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Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Grand Cherokee & Commander Forums > ZJ Grand Cherokee Forum > Project ZJ - Story of My First Jeep

Rockridge 4WD IS Taking Zone Offroad Suspension Lift Kits JEEP Gear Change Packages From ROCKRIDGE 4WD. We Are DIFFIron Cross Customer JK and TJ Wrangler Bumpers now at ROCK

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Unread 02-24-2014, 02:19 AM   #16
radean84
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Rocklin, CA
Posts: 324
Timing cover with hole in it removed.



Timing chain and gears removed, new set will be installed. Getting ready to do new front/rear crank seals, new oil pump, and reseal the oil pan with a 1 piece gasket.



Getting ready to install new bulbs and headlights/markers/turn signals.



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Unread 02-25-2014, 12:29 AM   #17
radean84
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Location: Rocklin, CA
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Removed the old broken EVAP canister and worn out sway bar bushings:



New timing gears and chain, much less slack now if you compare to previous photos. Also new thermostat housing and thermostat. We ended up replacing the tensioner as well but the pic shows the old one:



Rear main bearings not looking too bad for 170,000+ miles!! Getting ready to replace the rear main seal.



Other than that, cleaned up the oil pan, harmonic balancer, swapped the power steering pulley from the old pump to the new, swapped back to a shorter drop pitman arm, and installed new bulbs before we put the new headlights in. More parts should show up tomorrow and Wednesday so we can get her running again.
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Unread 02-26-2014, 02:01 AM   #18
radean84
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Location: Rocklin, CA
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New tensioner, new crankshaft and camshaft timing gears, new timing chain, new timing cover, new front seal, new bypass hose, original harmonic balancer cleaned up and reinstalled:



My buddy Joel haha he doesn't know I snapped this but I had to because this guy does so much work on my Jeep. He's such a great mechanic and I couldn't ask for a better friend. I really appreciate everything he does and I also appreciate the fact that his wife tolerates our crazy projects!



New water pump installed, bypass hose hooked up. Original crankshaft pulley cleaned up and reinstalled:



Just wanted to get a shot of the mayhem from a distance to give you an idea of the state the Jeep is in currently:



A shot of the new headlights that replaced the old faded ones:



For more info and a better visual, check out this video:


The IRO front long arm kit, coil spacers, JKS disconnects, coil isolators, new shocks, and stainless brake lines will go on tomorrow.
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Unread 02-27-2014, 10:32 AM   #19
radean84
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She's back up and running!!! I didn't get any photos last night, but I did take some video. The motor is completely put back together except for a new PCV valve and hose, possibly a breather as well. So far no leaks of any kind but we're keeping a close eye on it. The motor started right up after we primed it (and after I got shocked by the disconnected external coil) and oil pressure was great.


Finally fixed the climate control problem where it only blows air through the defroster vents. A vacuum line runs from the intake manifold to the firewall and also runs over to the cruise control where there's a 1/4" vacuum T. The plastic T was broken so we patched that up with a new one and some new sections of hose.

We had run into a problem with the headlights because the larger adjusters on each side were broken. A quick trip to the dealership took care of that though for about $12 per adjuster. The lights went in easily after that and adjusted without any issues. The new lights definitely look a lot better and are much brighter.


As far as the IRO stuff, we installed the flex joints in the lower control arms and loosely assembled the three piece sub frame. I used a wire wheel to clean up the mounting point on the frame and applied undercoating per the instructions. We let the undercoating dry last night, so today the sub frame will get bolted onto the four factory holes, the eight new holes will get drilled, then everything will get snugged up to spec. Once the sub frame is on we'll install the long arms, the Doetsch Tech 8000 Pre-Runner shocks front/rear, new coil isolators, extended stainless brake lines, JKS quicker disconnects, and the 2" coil spacers. Hopefully we can wrap all of that up tonight. Then it will be to the shop for new tires and definitely an alignment.

