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FS: 2007-2013 Jeep Wrangler "HALO" Angel Eye KitFlowmaster's Force II Axle-back exhaust system for the 201FS: Wranger BRIGHT License Plate LED! Just $3! Great value

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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:23 AM   #1
massarosareloud
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 218
The Inexperienced, Cheap-o Build Thread

So this is my first car, but I have a pretty good knowledge of mechanics, and I have been taking things apart since I was tiny. If I only knew what I would be going up against…

I love reading everyone else’s build threads, so I figured I’d start mine.

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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:23 AM   #2
massarosareloud
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 218
Table of Contents:
Introduction
To-Do List
Rear Stabilizer Bar Link Replacement
Loud Exhaust
Shock Absorber Replacement
Red Head Steering Gear Box Replacement
Front Track Bar Replacement
Downstream Oxygen Sensor (or lack thereof), and Check Engine Light
Fog Light Switch
PSC Steering Gear Box Replacement
Lower Control Arm Bushings, Steering Damper, Upstream Oxygen Sensor
New Rear Differential Fluid, Rear Speakers
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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:24 AM   #3
massarosareloud
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 218
I bought the 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition, with stock almost everything, for a cool $3200, which included an inspection and alignment. It had just about 105,000 miles, and the 4.0L engine, and the NP249 transfer case. And a whole host of hidden problems. Came with a steering wheel cover, and about 38 cents in the change holder. So really I spent $3199.62.


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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:24 AM   #4
massarosareloud
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 218
Things to do:
Short Term
-Replace rear track bar bushings
-Replace upper control arm bushings
-Replace valve cover gasket, 90° adapter gaskets, and oil pan gaskets (yes, all 3 are leaking)
-Clean the contacts behind the side mirrors so I can use the remote unlock without the mirrors getting all whacked out
-Replace all speakers
-Full fluid service: engine oil, transmission fluid, differential fluid (and seals), coolant, transfer case fluid
-Replace the viscous coupler

Long Term
-Replace rear pinion seal
-Replace seals between transfer case and transmission
-Pull radio out and spray contact cleaner into the buttons and sliders
-Recover headliner
-Glue peeling door panels back together
-Repaint roof rack and windshield wipers
-Replace sway bar mounting bracket bushings
-Replace tie rod ends
-Replace ball joints
-Clean throttle body, put on the new gasket
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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:25 AM   #5
massarosareloud
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1996 ZJ 
 
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Posts: 218
The first thing I did was rotate the tires, because at this time I had already discovered the loose steering that would end up plaguing me until now, and I had heard of this solving it. In the process I discovered the broken rear stabilizer bar links, and lo and behold, the passenger side had punched through the mounting bracket and had elongated the hole and broken off.



A couple dollars later at RockAuto, I had 2 unmatching Moog stabilizer links. Crap. I knew one them had to be wrong, but that was the problem, which one? So then another couple days later I had one more stabilizer link and matched the two up. Remember how I said that the hole was elongated, well Moog had the brilliant idea of stopping the threads on the bolt right where the compression washer would be if the hole hadn’t been elongated. Because the hole was elongated, the entire link was a little bit shorter, and I stripped the bolt and nut putting the link on. So then a replacement bolt and nut was scavenged, and a very simple repair turned into a lengthy one. But it stopped my body sway, so I was happy.
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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:25 AM   #6
massarosareloud
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1996 ZJ 
 
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Posts: 218
Well the exhaust looked a little bit beat up, and it sure sounded like it. Turns out that between the catalytic converter, and the exhaust manifold pipe, the pipes were broken apart and it was patched together with a sheet metal clamp. Not to mention the exhaust was hitting the rear track bar and made a very annoying banging sound whenever you were sitting still.



So a couple hours later and some cursing and trips to Advance Auto Parts to buy some exhaust clamps, there is no banging and it is a thousand times quieter. Not bad considering it was almost free, and so far I’ve spent more replacing the fog lamp light bulb than the entire rest of the repairs.

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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:26 AM   #7
massarosareloud
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1996 ZJ 
 
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Posts: 218
New Monroe sensa-trac shock absorbers now to replace the beautiful ones that were on there, most definitely original:



I did the rear ones one weekend and the front ones the next weekend. When I did the front ones I replaced the mounting hardware, a step I forgot to do with the rears, so add that to the list of things to replace. The ride was a lot better, still rough, but not nearly as bad as before, and much quieter.

A fun sidenote, just for fun I completely compressed the old shock absorber after I removed it, and then did something else. An hour and a half later, and it was still compressed. I think it was shot.
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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:27 AM   #8
massarosareloud
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1996 ZJ 
 
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Posts: 218
I was getting pretty tired of the loose steering, so after an adjustment was made to the original steering gear box, to no avail (and I tightened down the center nut 4 revolutions), I knew it was time to replace something. So off to the garage the Jeep goes, and they discover it needs a new steering gear box, and so I bought a Red Head, and had them install it. They also discovered that the old power steering fluid reservoir had dry rotted through, so they replaced that. I requested new hoses be installed too. So about $600 later, the problem is better, not solved. There is still looseness within the steering gear box, and I am waiting until it gets warmer to replace it with a PSC. And my frustration for not even attempting this repair is still brewing.

How the alignment shop didn’t notice anything wrong with the steering is beyond me.

