2004 4.0 I6 Jeep Grand Cherokee Camshaft, Timing Set, and Lifter Replacement
OK so here is the write up for my lifter project I had to do a couple months ago. I was hoping this would go through the Article Submissions but haven't heard anything since July so I decided to re-post this so everyone else can benefit from it. I want to thank everyone and JeepForum for the loads of information I received here. It definitely helped me get through this procedure!
As much as I benefit from other write up’s on this forum, it’s about time I contribute! I recently had some issues with ticking and misfiring on my 4.0 I6 engine. I ended up diagnosing it as a failed lifter. The diagnosis and questions relating to this can be found here:
So I set out to do the project on the long July 4th weekend. From start to finish, I was able to do it in the time I allowed. For those of you wondering how long it takes, we had to make a trip or two into town to get a few tools but besides that, I worked pretty steady from about 6-11pm Friday night, 8am-11pm Saturday, and maybe 9am-4pm Sunday. Definitely put a lot of hours in but I’m not a professional mechanic with all the fancy tools. So hopefully that will give you an idea of how long this will take.
What I purchased before the start of the project:
1. Head Gasket Set - $150
2. Head Bolt Set - $36
3. Lifters - $60
4. Cam Shaft - $140
5. Timing SET (if you replace the chain, you should replace the sprockets) - $100
6. Timing Gasket Set - $12
7. Moly Break In Pre-Lube - ~$10
8. 12 Qts of Oil – I used Rotella T 10W30 - ~$50
9. 2 Oil Filters – Wix - $13
10. 2 Gal Coolant (Zerex G-05) - $34
11. Permatex Thread Sealant PX #59214 - $5
What I should have purchased before the start of the project:
1. 12 pt ½ inch deep well socket (I used 3/8) for head bolts - $5
Other necessary/handy tools:
1. Socket set
3. Torque Wrench
4. Air Compressor and Air Ratchets
5. Shop Towels
6. Brake Cleaner
7. Gasket Scraper
8. Harmonic Balancer Puller/Installer Set
9. Seal Installer Set
10. Torx Bits
11. Fuel Line Disconnect Tool
13. Zip Lock Bags (Bolt Holders)
14. Masking Tape
15. Marker to Label Previous Bags and Tape
And so the procedure begins. The radiator removal process was assisted by a write up by mailforjon. Much thanks for your detailed write up!
To start, here is a video of the bad lifter:
Start by disconnecting the battery. In the removal of the front end, you don’t want to accidentally set off your air bags…
I popped off the grill insert to start. It can be removed by releasing three tabs across the top then rolling it forward. Once that’s removed, the front fascia can be removed. Release the clips across the front (above the license plate):
And at the bottom of the fascia:
There are a couple of plastic rivets in the wheel wells that need removed. The best way to remove them is to cut the head off with some side cutters. A flat head screw driver may be handy here as well.
Now remove the bolt from the wheel well (it’s kind of hard to see but it is located in the slot at the top of the fascia):
Do this for both sides and the fascia should slide forward. If it does not, there are two white plastic clips, one on each side, up near the wheel well attaching the fascia to the body. The first time I removed the fascia, I tugged until the white clips gave up. The second time I removed the fascia, I just slid it forward as the clips allowed for the fascia to be released by sliding forward.
For those of you installing tow hooks or a front hitch receiver, this is the procedure to allow you access to the mounting points. Here are the hooks I had recently installed:
And the progress so far:
Now it’s time to remove the head lights and header panel.
Remove the top bolt for the headlight:
The headlight removes by pulling forward. There are three ball studs that hold the headlight in place. Mine were a little corroded so I took some scotch bright to them and added a little oil for easier installation.
Label and unplug the bulb connectors:
Progress so far:
To remove the housing for the head lights, remove the top bolt:
And the bottom bolt:
(Note: The previous couple of pictures appear to be out of order (head lights back in). In reality, I did it out of order but the way I described is the right way to go about it.)
And a few bolts in the front.
Unplug the radiator temperature sensor:
And the head light harnesses:
Head light housing removed:
Next, mark around the hood latch bolts for easy alignment during installation:
To remove the upper header panel, remove the bolts:
And here is a picture with the upper cross member and hood latch removed. I left the hood latch brackets attached for the project but you are welcome to remove them.
