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Driveway Ornament To Daily Driver: 6 Years!

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I wouldn't run ethanol at any time.  It will rot your rubber lines and Orings plus your truck will run lean because there's not enough BTU's, your computer is not setup to add more fuel.

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Man,That looks good.

 

:thumbsup: Glad you appreciate it.

 

I wouldn't run ethanol at any time.  It will rot your rubber lines and Orings plus your truck will run lean because there's not enough BTU's, your computer is not setup to add more fuel.

 

Agreed but the ethanol gas runs quite a bit higher around here and at the time I needed to save as much money as possible. Soon it'll be back on real gas.

 

 

These pictures were taken 2 years apart.

 

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As it appeared April 29, 2012

 

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As it appears April 29, 2014.

 

The past couple weeks haven't been terribly kind to this truck:

 

- The ignition was improperly setup from a previous attempt to adjust the timing (please don't do this), resulting in a 3-day ordeal of trying to get it right. The harmonic balancer is bad, so its timing mark was useless to me when trying to fix it. It's now back to normal. The new HB is sitting on the floor of my garage waiting to be replaced.

 

- The tire shop completely broke one of my center caps and damaged the screw holes on two others when they put my tires on. One was replaced for free, another one is barely hanging on, and the other two are fine. Funny that every time I removed them and put them back on, it went fine. Time to find a new center cap, I guess. I'm more angry that they seemed to think it was perfectly fine to have a center cap hanging from a wheel by only one screw.

 

- My parents borrowed the MJ for the past couple days while I was at school to move some stuff into the new house. Today, among other things they moved a lawnmower. The front wall of my bed is now bent out from the lawnmower smacking into it.

 

- I drove the truck on the interstate today and discovered a pretty substantial vibration at 65+ mph that seems quite a bit like a tire out of balance to me. Several front suspension components are in need of replacement and it badly needs an alignment (among other things, the caster angle is completely off) so I won't jump to any conclusions yet.

 

The above combination of events have had me more angry than I've ever been in a very long time. I'm typically fairly calm but the past couple of weeks have been ridiculous and it reminds me of why I trust nobody else to so much as touch my truck.

 

There is some good news, however.

 

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I got some light reading. Pics can't truly show how enormous the full FSM is. It's easily the largest book I have ever seen. Not pictured is an owner's manual.

 

Also not pictured is the huge pile of parts sitting in my garage:

 

- Shocks

- Driveshaft U-Joints

- Lower Control Arms

- Harmonic Balancer & Puller

- Parts to rebuild all 4 brakes

- Wheel bearings

 

More to come soon.

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Nice truck, man. Do you remember what year Dodge your headliner came out of? My Jeep has no headliner and every penny counts.

 

Not a dodge. It was made by Steve from SMS headliners, who goes by a1500ram on this forum.

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Technical Difficulty: Early May 2014

 

I was going to have a small 2-week update with some pictures, but my phone decided that it had enough of life and wiped itself, taking with it about 1,700 pictures going all the way back to late 2011, all of my contacts, and everything else.

 

The good news? My new phone takes much better pictures.

 

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This weekend, I changed my shocks. I bought Monroe Sensatrac shocks, and got the load leveler ones for the back.

 

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The ride is a little bit better - nothing drastic, but I wasn't expecting much change there. One unexpected benefit is that the helper springs on the rear shocks seem to have very slightly firmed up the handling. Once again, no big difference but it seems like it's there. Soon enough, the undercarriage will be de-rustified. I haven't done any proper wrench turning in a while so it felt good to get back to getting dirty.

 

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Since I'm doing all of my work hereafter in a garage, I needed a bigger jack to lift the MJ on a level surface. The black one is what I was using, with 13-3/4 in. of height. I only got away with this because my old gravel driveway had several high spots. The big green jack weighs about 50 lbs and extends to 21'' - plenty to get the tires off the ground from the frame. Also pictured: a catapult me and some friends built.

 

While I had the front completely off the ground to replace shocks, I also checked my front end. All bushings, mountings and tie rod ends are tight, but my wheel bearings are conclusively screwed. I also found out that I have a 24mm sway bar - hopefully to be replaced by a 28mm unit before long.

 

There's a large pile of parts sitting in the garage waiting to be installed, and more will likely come.

