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Maiden Voyage - My List Just Got Longer


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Well after getting news tires and the AC working I drove her round trip today, about 70 miles, up to the hunting lease. Actually pulled a trailer with the ATV on it. Overall done well, was happy with the way it pulled the trailer, it did have to “work” a little bit on a few of the hills. Here’s some things I learned today. 

 

1. Steering has a little play, 1-2” both ways on the steering wheel and likes to wander a little bit side to side. Not sure if the play on the steering wheel is normal or not. 

2. The wipers or lack of need help. Can’t see a lot of difference between hi and low. I knew I had issues with them but not to this extent. 

3. Leaking oil badly, before the trip was over with it looked like I was spraying for mosquitoes because there was so much on the underside exhaust. Appears to be coming from the RMS but the PO had replaced the valve cover gaskets and did a poor job. I can see oil leaking on the very back up against the firewall but not 100% sure if this is responsible for all the oil I’m seeing on the underside of the truck. 

 

So, I’m gonna start with the VC gasket and go from there but pretty sure it’s gonna get to the RMS. 

 

May need some some input on the steering issue so I’ll probably be doing some posting

 

Thanks,

Griff04326439B7-1E90-4465-A2BA-682B784169FD.jpeg.ce14d0c5fcc493b9648d80013afb20ec.jpeg

 

 

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That much play in the steering is NOT normal. Check the track bar first, then check the tie rod ends. If those are all good, you may need to adjust the steering box. If you go for adjusting the box, be sure to read up on how to do it, because if you do it wrong you can trash it. I've adjusted several steering boxes with no ill effects, but the shop foreman at my dealership has told me they won't touch them. "Too much liability," he said.

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6 minutes ago, Eagle said:

That much play in the steering is NOT normal. Check the track bar first, then check the tie rod ends. If those are all good, you may need to adjust the steering box. If you go for adjusting the box, be sure to read up on how to do it, because if you do it wrong you can trash it. I've adjusted several steering boxes with no ill effects, but the shop foreman at my dealership has told me they won't touch them. "Too much liability," he said.

This is correct. You'll never get it modern car tight (don't try), but it shouldn't have that much play in it either. Look underneath for any loose joints in the steering linkage too. It doesn't take much at all for the somewhat complicated steering linkages on these trucks to start feeling loose.

 

As to the wipers, I don't think I've ever seen an early XJ or MJ that has very much difference between hi and low. On my '91, HI is maybe 25% faster. You should replace the bushings in the linkage, which should get them working much better.

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13 hours ago, DirtyComanche said:

For the oil leak, make sure the breathers in the valve cover are correct and functioning too, or it will force oil past whatever seals it can (often the RMS).

+1000

 

If the crankcase vent system is restricted, the best gaskets and seals in the world won''t hold back the blowby pressure, even on a really good engine.

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15 hours ago, DirtyComanche said:

For the oil leak, make sure the breathers in the valve cover are correct and functioning too, or it will force oil past whatever seals it can (often the RMS).

Are you referring to the pcv valve?

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18 hours ago, Eagle said:

That much play in the steering is NOT normal. Check the track bar first, then check the tie rod ends. If those are all good, you may need to adjust the steering box. If you go for adjusting the box, be sure to read up on how to do it, because if you do it wrong you can trash it. I've adjusted several steering boxes with no ill effects, but the shop foreman at my dealership has told me they won't touch them. "Too much liability," he said.

I can live with the play for now but really got to get the oil issue resolved first. Once that’s completed I’ll move on to the steering. I glanced through the FSM but didn’t see anything in regards to steering box adjust, are there any good articles that you can point me towards or would Google be my best bet??

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14 minutes ago, Griff04 said:

Are you referring to the pcv valve?

 

There is no PCV valve.  It's just a CCV system.  Both the small line in the back that goes to the intake manifold, and the big line in the front that goes to the airbox, need to be clean/free of obstruction and unbroken, along with the actual baffles in the valve cover (that you can see with the grommets out).

 

If you pull the valve cover off to do the seal you might as well clean out the vent towers/baffles in it.

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5 hours ago, DirtyComanche said:

 

There is no PCV valve.  It's just a CCV system.  Both the small line in the back that goes to the intake manifold, and the big line in the front that goes to the airbox, need to be clean/free of obstruction and unbroken, along with the actual baffles in the valve cover (that you can see with the grommets out).

