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'06 Liberty CRD (4.10 axles, skids and new coils installed!)

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with some upcoming plans for the ol' girl I figured I should start a build thread and cover some of the earlier mods.  Bought from the original owners in 07, she's done well to me for 190k miles now.  


specs as of January 2018:

2.8L turbo diesel

242 t-case (pretty much permanently put into awd mode unless I need low range)

235/70r16 tires

some rust, not too bad.

LED running/brake lights (still conventional blinkers)

20" light bar in front bumper


planned mods:

more stereo upgrades

small lift

255/75/r16 tires

TJ moab wheels

front bumper/winch

more lights



first up are some boring pictures to show off her haulin' prowess.  she's a mini-brute for pulling trailers around. :D   I'd wager I've got 50k miles of trailer towing with her.  maybe more.  



after driving MI-FL-MI in an extended weekend.




the only shot I have of her on a trip while flat-towing the 88.





bringing home the camper (MI to GA)





draggin' the 88 from MI to GA (fyi: uhaul trailers suck and I later found out I could have paid someone to haul it for me for about the same money)




and with my newest trailer :D  






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random mods:


MAP disconnected (they all work better without it)

upgraded intercooler hoses

back seat windows held up with duct tape and coat hanger (a common fail with a macgyver fix :D )

abs and trac control died and I've got no plans for fixing them :D   makes it a blast to drive in the winter!




the benefits of a 4banger turbo diesel with a v6-sized gas tank.  :D

and yes, I've gotten close to it before.  





and my pride and joy, an early 90s Jeep radio updated with an AUX port by Minuit  :jammin: 

also in view are the single din adapter that gives me a place to stash my phone, the plug for AUX, and my bracket for the trailer brake controller.





added a 20" light bar and factory tow hooks








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it may not look any different, but that's no longer an audio cable you see, it's a charging cable. my old jeep radio is now full-on bluetooth! :D   






the bluetooth dongle I used:




the 12v to 5v USB converter (one for the BT dongle and one for charging my phone) and interference noise reducer i used.



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  • 3 weeks later...

I've always wanted to drive one.  A girlfriend way back had a gas one and I thought it felt pretty much like a 4wd jeep.   The diesel ones are hard to come by here, and everyone wants an arm and a leg for one.   Might have to stock looking again.    I heard nothing but horror stories on them.  How has yours been hold up maint. wise?


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in regards to the engine, ours has been relatively uneventful 11 years of service. :thumbsup: we changed the timing belt (did the water pump at the same time because it's way up in there anyways), upgraded the boost hoses, upgraded the fuel filter head and that's about it.  a nagging issue is that it doesn't seem to heat up to where it should be (and the thermostat is a bit buried) so eventually i plan to add an inline on in the radiator hose.  of course other more common KJ issues have popped up like the rear windows and ABS failing.  ours is an 06 so we avoided the transmission converter issues common in the 05 CRDs back in the day (I imagine they've all been upgraded by now).  

other people have had some epic failures, but I don't know what brought those on.  I know if you lapse on changing the timing belt it does very bad things if it breaks.  while the engine doesn't share much with the v6, the crd was common over in europe so it's not like parts are impossible to find.  


a quick search the other day showed me that you can get your own rust free one for 4-5 grand near denver (I was actually looking for a 2dr XJ but figured I'd search for other things too while craigslist was on the 'puter).  


it makes an awesome sound as it goes.  we love our little tractor. :D   


more CRD info:


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Yeah I've always wanted one.  Seems like 6 to 7 buys you one here in chicagoland.   People seem very proud of them price wise.  I can probably count on one hand how many i've seen on the road in the last couple years.   Glad yours has been trouble free, now to talk the wife into it to replace our aging WK2.

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On January 26, 2018 at 4:20 PM, Pete M said:

as with all other car purchases, I highly suggest buying from a salt-free state. :thumbsup:   also, the allwheeldrive option is very nice to have.  :grinyes:

I live in the heart of the rust belt.   Everything is rusted here.    I've thought about hauling in rust free trucks and Jeeps as a business at one point.    I'll have to look out west or down south.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/2/2018 at 1:31 PM, Pete M said:






I've used it to delete EGR off a couple of Jeeps, as well as load a "hot" tune into one. My 05 CRD is preF37 so its got a unique software revision so there are not any free tunes sitting out there available. I have to find the maps and then adjust them myself.

