OldBuzzard's 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
There is always a bit of confusion on what a sealed bottle means. You added the word new to it which isn't typical. Sealed means if you turn the container upside down, fluid doesn't run out. They just want you to store it with the lid screwed on tight so it doesn't absorb moisture sitting there on the shelf.
Ah, thanks for the clarification.
 

mrblaine

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Quail Valley, CA
Ah, thanks for the clarification.
We wouldn't have as much fluid absorption into the brake fluid if we could run without a vented cap. Since that would allow a vacuum to form as the fluid level drops and temp changes or pressure increase and decrease as temps change, we have to have them open to the atmosphere.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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Front Brake Replacement

The stock brakes were not bad, the rotors were in good shape, and the pads from the PO had a lot of life left. But they weren't great either. I pull a camper trailer in the summer, without its own brakes (gonna have to remedy that). So I wanted brakes which would stop a little better than the stock ones.

Everybody says to use Black Magic Brakes. So I checked them out, along with several other brands, and after asking Mr. Blaine a couple of questions, I ordered four Centric Premium rotors, with Black Magic Brake pads for the front and Centric Posi-Quiet brake pads for the rear. The BMB prices went up the day before I ordered, and then went up again a couple of days after I ordered. This economy's hurting everyone! I ordered the Brake Bleeding Lock-out Tool too (see the Flush post above).

Brake_Front_01.jpg


Brake_Front_02.jpg


Per the BMB instructions, I flushed and bled the brake fluid before replacing the brakes (above). And I washed the oil from the new rotors with Simple Green instead of Brakleen.

Brake_Front_03.jpg


Brake_Front_04.jpg


There are zillions of brake tutorials and videos out there (many of quite dubious quality). This isn't a tutorial, I won't cover everything, just some highlights which might fill in some holes in the other material. It's still gonna be kind of long.

I spread the pads using this Geared Plierench (made in 1958) with the jaws reversed. Great tool.

Brake_Front_05.jpg


Brake_Front_06.jpg


I sucked some fluid from the reservoir to make room for the next step. Removed the outboard brake pad first, and then used a C-clamp against the inboard pad to compress the piston (protects the phenolic piston). Got that from @mrblaine here.

Brake_Front_07.jpg


I tried half a dozen ways to break the front rotors free from hub. The rust really glues them on tight. Then I found [email protected] says to hit the top of the rotor, hard, toward the top ball joint. I used a block of wood to protect the rotor, just until I was sure it would work. I whacked it hard with big hammer, then harder, then hardest. Of course he was right. It didn't move a lot, but it broke free. On the second rotor I tapped it with a BIG hammer, and it broke free easier.

Brake_Front_08.jpg



Brake_Front_09.jpg


I walked the front rotors off of the hub by tapping them on the back, rotating the rotors.

Brake_Front_10.jpg


Scrubbed the rust from the hubs with a small wire brush - and the steering knuckles, calipers, and other stuff while I had it apart. Blew everything off with compressed air, and sprayed it down with Brakleen.

Brake_Front_11.jpg


Cleaned the oily-wet crud from the caliper bolts and holes where somebody had used lube or anti-seize - the opposite of what they should have used. Used alcohol, rag, Q-tips, and Brakleen. I screwed the bolts into the holes and back out again, picking up some more crud, and cleaned it all again, getting it clean and dry.

I verified that the sliders in the calipers moved in and out freely. They slide smoothly but slowly, you can feel the grease in there. Just to check them, I removed one slider by popping the rubber boot off of one end and shoving it out the other end.

Brake_Front_12.jpg


The rubber boots were in good shape, and had plenty of grease. I know, because I added a little more grease, and shoved the slider back in, and it shoved out a blob of the old grease. I didn't really need to take it apart.

You don't grease the outside of the bolt to make the caliper slide. The bolt clamps the slider in place, and the caliper and rubber boot slide on the outside of the slider, not on the bolt. You might grease the bolt to keep it from rusting into the slider, and because the FSM says to, but I didn't. The grease might get on the bolt threads, a bad thing.

