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Found 31 results

  1. I'm looking into getting a bronco ii. I've had a full size and was wondering about the biis. I have heard many great things on forums about them but I have only really heard negative things from people. What do you guys think of them? My main use for one if I got one would be to drive to school, light off-roading and winter driving.
  2. The high cost of new vehicles has its counterpart in rising dealership labor costs. Shop labor has crept up, and more consumers find themselves working on their own vehicles. This starts with basic lube and oil/filter changes, spark plugs and an air filter. Then comes the transmission filter and the cooling system flushes. AutoZone, NAPA and O'Reilly's, much like Home Depot and Lowe's, cater to a growing number of DIY customers. Expect this trend to continue. As vehicles fall out of factory warranty, consumers make choices. While the average wage for American workers is now $24.57 per hour, the labor rate for an automotive dealership can vary from $80-$130 per flat rate hour on major service work. Minor service procedures like a lube-oil-and-filter feature deeply discounted rates, making the dealership more competitive with Jiffy Lube and a host of other fast-service outlets. Dealerships also use the lube rack as an opportunity to generate additional service work. Many gulp at paying $80-$130 per hour for service when their own wages are a fraction of that amount. Let's reflect for a moment. Compare the difference between workplace hourly wages and the dealership or independent shop's hourly labor flat rate. The professional shop justifies its rates by considering the wages and benefits paid to employees (including hourly wages or a percentage of flat rate plus half of the technician's FICA rate). The dealership is also required to pay for disability and garage liability insurance plus an attractive medical benefits package, possibly a retirement contribution, supplied uniforms plus a work environment that includes service bay lifts, a lube rack, cabinets, a tool room full of factory service tools, the facility's buildings and their overhead, electricity and heating/AC utilities, shop equipment like computers and the air system, advertising and those shop supplies not charged to customers. The tool room with diagnostic equipment and specialty tools is a large expense. An OBD-II era DRB-III scan tool alone is a spendy item. At the end of the DRB-III era, SPX rented the last of the DRB-III scan tools to shops and consumers with a $6000 credit card deposit. That was the cost of replacement for this diagnostic tool set and its accessories. Fan through the factory service manual for your vehicle and note all of the required tools. Imagine a dealership with various makes and models, each requiring a long list of specialty tools and diagnostic testing devices. So it's realistic to believe that the dealership has some level of justification for today's high hourly flat rate. Some shop personnel get paid on a flat rate basis, typically 30%-40% of the hourly flat rate, sometimes less or more. In the long run, the dealership does profit from the Service Department, which also serves as the number one customer for the Parts Department. Rather than condemn the hourly flat rate, however, consider whether you can save money by performing your own service work. Equipping Your 'DIY' Shop If you're serious about performing your own service work, the first item on the tool list should be the factory workshop manual for each of your vehicles. There is no sense performing work without clear safety standards and step-by-step service guidelines. These books or CDs will also help determine what work you are capable of performing and the tools required. Immediately clear, you will be subletting engine machine work to a competent machine shop. An automatic transmission rebuild may be within reach for some, but the tools required for a one-time job could tip the scale in favor of subletting the job. Perhaps the removal and replacement work can be a DIY task. Weigh the cost and safety equipment needed for R&R work, too. There are often universal service tools that can work in place of niche factory service tools. Harbor Freight and others now offer a variety of minimal use tools. Why pay $300 for a set of professional grade Snap-On impact sockets when the $20 set at Harbor Freight might last for many years given your occasional use of these tools. My mixed medley of socket brands includes U.S. and metric Pittsburgh (Harbor Freight) brand deep impact sockets. At the tool section of the forums, we can discuss professional tools and the less costly alternatives. Diagnostics tools are the same way. For some EFI/MPI work, a $20 OBD-II transmitter and software package for Bluetooth or Wi-Fi can work with your laptop computer or cell phone. Many of these kits get rave reviews at Amazon and can provide a wealth of diagnostics information. Such a "scanner" is actually reading the stored or live data from the vehicle's PCM/ECU/ECM diagnostic port. This information is only reliable if the powertrain controller is functioning properly. The next step up is often a used Snap-On or OTC scanner with software and adapters. Sold at eBay or Craigslist, these scan tools can include newer versions or even used factory diagnostic tools. Sometimes, creative troubleshooting with a quality digital volt-ohmmeter can get the job done. Equipping your home garage or an independent shop is a constant juggling act between safe work and professional results—while not breaking the bank with tools that will seldom see use. Sometimes, one-time use suggests alternatives like renting the tool(s) from AutoZone or removing the component to have a specialty shop rebuild it. Sublet rebuilding was once common with alternators, generators and starter motors. Local radiator shops hot tanked, rodded or replaced radiator cores. Today, everything electric or electronic has a rebuilt/exchange program or is replaced with new parts. When I worked for Cunningham Pontiac-GMC in the early 'eighties, a defective S/T truck alternator under warranty required bench rebuilding to replace the rectifier bridge or other parts. (Flat rate time for the alternator R&R was 0.1 hour; the rectifier bridge changeout paid an additional 0.2 hour.) A power steering gear or transmission was also rebuilt on a dealership bench. Every vehicle manufacturer now uses a rebuild/exchange program for warranty parts. There are instances where improvising or substituting tools may be possible. Many aftermarket tools meet generic needs. When I operated a mechanical restoration shop for classic and muscle cars, service tools for pre- and post-war cars were obsolete. I made many tools from scratch, using factory tool images from workshop manuals as my guide. You can do this, too, and the cost savings can be dramatic. Common items like floor jacks, an H-frame press or jack stands