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Old 02-19-2013, 09:05 AM   #1
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First time Wrangler owner. Let's help me fix this thing up !

Hello all!
I've been anonymously browsing this forum for help and figured I'd make one thread on my TJ that would keep going on what I'm doing to it and for others to chime in.

I've quickly realized that you guys are incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. Matter of fact, within a week of owning this, I've already received many thumbs-up, waves, and people flashing their brights at me. I like the jeep community already

I needed a winter vehicle. My main vehicle is a Lexus is300 and that thing did NOT do well in Wisconsin winters. I got stuck in my driveway for 5 hours when there was 3inches of snow


Anyways, here she is:

97 TJ w/ the 4.0 I6
150k miles
Auto
$1500

I think I got a steal!




It's a bit raggedy but I want to slowly fix the issues and make a reliable winter vehicle (and also summer!)

First thing I did was change the oil. It was blacker than black! Gross

After some research, I've realized that I have the dreaded "death-wobble/shimmying" issue. It's okay when putting around town but when I get above 55mph, it's downright frightening. I've kept it off the freeway

The heat isn't working and I ordered a new thermostat.
I'm also going to ask my mechanic to backwash the system and get any crud out of the lines and heater core. Do I have to use distilled water or can I use water straight out of a water hose?

The front struts were shot. Figured i'd go with a budget boost..went with:
Daystar 1.75" Comfort Ride Lift w/ Scorpion Shocks


I also ordered:
Black Diamond OE replacement steering stabilizer


and:
DANA 30 SPICER BALLJOINTS 706944X



So, I need some help...

-I should use stock springs with the daystar kit, right? With that, plus new stabilizer, do I need a new trackbar? If so, which one should I get (low budget)?

I need to do a proper tuneup
so, I'll do a coolant flush, new thermostat, new coolant. What else should I do? Plugs? wires?

I have a feeling I may have to do tierods too. Just go for cheap OE replacement?


Thanks so much guys

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Old 02-19-2013, 09:10 AM   #2
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The jeep didn't come with an OEM stereo. Figured I'd go aftermarket since I'd like to have an ipod hookup and mp3 capabilities. Just ordered a cheap Sony off of quadratec with the installation kit and wiring harness

I go try to install it and find this:



I would like to keep the install clean. I TRIED to splice into my installation harness and hook it up that way but I kept on blowing fuses and in turn, my instrument lights didn't work, nor did my tail lights/brakes. I finally ripped it all out

Does the above picture look oem? with the one original connector. I'm guessing a thief just snipped those wires.

I would like to do it myself, or should I just take it to best buy and tell those guys to do it? (I admit, I don't know much about electronics)

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Old 02-19-2013, 09:28 AM   #3
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The budget boost will reuse your stock springs and you shouldn't need a new trackbar. Check the bolts on the trackbar, if they're loose, that can lead to DW.

As far as maintenance goes, I'd do plugs and wires, check the u-joints, oil and filter (already done), front and rear diffs, transfer case and your transmission. There's plenty more, but that's a good start.

Help info here too
http://www.stu-offroad.com/misc/maint.htm
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noname View Post
The jeep didn't come with an OEM stereo. Figured I'd go aftermarket since I'd like to have an ipod hookup and mp3 capabilities. Just ordered a cheap Sony off of quadratec with the installation kit and wiring harness

I go try to install it and find this:



I would like to keep the install clean. I TRIED to splice into my installation harness and hook it up that way but I kept on blowing fuses and in turn, my instrument lights didn't work, nor did my tail lights/brakes. I finally ripped it all out

Does the above picture look oem? with the one original connector. I'm guessing a thief just snipped those wires.

I would like to do it myself, or should I just take it to best buy and tell those guys to do it? (I admit, I don't know much about electronics)
I wouldn't think someone trying to steal the radio would take the time to strip the wires. Welcome to the wonderful world of "cursing the previous owner"
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noname View Post
The jeep didn't come with an OEM stereo. Figured I'd go aftermarket since I'd like to have an ipod hookup and mp3 capabilities. Just ordered a cheap Sony off of quadratec with the installation kit and wiring harness
That's a really shoddy job on those wires, but they look salvageable.

Also, for future reference, Crutchfield blows everyone else out of the water when it comes to sound gear.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDeaner View Post
The budget boost will reuse your stock springs and you shouldn't need a new trackbar. Check the bolts on the trackbar, if they're loose, that can lead to DW.

As far as maintenance goes, I'd do plugs and wires, check the u-joints, oil and filter (already done), front and rear diffs, transfer case and your transmission. There's plenty more, but that's a good start.