 

Total Expenditures since January 2014: $2,102.07 :eek:
Junkyard: $105 total
Oil filter adapter stuff: $8
Upper radiator hose: $15

Headlights: $30

eBay: $15

Tires: $675

Windshield: $210

Online orders: $985

Junkyard Parts:
Door panels: 1988 Jeep Cherokee Limited
Front bumper guards: 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Windshield wiper motor: 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Tailgate handle: 1989 Jeep Comanche

Mud flaps: 1987 Jeep Comanche

 

Maintenance Status:
Last oil change: 6qt generic 10W-30, 150,580, next change will be Rotella T6 or similar

Had to go back to ethanol gas due to lack of funds.

 

Odometer: 151,892

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Sweet truck, how much have you spent in all on it?

 

My record keeping is pretty fuzzy before the beginning of 2014, but at a guess I would say $3000 not including fuel since the beginning up to now. About $800 in parts are currently waiting to be installed and about $300 went into fixing the smashed in front end. I'm now keeping up with all non-fuel costs down to the cent. Fuelly tells me that gas over the time I've had the truck adds up to $1,577.76.

Thanks for reading! :cheers:

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You'll get to eventually :yes:  Hopefully we can get something together with the rest of the TN crew too. :cheers:

 

(P.S. I lost your number when my phone died... could you text me?)

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Just Screwing Around: Early June 2014

 

I haven't updated this thread in a while. The MJ has been hard at work hauling stuff between houses so I haven't been able to take it on the road for the mechanical work I've been wanting to do for a while now. I did buy some stuff from some CC members, though.

 

But first, I decided I'd try to tackle rust on the tailgate's seam. Again. I graduated high school in the middle of this so this process took over a week.

 

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This looks familiar.

 

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I sanded it down again to the best of my ability. This time, I tried a rust converter on it. We'll see how well it holds up.

 

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Long story short, it looks like this now.

 

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I finally decided that 6x9s attached to plywood spacers fastened to the rear panels by velcro wasn't going to fly anymore, so I decided to do something about it. I bought these brackets from yellaheep and they arrived very quickly and exactly as expected. They take 4x6 speakers.

 

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I decided on Polk Audio speakers for the rear. The brackets fit behind the interior panels, so I decided to go ahead and start before the replacements arrived. The 4x6s really aren't that much quieter than what I had in there and sound quite a bit better owing to not being smashed up against the seat.

 

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I've wanted to add delay headlights to the MJ for a while. Module courtesy of schardein. Install was extremely easy.

 

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I forgot to take a picture of the "new" interior cab corners (purchased from TheDude) so here's one of them in the truck.

 

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5 minutes of Dremel action per side so my lights could fit.

 

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No more jury rigged speakers!

 

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...and everything's back together.

 

Total Expenditures since January 2014: $2,319.64

Junkyard Parts:
Door panels: 1988 Jeep Cherokee Limited
Front bumper guards: 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Windshield wiper motor: 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Tailgate handle: 1989 Jeep Comanche

Mud flaps: 1987 Jeep Comanche

Interior Quarter Panels: 1989 Jeep Comanche

 

Maintenance Status:
Last oil change: 6qt generic 10W-30, 150,580

 

Odometer: 152,142

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In Which I Actually Fix Things: June 2014

 

I finally got some time to work on the truck, so I did. I'm going to format this chapter a bit differently. I'm trying to make my adventures more informative and more entertaining to read. Let me know what you think! :thumbsup:

 

Ever since I put the new tires on, there was a disconcerting GGGGGGGGRNNNNNNNNNHGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH sound coming from an indeterminate location when I turned at close to full lock. At first I thought it was a center cap vibrating (none of the pictures have shown it, but the right rear hubcap is missing for this reason - it was holding on by one screw) and then I suspected a damaged soft fender liner. And then I took a look at the front mud flaps. That big bolt I broke off when I got the mudflaps? Yeah, it has a purpose.

 

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Turns out that Bolt D was used on vehicles with tires bigger than 28" or so to restrain the mud flaps. There's my problem, and there's my solution. I had the diagram, so I decided to more or less follow the instructions for once.

 

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About 4 bucks in hardware later, and I was set. The only modification needed was to drill a hole in the soft plastic fender liner for the bolt to go through. Easy.

 

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Once I got down there, I realized that setting the spacers up this way would pull the mud flaps a bit further back - I needed quite a bit of room for the big tires.

 

The result?

 

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Much better. I ran around the neighborhood taking every possible tight turn and no rubbing! The flaps also hang parallel to the tires and will probably flap around a lot less down there.

 

That's the first annoying noise I fixed this week.

 

The second would take a lot more work, and it's something I probably should have tacked earlier. A few months ago, my harmonic balancer started making what at first sounded like a tick, and then progressed to a chattering sound. Turned out it was rubbing against the timing cover. Prying the pulley part away from the timing cover did the trick for the moment (please don't do this, you run the risk of bending the crankshaft snout) but eventually the serpentine belt started chirping as the balancer came more and more out of alignment. Last week, it got pretty bad.

