Does anyone know if this is happening to ALL 05/06 Wranglers? I gotta say, I've owned 2 CJ's that were great, just not as daily commuters and have since been driving Japanese sedans for the last few years. I recently gave up on boring sedan life and figured I'd go back over to a newer Wrangler. Searched and searched for an 06 Unlimited Rubicon and now I'm wondering if this was a bad move. Why can't America make anything decent? Has this forced any of you to sell off your Jeeps? I'm I driving a ticking time bomb that is not able to be permanently fixed. Or am I just being a paranoid drama queen?
I don't know if ALL 05-06 have this problem, but a bunch do. It is not the end of the world and I don't know at this point in the discovery/root cause analysis stage, that you need to toss out your Jeep.
At first I was panicked like you describe. I have seen cases in the other thread of major failure. I think these are the extreme cases and not the norm. In my experience, the norm is a worn gear which creates a symptom that is only fixed with a like gear. It like replacing a bad heart with a bad heart.
Since we are still early in the root cause stage, the other fixes and work-arounds haven't had enough time to prove whether it will work or not. Some listed things like ZDDP, grease bushings, alternate oil pumps, replacement camshafts and OPDA's, etc., may work, but it's only been a few months.
Here is my take as of now.
1. ZDDP is a good thing. Mobil 1 High Mileage or other suitable increased ZDDP additives are good for the I6. Now that I understand this I will use it.
2. Zerks in the upper bushing and oil grooves in the shaft look like viable alternatives to prevent binding in the shaft which I think contributes to the premature failure. Without have an 04 model to dissect I can't say for sure. I plan to do the oil groove and the zerk just a preventative measures.
3. The Hesco oil pump may deliver more oil to the cam gear assembly, but I think item 2. above eliminated the need IMO.
4. I don't plan to replace the camshaft. It is a thicker gear and IMO will handle the wear for the life of the engine. I think messing around in the engine is asking for trouble.
In closing my Jeep ran for 66K, technically more due to a tire/speedo gear conflict. I never had a gear failure, instead it was my OPDA shaft binding. If I have to purchase a new OPDA every 66K miles, I can do that.
Check it every once in a while. Twice a year maybe, more if you're a worrywart like I can be. It's not hard to pull it and take a peak. Look for likes like oil contact, wear on the OPDA, wear on the camshaft (understanding that there will be wear on these parts normally), spin the shaft to check for binding (any binding it should be smooth and consistent).