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sanchagrin's' '71 Bronco and '98 XJ build thread
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sanchagrins
Thu Mar 28 2013, 08:00AM
NCK Member

Registered Member #279
Joined: Sat Mar 20 2010, 10:04PM
Location: Greenville NC
Posts: 50
Hey guys! It's been awhile since I've been on the site (or to a club meeting for that matter). Long story short I live in Northern VA right now. For those of you that don't know me I was an active member in the club for a few years about a year ago. I had a 2002 TJ, that I wheeled. Big thanks to Ed for all the countless hours he put into my jeep, and all the knowledge he imparted. Without him my Jeep would have fallen apart and I'm sure I'd still be stuck somewhere in URE.

Here is a picture of my TJ:
[ image disabled ]

Well....the wife got preggos and I ended up selling the Jeep to get a more "family friendly" vehicle. The Jeep was my daily driver and I figured the added ground clearance and two doors would make getting a carseat into the back a PITA. Not to mention my back seat bracket was broken, and I've read horror stories of Wrangler rears seats being ejected from the vehicle during crashes with two functional brackets.

So I've been without a Jeep for about a year and half at this point and it was killing me. So the wife and I went out and bought a 1998 Cherokee. It is bone stock right now. The good news is it has the 8.25 in the rear, which I've read is comparable to a D44.

Here is a photo of the new Jeep as she sits now:
[ image disabled ]

Right now I'm working on all the small mechanical issues and maintenance, but I'd like to start modding it soon. I should have most of that done soon. I figured I'd start a thread so I can ask Ed and the rest of you guys questions relating to any mechanical or modding issues I encounter. As Ed can attest to, I'm no mechanic, but I'm not an idiot either, and with each project I've done, I've been getting more an more comfortable doing the work myself. The Jeep wasn't too expensive either, so I'm not too worried about messing it up while I continue to learn.

My goals for the vehicle are to get a mechanically safe and sound vehicle that is capable offroad, while maintaining streetability. Until I can save up the money and buy a tow rig/trailer, I'm going to have to drive this back and forth from the trail. All extra money at this time are going to mods, tow rigs and trailers will have to wait.

Here is the short list for mods that I'd like to get done ASAP:
4.5" RC Suspension lift w/replacement leafs
33x12.50 15r tires
Upgrade Tie rod
Bumpers
Differential protection
Rocker protection

Obviously the modding wont stop there, but the rest will come when they come. I figure this thread will die down at times and stall due to lack of money and time issues. I'll update it whenever I get something new done.

Hopefully I will have it ready for the trails sometime this summer/fall and if so, I'll try to make it down for a club ride.

Cheers!

[ Edited Mon Jul 08 2013, 07:48PM ]
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sanchagrins
Thu Mar 28 2013, 08:26AM
NCK Member

Registered Member #279
Joined: Sat Mar 20 2010, 10:04PM
Location: Greenville NC
Posts: 50
Mechanical/Maintenance Update:

Well so far I've spent the last few days working in my garage on the XJ. Most of the work I've done so far has been minor, and has gone smoothly aside from some busted knuckles and scraped hands here and there. Here's what I've done:

  • Replaced spark plugs

  • Replaced air filter

  • Cleaned throttle body

  • Replaced thermostat

  • Replaced radiator hoses

  • Replaced heater hoses

  • Replaced battery cables/ground strap

  • Replaced battery terminals w/marine grade brass terminals


I have the supplies to change the transmission fluid and plan on doing that in the next few days. I've also been having some issues with my oil gauge with fluctuating pressure. I'm hoping its just the sending unit and not the oil pump. It sound like dropping the pan is a PITA. I went ahead and bought an oil pressure test kit from HF. The shop wanted $80 to diagnose it, and I figured at $24 for the kit I might as well learn to do it myself and get a tool out of it (a current theme here). I'll also be changing the transfer case and differential fluid, and changing my fuel filter within the next week or so. The distributor looks to be new, so I haven't messed with it.

