How it didn’t fall apart, I’ll never know…

Quite some time ago i was 4 wheeling somewhere I shouldn’t have been, and my clutch went out. One of my friends who was a novice mechanic said that an “e clip” had popped out of the mechanism, which I now know is called a bellcrank. We ended up using duct tape to get it out of where we were, and sometime later it was “fixed”. Now, I’m not saying I didn’t “fix” it, but I will say I don’t remember ever doing anything like what I found. As a matter of clarification, I remember putting an “e clip” in place and got a “mechanic” to do the “repair”. (That’s a lot of sarcastic quotes)

Tonight, armed with the correct repair parts (2 bushings, 2 boots, and 2 clips) and an idea of what I had to do i set off to refresh it. It was working, but after replacing all those mounts it was suggested that those being worn probably had an adverse effect on the bellcrank bushings and they’d be cheap insurance. Well, let me tell you, it was a good thing I did.

How it didn’t fall apart, I’ll never know. The side connected to the transmission was missing the boot and the retaining clip. The side closes to the outside of the vehicle didn’t have the boot, the bushing, or the clip. It had, what I believe to be, a piece of steel wool stuffed in the hole to take up the slack. Did I mention that I took it to a “mechanic” to do the “repair”? Pictures don’t lie.

The repair process was really simple. Two nuts, two bolts, and a bit of fidgeting and it was done. All in all it took about 20 or 30 minutes, and wasn’t hard at all. Knowledge is power apparently. I still need to lube it, but I didn’t have the time to go through and lube everything, so it’ll happen when I do that. Hopefully it will last a good long while now.

So, check out the creative fix and my subsequent refresh…

Transmission side

Driver side

Creative aftermarket bushing


After just a bit of agitation this happened today…

You may have seen yesterday that it was a party. Well, we got the party started last night, and shut’er down today. There was a bit of agitation, a bit of confusion, a bit of cursing, and a bit of rejoicing, and it got done. The motor mounts weren’t all that bad to change out. Actually none of the mounts were from the perspective of getting the bolts out. Now, actually getting things back in and aligned is a different story. 

When I pulled the motor mounts, there was a ground strap on the drivers side that didn’t reach around the new mount correctly. That threw me off, but eventually I was able to get new cables and replace some other grounds that were simply missing. Once again the guys at the Jeep-CJ forums were invaluable in getting me pointed in the right direction.

The transmission mount and torque arm was super easy to get out, even though it was literally caked with about a 1/2 inch of nastiness. I pulled it down and got to cleaning. I kid you not, I think I pull close to 15lbs of crud off the mounts and skid pan. Once I got everything cleaned up, I threw the new mounts on, and that’s when the real fun began. I had a heck of a time getting the pan mounting bolts to line up on both sides of the frame rails. To add insult to injury, one of the captive nuts decided to pop out when I went to put the bolt back in. I’m just thankful it didn’t decide to start spinning when I was taking it out. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that, just yet, but for now it’s got 5 out of the 6 bolts in place. Actually, that’s the way it was when I pulled it out, just reversed.

And now on to the pictures. I dig the payoff, and I’m sure the jeep is going to thank me for it. Of course, I found a few other things I need to deal with, like the steering shaft and rear main seal, but at least now the motor’s not going to torque out of the frame. I call it a win.

Now it’s a party…

Parts are in. What you’re looking at here are a new torque arm, torque arm bushings, polyurethane transmission mount, and M.O.R.E. bombproof motor mounts. This should, hopefully, resolve my clunking issues while upgrading the components so they will last a good bit longer than OEM replacements.

I started soaking the bolts in penetrating fluid when I made the order, so I hope that’ll make it easier to get them out. Don’t worry, I’m under no delusion. I know that this will likely be a pain in the butt. We’ll know soon enough. I’m not sure if I’m going to start this evening, or first thing in the morning. Either way, I hope to have the lot done by the end of the day tomorrow. Again, we shall see…

Clunk…clunk, clunk…Huh?

While continuing the driving lessons with my daughter, I started hearing some weird noises, feeling some strange vibrations. I say started, but that’s not actually accurate. It’s happened before, but I never really paid it much attention.

Ultimately if I’m driving and I have my RPMs at the higher end of the spectrum for the gear (not over revving by any means) and I go to stop, when I push in the clutch I get a series of clunks and what feels like the transmission / motor torquing. It happens like 3 or 4 times in as many seconds. In my mind, I see the motor torquing counter clockwise each time it does it. The closest thing that comes to mind that I’ve experienced that’s anything like it is the overrun clutch on my tractor.

I looked at the motor mounts, and as far as I could tell they looked good. Apparently that was an incorrect assessment. I took some pictures and those with far more knowledge than me said that the motor is far too close to the firewall. Not only that, but the torque arm bushings look like they’re toast to me. All in all, I’ll be replacing the motor mounts, transmission mount, and torque arm bushings with the “bulletproof” offerings from M.O.R.E. Now I just need to find the money πŸ˜€

Cleanup continues…

Yesterday was a relatively light day. I added loom to the engine bay to pretty much finalize the under hood wiring project. It’s a whole lot less than what was there before, and it definitely cleans it up. I need to find some way to attach the loom to the firewall and fender liners, but this is pretty much the way it’s been since I bought it, so it’ll come after some other more important fixes and upgrades.

