You and me both, really looking forward to having better ground clearance. Oughta flex real good, here's the exact same parts on my buddy's old ZJ - good thing we have long front spring posts or we'd be dropping coils all over the place:
So I now have a pile of suspension components in my basement almost ready for installation. However, there's a bit of a catch - Being the silly cheapass I am, I bought the parts used. In fact, I bought them off the vehicle pictured in my last post - when I said "exact same parts" I was being quite literal. I got them for a relative song (he blew up the motor and trans and decided to go back to a YJ, at least until he remembers how much he likes V8s) but with the knowledge that the rear control arms needed new flex joints (Rough Country arms are structurally excellent but their X-Flex end joints are utter, utter garbage) and he didn't have an adjustable rear track bar since he'd just relocated the axle-side mount when he swapped rear axles instead of getting an adjustable bar.
A little Googling later and I had determined that Currie Johnny Joints are a bolt-in replacement for the shit X-flex ends and are nigh indestructible. So, the final parts to do the suspension changeover will be here in a few weeks or so:
4x Currie Johnny Joints
1x JKS adjustable rear track bar
Now, since I was already ordering things, I figured I may as well prepare for my next major modification. I like Jeeps, I love my ZJ, but the factory brakes are fucking appalling - even more so with larger tires. A dinky single-piston front caliper that was originally used for the YJ Wrangler? Sure, that oughta be good enough for a vehicle over a thousand pounds heavier! Thanks, AMC! That's using your brain-hole!
Fortunately, with a little work you can swap the entire pair of steering knuckles and bigger twin-piston calipers from the WJ Grand Cherokee to the ZJ. Install WJ balljoints, weld a 1/4" spacer to the knuckle to offset the hub correctly, and you're away. There's a little more work involved if you want to retain your ABS... I'm not sure if I'm going to bother. It also gives me the option to install true crossover steering if I eventually feel the need and/or break my current setup.
So! Knuckle spacers inbound.
2x JKS WJ knuckle flange spacers
Also, since the big mods are awaiting parts and I wanted something to do, I tapped into my overhead console and installed a 5V USB power line for my dash cam since I hated having the power adapter taking up my cig lighter port (that I'd rather use for an inverter) and also hated having the power wire hang down the middle of my cabin.
Still waiting on those parts I ordered, though they should be here soon.
But in the meantime, road course racing on a frozen lake on mud terrains! Because why the fuck not. The sipes I cut into the tires when they were new helped a lot, they had more traction on the ice than they had any business having.
Well, I was faster than a new Porsche Cayenne S and a new Mercedes CLS that were on winter tires. That had a lot to do with their undefeatable traction and stability control systems that would kill engine power every time you wanted to slide around a corner. :lol: At any rate this was kind of an "intro to ice driving and racing" course so we didn't have timed laps, but I was generally mid-pack or a bit below but I was OK with that as I had by far the least appropriate tires of any vehicle at the event. I borrowed one of the instructors' cars for a bit, an R32 AWD Golf with studded winters and it was an absolute blast.
Still lacking a garage of my own for installs, so my parts pile just keeps on growing!
My last shipment was missing one of the JKS flange spacers, which finally made it to the distributor today so they can mail it to me. NBD, as I'm still collecting parts for the brake upgrade.
Ordered Alloy USA chromoly ball joints in JK/WJ flavour as the taper on the lower WJ joint is different than the ZJ one. My current joints are probably in need of replacement anyway. I'd usually get Spicer joints but their version of these joints is junk within 15K.
Through some parts-number knowhow, I also ordered (from the dealership!) a full set of OEM Akebono front calipers, caliper brackets, and premium pads for less $ than buying a set of cheap remanufactured calipers and economy pads.
So, now, all I have left to do for the second-gen brake swap is grab a set of junkyard WJ knuckles, weld on the spacers, fab up a 1/4" spacer that doubles as an ABS relocation bracket (or delete the ABS I suppose) and bolt shit together.
So, the Jeep decided that it just really wanted to consume timing cover gaskets at a steady rate of one per year, thus making it generally unable to retain coolant inside itself. An annoyance especially considering the relative pain in the ass replacing that gasket is. The first couple times I used the normal paper gaskets, never again. Not fucking around, I also replaced the pitted original timing cover with a brand-new one and did the water pump while I was in there. I probably should have put in a new cover the last time this happened but figured filling it in with JB Weld and sanding smooth would work - it may have done so and only the gasket failed, but this time I was taking no chances.
If I never see the timing set again it will be too soon.
Paper gaskets = garbage. This was the good, non-leaky side. They might be fine for stopping oil splash, but just didn't stand up to pressurized coolant passage duty.
Left is the shit paper gasket, a Felpro 6563. This POS is included in Mopar P4876248 Engine Teardown Gasket Kits. I know this because I spent a month trying to track down a Mopar P4876052 timing cover gasket, which is a very high-quality metal-reinforced fiber gasket that is apparently out of production completely. An outfit in the States swore they has one in stock and I paid a dear price to have it shipped to Canada - Whoops! They didn't actually have one in stock and instead pulled the paper gasket from the P4876248 kit and assumed it was the same thing, despite it looking nothing like the image of the gasket on their website and their repeated assurances it was absolutely a reinforced fiber gasket. Nope! After a very angry phone call they refunded me my money and told me to keep the damned gasket.
Middle is the fiber gasket that came with the Dorman timing cover. It's actually quite a good quality gasket, but not a reinforced one - and as I said, I wasn't messing around this time.
Right is the TC gasket from the Fel-Pro TCS45996 kit - it's a full steel-framed gasket that's coated in silicone with multiple raised silicone ridges at the sealing faces. This is one badass gasket, probably better than the Mopar one I spent so much effort trying to find. So that's the one I installed.
New timing cover installed
New water pump installed (with a good fiber gasket, again no paper for me this time though I haven't had leakage in that area)
Buttoned back up, installed the fresh 150A alternator while I was at it.
Got her back together in time for moving to our new place next week, which is good since I'll finally have a shop and can do the brake and axle swaps.