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Old 04-21-2019, 10:34 PM
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2003 Black Wrangler X - Texas Jeep

Well today is officially the first day of the TJ's life with a Jeep Lover. I have big plans for this little ride. Tomorrow we start with a cleaning, vacuuming, and inspection. I plan on replacing the valve cover and gasket later this week, which hopefully is the source of the driveway drips. If that isn't it, then its likely the rear main seal.


Here are my "Before Pics" more to come as the journey progresses.


Bob

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Old 04-22-2019, 12:04 PM   #2
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Congratulations, looks like you have a solid base to start from!

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Old 04-22-2019, 02:57 PM
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Day two included the following tasks:

Examine the drip. Not a drip was left overnight, apparently it on drips after it has been running
Remove the front and rear bumper end caps.
Removed the front and read fender flares and short running board/flares
Removed all interior carpeting
Vacuumed out the interior, lots of sand and leaves, top must have been down while parked under a tree
Removed the back seat for carpet removal and vacuuming, dusted it off and vacuumed too
Removed the aftermarket trailer hitch
Hosed off the first layer of dirt, exposing a millennia of bug guts. I'm going to need a paint safe solvent to removed thousands of bug guts.
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:41 PM
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Day 3

Mores cosmetic tasks, while waiting for my boatload of part to be delivered. Today I:

1) Used Formula 409 to wipe out cargo floor, passenger and drivers foot wells, interior body sides
2) Washed windshield three time to get all the grime and bugs off. Still a few streaks, but 99% better than it was
3) Took off all four wheels to inspect rotors, pads, drums and shoes. All I can say is, I won't be driving it on the street until they are all replaced!
4) While Jeep had its tires off I inspected a few bushings, and all I can say is "what bushings?"
5) Used the tire take off to replace all the lug nuts. The ones on there were nasty, partially rounded, a mixed set of locking lugs has been removed and an inexpensive set of chrome lugs ahs been put on until I replace all the tires and wheels. Tires look dry and cracked.




I'm headed to Walmart later today for a shopping list of fluids - diff, engine, tranny, power steering, brakes, anti-freeze, washer fluid. Next up, order the replacement brakes.


Ps. I'm seriously considering bedliner for the floors, but the prep, removal of the seats and console sounds a bit much, as well as removing all drain plugs and back seat/cargo brackets. Someone tell me it is worth the trouble by showing amazing pictures of theirs!!
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Old 04-24-2019, 11:03 AM   #5
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You have already removed the rear seat. Removing the front seats is not hard. Neither is removing the console. Albeit, it does take some time. Just tape up what you don't want sprayed.

I plan on doing it to mine, but I have a lot of other things going on with mine right now. I did spray the underside and am very happy with it. (Pics on my build thread.) I used this stuff.

One thing is for sure, you won't regret doing it. However, you might regret not doing it now while you have the interior already half taken apart. Decisions, decisions.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepTed View Post
You have already removed the rear seat. Removing the front seats is not hard. Neither is removing the console. Albeit, it does take some time. Just tape up what you don't want sprayed.

I plan on doing it to mine, but I have a lot of other things going on with mine right now. I did spray the underside and am very happy with it. (Pics on my build thread.) I used this stuff.

One thing is for sure, you won't regret doing it. However, you might regret not doing it now while you have the interior already half taken apart. Decisions, decisions.

I've watched a few videos on applying the bedliner and I'm 99% convinced that is what I'm going to do. Next week (visitors this weekend) I am going to remove the front seats, seat belts (torn and tatty anyway) and soft-top and begin to mask off areas where I don't want liner.


Question: should I remove the back seat latch bases and re-paint with just black spray paint or should it all get bed lined? I'm thinking remove and paint.
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobK View Post
I've watched a few videos on applying the bedliner and I'm 99% convinced that is what I'm going to do. Next week (visitors this weekend) I am going to remove the front seats, seat belts (torn and tatty anyway) and soft-top and begin to mask off areas where I don't want liner.