Brake_Front_13.jpg


I placed the new rotors on the hubs, and used a couple of lug nuts with stacks of washers to keep them in place while installing the calipers.

Brake_Front_14.jpg


I snapped the new BMB inboard pad into place, and then the outboard pad, making sure the little tabs clicked into the holes in the caliper.

I pushed the caliper sliders back away from the pads, and slid the caliper into place over the rotor. The bottom of the pads goes on first, since it has a tab on each side of the brake mounting plate. Then the top tilts into place, with its single tab.

Brake_Front_15.jpg


Brake_Front_16.jpg


I had to push the caliper sliders back again, because the rubber boots push them toward center, blocking the caliper from going into place.

Brake_Front_17.jpg


I put a drop of blue Loctite 242 on the bolt threads (not in the FSM, but I think mrblaine implied that he uses Loctite here), and screwed them into the brake mounting plate. Torqued them to 132 in. lbs. (11 ft. lbs.) — do NOT over-tighten or you'll strip out the threads.

I pumped the brake pedal a couple of times to push the caliper pistons up snug.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
Rear Brake Replacement

Replacing the rear pads and rotors is a lot like the front, of course. A few highlights only.

The rear rotors had a pair of retainer clips on the lug bolts. These are left over from factory assembly, are are not needed. I pried them up and yanked them off with a set of dikes.

Brake_Rear_01.jpg


Brake_Rear_02.jpg


The rear rotors came off easier than the fronts, only needing a couple of whacks with the medium hammer.

The rear rotors are "hat" rotors (they look like a 1920s straw boater hat). They have a drum for the parking brake.

Brake_Rear_03.jpg


I did not need to adjust the parking brakes down to get the rotors off.

My parking brake parts were in good shape. If you only use this brake for parking, it will last forever, because in never rubs against a spinning drum. If you use it as an emergency brake, or just for fun, you'll wear it out eventually.

Most of the rear brake job is just like on the front.

I replaced the anti-chatter sliders, and greased them lightly, with a 3x5 card behind them to keep grease off of the rotors.

Brake_Rear_04.jpg


New Centric Posi-Quiet pads and Centric Premium rotors:

Brake_Rear_05.jpg


Pumped the brake a couple of times, and topped up the reservoir.

My parking brake needed adjustment after the brake job. I backed off the cable tension a little, which I had tightened up previously. I pried out the rubber adjuster covers behind the brakes, and adjusted the star wheel. Both sides on mine needed to rotate up to tighten, but I think the adjusters can be installed backward, so you'll have to check yours. I adjusted them up until some drag was felt turning the tire, and then backed them off 2 notches.

Brake_Rear_06.jpg


Brake_Rear_07.jpg


Then I adjusted the cable tension, with the parking brake released, until the washer on the threaded shaft was just barely snug enough not to rattle.

Brake_Rear_08.jpg


With the hand brake on tight (about 5 notches up) the brake cables slide out evenly, this far:

Brake_Rear_09.jpg


So it looks like they're pretty evenly adjusted. I replaced the rubber plugs in the brake backing plates.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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Brake Break-In

I went out at 6 AM to find a fairly quiet road for this break-in, slowing with the tranny and braking gently until I started the process. I followed the BMB recommended break-in procedure, which involves 5 to 7 back-to-back cycles of aggressive braking from 40 MPH down to a rolling stop, and repeat. You get your brakes good and hot. Then drive for 10 minutes using the brakes as little as possible, to cool them down without actually stopping. You do two full sets of these, then let the brakes cool overnight, and then do another set.

At first the brakes are about as mediocre as the OEM brakes, not bad but not great. After 2 or 3 cycles of "enthusiastic" stops, they start feeling better, gripping tighter. BMB says they'll continue to get better for a while before leveling off.

After the break-in, I removed the front tires to set the toe-in (unrelated). The front rotors looked like they had been really hot, dark on the swept area and bronze colored on the edges.

