Basics of jeep ownership... - Page 2 -

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post #16 of 30 Old 11-01-2013, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
Running On Empty...
1973 CJ5 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 11,180

A basic 'Life Time Warranty' set of tools a blessing... But all warranties are NOT created equal!
Sears will replace any of the 'Craftsman' tools on the spot, where if you buy 'Stanley' tools in a set, they want the entire set back to exchange...
If you lost one, you are SCREWED. (Ask me how I found that out...)

If you do very much work at all, You should have...

Basic set of high quality screwdrivers, (Craftsman or better).
A basic selection of pliers, and I prefer Channel-Lock over Craftsman, but Craftsman will do in most cases (Notice I said "Most Cases')...

When you buy sockets, There is a screaming good deal on basic socket sets from Stanley, but like I said, they want the entire set back if you need a warranty replacement.
I use a LOT of Craftsman sockets since you can buy ONE socket that 'Went Elvis' on you.

While you are buying sockets, Keep an eye out for an IMPACT SOCKET SET, Six Point sockets, 1/2" drive.
When you have to hammer on, jump up and down on a breaker bar, or add to the handle on a breaker bar to get something loose, the standard sockets won't live though that and you will spend all your time running for replacements.
You can jump up and down on an impact socket without it splitting out, so they are VERY handy.

I usually use 'Deep Well, 6 Point' sockets everywhere they will fit. I rarely drag out a short side or 12 Point socket unless the deep well just won't fit...
The reason is, deep well sockets are easier to hang onto, and the don't get lost as easy. More socket, easier to spot in the rocks, mud, grass, ect.

6 Point sockets will grip bolts/nuts that are rusted or a little undersized better than 12 point sockets will. Less rounded off fasteners that way...

Most of the time, Craftsman is just fine for what you are doing, but every once in a while you will need top quality...
For instance, those 'Wobble Extensions' for odd angles.
The cheaper ones break off pretty easy, while I've never broken a 'Snap-On' brand wobble extension... And trust me, I've pounded the crap out of them!

When you are doing electrical work, or small work, break out the 1/4" drive set.
The smaller handle/screw driver handle will keep you from doing stupid things like twisting off bolts/screws. Everytime I see a guy using a 3/8" drive or 1/2" drive on oil pan bolts or carb parts I cringe since I already know where it's going to wind up...

I've been doing this for 40 years, I've heard all the sales pitches, arguments, ect. but you don't need a $400 set of basic wrenches for a 'Hobby' CJ.
I prefer the THICKER handles on Craftsman over something like 'Snap-On' since they don't bite into my fingers as much when I'm using a reasonable size tool and having to 'Grunt' a little on it.
My Snap-On wrenches rarely come out of the box, where Craftsman get used daily.
(and I don't have to chase 'Sears' down for warranty, like I do the Snap-On man!)

A 3/8" bolt, usually with 9/16" head, only takes about 35 Ft.Lbs. MAXIMUM to keep in place! You DO NOT need an impact wrench or 1/2" drive breaker bar for 35 Ft.Lbs.!!!

Crushing gaskets, uneven & over torquing is a GREAT way to ruin brake rotors, warp wheels, ruin bearings and have general failures!
SO... If you don't know if you are 'Over Torquing', then get a torque wrench!
They aren't terribly expensive, and they are VERY HANDY until you get the feel for 'Proper' torquing...
Sears "Craftsman" or better, and make sure you get a case for that torque wrench! Also, remember to ALWAYS take the torque load off the wrench (Return adjuster to ZERO) when not in use.

If you intend to do electrical work, and most of you will...
THEN GET YOURSELF A BULB TYPE TEST LIGHT. LED is fine for 'Go/NoGo' testing, but a bulb type will give you a MUCH better indication of things you are working on.
Remember, most of the circuits on a Jeep will depend on ELECTRICAL LOADING, and an LED light won't give you that.

An inexpensive MULTI-METER will do great things once you learn how to use it... Absolutely indispensable if you are going to do more than just crimp on a terminal here or there...

