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

Repaired

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.

20170923_124212

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™‚

Before:

Comparison:

After:

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 jeep-cj.com 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 jeep-cj.com 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.

And let there be light…

It’s been a long and trying weekend, but I’m significantly closer to where I need to be. To start off, I was able to yank all of the lights out and started one by one working through the lights. The first order of business what to wiring up the light that had been eaten. I soldered and used heat shrink on the splice for the wince lights, and added waterproof connectors. I’m pleased with how they came out, even though I’ll have to re-do them. More on that later.

After getting everything up front laid out, I started plugging things in and that’s when the fun began. The drives side appeared to work correctly, but the passenger side was acting funny in all kinds of ways. The lights would just come on randomly with no consistency. I kept tracing the wires and not coming up with anything, even though everything seemed to be correct. That was, ultimately, correct. That’s of little comfort after having spent literally hours trying to figure it out. I ended up calling it quits before I really broke something.

When I went back to it this morning, fresh, I started isolating the power connections and running one at a time. I ended up finding that while the housings showed grounded when I put my multi-meter on them, when hot was applied, I lost both ground and subsequently voltage. I took a shot and ran a temporary ground and wallah, the lights started working. A single solitary ground had me running around lost. Such is life I guess. With that knowledge, I was able to button up the front with one issue left up front. My passenger grill signal light turn doesn’t work. It’s actually a socket issue, and not wiring, so I’m leaving it as is until I can buy a new housing. I’ll actually be buying the pair so I can have nice clear lenses on both sides. Regardless, the front harness is in good shape for now. This is where I’m going to have to re-do the connections I mentioned previously.

That allowed me to move on to the back. I had a short in the drivers side lamp, and the passenger side was acting unpredictably, so I had pulled them both out. Fortunately the passenger side appears to have been due to the issues from the front. I plugged the housing back in, and my initial tests revealed good connectivity. Marker, turn, and backup lights all worked. I then moved on to the passenger side. This housing was missing the connector, and had simple bullet type connectors plugged into the harness. Rather than cut the harness, I decided to do my testing with the connectors. I found the harness had parts of the old connector broken off in it, which was likely my issue. I fixed that, plugged everything in as it should be, and again my tests passed. I won’t be leaving it like this. I’m going to buy a new light with the correct connector so it’s done right. I could replace the connector on both ends, but don’t want to chop off the connector and have it different between the two sides.

This is where my next hurdle came in. I don’t have brake lights, and my flashers don’t work in the rear. I’m not sure what the issue there is, but I’m relatively certain that when I figure out the brake lights that the flashers will be resolved at the same time. We shall see. And that is my next order of business. Figure out the brake and rear hazard issue.

Once I have that working, I’ll be moving on to the dash. Hopefully that’s not too chewed up. An uber positive thing to note is my wife is encouraged and excited for our first excursion. It’s not going to happen too soon, obviously, but everything I get done gets me one step closer.

And now the obligatory pictures…

Another good day…

Yesterday was yet another good day. I received some consumables I was waiting on, and it allowed me to finish wiring up the temperature sending unit. That means that with the exception of actually tying and looming the wiring, the under hood stuff is done. The plan is to wait until I am done with all the wiring (within reason) before I close it in. You never know what might change.

I have since moved onto the other vital circuits (main lights, horn, etc.) and am slowly going through them. The dimmer switch was causing issues, and has been replaced. The horn needs a new relay, which is on order. I have at least one light that needs to be rewired, and there are plenty of bulbs out. I also believe there’s a short in my drives side backup light. All will be addressed in due course.

Once I have the vitals done, I’ll move under the dash. Initial checks (after I replaced the dimmer) look positive. I know there are some bulbs out, but I can say that some lights work and the gauges appear to be working as expected as well. That’s all good news, but I’m sure I’ll have some hurdles to overcome as well. After that’s squared away I’ll be looking into the auxiliary circuits (additional lights, etc.).

I’d be remiss to not mention that it won’t all be electrical. I’ve got the jeep fired up, and will be going through the vitals there (steering, brakes, fluids, etc.) as well. The more exciting stuff will be down the road, but it all has to get done.

All in all, I’m happy about the build so far, and pretty excited to boot.