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Unread 07-05-2014, 02:10 PM   #1
Jeeples
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Life with 2 WJs: My build and maintenance thread

Alrighty, this story actually begins back when my wife and I were dating. At that time I had my '94 YJ, lightly modified (lift, 33's, bumpers, etc.):





Shortly after we started going out, she expressed interest in making her '03 WJ a little more unique on the outside. The reason I bring that up is that her Laredo was a little unusual in the fact it is a well equipped 8 cylinder Laredo with leather, tow package, full skid group, etc. Unfortunately I don't have any stock photos of it, however here are some photos of the first phase of her build.

This setup was as follows: 245/65/16 Maxxis Bighorns, KOR 2.5" BB, Rubicon Express Monotube shocks, Kolak 3" exhaust w/Flowmaster Big Block muffler.








Eventually I sold my YJ for something a little more family friendly, along with my motorcycle and my now wife's Neon. At that point we just had her WJ and an '09 Charger. Her WJ stayed in the previously mentioned configuration for the next few years when I decided to go a little taller with her WJ as the stock springs were starting to sag. So we went with some IRO 3" springs, Bilstein shocks, Zone Offroad extended sway bar links, Core4x4 adjustable upper and lower front control arms, Ultra Motorsports Rogue 175's and some 265/75/16 Cooper ATP's:







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Unread 07-05-2014, 02:11 PM   #2
Jeeples
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A few months after the above photographed Moab trip (June of 2013), my wife was browsing the local classifieds and spotted a '00 WJ Limited for sale. It was currently non-running and the seller described it as needing a crank position sensor and a new battery. However it did have fairly new tires and the asking price was $1100 OBO.

We decided to hurry and look at it that evening as the listing received lots of views in the short time it was up. I brought along my bluetooth OBDII scanner, and a spark plug socket and ratchet wrench. After pulling a few plugs and determining there likely wasn't any internal engine issues (blown head gasket, leaky fuel injectors, etc.) I went ahead and hooked up my scanner, however it would not communicate with the ECM, which I found odd, but wasn't terribly concerned with.

The exterior was little rough with at least one dent in every panel, the wheel were caked in brake dust and the clear coat was peeling on them. The driver's seat leather had some cracking, and both bumper covers had damage, with the rear one being cracked badly on the driver's side. This WJ was definitely a 20 footer.

After a little negotiating, I was able to get the seller down to $900 with him keeping the incorrectly sized battery that he had in it, and he even offered to deliver it to my house (tow truck driver):



First thing I did was attempt to fix the no start condition by replacing the crank position sensor. Unfortunately the new Mopar unit I installed made no difference and further trouble shooting revealed the real reason it didn't run was due to a bad ECM. I was able to score a used one from a local junkyard for a mere $40 and had a local independent parts store flash it to my VIN for only $60. Plugged that bad boy in and it fired right up.

At this point I decided to start finding out what else the WJ needed and started putting together a list:

Heater core leaked
Recirc door had a fault code
New plugs
New oxygen sensors
New oil pan (rusty) and gasket
Front and rear differential service
New OPSU
New front and rear bumper covers
New driver side rear tail light
A good interior carpet cleaning
Headlights needed polishing
New valve cover gaskets
Hood and rear hatch struts
New driver's side interior door panel
New dash tweeters/speakers
Inop rear door speakers
Inop driver rear window
Bad power steering leak
Coolant leak (besides the heater core) from the front of the motor
A/C not blowing cold

I also noticed that while this WJ has the factory tow package, it did not come with the skid plate group, so no front tow hooks, front skid or T-case skid. It also has the thinner brush guard for the fuel tank vs. the optional 1/8" skid. Definitely a bummer, but near me WJ's are fairly common in the junkyards, so I should be able to remedy that fairly easy.
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Unread 07-05-2014, 02:12 PM   #3
Jeeples
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I decided to tackle a couple of the easier and cheaper fixes before that coming winter in an effort to make it a little more road worthy and reliable.