can be generic. I trust many of the Harbor Freight products, the suppliers often build equipment for major brand manufacturers. I apply my own "overkill ratings" for safety equipment, like using two four-ton rated HF floor jacks to lift the Ram truck's 5,000 pound front end. I support the truck's axles on HF 6-ton rated stands. My 20-ton HF press is good for at least 10-15 tons when following my safety margin. I expect my Harbor Freight equipment to perform safely at 50-70% capacity. These tools last a long time with this kind of usage. I also have chests with prime, spendy tools. For precision work, always use better quality measuring tools. I purchase professional grade instruments from the nearby MSC warehouse. When safety and preserving parts is essential, I use the right tools and suggest that you do, too. Taking the Plunge to the 'DIY' Lifestyle My DIY work dates back to age 14 and my Cushman/Allstate scooter. With a factory shop manual in hand, I was on it! That strategy has stayed with me ever since, and today I'm still curious and interested in new tasks. My confidence grew with experience and tool savvy. Your confidence will build on successful results and learning which tools can perform the job properly. Becoming an accomplished DIY mechanic means doing professional grade work. Without the demands of flat rate time, you can wade your way through unfamiliar territory and get satisfactory results. Time is a concern, as you will spend a great deal of time learning how to perform quality automotive service work. Time can even be a deal breaker. While tools and parts cost, your time is also valuable. Family will quickly let you know when the clock has run out. Yes, you can save a considerable amount of money by performing your own service work. The rewards and satisfaction can be substantial if you enjoy this work. Account for your time as well, however, when deciding whether the savings are worth it. Consider the learning curve, you're developing a second career if you take this work far enough. For major tasks, there's no half way. The work is too demanding, and your safety is at stake. Repairing your vehicle's ABS brake system or troubleshooting a Ford E4OD automatic transmission is way different than replacing your home's screen door or garbage disposal. There are many benefits and rewards when doing your own automotive repair and service work. Troubleshooting can be a great test of your analytical ability, at least as good as working crossword puzzles. Safety is always a concern, as pinning yourself to the floor beneath a vehicle could be catastrophic. The first order of business is shop safety for yourself, any children in the area and your spouse/helper. Gasoline is flammable. Electricity can shock. Knocks, burns, crushed fingers and lacerations that require E.R. attention are simply not acceptable. I am producing an intensive library of streaming rental videos for the magazine's Vimeo On Demand catalog. How-to subjects will include setting up a DIY home garage or a smaller independent shop, emphasizing the use of common and specialized service and diagnostics tools. Meanwhile, become familiar with shop manual language and procedures. Review the magazine's hundreds of free how-to videos. —Moses Ludel
  3. We had a Jeep Liberty that literally fell apart in the 2 years that we owned it. I wish I had stripped off the plastic kick plate (?) when we first got the thing. Here in North Central Vermont the plastics totally wrecked the rocker panels and made our Liberty a junkyard ornament. So now we have a 2004 Toyota Highlander. It came from a warmer Southern climate and was well cared for. It is a Limited version and has all the goodies including heated seats and a sun/moon roof. All we wanted was a good car with a clean body that wasn't about to die. I'm still learning about the Highlander so I am not exactly sure how this SUV qualifies as a 4x4, but that's what the tag says. So far we have gotten 17.5 MPG with combined driving so I'm a little confused as to why a 3.3 L V6 gets that kind of fuel mileage if not for the weather we've had and the use of 4x4 as needed. We've had it for about a month now and it rides like a cloud on pillows compared to the Liberty. I'm also glad to have room for my knees. If you have never had a Jeep Liberty, and you have the chance to drive one, give it a try. You'll appreciate your vehicle that much more. I suppose after 2 years you get really tired of things like that. I'm not sure if Moses would allow a Highlander addition to this sight, but it would be interesting to know what has been tried and what has been accomplished with the Highlander 4x4. If you drive one, let me know what you think, and about its longevity. Ours has just over 103,000 miles on it now. I can't wait to drive it this summer without the heated seats on.
  4. OK, so my daughter decided she can't afford a car right now. Probably not into the foreseeable future either, but she has released the Jeep Cherokee back to me. It is a 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4.0L. This car is special. It has 39,198 original miles on it. It has electric everything and air conditioning. it has a great look in its black paint job. All original. I am the third owner and I haven't driven it far from my own dooryard. I have been meaning to do all the work to it myself, but have fallen behind in my financial situation, so I would like to put this up for sale. The bad news. It does have some rocker panel rust, and will need to be repaired or built up in that area depending on how you wish to use it. It does have a few areas of surface rust as well. The really good things about it. It purrs like a big cat. There are no codes being thrown by the computer. It heats and cools, drives and stops, and has a like new interior. Look at the pictures to see if you feel the same way I do. This Jeep needs to be put back in order and run. I'm asking $3500.00 if you cannot pick up, I live in Vermont, we will work out shipping to your location.
  5. Moses, I have watched your videos regarding how to approach a stroker motor. I have read tons of info on the internet, and I've seen many calculators for quench height, combustion cylinder volume, etc. It really is baffling to me, and I've begun to realize I could invest a lot of money and end up with an engine that doesn't work. Is there any identifying info on the block that would allow you (or someone) to write me a "recipe" for what parts I need to build up a stroker? I'm realizing that the added weight of the full size truck axles and 38" tires are going to necessitate more power. I've been thinking about Ford 302 power, as I have secured a 1993 EEC IV harness and computer, but that swap has its own challenges. I always thought a stroker was the best way to spice up my powertrain, and I still like the idea if I can be relatively certain if what parts I need to buy to get it right the first time. Please let me know what you think.