I also started some fabrication of a rear electronic panel. It’s going to sit on the passenger fender and will house a negative bus, part of the stereo, two fuse panels (one keyed and one not), and a couple of charging sockets for the rear. I don’t have any pictures of that because right now it’s just a piece of plywood that I keep laying things on :smile:.

As part of the stereo layout, I started looking at mounting options for the rear speakers, which will actually be on the roll bar. I’ve got a good idea of what I’m going to do. More on that later, when I actually get close to it. 

Here’s the current state of the engine bay:

Ups and downs…

Today was a pretty good day. Got up this morning and my daughter and I did some power washing of the under carriage. After that we went through and flushed and bled the brakes so we could start with the education. It was time to give her some insight into the ways of the stick shift.

I’d be remiss if I were to pretend we don’t have a long way to go 😃. She started out and let out on the clutch and took off, no problem at all. Twice in a row at that. The squeals of delight and ear to ear smiles were priceless. She’s got a long way to go, but we spent about 2 hours laughing at the starts, stops, stalls, clutch popping, and bucking. Just like with any of the other journeys we’ve taken, it’s all about building those lasting memories

All was not fun and games, unfortunately. I did find that my radiator is leaking, so another repair to go on the list. We’ve got a few months to work through the driving lessons, the repairs, and the upgrades. Plenty of time, hopefully.


Closing that chapter…

The new grill mounted parking/turn lights came in yesterday, and before and after running my son to do some fundraising for the swim team at the football game I was able to pull the old lights, wire up the new lights, and re-install everything. The wiring is ultimately the same as it was before, so there are no pictures of that, but I did get some before and after pictures and the difference is like night and day.

After I finished that up, I did a temporary fix on my hatch lock that may or may not become permanent. It really depends on how well it works. Basically, the cable that goes into the hatch lock mechanism that turns to open it, wasn’t attached. I’m not sure what should attach it, but it’s not a through bolt. I took a .22 casing, shaved it down, and somehow got it in place. It works so far, but I just don’t have warm and fuzzy feelings about it.

The seats are back in, so today will have me power washing it, and giving my daughter her first lesson in driving a manual transmission. If she can drive this, she’ll be able to drive anything πŸ™‚




Had an eventful day…

Today was an eventful day. I was able to get the dash all sorted. From the dash lights to the 4×4 and emergency brake idiot lights, they all light up when they should. I’m stoked. Of course, I still have to tie and loom everything. That par for the course with all the wiring so far.

I took it one step further and started wiring and mocking up my daughters old stereo. It’s old, but it works and has 2 camera inputs for front and rear cameras. That should give me everything I need for music and approach and departure help beyond my spotter. It also angles toward and away from the driver for ease of viewing. A bonus here is that it, too, is wired correctly and comes on when I flip the key to accessory. That’s something I’ve not had in a long time with this rig. More naieve stupidity on my behalf.

I’m not sure how much more wiring I’m going to be doing before I get into some less electrifying πŸ™‚ aspects of the build. I’m going to move it out and wash it as soon as I have the opportunity.

And pictures…

I love it when things work out…

A couple more quick updates….

First, I’ve ordered the new front turn signals and they have apparently shipped. That’ll get the front completed, and give me nice clear lenses on both sides. WooHoo! Sure, I’ve got to rework the wiring and tie those in with the winch signals, but the hard work is done so it shouldn’t take long.

The guys over at have suggested that a good cleaning and simply working the turn signals should resolve my brake / rear flasher issues for good. That means I can spend the turn signal switch money on something else. We’ll see. I’ll be doing that in short order so I should know soon enough.

I think I’ve also decided that I’m going to simply replace the connector on the drivers tail light. I just can’t see spending money on a new light when I have waterproof plugs on hand, and I don’t think I’ll ever sell the Jeep. Not to mention, that wouldn’t be the first missing plug on the jeep, either. Time will tell, though. I’m not going to do anything right this minute as there is still plenty of work left to do.

The next things on the menu are to get it back out of the garage so I can power wash it. I’m not sure if that will happen before this weekend, but you never know. I’ll be digging into the dash to make sure all the lights there work as expected. Really that encompasses the back lighting, the parking brake light, and the 4×4 light. At least, I think that’s all. I’m also going to look in my spare parts bin to see if I can find my daughters old stereo. The one that was in the dash is dead, and if I remember correctly hers worked when we swapped it for a more modern unit.

So far things seem to be working out…

And just like that…

And just like that, the brake lights and flashers and are working…kinda πŸ™‚
I hit up the forums on and was pointed in the right direction. It looks like my turn signal switch is due for replacement. A little wiggle here, a little wiggle there, and the lights all work. And on the replace list it goes. At least I know what it is and what needs to be done to fix it.