I went ahead and cleaned up the headlights using the wet sanding method and some plastic polish and my variable speed polisher. I also took care of the PS fluid leak and I had narrowed it down to one of the lines between the PS gear box and PS cooler. I installed the new OPSU during and oil change, along with new O2 sensors, spark plugs and hood struts. I managed to score some good working dash speakers, along with repairing a broken driver's side door wire which fixed my inop driver's rear window.

I drove it sporadically throughout the winter and noticed that the heater core leak was getting worse and required topping off once every week. Not to mention the heat output was poor, but I attributed that to the broken recirc door.
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Unread 07-05-2014, 02:14 PM   #4
Jeeples
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That brings us to today, where I've just finished up the last major project that my WJ has needed, which was the heater core, A/C, recirc door, interior carpet cleaning and coolant leak from the front of the motor:













The previous owners must have spilled a shake in the area photographed above, as the carpet was matted down and really sticky. Add to the fact that they owned a dog, never cleaned in the interior and had spilled numerous soda's and you'll why I felt the need to steam clean the carpets. Needless to say with the coolant gone and the carpets cleaned it smells much better in there.

When I opened up the HVAC assembly I was surprised to see that I wasn't the first person that had been in there. The heater core had already been replaced with an aftermarket copper unit made by Ready-Aire. I replaced it with an aluminum Ready-Aire as I've had great luck with them in the past. I also noticed that the blend doors had been upgraded with the now discontinued Mopar kit which used an aluminum passenger door and thicker stops on the drive connectors, however for whatever reason they did not replace the passenger side drive connector as it still had the OE thinner style installed. I found the recirc door drive connector was broken which explained the codes I had stored in the HVAC control module.

I used new Dorman HVAC sub assemblies for the blend doors (I used the upgraded Mopar doors, Dorman assembly and the Dorman drive connectors) and new recirc door. I kept the Dorman blend doors and the older upgraded drive connector as spares.

I also decided to tear into the front of the Jeep to see if I could track down my coolant leak and also use it as an opportunity to flush out the nasty old green coolant and fill with some fresh Zerex G-05. I had a spare new water pump gasket and a t-stat from my wife's WJ that was only a year old, so I opted to install those as well. I found that the water pump had some dried coolant crusting around it, so I think that was the source of my coolant leak. I also found that at almost 170k miles, the engine still had the factory t-stat in it.

I pulled the radiator, flushed it out and also sprayed the core down with my garden hose. I found lots of dirt packed into the core that was no doubt affecting the efficiency of the radiator. I went ahead and did the same thing with A/C condenser.

While poking around under the hood I found the source of my non-functioning A/C in the form of the hose running between the condenser and the compressor. I went ahead and ordered a replacement and a new o-ring set off Amazon for less than $30 for both. I opted not to replace the receiver drier at this time.

Well, that brings us up to the writing of this post. I just got back from my FIL's and now have ice cold A/C and fully functioning dual climate control. From here on out posts will consist of maintenance and upgrades to either of the two WJ's currently parked in my driveway.
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Unread 07-06-2014, 09:10 PM   #5
Jeeples
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We've been driving my WJ quite a bit the last couple of days and I've noticed that it gets a bit warmer than normal with the A/C going and driving up a hill or when sitting and idling for an extended period of time. I checked under the hood yesterday after driving a bit and noticed that the fan clutch speed doesn't increase when raising the engine speed.

Sounds like a replacement is in order rather quickly.
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Unread 07-07-2014, 07:31 AM   #6
veiri86
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Seems like a promising build thread (Sub'd)

Keep up the good job
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Build thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f197/...x-wjs-1872002/

01' 4.7 Limited WJ 5" lifted, Rubicon Express 4.5" coil springs with IRO critical path setup and Bilstien 5100 shocks all around, JKS adjustable Trackbar (KOR bushings), JKS HD tie rod (MOOG problem solver Ends), JKS HD drag link (Moog Probel solver Ends), 4.56 Yukon ring and pinion, Moog HD SSD107 Steering Stabilizer, IRO Front drive shaft conversion, Stillen slotted rotors all around with Stillen brake pads, IRO adjustable A-Arm, 3" all the way Kolak Exhaust with High flow Magnaflow Cat. Converter and Flowmaster Super 50 Muffler, 285/70R17 AT Kumho (33") on 17" BlackWheel rims 909B, K&N Cold air intake, Four nozzles Bosch injectors, and Flashpaq 3780.

