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I contemplated doing the load sensing valve delete, but if its not broke why fix it. When I came into possession of the truck the valve was zip tied up to an upper hardline. As far as I can tell the load sensing valve functions on the truck. I seemed to have more rear brakes when it was tied up higher (pointing towards the underside of the bed) vs when it was hanging there pointing towards the ground. So for the time being I made a new and longer rod for my load sensing valve to accommodate the lift that has been installed a while back. The rod was made from a 6 inch 1/4 -20 rod, two couplers and four nuts.


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Had the battery die on me the other day.  I knew it was but thought it still had some life in it. I debated on getting an AGM battery, such as an odessy. But after all the research I got to thinking, I have no aftermarket electronics and the Autozone gold top batteries have always served me well and been reliable. And the most on the electrical I have planned is perhaps a winch in the far far future. So I went with the gold top. The new battery oddly enough sorted out a slight rpm surge that was present in the jeep,  added bonus :L:.


With the battery installed and the jeep running again I had some free time today. With nothing major that needed to be done on the Jeep I did a few of the want to do's. First was I freshened up the emblems, I neglected to get a before picture. The freshen up entailed repainting the background black to get the lettering to pop again, hand painted, and a clear coat for protection. 



Both the driver and passenger doors came from a newer model (94 I think?) as the originals were rusted out and falling apart. Both doors came with gold striping running the width of the door. No where else on the truck had gold striping, they stood out. I have no plans to make this a show truck, and the visible dents in the door can attest to that. But I figured a consistent theme in color is do able. It took long than I thought but I removed the gold striping from the doors. A fresh razor blade and a lot of patience got all the sticker and adhesive from the doors.





The shell had/has a number of decal stickers that I also am not a fan of and I started to remove those. The razor blade came into play again, but the adhesive was not as easy to get off. It took a number of methods to get them off. The first attempt was the razor blade with lots of scraping, yet the adhesive would not come off entirely. Olive oil was used to help with the sticky and that work, but left an out line of where the decal had been.



After thinking off ways to remove the outline of the decal I figured I would give a a mister clean magic eraser a try. The thing worked wonders. It removed everything, the residual adhesive where the decals were stuck, the outline that would not be removed, and the years worth of built up grime on the shell.  




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For the last little while I’ve been wavering back and forth on which rim to go with on the Jeep. In the past I’ve leaned towards an aftermarket for a more modern look and taste and was thinking of going that route for Villa. Really the only drawback is that with the backspacing of aftermarket rims they stick further out of the fenders and get more crud on the truck, which really isn’t that big of a deal breaker.  Then as I was looking at rims I started thinking sometimes a well built Jeep looks nice with stock rims, I already have five matching stock rims, while driving around I have noticed not many XJs running the original stock rims, and a few eBay searches didnt returning very many results for the stock rims. I decided to keep the original rims and freshen them up a bit. I tried to keep the paint as close as possible without custom mixing. Closest match I could find was rustoleum metallic silver. 


How the rim looked when removed from the Jeep. 



Any refreshing job is all about the prep work. Started by roughing up the suface with some 120 grit. Then vacuumed the sanding debris from the surface and did some more sanding with 400 grit to give the paint something to bit into. The 400 grit sanding was followed another vacuuming of the debris and a wipe down with denatured alcohol to get a nice clean surface.




To keep the the paint overspray off the tire taped it up. The first coat was a light coat mostly to get some coverage on the rim. 



Within 10 minutes a heavier coat was applied making sure all of the surface was coated. With the heavy coat applied a second heavy coat was put on about 10 minutes after that. 



All cured and back on the truck. With succes on the practice rim the other rims are currently being painted as well. 