Brake_BreakIn_01.jpg


I asked Mr. Blaine about this, and he said "As long as both sides are similar, you're all good."

So far the brakes feel great. I understand that they will shed a fair amount of visible brake dust, so I may have to wash my wheels a little more often.
 
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Fluxor

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Central Florida
Thanks for taking the time to post some well documented mods.

Brakes are one of the most underrated mods, glad to see this was on your short list.

I have been camping more and pondering the interior sleep set up.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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I have been camping more and pondering the interior sleep set up.
I have not used my sleep setup yet. It's been hovering around 0°F in Denver at night, and probably much colder and deeper in snow in the mountains. Even in June, full summer in Denver, it is still often just the beginning of spring up there. Not quite like Florida. But at least we have lots of elevation to play with, when we can get there. :) So it's gonna be a while.

Good luck with whatever you come up with for sleeping.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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Inner Shifter Boot

The '05-'06 Wranglers with a manual tranny have a big plastic floor pan cover with a soft rubber boot. That boot tends to tear around the shifter, leaving a big hole. And a replacement costs almost $200.

Mopar_52059661AC.jpg


So I followed the @Zorba fix here: Zorba's Jeep - Lower Shift Boot

I popped off the outer vinyl boot with the plastic trim piece (just lifted it up).

InnerBoot_01.jpg


The rubber cover over the vibration damper can be slid up out of the way. I removed the Torx T-45 bolt, and pulled the shifter straight off. You can see the big hole in the rubber around the shift rod.

InnerBoot_02.jpg


I trimmed away the loose rubber around the hole, and wiped everything down with alcohol. It would have been easier to clean and trim if I had removed the console and the floor pan cover.

For a cheap replacement, I used this rubber boot: Spectre Performance 6285 Universal Shift Boot
along with this adhesive: 3M Black Super Weatherstrip And Gasket Adhesive

This boot is small enough to sit down in the larger OEM boot.

I placed the new shifter boot on the shifter rod, and marked where to trim it with a pencil, and then cut it with scissors. I checked fitment, and trimmed it a little more. Holding it in place, I shifted through the gears to make sure everything would work together.

InnerBoot_03.jpg


I wiped the bottom of the new boot with alcohol to remove any manufacturing crud, and roughed it up with coarse sandpaper.

With the garage warmed up so the glue would cure well, I applied the 3M adhesive to the OEM boot, and to the new boot, and smeared it out thin. After letting it dry for a few minutes, until it was pretty tacky, I set the new boot in place and pressed it down all around with a stick, and held it in place for several minutes.

InnerBoot_04.jpg


InnerBoot_05.jpg


InnerBoot_06.jpg


I placed a couple of small weights on it to keep it in place, and left it to dry overnight.

It seems to be glued snuggly, but time will tell if it will stay.

InnerBoot_07.jpg


Later I found this similar fix: Low cost 2005-2006 inner shift boot replacement!
In it, @Ptm removes the OEM boot and uses a larger boot for a Mustang, stapling it to the plastic floor pan cover and sealing it with RTV. If my glue fails, or my rubber tears, I'll try again with that method.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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Outer Shifter Boot

My OEM vinyl outer shifter boot had several small splits. I ordered a replacement boot, in real leather, black with red stitching, from RedlineGoods.
It costs about $50, and if you mess around on and off the webpage and it thinks you're leaving, it may pop up a 10% discount code. The shipping information was a little confusing, but I made a suggestion to the owner, who made a change to the webpage. It's much clearer now, with free shipping from Poland. It says it will take several weeks, but mine arrived in two. You can also pay for FedEx to speed it up.

To remove the old boot, I had to remove the shift knob. The knob screws on to the shifter rod, and has a locknut under the shift pattern insert to keep it tight. Some people use a plastic or rubber gripper tool to just twist the knob and nut off together, but I couldn't turn mine without damage with the tools on hand. So I removed mine the conventional way, which is actually quite easy.