I also cleaned up the engine compartment so I can note and monitor any leaks. This is the cleanest you will ever see this engine btw... I'm sure it will have a nice layer of baked on mud on it in no time! Air box out (getting cleaned), electric fan removed, new thermostat installed, new battery cables. Gotta put the hoses back on still, add fluid, etc...
[ image disabled ]

I do have a few questions for anyone that might be reading this:
  • When I replaced the thermostat and and hoses, should I have actually done a flush too? I saw a thread somewhere where a guy bought a radiator flush kit from HF. I haven't added the new fluid yet so I could still possibly do this. Also, when I drained the radiator I noticed the fluid was the orange kind. The manual calls for green. Is that going to cause any problems? I bought green.

  • Is there anything else I should do maintenance wise?


I'm also waiting for the NCDMV to send me the title, registration and tag. Hopefully I should have that sometime soon.
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NC-Fordguy
Sat Mar 30 2013, 12:59PM
Webmaster

Registered Member #2
Joined: Tue Mar 06 2007, 05:53PM
Location: Bethel NC
Posts: 1151
You got the family guy wheeling rig

Got an update on progress to share?

No Hablos Jeep

If it doesn't make sense, do it
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ord.sgt.26NC
Sun Mar 31 2013, 06:46PM
Registered Member #23
Joined: Sun Mar 18 2007, 10:12PM
Posts: 543
so you moved to N.Va ? Got a place I need for you to check on as a future wheelin trip up your way. Six miles outside of Winchester is a large camp ground and part that opens at certain times of the year for O.H.V.s .I think they call it Big Dogs and it has a 3 day ride in sept. Can you put an ear to the ground and find out the skinny on this park?
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sanchagrins
Mon Jun 03 2013, 09:29AM
NCK Member

Registered Member #279
Joined: Sat Mar 20 2010, 10:04PM
Location: Greenville NC
Posts: 50
Progress Update:

I was hoping to get the Cherokee lifted ASAP, but ran into some more minor mechanical issues. The XJ developed some classic signs of an exhaust manifold leak, so I went ahead an ordered an APN header. I had to remove a laundry list of things to get to the exhaust manifold (air box, electric fan, power steering pump, intake manifold), and everything went really well. I ended up having two cracks in the exhaust manifold. Once I had the old manifold off I noticed the driver side motor mount was shot. So I figured while I had a nice clear shot at it I might as well replace both mounts:

[ image disabled ]

The header bolted on fine, but I'm running into some fit issues with getting the intake manifold back on. After doing some reading it sounds like there are some known issues with intake manifolds and the APN header with 99+ Cherokees. The solution is some minor grinding to the runners on the intake manifold. Since this is a 98, and it should technically fit, I'm going to head back out this morning and give it another try before I take the grinder to it.

This is how it stands this morning:
[ image disabled ]

As far as the OHV park, I'll ask around. I know a few people in a OHV club up here in NOVA and hopefully they can shed some light on the park!

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sanchagrins
Fri Jun 07 2013, 01:39PM
NCK Member

Registered Member #279
Joined: Sat Mar 20 2010, 10:04PM
Location: Greenville NC
Posts: 50
Well it seems all I needed was a good nights rest and a fresh cup of coffee before trying to get the intake manifold back on. I was able it get it on without and grinding.

I'm also experiencing a problem with starting my XJ. The truck never starts on the first try but always the second. After some research it could either be a leaky injector, a battery voltage problem, or the check valve on the fuel pump assembly. I'm going to get the battery checked out and replace the single hole injectors with 4-hole (703). I went ahead and ordered the injector service kit today, and I've got a list of vehicles that have the 703s on them and I plan on hitting the junkyard soon. I figured I wanted to replace the injectors anyways, and hopefully it will fix my starting issues. If it doesn't looks like I'll be dropping the tank and replacing the fuel pump assembly.

Once I get the injectors rebuilt and installed I'll report back on the starting issue.