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About a month ago I was playing around on the street in front of the house with the parking brake. After I had applied it the parking brake pedal released on its own, but the jeep didn't roll. Upon completing what I had been doing I went to pull forward only to find that the drivers side wheel did not want to spin. An initial attempt at a quick fix, putting the brake back on and releasing it again, did nothing to remedy the problem. So I now found myself in a conundrum. The jeep would roll just fine in reverse but, would not move going forward. After getting it into the garage I figured it was time to rebuild the brakes. I had been playing with the idea of converting the Dana 44 from drums to discs when the time came to redo the brakes. Researching showed there were several ways to do it ranging it easier to more difficult.  After doing my research I opted to use the Ford 8.8 for my disc conversion as its cheap and pretty straight forward. I used this writeup as my source for information: https://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=967146. The write up is filled with great information and I recommend reading it. I have inserted snippets of information from the write up here.


Ford explorer rear discs read to be the best for this conversion as the spacing on the backing plates is closest to the D44.

-  95 - 01' Ford 8.8 rear discs backing plate has a 2" x 3 9/16" bolt pattern

-  86 - 90 MJ/XJ D44 has a 2" x 3 11/32" bolt pattern

This gives a horizontal difference of 7/32" between the two backing plates. The explorer backing plate need the holes to be inwardly elongated 7/32" for them to bolt onto the D44 housing.  A dremel with a carbide bit made quick work on elongating the Ford 8.8 backing plates. Remove about 1/8"  inward side of each hole. I used the retaining plate to measure when I had removed enough material. When removing the metal with the carbide bit wear gloves. The shaving that are created are super irritating if you get them on the skin, and hand around forever if you don't vacuum them up. 








Another difference that needs to be overcome is the difference in thickness between the Ford 8.8 disc brake backing plates and D44 backing plates.

-  Ford 8.8 disc brake backing plates are .350" thick

- 86 - 90 MJ/XJ D44 backing plate us .125" thick

Giving a thickness difference of .225" between the two. Teraflex uses a spacer in the aftermarket conversion kit  compensate for this difference. A search on the webpage showed the spacers to be available for purchase by themselves PN 86261 for $6.99 each. The spacer are .226" thick. When you go to press them onto the axle shafts the spacer will go between the D44 retaining plate and the oil seal. Make sure the tapered side is facing the oil seal.


I heard conflicting reports of whether or not the stock wheel studs would work and with what rims. I run the 90's era stock steel D-window rims. Before I pressed the new axle hardware on I did a test fit. Using the old oil seal I put the axle in place with the retaining plate and spacer. The stock wheel studs appeared to be just long enough. I was able to get 5 - 6 full rotations on the lug nuts. That was not enough engagement for my personal comfort so I changed out the wheel studs for some Ford 8.8 rear wheel studs, Dorman PN 610-368.






When trying to put the axle shafts in the spacer kept falling down. Do keep it in place I put a few dabs of Ultragrey RTV on the spacer to essentially glue it onto the retaining plate.



When selecting rotors I had read of some using explorer rotors and others going with ZJ rotors. The comparison of the two is as follows:

Ford 8.8 Rear Rotor w/Parking Drum in Hat

-Number bolt holes: 5

- Bolt Circle Dimensions: 4.5"

-Discard Thickness: .433"

-New Surface Thickness: .473"

-Outside Diameter: 11.22"

-Overall Height: 2.295"


ZJ Rear Rotor w/Parking Drum in Hat


-Number bolt holes: 5

- Bolt Circle Dimensions: 4.5"

-Discard Thickness: .374"

-New Surface Thickness: .43"

-Outside Diameter: 11.22"

-Overall Height: 2.33"

The difference between the two is practially negligible. I read of some people getting some brake pad drag when using the Ford 8.8 rotor. But the main issue with using Ford 8.8 rotors is the center hole. The D44 axle shaft will not fit through the center hole without widening it. About .015" needs to be removed from the inner surface, a flapper wheel could probably take care of this. I went with the ZJ rear rotors due to the two issues that I read about the Ford 8.8 rotors.




