw a CEL? Also, no weird noises on the 97 before the engine swap, now there is a distinct click / pop / oil can sound after you start moving the jeep around. Can't replicate it by bouncing the jeep when standing still now. Tranny on a bind? Holy crap.....I'm in too deep to give up now.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:50 AM   #12
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I'm going to try a new distributor for the 97 CEL code 11. As far as I know, the dizzy in there now has been there for 250K miles. Bound to have alot of play in the gear mesh. WTF, it's $80 for a new Cardone. At this point, $80 is a drop in the bucket! If it fixes the problem, it's money well spent.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:46 PM   #13
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Had someone drive the jeep s l o w l y down the driveway to see if I could hear the noise from outside the jeep and pinpoint a general location. (Couldn't hear it.) Going ahead with plans to drop in a new distributor for the CEL code 11 and new transmission filter to see if the pump is getting starved for fluid. If I see anything alarming in the pan, I'll go junk yard diving for a used 30 RH. Buy a FSM and a rebuild kit. After this last round is done, I'll have to resort to taking it to a dealership for diagnostics. <don't judge me....I'm fighting the good fight!>
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:15 PM   #14
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Dude! You sound like a lone survivor on a deserted island biographing his day to day misery! You are far ahead if anything I could ever pull off. More power to ya!
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:52 AM   #15
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This weekends efforts; Drove the 98 to hear the "backfire" complaint. Its an exhaust leak. Will fix it later. 97 work; Got a new serpentine belt tensioner put in and dropped the tank to install the new skid plate. Had to cut 3 of the 7 bolts off with a dremmel tool. Ran a new steel line up to the evap canister. Undercoated while I had the tank out. Still waiting for the new distributor. Need a smaller torque wrench before dropping the pan to change the transmission filter. (Mine is too big for in-lb. accuracy.)
FYI; The tank skid is held on by 5/16-18 carriage bolts. (Probably 1" long.) Was worried bout grade of bolt. So I ran some calcs. Tank holds~20 gal. 20 gal x 6.4 lb/gal = 128 lb. Skid plate probably weighs 30 lbs. So we're around 160 lbs. Minor dia. of 5/16" bolt is .2524: Cross sectional area is pi x r x r = .05 sq in. Tensile stress is ~3,200 psi. (If only one bolt held the whole tank.) ppppttt. Not exactly in the GR 8 stress range. I bought stainless bolts FTW. Thanks Arlan. I'm not really legit until I start rebuilding motors and tranny's. THEN, I'll be "the man!" lol.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:36 PM   #16
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Sounds like you are pretty fearless. I'd be overwhelmed.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:53 AM   #17
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Way to go man! Keep up the good work!
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:00 AM   #18
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How bout some pics of these beauts?
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:14 AM   #19
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I'll get some before / after pics before I paint them. Latest updates; Dropped in a new distributor in the 97 on Monday. Have not thrown a CEL since. (knock on wood). Was doing high idle after warming up. Tightened the manifold bolts. Seems to have fixed that as well. I might actually be making some headway!!!! Will try to tackle the 98 exhaust leak this week. Bought a exhaust expander tool, so I can get the muffler to actually seat all the way back on the exhaust from the cat. I'll be so glad to just be doing body work soon. lol.
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:35 AM   #20
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And thanks to all for your words of encouragement! I have to admit, focusing so hard on trying to bring these TJ's back into fighting shape has me at odds with real Jeeper's, as it would break my heart to take these things out and bury them in a mud pit or bust up the suspension on rock crawling. lol. This must be how the guys in a pit crew feel when they have to watch the driver bust up their race car?
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Old 07-17-2014, 02:34 AM   #21
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Reading your posts makes me grateful that I only have to do routine maintenance and frame/underbody rust treatment! I'm sitting around eating Bon Bons and you are performing the Labors of Hercules, LOL!
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Old 07-17-2014, 06:45 AM   #22
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Are your kids helping you with any of these epic repairs? Be a great time for them to learn something about what they are going to be driving…… just saying!
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:43 PM   #23
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LOL SolarColubia. A mans gotta do what a mans gotta do. cthusker, naw. Your born a gear head. My kids think its f'n magic. They will probably regret it some day when the ole man isn't around to turn wrenches. Latest updates; 97 is run'in strong! Tightened up the steering this weekend. Had my daughter turn the wheel while I laid under the front end to verify that the gear box was the source of the slop. It was. Took the front plastic "Jeep" cover off from behind the front bumper and there was the back lash adjustment bolt in all her glory. Marked the location of the allen wrench with a sharpie. Took a little more than 1/8 turn to take most of the slop out. BOOM! Nice feature IMHO. 98 is still popping when engine breaking. Used my new exhaust re-sizing tool. Slid the pipe back up on the cat. Thought it was a done deal. Not so easy. The exhaust / intake man gasket looks rotten and brittle. Guess I'll be changing that next. Not too bad, all things considered.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:54 PM   #24
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cthusker got me thinking. My ole man was a legit gear head for a living. Certified electrician, welder, mechanic. Made a good living. Had 4 older brothers. I wanted a new bike when I was a kid. He said "there is 4 bikes in the garage!" But, they were all busted. I had to take the 4 busted bikes and make one good one. That was the beginning of my downfall...LOL. Thanks pap!!!!! I miss him.... Now I keep thinking about hot dip galvanized jeep frames and fiber glass tubs. Just like those bikes, building a super Jeep? Hmmmmm.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:36 PM   #25
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It's in your genes! That's why/how you do all this! It all makes sense now.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:38 PM   #26
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Well, found the exhaust leak on the 98. Some jagoff tried to weld up the exhaust manifold without removing it. Still has short pieces of weld wire stuck to it the gobs of cold weld. (It was only visible from underneath at just the right angle. Exhaust pipe was fairly rotted too, so...another couple hundred bucks in the manifold, exhaust and upstream O2. 97 is throwing the CEL again for the power steer pressure switch. The dealership will have look at this one as it is probably a faulty code due to programming parameters. (Runs fine.) I'll check for service bulletins on this thing.
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Old 07-28-2014, 09:52 PM   #27
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[QUOTE=myelenik;12260778]Well, found the exhaust leak on the 98. Some jagoff tried to weld up the exhaust manifold without removing it. Still has short pieces of weld wire stuck to it the gobs of cold weld. (It was only visible from underneath at just the right angle.

