Well I'm on my way home to Arizona for a couple of weeks. The temps are in the low teens. The heater in the jeep leaves a lot to be desired, I have to keep breathing under control or the windshield ices over on the inside! Been reading about using an old Chevy blazer blower as a replacement. My engine temps are good it's just low air movement from the stock blower. So I guess that's a springtime chore. On my drive from Homer to Anchorage I spotted an old Ford F250 stuck in the snow on a power line strip. I put the jeep in 4 wheel drive and made my way to the stuck truck. The truck was loaded with firewood and he had gotten into the soft stuff and was turned 90 degrees to the direction he needed to go. I backed the jeep up, hooked a tow strap put the sm465 in granny low and the xfer case in 4L, after a few tries he was out. The motor and tranny combination can't be beat. That was a good feeling for sure.
I left my jeep in the capable hands of Younds Driveline in Anchorage at first to check out some backlash in the front differential. Because of placement of the drivetrain, the rear driveshaft is a tad too long, and the front one way too short. I couldn't move the engine forward as the front axle bump stop is welded to the frame prohibiting the engine mount from moving forward. I could've used a cutter and removed the the bump stop but decided against it. So Youngs shortened the rear shaft, and made a new front driveshaft and replace ujoints, pinion yokes, and seals. A great price too, so when I get back to Anchorage my jeep will be waiting on me. Next up is new front seats, and heater blower motor upgrade.
I flew from Phoenix to Anchorage this past Thursday. My jeep was all ready with a rear driveshaft shortened, and front driveshaft lengthened. New pinion yokes, ujoints, and seals. Jon at Youngs Driveline wanted to rebuild my xfer case at 1800 bucks but I couldn't justify that, he also pointed out a few of the shortcomings of the SM465, as in pops out of 3rd gear, and not exactly the smoothest shifting transmission. I just can't justify spending the cash right now. I am considering buying a backup xfer case and sm465 as they are cheap and plentiful. I have long winters now and could possibly rebuild the spares on my dining room table. On my drive down from Anchorage the roads were wet and the temps warm (40's). I was north of Soldotna on a long flat 4 lane stretch of highway when the most terrifying turn of events happened, slowly the jeep started turning counter clockwise and into the oncoming traffic lane, lucky no oncoming cars, after doing 2 complete 360's, the jeep turned clockwise and spun another 360 and landed safely in the emergency lane facing the direction I was originally headed. The spins seemed to take for forever, I yelled at my girlfriend to get ready for a collision, then told her to tighten her seatbelt, in the meantime I was going over my insurance coverage in my head, wondered where I would get a rental car, etc ,etc,. My gawd that thing switches ends quick!!! To hell with driving on ice. So for the next 80 miles I drove in four wheel drive mostly on the shoulder until the temps went up a little, then back on the road at a solid 55. Ice sucks for sure. The jeep is back in storage now, next on order is HID lighting, new seats, heater blower motor upgrade, and if possible a safari roof rack. I only have til the middle of May before I head out to explore Alaska and eventually to the arctic circle, even toying with the idea of driving down to California for a couple of weeks. Woohooooo!!!!!
Glad to hear you made it through your scary ride on the ice. I had a Jeep on icy roads one time. I didn't do any 360's but was spooked enough I don't want to do it again. I enjoy reading about your adventures and look forward to hear about your upcoming trip. I have a Cj5 that I'd like to put a 5.3 but the wiring spooks me.
CjHouch, first I want to thank you for your comment the jeep adventure is great! Your wiring concern should be mute, the wiring may be a turnoff to some as it was to me at first. As I did the wiring I realized that there was actually no "wiring" to do. The harness that comes stock with a 5.3 doesn't really need that much trimming you can easily do it in a weekend, I have a ton of pics on wiring and Brendan at LT1 is very helpful. You really don't have to remove any sensor wires unless you want to just tidy stuff up. All of the programming takes place in the ECM so the sensor wires are a mute point, for example I removed the wiring that went to the automatic transmission since I went with a manual transmission. However I could have just as easily left them and zip tied them off somewhere as the auto tranny was programmed off in the ECM. For me the really only place I second guessed myself was with the clutch installing the Novak xfer to transmission adapter. I'm not really a mechanic by any stretch but this wasn't all that hard. You won't regret doing it. About the only advice I ignored was staying with my 4.10 axles, everybody kept telling me that I would bog the engine down going to a taller axle but I found it hard to believe that an engine that made over 300 hp and in the neighborhood of 300 lb/ft of torque could be bogged down. I found a jeeper not too far away who traded axles with me, now I have 2.76 axles. At 1600 rpm on 31" tires I'm sitting at roughly 55 mph, 2100 puts me at 65 mph. There is so much power you can almost pull away from a stop in 4th gear, I probably could except I don't want to drag the clutch. If I had to do it over again, I would have ordered a Novak built SM465 or had mine rebuilt and I would have had my Dana 300 rebuilt, however I was running out of money and time. Knowing that Novak has the SM465 I will most likely order one next year to keep as a spare. If you do it let me know I'll help with anything I can.
