Building a better Jeep WK - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 26 Old 03-20-2017, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
Dre
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Building a better Jeep WK

and so the story goes:

It's not my first Jeep but definitely first Grand Cherokee - I've owned a few XJ's and am currently working on restoring a pretty cool CJ3A and besides, I've built a few "other" trucks before but... this is new to me. And just because it's a Jeep I decided that it's not gonna remain boring for long.
Got the truck at the insurance auction - pictures looked promising (looked slightly lifted to me), description too (run & drive but missing front bumper and catalytic converters) and so I decided to dive in and placed my bid. Got it! First step had been made. And then came the reality check; She began surprising me as soon as we tried to unload her off the flatbed when she was delivered - on the positive side, after taking a closer look I have discovered that cats are in - good! and then I climbed the rig and turned the key in the ignition - she started - ran smooth - another good point! but then I got a little kick to my groin - broken lower control arm - driver side - no good! and so we started rolling her off the tow truck - front wheel with a broken control arm wasn't gonna cooperate and kept on binding onto something - not sure what it was we unloaded her and decided to replace that broken front wheel with a spare. Another kick came when I tried to open rear hatch to get the spare out, to no avail - glass opens, hatch not willing to work with me. OK... no time to look into this now, I climbed inside, got the emergency tool kit out (surprised it was still there) and lowered the spare from inside... and then out of nowhere came another kick - spare does not fit the hub!!! Darn it! What gives? bolt pattern looks the same but the wheel is not going to fit over the hub (rubbing big times on brake caliper). Once again, no time to play with this, we'll sort it out later. Since the entire front left suspension set-up was already slotted for replacement I decided to get the wheel on just enough so I can start a few wheel studs so we can roll her into the garage... "hanging by a thread" she rolled, limping into her new spot.

More later, enjoy the photos.

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post #2 of 26 Old 03-20-2017, 12:04 PM
Mp5ben
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Wow those LCA's are solid cast iron. Mustve taken a huge odd impact to break that but leave the rest relatively okay

05 WK Limited, HEMI 5.7, QD II, OME HD, 255/75/17 Mud terrains
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post #3 of 26 Old 03-20-2017, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
Dre
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Originally Posted by Mp5ben View Post
Wow those LCA's are solid cast iron. Mustve taken a huge odd impact to break that but leave the rest relatively okay
and that is really interesting as it looks like the tire took a direct hit. Bumper cover is gone but bumper reinforcement is bent, that's it. Slight damage to washer bottle

more to come later as I'm discovering more while working on it...

06 WK
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50 CJ-3A - project
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post #4 of 26 Old 03-20-2017, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
Dre
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And so the saga continues. I was considering doing the upgrades while fixing the truck but that will have to wait as I need to get it inspected in order to drive it so the fix is my main priority right now - no time to fiddle with it - have enough problems as it is. Did manage to pick-up an entire left suspension set-up from a local junk yard including a CV axle shaft. Should be fairly easy to replace considering taking the whole thing apart first. At the same time I am looking into fixing other items (stuck rear hatch) and replacing front bumper cover. I got an aftermarket bumper cover for cheap but it will have to be repainted unless I can get away with red front bumper? no, probably not! After trying the cover on I already see a problem - it does not fit really well especially under the headlights - I will have to think of a fix to the problem otherwise it will look a little silly with those gaps. In the meantime, before test fitting the cover I was able to hammer the front reinforcement back into shape, somewhat and get the old washer bottle out of the way. I have noticed that washer pump and low coolant sensor on the bottle I picked-up from the yard have different electrical plugs than the ones on the truck so I might have to do some splicing of the wires. Touching on that electrical note, I was able to loosen back cover on the rear hatch enough to get my hands in to see if I can unlock it. Unfortunately the unlock lever on the latch itself wouldn't budge so I removed top power lock mechanism off the latch and voila! was able to move the latch and open the hatch! After closer inspection I found out that plastic gear wheel inside that mechanism lost a few teeth - well, design is not really great using plastic gear wheels but oh well. It can be fixed. Now, funny as those things work I couldn't find a replacement for just the power lock mechanism so ended up buying an entire used hatch lock. Other than that I am eager to start tearing apart the front end - time is really of the essence here - tomorrow's the day. Stay tuned!
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post #5 of 26 Old 03-21-2017, 02:05 AM
azzkicker
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Cool project. I hope the unibody isn't twisted or something. Are you going to wheel it, or mall crawl, or some middle ground?

I though I read something about control arms being at risk of breaking with a cheap lift, due to a strange angle. It might be a different part. I only recall the concern being mentioned.

07 WK 5.7 QD2, 4" lift, 33X10" tires, M8000s
ARB twin air,Dual AGM group 49, sliders and skids
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post #6 of 26 Old 03-21-2017, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
Dre
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well, with the unibody, everything looks good for now. Looks like the left side, lower suspension took the entire hit. Once I put it all together I'll go for alignment - will see if we have to pull or not. Wouldn't want it to drive "sideways". As far as the control arms go, the upper ones are at risk since work angles get a bit crazy.

It's gonna be my daily driver but will have to tackle trips into the wild as well - not talking about wheeling so much but that is not out of the question.

thanks,

06 WK
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post #7 of 26 Old 03-21-2017, 11:42 AM
sgossler
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Garage
The same thing happened to me with the rear hatch latch stripping some teeth. The maintenance guy at my printing shop, managed to use the teeth on the other side of the gear. He had to work with a dremel to modify the plastic gear, but has been working ever since, and cost me nothing!