  6. My 1966 summer job at age seventeen was loading and driving the campground garbage truck at Mono Village, Upper Twin Lakes, California. Our hauler was a postwar 2-1/2 ton Chevrolet Advance Design truck with a lift bed. Other chores were performed with various WWII surplus vehicles. One, a WWII weapons carrier pickup, was a Dodge WC 4x4. The truck had extremely low gearing and a staid, inline L-head six cylinder engine that cranked over slowly with its 6-volt electrical system but never failed to start. At the peak of the 'sixties muscle car era, this workhorse was relegated to campground duty. Dodge came away from its wartime chores with the military line-up plus a rugged civilian 4x4 Power Wagon launched in 1945. Surplus military and postwar civilian Power Wagon trucks worked at ski resorts, house moving, mining sites and any other place where maximum traction and hauling power were a requirement. In this forum, owners and restorers can share tips, questions, experiences and enthusiasm for their vintage Dodge truck projects, including the WC, M37 and civilian W100, W200, W300, W500 and W600 Power Wagon all-wheel drive models through 1980. In my library of mechanical restoration manuals, I have professional level rebuilding and troubleshooting details, data and specifications that cover Dodge/Fargo Power Wagon 4x4s and even the larger W500 and W600 trucks from this era. I can share my experience, tips and mechanical details for 1941 to 1980 Dodge 4x4 military and civilian models. Rebuilding a 230 or 251 (1961-up) cubic-inch flathead inline-six cylinder engine, a 225 slant six (1963-up), poly head 315 or 318 V-8s, or a vintage 331/354/392 Hemi V-8, an LA 318 V-8 with forged crankshaft or a big block 383 B-Series Wedge V-8? Restoring vintage axles, a two-speed transfer case, 4-speed manual transmission (spur gear and synchromesh) with power take off (PTO) or a vintage steering gear? Need reliable shop level facts, data and parts details, or want to share your Dodge/Fargo 4x4 experiences? Join us here!—Moses Ludel It was 1960, and our family's '58 Plymouth was overworking itself with its 230 cubic inch L-head six and column shift 3-speed manual transmission. The Plymouth was a 'Silver Special' model that my folks bought as their first-ever new car. It was stripped to the bone, with a dealer installed heater and no radio—by today's standards, a shell!...When gas station attendants opened the hood, they gawked at the same engine bay that housed a 392 hemi V-8 in a Chrysler or Imperial. Narrow and straight up, you could stand alongside the L-head inline six, a 1930s design on its last rounds. By 1960, the "slant six" 225 replaced this venerable old engine. All Mopar cars were "full-size" in 1958—essentially the same engine bay regardless of engine type! Anyway, we were driving over Sonora Pass before dawn, heading from Twin Lakes near Bridgeport to the Bay Area. California Highway 108 was even more twisting and narrow then, if that's possible, and the switchbacks at the summit of the pass sapped the lacking horsepower right out of that flathead six! Rough factoring of 3-5 percent loss of horsepower per 1000 feet elevation, the carbureted engine was down to 55% or so of its somewhat miniscule 132 horsepower: 72.6 horsepower remaining! Description of Sonora Pass: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonora_Pass The engine stalled on one in the steep (up to 26% grade near Leavitt Meadows!) switchbacks. It was pitch darkness, starlight only, when my father backed the car down slightly to clear the narrow road. The one-wheel (double hitch, swivel wheel) camp supply trailer went off the road and onto a milder slope of granite rock. The Plymouth followed, becoming high-centered, not in a damaging way, fortunately, yet with the frame perched on rock and the rear tires unable to gain traction. Try to the point of smoking the clutch, there was no way to move the car ahead, and when the sun eventually rose and lit the Sierra Range, the predicament became clear: It was July, yet traffic was nearly non-existent. One car passed and wished us well, then a flat-fender Jeep crept up the switchbacks, its four-banger whining through the pine trees. Two hearty guys had the top down, and they looked half frozen. They stopped the Jeep and talked with my father for a minute. Out came a tow chain, and they vainly attempted to pull the Plymouth forward. With all four tires chirping away and the chain acting like a tether, the vintage Jeep CJ and its L-head four proved no match for the Plymouth and trailer—even in low range. Simply not enough weight to get traction. It was bone-chilling dawn at over 9,000 feet elevation! Highway 108 is the second highest pass over the Sierra Range at 9,624 feet. There were still snow banks adjacent to the recently opened, seasonal highway. Sonora Pass is best known for the Marine Corps' Mountain Warfare Training Center on the Bridgeport or West Walker River side of the route. Our cause seemed lost. Finally, at first light, the silence broke with the sound of a husky V-8 engine. Minutes later, the 1957 Dodge W100 Power Wagon pickup came into view. Huddled in the Plymouth to keep warm, we could not imagine a more welcome site! The truck stopped on the deserted road, and we could see a couple talking. The driver got out of the truck and took a close look at the Plymouth. His wife was commenting on how far we were from Sonora, California. "Could disconnect the trailer, although it's not that heavy," the man talked as if thinking aloud. "I've got enough weight that if I pull your car downhill onto this curve in the road, it will slide off that rock and be free." My father got his instructions: He was to keep the Plymouth running and apply power lightly when the Power Wagon took the slack out of the logging chain that connected the vehicle frames. My mother, sister and I stood by the high side of the road and watched. The Power Wagon was amazing. I'd never heard a low range growl through truck axle gearing. Creeping forward and down the steep, narrow roadway, the massive truck turned the Plymouth sideways. The V-8 never rose beyond a fast idle... In less than a minute, the Plymouth and trailer aligned with the road and popped onto the pavement. Chain disconnected, my father took off to the bottom of that switchback and safely turned the car and trailer around. We watched him sail by in first gear, foot well into the throttle, as he aimed for the crest of the hill. At eleven years of age, I watched a V-8 Power Wagon W100 in action and was sold! Dodge was years ahead of Ford and General Motors, and the V-8 offering even eclipsed the inline six-cylinder I-H 4x4 pickups of the mid-'50s. Years of military and civilian truck building came together in the '57 W100 and W200 Power Wagon pickups, and the 315 and 318 poly-spherical cylinder head V-8 options helped transition Dodge into the modern truck era...Early in the game, I learned what a Dodge W100 Power Wagon could do!