The stock steel brake lines on the D44 for drums will be too long, which will require them to be modified or replaced. I replaced mine as I don't know when the hardliners were last....if ever replaced. The soft line running from the D44 to the bed was the stock length and didn't allow for any flex. Longer hose from a Dodge Dakota was put in as well.



To address the ebrake cables there are three options that are discussed over and over:

  1. Cut the spring off the stock cable, fold it over and use cable clamps to secure it to the ebrake arm
  2. Purchase the Lokar Clevis Kit and modify them for the drum cable ends
  3. Use the Lokar Universal Ebrake Cable Kit and build your own cables

I actually went with a fourth option. I thought what about using ebrake cables from a ZJ with disc brakes. I found a pair on a Zj in the junkyard and threw those on. The length is snug but long enough.






To connect the hard line to the caliper, I used two passenger side lines for a Ford Explorer. I have them running horizontal and inline with the leaf springs to prevent them from getting snagged or caught on anything. When I did a test fit early on in the process I neglected to do one major thing. I never put on the caliper to test for clearance with the stock D-window rims. I remember reading mixed information on which rims and backspacing will work. I vaguely recall hearing the 90's era 5 spoke and 11 spoke stock rims wouldn't fit. But when researching the stock Explorer rims were the same size and dimensions as Jeep so there is no reason why they shouldn't fit. Further reading led me to believe some people were mixing up crown victoria brakes. Stock rims most likely will not fit with that setup as the stock rims are 16" rims. Anyways, the stock rims had plenty of clearance for the calipers.






Several post discussed swapping out the prop valve for one from a ZJ with disc brakes to provide better braking pressure on the rear discs. I still have the MJ prop valve as my load sensor still functions. Thus far driving around the brakes have worked flawlessly and if the load sensor fails I can install a wildwood adjustable prop vale on the rear line.


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nice work and an excellent writeup!  :L:  are you going to do a separate DIY thread for that? :brows:

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12 hours ago, Pete M said:

nice work and an excellent writeup!  :L:  are you going to do a separate DIY thread for that? :brows:


Of course, what ever helps the community along.

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Since doing my disc brake swap I noticed that the rear brakes were not applying much clamping force. When stopping on gravel I was unable to get the rear brakes to lock up. With the dual diaphragm booster upgrade the truck was still stopping hands down better than it use to so I didn't think much of it at first. Here after a recent snow storm I noted that even on ice with minimal resistance the rear brakes would not lock up the tires. A known culprit for rear brake pressure loss is the load sensor. From reading the forum posts most elect to delete it all together when it appears that it has failed. I began looking into the process for deleting the load sensor when I came across thread posted by HOrnbrod: 



Using the advice on pg 2 I was able to get the rear brakes to lock up just after the fronts.


On 6/21/2017 at 9:59 PM, HOrnbrod said:



Today I broke out the FSM and re-read the load sensing valve (LSV) adjustment procedure - again. Referring to the diagram below, rear brake bias is optimal when the LSV shaft flat (shown by the red line; flat is actually on the splined portion of the shaft) points down at the 6.00 o'clock position while looking at the LSV from the front. The factory adjustment procedure used a wonky 85* adjustment fixture to do the procedure; naturally they are now unobtanium. But in reading the procedure I could see exactly what was happening and how it worked. I pulled the LSV lever partially off the LSV so I could see the shaft flat, and it was pointing at 3:00 o'clock! WTF? I then pulled the lever completely off, and rotated the shaft clockwise 360*. You could feel the pull in the shaft as the LSV internal rotary piston passed across the inlet and outlet fluid ports, then after it passed over the ports, it turned freely with no pull. This is how it regulates the rear brake bias depending on the vehicle load, and if the lever isn't in the correct orientation, the ports are blocked, thus there's no opening for the fluid to pass. Which of course causes weak or no rear braking.

I then rotated the valve shaft so it faced at about the 8:00 o'clock position, which simulated a fully loaded MJ and maximum rear braking. Then while keeping the shaft from rotating, slid the lever back on the splined shaft, pressed it on, and tightened it all down. Went for a test drive and slammed on the brakes, and the rears locked right up. Yay! Then I fooled with different lever positions on the splined valve shaft, and the best braking ended up to be when the shaft flat was facing right at the 7:00 o'clock position.