Your project is coming out great.. Do keep us posted!

2005 Jeep GC Limited 4.7 QTII
2.3" RRO lift Bilstein Struts/Shocks 255/70R17 Cooper AT3
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post #8 of 26 Old 03-22-2017, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
Dre
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Stripping almost done. Was able to tackle removal of most of the left side front suspension less axle shaft (whatever is left of it. For the love of God! I can't pop this darn thing! It just won't budge - think it's gonna be easier to remove and replace the entire differential carrier (it was cheaper to buy used diff that just the diff cover - really, yes, really!). Everything seems in order here - I'm saving spindle and hub combo just in case although I did manage to brake speed sensor inside the hub. Still waiting for parts that I ordered on-line so today was a day off from the truck - I did manage to throw floor mats in I got from a junk yard - actually WeatherTech liners in grey in pretty good shape for quarter of a regular price - boy they strip these cars when they give them away (no owner manual, no floor liners, no rear cargo cover and even missing key to unlock tow hitch from the bar). Oh well, ebay to the rescue. Hope all my parts show up tomorrow so I can wrap it all up by the weekend just so we pass inspection. And yes! lift is in - 2" - regular upper control arms so looks like new control arms are in order - considering Rocky Road arms and so if you have anything else I should be looking at let me know.

Here ya go!
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post #9 of 26 Old 03-22-2017, 11:57 PM
underscore
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Looks like that control arm served its purpose well if it failed and saved the unibody from damage in the process!

2007 WK CRD QDII OME MD OMG WTF BBQ
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post #10 of 26 Old 03-23-2017, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
Dre
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Looks like that control arm served its purpose well if it failed and saved the unibody from damage in the process!
Compared to earlier Grands and Cherokees this on's got a pretty sturdy subframe up front and back. Plenty of "beef" to deal with abuse. One thing I was always afraid of with my earlier projects was a possibility of ripping half the cars subframe while winching myself out of a mud hole. With this one it might not be as problematic although winch plate is still in no way connected to the factual sub. Oh well, it still is a lot stronger than it used to be, beefier, it is in fact "Trail Ready".

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98 XJ - former
89 XJ - former
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post #11 of 26 Old 03-23-2017, 09:34 AM
nathanjaybar
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Originally Posted by Dre View Post
Stripping almost done. Was able to tackle removal of most of the left side front suspension less axle shaft (whatever is left of it. For the love of God! I can't pop this darn thing! It just won't budge - think it's gonna be easier to remove and replace the entire differential carrier (it was cheaper to buy used diff that just the diff cover - really, yes, really!).
I just went through this recently, what a pain. I struggled for hours trying to remove the driver side CV axle with the whole assembly still in the Jeep. I ended up dismantling the CV (like you did) to finally get it out of the Jeep. With over 100K miles I was considering replacing them any way, this was just what sealed the deal for me. I have the axle assembly out, and just need to figure out how to remove the driver side component before I can install the new axles. I know you said you were going to get a whole new carrier, but if you figure it out I'd love to know. I'm going to tackle this in the next couple of weeks hopefully.

Good luck with the build! I'm working on one too, I'll be following your progress!

'06 WK 4.7L V8 4WD | Recently purchased '05 WK 4.7L V8 4WD
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post #12 of 26 Old 03-23-2017, 12:54 PM
JackB1
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I was walking the dog today and remembered your confusion over the spare tire when I noticed a Jeep Patriot. The wheel looked like yours. Well at least it came from a Jeep. By the way I admire your ability to put that vehicle back together. I would have been so frustrated with all that has to be done I think I would have taken a sledge hammer to it.
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post #13 of 26 Old 03-23-2017, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
Dre
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I was walking the dog today and remembered your confusion over the spare tire when I noticed a Jeep Patriot. The wheel looked like yours. Well at least it came from a Jeep. By the way I admire your ability to put that vehicle back together. I would have been so frustrated with all that has to be done I think I would have taken a sledge hammer to it.
I did... literaly I did use a sladgehammer to loosed that darn axle shaft (or what's left of it) but this thing would not mive - I did get a bigger crowbar today - will take another swing at it before I replace the whole thing. Replacement front carrier arrived today - a little wet (not sure if they drained oil before shipment) but that's not a problem. Did manage to replace rear hatch actuator and it all works now - slowly getting there. Differential is the main thing holding me back right now, and time (well, lack of it it).
as far as the wheel - it does not have any markings on it except for 05565U
doesn't give me much to play with - all I know is that bolt pattern is 5X5" and the tire mounted on it right now is Good Year 225/75 16
anyway...
here...
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post #14 of 26 Old 03-24-2017, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Front diff replaced - glad my son had a day off today so he could help me lower the old one down and get the new one in - it's definitely not a one man job. New seal installed - everything is ready for reassembly of the front suspension tomorrow.

06 WK
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98 XJ - former
89 XJ - former
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post #15 of 26 Old 03-24-2017, 09:58 PM
Mp5ben
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I'm replacing my LCA's tomorrow. What tool did you use to press out the lower ball joint?

05 WK Limited, HEMI 5.7, QD II, OME HD, 255/75/17 Mud terrains
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