New TJ Day - Project Goldilocks

Quick update, pulled the carrier & pinion....the inner pinion bearing cage was barely able to hold in the rollers. No idea how it got that way, but there was no visible damage to the pinion or ring gear. Gonna replace the bearings & send it.

Of course what I actually mean is I will send it once I re-extract the pinion race that seems to want to go in crooked and is now stuck. Hoo-ray.
 
Nice work on this 97. Seems very familiar to me. I've worked through many of the same issues on mine except the transmission; my AX-15 is about the only thing I haven't had to mess with (except the clutch, done prophylactically when I changed the motor). And the paint schemes are about identical:)
97 TJ paint.jpeg
 
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Nice work on this 97. Seems very familiar to me. I've worked through many of the same issues on mine except the transmission; my AX-15 is about the only thing I haven't had to mess with (except the clutch, done prophylactically when I changed the motor). And the paint schemes are about identical:)
View attachment 511353

man, we are totes twinkies with that "patina." I'm not sure if missing paint entirely qualifies as patina, but I'm going with it.
 
In the interest of closure, I got under the thing last night and easily popped the race back out. This time it went in cleanly & easily. The outer race was a little harder, but both are in. Hoping to put the bearing & seal in later tonight, and maybe even set the preload on the crush sleeve. Although if I get that far there's no way I'm not going to attempt to finish the job.

Old pinion was “slightly pitted.”

6A944E07-961D-4FCA-9349-06DE55DB7601.jpeg
 
Actually drove it tonight for the first time since late October. In that time I replaced the steering box & hoses, master cylinder, rebuilt the transmission (and replaced the pump), and replaced all the bearings in the rear end. That was a lot of stuff to have overhauled, so a lot of stuff to monitor as we drove it for the first time. And here's what we now know:
  • Transmission is working great, although it still seems to be leaking from the bellhousing. I'm hoping it's just that I overfilled it but I'm skeptical.
    • I made a huge ordeal out of the dipstick, but ended up that the thing sealed up fine w/o any rtv, just the factory o-ring. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    • I also made a huge deal out of finding a pan with a drain, but ended up not using the off-the-reservation pan I found. Problem was I already had a buddy weld in the bung for the transmission temp sender in that pan. So the pan I'm actually using doesn't have the bung, so no temp gauge (which I hadn't installed yet anyway).
    • I bought a new torque converter but was completely unable to seat it, so I ended up re-using the old TC. The only reason I was doing this work was because of a leak, not because of any real damage inside, so I felt ok re-using the TC. However, it's worth noting that I'm still leaking from the same general area, so maybe the TC is part of the problem? I'd be surprised if the seal was bad, I lubed it up good first. I'm praying that I overfilled it and it's puking out the vent behind the torque converter. Checking the level, I am over the max line. I'll just have to monitor it and see if I end up losing a ton of fluid or if it levels off.
  • Rear end appears to be flawless, or at least plenty good....
    • ....but those 3.07's on 33's is way worse than I remembered. I see a re-gear in our future.
  • Steering box is a huge improvement...
    • ....but now I can feel it wanting to wander, so I need to look at the rest of the components.
  • Brakes are ok...
    • there is still that big WHOOSH when you hit them (only with the Jeep running) and the pedal is not as firm as I would like. But it seems to stop fine.
    • I replaced the wheel cylinders right before I parked it to do all this work but I can't bleed the driver's side. The bleeder screw doesn't want to fit any socket or line wrench.
  • Oil pressure gauge shows ~40 while driving, but pretty much goes to zero at idle. I replaced the sensor with a cheap one a while back(as is my way) but in my experience a poorly functioning oil pressure sender will go to zero randomly, where as this one definitely only wants to go to zero while decelerating (foot off gas) or at idle.
    • I'm thinking oil pump maybe?
    • But could this be a sign of wear elsewhere in the engine?

The best part was that my daughter actually got to drive the jeep she bought 5 months ago. She loved it.
 