There is nothing more important than a good set of wire cutters (NOT SIDE DIKES OR SIDE CUTTERS!),
A good crimping tool is a joy forever, but a poor one will drive you crazy!

The 'All In One' electrical tools that have cutters, strippers, crimpers don't do any of that effectively well, and are all poorly designed. I've never seen a one that cuts cleanly, strips cleanly, crimps well, and usually don't do any of the three particularly well. They are a pain in the butt and a waste of time and money...

There is no substitute for a well soldered connection!
You aren't soldering plumbing, so forget the acid based plumbing solders/soldering preparation compounds! Acids and salts are a sure way to have your wiring connections fail!

A good electrical solder will be much thinner than plumbing solder, melt at lower temperature, flow more evenly, and should have silver in the mix. NO ACID CORE!

DO NOT use 'RTV' or 'Gasket Maker' to seal up electrical connections! These all contain ACIDS that attack your wiring!
There are plenty of products out there to seal out environmental contamination made specifically for wiring, USE THEM!

Once you learn to NOT overheat your soldered connections, you will have sturdy ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS that will last much longer....
Remember, 'Crimp Terminals' are just that, a MECHANICAL CONNECTION, to make a proper ELECTRICAL CONNECTION, they only way is with electrical solder.


If you tackle ignition timing or ignition work, there are things you MUST HAVE to do the job correctly...
No matter what you have heard, there is no way to set ignition timing 'By Ear', you need a quality timing light.

You don't need the ones with the dial in timing, your engine has a timing scale on it, and those lights often fail at the adjuster for advance. A 'Straight Up' timing light will last much longer and save you money.
Same with the 'Wire Less' timing lights. They take batteries, which are always dead, and no more often than you will be using your light, 'Wire Less' or 'Self Powered' isn't necessary. Besides, you don't know how many of those batteries I've seen ruin the lights between uses by leaking into everything...

If you decide to 'Map' your ignition advance, you will need a few other things,
Good timing light, Vacuum gauge, Vacuum pump (hand type), an accurate tach you can see under the hood and a timing tape for the balancer.
You simply can't 'Map' the timing advance without knowing EXACTLY what the distributor is doing under all RPM ranges and vacuum loads, so Tach and Vacuum pump/gauge is mandatory.
You can't tell what the advance is without an ACCURATE timing light...
So you need all the above...

Another note, just for the breaker points guys...
You CAN NOT correctly set breaker points without a 'DWELL METER'.
Dwell angle, not breaker point gap, is how breaker points are tuned. If you follow factory recommendations, the gap setting will get the engine running, but you MUST have a Dwell Meter to set Dwell angle for correct operation.

On a side note, you can use a Dwell meter on electronic ignitions to see if the module is failing. When modules are failing, but haven't quit completely, you can use a dwell meter to see if the higher functions of the module are working or not. If dwell drifts around aimlessly, then the module is failing... Just a tip from a guy that has done this WAY TOO LONG...


If you are going to work on Jeeps for very long, you will need a few specialty items, like a flange puller for 2 piece axles...
You will need a slide hammer (doesn't have to be expensive, and is REAL HANDY),
You will need a spindle nut socket for front spindles.

Line Wrenches, a QUALITY SET, (Craftsman or better) is a REQUIREMENT for brake and fuel line fittings.
If you intend to work on brake lines, then a DOUBLE FLARING TOOL is a requirement.
Cheap flaring tools will drive you crazy! If it says, 'Made In China' PASS, actually RUN to find a better one!

Tubing benders (Plural) are a requirement since 'ONE' is never enough and sooner or later you are going to run into a bend you can't make with the one you have...

If you work with brake lines for more than an hour, you will quickly find there is a HUGE difference in the line itself!
The 'Made In China' crap lines most discount parts places sell doesn't fit the flaring or bending tools. for some reason, they can't understand 'Standard Sizing', and the china stuff kinks/splits like crazy...
If you have to order USA made line, then do so. It's worth the time & slightly increased cost to save you hours of aggravation when you do your lines up.
After trying to make a double flair that DIDN'T SPLIT for about 4 hours, I finally threw the 'China' crap away, got USA made line and had ZERO issues with it... I've never looked back since, I don't care how cheap they sell it!