Ordered new front seats for the jeep this past weekend. I ordered Rugged Ridge high back seats, 13402.01. I ordered them off Amazon, around 180 bucks with free shipping to Ak. I'll post pics of the install and before and after pics. I wanted to order the Corbeau baja seats but I didn't get a response from Crobeau concerning fitment with a 11" wide center console so that didn't happen. But the Rugged Ridge seats have a 5 year warranty so I should come out ok. If anybody has experience with these seats I'd like to hear about it.
Started collecting more parts to get my Jeep ready for Alaska and arctic circle exploration in May. This weekend I'm flying back to Homer to do a heater blower motor upgrade and replace the heater core. Also I bought some new high backed rugged ridge seats, and upgrading the healights to HID's. Also bought a dash pad off ebay that I want to install and ordered a Asus rtf700 Transformer Pad to use as a GPS navigation. I believe I can use it as a phone also. I'm waiting for it and the window suction mount to arrive. I will most likely have to install a more permanent and function 12v supply under the dash. In April I plan on installing a LED light bar, stereo with wakeboard speakers, new seatbelts, overflow bottle, and windshield washer pump/bottle. I would do it this weekend but the parts won't arrive til next week so it'll have to wait til April or early May as I don't fly out of the village that often. Two mechanical items I hope to address is the spongy brakes after doing my power brake upgrade, and to repair a small hole I drilled into the water jacket of driver side head. It was an accident when I tried extracting one of the exhaust bolts that broke off. So far it's not been a problem with overheating but every now and then I can smell the coolant. I check it religiously and it stays full and the temp hardly ever goes above 190. Maybe some JB weld will work who knows. Any tips or advice on this would be appreciated. It's the forward most exhaust bolt. I don't even know if you can block one of these up and cause a failure or not.
This weekend I replaced my old worn Jeep seats, with new Rugged Ridge high back seats with the adjustable back. They were a very tight fit and really tall! I would have went with the non adjustable ones but was afraid the position would be uncomfortable. the roll bar interferes with the adjustment wheel and one they had to be removed. the passenger seat cannot flip forward because the roll bar blocks the adjustment knob, the drivers seat cannot go completely forward because the roll bar blocks the rod,,, I'll post a pic of it later in a few days. Also did the heater blower motor upgrade, my gawd what a difference. I replaced the heater core and blower motor and now on low, the jeep was really warm in 16 degree alaska weather. Also installed HID headlights,,,more on that later too, the install wasn't a simple plug and play and I had the relays etc, but the light itself wouldn't fit in the headlight assembly without modification. pics are on the way.
I installed new Rugged Ridge high back seats part number 13402.01 into my cj5 this past weekend. I bought the seats off Amazon Prime for 188.00 per seat and with free shipping. The old seats I removed were so rotten that as I was removing the bolts that held the sliders to the seats, the actual metal frame of the seat broke off and required the use of a sawzall to cut the bolt off. The sliders are rust free and in good shape. On the drivers side I reinstalled the spacers between the seat and slider and also a set of spacers between the slider and floor. This was way too much. I removed the spacers all together, as mentioned before in other posts these seats sit high and my fat *** could barely squeeze in between the steering wheel and seat. It's going to take some time getting used to the side bolsters.
The biggest problem with the seats is there width. I ordered the adjustable seats because I didn't want to take a chance and get seats that were permanently in an uncomfortable position. My old seats were non adjusting but were comfortable so I may have been over analyzing a mute problem. However these seats have two adjusting wheels, one on each side of the seat. the outboard adjusting wheels will not fit inside the roll bar, I maintained the inboard ones near the center console but the rod from the outboard sides are now behind the roll bar and that will prevent the driver seat from adjusting forward more than an inch and the folding passenger seat will no longer fold forward. If there is a way other than a hacksaw to remove these rods I would remove them. I may end up hacksawing them off especially the passenger side as it's an easy way to load the back of the jeep. I've ridden in the seats a couple of hours and they were really comfortable and I am glad I bought them. I had considered Corbeau, Rugged Ridge, and a few others, some seats more geared toward racing. I was really leaning toward the Corbeau Baja seats but I didn't get any response back from Corbeau when i sent them an email concerning their seats and the width of the seats. Money was not a factor in my decision. The Rugged Ridge seats come with a 5 year warranty.