Actually drove it tonight for the first time since late October. In that time I replaced the steering box & hoses, master cylinder, rebuilt the transmission (and replaced the pump), and replaced all the bearings in the rear end. That was a lot of stuff to have overhauled, so a lot of stuff to monitor as we drove it for the first time. And here's what we now know:
  • Transmission is working great, although it stillseems to be leaking from the bellhousing. I'm hoping it's just that I overfilled it but I'm skeptical.
    • I made a huge ordeal out of the dipstick, but ended up that the thing sealed up fine w/o any rtv, just the factory o-ring. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    • I also made a huge deal out of finding a pan with a drain, but ended up not using the off-the-reservation pan I found. Problem was I already had a buddy weld in the bung for the transmission temp sender in that pan. So the pan I'm actually using doesn't have the bung, so no temp gauge (which I hadn't installed yet anyway).
    • I bought a new torque converter but was completely unable to seat it, so I ended up re-using the old TC. The only reason I was doing this work was because of a leak, not because of any real damage inside, so I felt ok re-using the TC. However, it's worth noting that I'm still leaking from the same general area, so maybe the TC is part of the problem? I'd be surprised if the seal was bad, I lubed it up good first. I'm praying that I overfilled it and it's puking out the vent behind the torque converter. Checking the level, I am over the max line. I'll just have to monitor it and see if I end up losing a ton of fluid or if it levels off.
  • Rear end appears to be flawless, or at least plenty good....
    • ....but those 3.07's on 33's is way worse than I remembered. I see a re-gear in our future.
  • Steering box is a huge improvement...
    • ....but now I can feel it wanting to wander, so I need to look at the rest of the components.
  • Brakes are ok...
    • there is still that big WHOOSH when you hit them (only with the Jeep running) and the pedal is not as firm as I would like. But it seems to stop fine.
    • I replaced the wheel cylinders right before I parked it to do all this work but I can't bleed the driver's side. The bleeder screw doesn't want to fit any socket or line wrench.
  • Oil pressure gauge shows ~40 while driving, but pretty much goes to zero at idle. I replaced the sensor with a cheap one a while back(as is my way) but in my experience a poorly functioning oil pressure sender will go to zero randomly, where as this one definitely only wants to go to zero while decelerating (foot off gas) or at idle.
    • I'm thinking oil pump maybe?
    • But could this be a sign of wear elsewhere in the engine?

The best part was that my daughter actually got to drive the jeep she bought 5 months ago. She loved it.

My stock motor was doing the same thing with oil pressures: 40 while driving, dropped to zero at idle when warm. New sender didn’t fix the issue. 20W50 oil and and heat wrap on exhaust header tube (the part around the oil pan) helped a little. A mechanical gauge showed I was never below 10-12psi at idle and the engine had no ominous sounds like rod knock and ran well for 10,000 miles after I bought it. But I replaced it with a stroker at 155K so I can’t give you longer term follow up.
 
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My stock motor was doing the same thing with oil pressures: 40 while driving, dropped to zero at idle when warm. New sender didn’t fix the issue. 20W50 oil and and heat wrap on exhaust header tube (the part around the oil pan) helped a little. A mechanical gauge showed I was never below 10-12psi at idle and the engine had no ominous sounds like rod knock and ran well for 10,000 miles after I bought it. But I replaced it with a stroker at 155K so I can’t give you longer term follow up.
I think the early TJ’s had a true oil pressure sensor and gauge rather than the sorta dummy gauge on later models. IIRC the wild variation on the early gauges had people going into the stealership all the time with questions/concerns. Everything was fine, but they decided to make the sorta dummy gauge to stop people from thinking there was a problem.
 
I think the early TJ’s had a true oil pressure sensor and gauge rather than the sorta dummy gauge on later models. IIRC the wild variation on the early gauges had people going into the stealership all the time with questions/concerns. Everything was fine, but they decided to make the sorta dummy gauge to stop people from thinking there was a problem.

Yes. Mine moves around in real time as if it is really respond to something. I didn’t mention that the Golen stroker runs about 40 psi at idle and 60 when driving with the same sender that gave me 0 at warm idle and 40 when driving in the original 4.0.
 
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I changed out the headlight switch since a couple of times the headlights decided to just go out. Wiggling the plunger a little brought them back on, but that's not a set of dice I'm inclined to roll. Changing it was actually quite easy (I put a new How To in that subforum).

New brake booster is in hand, that change out doesn't look too bad. I'm HOPING I can do it w/o disconnecting any brake lines, but only time will tell.

I have the Crown steering components coming, but based on my dry steering test & how it reacts on the road I'm thinking ball joints are the primary weak spot now. I feel like I've been spending a ton of money (here and elsewhere), so I'm not excited about $150 for the set of Spicer ball joints. It needs to happen, but I need to get it on next months invoices, if you catch my drift.
 
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I changed out the headlight switch since a couple of times the headlights decided to just go out. Wiggling the plunger a little brought them back on, but that's not a set of dice I'm inclined to roll. Changing it was actually quite easy (I put a new How To in that subforum).

I've had to change mine twice and my plug is a little burnt so I did the headlight upgrade wiring to hopefully help that not happen anymore. Don't look forward to having to change out the under-dash wiring.
 
I've had to change mine twice and my plug is a little burnt so I did the headlight upgrade wiring to hopefully help that not happen anymore. Don't look forward to having to change out the under-dash wiring.

Had the switch not been so cheap I would’ve just replaced it with some spdt toggles.
 
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I got rid of the brake wooooosh by replacing the booster. I tried just replacing the vacuum check valve but that did nothing other than waste $7.