After all that is squared away it's time to go to the local offroad park with some of the local ZJ guys on this forum to test everything out and get everything dialed in. Then it will be time to get the damaged rockers removed and replaced with 2x6 .25 box steel. After that, off to the differential shop for 4.88 gears and Aussie lockers front/rear. Also will be swapping from CV to heavy duty U-joint axles from IRO in the Dana 30 front.
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Unread 02-27-2014, 03:42 PM   #20
dusterdude
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Local offroad park,must be nice.anywho,good job dude
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Unread 02-27-2014, 04:11 PM   #21
Alexandru999
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cool stufffff
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Unread 02-28-2014, 02:58 AM   #22
radean84
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Thanks guys! Yeah, I didn't have any offroad parks where I'm from originally, but where I live now there is a pretty cool place with several obstacles of different difficulty and also a dirt track and motocross track.

The long arms still aren't installed yet, but the Jeep is now at 5.5" or just over instead of the 3.5" thanks to the 2" coil spacers and new isolators. The new sub frame has been installed too which drops the transfer case 1". I'm really happy with the ride height at this point. We ran into a problem with the new shocks though. They have integrated bump stops and look to be too long for my setup so I'll be calling IRO tomorrow to see what I can do about that. I ordered the Doetsch Tech 8000 Pre-Runners for a 6" lift but it looks like I should have gone for 4" or so judging by the way these things bolted on compared to my old shocks. It looks like they would bottom out way before I hit max flex in the rear, didn't even check the fronts yet. For now we reinstalled my old shocks and limiting straps.

Tomorrow we're going to try to finish up the long arm install and do the extended stainless brake lines up front. As long as everything goes according to plan we'll reinstall the front sway bar with the new bushings and JKS disconnects.

I'll post some more photos and videos soon, just didn't have time to take any tonight.
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Unread 03-02-2014, 05:39 PM   #23
radean84
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Just a quick update: IRO long arms are installed on the front, still need to cut off the stock control arm mounts. JKS quicker disconnects installed on front sway bar, new sway bar bushings are in, and the extended stainless brake lines are hooked up. Need to drop and reseal pan again, small leak found. Steering stabilizer has been removed and the steering feels great at all speeds. Getting a full alignment including track bar adjustment on Saturday.

I tried to make a video update but the wind was really bad and I know that windy microphone noise drives people nuts so here are some pics for now:

















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Unread 03-02-2014, 05:43 PM   #24
radean84
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Thought I'd make a quick video for anyone interested in these lights. These can be purchased on eBay, item number 230757777922, sold by ipexmotoring for $102.95 with free shipping for the entire set. Bulbs are sold separately. In this video the headlights are PIAA, the turn signals are standard amber bulbs, the side bulbs are 194 on the top and 168 on the bottom.

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Unread 03-02-2014, 11:02 PM   #25
framanda
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Zj is looking good man. You should hit me up on your next trip to the rubicon. Shoot I might be down for a day trip to prairie city even.
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Unread 03-03-2014, 12:29 AM   #26
radean84
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Thanks, I'll post a new thread soon when I'm ready to roll to Prairie City to see how many local ZJs wanna roll out there for a fun day. Definitely within the next few weeks.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 10:42 AM   #27
radean84
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Quick update, pics/videos on the way. In the last pics you saw the long arms were finally on. Just got a new set of 35.x12.50 Goodyear MT/R Kevlars mounted yesterday. They of course aired them up to 35 psi so I was all over the road on my 15x7 wheels. Aired them down to 27 and that helped a bit, planted the tread much flatter to the ground. I'll be doing the famous chalk test to dial in my pressure front/rear.

The alignment shop gave me a printout of my numbers which they said were fine as far as tire wear, but they didn't know what my caster should be set to. They also were going to charge me 3 hours labor to adjust my drag link since it has to come off, adjust, on, off, adjust, etc. Needless to say I took it home and did it myself in about an hour. Luckily IRO provides suggested toe in and caster numbers so I'll be taking those in today to a shop that has aligned my Jeep in the past and the tech is a Jeep nut. Basically I need to get the caster so my steering wheel returns to zero after turns and so I don't have speed wobbles, but I have to find the sweet spot between the caster angle and the pinion angle so I don't get drive shaft vibrations - right now the pinion angle is perfect.