  7. I was wondering if anyone could give me a conservative estimate of what a running, driving, and rusted out 2005 Jeep Liberty is worth parted out? I've been told not even to expect "Wholesale" price because it's uninspectable, that's here in Vermont though, so I don't have a clue what it could be worth in an area where the value is not in a driver, but parts car. Good engine, transmission, transfer case, etc... The "Salvage Yards" are paying scrap prices for vehicles no matter the condition these days, and $150.00 isn't going to get it when the engine alone is worth more than that.Prices in the local CL are all over the place. $1000.00 for an undrivable 201,000 mile car?? Others for $400.00 to $600.00 complete. There's no rhyme or reason. Maybe you can provide some examples from your area. One question remains. What is a Wholesale price? There isn't a real answer anymore. Most people look to an auction report that the public can't see prior to dealing with a dealer. How can you devine the value of your car and the seller's car if all the "Book Prices" are useless? Here in Vermont the Southern car is king.
  8. Hi, I have a Third Gen 2002 Ram 3500 4x4 with an 8 liter v10 in it. It is a low mileage truck and I have been wanting to convert it into a diesel for a while now. It only has 93,000 miles on it and is well maintained. I was wondering what all I would have to do to convert this truck into a diesel, and how much it would cost. I have been messing around with the idea for a while now, but I now have some free time to change the engine if I have the money. Please help me find about how much it would cost to do this, thank you.
  9. We all need the right tools, supplies, food, water and safety equipment when traveling to remote country. Four-wheeling and motorcycle backcountry travel, in particular, require careful planning and appropriate travel gear. In all cases, safety equipment, medical emergencies, repair tools, tire repair kits, vital spare parts and other necessities can make or break a trip. Discuss and share topics at this forum!—Moses Ludel
  10. First, a little background. I am not a mechanic, nor am I exceptionally knowledgeable about engine repair, and certainly not restoration or replacement. I have a moderate level of experience with automotive repairs and know my way around a toolbox. I have little limitation in finance and time. Now, for my question. Essentially, I'm just wondering how possible/practical it is to fully restore a somewhat older vehicle. And i don't mean an engine rebuild. I mean literally remove every piece and replace it with a new one. Every. Little. Piece. Regardless of price/time constraints, is it possible to do this? To literally have an old body/frame but entirely new vehicle? If so, what are some potential difficulties/issues that may be present? How much would a project like that generally cost? Any tips or recommendations you might have for me as far as brands and such go? Thanks all for taking your time to help me out! *Note: For some context/additional information, I'd like to complete this project on an old 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport
  11. The steering gear and linkage are vital safety concerns—yet the pitman arm on a 4WD Jeep or other light 4x4 truck can easily be installed incorrectly. With the popularity of oversized tires and suspension lift kits, many pitman arms get replaced long before there is a parts wear issue. A dropped pitman arm is often part of a suspension lift kit, and the pitman arm on a new or relatively new vehicle may get replaced with a dropped arm. Here are some procedures that I use when installing a pitman arm: 1) Never turn the arm against either of the steering gear's extreme left or right turn positions. Force against the gear in these positions can damage the steering gear internal parts—the gear is not intended to absorb this kind of force at either end of the worm or ball nut's travel. I like to keep the steering gear and pitman arm close to the center or straight-ahead steering position during pitman arm removal and installation. 2) When removing the pitman arm nut on a typical steering gear, there is a lot of force required. It is easier on parts to use an air impact gun and socket to remove the nut, as there is less tendency for the pitman to rotate...If you have the steering gear removed from the vehicle, consider holding the arm in a large bench vise (with the gear assembly free) while loosening or tightening the nut. 3) Once the nut is removed, use the correct pitman arm puller tool to prevent damage to the steering shaft and other parts. Make sure the tool fits properly between the backside of the arm and the neck of the steering gear housing, with enough clearance to prevent damaging the housing/casting! 4) There is considerable force with the pitman arm secured on tapered splines, so use extreme caution with the puller tool. Once the initial tension relieves, the arm will come off readily. 5) Clean up the sector shaft splines as needed. It is critical that the new pitman arm fits properly, an interference fit that demands clean mating surfaces. If installing a powder coated aftermarket pitman arm, I always use a suitable drill motor-powered wire brush to remove the powder coating from the tapered seat and splines of the new pitman arm. (I remove paint here, too.) Don't damage or dull the spline teeth in the process! Warning: If you mate a powder-coated part at the splines, you will get a false torque reading. There is a high likelihood that the pitman arm will loosen at the splines as steering force wears through the powder coating. If you have a powder-coated arm already installed, and if the arm has been in service, re-check the nut torque with the pitman arm in the straight ahead steering position. 6) Always use the required torque wrench and socket to bring the sector/pitman nut to proper torque. Again, make sure the arm is near the straight ahead steering position to prevent damaging the steering gear. The torque required is high, especially on a recirculating ball-and-nut power gear, much more than on a light-duty vintage Jeep cam-and-lever gear! Do not second-guess the torque setting. Use a factory or professional shop manual to determine the correct torque for the pitman/sector nut on your steering gear. 7) When reattaching steering tie-rods, make sure they are clean and free of debris. If the outer end of the new pitman arm has a tapered seat with powder coating or paint, I use a drill motor-powered wire brush to remove the powder coating and take the tapered seat to bare metal. 8) Attach a clean tie-rod ball stud to the pitman arm tapered seat, using the correct type nut (typically castellated or flanged self-locking) that comes with the tie-rod end. Flanged, self-locking nuts are often one-time use only. Consult the factory workshop manual for recommendations on replacing fasteners or use of thread locking liquid. Always use OEM grade hardware and fasteners. 9) Align steering joints, adjusting sleeves and tie-rod ends so that the ball studs are on center with the steering linkage aligned. Make sure none of the joints bind or run out of travel over the full range of steering turn positions and angles. Make sure that parts do not interfere with each other. 10) I always recheck the torque on the pitman and tie-rod fasteners after a short time in service. This is a safety precaution that may catch a part requiring a slight re-torque. Again, this is all about safety. Use of oversized tires places an even bigger load on these parts... Moses
