Hi I just got my second Jeep (first was a CJ7 1985) and I don't know where to start fixing. Some say brakes and suspension first, others say engine and drive train. A bit of info: YJ 1994 2.5L AX-5 Dana 30frt/35rr. It drives but engine has leak in rear main seal. Suspension is shot, gears shift but I can hear the differential clicking. Brakes need new rotors. Passed smog fine. There is so much to do I don't know where to start first. Any suggestions on where to start?
The first thing I did with both of my Jeeps was fluids. ALL fluids. I found many of the squirrels I was hearing running around were actually just old fluid that desperately needed to be replaced. Especially in the t/c and differentials.
1996 White ZJ
1987 Maroon YJ (sideways build)
1996 Forest Green XJ
-It's drivable, but you want to be able to stop safely. Good brakes are necessary.
-Check the condition of the differential, see if there is a locker causing the clicking or if the noise is due to damaged gears.
-The rear main seal - degrease the entire block to determine with certainty where the oil is originating. I thought I had a slow rear main leak until I degreased the engine and found it was all originating from the valve cover, oil filler cap and the distributor. Oil will blow back and drip down at the bell housing from pretty much anywhere.
-The stock suspension on these old Jeeps will pretty much be flat, drivable, but not always desirable. I drove on a bent rear driver's side spring (factory OEM) for a year before replacing the suspension. I think the springs were 20 years old by then. Not that I recommend driving on damaged springs, but it can be done.
Great, so far I've replaced brake front brake rotors and pads, replaced transmission oil, engine oil, rear differential oil (clicking stopped) and cover gasket, lubed tie-rod ends and ball joints. I've checked the ball joint and all linkage for damage or play and found none, checked steering shaft linkage, verified vacuum, and bolted down the hard top better than it was when I got it. Now, I think I will start on replacing shocks and leaf springs and bushings or fix the engine oil leak (rear main seal i beleive). I think suspension is more critical than engine oil leak. The shock cylinders are really rusted and need replacing and the springs and bushings need replacing too. The shackles look good.