We had to drop the oil pan again because the pan gasket was leaking just a bit. It's now dry as a bone after a new Fel-Pro 1 piece gasket and some silicone on the front/rear that we hadn't used the first time. Good thing we dropped the pan though because the new oil pump's screen was full of tiny rag debris and some plastic from the PCV valve that broke when we tried to remove it. Glad that's all cleaned up.

So by the end of today my caster should be dialed in and I may even have the original short arm mounts cut off for more clearance. I'll take pics/video soon. And for the local guys, Prairie City is in the very near future!!
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Unread 03-05-2014, 11:59 PM   #28
radean84
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Got some more stuff done today, but can't find the charger to my video camera so just some photos for now.

Went my my local muffler shop who I've dealt with several times before. They were happy to cut the old lower control arm brackets off to allow more clearance for the IRO lower control arms. They say you can keep the mounts with this kit, but I wouldn't dare flex it out with them still there. Even with my track bars dialed in I don't think I had the clearance needed to flex without removing them. While they were under there I had them weld a small hole in my muffler where an old hanger used to be.



Shot of the old short arm mounts:



Got my alignment done for the 2nd time. Ended up going from 2.5 caster to just over 4 which helped my handling a bit and I haven't noticed any drive shaft vibrations. My steering is still really touchy though, maybe I need to put a stabilizer back on? Everything feels nice and solid though. 27 psi also helped handling a bit.



Just a quick shot of the motor as I topped off the levels. So stoked to say it is finally COMPLETELY DRY!!!!!!!! No more leaks!!!!



Check engine light is on though so I'll be scanning it tomorrow to see what's going on, hopefully just a damaged sensor from all the stuff we've been wrenching on.

This weekend we're going to flex it out with the front shocks disconnected to measure for new shocks front/rear with integrated bump stops and possibly limiting straps as well.
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Unread 03-07-2014, 01:35 AM   #29
radean84
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Well, I finally found my video camera charger so I will have some video updates this weekend. In the meantime, hope you guys enjoy the pics!!

Today I installed the new shocks in the rear, hope to get the front ones done tomorrow. Ended up keeping the Doetsch Tech 8000 Prerunners with the integrated bump stops. Very beefy, not much up travel for my setup, but TONS of down travel. Rear are #8403 - 32" fully extended, 18.7" compressed with 13.3" of travel. Front are #8421 (not installed yet) 32" fully extended, 18.25" compressed with 13.75" of travel. The integrated bump stops are AWESOME. As long as you take the time to measure correctly you can dial your rig in perfectly with these shocks and some limiting straps.

Old beat up Rough Country shocks removed, getting ready to straighten out the mounts and put the new shocks on with new grade 8 hardware:



A shot of the driver's side rear shock and limiting strap installed:



Rear track bar was contacting the mount:



Decided to cut out a section to provide the needed clearance. We'll see how it holds up strength wise. If it starts to bend I'll replace it with a nicer heavy duty mount.



Testing the rear flex to make sure the shocks are the correct size, the bump stops are working, and the limiting straps are holding the coils tightly in place on top and bottom:



She passed all the tests, bump stops are perfect, coil is firmly held in place, limiting straps are doing their job even though they are greatly limiting the ability of the shocks. The rear will stay like this until I get long arms because right now the rear tires don't rub at all!!!



Front flex test with old shocks still installed to make sure brake line length is good and check for tire rubbing. There is slight rubbing at full flex, will do some trimming to prevent the new tires from getting damaged. This was the first time I ever disconnected the front sway bar. The JKS quicker disconnects made disconnecting and reconnecting such an easy task!!!









I should have the new front shocks and bar pin eliminators installed tomorrow, then I'll take some more photos and get some videos posted. Can't wait to take her on some rocks!!!
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Unread 03-07-2014, 07:11 AM   #30
jeepjeepster
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Awesome looking zj!

How did you go about replacing the front main seal behind the timing cover? Been reading up on that and the FSM requires some sort of special tool to press the new seal back in. Mine isn't leaking, so I may not touch it. Going to have the timing cover off so I figure I may, haven't decided yet.
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