My jeep had a tilt column in it when I got it so I decided I wanted to keep the tilt column especially after installing new seats that sit a bit higher than my old seats and also I had a choice, lose weight or tilt wheel. I haven't lost a pound. So I scoured the country for a used tilt wheel. I found one out of a 1984 CJ in a junkyard 5,000 miles away in New Jersey on car-parts.com for 100 bucks. Shipping to Alaska doubled the cost. Uggghhhhh. Anyway, the column in my jeep squeaks and wobbles, and with a 10,000+ mile road trip coming up this summer I couldn't bear listening to it squeak and squeak, and squeak,,,,,. So a week later the column arrived and decided to swap the bearings since it wasn't in any better shape than my current one. I wanted to swap the very top little bearings but couldn't remove the races but since all the bearings were there I decided to simply use some white lithium grease and replace only the lower bearing which was a piece of cake.
Taking this steering column apart is like trying to figure out one of those chinese locking puzzles, the engineers who designed these things have one hell of a imagination.
Since I was going to replace the turn signal switch too I had to remove the wiring. The bracket is held on by 4 1/2 inch bolts.
This bracket only goes on one way, if you get it turned around during reassembly the holes don't quite line up.
Next this plastic wire loom guide just slides off.
There are three black phillips screws that hold the turn signal switch in place. Remove those screws and then remove the turn signal arm screw and slide out the arm. The turn signal arm screw has a different thread pitch than the the three screws holding the switch. Gently pull the turn signal wires up through the column, If I were absolutely positive that my replacement switch was perfect I would simply cut the wires and throw it away.
Once the turn signal switch is out of the way you'll have to remove the key lock which is simple, turn the switch to run take a thin screw driver and press on a thin black tab on the lock. If you have a new one you'll see the little tab you have press in and then wiggle the lock out, I didn't think to take a picture of that. After the lock is out you'll remove three star head bolts that were located under the turn signal switch. Once these are removed unscrew the hazard switch and slide the housing off the column.
To remove this stuff.
You have to remove the ignition switch. Removing the switch frees up the switch rod.
I also removed the tilt spring. There is a cap with a small square hole in the top. I pressed down firmly with a phillips screw driver and turned counter clockwise and the cap popped out.
The upper bearing kit I puchased came with a two new upper bearings, that I couldn't use since I couldn't get to them, and it also came with a new spring, bearing race and ignition key stuff. I intended on taking the column completely apart but gave up after it became apparent that I couldn't remove the tilt rods, there is one on each side, they have fine threads in them and if somebody has a puller with fine threads then they can probably get them out, since the housing is plastic I decided not to chance it. So I decided to "pack" the bearings with a good bit of lithium grease. With the housing off it was pretty easy to get access to the bottom bearings to lube. The strangest I found in this was during reassembly I could not figure out how the inner race and bearing spring preload piece went together.
These two pieces had me stumped. I knew the thinner one was the inside race for the bearing but the castle looking one was a stumper. Finally I figured it out. The castle looking one barely fits inside the inner race, however in this picture I clamped down a little too far, no fear it'll come out.
This is how it looked when I finally got it put together.
Reassembly wasn't that bad actually. I confident I could do again in a couple of hours. I didn't show any pics of replacing the lower bearing that is on the end of the column but it didn't take 15 mins to figure it out. I also didn't show how to remove the steering wheel either. After putting it all back together there is no play or wobble or noise. It's tight as a drum and turns smoothly. Maybe after I take out my old column I do a complete disassembly and rebuild of it with more pics. Well now that that took up my whole day it's time to eat supper.
This past week my new leaf springs and skyjacker shocks arrived. Also installed my new JVC head unit in the new center console. That combo will be installed next weekend. New Seatbelts arrived and I'm sure some other odds and ends. New speakers arrived, CB radio, antenna, antenna mount and wire, XM Satellite receiver that plugs into the head unit. I also bought a ASUS Transformer tablet with GPS. I downloaded all the North American maps and am going to use that for navigation this summer. I also found a bluetooth OBDII device that will transmit all of the engines information on the fly to my Android. I'll definitely give updates on how that thing works. Not only does it transmit the PCM's information but I can clear the MIL if it comes on and it can use the androids camera to record with the data overlaid over the video. Supposedly.
Good job on the column rebuild. My 5 didn't come with a tilt but I located one. Haven't installed it yet need to put new bearings in first. Now I can use yours as a guide. Your new electronics sound cool. The one that monitors your engine really sounds interesting.
hey CJ, the bluetooth thing that plugs into the obdii port costs between 10 and 20 bucks on amazon. If you do a google search on engine monitoring apps or something like that you'll find tons of apps for androids and iphones. I think I'm going with the TorquePro app, I think it's a free app for some functionality but maybe 2.99 for the fully functioning app. If it works it'll be nice surprise. I don't know how it will really benefit me except I'll just "know stuff" about the engine. I'm not a pcm programmer but I've considered asking Brendan at lt1 if he could program another pcm to work in "economy mode" if there is such a thing. The vortec though is getting good mileage around 20 to 24 mpg regardless if I'm towing a thousand pound trailer, on the open highway, or around town. I'm rarely ever about 2,000 rpm though 2100 rpm is about 65 mph with my tall gearing 1800 is about 55. I wish I could be more helpful with the column rebuild. i bought my bearing kit from thejeep.com part number 4147364 the cost was 30 bucks. When you finally get the upper housing off you'll find two pivot pins which are threaded to utilize some sort of puller I threaded a small machine screw into it and tried to use a clam hammer to pry it out but got worried I was gonna break the plastic housing. You can also do a search for Jazzman g.m. column rebuild he has a great professional looking write up on rebuilding these columns. Good luck on yours!!
