OIL LEAK/lift kit/clearance issue
Hi All fellow CJers, I want to share with you a OIL LEAK/lift kit/clearance issue that I think I resolve and was wondering if any of you had experience the same situation. I own an 84 CJ “Josephine or Joe” that I acquired in October of last year. She was stored in the California High Desert for 6 to 8 years and has the body rust to prove it. I bought it from a ACTIVE DUTY military guy ready to leave on another deployment in the Middle East.
When I Bought her she didn’t run but it was obvious that someone was attempting to get her going due to the various new parts that were under her hood. I changed all the Fluids, Hoses, belts, filters, plugs, Plug Wires, Battery and tires. We had life in the old girl but she really woke up after a BBD Rebuild.
The surprising thing was NO OIL LEAKS, not a drop. As a typical Jeep owner a live by the philosophy to address restoration using these factors, (1) road worthiness, is she safe, will she get me and my kids HOME? (2) Is she capable, does she have the equipment to do the job? (3) And finally is she cool, fully accessorized?
Number three is a given, of course she’s cool, she’s a CJ.
Now I’m done with the BS and on to my Oil Leak Issue. A month ago I installed a 4in lift by Rough Country. I also installed a Shackle Reversal Kit. The kits went on without many hiccups. As soon as I was done I noticed a strange squeak. Not a typical suspension noise but more of a rubbing squeak when the suspension moved. I also noticed a Spot of oil on my drive way. The volume of oil varied and seemed to be greater if I drove more. I assumed (1) Valve Cover Gasket (still stock plastic cover) and or (2) RMS. inspected the engine compartment and found that the clearance between the valve cover and the fire wall was about a 1/4 of an inch and that the bolt that holds the interior heater ducting was barley contacting the Valve cover, hence the weird and occasional squeak.
It was obvious that I had a clearance problem. The lift kit has a “TRANS Drop” that is included however the kit actually drops the TRANS Skid Shield and since the TRANS is mounted to the Skid Shield it pulls the TRANS down. By pulling the TRANS down the angle of the drive train changes, tilting the motor back, reducing the clearance between the back of the Valve Cover and the Fire Wall. Simple fix, I made spacers out of urethane bushings and used them between the TRANS Mount and the TRANS Shield returning the drive train back to its original position. “Problem Solved”.
I then noticed more oil and even more when I drove. I thought it was either a Valve Cover Gasket, Hole in the Valve Cover or a Rear Mail Seal (caused by the unusual angle and stress of the Drive Train). I removed the original Valve Cover and discovered a 9mm size hole where the fire wall bolt had pierced it. I ground down fire wall bolt and replaced the Valve Cover with a new Aluminum one. I think the RMS is ok. I haven’t noticed any new spots but I have a new one along with an oil pal gasket on the shelf in a holding pattern just in case.
The moral of the story is, if you plan on lifting your CJ be cautious of your clearance.