Next, drain the radiator. Here is the petcock used to drain the coolant. Mine was plugged so I did it the old fashioned way by removing the lower radiator hose.
To access the petcock easily, there is a metal piece in which the lower portion of the front fascia attaches. This is attached to the lower cross member with three bolts. This picture shows it after I removed it:
I disconnected the transmission lines here but decided it was unnecessary. You can probably leave these connected:
Also, removing the radiator hoses now would be suggested while the radiator is still attached.
Remove the radiator mounting bolts:
And the fan connector:
And with gentle persuasion, the radiator will slide right up and out:
To take a step back for a moment, it is suggested to have the engine at top dead center (TDC) on the compression stroke of cylinder 1. On this engine, simply line up the mark on the harmonic balancer with the mark on the timing chain… ok back to the work…
Next, remove the ignition coil (4 bolts). This is after it is removed:
And the air box from the throttle body (one bolt, two screw clamps for easiest removal). I also removed the air tube from the air box.
Next, remove the throttle cables and bracket (two bolts if I remember correctly). Two of the cables are removed by sliding forward and unhooking. One just pops off.
Remove the valve cover:
And the fuel rail (I believe 4 bolts). In the very bottom of this picture you can see where the fuel line connects to the fuel rail. Before removing anything fuel related, the pressure needs to be released. I just wore safety goggles and removed the fuel line but I am not recommending this to anyone as fuel could spray everywhere. Do this at your own risk. Anyways, you need to use a fuel line disconnect tool here. Easiest way is to put the tool in place, push the fuel line towards the fuel rail, push the disconnect tool into the fuel line, and pull back on the fuel line and disconnect tool at the same time. To remove the connectors on the injectors, slide the red tab up, push in on the button, then pull the connector out. To remove the fuel rail and injectors, gently pull away from the head.
Next, remove the push rods. The way I did it, I removed the two bolts on the rocker arms and rocker arm bridge, removed the rocker arms and bridge together, slid the push rods out, and then replaced the rocker arms and bridge. I did this to keep the rocker arms and bridges in order. Also, I stored the push rods in order by numbering a box and sticking the pushrods through the box in order. It is important to keep them in order as they have ‘mated’ with the rocker arms.
I decided next to remove the belt and start removing the pulleys from the head. Here is the tension pulley. To relieve the pressure, put a ½ breaker bar in the square slot and turn clockwise.
Once the belt was off, I removed the power steering pump and balanced it out of the way:
I removed the vacuum lines and connectors from the intake manifold next. Why this order, I don’t know. Either way, here is a good picture of the vacuum lines:
I also removed the thermostat and thermostat housing during this random approach of ‘remove everything attached to the head’. Really, you can kind of mix and match the order during this, as long as the parts get removed. The black metal coolant pipe attached to the water pump will need removed as well. You can see it in this picture quite well:
Next, I removed the alternator still attached to its bracket and pushed it out of the way. Unfortunately, I don’t have as many pictures for the rest of the steps but I will do my best to describe what I did. The ‘radiator’ type cooler for the transmission and air conditioning system can be ‘moved’ without breaking the seal on the A/C. To do this, I unbolted the transmission lines from the transmission cooler (driver side of the cooler) and placed a plastic bag over both exposed ends. Rubber stoppers would be great in this situation. I then flipped up the cooler with the A/C lines attached.
Once all of this is removed, the head is almost ready to come off. I started by trying to unbolt the intake and exhaust manifold but found I had a heck of a time trying to get to the lower bolts. What I ended up doing was detaching the exhaust at the catalytic converters and leaving the exhaust and intake manifold attached to the head. After I released the exhaust, I unbolted all of the head bolts. With a couple of helpers, the head isn’t TOO heavy to lift out with these parts attached. We lifted it out by hand though I’m sure an engine lift would be handy here too. So on that note, I removed the exhaust at the catalytic converters and removed all of the head bolts. Then I just lifted the head right off. Here is a picture of the alternator removed, the transmission cooler flipped up with the A/C lines still attached, and the head removed.
Another angle and a picture of the bagged transmission fluid lines:
Now that the head is off, you can look down inside the passenger side of the engine and see all 12 lifters. There is a special tool you can buy to easily remove the lifters. I had a nifty little magnet (that had a built in light we did not discover until we were done putting everything back together!) that I used to pluck them out of their holes. Here is the bad lifter compared to an OK lifter:
Later I discovered once the oil on these had dried that the bad lifter actually wore until a tiny pin hole developed in the face of the lifter, letting out all pressure and causing it to not pump up. Curious what the camshaft looks like?