  12. I have attached a few pictures of this transmission I have but I don't know where its from I need help identifying this transmission the only thing I can identify here is the transfer case because it has the sticker in the back its an NP "new process" 249 J This is a manual 4wd transmission I believe its an ax15 transmission but please give me your input as i'm not sure any help is appreciated one more thing from the shape of the bell housing I don't think this came of a Jeep possibly AMC or other but thanks again
  13. The 2013 SEMA and AAPEX Shows are next week (November 4-8, 2013)...I will be covering these record size events at Las Vegas, Nevada. SEMA expects over 2500 exhibits, and AAPEX has grown, too. Estimated attendance will be 140,000 at SEMA! As usual, you can expect film highlights in HD video at the 4WD Mechanix HD Video Network. By mid-November, I will also have details on the testing of Hypertech's Stage 3 Max Energy engine programming on the magazine's 2005 Dodge/Ram 3500 5.9L Cummins diesel powered pickup. We just loaded that software in time for the SEMA Show and will have 1,200 miles of real world data to share when I return from Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada! During the week of November 1st through the 8th, I'll be scurrying around and preoccupied with a roster of key meetings with sponsors and new product tours. I'll rejoin the forums discussion on the weekend of November 9th-10th. Trust that all of the members will enjoy sharing and discussions during the week I'm covering the SEMA/AAPEX Shows! I will follow the forums through Thursday, October 31st, updating and sharing... Moses
  14. Today I went to shift out of 4 high and my transfer shift lever didn't feel right. The fact that I had a hard time getting out of my icy driveway didn't sink in until I tried to shift back into 4 high. I was trying to properly engage the transfer case at the proper speed, but nothing happened and it was then I realized that there was no resistance in the shift lever. I went all the way to 4 low without anything happening, so I assume that the cable has become disconnected or has broken. Being without proper space to work under the Liberty at this time of year I will be forced to take it into a shop. Am I looking at a costly repair, or a quick fix? Thanks for the information.
  15. Well, Moses, you recommended a Cherokee Sport, and I think I may have found a decent one to work on. It is only $500.00 and it supposedly runs well and the 4x4 works. It's a 2000 with 190,000 on the 4.0L motor. It needs rockers and floor work. It also needs a power steering reservoir o-ring for the power steering to work. The only picture on Craigs List shows a pretty decent original Jeep. I would really like an old CJ, but I'll do what's best for my daughter and my budget for now and hopefully the old CJ will show up when I can do the best job on it. It sounds like the trailer hitch alone would be worth the investment. I'll still enjoy the Liberty while working on this, if I can get my hands on it. I can't believe I'm the only one looking at this time of year.
  16. I have recently purchased a 1993 Jeep YJ with a 4.0. The jeep recently started running and idling rough. The Check Engine Light (CEL) was not lit nor did it illuminate when the key was turned ON. After further investigation I found the CEL bulb was removed and found shards of glass in the socket. I removed the socket and added a new bulb. Upon further investigation I found the PCM is storing the following codes: 12 ==> Battery disconnected (accurate) I just did a head light upgrade and added relays. 27 ==> I have found a few listed on-line... Code 27 -Injector control circuit-bank output driver stage does not respond properly to the control signal. Code 27-Injectors No. 1, 2, or 3 control circuit and peak current not reached. Then followed by the closing code 55 I am not sure where to start troubleshooting this... Thanks in advance! Bruce
  17. Originally a Q&A Vlog question at the magazine, a Jeep owner has trouble with the gauges and engine tune on his early YJ Wrangler. I suggest several troubleshooting and diagnostics tools for checking circuits, grounds and voltage drops. The use of a volt-ohmmeter, lamp load test and other techniques apply. Wiring integrity and proper splices are also discussed: Trust you'll find this helpful... Moses
  18. The magazine's YouTube Channel generates a lot of questions, and I encourage viewers to join us at these forums. A current exchange involved a viewer installing a 4.0L Jeep water pump and asking about how to seal the gasket and engine-to-block. This is worthwhile for our forum community, here is the discussion: Question from Ben D.: Did you use Gasgacinch between the water pump gasket and block? Looooong time ago I remember using RTV. Was it necessary? My reply: I like Gasgacinch on a cut paper gasket like the water pump. RTV can slough and find its way into the radiator tubes and clog. An even coating of Gasgacinch, on each side of the cut gasket, is wise. Gasgacinch resists coolant, gear lube, engine oil and other automotive fluids. It works well around higher temperature castings. Edelbrock private labels the product for its valve cover and intake manifold gaskets, each a higher heat area of the engine. (Gasgacinch is not for an exhaust manifold where I would use Permatex Ultra-Copper RTV or Permatex Copper Spray-a-Gasket Hi-Temp sealant.) Like many other professionals, I have used Gasgacinch in motorcycle engine work. My recent XR650R Honda project's rocker box to cylinder head seal is one example of a precisely machined, interference fit without a gasket, using only Gasgacinch for that fit. (There is no factory gasket here, just sealant.) This is a good discussion for the magazine's forums at: http://forums.4WDmechanix.com. Join us, Ben!...Moses I use Gasgacinch on transmission and transfer case cut gaskets, engine oil pan (cork, rubber or composition) gaskets, seal jackets and shells, bolt threads, and many other paper gasket and interference fit locations. It works well when coated evenly, and Gasgacinch has excellent tacking ability for holding an awkward cut paper or cork gasket in place during installation. The YouTube video series on the Jeep Cherokee 4.0L cooling system and water pump work is at: http://www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Jeep-4.0L-Water-Pump-and-Serpentine-Belt.html. Gasgacinch is a long time respected sealant and belt dressing, and yes, it can help preserve and quiet belts! Moses
  19. Good afternoon, I'm looking for information about all that we should know before servicing an axle. I'm not an experienced mechanic, so I like to investigate before mess it up. Which one will be the best fluid to fill up the differential? I've read about API GL-5 and 75W-90 specs for this. I've also read about a limited slip differentials and an additive to be required for that one. So, how can we identify the axle that we have, starting with this, I've read that the D35 has a plastic plug. But mine has a threaded one. What things can we look for, to identify the D35 and D30 axles? How can we identify or distinguish the limited slip one? Thanks in advance. Alberto.
