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Unread 05-31-2013, 09:26 AM   #1
jordanread
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 40
Building Boris - Surviving The Adventure

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Head is back off, and I found a fun little piece of casting metal in the head. Need a couple of gaskets, and some good cleaning, and she'll be right as rain.
Image: Replacing the bad lifter, 30 minutes of running since I replaced the head





Building Boris - Surviving The Adventure

WTF Is This?
It's a build thread, which is why it's here. After months of lurking, and reading a bunch of the other build threads, I decided to go ahead and start my own.

Well, to be honest, I got greedy. I took a page out of Koolaid5's book and made 2 separate threads.

I've found many of the write-ups on this site to be very useful, and kind of do my own detailed write-ups for reference as well, so I don't forget what I did. However, I've also noticed that threads wind up being a lot more fun, and a lot more useful (generally speaking) when there are high-level overviews (along with any "gotchas"), posted in an entertaining manner. This also winds up creating a pretty awesome place for ongoing research, interesting ideas, and friendly banter. My goal is to make this thread like that, even though I don't know how well it'll work. Fortunately, one of the benefits of being a narcissist is that I am my own favorite company, so even if it doesn't work, I'll still have fun, and the rest of you will miss out.

If you are looking for the detailed writeups, with lots of low level detail, description, and justifications, check out Building Boris - The Details.

My inspiration for this kind of thread comes from Sundowner and his outstanding "Engineering Greta" Build(ish) Thread, so if it seems like I ripped off a technique or something from him...I probably did (an XJ toolkit?).

Now, since my girlfriend doesn't really work on the Jeep with me, there most likely won't be the kind of pictures he has sprinkled throughout his thread, that have "arguably" been a major part of his success.

Go ahead and look...I'll wait.

You're welcome. That being said, I'm starting with a stock XJ, and I think big. See the section below on "The Future of Boris" for details of the goals, the use, and the priorities.

The Background of Boris
Boris was born in 2000. I have no evidence of the fact, but I don't think they loved her...maybe because her name was Boris. Anyway, they were popping out her siblings like they were off an assembly line. Then they put her up for adoption (for a fee, and didn't even confirm if it was a good home!!!). Now I wasn't involved in her life at this stage, but my guess is that she bounced from foster family to foster family, and still wasn't loved. Judging from her scars, at best she was neglected, and at worse, abused. Eventually, she wound up in a car mill. As I'm sure you are aware, these car mills take an unwanted vehicle, cover up her scars, force her to comply and act properly for test drives, and put her in a nice dress, with the goal of duping some sap into paying exorbitant adoption fees, thinking that the vehicle is well behaved, with no past baggage (emotional or otherwise). Well, back in 2011, I was that sap. I didn't know much about taking care of a vehicle, let alone raising one, and coaching her through those big and little milestones life brings (like breaking 200,000 miles, invasive head replacements, oil changes, and miscellaneous other necessary surgeries).

I overpaid for her, and missed some warning signs early on. Shortly after I got her, she started running really rough and was trying to tell me something by flashing the "Check Engine" light. It turns out I pushed her too hard, too fast, and floated a push rod. She was out of commission for about 3 weeks, as I needed some help to figure out what was going wrong. I told you, I was new to this. When my friend diagnosed her, we took off the valve cover, and the first of many scars started to make their way to my attention. I was able to scoop out handfuls of "oil" from the top of the valve cover (after she was immobile for weeks). My friend told me that this was assuredly not normal, and I needed to do an oil change...quickly. Get her fluids up and all that. We found the pushrod in question, and it wasn't damaged, so we put it back in it's proper place, torqued the rocker arms, and started her up. At this time I still didn't know what what was going on, so when I say rocker arms, at the time I meant those black gooey metal things with bolts. She sounded much better!!!

I decided to do an oil change the next day. However, I couldn't get the filter off. I called my friend, who said it happens sometimes, and that I should poke a screwdriver through it to get some leverage. In my experience since then, I know that this works. However, this time, the oil filter ripped in half. Ruined quite a few tools trying to get that off. Ended up using a strap wrench, a monkey wrench, a hammer, tin snips, and a box cutter. Another scar showed up. And this one was indicative of exactly how abused she was. That scar was an emotional one, and it manifested as someone from her past who cast a spell on her. I'm sure many of you are aware of this spell. This spell was Loctite, and it was red...on the oil filter!!!! Who knows when the last time she had an oil change?

This was all in the first 30 days. There were other adventures on the way, including the 0331 head genetic defect, the CPS failure, among other small things, but I must save some material for posts later, as the progress will be slow and steady.

