Ownership Verified: BCS repeatedly breaks, fixes, and re-breaks his Jeep

BerserkerCatSplat

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This weekend I dug into the brakes again. I had tried a while back to install a set of stainless braided front lines, but discovered that no matter how much I soaked the 3/8 hard line fitting on the driver's side, it was seized solid to the hard line and trying to loosen it would just screw up the line. So I left it until I could find a replacement line from the junkyard as there's nowhere to get a new replacement line and one end has a metric bubble flare that I don't have the tool or the fitting to create.


At the same time, I changed the brake master cylinder reservoir. I recently installed a new master cylinder with reservoir (since my old reservoir was basically opaque with age), and only after installing it did I discover that the reservoir design (which is the same on all early-ZJ replacement master cylinders I could find online) is slightly different than the OEM one. Here's a post-removal comparison:





You can see that the grotty old one has much longer "legs" and sits at a different angle. Thus, if you use the aftermarket reservoir, it sits much lower and is tilted back towards the firewall a bit. I figured this wouldn't be an issue as I could still fill it just fine. And it did work OK, until I drove over a large speed bump and was treated to this sight:





That's fresh brake fluid pouring out of my fender. It turns out that if you hit a big bump, the aftermarket reservoir dumps a bunch of fluid from the front half into the back half, and the seal isn't enough to contain it, so it pours down the front of your brake booster and down the inner fender until it finds a hole. It also strips all the paint off the booster while it's at it.


So I found myself swapping the reservoir after emptying it out with a turkey baster as best I could without draining the actual master cylinder. Pain in the cunning linguals but I was going to do the hard line replacement anyway and pulling the reservoir off gave me better access to the hard line connection so I guess it all works out in the end. I put in a lower-mileage reservoir from the yard that was still an improvement over my old one.





Much better, but of course now I need to bleed that stupid ABS unit again.
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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I have absolutely no idea why it's so wrong. I suspect the reservoir is right for a similar model that uses the same master cylinder (Wrangler/Cherokee) and happens to look right enough that they just label it as also fitting the Grand Cherokee. I did some more digging today and Cardone does make a correct reproduction reservoir, so it can't be a legality thing.

Edit: Yep, looks like they modeled it after a Wrangler reservoir and assumed it would work for other models that used the same master.
 
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BerserkerCatSplat

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RE: ABS bleeding. Ended up buying a Snap-On MT2500 scanner because it was cheaper than paying the dealership to do it with their DRB3 scanner. Brakes good, much good.

Ran the Lost Knife trail with a local crew, was a great shakedown run for the new suspension.







SEE MOM, I'M NOT THE ONLY GUY DUMB-CRAZY ENOUGH TO WHEEL A ZJ.

Shakedown results:

- Outstanding suspension travel. Mad flex. I love long arms.
- Front shocks are probably longer than needed but make for tons of downtravel, had to bumpstop a bit more than I wanted to keep them from bottoming out in bump.
- She runs a bit warm on prolonged steep climbs. Didn't overheat but heatsoaked pretty bad when shut down. May spur me to do the e-fan conversion while I'm in redoing my accessory wiring anyway.
- Belt or pulley squeals under heavy power steering load with A/C on. Sounds like bird/Jeep mating call.
 

73GMCSprint

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Nice!

I'm wanting to do something similar with the suspension on my XJ.

The hood vents I put on mine have made a huge difference in underhood temps, especially at slow speeds or when stopped. Of course, that involves installing hood vents... I thought about an e-fan conversion but now I probably won't.
 

93Flareside

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Nice!

I'm wanting to do something similar with the suspension on my XJ.

The hood vents I put on mine have made a huge difference in underhood temps, especially at slow speeds or when stopped. Of course, that involves installing hood vents... I thought about an e-fan conversion but now I probably won't.

My dad had an '01 Cherokee which had an electric fan from the factory. It helped, but it was damn noisy. I was always suspect that the 210F engine temp it always ran at probably wasn't good either, but what do I know.
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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Nice!

I'm wanting to do something similar with the suspension on my XJ.

The hood vents I put on mine have made a huge difference in underhood temps, especially at slow speeds or when stopped. Of course, that involves installing hood vents... I thought about an e-fan conversion but now I probably won't.
The hood vents were a popular upgrade among the XJ people back when I was in the Jeep club a million years ago.

Can't wait to see the ZJ in Moab in 2021!

Long arms are rad, do it. IRO Pro Link would be my pick if I were buying today.

Yeah, I've also been considering hood vents too - the 5.9 Grand Cherokees actually came with a set from the factory, as well as an E-fan. May as well do both, honestly.

Man, I can't wait for Moab. Bring on 2021!
My dad had an '01 Cherokee which had an electric fan from the factory. It helped, but it was damn noisy. I was always suspect that the 210F engine temp it always ran at probably wasn't good either, but what do I know.

I guess the good news is I probably won't hear much of the fan over my exhaust and tires, haha. 210 is normal operating temp for an XJ, the stock thermostat is 195. 210 has been normal temp for my ZJ as long as I've owned it. I hit about 240 today, which isn't quite danger-zone but I'd rather keep it lower if possible.
 

Kiki

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Yay, glad the shakedown went relatively well. +1 for Moab 2021. 😁
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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Awesome that everything went smoothly!

