I decided a few weeks ago that i needed to get started on replacing entire exhaust for a few reasons:
1) Breathing fumes from in front of the axle (and under jeep) exit for exhaust was getting old. I realize there's a bit of a trade-off, but i needed a cat-back.
2) Muffler was a 3" in/out Ford muffler that was old and heavy
3) Tear in mid-pipe upstream of cat right at brace weld
4) Current headers have a weird tube welded after collector and thus run into a custom mid-pipe..
First step was catback. I ordered the Banks Monster setup with black tip (51312-B). (Going to eventually hi-temp paint the over-axle tube. It's not black).
Install was fairly straightforward except for some cutting of the cat's outlet. Was way too long and not allowing Banks setup to mate-up and sit properly. I finally got a nice DeWalt 4 1/2 inch grinder that i've always wanted for the cutting. Win-win.
Here's some the pre-cat damage and old muffler.
A couple trips to O'Reilly for the right size exhaust clamp....
Black tip blends in nicely from the back with the powdercoated bumper..
Notes on JUST the cat back. Sound is lower and smoother pulse. When standing behind, it's less raspy. Under load it's like an unleashed beast (for a 4.0l 6cyl lol). Less drone. Quieter at 55-65 on the freeway in 5th. My exhaust was SUPER noisy before. I would definitely consider other manufacturers if you're not a fan of exhaust noise. I believe Dynomax Turbo is super quiet.
I'm a fan of ceramic coated headers. More expensive, but better heat handling in all aspects. I found Rugged Ridge ceramic coated headers (#17651.01) for $220 from a reliable EBay seller. I read MANY positive reviews on Rugged Ridge and decided to move forward with purchase, saving over $300 retail. I then ordered the Magnaflow Direct-Fit 49-state legal cat/mid pipe combo for $220 (Magnaflow #23227).
Time for install day. Started at about 5pm (although my driveway is well shaded, Phx is way to hot this time of year). I utilized one of DailyDrivenTJ's notorious write-ups. Disassembly was pretty straight forward.
New headers next to old
I did the obligatory mating surface cleaning. Put headers on. I couldn't get dowel pins to line the intake back up....decided i go back at it in the AM, as it was pretty late.
took grinder to sides of some intake ports.
ground some more
still wouldn't fit
ground under intake where it meets 5th pipe. still wouldn't fit. ground a little more, a little more AND hole in the intake. went to local scrapyard for a used intake. did some minor cleanup. touch of grinding. still no fit.
called it a bad purchase on the headers. waste of money. quite pissed. ordered Banks Revolver headers (Banks #51327) for $440 after tax. But it ends up being $700 technically (if i can't recover money from Rugged Ridge). This time, parts are through 4 wheel parts. 100% guarantee and lifetime warranty.
A few pics for comparison. Rugged Ridge seems to have copied Banks or vice versa. The trouble header tube looks to exit engine at same place obviously but MAYBE dives down a touch sooner. Welds on the outside of Rugged Ridge are non-existent. One piece flange.
Update on A/C. Running at 65-70, which in Phoenix heat is more than acceptable. It's been holding for 2 weeks.
I had replaced almost everything (save evaporator) back in March. Charge lasted 3 days with no evidence of leakage (no dye showing). I figured it was the evap because i could smell PAG oil (A/C system lubricant) for those 3 days. After the coolest May on record and my vacation back east thru June 9th., i decided i had to do the deed and get the evaporator out. I used Stu Offroad's dash removal write-up. Did most of it at night. Not too difficult, in part, because you take dash bezel and frame out TOGETHER, thus avoiding tons of screws. I followed advice, bagged up and marked bolts and screws. Epic tip! I was carefully able to release all foam surrounds (blower motor, firewall where heater and ac lines go thru)
Lo and behold, the evaporator had dye-stained styrofoam around it. PLUS it was so blocked up.
