Bent-Valve Dork
1/20/24 1:20 p.m.

On the way home:

Yes I got pulled over. For no tags. But I had proper paperwork and the Trooper was cool.

We took a minute to look the Jeep over. He liked how straight and clean it was for its age.

There is a pretty good clunk in the rear when you apply power. And it wiggles around. Looking at it I found it needs control arms.

At 271,000 miles its not surprising that it needs a bit of attention.

And that power is provided by a 4.0 with a leaking valve cover gasket through a 5 spd transmission. 4x4 works.

So I just gave RockAuto the first of several orders. After looking it over I ordered:

upper and lower radiator hoses

upper and lower, front and back control arms

turn signals for the front

flasher unit to handle led bulbs

idler and tension pulleys

valve cover gasket

brake pads and shoes and hardware kits

thermostat and housing kit

And I put it on the charger last night and set it for recondition. Battery seems ok considering its like 0 degrees out:

I had enough room to get it in the barn part way so I wasn't laying on snow last night.

And next week when its a balmy 30 degrees and just a rain / snow mix I'll feel more like crawling under it more extensively.


I make no warrenties or claims of keeping this thread up to the minute. But I'll try to document it.


accordionfolder UltraDork
1/20/24 6:33 p.m.

Banana jeep! 

buzzboy UltraDork
1/20/24 9:20 p.m.

Check your water pump. Mine only made it 300k before giving out

Big fan of the 4.0 and AX15 combo.

preach GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/21/24 8:13 a.m.
buzzboy said:


Big fan of the 4.0 and AX15 combo.

Me too. Seen them over 1m miles.

Bent-Valve Dork
1/22/24 8:48 p.m.
preach said:
buzzboy said:


Big fan of the 4.0 and AX15 combo.

Me too. Seen them over 1m miles.

While I may not put 1m miles on it the challenge is accepted. laugh

Seriously, I need something to put excess miles on.

My service truck, an F150, gets too many miles between business and personal use.

Bent-Valve Dork
2/14/24 11:45 p.m.

Been a bit lax in updating this thread.

Here we go.

Started with idler and tension pulley. There was a squeal / howlish sound like a weird vacuum leak. Decided to change the pulleys.

alt bracket

Broke the tensioner locating pin. Bought a new tensioner.

drill baby drill!

Drilled out the bits after removing the bracket. I did drill it in steps but this shows the bit coming out.

Then I cleaned up the hole some more.

loose bolt

While I was putting it back together I found a loose bolt on the alternator, it was on the back side.

One of those lucky accidents. Anyway, got it back together and the vacuum leak / squeal sound was gone.

The old bearings were that special notchy style I have never been fond of.


Next up is suspension, the back control arms were no big deal. Except, they move now. Yes that meant i had to order shocks.

The Jeep that rode like a Jeep when we test drove it was suddenly very springy. And that was only with the back control arms.

The front upper bushing was a difficult little bugger. If you look you can see the end of 2 drill bits sticking out.

drilled bushing

I used a make shift bushing puller, a hammer and a pry bar to work it out. And in.

The contraption that i pressed it in place with had a strong threaded core and metal spacers.


And I use my frame straightener for everything except straightening frames. Here its twisting the axle so I can get the bolt into the control arm.


And yes its dark out, had to finish some welding for a job and then I was determined to get this done tonight. Only have the left front control arms to go.

As I used the frame straightener I thought about how often I use the leaf blower, but not for leaves. Heck, its glad the snow is gone, yes it moves the powdery snow pretty good. Last thing I used the frame rig on was, well it was a frame, in an RV slide. I need sleep, I think.

Oh and got new headlights, put turn signal lenses in. I added a good flasher unit that handles leds. That's a future upgrade, just new standard bulbs for now, one was blown.


That's pretty much it for now. As for the lack of witty commentary, I'm tired, my brain is sort of functional but not that functional.


RockAuto for the shocks. less than 1/3 the price at the local store. Even with shipping. And I have to replace the studs on the rear, PO put new axles in and they are too short for the wheels. And I drove 65-70 mph for over a 100 miles to get home, Im just glad a wheel didn't pass me.

akylekoz UltraDork
2/15/24 8:00 a.m.

This is my daughters dream vehicle.  Carry on.

Love a good jeep story.

ddavidv UltimaDork
2/16/24 7:16 a.m.

I really like these. Unfortunately, rotted frames are a common thing around here and solid ones command absurd $. So I continue to be a spectator.

TJL (Forum Supporter)
TJL (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/16/24 7:37 a.m.

Very nice! Finding a bone stock TJ is pretty difficult anymore. I still want one. 

Bent-Valve Dork
2/16/24 11:14 a.m.

Frame has some rust but not very bad. It does have the lower door panel rust on the passenger side.

And yes finding a stock one, not rusted out is difficult.

I temporarily wired my "new" welder* up day before yesterday to do a job. Its a Hobart handler 210 and runs either 120 or 240. Im going to go get metal conduit this weekend and run the wiring properly with a good outlet on the wall. I used the flux wire that came with it. Gas is in the works.

Yes an OSHA manual on a dusty shelf in a back office just started smoking, it did NOT burst into flames, not sorry. I'll do better soon.


Long story short, Im gonna fix any rust, permanently.



*Its new, still have the box, I bought it over a year ago but just never set it up or ran the wiring for it.

Bent-Valve Dork
3/13/24 9:48 p.m.



Ok, the studs on the rear axle only caught about 5 complete turns. I'm not real comfortable with that.

PO got G2 axles shafts after a bearing failure. I guess they came with the studs and he just went with it.