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I've always loved these little diesel Jeeps and spent a couple of months hunting for one to buy several years ago.  I'm guessing due to their low production numbers they don't pop up too often and when they do they always seem to be on the opposite side of the country.  The only real chance I had to pick one up was from a guy who hunted on my parent's farm and owned a very nice one in the dark blue color.  Every time I saw him I'd ask him how much but he swore up and down that he'd never get rid of it.  One day I heard him come up the driveway and the little CRD was clacking away and sounded like it was about to rattle itself apart.  He offered to sell it to me that day, but threw out a price as though it was running in tip-top shape.  I declined.  He later told me that he had to spend a few thousand to have the camshaft and rockers replaced.  I believe that isn't all that uncommon of an issue for these engines.


What has been your experience with the little Italian diesels?  I know Chryco has been sticking different versions of the VM Motori diesels in various platforms and I've always carried a little skepticism, but I haven't really come across too many complaints about their reliability on some of the diesels forums I'm on.



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On 1/26/2018 at 2:43 PM, Pete M said:

...other people have had some epic failures, but I don't know what brought those on.  I know if you lapse on changing the timing belt it does very bad things if it breaks.


Interference engine?

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7 hours ago, Pete M said:

a-yup.  but it's designed that something bends (can't remember what) if it happens to minimize the damage.  still costs a small fortune.


I've heard of at least a couple interference engines that essentially create a sacrificial part in the valvetrain to try and minimize the cylinder head damage that occurs during a complete timing belt failure.  On the VM diesel in the CRD that part is supposed to be the rockers, however, the engine conditions just before the timing belt failure will ultimately decide the fate of your valves.  


Small fortune is an accurate statement.  I'm sure you can be a bargain shopper and find alternative sources, but my favorite small diesel parts site gives you a rough idea on parts cost.


A complete Rocker/camshaft replacement kit: $850 is probably best case scenario if you roll the dice and don't think you bent any valves.  Remove the head to check for valve damage and you've got to at least pick up a cylinder head install kit: $240.  If any of the 16 valves are bent, you're looking at another $15 to $19 per valve.  To add insult to injury the timing belt you just broke will also need replacement at an extra $400.  Bottom line: don't skip out on a timing belt job.


It could be worse, though.  You could have a 2.1L French diesel from the 80's where the majority of its spare parts reside in Europe :laugh:


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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm one of about 3-4 guys in the US with the most knowledge about these things. I've owned multiple(personal and flips), done dozens of timing belt jobs, turbos, etc.


IF the valves touch the pistons the rocker arms break. New rocker arms can be had online for about $20-30 each x 16.


You do not need to pull the head to check for valve damage as you can do compression and leakdown tests with the head on and intake off. This will tell you very quick if the valves are sealing or not.


My water pump failed on my personal CRD I have had since 2007. The bearings gave out and the pulley pulled over letting the belt go slack.


The rockers damaged and broke, but they did their job.


So I had to buy 16 rockers, plus a normal timing belt kit, and about double the labor to pull the intake off to replace the rockers compared to just a timing belt job. I've bought a few jeeps that had similar issues that trashed the rockers and I was able to pick them up cheap and have them repaired for ~$1000 in parts to be completely gone through and sold for a profit.


Last year I did a timing belt job in record time for me, about 3 hours, since my dad was going to drive a CRD from CO to CA the next day, the ear had broken off of the water pump that held in the vicous heater. The timing belt was fine but the viscous heater was loose and therefor the serpentine belt was waiting to fail. Usually it takes me about 6-7 hours.


IDparts is great, and I have used them for my Jeep and Mercedes, but they are not always the cheapest option. However they are convenient and reliable.


I've got a block with a valve stuck in a piston, I'm keeping an eye out for an engine being parted to pickup a good piston to make a good short block. I have a couple of heads and an intake so I'm fairly close to a complete long block.

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had a conversation with Pat about jeeps and stuff and he alllllmost has me convinced to just buy a local GA rust free body and swap things over. :D   She's not in all that bad of shape for a MI rig (I've seen plenty of rotted KJs up there), but man some of that underbody is ugly.  :(  Maybe I'll just leave it as is and have that as a backup plan should something bad happen.  on the other hand, rust free is rust free... 

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46 minutes ago, Pete M said:

had a conversation with Pat about jeeps and stuff and he alllllmost has me convinced to just buy a local GA rust free body and swap things over.



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