Always nice when someone does a cobble job.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:00 PM   #28
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Used 2 1/2 cans of carb & choke cleaner on the intake man of the 98. Finally got it clean. Put it all back together, except for the exhaust pipe / O2. Supposed to be delivered today. Found two full doors on local CL for $450. If they are in good shape, then I found hard doors for my daughters 97. THEN, it's paint'in time! Hey SolarColumbia, was considering having my kids do the undercoat, just to make sure they have some skin in the game. What do ya think? Can't really mess anything up, and it's just miserable enough to make you feel like you accomplished something.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:18 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by myelenik View Post
Used 2 1/2 cans of carb & choke cleaner on the intake man of the 98. Finally got it clean. Put it all back together, except for the exhaust pipe / O2. Supposed to be delivered today. Found two full doors on local CL for $450. If they are in good shape, then I found hard doors for my daughters 97. THEN, it's paint'in time! Hey SolarColumbia, was considering having my kids do the undercoat, just to make sure they have some skin in the game. What do ya think? Can't really mess anything up, and it's just miserable enough to make you feel like you accomplished something.
Wow, what a good read.... or a bad one? Perseverance of a gearhead at it's best! Those kids are lucky, half the grown men I know can't change a tire, let alone build BOTH their kids running TJs. They better start paying attention or they'll be spending the dollars in the future for someone else to do it.

I say ABSOLUTELY get the kiddos involved with the coating process. That way they'll have a neat story to tell their friends why they have black spots on their arms and hands! "No, you gotta EARN the right to wear gloves".
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:41 PM   #30
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LOL SAAB. "Earn the right to wear gloves". I love it. Wanted to post this pearl of wisdom as well; When one is cleaning a throttle body / intake man with carb & choke cleaner, NEVER, but NEVER spray that stuff in your eyes. (Splash back from trying to clean the injectors.) lol. About 15 minutes under the faucet makes it stop burning.

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