Seattle area? I could use some help!

City
Seattle
State
WA
#1
Hi guys,

My Scrambler has been my daily driver for close to four years now, but right now it has two issues that are making the bus my daily commute.

1) It's leaking a lot of oil onto the manifold (again... I replaced valve cover when I first got it).

2) The power steering has a few issues, both of which may be connected. I'm losing a lot of fluid, and occasionally (usually after a big turn like a roundabout) it feels like the steering wheel has a rubber band pulling it to one side and then it "snaps" it to the other. This does happen more often when the fluid is low, but it happens when it's topped off, too.

I took it to a mechanic, and they said I need a new valve cover, new lines for power steering, and new gear box for steering. $1500 plus tax. My wife and I really don't have that much money now, and I love learning and working on it. I'm not the greatest mechanic, but do you think these are things I should buy the parts for and try on my own? If so, are there any Seattle area enthusiasts that are willing to lend a hand and coach me through?

Thanks!
 

walkerhoundvm

Typical Know-it-all
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Cave Creek
State
AZ
#2
If I were closer, I'd help. But closest I may be is Pullman in 6mos.

The valve cover you can definitely do yourself. What you need is a run of the mill aluminum valve cover (258 I assume? http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Black-A...Parts_Accessories&hash=item43b0209da6&vxp=mtr) Toss the cork gasket and buy a neoprene one from Advance Auto Parts (http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/we...elpro_3213722-p?searchTerm=valve+cover+gasket). You'll need an inch-lb torque wrench from Harbor Freight ($30 maybe), and a set of allen sockets from HF as well ($15 maybe). Some black RTV sealant ($10 at most) from Advance...total = $200 at most. You may also need a tap set to add threads to two holes on the intake side of things - the holes were already there on my engine, just had to add threads. Tap bit and handle: $15.

You'll need to follow the instructions to a "T," especially the waiting part. You need to give the RTV ample time to set up, 30min before you put the cover on, go through the allen bolts finger tight and let it sit 12hrs, torque to 1/2 specs and let it sit another 12hrs, then torque to specs and recheck daily for a week. It's easier when you haven't driven it in a while - don't be tempted to fire it up after you have the cover on, you REALLY need to let the RTV set.

I haven't done any work with the power steering mechanism, but someone else will hopefully chime in.

I've realized that spending money on parts and tools still lets you come out ahead in terms of shop costs, and the bonus is you start to build this treasure chest of tools (and old parts ;) ). I recently went through and replaced my transmission and clutch, grand total in the $800 range including parts, tools, and a transmission jack. Took me 6 weeks, but I had to do it over a couple times and wasn't in a hurry. Next time I could do it in a weekend. All that without having any mechanical experience prior to buying my CJ, all it takes is some confidence and a lot of beer.
 
City
Seattle
State
WA
#3
I appreciate it. The beer I have, and the confidence in all-things-mechanical increases the more I consume. So do the mistakes, probably. Does helping out sound like a fun day project for anyone else that's a little closer? Drinks, lunch, good conversation on me.
 

DirtyB

Crazy Cajun
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Port Allen
State
LA
#5
I agree on the valve cover as walkerhound states. You may get by even easier than that. I replaced my crappy plastic cover with an aluminum one and didn't need to tap any holes and I re-used the old allen head bolts.

New power steering pump and gear box (assuming that really is the problem) are relatively simple unbolt/bolt on replacements. A Chilton's manual (better is an actual factory service manual, but those may be expensive) is a big help. You should be able to do this type of work with simple hand tools.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#6
Lordy, I sure hope we can get you situated to be able to do this. That's insane for that work.

Valve cover is no big deal at all, but it would be good to clean it up once and just watch it run to see if you can find specifically where it's coming from to confirm it's just a cover issue.

It would be best to get someone to lay eyes on the steering while it's being cycled back and forth. Frankly, I'm surprised the shop didn't try to sell you new ball joints and/or tie rod ends on top of the steering box. You want to know that something's not binding and causing some/part of the feel issues. Obviously, if the box is dropping lots of fluid, that needs fixed, but I'd want to try to be sure you catch anything you can while you're into this. Frankly, if you don't know when the ball joints, tie rod ends and front axle shaft U-joints were done last, it might be good (relatively) cheap insurance to do them now.

If money's real tight, you can check the ball joints and maybe leave them go. Same with the axle U-joints. But the tie rod ends might be good to do regardless if they've got a lot of age on them. Not too difficult and you can rent tools for free to do them. Chilton or Haynes manual (or both is good to compare) will get you there fine.

Good luck!
 

DirtyB

Crazy Cajun
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Port Allen
State
LA
#7
Oh, and by the way. Don't think you can just live with that leak on the valve cover. The engine design is such that it can leak oil onto your hot exhaust and cause an engine fire. It's happened to many people (count me twice).
 

Major Jack

Legacy Registered User
City
Zillah
State
Wa
#8
Go online and find the Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association in your area. Find a club in your area and contact the president and go to a meeting. There you will find people willing to look at what you have. That's what i did 40 years ago.
 
City
Seattle
State
WA
#9
Thanks for all of the info everyone. I'm picking it up today and driving it the mile back to my house, where it will sit while I reacquaint myself with the city bus. I'll order the valve cover and gasket and do that on my own first chance I get, and then attempt the steering issues after that. They may have to wait until after the holidays...

I appreciate it!

john caspian
 
City
Seattle
State
WA
#10
Just an update on why their price was so high...
They were charging $251 for the valve cover itself... not including labor. I thought it was for the aluminum one (because he told me over the phone there's an "updated" valve cover better than the plastic one used originally, and I know I've seen those for just over $100. I asked him if I could have it shipped from manufacturer to him, and of course he said no. Then I googled the part number he gave me, and it's the plastic one. For sale everywhere online for $50.20. That's 454% markup, plus $105/hour labor.

Kind of ridiculous.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#11
Just an update on why their price was so high...
They were charging $251 for the valve cover itself... not including labor. I thought it was for the aluminum one (because he told me over the phone there's an "updated" valve cover better than the plastic one used originally, and I know I've seen those for just over $100. I asked him if I could have it shipped from manufacturer to him, and of course he said no. Then I googled the part number he gave me, and it's the plastic one. For sale everywhere online for $50.20. That's 454% markup, plus $105/hour labor.

Kind of ridiculous.
More than kind of... this is why it pays to learn to do things yourself. When I started with mine, I'd only ever changed oil and put in a new battery ;)
 
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