Question: should I remove the back seat latch bases and re-paint with just black spray paint or should it all get bed lined? I'm thinking remove and paint.
Good decision. I know it seems daunting. But, once you get going, it's a piece of cake. But, I can't stress enough to tape up what you don't want bedlined.

Yes, remove them and paint them.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:01 PM
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The project build got new front rotors and pads, as well as read drums and shoes, all nice and shiny (for now).


The project moved forward this week with more stripping of roll bar covers (nasty looking), passenger front seat (prep for bedliner spraying) and de-greasing the engine prior to new valve cover and gasket, new positive and negative terminals to starter, ground and alternator, new serpentine belt, radiator and heater hoses, then new plugs and coil rails, and finally air filter and oil change/filter.
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:25 PM
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Day 16 of the Build

Roll bar covers removed, sound bar and wiring disconnected, passenger seat removed.

New seat belts and roll bar covers to be delivered this week.

Visited with local LineX, $800 for interior, $4500 for exterior (as long as its black) that is too rich for me, home spray of the interior is going to have to work.

If I didn't mention it earlier in the thread, front rotors and pads replaced over the weekend, read drums and shoes replaced too.

The plan is to replace the valve cover and gasket in the next day or so, then de-grease the engine and engine bay before replacing other engine components.

PS. Does anyone know the trick to removed the plate for the shifter (Park, Neutral, Reverse, Drive, Low) from the shift lever itself (as you can see in the pic below)?
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Visited with local LineX, $800 for interior, $4500 for exterior (as long as its black) that is too rich for me, home spray of the interior is going to have to work.
Spraying the liner is pretty easy, especially if you buy the kit that includes the sprayer (and you have an air compressor). The material is very forgiving during the spray. But, as mentioned before, mask off what you do not want sprayed. And, then pull the tape while the liner is still tacky. Once it hardens, it will be difficult to get all the tape removed.

Quote:
PS. Does anyone know the trick to removed the plate for the shifter (Park, Neutral, Reverse, Drive, Low) from the shift lever itself (as you can see in the pic below)?
You'll have to remove the auto shift knob to remove the shift indicator plate. It just pulls off, but you'll have to put some muscle into it. Just keep your knuckles away from the dash and your face when yanking at it.

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Old 05-07-2019, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepTed View Post
Spraying the liner is pretty easy, especially if you buy the kit that includes the sprayer (and you have an air compressor). The material is very forgiving during the spray. But, as mentioned before, mask off what you do not want sprayed. And, then pull the tape while the liner is still tacky. Once it hardens, it will be difficult to get all the tape removed.



You'll have to remove the auto shift knob to remove the shift indicator plate. It just pulls off, but you'll have to put some muscle into it. Just keep your knuckles away from the dash and your face when yanking at it.

https://youtu.be/NT1k_ejFt5o



That's too funny. Minutes after posting this question, I decided to check YouTube and found this 18 second video and wondered, what could they tell me in 18 seconds......well he told me how to take it off. I got up from the computer, walked to the garage and had the shift top off in less than 8 seconds. Thank you!
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:14 PM
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The project continues to move forward after the broken bolt situation.

Yesterday and today, I wrestled the valve cover and gasket out of the Jeep. There were two obvious spots where oil was clearly leaking from under the gasket, the back of the valve cover (as expected and predicted) and from the drivers side between the valves for the back two cylinders. Both locations have a lot of crud build up and the back of the engine was clearly oily and running down the backside of the engine/transmission. I'm hopeful, but not 100% certain, that I might not need a rear main seal job.

While losing the nut that holds the ground wire to the engine, I miraculously found one of the valve cover bolts that had apparently been lost the last time that gasket was replaced. When I removed the valve cover bolts I noticed that one of them looked slightly different, despite having the same threads. Turns out that little bolt was hidden on a bracket near the transmission. I eventually found the 18 mm nut that secures the ground wire to the engine. Of course that didn't stop me from dropping it three more times while trying to thread it back on at the end of the job.....LOL

Here are the during and after pics (forgot to take a before, but you can imagine).