The Future of Boris
Boris is currently, and will remain, my Daily Driver. I have about a 20 mile commute each way, and while I have the option to ride my bike, sometimes I don't have the time. However, on the weekends the significant other and I go on adventures into the mountains of Colorado, because it's beautiful, awesome, challenging, fun, and free. We rarely (2-3X a year maybe?) go wheeling just for the sake of wheeling, but some of the best spots are really hard to get to. Boris will be able to get anywhere I want to go, regardless of where that may be, or what's in the way, or what/who I want to bring.

As far as aesthetics go, I have every intention of making her look factory, in that nothing seems to be cobbled together. All pieces will have a consistent look and feel, and smoothly integrate with the factory stuff. She will be unique, and she will be clean. I don't intend to go very high with her, even though I want big enough tires and enough ground clearance to get around, over, or through anything that gets in my way.

Some things that are definitely on the list are as follows (in no particular order):
  • Rear Disc Brake Conversion
  • Suspension Work of some kind
  • Tire research (brands, size, rims, etc)
  • 2-Din radio conversion (maybe a raspberry pi "carputer")
  • Custom fabricated rear bumper and full size spare carrier (I'll give you a hint...it's not going to swing to the side)
  • Custom fabricated front bumper
  • H4 Conversion (including the "Big 3")
  • LED Dash light conversion
  • Interior Cargo Truck Bed Lining
  • Custom Safari-like rack
  • Miscellaneous branding and customization
  • Hood Louvres
  • Rust abatement
  • Cargo Windows that can open (kind of like the old 4 runners)

The Skills of Me
This is a tough question. I'm an application developer by trade, and had very little understanding of the practice of wrench-turning and customization. Boris changed all that. Once I got her, I decided I would do all my own maintenance, updates, repairs, and upgrades. It initially started just as a way to save money, but I really enjoy learning new things, and I guess you could say I caught the bug. I do a bit of writing, and am currently working on a series of guides for sustainable living after the fall of society (PSRG - Prep, Survival & Rebuilding Guide). It's coming soon, but I am very busy these days. I decided that the series would not be complete without at least one installment on using, maintaining, and repairing vehicles after the fall (zombie apocalypse? One can only hope). Thus my current path of inquiry and learning. I started with some really embarassing mistakes, with fortunately didn't blow anything up, and that I will share here at some point. Now I've successfully replaced the head, diagnosed some other strange issues, and am generally getting more comfortable around the engine bay of a vehicle. Next step is to get a solid grasp of the drive-train, suspension geometry, and get over my fear of brakes (they really seem like they are lying in wait, just plotting to pinch off the finger of an unwary soul).

That's all I got for now.

Welcome to the adventure. Survival is not guaranteed. Enjoy!

__________________
[I]To the destination, no matter where that happens to be, or what's in the way.[/I]


[B]Boris
2000 XJ Sport - From stock to unstoppable.
[/B][URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/building-boris-surviving-adventure-1530551/"]Building Boris - Surviving the Adventure[/URL] (The fun)
[URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/building-boris-details-1530552/"]Building Boris - The Details[/URL] (The write-ups)

Last edited by jordanread; 05-31-2013 at 11:10 AM.. Reason: Added Current Picture
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Unread 05-31-2013, 09:27 AM   #2
jordanread
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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Posts: 40
Thread Index


This is going to be a placeholder for a thread index, just in case it gets big enough to need a table of contents
__________________
[I]To the destination, no matter where that happens to be, or what's in the way.[/I]


[B]Boris
2000 XJ Sport - From stock to unstoppable.
[/B][URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/building-boris-surviving-adventure-1530551/"]Building Boris - Surviving the Adventure[/URL] (The fun)
[URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/building-boris-details-1530552/"]Building Boris - The Details[/URL] (The write-ups)
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Unread 05-31-2013, 12:35 PM   #3
Sundowner
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Any girl with a name like "Boris" has an interesting future ahead of her, and I'll be looking forwards to seeing it. At current, your build list looks pretty solid.
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If it's worth doing, then it's worth overdoing.

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The build, the gear, and the mileage: The Wasteland Survival Guide
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Unread 05-31-2013, 01:52 PM   #4
jordanread
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundowner View Post
Any girl with a name like "Boris" has an interesting future ahead of her, and I'll be looking forwards to seeing it. At current, your build list looks pretty solid.
She'll never get rid of that Adam's apple, but she will be able to retain that little bit of feminism to maintain the ability to purr (or growl) any naysayers into submission. She'll also be manly enough to put 'em to shame.


Thank you very much for the "". There are a couple of other things coming too...like how to make portal-bolt-on street safe and efficient...we'll see how that goes.