Very important: Heat the knob up with a hair dryer. First I tried probing gently around the shift pattern insert with a small screwdriver with the knob at about 50°F. It was very stiff, and would obviously be damaged. After heating it to about 125°F with a hair dryer (quite hot to the hand, almost but not quite scalding, and not as hot as it gets in the summer sun) the knob was much softer, easy to probe around.

I slipped a skinny screwdriver down between the insert and the knob. There is a small notch in the insert at the left side, between 1st and 2nd. With a very skinny screwdriver you can get it in that notch. I didn't know that, so I had to feel around and get the screwdriver over the plastic lip. I reheated once. Then I pried the plastic insert out. The knob stretched and dented, but then quickly recovered with a little more heat applied.

OuterBoot_01.jpg


OuterBoot_02.jpg


I removed the lock nut with a 15mm socket, and then unscrewed the knob by hand. I pulled up the plastic bezel around the bottom of the shifter boot with my fingertips and slid it off of the shifter rod. It's held in place by four metal clips.

OuterBoot_03.jpg


OuterBoot_04.jpg


The plastic bezel has a metal frame underneath it, held to the bezel by the four clips. I pulled the two clips on the right side off, carefully, with needlenose pliers. Prying them too hard will easily bend and damage them. I stuck the tip of the needlenose in the small gap at the main fold in the clip and worked them off of the plastic studs. With the two right clips removed, the metal frame, with the shifter boot, can be lifted out.

OuterBoot_05.jpg


OuterBoot_06.jpg


I took lots of pictures of the way the boot was attached. The OEM shifter boot is glued to the metal frame with a very strong glue. I pried the boot loose, using a knife at the corners where the glue held especially tight to the vinyl. The fabric pulls away from the glue easier. It's easy to distort the metal frame, so I tried to go easy with it.

OuterBoot_07.jpg


I scraped most of the glue residue and vinyl off of the metal frame, and sanded it lightly.

The new leather boot has two wider panels and two narrower panels. They are not greatly different, so I compared the sides carefully to figure out which way it should fit before proceeding.

I stretched the new boot over the frame, with the ends of the stitching just coming even with the frame, and about an inch of leather overlapping below the frame on all four sides. It's a snug fit, and I had to work it around a little to get the corners in place.

I clamped the leather boot to the frame with a bunch of spring clips on both long sides, using small wood strips to spread the clamp pressure over the leather so the glue would be squeezed evenly, and to protect the leather. I removed the clips from one side, and used a Q-tip to wet the leather where it will touch the metal. Then I applied a thin layer of Original Gorilla Glue to the metal, and pressed the leather against it. I replaced the clips and wood strips, and then glued the other long side. I used a couple more thin strips of wood to press the leather down over the edge of the frame, as it will sit under the plastic bezel. I didn't want the glue to hold the leather up stiffly along the top of the metal frame. I let those two long sides dry for 2 hours.

OuterBoot_08.jpg


OuterBoot_09.jpg


OuterBoot_10.jpg


I trimmed the excess leather from the sides, and them trimmed the end flaps, notching the corners like the original boot to clear the tabs where the metal frame mounts. I was glad I had taken a lot of pictures. I glued the end flaps similarly to the side flaps and let them dry for 2 hours. Then I removed the clamps and left the whole assembly to dry overnight.

OuterBoot_11.jpg


OuterBoot_12.jpg


I trimmed and cleaned up the edges again, and cleaned up most of the excess glue. Gorilla glue expands as it dries, and gets where it shouldn't. I had to scrape some of the glue from under the leather to get it to squeeze down tight against the metal frame where the plastic bezel fits snugly over it. And I had to squeeze the corners down tight with pliers and wood blocks to flatten some of that fat glue. I wish I had used hot glue instead, since it cools fast and doesn't expand. But I was afraid that I wouldn't have time to glue it and then get the clamps in place to squeeze it all down evenly.

OuterBoot_13.jpg


I placed the new boot with the metal frame into the plastic bezel and pressed the two clips back on. It was a tight fit.