Headed out of town for a few days to visit my 90 year old Mom for Mothers Day, but upon my return I'm headed to the quarter cash wash (been a long time since it cost a quarter) to spray engine degreaser and power wash the engine, transmission, transfer case, and both diff's before the next series of projects.

Does anyone know the name (or part number) for the honeycomb aluminum insulation stuff to the right of the valves? Mine is torn and nasty and would like to replace.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:21 PM
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I've been out of town for a few days visiting my 90 year old Mom for Mothers Day.

All I could think about while I was gone was the next few tasks on the TJ. Tomorrow, weather permitting, I am taking it to the car wash to powerwash the engine compartment, transmission, transfer case and both diffs.

While I was gone, my new diff covers from Alloy USA showed up, so I'm hoping to get them installed later in the week. Here is what they look like:

For the Dana 30 For the Dana 35
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:19 PM
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Sorry for so long since my last build thread post. Between working on the TJ, and normal spousal to do items, I've been swamped.

Since my last post, here is what has been accomplished:

Flushed radiator, heater core, engine block, and overflow bottle
Installed new thermostat and housing
Installed new radiator hoses (upper and lower)
Installed new heater hoses (both)
Installed a new vacuum line along back firewall
Removed old coil rail and spark plugs
Compression tested engine - pretty normal for 208,500 miles
Installed new spark plugs and coil rail
Removed old front and rear diff covers and installed new red aluminum Alloy USA covers and new diff fluid

I still have a long list of refurbishment tasks before I even get to upgrading it. I've decided to do a 1" body lift that also replaces the existing bushings, since they are dry and cracked. Then I will do a 2" coil and shock lift along with replacing both front and rear track bars, an upgraded steering system, etc. I'm

Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure I need a new rear main seal, the drip continues even after the new valve cover and gasket. I'm going to take it to a shop to get done since my garage is not equipped for the task. While the shop has the oil pan off are there some other things that I get them to do since the bottom is opened up?

While I was replacing the vacuum line, I need to removed the battery and batter tray to get to where it terminates and decided to wire brush the surface rust off the battery tray and give it a quick Rustoleum spray, there was hardly any rust but I thought I would clean it up while I had it out.

The pics below are: the spray painted battery tray, the engine compartment with all the new shiny stuff, and a before and after pic of the front diff, I got too carried away with finishing the rear that I didn't get a before pic, but all you have to do is look under any other 2003 Jeep TJ with a Dana 35 and you'll see what the before looks like....LOL
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Old 06-08-2019, 12:50 PM
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Update 6-8-19

My apologizes for the lack of posting on my build/restore/refurbish of the 2003 TJ. The work I've been doing has had a few misc postings dealing with install issues, but mostly there hasn't been much to post about or to share any pics of the work that's been getting done. Here is a list of the things that have been accomplished since the last post:

1) I pulled all the spark plugs and installed new Iridium tipped Auto Lites, along with a new coil rail

2) I also pulled the fuel rail and injectors. Installed refurbished injectors and a new fuel rail since old one looked pretty bad (after 208,500 miles its no wonder)

3) While I had the fuel rail off, I installed new manifold, fuel rail and injector insulation blankets from Design Engineering. That cleaned up the look amazingly well.

4) I also installed new transmission hoses from the factory metal ones to the radiator. This is a temporary update until I pull the grill to paint it and then install the B&M transmission cooler at that point.

5) I then removed the transmission skid plate to get better access to the transmission oil pan. i dropped the pan, removed the old gasket, resealed the pan and topped off the tranny fluids. I did have an issue with the nutserts, which I ended cutting out and putting news ones in.