Cleaned bottom channel that allows condensation to leave vehicle, that was blocked up. Cleaned venting, as PO was a smoker. Vents still aren't perfect but way better than before. I also fixed one of the infamous door levers that break. As my defrost would never work. That was a nice $10 fix. Opted not to replace heater core as i had done entire cooling system and flushed that with water to satisfaction. Actual heater core had no blockages. I assume it had been replaced and evaporator left to be.
Got everything back together. Toughest part? Mating steering wheel splined shaft back up to steering shaft couple. Last part. Go figure. Potential blower motor replacement coming soon....it makes a slight noise but seems to do it's job well....
Got to exhaust today. Disassembly in an hour. Put Banks headers on with 3 screws hand tightened. Put intake on. Fit perfect!!
Cleaned intake with Easy Off oven cleaner while i had it apart. Pretty satisfied with one pass. Sorry no pics.
Took old mid-pipe and old cat off. Took Banks muffler off. Mated to new cat. Same size (Banks inlet MAYBE 1/16" larger but not enough to slip in).
Got headers tightened and manifold tightened and got everything back together. O2 sensors cleaned with a dremel and reinstalled.
Attached header to new headpipe/midpipe. Gotta say, LOVE the Magnaflow Direct Fit cat. Great quality, TIG welds, etc. BUT header flange is SUCH a silly design. Banks flange is flat. Magnaflow flange is recessed. On the bend-in side you can't even get a 1/4" ratchet socket in there. You can't get a box wrench fully on there. You have to do the side-angle-not-really-on-it thing. Silly. On the header mating flange bend side, you can get a box wrench/ratcheting wrench on there.
Went to O-Reilly to get a 2 1/2" to 2 1/2" coupler. Decided to go back and rent a tailpipe expander (need to buy one of these). Flared Banks inlet JUST enough to slip cat on. Lined up everything so exhaust hanger were not tweaked. Tightened everything....
Started up. Beautiful sound immediately. Low rumble idle. Went for test drive. Clunking at end of the street on decel. Same at end of next street. Turned around.
Found a nick in the front driveshaft counterweight (?) that had nicked weld on new Magnaflow midpipe. Couldn't fit a finger between the 2. Waited for cool down.
This shows perspective on just how close together they pipe and driveshaft were.
Found issue on Jeep Forums from 2 years ago with Magnaflow direct fit. Theirs was much worse.
After cool down, i loosened cat inlet, then header to mid-pipe flange. I technically had cat outlet to muffler inlet to loosen as a Plan B, but didn't need it. I spaced the pipe and driveshaft with thin side of a block of 2x4 and retightened header to mid pipe flange. Tightened cat inlet.
Test drive. No more clunk!!! So happy. This project has been a few weeks of sweating in Phoenix heat.
SUPER happy with exhaust note. Throaty, but with a smooth pulse. What a joy to drive and no more exhaust fumes and tapping of leaks. Much quieter than previous setup at highway speed in 5th gear. Startup and shut down is smoother. No more drone at any RPM. I highly recommend Banks headers and Banks Cat back. Surely the Magnaflow setup between the 2 has something to do with quality, but who knows.
Gotta give props to Daily Driven TJ for his write-up that i didn't have to use 2nd time, but was indispensible 1st time around. http://dailydriventj.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=847
And for his recommendation for flex head ratcheting wrenches. Amazing little tools. Never needed them with my ninja, 350z, 77 Blazer or Tacoma...or so i thought
Bushwacker pocket flares that came with jeep were cool for awhile. Wasn't going to replace them until i bought aftermarket fenders and flares. Other day, driver side came up, flapping around. All the bolt holes were broken. I was gonna buy cheap replacement but my friend found a local deal on xenon flats for $250, in good used shape. Offered dude $150 and he took it. Light was missing and another was broken. Found replacements for $15. Pretty happy. Need to paint them sometime, along with wheel wells...
Finally got my JCR Mauler Front Bumper today. Great quality as usual, from JCR. Always worth the wait. Had to open one of the bottom holes about an 1/8 inch.
Ground a little off the top of sway bar bushings brackets to make sure everything was flush. I'll take pics once bumper comes off to get coated.
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