  20. Moses, a friend of mine is having a hard time with his YJ when he tries to start the engine. He said that some times take more than 10 attempts cranking the engine but it wont run. When we had luck and get the engine running, it suddenly dies when driving, becoming a critical safety issue as it loses power steering and brake boost. A mechanic took the ignition components to a lab for testing, he said that everything is OK. (Coil, Distributor, Wires and Ignition module). Please share some of your wisdom that can help him to find where the problem is. Thanks in advance.
  21. Forum Member Alberto from Colombia did a rear axle lube change on his recently purchased 1989 Jeep Wrangler 4x4. He discovered that the Dana 35 rear axle differential case is missing the lock pin retainer for the pinions/spider gear shaft. This is a crucial safety issue and deserves its own topic. Here is a copy of my response to Alberto, we can discuss this further: "Alberto...The "missing" lock pin retainer on the pinions or "spider gears" shaft is very important, as this lock pin holds the pinions/spider gears shaft in place. Warning: If the pinions/spider gear shaft works its way out on a C-clip design axle, the axle shafts can slide inward, C-clips drop loose, and the axle shaft(s) can slide out the side of the vehicle. This results in severe damage or an accident due to loss of vehicle control. On both the C-clip and non-C-clip axles, if the pinions/spider gear shaft slides out, it can destroy parts or even cause axle parts to seize. The rear axle could lock up and cause a severe loss of vehicle control and an accident. According to the 1989 factory service manual (U.S. edition), your rear Dana 35 axle should not have a C-clip design axle. You should have press-on axle shaft bearings and bearing retainer plates at the outer tube ends of the axle housing. The retainers keep the bearings and axle shafts from sliding out of the axle housing, and the axle shafts with bearings are a snug fit into the axle tube ends. These "seal retainer" plates attach to the brake backing plate studs. Some differential carriers (typically those with C-clip axles) use a retainer bolt to hold the pinion shaft in place. These bolts are notorious for snapping during removal. This ends up a major problem, as the high tensile strength sheared bolt shank must be removed before the axle can be serviced. (I'll save this repair for when such a question comes up in the forums.) Most often, during axle shaft bearing or seal replacement service, the bolt snaps as you try to remove it. In your situation, if this is not a C-clip axle, you should have a pinion/spider gear shaft "lock pin" and not a lock bolt. You may be able to install a new pin with the differential still in the axle housing. Access may be an issue, but this part is very important. If you cannot install the lock pin retainer with the differential case and ring gear in position, you will need to remove both axle shafts and the differential case with the ring gear to access the lock pin hole. First see if you can access the retainer pin hole without removing the differential case. Here is the illustration of an "open" differential, not a limited slip. Zoom-in for details. (Your mouse scroll wheel may be necessary for this step.)...Note the role of the shaft lock pin, Mopar P/N S0455313. This may be a generic part number: 1989 Wrangler Rear Axle.bmp 7.52MB 1 downloads If you have Trac-Lok, that differential also uses a lock pin to hold the differential shaft in place. Here are the Mopar part numbers for the Trac-Lok differential spider gear (pinions) shaft lock pin: PIN, Retaining...83505019 (1987-89); 05252502 for 1990 You do need to take care of this lock pin issue right away, Alberto... Moses
  22. One of the best lessons learned from years of instructing and our forum discussions is the value of visual learning! Now, the innovative Vimeo On Demand streaming HD video program enables the streaming of 4WD Mechanix 'Tech and Travel' How-to Series HD videos covering a wide range of subjects. Under the 4x4 hood and chassis, on the motorcycle repair stand or from the work bench, I'll deliver step-by-step, close-up HD video details for shop technicians and serious DIY enthusiasts. As you would expect, the growing list of instructional videos will demonstrate best professional practices and proven procedures for each step in the process! 4WD Mechanix Magazine and 'Tech and Travel' Forums have become an online resource for reliable technical information, in depth 'how-to' coverage and off-road lifestyle content for Jeep®, 4x4 truck, SUV, OHV and dirt bike/powersports enthusiasts. Vimeo On Demand takes viewers to the next level with streaming HD video instructional step-by-step learning! By following the steps provided in each video, viewers can perform professional-level work, save considerable cost and gain valuable insights. Off-pavement, your 4x4 truck, Jeep® vehicle or dirt/dual-sport motorcycle must be reliable and safe. Performing your own work, the right way, can increase your self-reliance while enhancing your troubleshooting skills. Projects take time to complete. The Honda XR650R motorcycle upper engine rebuild project became the first Vimeo On Demand production. The work and filming experienced the customary parts delays, machine shop sublet time and unforeseen obstacles. For this reason, all rentals are for a generous 30-day period. This added value provides the time needed for viewers to perform quality work. The 4WD Mechanix 'Tech and Travel' HD Video Series at Vimeo On Demand brings select, highly detailed 'how-to' instructional videos and backcountry travel narratives to viewers. Streaming HD videos can provide close-up, professional insights and sharp HD 1080P detail—directly from your mobile device, laptop, PC or the latest big screen "Smart" television! Watch the growing playlist of available streaming HD videos at Vimeo On Demand! Moses
