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Old 01-21-2011, 07:16 PM
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Wrangler shenanigans

Hello all. My name is Mike (alias, John Taper). I'm an auto tech from Illinois, although it might as well be Missouri as close to St. Louis I am. Anyway I don't actually own a jeep, but a friend of mines' dad just bought a 97 jeep wrangler with a 2.5, auto trans, and I'm his mechanic.

I figured I'd join here and spin a little yarn about the beast since I see that there are a few other people sharing similar concerns.

The head gasket was blown initially, getting antifreeze into the oil (which is most likely the cause of the current problem). I replaced the head gasket and lifters while I had the head off. Head was sent to the machine shop and done all nice like, no corners cut. It got magnafluxed, planed, new valve seals and all valves and seats were cut. So top end is solid. Took that opportunity to clean up the intake inside and out and replaced the breather elbow and seal on the back of the valve cover and new head bolts of course.

So a few weeks go by and he is driving it on a regular basis, then last week it lost oil pressure after about a 45 minute interstate drive and the engine had noticeable noise (He says). I personally couldn't get these symptoms to surface.

Either way to ease his mind I replaced the pump and pressure switch (sender). Had great oil pressure via mechanical gauge, more than it had before at idle and at higher rpm. After the pump and sender were installed I then went to drive it back to him. After about 10 miles on the interstate I was having to really put my foot in it just to keep it going, eventually only being able to achieve 45 mph. The pressure started dropping and engine noise became apparent. I pulled it over and had it towed back to the shop. It is amazing I couldn't get the same symptoms he described until I installed the new oil pump and sender. And yes everything was installed correctly, pump was primed, I even primed the entire system through the sender hole with this nice little pump we have at the shop, and pressures were verified after installation with a mechanical gauge before the new sender was installed.

Haven't looked at it again yet, as this was yesterday, but I thought it was an interesting thing to post. The engine will be coming out sooner than later and the bottom end will be rebuilt, unless anybody knows where to get a reman shortblock, I haven't been able to locate one. I will update as this happens to let ya'll know exactly what went wacky. Thing only has 80,000, sad. So there's my opening post, hope you enjoy.

Oh yeah, forgot to put when I did the head job I also replaced the cap, rotor, plugs, wires, and water pump. Painted the valve cover and water pump Chrysler engine blue. Also polished the intake so it looks pretty. Too bad it's sitting right now.

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Old 01-21-2011, 07:39 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum Mike aka John

Great story, and as always we need pics.

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Old 01-21-2011, 07:44 PM   #3
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:32 PM   #4
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Who knows how long that motor ran with a bad head gasket.Antifreeze will pooch bearings real quick.Funny most guys come on here to complain about their mechanics!What a twist.Welcome to the forum man and good luck with the rebuild.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:39 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum.
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:00 AM   #6
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:47 AM   #7
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:16 PM   #8
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