OuterBoot_14.jpg


OuterBoot_15.jpg


I placed the assembly back on the shifter rod and clipped it down into place. The thick leather, along with the fat Gorilla glue, tried to keep the bezel from snapping down into place, but pressure back and forth did the trick. The bezel arches a little, but it did that with the OEM boot too.

OuterBoot_16.jpg


After placing the knob on the stick, and tightening the lock nut, I had to heat the knob and use a small screwdriver again to get the shift pattern insert back in place.

I really like the new boot. It's a little stiffer than the original vinyl, and should last many years with an occasional wipe with leather conditioner/UV protector.

OuterBoot_17.jpg
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
Thanks, @woodmaster58. I've been busy and haven't posted for a while, but I have a list of things to write up. The latest one is going from a perfectly driving Jeep to full-on Death Wobble in two days. We had a front track bar bushing go all mushy, and had to limp home from Ouray to Denver (300 miles) at 48 MPH, pulling a trailer. Anything over 50 or maybe 55 MPH would violently shake everything, and if I could hold it on the road long enough to get stopped, we would have to change our underwear ;) I'll write it up once my new JKS track bar arrives and I get it installed.
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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Piddly Stuff

I had two keys for the SKIS (Sentry Key Immobilizer System), and needed one more. I've read that the older Chrysler keys with part number ending in AA worked fine, but the newer ones ending in BB are really hit or miss, some programmable and some not. There is a rumor of newer AC keys coming soon. And they cost a small fortune. The cheap knockoffs can be pretty hit or miss too. I tried one on eBay from Bartolete Keys for about $11. It has no markings whatsoever. I had it cut at a hardware store, but told the guy not to program it (he can't anyway). I followed the procedure in the Owner's Manual, and the Jeep successfully programmed the key. I don't know if that means this brand is good, or if I just got lucky, or if Bartolete will switch brands. How would we know?

Key.jpg

ebay key

I replaced the OEM front sway bar bushings with a Moog K201622 set. This is a quick and easy job. The old ones seemed to be in excellent shape, but I've been replacing lots of suspension bushings just to snug up everything after 100K miles.

Front_Sway_Bushings.jpg

Front sway bar bushings
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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Penetrol

My hardtop is gray, but it looked like a pretty faded, oxidized gray. I read about a lot of different products for restoring it, with varying results and longevity depending on which fanboy was writing about it.

I decided to try Flood Penetrol. It's a paint additive, but it "may also be used to condition metal and faded, weathered fibreglass surfaces". It's cheap at $10 a quart (Home Depot or Lowes or Ace), and you only need about an ounce. I washed the top, and then scrubbed it with Magic Eraser. That made it look better. Rinsed it well and let it dry, and then cleaned up the water spots. I masked the rubber around the windows with painters tape (don't know if that's actually necessary). I wet a cloth with Penetrol and wiped it on the roof, doing a few square feet at a time. It starts to get tacky after a minute or three. I used another cloth to wipe it off. After wiping it still looks somewhat wet, but it's pretty dry. As I understand it, Penetrol soaks into the paint or plastic surface and dries (hardens?). Later it feels completely dry, not the least bit tacky. The roof looks better than it did before, and that effect has stayed for 8 months so far. It's not spectacular, or even great, but it's good.

Hardtop_Penetrol.jpg


I scrubbed up the milk jugs and running boards and the front sway bar cover, and applied Penetrol there too. The milk jugs and running boards look quite a bit better, but not great. The front sway bar cover looks fantastic, and the effect has lasted 8 months.

Milk_Jugs.jpg


Sway_Cover.jpg
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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San Denver, Colofornia
Painting Bumpers, Frame, Fog Lights

My bumpers and fog lights were faded to gray, over 17 years and 100K miles. The frame has minor surface rust on this garaged Colorado Jeep.

