After enduring FB Marketplace for enough weeks it was time for the Dodge to go to the scrap yard. I loaded it onto my new to me trailer and headed to the scrap yard after work. And yes, it’s really convenient having access to reach lifts at work!
Right before Christmas my wife’s car ended up in the shop for almost 2 weeks due to a failed ECU, which put the TJ into true daily driver status… ready or not. It didn’t develop any new issues and was a joy to drive, although heat sure would have been nice when it hit low teens in Alabama that week.
I took the week off between Christmas and New Years and got in a good weather day to work on the Jeep. The to-do list included installing the rear JKS track bar, angled relocation bracket and new lower control arms, all in an effort to correct the rear pinion angle. This project ended up taking most of a day and rendered a few lessons learned.
The first issue came with the shocks hitting the coil buckets due to the pinion being rotated so far up. Nothing a grinder and cutoff wheel can’t fix. (picture taken mid process).
The second issue came with the control arms. Core4x4 offers these in 0-6” and 6”+ lift increments and without much thought I ordered the 0-6” Tier 3 arms. Seemed logical. Except for the fact that the arms didn’t have enough adjustment to pull the lower mounts forward enough to roll the pinion like I needed. This doesn’t have anything to do with the arms – in fact I am very impressed with the fit, finish and quality of them. This has everything to do with me not measuring correctly before and after. To get the pinion somewhat close to correct, the track bar was trying (unsuccessfully, might I add) to coexist with the gas tank again. All of my issues revolved around the tummy tuck and relative lift height of the drivetrain, which will all be resolved when I swap in the 8.8 and can clock the bracketry as needed.
But I had the rest of the day to fix this issue and an 8.8 swap isn’t an afternoon ordeal. Since I couldn’t rotate the pinon to meet the transfer case, maybe I could drop the transfer case to meet the pinion. If you recall from earlier, the front output shaft of the transfer case was hitting the crossmember and I’d installed a few washers as a quick fix to gain the needed clearance with the intent to remove them and fix this issue properly later. Well, later was now (and fingers crossed this was enough!). I unbolted the transfer case and lowered it until the angle finder read zero. This is how much I needed... about 3 washers worth.
I removed the crossmember, notched and plated the cut and reinstalled. I re-checked my angles and everything was good to go. The test run was to a local favorite restaurant:
It was 70 in December, so if course we took the top off. It still as a slight vibration at 45mph, but overall much better than it was. We also took the TJ through a drive through Christmas light display in town, which was brilliant considering it was pouring rain and the oil pressure at idle is sub-par.
Total miles so far: 725.