Help info here too
Common TJ Maintenance Info
Thanks a lot!
That link is extremely helpful and informative! Just bookmarked it

Quote:
Originally Posted by IrateDonnie View Post
I wouldn't think someone trying to steal the radio would take the time to strip the wires. Welcome to the wonderful world of "cursing the previous owner"
haha, right?
I figured it was first theft (to how short the wires are) and then someone tried to install a stereo after that again

Either way, I have NOOOO idea how to fix that damn thing. I only have a 15min commute to work but having some tunes would be so much better :/
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jeffreybomb View Post
That's a really shoddy job on those wires, but they look salvageable.

Also, for future reference, Crutchfield blows everyone else out of the water when it comes to sound gear.
How would I even begin to fix that wiring mess?

Yea, I know all about crutchfield. I didn't need anything fancy as of now. My other car has a full: eclipse, image dynamics and zapco amps system
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:35 AM   #8
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Use distilled water in your cooling system. Tap water will corrode your radiator because of the minerals in it.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffreybomb View Post
That's a really shoddy job on those wires, but they look salvageable.

Also, for future reference, Crutchfield blows everyone else out of the water when it comes to sound gear.
I highly recommend you do this kit from Accel if you are going to do your plugs and wires. Might as well do the cap and rotor while you are at it, who knows how old they are. I used this kit last week on my Jeep and cannot believe the difference it has made. Best $55 I have spent on the Jeep thus far.
ACCEL TST16 Ignition Tune Up Kit : Amazon.com : Automotive
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDeaner
The budget boost will reuse your stock springs and you shouldn't need a new trackbar. Check the bolts on the trackbar, if they're loose, that can lead to DW.

As far as maintenance goes, I'd do plugs and wires, check the u-joints, oil and filter (already done), front and rear diffs, transfer case and your transmission. There's plenty more, but that's a good start.

Help info here too
http://www.stu-offroad.com/misc/maint.htm
That link is awesome! Thanks for sharing it!
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:23 PM   #11
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Check your injectors and O-rings and clean your throttle body. I did that along with pretty much all the other tune up things already suggested and it ran so much better.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:38 PM   #12
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I updated the stereo in my '99 a while back. I put together a diagram to help ID the connections. In this case I was using an amplifier, but the pin/color codes may help out some.

Sorry for the low-res. Constraints of the forum.
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:50 PM   #13
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You don't need a new track bar, but it may be a good idea if the bushings in yours are damaged. And like said above, check the bolts in the track bar, especially the axle side. Those are one of the most common contributors to death wobble.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:12 PM   #14
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Here's a link for the color code wiring for a '97 Wrangler.
Hope this helps.

1997 Jeep Wrangler Stereo Wiring Information
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by SgtVein View Post
That link is awesome! Thanks for sharing it!
Agreed! Thank you!
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:13 PM   #16
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Are you sure it's a death wobble and not just a shimmy? They are very different things. When a death wobble starts, the only way to stop it is to come to almost a complete stop. And it can nearly shake you off the road. Sometimes unbalanced tires can just give you a shimmy (not dw). When the dw happens, stick your head out the window. You be able to see you tires literally wobbling. You'll have a bunch of people incorrectly tell you that you need a new steering stabilizer or your tires need balancing. But those don't really have anything to do w dw. True, they can start you into the dw but they are not the cause. They can also mask it's effects for a short time, but it will come back. Look into the things that constrain your axle, ie track bar, control arms. For me it was bad bushings in my control arms. A little bit of play here and there will pile on top of each other and cause the resonance to start.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BurlySoldier View Post
I highly recommend you do this kit from Accel if you are going to do your plugs and wires. Might as well do the cap and rotor while you are at it, who knows how old they are. I used this kit last week on my Jeep and cannot believe the difference it has made. Best $55 I have spent on the Jeep thus far.
ACCEL TST16 Ignition Tune Up Kit : Amazon.com : Automotive
Thanks! Purchased

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetTeaDrinkerTJ98 View Post
Check your injectors and O-rings and clean your throttle body. I did that along with pretty much all the other tune up things already suggested and it ran so much better.
Will do, thanks for the suggestion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeJeeps View Post
I updated the stereo in my '99 a while back. I put together a diagram to help ID the connections. In this case I was using an amplifier, but the pin/color codes may help out some.