 

If you pull the valve cover off to do the seal you might as well clean out the vent towers/baffles in it.

Picked up my fel-pro along with the 2 ccv valves tonite from Oriellys on the way to work. Plans are to work on in the morning when I get off. Will also be doing Cruisers #25 tip along with #15 in regards to RMS diagnosis. 

 

Appreciate everyones input. 

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Follow through on your thought to replace the valve cover gasket first.  Use a quality gasket and torque to specification. After you do that, suggest that you clean the engine which will assist you in tracking down any other leaks.

 

I used Fel-Pro PermaDryPlus (part number VS50522T), available from RockAuto for about $31. I torqued it, and then checked the torque a couple of times. Nothing leaking from the valve cover now for two years.

 

Since you will have the valve cover off, recommend you perform Cruiser54's valve cover mod too.

Edited by SVPete
I see I'm two minutes late....
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4 minutes ago, SVPete said:

Follow through on your thought to replace the valve cover gasket first.  Use a quality gasket and torque to specification. After you do that, suggest that you clean the engine which will assist you in tracking down any other leaks.

 

I used Fel-Pro PermaDryPlus (part number VS50522T), available from RockAuto for about $31. I torqued it, and then checked the torque a couple of times. Nothing leaking from the valve cover now for two years.

 

Since you will have the valve cover off, recommend you perform Cruiser54's valve cover mod too.

What is the “clear purpose” of the valve cover mod??

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5 hours ago, Griff04 said:

I can live with the play for now but really got to get the oil issue resolved first. Once that’s completed I’ll move on to the steering. I glanced through the FSM but didn’t see anything in regards to steering box adjust, are there any good articles that you can point me towards or would Google be my best bet??

 

Don't trust the Internet for this. The adjustment procedure used to be in old FSMs, but I guess they've stopped explaining it.

 

There are two adjustments. The one we're interested in is the "over-center lash" adjustment. On the top of the box there's an access cover, held on by four screws. In the middle of those three screws, there;s a recessed hex-head set screw -- that's the adjustment.

 

image.png.91e860ea18be8a28a31a4cc1645d82d4.png

 

First, be sure that's the problem. Park the truck with the steering straight ahead (IMPORTANT!)and the engine off, but with the ignition on so the steering wheel isn't locked. Stand outside, reach through the driver's window, and move the wheel back and forth. There should be very little play (or "lash") at the steering wheel before you can see the tire start to move. You can also feel when you start to pick up resistance.

 

It helps tremendously to do this with two people. One turns the steering wheel back and forth, just to the point on each side where the tires start to move, but don't actually move. The goal is to load the joints in the steering mechanism so they can be checked for looseness and play. Check each tie rod end, check both ends of the track bar, and check both ends of the drag link. I like to check both visually and by holding the joint with my hand -- sometimes you can feel a small amount of slop before you can see it.

 

If (and only if) all those joints are tight, then you move on to adjusting the steering box. The reason you do it carefully is that if you overtighten it, you'll trash it. It's an old-school, recirculating ball steering box, it isn't rack-and-pinion and it WILL NEVER BE as tight as rack-and-pinion.

 

To access the adjusting screw, I believe you have to remove the auxiliary fan. I know I did on my 2000 XJ -- don't remember for certain on the '88 MJ I did. The adjusting screw is secured with a locknut. IIRC, that's a 15mm, and it's probably quite tight. I remember tapping the wrench with a ball peen hammer to get it loose. I also had to cut down an Allen (hex) key to be able to get it into the set screw. Again, do this with the steering set straight ahead. If you adjust it off-center, it'll be too tight over center and it'll either bind up or wear prematurely.

 

IMHO the only way to know when the adjustment is right is to be wiggling the steering wheel or shaft while you s-l-o-w-l-y turn the set screw in. If you have a helper, let him do the set screw while you move the steering wheel back and forth across the center. As he tightens the screw, you'll feel the slop go away. Don't try to take it all out -- that's too tight. Just look to get most of it out. You can always tighten it more next month, but if you overtighten it and damage the box -- you're done. That's what happened with my '88 MJ. It was very sloppy when I bought it. When I tried to adjust it -- the screw was already completely bottomed out. I bought a replacement box from a friend in NAXJA.

