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Georgia: '92 4.0 Ho, Ax-15, 2Wd

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I knew I was behind on updates but I didn't realize I was 4 months behind.  Mea culpa :dunno: .  The 12.7:1 ZJ steering box and V8 solid TREs have been in for about 2K miles and there is a noticeable improvement in how she handles. 


Georgia ready for the ZJ steering box:


Hollow and solid TREs side by side. 


Box installed!  Yes the pump didn't need to come out just to reach the box but I was going to replace it.  Long story but the old pump went back in:


Note the new TRE at the Pitman arm.  Figured might as well replace it if I had it apart:

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Went back over Xmas and mounted the cruise control servo assembly and cable.  Drilling the mounting holes was a pain as I had to wiggle a lot of stuff around to get a straight shot with the drill.



Cruise is in!


Checked communications and everything looks good:


 Cruise control works pretty well but is a little "jerky" relative to what I expected.  The junkyard fresh assembly may need to loosen up a bit more or perhaps I need a long, flat run for a true test.  It will hold speed within 2mph but isn't as smooth as I'd expect it to be in doing so.  I've never had an MJ/XJ with cruise so I don't have a basis for comparison.  Can anyone else comment on their cruise control system (either Renix or HO)?

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  • 11 months later...

It's been quite a while since I've updated the build thread.  In late winter/early spring Georgia started having shifting problems that got progressively worse.  She reached the point where I couldn't shift into 1st from neutral when hot so I drove her minimally throughout the year.  I got a quote of $1800 to rebuild the AX-15 so I decided to keep an eye out for a donor I could try to rebuild myself.  I found a suitable candidate at LKQ over Labor Day Weekend:















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Cleaned it up, ordered the rebuild kit, and cracked it open.  I checked all the clearances, replaced bearings, synchros, shift keys & springs  It was a good donor as the gear train was in pretty good shape.  The 1st gear bearing was starting to go so it wouldn't have lasted too long without some TLC:























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Pulling the old AX-15.  Flywheel and all the clutch components looked ok:











Wasn't happy with the LUK plastic throw out bearing at all.  Poor fit and the spring didn't engage the entire front of it:



Ended up reusing the old cast iron unit.  It only had 25K miles on it and was nice and smooth:






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  • 8 months later...
  • 8 months later...

Been a while since I posted an update on Georgia.  New job & moving to TN so I've been working her hard.  She's not a fan of climbing the mountains between NC and TN but she takes it all in stride (55-60mph pulling a long grade in 4th).  Trans is doing well & I should have garage space for her at the new house :banana:



moving to TN1.JPG

moving to TN2.JPG

moving to TN3.JPG

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  • 6 months later...

Thanks & Merry Christmas!  Work + the move has been all-consuming but yes, I'm happy she has an indoor home now.  She's now sharing garage space with the '69 Cutlass convertible :smile:.


Got the pump changed out earlier this week.  Looks like the bearing was going out.  New pump is fairly loud at the moment but I'll drive it for a bit and see if it calms down.





ps pump1.jpg

ps pump 2.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

The reman pump was junk (sounded like marbles in a coffee grinder), so I hit the LKQ sale and harvested a '94 ZJ P/S pump and another steering box from a '97ZJ.  When I replaced the steering box a few years ago I had to put the old pump back in as I needed her on the road.  Unfortunately the fines from whatever was eating itself in the box/pump eventually ate up the box. Here's what was in the oil:



steering box 3.jpg

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  • 3 months later...
  • 5 months later...

I can't wait!  I took a lap around the machine shop prior to giving them my engine and was happy with what I saw.  Very clean overall (shop & equipment) and they had a Sunnen SV-10, a Rottler, a VF-3, and a few Clausings.  Interestingly I didn't see a Bridgeport but it was only a quick lap.  He's going to see if he can locate Mahle Motorsport pistons for her.  Good alloy and has a modern ring pack :crossfingers:


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Had to change out her steering box again :furious3:.  Last one started leaking at the pitman arm seal and I was getting some scary handling over bumps which may/may not be attributable to the box.  I'll save box #3 for now.  If handling is the same and #4 has issues I can always replace the seal.  So the steering box summary is:


#1, OEM.  Started coughing up metal fines.

#2 1st ZJ box.  Developed a dead spot (no assist) when cold.  Had to reuse the pump from box #1 and I'm guessing the fines eventually ate it.

#3. 2nd ZJ box.  Started leaking at the pitman arm seal.  Also some odd handling but we'll see if that's related to box or something else in the front end.

#4.  3rd ZJ box.  :crossfingers:


 Also found a coolant leak I need to trace down.



Steering box Sept 2020.jpg

Steering box Sept 2020 2.jpg

Steering box Sept 2020 3.jpg

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Traced down the coolant leak to the thermostat housing.  Should have been a straightforward project but the top bolt seized to the housing.  Had to cut the housing at the bolt with a Dremel, beat it off the stud with a hammer/chisel, then use some Freeze & Release to work the stud out. 


  She fought me on new shocks too.  Upper mount on the passenger's side decided to peel the threads off with the nut.  7/16"-14 die was a decent fit and I had some Top-Lock nuts so I used that.


thermostat housing bolt.jpg

thermostat housing.jpg

top lock nut.jpg

upper shock mount.jpg

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After the steering box/shock/thermostat housing battle it was gratifying to take Georgia on a nice road trip.  I put 350 miles on her, she ran great and earned her keep.  I picked up a GN 200-R4 for my Olds and found some other goodies for the fleet.  Perfect junkyard weather: overcast and low 70s in Charlotte.   Also saw a sweet old Vette on I-40.



junkyard Oct 2020.jpg


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