6) As you may see in other threads, I also inspected all the pinions seals for signs of leaks and the only one that was wet was the front differential seal. Getting it off was straight forward with a bit of effort, but getting the new one back on was a bit of a struggle. In the end, I used the seal that I got from my local Mopar dealer which did not have the cover/oil slinger, but it fit like a glove (if you had to use a wooden block and ball peen hammer to put gloves on)

7) Starting tomorrow, I am dropping the transfer case skid plate (the larger one, as I already have the transmission skid off to service the transmission). I already have a bottle jack with wood block supporting the transmission and my floor jack supporting the skid itself. I've removed the four nuts holding the transfer case to the skid and have loosened one thread each of the six bolts that hold the skid, luckily no spinning nutserts so far. If so, I know how to cut them out and re-install new ones.

Finally, Santa Claus has started delivering my new parts to start the upgrade part of this build thread. So far he has brought me - brands are a surprise until I get some pics and links:

- a cat back exhaust system with black tipped tail pipe (its a black Jeep)
- four two inch lift coils and four two inch longer shocks
- a steering stabilizer and bracket to mount it

St. Nick claims that he has given FedEx for delivery to my garage these additional parts:

- eight adjustable control arms (uppers in black, lowers in red)
- replacement transfer case cable
- two track bars (front and rear) in red
- rear sway bar and longer end links (front and rear)
- new steering cross over kit with new drag link and tie rod (in red)
- one inch aluminum spacer body lift kit that also replaces the stock rubber mounts
- one motor mount lift set

I also still need to get the rear main seal replaced, but I've decided to let a Jeep garage handle that, if I had a lift I would try it, but without a lift it looks a bit tight for me to tackle it.
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:11 PM
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Today was an eventful day in the garage on the 2003 TJ project Jeep. Here is what was accomplished, with a few pics.

1) Installed four new O2 sensors. I didn't have any codes, but in trying to update as many serviceable things as I can on a 16 year old Jeep, these were next on my list.

2) Supported the transmission with a bottle jack and dropped the transfer case skid plate. The was amazing little rust, just bit of surface rust around the bolt holes and where the skid made contact with the frame. I used a wire brush on my drill and took all of the surface rust off both the skid and the frame and gave it a quick shot of flat black Rustoleum. Here are both skids with the touch ups done, but the factory paint looks great - I even power washed the old grease and dirt build up.



3) Next I drained the transfer case at topped off with fresh ATF+4 fluid.

4) Since the transfer case skid was off, I decided to tear out the old cat-back muffler and tailpipe. Thank you Dewalt sawzall for making it a 15 min project.



5) I then broke open one of the many boxes of new parts to install.

Here is old system and the new Banks Power Monster Exhaust System. I like the beefier sound, solid without being annoying.





Don't worry, the old bumper is a gonner, but I am still deciding on what to replace it with.....
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:50 PM
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Well the project went into a multi-day stall due to the exhaust system install issues. The front hanger was misaligned by several inches and after taking to Banks tech support the mystery was solved....DOH! I had removed the transmission and transfer case skid plates to service both items and to replace the transfer case linkage in preparation for a body lift.

Despite the fact that I had a jack supporting the transmission, the transfer case and attached exhaust system (cat) had dropped enough to cause an alignment problem with the exhaust hangers. Once I re-installed both skids plates (what a trick that is), I was able to finalize the exhaust install without an issue.

I want to point out the transfer case linkage replacement because of how clean of an install it is and it support the impending body lift. Here is the factory linkage that I removed:


Lastly, I want to shout out to the broken bolt gods about the pay it forward good karma I earned this week. While working on the Banks exhaust issue, I noticed that the front hanger bracket was only being held by one bolt. On inspecting closer, I saw that a previous owner had broken the head off the lower bolt holding the bracket. Rather than leave it that way, the OCD in me made me remove the upper bolt and bracket, drilled out the broken bolt and tapped and re-inserted a new bolt to hold the bracket firmly as god and our Jeep overlords had intended.