 

:wrench:

 

While I was on the way to rent the puller tool, I saw this beauty:

 

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I think the YJ belongs to an employee at O'Reilly.

 

Anyway, pulling the HB off was surprisingly easy. Lining up the screws on the puller from underneath was the most difficult part. The easiest way to get the center bolt off is with an impact gun. I used a small battery-powered one and it was a tight fit, so don't be surprised if you have to stop the engine from rotating somehow to use a hand tool. There are several ways to do this, including grabbing the flexplate with vice grips, or just jamming a screwdriver between the balancer and the engine block.

 

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A few minutes and a crescent wrench to the face later, and it was off!

 

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Have I ever mentioned that shade is such a godsend when you're working on a vehicle?

 

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Experienced viewers will be able to spot the problem right away. The rubber ring holding the two parts together was screwed royally.

 

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The new balancer is on the left.

 

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The timing cover was pretty scraped up.

 

A quick cleaning of the timing cover and crank snout, and on with the installation!

 

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Installing the balancer was much easier than what the Internet had led me to believe. I didn't need to remove anything but the rubber cover on the engine bay. It can just be folded under the sway bar.

 

Once you get the balancer aligned with the other pulleys (a good guide to use is the timing notch - it should pretty much line up with the little scale on the front of the engine) you can put the center bolt back in. Torque it down to 80 ft. lbs, reinstall the serpentine belt and you're ready to go! The belt can be a pain to reinstall. Once it's almost on, turn the engine over by hand a bit and it should seat.

 

q7FTJiDl.jpg

 

On and running happily minus the electric fan. I was very relieved to see that the crank snout was still true. Total wrenching time over two days was about 3 and a half hours. Don't be afraid to go slow. With things like this, it's very important to get them right.

 

My family needs the truck since we're moving, hence the lack of proper wrenching time I've had. The new house is so much better in every way. Owning a house that nobody can take from you is the greatest feeling in the world - second only to truck fixin', of course!

 

Today we took the last of the things we're keeping away. One of those items is the bed topper that you might remember from very early in this build:

 

khfdZP2l.jpg

 

I'm going to college this August and I'm expecting to take quite a bit of stuff with me, so it's going on in about a month. I think it was designed for a Ranger - the cab curvature is way off and it ever so slightly doesn't fit the bed, but it's been with the truck since it was basically new, and it works fine still.

 

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Unfortunately, moving means saying goodbye to a few things. Including my dad's '75 Oldsmobile 442.

 

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I wanted to restore it for him but it just wouldn't have been practical. Much of the right side of the body is gone. I really liked this car, and it'll be sad to see it go. :( It was absolutely loaded with options. I think it had every single one.

 

I also measured my ground clearance at pretty much every point on the undercarriage and marked up my owner's manual!

 

J1yVZCJl.jpg

 

Not a doctor, I promise.

 

I also did the math on how many miles are actually on the truck. The odometer currently is at 152,217. I came up with an actual number of 152,247 - a divide that's starting to bother me. A new speedometer gear will be very, very soon to come. I'll do my best to get the mileage lined up correctly again when I replace my instrument cluster with a full cluster.

 

Anyway, that brings us up to date. I'll probably be making a junkyard trip fairly soon. Hopefully I'll get a chance to make some upgrades!

 

Total Expenditures since January 2014: $2,323.39

Junkyard Parts:
Door panels: 1988 Jeep Cherokee Limited
Front bumper guards: 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Windshield wiper motor: 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Tailgate handle: 1989 Jeep Comanche

Mud flaps: 1987 Jeep Comanche

Interior Quarter Panels: 1989 Jeep Comanche

 

Maintenance Status:
Last oil change: 6qt generic 10W-30, 150,580

 

Odometer: 152,217 (indicated) 152,247 (actual)

 

. :MJ 1: .

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Brakes, Brakes, BRAAAAAKES!: July 2014

 

My brakes prior to this point had been absolutely awful. Even with the pedal pushed all the way down, I was never able to lock up either the front or the rear brakes. The pedal was very spongy and staying stopped on hills was sometimes a dicey proposition. Time to fix that.

 

IRFYZPIl.jpg

 

The shoes on both sides were worn out. Both sides were also missing some parts (there wasn't an adjuster cable on this side) and had slightly leaking wheel cylinders. The drums would probably have been fine but I had new ones already. The new shoes have much more pad area on them than the old ones.

