Well, it finally happened to me. I was inspecting the oily residue/discharge on my valve cover, when I realized that it was seeping out from the rear CCV elbow vent.
And somehow while I tried to loosen the rear elbow, I smacked my elbow
on the front one and broke it. So here are the details on how to fix it.
(Yes, I know it has been “written up before” but having one more thread won’t hurt so its easier to find for the newbs).
As many of you know the 4.0l has these vents, known as CCV’s (I think its crank case ventilation or closed crankcase ventilation). Anyway, they are not your typical PCV valve, these are more or less just elbows to help circulate the crankcase emissions out of the crankcase and into the intake manifold, where they can be burned. They still can get plugged up with gunk much like a PCV, and it’s a good idea to replace them so your engine runs smoothly and produces less emissions. Mine were original with 130k.
(almost 95% clean and clear though to my surprise)
So I quickly realized that I had fallen victim to the classic case. The plastic elbows had gotten extremely brittle and the two rubber grommets had gotten stiffer than the plastic elbows themselves. This cause some discharge onto the valve cover and can cause oil blow back onto the air filter on some models.
So you say just unscrew them. Nope, they pop in/out by friction. So now you’re thinking big deal right? Just yank them out. No, No, my friend. That’s not how it works. Try and pull on them. It feels like they’re not even made to come out, huh? Just about any 4.0l owner who’s done this will tell you a great story about how long it took them and what they did. Maybe about 1 in 20 will get them out without damage. (That’s usually because the parts are relatively new i.e. not brittle.) Typically the elbows shatter at the first application of just about any removal tool, and this typically causes large plastic pieces to enter your valve cover. Great. And on top of that, the grommets can often get lodged in there and require being cut out, and this can lead to more pieces under your valve cover, yada yada yada, you’ll be ripping that thing off before you know it. Unless of course you do it my way and also replace these things before they get 200k miles on them.
Here are the parts you’ll need. (Some 4.0L part #’s are different, so check it out somewhere)
For my 99WJ it was the following:
5303 0495 1 TUBE, Crankcase Vent To Air Cleaner (This is the rear elbow. Its gray)
5303 0497 1 FITTING, Crankcase Vent Tube (This is the front elbow. Its black)
2946 079 2 GROMMET, Crankcase Vent (These are the two grommets)
You could also buy new tubing, mine wasn’t cracked so I didn’t.
4854 119 1 TUBE, Crankcase Vent To Air Cleaner (front tube)
4854 265 1 TUBE, Crankcase Vent To Intake Manifold (rear tube)
Grand total of $ 22.37 at the stealership.
(It has been debated about 1000 times if you can get these parts elsewhere. The answer is you can. Most people have trouble finding them because they think they are PCV valves. They aren’t. Go to a good parts store and you will find the elbow and grommets. I recommend the dealership because they are more likely to have them in stock. Oh, and NO you do not need to buy a whole new valve cover with pre installed parts, if someone at your dealership tells you this, run away and never go back.)
Here are the goods: (1 front and 1 rear elbow, 2 grommets, and I recommend a 30 of an adult beverage)
Note the differences in the elbows:
Minimum Tools you should/will/could need:
Flat head screwdrivers
large pliers, channel locks
So here is the process: (finally, I know I babble)
1. Get the tubing off. It pulls right off. Get it out of the way and move it aside, check it for damage and make sure it is cleaned out.
2. Don’t mess around trying to pull out the elbow by clamping pliers around the neck of the elbow. It will break, you will be mad, and then you’ll be pulling your valve cover.
3. Carefully pry one or two sides or the elbow up from the wide base with a flat head screwdriver . What I mean is stick the flat head screwdriver between the grommet and the flanged base of the elbow and pry up with firm but not ridiculous pressure. If it comes out great, if not move on. (Two can make it easier in the end, but it is sometimes possible with one)
4. If you didn’t get it out with step three, 4+5 will get it out. Holding a gap underneath the elbow with the screwdriver(s), insert your standard pliers or BFP’s (yes there are BFP’s much like BFH’s) underneath the elbow in a vertical arrangement and clamp on to the flange base (pliers upside down - see pic below) Get the pliers as much grip on the base as possible so it doesn’t break. (I recommend cutting the outer edge of the grommet off so the pliers can get in the gap easier.)
5. Now its time to push down on the pliers handle and let the head of the pliers act as a hinge. The leverage of one or two pairs of pilers will pop that thing right out.
Its out sweet! (The other damage is from my early attempts at removal, not the above technique)
6. Grommets- I contemplated cutting it out, but then discovered the trick. Take your pliers and grab the edge of the grommet and pull it straight up. Yes just yank it out.
7. Rear elbow: Clearance is tight but just do the same as the front. I used smaller pliers.
8. Install: If you lube up the grommets elbows with a drop of oil, they go in much easier. Some people suggest putting in the grommet and elbow together, others say separately. For me, it was much easier to put the grommet in first, then the elbow.
You’ll probably notice that my back (gray) elbow has a longer neck than the original. I don’t know why, maybe an update or something. Its seems to work without issue, escept that there is slightly more tension in the tubing from the gray elbow to the intake manifold. It tends to pull the elbow to the side just a bit. This is reason for the blue rtv between the grommet and the elbow. I did it on the front to because there was about 1/32” of vertical slop between the pieces, now its nicely sealed. (And Yes I should have used black rtv
Also I cable tied my old hoses at the connections so they never come loose. Hose clamps would probably be a better choice.
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