Also, I was very much considering changing my signature to something along the lines of:
If it's worth doing, it's worth letting Sundowner do it first.
__________________
[I]To the destination, no matter where that happens to be, or what's in the way.[/I]


[B]Boris
2000 XJ Sport - From stock to unstoppable.
[/B][URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/building-boris-surviving-adventure-1530551/"]Building Boris - Surviving the Adventure[/URL] (The fun)
[URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/building-boris-details-1530552/"]Building Boris - The Details[/URL] (The write-ups)
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Unread 05-31-2013, 02:28 PM   #5
ginger-mech
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Looks like a good start.

Cue "moose and squirrel" jokes in 3, 2, 1...
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Unread 05-31-2013, 04:47 PM   #6
jordanread
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger-mech View Post
Cue "moose and squirrel" jokes in 3, 2, 1...
I have no idea what you may actually mean. That being said, I assume there is some type of Bullwinkle joke in there...even though I don't know what that involves. Care to elaborate? I suck at TV.
__________________
[I]To the destination, no matter where that happens to be, or what's in the way.[/I]


[B]Boris
2000 XJ Sport - From stock to unstoppable.
[/B][URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/building-boris-surviving-adventure-1530551/"]Building Boris - Surviving the Adventure[/URL] (The fun)
[URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/building-boris-details-1530552/"]Building Boris - The Details[/URL] (The write-ups)
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Unread 05-31-2013, 08:00 PM   #7
Sundowner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanread View Post
Also, I was very much considering changing my signature to something along the lines of:
If it's worth doing, it's worth letting Sundowner do it first.


Good luck with the portals; those can be a lot of fun...and when I say "a lot of fun" I actually mean "a total pain in the a**." Also, as far as you sucking at TV, it might behoove you to educate yourself on Boris at some point; at the very least, it'll give you an excuse to buy a TJ and name her Natasha...and for that idea, you're welcome.
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If it's worth doing, then it's worth overdoing.

The Republic of Dave: Bringing you the finest in simian testing supplies.

The build, the gear, and the mileage: The Wasteland Survival Guide
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Unread 10-20-2013, 06:07 PM   #8
jordanread
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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Sorry for the long time between posts, but real life got in the way, and real life doesn't like me trying to fix Boris...which is why it's taken me almost a year to fix a blown head-gasket and a cracked 0331 head (are there jackets or anything for this club?).

Anyway, long story short, got the new lifters put in, new head-gasket, new head bolts. I started her up and she purred, just like she was supposed to. I wait for her to get up to operating temperature, and she does. Sitting at the sweet spot just under 210°. Being the over achiever that she is, she didn't stop there, just kept going up.

Time to start troubleshooting, which not my strong suit, which those of you with whom I've had conversations already know. Since I couldn't feel very much pressure or heat in the miscellaneous hoses, and know about how she was treated before, I decided to get a new water pump and flush the heater core and radiator.

So I read that section in the service manual, and started looking around on JF for any tips and tricks. Some people said that the only reason the manual says to remove power steering pump is to give you room to take out the electric fan. Sure enough, just taking off the tensioner pulley gave me enough room, and I got the new Bosch water pump installed. Proceeded with a radiator flush, and ran just water through everything until it was all nice and clear on the way out. I let it finish draining, cool down, and inserted a 70/30 Coolant/Water mixture. Success! She now stays at the sweet spot. I double checked the oil, added a bit, and drove her around the block.

Everything was fine, right up until I got back to the house. I must have driven over some old holy ground, and picked up the ghosts of some tribe of drunken pygmies and their drums. I noticed a knock, or a tick. It was intermittent, and I could hear it with the mechanic's stethoscope at the water pump, the side of the block, and the valve cover. After confirming good oil pressure, I took off the cap in the valve cover, and when it did tick, it seemed timed close to the rocker arm I could see.

Pulled off the valve cover and proceeded to check everything I could think of.
Push rods fell out? Nope.
Rocker bolts got loose? Nope.
Oil missing on one of the arms? Nope.

Re torqued everything down, and fired her up. Sounded fine, until she hit around 120°, at which point I disturbed the spirits somehow, and they started up their drunken drumming.

Video: The spirits of pygmies.

Anyone have any suggestions?
__________________
[I]To the destination, no matter where that happens to be, or what's in the way.[/I]


[B]Boris
2000 XJ Sport - From stock to unstoppable.
[/B][URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/building-boris-surviving-adventure-1530551/"]Building Boris - Surviving the Adventure[/URL] (The fun)
[URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/building-boris-details-1530552/"]Building Boris - The Details[/URL] (The write-ups)
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Unread 10-20-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
ZSXJ430
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Good luck! These can get quite expensive...trust me I know.
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