Next, remove the harmonic balancer bolt and then the harmonic balancer with the, you guessed it, harmonic balancer removal tool:
I also removed the water pump pulley by removing the 4 bolts. Here is a picture of the harmonic balancer and the water pump pulley removed:
Next, remove the timing chain cover. To remove, there are 4 bolts you have to access from the underside apart from the bolts in the front. In the following picture, you can see all four in the blue gasket now that the cover is removed:
OK yet again, I got caught up in the work and did not take pictures. I will describe what to do as best as I can. The timing chain and sprockets slip off as one piece. Before you slip it off, make sure it is timed to top dead center on the compression stroke of cylinder 1. We had moved the timing cleaning out the cylinders so we made sure to retime it by lining up the marks on the sprockets. Once the chain and sprockets are off, remove the two bolts on the camshaft thrust plate. Next, learn from our mistake and remove the distributor! The camshaft will not want to come out with the distributor still installed (one bolt on a hold down type bracket and it slips right out). Remove and set aside:
To remove the camshaft, thread a long bolt into the camshaft where the sprocket mounted. GENTLY slide the camshaft out of the block. You do not what to knick or scratch the camshaft against the bearings. Once removed, check for wear on the camshaft and camshaft bearings. If the bearings are bad, they will be scored or have a blueish tint from being burned. The camshaft can be measured with a special tool but can be difficult to obtain an accurate number. In my situation, it was clear I needed to replace the camshaft (sorry for the blur):
Now the installation is pretty much the reverse of the removal of everything. First things first, be sure to cover the new camshaft (I’d even cover the old one if reusing) in Moly Break In Pre-Lube. Don’t be afraid of it. It’s your friend. Use lots! Once the camshaft is covered, GENTLY slip it back in using a bolt in the camshaft to assist you.
Place the camshaft thrust plate back on.
Slip the camshaft sprocket and timing chain back on the new camshaft and crankshaft, being sure to align the timing marks on the sprocket.
Some timing cover kits come with the timing cover seal. It is recommended to replace this while you have the timing cover off. To do so, yank out the old seal. Check that there are no burrs where the old seal was. Gently press the new one in with the installer kit. It helps to put a dab of oil around the seal’s outer edge.
We also installed the Timing Cover Repair Sleeve that came in the kit on the harmonic balancer.
I’ll only mention this once right now but it applies for the rest of the installation: before putting on a new gasket, be sure to thoroughly scrape and clean all of the old gasket materials away from both mating surfaces. We went as far as spraying brake cleaner on the surfaces after they were scraped clean to wipe away any oils and grime we may have left on the surface.
Install the timing cover with the new gasket.
Install the harmonic balancer. Using the harmonic balancer installation tool will assist in getting the harmonic balancer on properly.
To install the harmonic balancer bolt properly, we found that by threading two bolts into the front of the pulley and using a pry bar, we were able to safely hold the harmonic balancer and torque it to the proper torque.
Before putting the head back on, the new lifters need to go in place. I coated all of the new lifters with the Moly Break In Pre-Lube and used the magnet-on-a-stick to assist in installation. Remember, flat side goes down!
With some help, place the head back on the engine with a new head gasket. The torque sequence is three steps (located at the end of the write up). Bolt number 11 requires the Permatex Thread Sealant.
<-- Front of Engine
12 8 4 1 5 9 13
11 7 3 2 6 10 14
I recommend installing all of the pulleys first and just working backwards for the installation. Be sure to not miss any vacuum lines or electrical connections.
As a small side note, when I installed the push rods in the proper order, I added the Moly Break In Pre-Lube to both ends of those as well. I don’t know if it is necessary but I figured it wouldn’t hurt!
When installing the fuel injectors, I replaced all of the O-Rings as some were damaged and the head gasket kit contained 12 new O-Rings. I recommend doing this as good practice.
Once you have it all back together and have filled up the radiator with new coolant, you will need to change the oil. Use a good filter and fresh, high zinc containing oil. This is why I used Wix and Rotella T.