Leaf springs, stereo/electronics, and other stuff installed
It's the middle of April and I have about one more month before I can start my trek around the great north! My plan is to leave Homer around the 24th of May make my way up to the Anchorage area and camp for a couple of days and do some gold panning. Never have panned for gold, but the box says I can "pan an ounce of gold a day." If that's true ya'll won't hear from my fat a$$ ever again! lol. Anyway, then it's off to Nancy Lake, north of Anchorage, then to Deadhorse Ak way above the arctic circle! Then it's back down to Whitehorse Yukon, and eventually to Yellowstone park. In July I should be back in Phoenix and maybe if time permits fit in a trip to the east coast to visit family before heading back to Alaska, I'm estimating about 12,000 mile plus trip this summer. This past weekend I finally got a good bit of work done on the Jeep. First and foremost was installing new leaf springs and shocks. I went with the Rugged Ridge 2.5" springs and Skyjacker Hydro 7000 shocks.
These are a couple of pics of my jeep before the leaf springs. You can see how flat they are, hardly, if any curve to them at all. The jeep rode like a wagon, pot holes and bumps were beginning to wear me down.
First thing I did was loosen the the lugnuts and remove the rear wheel. After jacking up the jeep and putting one side on a stand I pulled off the shocks.
I opted to work on one wheel at a time. Most people probably jack the rear up put jack stands on both sides and work on both at once. I didn't for two reasons, one was because the storage room I worked in didn't allow me to wiggle around both sides of the jeep, plus I hate crawling under stuff even on stands.
I never really worked on suspensions, other than replacing shocks but this is really not hard mentally, however it turned out to be an all day job. The first shackle bolt I tried to remove was blocked by my muffler and that took a half hour to figure out how to jack the muffler up enough to slide the bolt past. Secondly, the little 2 ton jack I had would barely reach the frame and so I had to put the jeep back together drive to a rental company and rent a 4 ton jack, a big "pro" model. Here is a helpful tip, make sure you have two jacks, and make sure one of them has the ability to reach up to the frame to lift the jeep a few more inches. That headache alone set me back an hour and a half.
These springs did not come with directions, I bought them off Quadratec and in lieu of directions I got a very nice windshield sticker and a handy glove box organizer. When I unbolted the left rear spring I simply drug it from the rear and kept it in the same position that it was installed in. There is a bigger eye on one end of the spring. I laid the new spring next to it, big eye to big eye.
The springs come with all the bushings needed. However there is a width difference in the bigger bushings, the thinner bushings go on the rear springs. The thicker bushings go on the front springs. The springs btw are numbered 18340.09 (rear) 18340.08 (front). I wish they had wrote the words rear and front on the springs but oh well, it's not hard to figure out.
On the rear shackle I loosened not only the bolt holding the leaf spring on but the two bolts above it.
I used a rubber mallet to line the holes up and then inserted the bolts, still keeping everything loose.
After hanging the springs I put the new U-bolts over the axles and put the shock mount up to the bottom of the springs and started the nuts. I used the small useless jack to raise the leaf springs up while simultaneously lowering the axles so that the knob sticking out the top the spring would guide it's way into the hole on the bottom of the axle.
when the axle and shock mount came together I simply tightened the ubolt nuts. I don't have a torque wrench so I tightened the hell outta them, I'll check 'em in a few weeks to make sure they're still tight.
You can see a big difference after replacing the left spring. Every spring was easier than the previous, the first one took me at least two hours to swap, the remaining three took about an hour and half per spring.
Bought a new light switch as the old one was hit or miss making the headlights come on. Tip: to remove the headlight pull knob, push this little button, also push the button when reinserting the new pull knob.
Also installed a new locking center console with a JVC cd/mp3/xm head unit. Very upsetting to find out after the install that xm radio satellites are far south and xm is spotty at best in Ak. Very disappointing.
I also installed new seat belts to go with the new seats. The seat belts I ordered off Amazon from omix-ada were way too short. the receiver end that bolts to the floor on the inside of the seats was so short I could barely fit my hand between the console and the set to attach the male end. The packaging says oem replacement. I went to Car Quest and bought a set that was adjustable in length now the seat belt buckle is square in my lap.