If you do Carb work or tuning, you MUST have a vacuum gauge. Carb tuners live and die by the vacuum gauge...
You will also need some line wrenches in most cases, and you will need things like gauge scales and gauges.
It's not a lot of expense, but to do things correctly, you MUST have this stuff.


The old joke about 'Jeep Took Kits'...
A Jeep tool kit, A broken 1/2" drive socket and 13 hammers!

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post #17 of 30 Old 11-01-2013, 02:32 PM
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Pickle forks and seal pullers.....even a cheap protractor or smart phone app for doing drivelines or ball joints....

1982 CJ-7 2003 4.3 chevy vortec, 4L60E, Clocked Dana 300 35 x 12.5 x 15 KM2 on Cragar 399's. Vanco Brake Booster. Power steering conversion. Warn front and rear bumpers with swing away. Moser 1 piece rears. Rear OX.

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Originally Posted by twoleos617 View Post
To reiterate for the 1,067th time, when towing...
remove rear axle, xfer in N, trans in 5th, remove neg batt cable, key to Run and go??
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post #18 of 30 Old 11-01-2013, 02:32 PM
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Gloves (work and nitrile). I used to never wear them. Now, I can't seem to get along without a pair.

Hands to dirty to turn the page in the repair manual? Just take the gloves off.

Need to pick your nose, but whant to get more out than you put in? Just take the gloves off.

Wife brought you a sandwich, but you don't like 30 weight salad dressing? Take the gloves off.

If you're moving transmissions, axles, anything that weighs more than 40-50 lbs, you need some of those cheap Harbor Freight moving dollies. Save your back, it's the only one you'll ever have.

If you're over 5' tall, you have to bend over a lot to do typical maintenance type stuff. Get one of those little stools on wheels.

And, sometimes I wear an apron.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard, grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
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post #19 of 30 Old 11-01-2013, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Grumpy_one View Post
And on the subject of doing drum brakes, something I learned in my youth, do one side at a time. Don't dissemble both at once, leave one in tact for blueprint purposes.

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post #20 of 30 Old 11-01-2013, 03:43 PM
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1986 CJ7 
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Line wrenches are also called flare nut wrenches, and yes, they are needed. The first time you round off the nut on the end of a brake line you will agree
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post #21 of 30 Old 11-01-2013, 04:25 PM
Jon In Tucson
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Location: Tucson
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Great Stuff all!
Subscribed. God bless.
Jon In Tucson

Jeremiah 17:7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence in Him."

"The secret to a Jeep, especially a CJ, is you can't
panic." - Mike

"I may not be a smart man, Jenny, but I do know grounds."
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post #22 of 30 Old 11-01-2013, 08:40 PM
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1983 CJ7 
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I found this all out the hard way when I was 15 as a new willys owner and an 80 something year old man that guided me along step by step. He even showed me how to rebuild a water pump and starter drive system (yeah those parts we swap out were once salvaged) He passed last year at 92 he just never woke up and had no signs. If I only would have found these forums 10 years ago but being raised by an old man was awesome.
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post #23 of 30 Old 11-01-2013, 10:33 PM
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Kinda going off what seabass said, try to find other CJ owners in your area. You can gain great knowledge from these guys. Also it makes a great source for buying/trading parts. I've had a CJ5 for only about three years now and I never thought there would be so much to learn or repair on such a simple vehicle! great advice JeepHammer!
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post #24 of 30 Old 11-01-2013, 11:05 PM
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A wrench session is a great thing to get fellow Jeepers in the area together.

They say money can't buy happiness but it can buy Jeep parts...and Jeep parts make me really Happy.
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post #25 of 30 Old 11-02-2013, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
Running On Empty...
1973 CJ5 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 11,180
If you own a 27+ year old vehicle, and you don't carry some basic 'Tools', you are an idiot. I don't know how else to put it...

