I tried stripping the winter wheels, and that failed miserably.
So at the end of August I took them to a local shop to get blasted and repainted.
In the meantime, I noticed a fairly bad coolant leak from the timing chain cover, which meant I had to drop the oil pan (one piece steel/rubber gasket, unlike AMC where you can cut the cork), and drain the coolant. If the oil pan was dropped, I was going to do the RMS. With the timing chain cover off, I was going to do the timing chain. With the coolant drained, it was a good time to do the heater core (heat output has been miserable). And with the HVAC box removed, it was a good time to replace the evaporator, just so I wouldn't have to do it again anytime soon if it decided to leak.
Oh, and I wanted to replace the oil pan heater.
With very little lift, and the addition of the truss, I had to pull the front axle most of the way out to get the oil pan off. I also couldn't get the Y-pipe loose from the cat (even heating it with my torch), so I gave up and pulled the transmission mount to drop the whole thing. While the engine was apart, I went ahead and put on a new timing chain, and I'm VERY happy I did! The old one was super loose, and we definitely gained some power back by getting the cam into its proper mechanical timing position. I also installed a new oil pan heater. The RMS change went just as it should, and there are no more leaks!
Because the engine took so long, it had to sit a whole week before I had time to tackle the dash. This is the only pic I took, after spending most of Saturday afternoon getting to this point. On Sunday I got the heater box apart, cleaned, installed the new core and evaporator, and reassembled the dash. But I still took Monday after work to reconnect the heater core and evaporator lines, and get the engine started.
And I got the wheels back from the painter. The color match . . . wasn't. But I did provide him the paint code that I found, and he didn't mix the paint himself, so I'm not upset at him. He gave me a smokin' deal anyway so I can't complain. And these are WAAAY better than what they were. Plus these are just the winter wheels anyway.
This last one shows the comparison to an OEM UltraStar.
On the Jeep!:
I also had to track down a grinding noise that only manifests upon turning left, or hard accelerations. I found a bad front right hub, but just to be safe I checked the diff too, and everything looks great! Even the pattern turned out beautifully after break-in:
That being said, after a week, the grinding came back. The other hub was questionable, so I swapped it out, but that made no difference. I may just need to suck-it-up and buy some Timken bearings for both sides. I'm also wondering if maybe it's related to the driveshaft, so I'll pull it out and inspect the double-cardan carefully.
In the meantime, look what arrived from Hanson Offroad!:
I had them ship it to a buddy's shop around the corner from me to give them a commercial address to deliver to.
I know a lot of people complain about both a lack of customer service and the excessive wait times with Hanson, but my experience was 100% opposite. I ordered originally through Amazon at the end of October, expecting the bumper to ACTUALLY arrive circa February or early March (I needed it by mid-March to move the tire from the roof to free up the rack for cargo space). I got a call from the owner at the end of November saying the bumper was done and palletized ready to leave the dock, but his warehouse guy realized it was going to Alaska, and they were about to lose their shirt on shipping. He was willing to honor that price if I could instead order it directly from them. No problem! He then called back asking for a commercial address, and I gave him my buddy's shop around the corner from my condo. It shipped on 12/1, expecting it to arrive 12/18. It showed up on 12/11! With any luck, I'll have it installed Sunday afternoon.
But note that this is likely not to work forever and that it does nothing for anyone on mobile (which is a significant portion of our daily users) or unwilling to add extensions. Please, I beg you, do not keep using photobucket. This is what I get on my phone.
I haven’t updated this thread in a while, and my primary build thread disappeared with the loss of the TSF forum.
Bumper installed before Christmas of 2017:
There were some minor fitment issues that required some grinding, minor use of a cutoff wheel, and spreading the horns lightly with a Hi-Lift. I also welded a cap to the top of the carrier for a set of antenna locations.
While I was in Juneau last winter/spring, my wife decided to start letting our 3-year-old son push the garage door opener. I told her that was a bad idea. Eventually, she had an incident:
I had a friend take the basket and cross-bars off until I got home. She tweaked the right side rail, so I bought a whole OEM rack off eBay. But she liked not having the basket on the roof, so I’m giving the whole thing with the slightly tweaked rail to a friend with a dedicated trail ZJ.
And her 5.9L is back to stock:
I did add a clasp-style clamp that I modified with some 1/2” bolts to mount the Hi-Lift back to the OEM cross bars without needing to permanently drill them. I did cross-drill one of the bolts so I could put a small combination pad lock on to secure it to the rack. I don’t have a picture, but this is nothing fancy; like $7 of hardware from Home Depot.
Yes, custom stainless steel hinges made by the father of a PO of that door who happened to be a machinist. They are one-of-a-kind. There should be a few more pics of them in the postal thread in my sig, but I sold them last year when I (looking realistically at life, higher priority projects, and a new baby) sold my two postals.
We did a beach run two weekends ago:
My wife gave me the green-light on this run to order a long-arm system, for her Jeep, as my birthday present to myself. LOL. So, I accidentally-on-purpose dumped a ton of cash on an Ironman4x4fab long-arm system (flat belly-pan, true 5-link front, and a triangulated 4-link rear) with their rear truss and rear diff skidplate, Rubicon Express 3.5" springs, Bilstein shocks, and the mid-section subframe stiffeners from DB Metalworx.
Ironman had to order a new die to form the rear control arms since I’m getting their new style that is a truss rather than DOM. The parts finally shipped this week.
But two weeks ago I took my neighbor out to scout his sheep tag area, and somehow the crank-case pulled in water.
We still don’t know how this happened. The top end and paper filter were 100% dry, and the water wasn’t even over the tires, but it killed a lifter on the trail and after an oil change we decided to tow it back to the trailhead. After pulling the pan and seeing all the mud in the oil filter, the only responsible thing is a motor tear down. With 180K on the clock, I suppose it isn’t a bad time. But Magnum heads all crack, so I’m about to order new heads and a few other performance parts. My machine shop is prepped.