Now in a panic stop, the fronts lock up just before the rears - perfect. After about four full pedal stops, all four disks were hotter than the hinges of hell. Whereas before, just the front disks got real hot. I'm happy now - no ZJ proportioning valve and re-routing of the brake lines is now required. :)  At least for now.

Does this make sense to y'all? Unfortunately, the 91-92 LSV's are different than the older ones as there's no flat on the splined arm of the 90 and below LSV's. And the older LSV's use a completely different adjustment procedure and adjustment fixture, even wonkier than the HO's do.



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Recently a buddy gave a new name to the Jeep with a play on the Wildernest name. He's taken to calling it the "The Wilderbeest". I like it and decided to go with it. I think it has a better ring to it than the previous moniker. As such, I've updated the thread title to reflect it.

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Purchased and installed  48" Hi-Lift, base and fire extinguisher.  





I know that there are varying opinions on the practicality and need of a Hi-Lift. I find that if you've read the instructions, keep the jack clean and lubed, and use it safely (i.e., make sure the foot is placed securely, keep a foot on it while operating the jack, keep firm hand on the handle, and all body parts from the scissoring area) I think they are a valuable tool when off road with multiple uses. What I don't do with a Hi-Lift is work on the Jeep, use it to hold up the Jeep and crawl under or change tires. My primary use of the Hi-Lift is to lift a wheel off the ground to get myself unstuck or, as has happened on a few occasions, lift off something that has become stuck under the belly of the Jeep or act as a counter winch in certain winching situations. If you've ever slid off the road when you go to winch back up onto the road as you pull the front or rear of the vehicle the opposite ends wants to continue sliding off, the Hi-Lift can be used to apply tension on the opposite end.


To mount it I tried to keep it simple, its been stored in a quasi accessible location out of sight behind the weather guard box. Easily viewed things tend wander off.






While working around the weather guard box I finally took the time to do some organizing of tools and equipment. Everything as of right now has been stored in the box. Basic essentials include: my sleeping bag, spare tools for most any on road repair, a box with various tie-down straps and tow straps, pulling chain and a set tire chains. 





The second box with a pair of tire chains is a place holder for now to keep the contents from sliding around. The ammo cans have created enough space that I still have room to pack various fluids as well.

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Back when the transmission was swapped the big hiccup that I encounter was the exhaust system was completely welded. From the exhaust headers to the tail pipe all the segments were fully welded. Headers are what were on the Jeep, they had the correct bungs for the O2 sense and EGR tube welded into the down pipe coming from the 4th cylinder. If I  could have swapped down pipes I would have kept the heads but they did not have the flange to mate the two together. Who, when, or why it was decided to weld everything as one unit left me with so many questions. So at the time of the transmission swap in order to drop the transmission I was left with two options:

1 - remove the intake manifold and exhaust headers.

2- cut the down pipe to create separation 

I didn't want to take apart half of the engine bay, to then remove the entire exhaust system, only to drop the transmission. And thinking of future endeavors I didn't want this to be the route every time, I therefore went with option two. I cut the down pipe just in front of the transmission to get the separation needed to drop the transmission. When all was said and done, I tried to fix the the cut with an extension and hose clamps but I couldn't get it to seal and settled for an extremely bad exhaust leak. The exhaust pipes on the system were 2" diameter and the auto parts stores didn't really have much to offer.



Well after 7 months or so, I decided I'd had enough with the loud exhaust and poor fuel mileage and replaced the entire exhaust system. Being more budget I went back to the stock exhaust manifold in place of the headers.Before I had to cut the exhaust apart, creating a bad leak, I didn't really notice any power gains or MPG improvements with the headers anyways. I have held onto them and at some point if I think I want them back on I'll weld on a flange. Before I put the exhaust manifold in I gave it a coating of Rust-O-leum high temp pain.