JUMPER CABLES, Not those 'Wally-World' 12 Ga. wire with 3/4" of insulation on small conductors with lousy clamps, But some good, heavy 4 or 6 Ga. conductors, like welding cable and some good clamps to get some contact for electrical current to get through.
Also, long enough to EASILY reach from your battery, behind the Jeep to a 'Donor' vehicle willing to give you a jump when you are parked 'Nose In' somewhere...

Those Jumper Calbes make battery cables in a pinch. I dragged a starter cable out on an old fence post once, used jumper cable to make a new one so I didn't have to 'Push Start' the Jeep, And you know if a battery cable gives up, it's going to be 5 miles from anywhere and too short to splice...

A tow cable, strap, chain... Something to get from your vehicle to the 'Good Samaritan' that is willing to give you a pull, Something solid enough to get you out of a real 'Stuck' situation...

Admittedly, My Tow Straps are usually tucked away someplace that takes digging around, and I carry straps and cables...
Cables are GREAT, but can be a pain in the butt!

One way to keep cables handy and straight,
Put a clevis 'Eye' on both ends of your 'Pull Cable', lay out your jumper cables, lay the tow cable next to them, tape the two together.
This keeps your jumpers from tangling up, they will coil up nicely with the tow cable.
For small pulls, you don't even have to cut the tape, just keep the jumper clamps from dragging the ground.

When you make up your 'Air Hose' (providing you have some sort of air supply) make it out of 'RUBBER' FUEL LINE and add your own air chuck ends.
By being fuel rated, you have a ready supply of hose for axle vent lines, fuel lines, siphon hoses, ect., and you have extra fuel line size clamps, because we all know when you do 'Field Repairs', small parts IMMEDIATELY go into hiding...

I see guys carrying extra 'U' joints (Usually because someone told them to), But no extra straps or clamps for the yoke, no snap ring pliers, ect. Always fun to try and replace a U Joint that took the bolts/clamps/straps with it when it went...

When you replace/service your U Joints, use a dremel tool or hack saw to put a screwdriver slot in the small end of the bolt.
Once that bolt breaks, there aren't many options for getting it out, the slot lets you use a small screwdriver and back that bolt out on open ended yoke holes.
You will have to bend a small 'Pocket' screwdriver to fit, but they are free advertisement drivers, so no cost and no loss. The broken end of the bolt usually backs right out once the head is gone.

I keep a magnetic parts tray under the hood, stuck to a fender. I can't tell you how many times that thing has come in handy to keep a grip on small parts while working! Cheap too!
Magnets on bottom are great for finding small parts that escape into rocks, dirt or grass...
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post #26 of 30 Old 11-02-2013, 12:41 PM
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1986 CJ7 
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I would include a test light for tracking down critical electrical problems. For example it's no fun using the parking lights and trying to get home with the feeble light they put out. One tip if you do, see if you can remove the colored lense to get a brighter light, been there and done that on other vehicles.
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post #27 of 30 Old 11-02-2013, 01:21 PM
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1983 CJ7 
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Welcome back!!!! We missed you.

Measure with a Micrometer
Cutter with an ax
Beat it to fit
Paint it to match

My NP435 install
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post #28 of 30 Old 11-02-2013, 01:56 PM
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1984 CJ7 
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I keep 2 8" pipe wrench. They work great on the stripped nuts and bolts. They work excellent on stripped brake fittings.
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post #29 of 30 Old 11-04-2013, 12:31 AM
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Sometimes even the flare wrenches will not loosen a fitting. If you are going to replace the line anyway, break the line at the fitting, then use on of the above mentioned 6 point sockets with a ratchet to loosen the fitting.
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post #30 of 30 Old 11-04-2013, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by JeepHammer View Post
If you own a 27+ year old vehicle, and you don't carry some a AAA card and a cell phone, you are an idiot. I don't know how else to put it...

I fixed it for you.

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