Does any one do an EPAS retrofit? Or maybe time to get beefier hydro steering?

Also can't wait for Moab 2021

I don't think EPAS is an option for a steering gear that I'm aware of, EPAS is much easier to do on a rack/pinion. At any rate hydroboost is probaby overkill for 33s and going full hydro is a non-starter. I have a new PS pump I haven't installed yet, but I think it's probably just a pulley or the belt/tensioner causing the noise issue.
 

73GMCSprint

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My dad had an '01 Cherokee which had an electric fan from the factory. It helped, but it was damn noisy. I was always suspect that the 210F engine temp it always ran at probably wasn't good either, but what do I know.

Like BCS said, 210 on the gauge is perfectly normal for an XJ. Everything I've come across also says XJ temp gauges read a bit high and "210" is actually more like 190. My '94 does have an electric fan to supplement the mechanical one. It comes on automatically when the A/C is on, or if it gets hot enough. I would like to install a switch that allows for both manual and automatic control of the e-fan.
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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New fan clutch in and it's running as cool as ever again. Also a new tensioner pulley and accessory belt got rid of any squealy noises when the PS pump was getting worked with the AC on.

Did an evening/night run with a couple of guys to a trail appropriately named Top of the World. Usually not a super challenging trail but it'd snowed for the prior couple of days and it was slicker than goose shit. TruTrac up front and the LSD out back worked amazingly and no winching was needed. Dude on 35s but open diffs needed a couple of winches. I still have yet to winch myself over an obstacle but I'm sure it'll happen eventually, haha.

I'm just happy to be back on the trails with my wife riding shotgun.













 

BerserkerCatSplat

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No snow on the ground yet? PLUZ still open? Some dude with a stuffed panda ziptied to his ZJ wants to run? Let's hit the trails! Fuckin' mint!
























So after the run was "over" and we were taking "the easy way back", our fearless ursine leader took us down a side trail that had some neat off-camber trenches. Before we could get to said obstacles, we needed to cross a few mud bogs... and the first one was already home to a very, very stuck truck.



Nobody was home... but it was running with the keys in it. So we figured what the hell, the owner probably went for help so why not just pull it out in the meantime. We did a multi-angle winch to get the JK around the truck to the far side (he had the biggest winch in the group), anchored him to a tree, and stuck my hitch recovery point onto the truck. I threw on my wellies and waded my way into the truck, we fired up the winch, and by gawd she eventually came unstuck with much protesting and some throttle - she was mired in but good.

(Sorry for not-great pics, was too busy working to haul out the camera)





The truck was left in a convenient turnaround area with a jokey note and a plastic duck toy on the dash, sure to confound the owner when he returned to find his truck had teleported several yards uphill.

(The owner returned to the truck shortly after we got back to the trailhead and was indeed very amused and appreciative.)

We eventually made it to the trenches.




A solid day!
 

Kiki

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Looks like so much fun! Power washing for days!
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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And now for Continued Adventures In Not Leaving Well Enough Alone.

First, I jumped on a $200 Warn M8000 winch - about the same pulling power as my cheap Superwinch but US-made instead of imported and quite a bit faster.



However, there was a reason it was $200. RIP winch brake. That's OK (I knew the brake was suspect before I bought it), Warn parts are readily available.



New brake assembly is in, bushings and internals are regreased, drum is sanded smooth and refinished ready for my 3/8" synthetic line. Now just deciding whether to do a custom contactor conversion using the Warn solenoid housing and remote or to just swap the Superwinch contactor unit over entirely for a crazy Superwinch-Warn hybrid.




In the meantime, the guy with the white ZJ in the previous posts had some trans issues - his factory trans failed, he swapped in a used one, that one lasted for under a week before failing, so he had to install another used unit. I had a spare trans kicking around I was planning to do a performance build on eventually, so I bought his 2nd blown trans to steal the intermediate shaft out of to use as an alignment tool. Convoluted, I know.



So now my shop looks like a Torqueflite exploded. It was strange - the further I dug into the trans I was scratching my head because all the internals looked perfectly fine - no burned clutches, no blown planetaries, no metal shavings, nothing. It actually looked to have been rebuilt recently. That is, until I got to the absolute last part to disassemble - the pump.



Well, that explains it - and also explains why the trans only lived for a few days. The torque converter snout wasn't engaged on the pump tangs when it was installed, so when the vehicle was driven it ran the pump on friction for a while until it finally just lathed the pump tangs clean off and turned them into metal paste before ripping the pump in half. Not ideal.

So I have a bit of a quandary in that the only thing wrong with the trans is it needing a new pump and a few gaskets - I may just finish giving it the once-over, install a new pump, and sell it on. Which still leaves me needing an alignment tool for my trans...


And that brings me today.



High pinion front axle. Brand-new, never run 4.56 gears. Brand-new never run locker. $250.

Plans for the axle:
- Remove and sell the locker since I'll use my better locker instead. Should be able to get most of my $250 back from that alone.
- Transfer current axle goodies (TruTrac, knuckles, brakes, etc.)
- Drill/weld inserts to flip steering to over-the-knuckle
- Move track bar bracket to above the axle, shorten track bar, relocate sway link mounts


And there I thought I might run out of Jeep projects this winter.
 
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