Bumpers_Faded_01.jpg


Bumpers_Faded_02.jpg


Bumpers_Faded_03.jpg


For the front and rear ends of the frame, I washed the mud and dirt and grease off. I used a hammer and chisel to pop off the worst of the weld spatter. I used paper towels with paint thinner to wipe it down, trying to get the last of the grease off (from the irritating JKS Quicker Disconnect Sway Links with those dumb no-ball zerks and semi-open joints which spew grease everywhere). I kept rubbing, and the towels kept coming off black. I decided the paint thinner was dissolving the factory paint, so I let it dry overnight. Yep, the next day, paint thinner on a paper towel came off clean. One wipe and it's done. I didn't realize paint thinner could soften old hard paint that quickly.

I sanded a few rusty spots lightly by hand, at 220 grit, trying to remove the rust but leave most of the paint, and just scuffing it up. Even the worst looking rust came off easily, since it was just thin surface stuff. Wiped it with 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water, and rinsed (laying off the paint thinner).

I did not try to power sand the frame smooth for a great looking finish like @Irun gets. I'm OCD about some of this stuff, but maybe not enough. :) For the ends of the frame, I just used a 1/2" brush and Rust-Oleum Professional High Performance Protective Enamel in gloss black, which I had from another project. It goes on heavy but pretty smooth, and dries pretty hard within a few hours. I painted around where the bumpers are mounted, and along the sides a short distance. The rest of the frame will get similar treatment later.

Frame_Painted_Front.jpg


Frame_Painted_Rear_01.jpg


Frame_Painted_Rear_02.jpg


I took a little more care with the bumpers, sanding them by hand with 220 grit, and cleaning similar to the frame. They're not perfectly smooth, but close. I used some of @Irun's paint recommendations. I sprayed several thin coats of Rust-Oleum Self Etching Primer (flat medium-dark gray-green), and then wet sanded it lightly with 400 grit. Next day I sprayed them with Rust-Oleum Professional High Performance Enamel, semi-gloss black. Fighting the weather, wind and sporadic sprinkles, I managed to get a few sags on one bumper and had to let it dry and then sand it smooth. Eventually the weather cleared, and I got several thin coats and a couple of slightly heavier ones on there without sags or runs.

Bumper_Primed_Front.jpg


Bumper_Primed_Rear.jpg


Bumper_Painted_Rear.jpg


I reinstalled the bumpers and hitch receiver. The receiver bolts didn't feel quite right, and I discovered that whoever had originally installed it used three wrong bolts out of four. Sheesh! I've been pulling a 3000 lb trailer with those sorry bolts. He had two UNC 7/16-14 bolts up into the crossmember, but those should have been M12 x 1.75, so they were a very loose, sloppy, slightly cross-threaded fit. And he used an M12 x 1.75 bolt into one of the flag nuts on the frame side rails, which should have been a UNC 1/2-13 bolt, so it cross-threaded badly. It damaged the bolt, but not the flag nut (soft bolt). I replaced all of the bolts with the correct size, in grade 8, and torqued them to spec.

When I looked at some pictures I had taken of the the front bumper, I noticed that I had installed the recovery hooks backward, with the pointy end forward. How embarrassing. I ran back out there and reversed them before anyone else noticed. I replaced the front milk jugs with Omix-Ada end caps, with stainless steel hardware.

Bumper_Installed_Front.jpg


Bumper_Installed_Rear.jpg


Eventually, I want to replace the rear bumper and receiver with a Dirtworx, which weighs about the same as the combo I have now. So the milk jugs can stay for the time being.

I cleaned and disassembled the fog lights, and scraped some rough spots, and lightly sanded with 100, 220, and 400 grit to clean and roughen the surface. I masked the bulb and wires and screw threads. I had planned to use the same paint as on the bumpers, but it's not marked as plastic-safe. The housings are plastic, or some fiberglass-like stuff. So I used Rust-Oleum Painters Touch 2X Ultra Cover Paint + Primer, in gloss black, because it's plastic-safe. Several thin coats and they look pretty good, with a few road scars from 100K miles on highways and trails. They dried hard in a few hours, surprisingly. Paint on plastic can take much longer, but maybe this paint-safe stuff fixes that. I cleaned the bulbs with alcohol to remove any fingerprints, and reassembled everything. I think they look pretty good.