Here is my review of the Red Head gear box: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/r.../#post14761945
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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:27 AM   #9
massarosareloud
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Time to replace the front track bar, with a Moog. My thought process has been one of; replace everything on the car with something better. So I am trying to justify ponying up the extra dough to replace everything with Moog or a similar quality replacement.

The removal of the old track bar was fun; thank god my teacher has a picklefork separator. Or I would still be without a track bar…
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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:28 AM   #10
massarosareloud
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Posts: 218
Interestingly enough, I noticed that the downstream oxygen sensor had been sheared clean off while I was working on the exhaust. But I just sorta ignored it, figuring that it must be like that for a reason, and it wasn’t throwing a check engine light, so it had to be fine. Then as time went on I got more and more annoyed that I wasn’t getting a check engine light, and I didn’t have an oxygen sensor. Then I started the Jeep and noticed that every single other instrument cluster light illuminated except for the check engine light. 10 minutes later and looking at the back of the instrument cluster, I discovered the asswipe that owned it before me took the bulb out of the socket. Presumably to be able to sell it and make it appear to be in perfect working order. That really just pisses me off, not only because he took advantage of me, but also because something could be truly wrong with the Jeep, something dangerous, and I wouldn’t have ever known because that ****** bag removed the bulb. I try to be trusting of everyone, but this experience has caused me to doubt everyone, which I hate.

Thanks again to my teacher who also had a code reader, and helped me clear out the codes after I put in the new oxygen sensor. Karma is a ***** though, and it’s only a matter of time before the previous owner gets his.
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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 07:28 AM   #11
massarosareloud
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From the get go, I knew that one of the previous owners had pushed the fog light switch clean through its mount and into the case. The previous owner did a poor job of wiring it by simply wrapping a wire around the solder points and wrapping it around a switch, that just hung down, waiting to get ripped off. So I spent an hour and fixed it up, replaced it with a soldered in switch, one that fits nicely into the opening and I am rather pleased. Really makes the interior look a lot better.

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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-02-2013, 08:47 AM   #12
MustangFX93
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Lakeville, MN
Posts: 45
Yeah, those are a lot of common issues. As for the mirrors getting out of whack every time you use keyless entry, I had the exact same problem. But instead of taking the mirrors apart and cleaning the sensors, you can simply use your hand and push the mirror to each of the maximum up, down, in, and out positions. It doesn't harm the electric motors at all. After I did it, I sat in my Jeep, got everything all situated, and then turned the key to the on position and set the memory button. Worked perfectly when I tested with my keyless entry. Good luck on the rest of your repairs!
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Unread 02-02-2013, 10:34 AM   #13
melk
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1996 ZJ 
 
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Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 2,891
I'll buy that redhead box....
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Unread 02-08-2013, 07:26 PM   #14
massarosareloud
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1996 ZJ 
 
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Posts: 218
Woo-hoo, I knew the PSC gear box was arriving today and I stopped at Advance Auto Parts for a 33mm socket with the plan to swap my steering gear boxes next Friday since I didn't have school that day. But my impatience got the better of me and I ended up swapping the gear boxes right when I got home. It was a very painless project and I am shooting myself for having the shop put in the Red Head a month or two ago. The steering is marginally better, less play in the input shaft of the steering gear box, and much easier to turn steering wheel (compared to the Red Head which required both hands).

There is no chance in hell that the shop that put the Red Head in tightened the pitman arm nut to the correct 185 ft lbs. It came off with an 18 inch long wrench, and I barely put any weight into getting the bolt off. So I learned one very important rule after finishing this repair, I will never ever bring my Jeep to a garage again. I just hate not knowing whether the shop did a good job, and I know for sure that I did a sufficient job.

I am pretty excited that I managed to do this entire repair myself, with no other training besides what I've learned on here. It's incredible, and because of the time and knowledge of people on here I ended up saving about $200 worth of labor costs.

I also think I am just going to embrace the way my steering is on my Jeep and love it for who it is. Not. I will be doing tie rod ends and control arm bushings as I find time and money, not to mention I still need to do the rear track bar bushings.

As for melk, I will sell the Red Head to you, but I would rather you go buy a PSC, or at least buy a remanufactured gear directly from Red Head. When I was pulling the pitman arm off I hit it with a sledge hammer a few times, and I don't know what that'll do to the gear box. Not to mention, I was not pleased with the performance I received from the Red Head, so why you would want to buy it is beyond me. If you are dead set on buying it, send me a PM.

One more thing, I guess it's a good thing the idiot that owned this before me put in front sway bar disconnects, they proved useful while working up in that area. Also, a tip for anyone trying this repair themselves, I got the fluid lines off and back on without removing the fan by removing the air intake assembly that snaps on top of the air filter.
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1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Edition 4.0L
3.55 axles, stock pretty much everything, except for a PSC steering gear and fuel injectors
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Unread 02-08-2013, 07:53 PM   #15
Afdude88
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1993 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ogden, Ut
Posts: 547
Fyi...

More than not, new or rebuilt steering gears need adjusted.

If you are replacing a lot of bushings look into prothane or energy suspension master kits (aka total kit) I have found the prothane total kit for about 184 and the energy suspension for about 200. Both include bushings for the control arms, track bars, and sway bars. Front and rear. Oh and the outer tre dust covers

1993 Grand Cherokee Limited 4.0L AW-4
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