On another note, now that I have the APN headers hooked up, I've noticed some rattling coming from the inside of my cat on start up. Once everything gets warmed up it goes away. I assume it's the original cat some I'm figuring it might be time to replace it. My muffler is also looking pretty rough these days. I don't think it's completely rusted through yet, but I have lots of large rust flakes that I can poke through and tare off. Looks like once I get the injectors/starting issue resolved I'll be getting a cat-back and high-flow cat for the XJ. The only problem with that is I'll have a mean sounding XJ on stock suspension and tires. Maybe that will motivate me to get the lift put on even sooner...

[ Edited Fri Jun 07 2013, 01:46PM ]
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sanchagrins
Tue Jun 18 2013, 09:33PM
NCK Member

Registered Member #279
Joined: Sat Mar 20 2010, 10:04PM
Location: Greenville NC
Posts: 50
Well I finally got the 703s in! I had to go to two different pick-and-pulls to find enough injectors. The first yard only had one set of four. The second yard had a better selection and I was able to find six more. I picked out the best six and started the rebuild. I had previously ordered a service kit from Mr. Injector. If anyone is looking to do this upgrade I highly recommend ordering from him. I placed my order on Friday morning and had the kit by Monday afternoon (ID to VA). He also threw in two extra o-rings, one extra pintle cap, and one extra filter. That was really nice considering I forgot to heat up the first pintle cap before trying to put it on the injector and broke it.

703s before rebuild...
[ image disabled ]

Other than that the whole project was really easy. The only thing I wish I had done differently was replace the injectors when I had the intake manifold off. It would have made cleaning the injector ports much easier. After I pulled out my stock injectors there was a bunch of crap in the port that needed to be cleaned out before attempting to re-seat the new injectors. This part of the project took the longest. I painstaking cleaned each port, making sure not to knock any of the black sludgy stuff into the intake manifold. I went ahead testes the new injectors for leaks, and reset the computer. I'm hoping that this might solve my starting issues. I can't believe that with all that sludge in the injector ports that there could have been a good seal, and ultimately the starting problem is due to a leaky injector. If not, looks like my next project will be dropping the tank and replacing the fuel module. Other than that there isn't much else but lift it and start with the mods!

Thumbs up for new injectors!
[ image disabled ]
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sanchagrins
Tue Jul 02 2013, 08:01AM
NCK Member

Registered Member #279
Joined: Sat Mar 20 2010, 10:04PM
Location: Greenville NC
Posts: 50
So the Cherokee still needs pretty much everything to get her ready for the trails...so I went and did the only logical thing and bought another vehicle that I can take to Corova, URE, and the VA 4x4 Jamboree at Oak Ridge....

[ image disabled ]

[ image disabled ]


It's a '71 Ford Bronco. It'a actually the second early Bronco I've owned. I had a '77 sport a few years back I had to sell. The real I reason I got the Bronco is because the wife (a car nut) wants a classic 4x4 she can take the top down and drive to work, and that we can do some light wheeling in. We were looking at FJ40's and Bronco's because her dad already has a lifted CJ-7 that he restored to darn near showroom quality (plus Ed would never let me live it down if I got an FJ40 )

Here is the vehicle info:
302 w/edelbrock EFI
MSD ignition
C4 auto transmission
Dana 20 transfer case
Aluminum radiator
Saginaw Power Steering
Disc Brakes
33x12.50 Super Swamper TSLs
Ford 9 in the rear D44 up front
ARB air lockers front and rear
Warn winch
Gray rhino lined interior


The plan as of now is to try and to get it as good looking as possible without doing a full frame off restoration/engine rebuild... So that means POR15 the underside, replace the suspension/mounts/bushings, replace sheet metal as needed on the tub, paint it either "Seafoam Green" or "Sky View Blue" (both original '71 Bronco colors, it was originally "Grabber Green"), re-upholster the seats, and replace all the miscellaneous hardware. If we end up getting new tires for the Bronco in the near future I'll end up with the TSLs on my Cherokee.

[ Edited Tue Jul 02 2013, 08:01AM ]
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