 

I didn't take many pictures in the process of replacing the shoes, wheel cylinders and hardware because I wanted to get done quickly. That's probably why this happened:

 

8FZwSQ1l.jpg

 

When I took the truck out for a short test drive the brakes had improved but I noticed a horrible metal-on-metal scraping sound like a worn out pad would make. It only took a couple of miles for the dangling adjuster to do this to my brand new drum:

 

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It turns out that I had forgotten to make sure the adjuster cable (which keeps the little lever in place) was sitting where it needed to be on the guide. I got off lucky, the groove wasn't very deep yet. Much longer and the drum would've needed to be turned. If you hear grinding sounds, stop driving!

 

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Naturally, I had to fix both sides. :doh: This is how the adjuster is supposed to hang. Make sure you put the cable on before the return springs!

 

Tip: At least in my case, the FSM was wrong about the parking brake lever. On the FSM's diagram, the PB lever is held to the shoe with a C-Clip. On my truck with 9" rear drums and some others I've seen, the parking brake lever just hooks on. :thumbsup:

 

I suppose the moral of this story is make sure you take your time, and walk away if you get pi$$ed off, especially if it's your first time touching drum brakes. It's very easy to make silly little mistakes that can cause big problems. :doh:

 

fqYGNcdl.jpg

 

In between brake jobs, I went to my local JY and grabbed a pair of these out of a '94 XJ. I have Euramtec dome lights but they still don't put down useful flight past about seat level. These little lights did the job perfectly:

 

G8Y9YlCl.jpg

 

This pic was taken inside my garage with absolutely no outside lights. They work much better in person, my phone camera isn't very good at taking pics in the dark.

 

This weekend, I replaced my wheel bearings and front brakes, since the bearings had gotten pretty loud recently. I also replaced the soft brake hoses, since I discovered they were damaged when I did the shocks.

 

Tip: When working on brake lines, always use a wrench that fits tightly on the flare nuts! Brake line fittings are made of soft metal that will round off easily. Cheap brake line wrenches are nothing but fitting round-ifying devices! Don't be like me and round off half the flare nuts with a crappy wrench!

 

I have a 2WD truck, so I have standard car-type spindle bearings with the hub integrated into the brake rotors. I have recently learned that the technical term for this is a "captive rotor." Those of you with 4WD trucks have unit bearings and a completely different brake setup. Some years (up to '89 I believe) are rebuildable, but it's typically not worth it to do so.

 

alOIVOPl.jpg

 

Off with the dust cap! These can be tough sometimes. I managed to wedge a screwdriver under the cap with a hammer. After you get the cap off, everything is laid out pretty simply.

 

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The bare spindle with the old brakes removed and the old grease cleaned off.

 

daDjHApl.jpg

 

One of my new rotors had some surface rust on it. I'm not too happy about it considering these are new parts but I don't think it will cause trouble. My new (Centric) wheel bearings came with races, but they were already pressed in on the new rotors. The inner bearing and wheel seal go in from the back, then you put the rotor on the spindle and put everything else together. The axle nuts have very little torque on 2WD trucks.

 

0GvTSojl.jpg

 

Everything back together. Excuse my lack of pictures, but wheel bearing grease is the last thing I want on my phone. That bucket definitely doesn't contain "snack mix"

 

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The old brake hose. The driver's side was alright but I went ahead and replaced both (it's really hard to find 2WD brake hoses in my town! If I was thinking I should've ordered them online) The inner hose was also beginning to crack. If this thing wasn't leaking fluid, I don't imagine it would've been long before it started.

 

tE2Jp7Ml.jpg

 

:ack: I don't think brake fluid is supposed to look like this. All of it got flushed out, of course.

 

With new brakes all around, new fluid, and an airtight system, the brakes feel excellent and work 10 times better than they did. I think I'm pretty much at the limit of the stock single-diaphragm system without using special pads and rotors. The brakes are more than good enough now, but I think an upgraded booster and master cylinder is still in the future.

 

 

Total Expenditures since January 2014: $2,379.39

Junkyard Parts:
Door panels: 1988 Jeep Cherokee Limited
Front bumper guards: 1992 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Windshield wiper motor: 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport
Tailgate handle: 1989 Jeep Comanche

Mud flaps: 1987 Jeep Comanche

Interior Quarter Panels: 1989 Jeep Comanche

Courtesy Lights: 1994 Jeep Cherokee Country

 

Maintenance Status:
Oil changed 6qt generic 10W-30, 150,580

Brake pads, rotors, fluid and calipers replaced at 152,455

Brake shoes, drums, hardware and wheel cylinders replaced at 152,295

 

Odometer: 152,467

 

 

:wrench:

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Glad to see you got the dust cap off. Since you said it was your first time doing brakes I'm just asking if you packed the new bearings with grease ? Smearing it over the bearings won't do the job .I see you have the fsm , just making sure.