 

Once you get the adjustment where you think it should be, use the Allen key to hold that position while you tighten the lock nut.

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28 minutes ago, Eagle said:

 

Don't trust the Internet for this. The adjustment procedure used to be in old FSMs, but I guess they've stopped explaining it.

 

There are two adjustments. The one we're interested in is the "over-center lash" adjustment. On the top of the box there's an access cover, held on by four screws. In the middle of those three screws, there;s a recessed hex-head set screw -- that's the adjustment.

 

image.png.91e860ea18be8a28a31a4cc1645d82d4.png

 

First, be sure that's the problem. Park the truck with the steering straight ahead (IMPORTANT!)and the engine off, but with the ignition on so the steering wheel isn't locked. Stand outside, reach through the driver's window, and move the wheel back and forth. There should be very little play (or "lash") at the steering wheel before you can see the tire start to move. You can also feel when you start to pick up resistance.

 

It helps tremendously to do this with two people. One turns the steering wheel back and forth, just to the point on each side where the tires start to move, but don't actually move. The goal is to load the joints in the steering mechanism so they can be checked for looseness and play. Check each tie rod end, check both ends of the track bar, and check both ends of the drag link. I like to check both visually and by holding the joint with my hand -- sometimes you can feel a small amount of slop before you can see it.

 

If (and only if) all those joints are tight, then you move on to adjusting the steering box. The reason you do it carefully is that if you overtighten it, you'll trash it. It's an old-school, recirculating ball steering box, it isn't rack-and-pinion and it WILL NEVER BE as tight as rack-and-pinion.

 

To access the adjusting screw, I believe you have to remove the auxiliary fan. I know I did on my 2000 XJ -- don't remember for certain on the '88 MJ I did. The adjusting screw is secured with a locknut. IIRC, that's a 15mm, and it's probably quite tight. I remember tapping the wrench with a ball peen hammer to get it loose. I also had to cut down an Allen (hex) key to be able to get it into the set screw. Again, do this with the steering set straight ahead. If you adjust it off-center, it'll be too tight over center and it'll either bind up or wear prematurely.

 

IMHO the only way to know when the adjustment is right is to be wiggling the steering wheel or shaft while you s-l-o-w-l-y turn the set screw in. If you have a helper, let him do the set screw while you move the steering wheel back and forth across the center. As he tightens the screw, you'll feel the slop go away. Don't try to take it all out -- that's too tight. Just look to get most of it out. You can always tighten it more next month, but if you overtighten it and damage the box -- you're done. That's what happened with my '88 MJ. It was very sloppy when I bought it. When I tried to adjust it -- the screw was already completely bottomed out. I bought a replacement box from a friend in NAXJA.

 

Once you get the adjustment where you think it should be, use the Allen key to hold that position while you tighten the lock nut.

That’s perfect, straightforward and to the point. I’ll definitely check all the front end components before making any adjustments....gotta get this dang oil leak put to bed first though. 

 

One thing, you mentioned the “screw bottoming out” I’m assuming the adjustment screw is turned in clockwise rotation, correct??

 

****Sorry, overlooked your instructions on turning the screw in, so it is clockwise rotation****

 

 

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It helps stop oil blow-by which travels through the CCV lines in to the airbox, soaking the air filter with oil.

 

Performing the mod has mitigated the oil saturation for me, not completely eliminated it, but reduced it a lot.

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Got VC off today and cleaned up. Went ahead and did the Cruiser54 mod on it. It appeared appeared to have a Fel-Pro gasket installed, did see a couple of nicks in it on the backside and the 3 stud bolts that hold the fuel rail bracket in place were only finger tight. 

 

Will get the head cleaned up in the morning and hopefully get the VC reinstalled with a new Permadryplus Fel-Pro. Had to order the hose that runs off the rear CVC fitting...it was pretty much toast, old and just crumbled in my hand. 

 

After that will look for more possible oil leak potentials. Depending on what I find I’m going to degrease the underside and clean . May have to drive it in order to help pinpoint anymore leaks if there are any. 

 

I’m hoping replacing the VC gasket and proper torquing will fix the leak issue but don’t have a lot of confidence in it.....

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Finished up the gasket...turned out good. Installed the Fel-pro with no sealant as recommended, let the truck idle for 20 minutes and saw no leaks. Will drive this weekend and retorque bolts. 

