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Old 04-26-2012, 11:19 PM   #1
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My new Jeeps first major service/modding session

2 weeks ago I purchased a 97 Sahara in pretty good condition with 122,000 miles on it. Gently owned and cared for by the previous owner. All seemed well but I felt a full going over was in order so I knew where I stood with this vehicle.
Week one I installed a new air filter, ran a bottle of sea foam in the gas tank and then set to work on a stereo system upgrade via Crutchfield.
I am extremely happy. Total cost was $409 delivered and that includes a Kenwood head unit, all new dash and sound bar speakers as well as a Sound Ordnance powered subwoofer which bangs and bolts up under the drivers seat.
So awesome. $409 and I have a kickass stereo.
I also replaced the passenger side door handle both inner and outer and re-tinted the driver and passenger windows to a legal 20%. No wrinkles and perfect job.

Now onto bigger and better things.
Servicing the new (old) Jeep.

She is currently on Jackstands at my brothers house and my brother and I are spending the entire week doing a major service on it. Prior to starting this major service I recorded the mileage per 150 miles of highway driving. When GPS said I had 150 miles to go till his house I refilled the tank and then refilled when I got here recording both odometer readings. Do the math and thats the mileage.

So far we have -
Replaced differential fluid (amsoil + posi fluid), transfer fluid (amsoil), manual trans fluid (ATF4), coolant and cooling system flush, greased ball joints and all fittings, sea foamed the vacuum line (straight into the intake), replaced factory 200 degree thermostat with 180 degree thermostat, removed the Mopar reece hitch (weight savings), discovered I have a cat delete exhaust (but original chrysler muffler) and replaced with Dynomax Super Turbo cat back (still cat delete though haha), cleaned carbon fouling off o2 sensor, cleaned throttle body, pulled old sparkplugs (one was a disgusting NGK others were Autolites) and replaced with Champions, aired up the 33" BFG AT's, and added Water Wetter to the coolant. I also replaced the tired old battery with a Yellow Top Optima and added new brass battery terminals. I replaced the front disc brake pads and pulled, inspected and brake cleaned (3 bottles worth)the rear drums.

From a cosmetic but also maintenance standpoint I have removed, sanded, primed and painted the fenders, side view mirrors, tube bumpers (front and rear), antenna, spare tire carrier (it was rusting), third brake light and license plate mount all in Duplicolor satin black. I wire wheeled the drums and painted them with VHT high temp black paint. I replaced the aging side marker/directional lights with the clear set from Quadratec and the rear brake light covers with the Rampage set. I painted the rusty torx head screws for the headlights and side markers black also (details man!). I will be under the vehicle all day tomorrow washing with Dawn and wire wheeling rust starting at the gas tank then going forward including the shock mounts etc. Then painting all of that as well. After the chassis we will also be scuffing and painting my 15x8" classic II knockoff rims with satin black VHT epoxy paint (I can't afford new rims so you make do with what ya got). I ordered new center caps from Summit and they will be going on as well on saturday.

This has been an absolute blast and I have really gotten to know my TJ and I am in love. It is a hell of a truck and I am really happy to be part of this Jeep family. FULLY boxed frame!! No bullshit C channel. Wow. You know this thing is both user friendly for maintenance AND extremely well engineered for off road. Mine has a Dana 44 rear and 3.55 gears with a posi- FACTORY.
I will re-record that last 150 mile leg for MPG as it is the exact route I took out here only in reverse and record my findings. I'm hoping that with the small modifications and maintenance I am able to increase not only my MPG's but obviously stretch and extend the life of this well made vehicle.
She has her quirks and it aint perfect but the fact I can do almost all of the maintenance myself is a godsend.

I'll definitely post up some pics as we finish up here. All the lurking on this site has been an immense help with what I have done. Those who post up and share their technical know how -I thank you!! You rock

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Old 04-29-2012, 11:40 PM   #2
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Miles per gallon prior to the major service was a disgusting 13.6 mpg. Highway. I just came back from my brothers after 6 straight days of grease and grime and I am so happy to say it is now getting 17.1 miles per gallon. If it wasnt so hot and i had the windows up i could have gotten more. I did the spark plug swap before I checked it's mileage ( last Sunday) but I would be willing to bet it was in the 11-12 range before the plugs. I had a pretty nasty looking NGK plug in the number 1 cylinder (the rest were autolites). Either way going from 13.6 to 17.1 equals 68.5 additional miles per tank of gas. With some more tweaking I think I can get it up to 19. And that's on 33" BFG AT's and 3.55's.

Moral of the story I think, is that if we closely monitor what our Jeeps are doing we can accurately predict necessary maintenance much easier.

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Old 04-30-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
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Nice job Soldier. I bought a '99 a few weeks ago with 100k miles and have basically taken the exact same steps with mine and I've had a great time gettin dirty and play with my girls undercarriage .

I haven't done a coolant flush yet though and will be planning on replacing the exhaust with the Dynomax at some point soon. How do you like the Dynomax?

I've also pulled out all the seats and carpeting to Herculine the entire tub, replaced out the rubber transmission mount, bent up some new trans cooling lines and will be replacing the transfer case shifter linkage because of a little rattle/knock that I'm getting when in drive (I have the automatic).

I'm getting married on the 12th but I can already see it being like the movie Old School with Frank the Tank working on the ol girl while my lady brings out some ice tea telling me to turn down the tunes.

Enjoy your ride
~Chris
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:21 PM   #4
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Hahahah that would be hilarious. Yeah man flushing the cooling system is easy but plan on getting wet and making a mess. You've got a transmission cooler? Is the rattle/knock definitely coming from the linkage? Good luck fixing it either way!
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:25 AM   #5
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Cool, thanks. I don't have an aftermarket cooler, just the stock one, but the lines were corroded and leaking onto the exhaust. Smoke rising from under the jeep made things a little interesting at the stoplights.

I think the knocking near my feet in the tub is the linkage based on what I was reading. I ordered the torque shift kit from the dealer (part 05014148-AA) yesterday for $24 and it's in this morning so I will see if that solves it and post back. I was under the jeep last night just before dark and it looks like the rubber 'grommet' on the linkage is totally gone so I'm think that was this source.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisJeepTJ View Post
I can already see it being like the movie Old School with Frank the Tank working on the ol girl while my lady brings out some ice tea telling me to turn down the tunes.
Bahaha "took the restrictor plate off...its not exactly street legal so dont tell anyone". Classic. Everything about that scene including him jammin out to Whitesnake just makes my day.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgh488

Bahaha "took the restrictor plate off...its not exactly street legal so dont tell anyone". Classic. Everything about that scene including him jammin out to Whitesnake just makes my day.
The red dragon !

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