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Thanks for that bit of advice regarding the dust cap. Yeah, I did make sure the grease was packed in and worked into and under the rollers. Thanks for looking out for me!

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Hey if you want a better fitting camper top. I have one that my uncle had custom made for my Comanche when he had it. In don't need it anymore. Its blue but it fits perfectly on my short bed.

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As much as I'd love to have that camper (it is very nice) the one I've got will be alright for what I use it for. I've really taken a liking to having the bed open so my truck would probably have a camper on it a couple weeks out of the year. Thanks for offering and good luck with the sale, though. :thumbsup:

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Bah, that little pin is a pretty straight forward fix.  I wouldn't let it get to you too much.

BTW, since nobody else mentioned it I figured I would let you know.  A little bit of surface rust on a rotor is no big deal, even new.  If you are worried about it causing problems with bedding the pads with the rotor, the next time you run into that, grab some steel wool and WD40 and clean it off.  Putting an oil on the rotor surface is not a big deal either (someone will probably say otherwise), and they actually come coated with a light oil to prevent rust anyway.  Clean with brake parts cleaner once the rust is removed to get rid of said oil and you're done.

Concerning your brake flush, did you do a complete system flush and replace all of the fluid?  "All of the nasty crap" is too ambiguous for my pedantic nature.  If you didn't replace all of the fluid in the system with clean fluid, do so and get all of that contamination out of there.  

Still liking the truck and the work you are doing to it.  This is probably going to be one of the cleanest ones on the site at the rate you are going.  :thumbsup:

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Bah, that little pin is a pretty straight forward fix.  I wouldn't let it get to you too much.

 

BTW, since nobody else mentioned it I figured I would let you know.  A little bit of surface rust on a rotor is no big deal, even new.  If you are worried about it causing problems with bedding the pads with the rotor, the next time you run into that, grab some steel wool and WD40 and clean it off.  Putting an oil on the rotor surface is not a big deal either (someone will probably say otherwise), and they actually come coated with a light oil to prevent rust anyway.  Clean with brake parts cleaner once the rust is removed to get rid of said oil and you're done.

 

Concerning your brake flush, did you do a complete system flush and replace all of the fluid?  "All of the nasty crap" is too ambiguous for my pedantic nature.  If you didn't replace all of the fluid in the system with clean fluid, do so and get all of that contamination out of there.  

 

Still liking the truck and the work you are doing to it.  This is probably going to be one of the cleanest ones on the site at the rate you are going.  :thumbsup:

 

I wasn't expecting the check to be hard and to be honest I was actually kind of glad when it broke. Of course, I won't be so glad if I ever need to park on a steep hill before I fix it. :yes:  At least that stupid popping noise is gone.

 

Considering what I paid for those rotors, I don't suppose I really had any reason to complain. I wasn't really worried about it, especially since that stuff probably got sanded off in the first few miles of driving anyway. The pads seemed to bed just fine, and my front brakes are pretty much working at 100%.

 

The second I saw the old brake fluid I knew I needed to flush it - "all the nasty crap" was indeed referring to the old fluid. Every corner was bled until I got 100% clean fluid out of it. The master cylinder is full of good new fluid as well. Don't worry, I share your pedantic nature. :cheers:

I have the truck 90% mechanically reliable right now. The bear in the room is the D35, which is, true to its nature, slowly killing itself. It's making quite the variety of interesting bearing noises that haven't been getting worse but still worry me. If anyone has a line on a cheap 29 spline 8.25 (my local junkyard certainly doesn't - he seriously tried to tell me he wanted $500 for one) that would be lovely. I'm currently not actively looking, but I am scouting around. I can get a low mileage example for $150 near me, so I may just be jumping on that.

 

Thanks for commenting, genuinely. I'm certainly aiming to have one of the cleanest trucks here, although MJs are definitely not a competition! Unfortunately, the rate I'm going is about to become unsustainable. I'm starting university in less than a month, so wrenching is going to become a very limited activity, unfortunately. :(

 

The front brakes are going to get a good followup inspection this morning. I'm installing my WJ control arms today - I'm about to start soon. If everything goes to plan (hahahaha what a naive thought) I'll be making another update today.

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I'm a 35% disabled working student.  I still manage to find time to wrench more often than you think.  Although, admittedly there are periods where I can barely take the time to use the restroom.  That's kind of how it works. 

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