03' 4.7 H.O WJ 3" lifted, OME HD with 0.5" Coil spacers and Bilstien 5100 shocks all around, JKS adjustable Trackbar (KOR bushings), Moog Problem solver TRE's, IRO Front drive shaft conversion, IRO adjustable A-Arm, High flow magnaflow mini cats, high flow magnaflow cat, Flowmaster Super 44 muffler, 265/65R17 AT Yokohama on 17" Rays rims, and Flashpaq 3780
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Unread 07-07-2014, 02:36 PM   #7
Jeeples
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Yeah, I guess I should have laid out the plans I have for each WJ as well. So here it goes:

My wife and I view her WJ as the more-capable-than-stock-but-still-streetable 4x4 that we will likely drive around town when we don't take our car. So it will more than likely stay in its current configuration. Of course that could change based on what my wife wants to do, I do know that there's a set of sliders in the future and a few interior personalizations that we're working on. The most pressing matter for her WJ is fixing the rusted out exhaust, as the tailpipe rusted completely through and the back half of the muffler is in pretty rough shape too.

My WJ will be the more offroad oriented vehicle, but still fairly streetable. I'm going to try my hand at an overland/expedition type build, so 4-5" LA lift, clearanced fenders, 33's (or equivalent), 242 or 231 T-Case, front locker, armor, front and rear bumpers, etc.

I've still got a couple things that need to be looked at, so a lift will likely be put on hold until sometime next year. The most pressing matters are a new fan clutch, front brakes, rusted trans and oil pans, front driveshaft swap and a couple of other nitpicky things.
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Unread 07-13-2014, 10:01 PM   #8
Jeeples
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Attempted to replace my fan clutch yesterday with little luck. I had originally planned to use a rental tool kit from the local parts store, but none of them around here offer the correct type of wrench to hold the water pump pulley in place. After a little reading on here and around the innerwebs, I determined that I might be able to get away with just sticking an allen wrench in one of the water pump holes and it would jam against one of the casting ribs on the water pump.

I was wrong.

So, I attempted various other ways to hold the pulley in place while I try and break the clutch free, I even took my Dremel to the mounting nut and made relief cuts to try and loosen the grip the clutch had on the end of the water pump, but after about an hour I figured it wasn't going to work.

Today I decided to make my own tool, rather than pay $40+ for one online or locally. $10 and a trip to Home Depot yielded my materials:



After a little bit of fab work with the Dremel and my power drill, I had the old clutch off in no time:



So far the new clutch seems to have done the trick of keeping engine temps more consistent with the A/C going, however it was a little later in the day and a bit cooler when I was able to drive it around. I'll keep an eye on it during the course of the week. It's a bit louder than the old one when you first get going, but after about 30 yards it quiets down.

Next up will be front and rear diff service.
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Unread 07-13-2014, 11:08 PM   #9
Range07
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Thats a clever tool workaround, I like it
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Unread 07-14-2014, 10:27 AM   #10
Jeeples
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Range07 View Post
Thats a clever tool workaround, I like it
I was pretty pleased with it myself. It just happened to work out to where each piece of steel would press against the alternator and A/C pulleys once you applied a little bit of torque to the fan clutch, leaving both hands free to break the fan clutch nut free.
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Unread 07-21-2014, 01:27 PM   #11
Jeeples
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Went ahead and serviced the front differential this past weekend. The cover was leaking pretty bad, and with the maintenance history being unknown on this Jeep it was definitely time. I was quite happy finding minimal metal shavings on the differential fill plug magnet. I still need to do the rear, but the cover isn't leaking so I'll put it off till this next weekend.

I've also got some new exhaust stuff on order for the wife's Jeep. Plenty of pictures to follow on that install.
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