For the record, you can replace the booster w/o opening up the brake lines. Basic steps are:

  1. remove the bolts holding your evap cannister & push it out of the way
  2. Remove the bolts holding the m/c to the booster & push it forward/inboard
  3. Remove the bolts under the dash holding the booster to the firewall
  4. Remove the clip holding the booster push. rod to the brake pedal
  5. Remove the booster
Then reverse it for install. I had to adjust my brake light switch, which I didn't realize until I went out to the garage later and saw the lights on.
 
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The pedal is still just a little soft, but I know why. I replaced the wheel cylinders a while back because I couldn't get the bleeder screws open. I knew I wasn't going to be driving it for a while with all the trans work so I didn't bother bleeding them afterward. Plus I still had pedal & stopping power so it was on the list, but not a super high priority at the moment.

Well, guess what? I STILL can't bleed the driver's side. Nothing fits the bleeder screw. The one I removed was 8mm, and I happen to have a replacement that is also 8mm, but a 6-point 8mm socket will not fit over the bleeder screw. In fact, nothing I have fits. Not my line wrenches, not my sockets, nothing. I would love to just replace the bleeder screw with my spare, but if I can't get it to move I'll need to replace the whole wheel cylinder. Happy Easter.
 
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I finally got the bleeder screw out. Had to use the round end of a 5/16” box wrench, which I know is the wrong tool but it’s what it took. Got the new bleeder screw in no problem, now to bleed everything again.
 
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I finally got the bleeder screw out. Had to use the round end of a 5/16” box wrench, which I know is the wrong tool but it’s what it took. Got the new bleeder screw in no problem, now to bleed everything again.

Glad you got it out. 👍
 
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Glad you got it out. 👍

It was touch and go. I could feel it wanting to slip. The Craftsman 5/16" line wrench wouldn't get on it, but the 12 point Pittsburgh was able to get on. Part of the issue was also that the bleeder screw was shorter than what I replaced it with, so I was also contending with the contours of the backing plate in order to get on it square. I've never had that sort of problem before.
 
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  • Steering box is a huge improvement...
    • ....but now I can feel it wanting to wander, so I need to look at the rest of the components.

I'm cheap by nature so I was really tempted to put in some cheap ball joints. XJ Buddy put in some Detroit Axle ball joints about 2 years ago and they've held up great. What's kept me from cheaping out is that literally every cheap ball joint out there has a knurled mating surface, which I know better than to use (I'm assuming what's in there is the factory ball joints). Anyway, I found the Spicer ball joints for $45/pair new on ebay. I have to tell you, ebay hasn't even been on my radar since sometime around 2006. But they're turning out to be a great source for TJ parts. The transmission pump I used was an ebay find, as was the intermediate brake lines which I didn't end up using since the lines I flared are working and look shiny. :)

They'll be here Saturday, so sometime Saturday evening we should have an extremely functional jeep. I also have the Crown HD steering stuff to put on. I may wait on it just so I can isolate the difference the new ball joints make.

  • Transmission is working great, although it still seems to be leaking from the bellhousing. I'm hoping it's just that I overfilled it but I'm skeptical.

The transmission leak seems to have chilled out, which supports my theory that it was overfilled and it puked out the vent hole. I'm not sure why I didn't do the vent relocation when I had it all emptied out. Oh well.

  • Brakes are ok...

Need to bleed them once more now that I fixed the bleeder screw problem.
 
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Ball joints came in, and I guess I was sloppy when I ordered. I found the Spicer model # on ebay for a chunk cheaper than Amazon & anywhere else so I went with it. They came in this morning in an MTC bag, clearly not spicer. They feel good and look just like the Spicers, as if that's any sort of precise descriptor. I checked the order and sure enough they're advertising that same Spicer model # (706944X) but it never actually says Spicer. So that's on me.

I guess I'll throw them on and we'll see how they do. Shame on me. I guess I could return them, but I also like to know how non-WTJF-approved products perform. See yall in a few greasy hours.
 
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Haven't done much jeep work lately, but also haven't driven it much since she's been slow doing the work to get her license. I've got the parts for a ZJ steeing upgrade which should help tighten up the rest of the steering.

I put a single DIN carplay stereo in (pics to follow). It was a cheap amazon unit, like $45, but it seems to work ok. Interface is a little slow to respond, but it has a physical volume knob which was a hard requirement for me. The jeep had a powered sub kicker box in the trunk, but I didn't wire it in initially in the name of figuring out just how necessary that is, because I would love to reclaim that trunk space.

But I've got a new problem, possibly as a result of the stereo but more likely a result of the replacement light switch. Sometimes the marker light in the fender on the drivers side stays on, but sometimes it doesn't. It's never the passenger side. I haven't spent any energy chasing that down, but I think there is a parsitic draw somewhere related to that.
 
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