 

So I’m looking around for more leaks, got a ton of oil leaking around the oil filter area. Hard to tell where it is coming from, will clean up in the morning and further investigate. 

 

Never seen an oil filter assembly like this. Gonna have to do some digging. Looked in the FSM I have and couldn’t find an assembly drawing, not sure it wouldn’t have something like this....will have to look around. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Griff04 said:

Finished up the gasket...turned out good. Installed the Fel-pro with no sealant as recommended, let the truck idle for 20 minutes and saw no leaks. Will drive this weekend and retorque bolts. 

 

So I’m looking around for more leaks, got a ton of oil leaking around the oil filter area. Hard to tell where it is coming from, will clean up in the morning and further investigate. 

 

Never seen an oil filter assembly like this. Gonna have to do some digging. Looked in the FSM I have and couldn’t find an assembly drawing, not sure it wouldn’t have something like this....will have to look around. 

 

 

Found a video on YouTube detailing the o-ring replacement on the filter assembly. Looked simple enough...will give it a try tomorrow. 

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Got the filter adapter out today, picked up 2 different o-ring kits, 1 Fel-pro and 1 Dorman and neither one had the correct oring for the stud. 

 

Found an old post that actually had the oring sizes and found them all at a local hydraulic shop. 

 

Got everything back together and the underside of the truck degreased and cleaned up. Fired it up and didn’t see any leaks, will drive it hard tonite to work and check it in the morning. 

 

here's the link I found the oring sizes on, really saved my butt. 

https://comancheclub.com/topic/44420-mj-renix-to-ho-oil-filter-adapter-o-ring-data/

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I have 'rebuilt' two or three steering boxes. One didn't go well. The front cover popped off. Not fun with synthetic PS fluid all over the garage floor. You would need a inch-lb torque wrench. I forget the specs. I did do a box on one of my XJs a couple of years ago. I did check it against some info on the net as for a TJ gear box. I think tighten with allen wrench, then back off 1/4 turn. It matched my torque measurements. Still, ???? I had to replace that box as the front seal leaked, and I couldn't wait for a rebuild kit.

       As for the valve cover, I had sever blowby in the MJ. I tried a few cork gaskets. Usually, went bad in a few weeks to a month. I did 'upgrade' to a '95 XJ valve cover, and adapter a '97 CCV tube. That did work. On my present '98 XJ, I am using a 93-95 GC valve cover with the rubber Felpro gasket. I did shorted the towers as in Cruiser's Tips. I can't remember if I did that with the '95 XJ VC.

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I drove the “stew” out of it to work last after oil adapter oring overhaul. The underside looked cleaned this morning. With that said I’m going to say that instead of the RMS causing all the oil the leaking oil adapter was the main culprit. I’m driving it up to the hunting lease tomorrow which will give me a better idea but as of now I’m going to consider that project behind me. 

 

Time to move on to the play in the steering. I’m going to start a new post that would be more search friendly which may help out later on if someone needs some help. 

 

Thanks for the replies here. 

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Well drove it up to the lease today pulling my trailer. Got back home and oil once again present on the underside, not as bad as it was but still enough to coat up the exhaust and have it burning off. Definitely not the VC gasket nor the oil filter adapter o-rings I just replaced. All indications at this point looks like the RMS...so it is what is, will be replacing it. 

 

Any manufacturer recommendation  for the rms itself and oil pan appreciated??

 

Should have know I wasn’t going to get out that easily. 

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I always buy Fel-Pro for that stuff.

 

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=122759&cc=1181584&jsn=439

 

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=126037&cc=1181584&jsn=449

 

Don't buy the cork one unless you're planning to do it again.

 

There's also a support strap for the rear of the pan, HOrnbrod has the P/N I believe, it was a later update and was backwards compatible with older models.

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1 hour ago, DirtyComanche said:

I always buy Fel-Pro for that stuff.

 

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=122759&cc=1181584&jsn=439

 

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=126037&cc=1181584&jsn=449

 

Don't buy the cork one unless you're planning to do it again.

 

There's also a support strap for the rear of the pan, HOrnbrod has the P/N I believe, it was a later update and was backwards compatible with older models.

Hey DC, already ordered the felpro from Amazon along with a Mopar OEM oil pump....figured while I was there I’d go ahead and replace it also. 

 

Thanks for the reply, Griff. 

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