Since there are brand new parts, I recommend priming the oil system. To do this, I cut the handle off a flat head screw driver and placed it in a drill. Put the flat head end down in the distributor hole and into the oil pump. Start out slow but run the pump for a while. I ran it until oil was coming out of the push rods, filling up the rocker arms, and pouring over the valve springs. Then I ran it a little more.
When installing the distributor, the engine needs to be at TDC. To time it properly, set the engine at TDC using the mark on the harmonic balancer and timing cover. You will see a hole in the casing of the distributor and a hole on the inside ring. Line the two up and tape in a drill bit or nail to hold it perfectly in place. Slip the pump back into the hole and clamp it back down before removing the drill bit.
The break in goes as follows: Start up the engine and run it at 2,000 rpm for twenty minutes after it has heated up. Then, change the oil again. Since I had 20 minutes to wait, I grabbed a few things to keep me busy:
Hint: to hold it at 2k without having to keep my foot on the gas, I used some feeler gauges to hold open the throttle linkage lever.
A little smoke isn’t bad. That’s just the gaskets seating. Keep your eyes and ears open. Watch for any leaking fluids and listen for any strange sounds. If something doesn’t seem right, you can always turn it off.
Torque Specs (from my Haynes Manual)
Camshaft Sprocket Bolt 50 Ft-lbs
Camshaft Thrust Plate – we didn’t have a torque spec so we did 18 Ft-lbs like the V8 takes.
Crankshaft Pulley-to-Vibration Damper Bolts 20 Ft-lbs
Cylinder Head Bolts
Step A 22 Ft-lbs
Step B 45 Ft-lbs
Bolt no. 11 100 Ft-lbs
All Other Bolts 110 Ft-lbs
Intake and Exhaust Manifold
Bolts 6 & 7 126 in-lbs
All others 24 Ft-lbs
From straight on, manifolds exiting down and to the right:
9 8 3 10 11
6 4 2 1 5 7
Rocker Arm Bolts 21 Ft-lbs
Valve Cover Mounting Bolts 85 in-lbs
Tensioner Bracket-to-Block Bolts 14 Ft-lbs
Timing Chain Cover-to-Block
¼-20 60 in-lbs
5/16-18 192 in-lbs
Vibration Damper Center Bolt (Lubricated) 80 Ft-lbs
There is a lot going on in this write up so hopefully it helps someone. Let me know if you have any questions. It’s definitely a large task but is also something you can do to save a large chunk of change. The dealer here quoted $600 in labor alone. Good luck!
than run a good HDEO ! In hopes of preventing future issues:thumbsup:
very nice write up
A+ write up. I know it will come in handy for me some day. Well done!
How's it running lately?
Thanks for the positive replies!
It's been running great since then. I still need to precisely set the timing but haven't had time to run to the dealer lately. Even with the timing not 'perfect', it's smooth, quiet, and feels strong!
How was the power after you installed the new camshaft and lifters?
The power was probably as expected - about the same as it was before I started throwing codes. I toyed with the idea of putting a larger lift cam in but didn't know what would be a good match/not cause problems or need extra parts. Plus I was running against a very short time frame for ordering the cam. It definitely feels spunky lately but I think a lot of that has to do with the weather being nice.
I assume the power would be about the same considering the lifter was technically doing what it was supposed to until the tiny pin hole wore through it. The only thing that would steal power would be the added friction between the camshaft and the grinding lifter. I doubt that would steal much power though but I could be wrong.
Another thought, I could have gained a little but don't know it yet - keep in mind that it isn't timed yet to the proper 'perfect' setting. That alone would mess up the total power gain/loss.
So I guess the straight forward answer now that I've jumped back and forth in the above thoughts - when I get it timed correctly, it shouldn't have any more power than what it had when it came off the line back 7 years ago.
so are you going to take it to a dealer and have them set up the fuel timing on the cam sensor? You did everything right up top that point. To get optimal performance and mileage you need to fine tune the cam sensor position using a DRB3 type scan tool to sync it to the fuel pulse.
That is exactly correct and that is indeed my plan. I'm thinking about getting it done tomorrow. Though it runs great as it is, I still want it finished properly. Plus, if I'm off quite a bit, a little extra mileage and power would be nice! :)
Took it in to the local dealer today and had them set the timing properly. Seems a little spunkier now... but then again, it could be the placebo effect kicking it as well. Either way, at least I know it's set where it should be!
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