Sorry for the low-res. Constraints of the forum.
awesome, could I ask you to upload it to imgur.com and just pasting the link so I can have it in full-res, please? Many thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abike View Post
Are you sure it's a death wobble and not just a shimmy? They are very different things. When a death wobble starts, the only way to stop it is to come to almost a complete stop. And it can nearly shake you off the road. Sometimes unbalanced tires can just give you a shimmy (not dw). When the dw happens, stick your head out the window. You be able to see you tires literally wobbling. You'll have a bunch of people incorrectly tell you that you need a new steering stabilizer or your tires need balancing. But those don't really have anything to do w dw. True, they can start you into the dw but they are not the cause. They can also mask it's effects for a short time, but it will come back. Look into the things that constrain your axle, ie track bar, control arms. For me it was bad bushings in my control arms. A little bit of play here and there will pile on top of each other and cause the resonance to start.
ahh, you could be very right. It's definitely very nerving and makes the steering wheel and front end shake a bit. I'll further investigate it.

tbh, with how inexpensive replacement parts seem to be, I don't mind replacing a few things here and there to get a really solid vehicle.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:16 AM   #18
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Wheels were complete crap...tried to see how they would look if I sanded them down..pretty impressed.
I'm going to use a cheap black&decker sander to fix them up




also sanded, prepped, and sprayed my front grill, bumper and the fender flares with a bed-liner. Looks much better.







The hood is downright atrocious! It's a nasty black hood that the previous owner put on. All the clear coat is peeling and there's rust on the edges.
I'll try to see if any junkyard has the same color green hood, but I highly doubt they will.
Any online jeep 2nd hand sites?

I could always sand it down and bed-line it in the meantime :o
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:57 AM   #19
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Sounds like that jeep found a good owner to bring her back to life! Good luck and hope you enjoy your jeep as much as the rest of us enjoy ours!
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:20 PM   #20
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Oh yeah I agree with the poster above. Good on you for resurrecting this TJ. If you havent already it would be a good idea to do a full fluid change in your diffs, trans and transfer case. Wix makes a great air filter so does AC delco. If there are carpets in your Jeep you can pull them out pretty easy, shampoo them in your driveway, hose em off and reinstall em nice and fresh. Eventually you can expect some electrical issues. If you are doing stereo work you might as well vacuum out all the dirt, dust and crud behind the dash. Spend an hour or so inspecting all the wires and connections for any cracks or breaks. Patch em up with electrical tape. Just some easy mods that wont break the bank.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:57 PM   #21
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I know everyone when they buy their Jeeps they want to instantly add stuff to them to make them yours. I would discourage this until you get everything running like it should. This means in your case change out all the fluids: Front & Rear Differential, Transfer case, Transmission fluid and filter, back flush the coolant and at the same time I would replace all the hoses and thermostat, flush the brake lines with new fluid (Not in the rain or snow as brake fluid is hydroscopic), Remove and replace as much power steering fluid as possible. Also new plugs, cap & rotor and wires too.

Tighten the front track bar and make sure there is no movement. If that needs replaced it is just under $300.

Once I did all that then I would look at a BB or a 2" lift and you will not need new shocks for that. If you replace the shocks do not get ones in a kit. Stick to Racho 9000s, Bilsteins or Old Man Emu. Those will make the difference of you liking to drive your Jeep or not. For $1500 you got a steal of a deal. Out West you could not touch a TJ for anywhere near that cost.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:03 PM   #22
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I know everyone when they buy their Jeeps they want to instantly add stuff to them to make them yours. I would discourage this until you get everything running like it should. This means in your case change out all the fluids: Front & Rear Differential, Transfer case, Transmission fluid and filter, back flush the coolant and at the same time I would replace all the hoses and thermostat, flush the brake lines with new fluid (Not in the rain or snow as brake fluid is hygroscopic), Remove and replace as much power steering fluid as possible. Also new plugs, cap & rotor and wires too.

Tighten the front track bar and make sure there is no movement. If that needs replaced it is just under $300.

Once I did all that then I would look at a BB or a 2" lift and you will not need new shocks for that. If you replace the shocks do not get ones in a kit. Stick to Racho 9000s, Bilsteins or Old Man Emu. Those will make the difference of you liking to drive your Jeep or not. For $1500 you got a steal of a deal. Out West you could not touch a TJ for anywhere near that cost.
Fixed it for you.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:41 PM   #23
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Looks like a good project and a super awesome deal for 1500. Have fun
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:14 AM   #24
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Use distilled water in your cooling system. Tap water will corrode your radiator because of the minerals in it.

Oops I guess next time i'll remember to use distilled
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:25 AM   #25
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Looking forward to seeing your progress. You got an amazing deal, and the knowledgable folks on WF will give you great advice! Keep posting

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