  23. When you find that your engine repair includes cylinder honing, apply this process properly. The optimal honing finish will have the right cross-hatch pattern with correct angles. If you're unsure of the right "look" or angles, look closely at the photo below, the magazine's cylinder barrel after machine honing at L.A. Sleeve Company: Hand honing will involve the correct diameter stone hone or flex hone ("glaze buster"). Your cross-hatch pattern will depend upon the right pressure and speed of the hone as you run it up and down in the cylinder. At our tools forum, you will find my comments on the two most common cylinder hones and their applications. Once you choose the correct hone and decide what you want the cylinder wall to look like when finished, clean the cylinder carefully and take measurements. If you're honing in an automotive engine bay with the head off and the rods and pistons removed, make sure to protect the crankshaft journals from honing debris. This debris is abrasive and will instantly damage new rod and main bearings! Wrapping the journals with clean shop rags is one method of protecting the crankshaft. I like to use a suitable honing oil. Some will use an actual machine shop honing oil. I like "Lube Guard Assembly Lubricant" for its lubricating and cleaning ability. As you hone, the cylinder must slough off abrasive from its pores. There is both the cylinder material and the hone material to consider here, each highly abrasive! When honing, I like to use a rhythmic pattern up and down in the cylinder, moving the hone uniformly and with the same speed and force over the full cylinder. In the day, my mentors recommended moving the hone "in slowly, out quickly", and that pattern is good, too. If you're unfamiliar with the speed of a hone, try a one-second-down, one-second-up kind of count that's easy to follow. I use a 1/2-inch hand drill motor with cross handles if possible to maintain center while honing. Note: For some motorcycle barrels, it might be practical to use a drill press and suitable holding fixture for the barrel. Simulate the honing equipment found in an automotive machine shop. You have good speed (usually adjustable on most presses) and alignment control. Set speed to your needs. Use plenty of lubricant while honing this way! With a stone hone, you can adjust the stone pressure against the wall and also choose a suitable stone grit. If you have no idea what grit, there are usually manufacturers' recommendations for each stone set type. These are general recommendations and reflect speed and pressure as well. Cylinder wall material can vary widely. Iron is often alloyed with nickel or even chromium and moly like L.A. Sleeve Company's "Moly 2000" liners. If in doubt, use a moderate grit, it may take longer but will not chew up a cylinder wall and require re-boring. Warning: Both automotive and motorcycle engines that have Nikasil bore plating require special honing with a diamond hone. Do not attempt to hone this material with a conventional stone hone or glaze-buster silicone flex hone. Sublet honing to a shop with appropriate equipment. A good approach when determining a cross-hatch pattern is to match the original cross-hatch that is evident at the top of the bore above the taper. This ledge or "ridge" is not affected by the piston ring travel and therefore should show a pattern that the engine manufacturer (or a machine shop rebuilder) has used. Note: This works fine for most honing jobs, although there are some very exotic OEM hone patterns like the late '80s to 1990 4.2L inline six AMC/Jeep engines. Jeep had a problem with ring seating (likely due to consumers having no idea how to "break-in" an engine by that era). AMC went to a radical "swept" hone pattern: course, irregular and circular—not the conventional "X" look of typical power honing. The simplest ways to have a new hone job go sour would be failure to thoroughly clean the cylinder of debris after honing and failure to sufficiently break-in or "seat" the new rings. I tested many Jeep and other 4x4 trucks for OFF-ROAD Magazine in the '80s to mid-'90s (Argus Publishers days) and also tested vehicles on behalf of the Portland Oregonian newspaper in the early '90s. I recall several tests involving vehicles with very low miles on the clock that were using/burning oil. The cause was previous testers running these engines too hard without consideration for break-in. I never reported the oil consumption in these vehicle evaluations; this was driver error, not a manufacturing defect. In particular, I recall a 1989 Jeep YJ Wrangler with a 4.2L carbureted inline six that used a quart of oil every 50 miles and also a TBI Chevrolet Silverado V-8 pickup that used a quart of motor oil every 300 miles. Each of these engines had rings that had not seated. I was able to reduce the oil burning dramatically during my test intervals by simply treating these near-new vehicles with consideration and allowing the rings to seat properly. If given enough time, I'm certain the oil consumption could have been overcome. Some practical considerations include selecting piston rings designed for a reasonable break-in period. Unless building an all-out racing engine with forged pistons, I avoid "chrome" rings. Moly rings work very well and respond quickly to a properly finished cylinder wall. Make sure your cylinder(s) is spotlessly clean before applying either a light engine oil or Lube Guard to the cylinder walls for both piston and ring insertion and the initial engine startup. A new oil pump and pickup screen is always wise for automotive engines during a rebuild. You have the oil pan down anyway, replace the pump. For domestic engines, I've always run a Melling "High Volume" replacement pump and screen. Cheap insurance policy for a long engine life. Note: On motorcycle engines, at least measure the oil pump rotor and pump gears, check the housing for pitting and damage. Make sure parts are within specification from the manufacturer. Replace parts as needed. I'd like to follow up this article by creating an HD video how-to on cylinder honing. I'll look for an iron motorcycle cylinder or an engine block in need of honing. It would be productive to share the "art" of cylinder honing in video! Moses
  24. Hi guys. I have an odd question, and since i keep getting different answers, i figured i would ask here for some clarification. My question actually pertains specifically to the AX15 in the Dakota, but maybe this can be used to start a discussion about other transmissions as well. My question is simple, which is better to use in the Dakotas AX15, regular 80w-90, Pennzoil syncromesh, Lucas heavy duty 80w-90, or 50w engine oil? My truck sees extreme cold and warm weather, limited 4 wheel drive use, mild to once in awhile heavy towing, and frequent short trips and large amounts of highway miles. My idea was to use one quart of Lucas heavy duty 80w-90, and one quart of regular 80w-90, but some people say not to do that, and others say dont use the Lucas at all, so which is the right answer?