And here is the Steinjager replacement cable installed with a link to the cable for TJ 1997-2006, here is a link to the Steinjager cable for the Rubicon (same years). It is so much cleaner of an install and works great.
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2018 JLUR - 2" Mopar lift, 37" KO2's, JCR Offroad bumpers, Warn Zeon 10-S

2003 Wrangler TJ - 1" MORE body lift, 2" Rock Krawler shock/coil lift

Past Jeeps: 2015 JKUR - 2012 JKU Rubicon - 2011 JK Rubicon - 2006 TJ Rubicon - 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee - 2000 TJ Safari
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:12 AM
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The last two days were consumed with the 1" body lift from M.O.R.E. (Mountain Off-Road Enterprises) using their 1" aluminum pucks. That was my entertainment for Friday night. Luckily, there were no stuck body bolts, although two of them were very tight and squeaked on the way out. I used a breaker bar to get them loose a thread or two before I used the impact wrench to drive them out.

Here is a pic of the M.O.R.E. kit which includes their aluminum pucks and bolts as well as the radiator bumpers that get replaced during the body lift.. Pictured is also their 1" motor mount lifts and steering linkage 1" lift bracket, the poly bushings to replace the stock bushings are a Daystar product. the lone fender washer isn't sued if you are doing both the body lift and the motor mount life. It is only used if you do a body lift only to deal with adjusting the radiator fan shroud. Since I was doing both, it just went into my spare parts bin.



The body lift was done on Friday and it wasn't that big of a deal. The only issue I had was the front two (side) body mounts were just a shade smaller than the poly bushings metal sleeves. I suspect some corrosion had built up in the hole. I pulled out my trusty Dremel and used a sanding wheel to clean out the opening and then the bushing slipped right in.

On Saturday it felt like I had been wrestling an alligator. I mean installing a 1" motor mount lift (MML) and a 1" lifted steering linkage bracket (all part of the M.O.R.E. kit). All is done, it took about six hours. If I dropped one more wrench or lost track of my flashlight one more time, I was going to scream. I'll bet I spent an hour looking for something that was dropped or right in front of me, but I couldn't see it. I spend another hour getting the correct size wrench, socket, extension, screw driver, impact wrench, etc.

The job went fairly well, it took a bit of playing around on both sides to get the jacked height of the engine to match up with the newly inserted motor mounts so that the pass through bolt could be lined up. In the end, the passenger side didn't need any grinding to eliminate any interference between the frame and the motor bracket, it end up clearing by about 1/4 inch, which is good enough for me.

I was exhausted and hungry, so tomorrow I will do a final check to ensure all bolts follow the German method of tightening bolts.....good-en-tite
__________________
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2018 JLUR - 2" Mopar lift, 37" KO2's, JCR Offroad bumpers, Warn Zeon 10-S

2003 Wrangler TJ - 1" MORE body lift, 2" Rock Krawler shock/coil lift

Past Jeeps: 2015 JKUR - 2012 JKU Rubicon - 2011 JK Rubicon - 2006 TJ Rubicon - 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee - 2000 TJ Safari
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Old 06-26-2019, 04:14 PM
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Drove the Project TJ to a local shop today to have them fix the rear main seal. Of course it was like an old horse headed back to its barn (same shop the previous owner used) and the TJ decided to throw a CEL on the way there. I went ahead and asked them to check it out. Likely I jostled something with the BL or MML this past weekend (my guess is an O2 sensor) but they gladly added that to my tab.


More to come when the TJ finds it way home.

__________________
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2018 JLUR - 2" Mopar lift, 37" KO2's, JCR Offroad bumpers, Warn Zeon 10-S

2003 Wrangler TJ - 1" MORE body lift, 2" Rock Krawler shock/coil lift

Past Jeeps: 2015 JKUR - 2012 JKU Rubicon - 2011 JK Rubicon - 2006 TJ Rubicon - 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee - 2000 TJ Safari
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