After the tear down I noticed 29 years of use was clearly showing. The inner walls were caked in oily carbon build-up.



In removing the carbon build-up and grease I tried a product I've never used before. Spray the degreaser on, let the foam sit for 10-15 minutes and wipe away. A couple sprays and wipes, with a good rinse and the soot build-up was gone.





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When the manifolds were removed, the bolts were a mixture of OEM and random bolts. All of the random bolts were too long and had random amounts of washers and/or additional nuts on the threads to take up the extra length. A jaunt to the hardware store had 11 new 3/8-16 1 1/4" bolts to replace all of them. out of there habit and without giving it much thought until I was bolting the manifolds on, I grabbed Grade 8 hardware. If I had been paying more attention I probably could have saved a few bucks, ah well. Degreaser made the manifold look almost new.



Rockauto has replacements for the entire exhaust, all manufactured by Walker. I bought , the down pipe, a new cat, the SoundFX muffler, and the tail pipe. The only fitment issue is the tail pipe extends out a little far and contacts the hitch.





Instead of using the u-bolt style exhaust clamps, I went with band clamps. The u-bolts tend to cause crimps that make it more difficult to disassemble down the road. I personally like to make future disassembly as easy as possible for myself.


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The last thing I did with the exhaust system is I thought I could help the whole system breath better. To accomplish this a MeanLemons 60mm throttle body replaced the stock one. MeanLemons was great to work with. Prompt responses, prompt service.  





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The tailpipe extended about 1/16" too far back and was contacting the hitch. I also did not like how low it was hanging. To tuck it up I removed tailpipe to just in front of where the crimps leading into the bend begin. With the section that was hanging low removed I installed a chrome tip. The tip didn't sit flush on the tailpipe, leaving an 1/8" gap. The two supplied screws used to pinch it into place would cause the tip to angle down and slide/fall out of place. To better secure it into place I drilled out two 3/16" holes allowing the screws to thread into the tail pipe itself. There was also a 3/16" hole drilled through the top of the tip and tailpipe to give an additional screw.










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 Before fall set in I completed body work on the quarter panels, complete with a primer coating. I was hoping to reapply the bedliner on the lower quarter panels to have it done and out of the way, but time was not on my side. With the colder temperatures the plan was put on pause. Now that spring has sprung, a brought with it warmer temperatures it is time to finish the lower quarter panels. A some point a coat of Durabak (a DIY bedliner) was applied to prevent rock chips. When it was originally done the Durabak was applied with the fender flares on, resulting in peeling near the flares and a feeling of being incomplete. This time around the flares were removed to have a complete running front to back. The garage wall prevented me from having enough space to get a single shot.





The entire lower half of the truck was washed cleaned to remove dirt, oil, grease, and grime. I masked off a line where I didn't want Durabak to be. I moved the tape line up ever so slightly to clean up the rough edge from the previous application.





Durabak can be sprayed or rolled on, I went with roll. You can buy special rollers from the manufacturer that helps the rubber granuals spread more evenly. The manufacturer’s directions for application of the Durabak bedliner state that a primer coat is not necessary, but I found that the bedliner adhered much better to the primed areas than the places where I had just roughed up the factory paint with a light sanding, as recommended. Application was pretty straightforward. I used the manufacturer supplied foam brush to paint along panel, nooks and crannies I used a paint brush. I started by woking on the factory exposed paint. The first coat went on smoothly, though it did take a minute or two to really get the hang of how to apply the bedliner evenly. Since the air here is so dry, the first coat took ~25 minutes to become tacky to the touch. Once the second was applied, a third and final coat was applied along the entire lower panel to give an even, more consistent look all around. As soon as the final coat was on I we all of the painters tape and am letting the Jeep to dry overnight. I've been out twice to touch up any necessary areas. Since Durabak bonds to itself, this has not been a problem.




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