  25. We all know the value of anti-freeze/coolant. Anti-freeze is essential for preventing casting cracks when you park the vehicle in freezing weather. By contrast, the coolant properties raise the boiling point of the solution, making our modern engines tolerate higher operating temperatures, which can provide more complete combustion of fuel and cleaner tailpipe emissions. Higher pressure radiator caps also help raise the boiling point. Every liquid cooled engine parked at below freezing temperatures requires anti-freeze. Specifications call for anti-freeze/coolant that is compatible with engine and cooling system metals. We follow these requirements to extend engine life and preserve the engine's castings, seals and gaskets, heater core and other vital cooling system components. In addition to the type of anti-freeze/coolant, there is the manufacturers' recommendation about the concentration or "specific gravity" of the anti-freeze mixture. For cooling in summer and reasonable anti-freeze protection in the winter, most manufacturers settle for the traditional minus-34 degrees F anti-freeze protection as a year-round mixture. A 50/50 mix of pure (straight) anti-freeze and distilled water will usually provide this degree of anti-freeze protection. (See the label on the container.) Some environments require even more antifreeze protection. However, most products limit the maximum anti-freeze protection to something like minus-60 degrees F or a maximum percentage like 70% antifreeze and 30% distilled water. A closed thermostat (new Cummins thermostat shown at left) and too much anti-freeze/coolant are a recipe for excessive pressure in the cooling system. The right amount of anti-freeze/coolant will raise the boiling point of the coolant. Too much anti-freeze/coolant can actually cause boil over and coolant loss, damage to the radiator or heater core, and a reduction in anti-freeze protection...You wouldn't want to overheat—or freeze and crack—this Cummins 5.9L inline six cylinder diesel's head or cylinder block by running either too little or too much anti-freeze/coolant! Warning: Do not attempt to increase the concentration of antifreeze for a temperature lower than advised on the label. Running a stronger concentration of anti-freeze than this will not provide better anti-freeze protection. In fact, with too much anti-freeze/coolant, the freezing protection decreases. Overly high concentrations or pure anti-freeze may lead to cracking a casting in freezing temperatures. As for boil over, the boiling point actually drops with too much anti-freeze concentration. The system may boil over—either during normal warm-up phase of the engine or at normal engine operating conditions! Anti-freeze is designed to mix with distilled water. If you run straight anti-freeze, there is a likelihood of high cooling system pressure during warm-up with the thermostat closed. The engine may also boil over within normal operating temperatures. In freezing weather, you can crack the block, a head or other castings by running either too much anti-freeze in solution or pure anti-freeze! Pure anti-freeze is not to be confused with "pre-mixed" anti-freeze coolant. "Pre-mix" is typically distilled water and anti-freeze mixed before packaging at a 50/50 ratio. This "pre-mixed" anti-freeze coolant is usually good for minus-34 degrees F protection in the winter and a boiling point of 260-plus degrees F in the summer—with the right pressure cap on the radiator or system. Boiling point increases with the use of a specific radiator cap pressure, usually 17 PSI or so for most modern engines. If the cap pressure is lower than the recommended OEM cap, the boiling point will drop accordingly. For this reason, it is important that your radiator cap is in top condition and holding proper pressure. Understand that a vintage vehicle with a much lower pressure radiator/cooling system cap will have a lower boiling point than 260 degrees F, even with 50/50 mix of anti-freeze/coolant. So, make sure your engine's cooling system is protected against both boil over and freezing. But don't use more anti-freeze than the mixture for the lowest recommended temperature protection on the anti-freeze/coolant container. (Typically, this mixture limit is indicated on the container's label.) Know whether the anti-freeze is pre-mix or pure anti-freeze. Make sure you allow the coolant to mix thoroughly before reading the protection level with an anti-freeze hydrometer or specific gravity tester. Too little anti-freeze/coolant is dangerous and leaves the engine unprotected against cold freezing. Too much anti-freeze/coolant can also lower protection against both overheating (boil over) and cold freezing. Anti-freeze requires the right amount of water to work properly. Read labels carefully. As a footnote, we're talking about the anti-freeze/coolant in the radiator and overflow tank. Always check the anti-freeze at the radiator after the engine has circulated coolant thoroughly, including through the heater core; to avoid severe skin and eye burns, remove the radiator cap only after the engine has cooled down completely! Loosen the cap slowly, stop at the first notch, and release all pressure before removing the cap. Prestone or equivalent tester like the one at left can be purchased for $5 or so at any auto supply. If you follow directions, this hydrometer can be accurate and a quick test for anti-freeze protection. At right is a Stant cooling system pressure tester for the radiator/cooling system and also for testing cap pressure. A Stant diagnostic tool kit like this has been in my tool set since 1981, and it still works great. The cooling system pressure tester has a variety of uses and is an excellent troubleshooting tool. Mix the anti-freeze solution in the overflow bottle to the same mixture you have in the radiator. After several complete heat-up and cool down cycles, the anti-freeze/coolant in the engine, radiator and overflow bottle should reach a uniform mixture. At that point, measure specific gravity with the anti-freeze hydrometer to get an accurate read on the protection level. Test the radiator cap's holding pressure with a pressure tester if available. If in doubt, install a new radiator cap. Periodically, test anti-freeze/coolant protection at both the radiator filler neck (engine completely cooled down first!) and at the overflow bottle. If the cooling system has been transferring coolant back and forth—cycling from cold to hot and back to cold over a long time—a quick hydrometer test at the overflow tank can be accurate. Moses
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