This shows the difference in lengths. The original studs are 1 1/2 inch, I found 2 inch. they are thread in.

On the right side I had enough room to screw them out and get the new ones in, just barely, without removing the brakes.

On the drivers side. Yeah. Wound up taking the brakes out, including the cylinder. That gave me the spot I needed to get the new studs in.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well this wasn't hard, just tedious. So 950 of those words would be blah, blah, blah.

On to the images!


Ah, my favorite thing to do, not, I put the brakes back in. But man do I like all that thread.



And it's all better. Boring but better.



Now that I have it safe and all new control arms, shocks, new head lights, lights, turn signals including bulbs ( this is important later) flasher unit, and a few other items I call and set up an inspection.

As I wait and wait and wait Ima about to get up and go see if they have even started on it and I hear my name.

"We finished your inspection, you have some issues starting with the front right turn signal ....."

I patiently let her finish, $1250 was the estimate. Turn signal, sway bar links front and rear, upper and lower ball joints.

"If we don't fix that we will have to fail your vehicle, do you want us to go ahead and"

I broke in right there "No" (said with some authority, maybe a bit loud)

"Excuse me, we can ..."

"I said Fail it"

That pretty much finished the conversation. They bring my Jeep around. I get in and turn on the hazard lights, get out.

Looks like its blinking to me.

I get back in, turn off the hazards, turn on the right turn signal, get out.

Looks like its blinking to me.

I go in and indicate the desk guy should follow me out. As I show him the write up and the blinking right front turn signal he's kind of stammering.

I mention that I will check and or replace the items indicated and be back. I also mention that if the light works, are the other items really out of spec?

So onto the next post.





Bent-Valve Dork
3/13/24 10:26 p.m.

Today I broke the front end down. I had planned to do all this later this summer but now is fine. I'm just unhappy at being pushed.

First I get it into the air and check slop in the ball joints. Lowers moved slightly, correction, the driver side moved slightly. Uppers didn't have any slack.

I am replacing tie rods, ball joints, steering stabilizer, sway bar bushings and links, and the front bearings. With the studs, control arms and shocks I already replaced it should drive very nicely. Add that I flushed the radiator, replaced the upper radiator hose and the thermostat, idler pulleys it should be in pretty good shape.

Ok so these images are out of order (ish)

The drivers side was stuck and it seemed ok like no slack in the bearing. The red arrows show one point where I was hitting it and the crack that wasn't forming! Image 2 is on the other side, yes I have a short sledge hammer that I resorted too, you can see the ruined drivers side bearing laying on the ground. After I put a serious smack down on it, it finally came out. But then it had slack, maybe I broke it or it was just at the edge, either way its broke. Since I had already ruined the driver side bearing I just said to heck with it. In my defense I did start with a small ball peen hammer.



The passenger side came off quite a bit easier.



Queue the Peter Gabrial song .... Sledgehammer, wait no....

It played in your head didn't it?  laugh


I cleaned up the axles, which had some rust, and the sway bar. I sprayed them with a rust converter paint.

I had to cut one bolt on the sway bar link, but everything else came loose. Everything on the front is disassembled except I don't have the ball joints out.

So i will try to be more complete in my picture taking tomorrow and Friday. I don't think I will have all the parts until Friday.


accordionfolder UltraDork
3/13/24 10:41 p.m.

In reply to Bent-Valve :

Well that sounds not so fun, how many people have they taken advantage of? 

Bent-Valve Dork
3/13/24 10:51 p.m.

I don't know. I figure the estimate would balloon once they got in to it.

The sway bar ends had no slack but the boot was up a little, maybe that's why they decided to fail them, they were stiff. The rubber is getting old.

I'll be going back, (reinspection is free) if they don't pass it we gonna have a very public discussion, with a pile of receipts, in my hand.

onemanarmy Reader
3/14/24 12:14 p.m.

slightly worn ball joints would fail an inspection?!

what state is this?!

Bent-Valve Dork
3/17/24 11:42 p.m.

You know how everything gets scattered as you work?

Images show the carnage and chaos ...

My shoulder is killing me from putting in the ball joints. Those above are from a few nights ago.

Daylight saving my buttocks...

Then I finished up today. I guess Im getting older and softer, I also put a piece of foam on the

gravel. Someday I really do want concrete.

I wanted to get rubber bushings but was in a hurry and ordered poly. I had the right grease so I hope they don't squeak ...



Putting the tie rod linkage together is fun. New parts are always fun

And below is the oddly satisfying result. All I had left at this point was wheels and alignment, that didn't take long,

I test drove it. Pretty good for a quick alignment. There was one little hick up. Second to last bolt snapped off, of course. The last sway bar bushing. Drilled it out and I will get a bolt and nut tomorrow for that last little bit. But that was after I drove it.

And this is not an over reaction to the inspection, I had planned to do all of this later this summer. The things left on my list are the valve cover gasket and fuel pump / sender. The gas gauge doesn't work. Then cosmetics, paint all the plastic body parts black again instead of the funky grey they have faded to. Tomorrow I'll start watching Marketplace for tires, these are 2018's. They are ok for the short term but I want better rubber on it.

It doesn't have cruise, I might start researching that. It's my third Jeep Wrangler and I had a Cherokee for a while but I don't know the wiring system. Will I have to add wiring or are the plugs already there and I just change / add the components? I have never added cruise to a vehicle before.

One last thing, they give you a "tool" to install the boot. Instructions say hit it with hammer. Don't bother. Do this instead. Approximately 1000 times faster than NEVER getting it on with the hammer. A little grease to make it slide on, tighten the clamp, pop. You're done.

And my thread is finally caught up to the Jeep! laugh

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