Fog_Faded.jpg


Fog_Rings.jpg


Fog_Backs.jpg


Fog_Painted.jpg


Fog_Installed.jpg
 
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OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

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Death Wobble

The front end has been perfectly stable for the year I've owned this Jeep, right up until it wasn't. We were on vacation in Ouray, CO last week, pulling a trailer 300 miles to get there, with no problems. After wheeling for a couple of days, it gave a little vibration like intermittent bad wheel balance at 55 MPH. Next day it was a little worse, but still pretty slight. The day after that, pulling the trailer on the highway, it went from a slight vibration to full-on terrifying death wobble at 60 MPH. It'll shake your fillings out. I braked hard and it stopped when we got real slow. We held up traffic doing about 30 MPH until we found a shoulder to pull onto.

My wife rocked the steering wheel back and forth while I checked the steering and suspension joints. The track bar looked like this (the bolt in the center):



The bolt was at 35 ft-lb, not really loose. I tightened it to 60 ft-lb (didn't have the FSM with me on the road as heavy traffic screamed by 2 feet away). Should have been 40 ft-lb. I neglected to check it again, we just took off, and the problem seemed to have gone away. Another 26 miles and it started again. I checked the bolt, which was still tight, and realized that the Clevite bushing had turned to mush. Okay, we're in the middle of nowhere, on the road, so we can't fix it. So we just drove at 48 MPH, all the way home. Another 240 miles. On single-lane 60 MPH highways. Keeping it below 50 kept the death wobble at bay, but it made a lot of drivers behind us unhappy. I pulled over to let them pass whenever I could, except for the two 16 mile stretches where the shoulders are 4" wide and there are no turnouts. Thanks, CDOT.

When I had lifted the Jeep 2", I had installed a JKS adjustable rear track bar, but had kept the stock front track bar. A 2" lift doesn't really need an adjustable one, since the axle centering offset is so small. But now was the time, so I installed a JKS adjustable front track bar, and centered up that axle. With the nice new bushings, rocking the steering wheel gives no visible movement on the axle bushing, and only very slight movement on the frame joint. I've only done one test drive, but I hit several good bumps at 60 MPH and had no death wobble. I think the problem is solved. Time will tell.

I compared the bad bushing to my old rear track bar with a good bushing. The one on the left is the bad one, and the one on the right is the old but still pretty good one. They looked like this:



The bushings don't look very different on the surface, about equally weathered, but what a difference inside. Evidently, eyeballing them doesn't tell you much.
 
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Reactions: SoCalGlide

NateC

Dreaming of buying my first TJ
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2022
Messages
10
Location
Maryland
I’ve enjoyed reading your thread. Your posts are so detailed. Glad to hear that your death wobble problem is hopefully in the rear view mirror. Beautiful area of the country you live in there too!
 
OP
OldBuzzard

OldBuzzard

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
365
Location
San Denver, Colofornia
Thanks, Nate. I wish you luck in finding a Jeep. I know how hard it can be. I spent several years looking for mine. They would sell so fast from private parties that I wouldn't get a chance to look at them. And the only dealers which sell these old vehicles are the rink-a-dink little shops with a lot of junk for sale. It sounds like you know what to look for, and what to look out for. If you find a good one, grab it before someone else does. Hang in there.
 

mchuhn

New Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2022
Messages
9
Location
Parker, CO
Thanks for your response to my post today.
I saw your profile and skimmed through all the details of this post. I see you did run into the same issue as me with the coil towers ... good to know I wasn't the only one. I just haven't seen many post about that tower rubbing with 31x10.5s ... I think I will do similar to you and split the difference of the bump stop, knowing that it will be a very limited situation where I run into that...

Thanks again and great posts!