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tjZ06

TJ's 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Build

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Posted (edited)

Okay, time to write about this thing...

 

As a small recap, there are LOTS of new things in the Heep.  Obviously the radiator (and all radiator/heater hoses), water pump, t-stat and housing, e-fans, power-steering pump to facilitate hydraulic fan deletion (and all PS lines) and such that started this latest round of mods.  But it ended up being a full reman long-block (with hardened valves seats, updated pistons designs, MLS head gaskets, drilled-out oil-drainback holes, etc.), new '08 intake (with adapter for stock TB), EVERY sensor new (all 4 o2s, crank position, camp position, knock sensors, ECT, oil pressure, IAT, TPS, etc.), new EVERY gasket (intake, TB, valve covers, front cover, whole new oil pan with gasket/windage tray, etc.) new IAC, new coil packs, new plugs, new engine mounts, etc. etc. etc. 

 

We got it together last weekend, and she fired right up on the first crank, but immediately set a solid Check Engine Light.  Okay, no worries... I'm sure something is just unplugged.  Did a quick visual and didn't find anything obvious.  Scanned the code, and sure 'nough I had forgotten to plug the stock hydraulic fan control solenoid back in (you need it, or an appropriate resistor in place even w/ the e-fans to keep the ECM happy).  We cleared the code and tried again: BAM no CEL and a nice, smooth running motor.  Oil pressure was great and the motor sounded nice and healthy.  There was obviously a lot of smoke off things like the exhaust manifolds and Y-pipe from greasy hand prints and fluids spilling on them, and a tiny bit of smoke out the pipe initially from any oil/assembly lube etc. that was in the cylinders or intake/exhaust ports etc.  That all cleared up quickly and we let it come up to temp.

 

We had used a vacuum system to fill the cooling system which provides 100% fill, no opportunity for air pockets etc. (pretty much like this one: Snap-on Store) so the system required no additional bleeding (even though I had done the AN bleeder setup on mine).  We played with the fan settings and got them where we were happy and I drove it around the block... SUCCESS.  We messed around with fitting the winch bracket a bit, but that's pretty much where we called it last weekend.

 

Bracket roughed-in, and winch test-fit:

 

 

imagejpeg_2_02.thumb.jpg.46cefc82d757125c975f6ba209dcfda6.jpg

imagejpeg_1_04.thumb.jpg.0a7e2897813c205a9fa3d30accd469a8.jpg

 

 

Where is the handle to lock/unlock the drum you ask?  Well we rotated the housing on the winch basically 180 degrees and put it straight out the bottom of the winch bracket, so we didn't have to put a giant hole in the bumper to get to it:

 

imagejpeg_0_04.thumb.jpg.dbe758ac58108ccb80f0649f9e4bebe9.jpg

 

I suppose you could argue that's going to suck if I'm stuffed into a hill-side or sunk in the mud... but it is what it is.

Edited by tjZ06

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Posted (edited)

So this weekend we picked up with just putting the front end together and wiring the winch.  I pretty much totally failed to take any pics during the process because I just wanted the thing done, but here's what I got.

 

Here's where we moved the winch control box, with the bumper on it's pretty easy to reach up and plug in if I need to (but the wireless control works great so far):

IMG_20200229_155901.thumb.jpg.143cb838dbc6229c9ba456984205c097.jpg

 

Here's how the battery terminals ended up, love how the winch leads have their own spot on the terminal to go directly in, no terminals, nothing, just direct in and pinched in (which they claim has better conductivity than any other terminal setup you can do):

IMG_20200229_155909_(1).thumb.jpg.d2a3c0ac12eace3b0a11eb70f1a50269.jpg

We had to do a bunch of fitting and whatnot, but we got the bumper all on, spooled the winch in, and I drove it home:

IMG_20200229_195553_MP_(1).thumb.jpg.a6ed9a46c3f81ea073c52a3beeacc464.jpg

 

Even gave it a bath:

IMG_20200302_143517_MP.thumb.jpg.e750899eb738c600ccf333e0602b241f.jpg

(obligatory stop at Fastenal to NOT find what I needed - acorn nuts for the fairlead) 

 

Edited by tjZ06

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Posted (edited)

Next up was swapping the fairlead. I had cutout the bumper way back before the first engine catastrophy based on the guide in the HK Offroad winch mount instructions. I will say, the kit fit great and is extremely solid, but the bumper cutting stuff left a lot to be desired. However, back at that point it was when I was stalled waiting for the right pulley for the ATI, so I was just trying to keep things moving ahead. Of course, my cutout for the fairlead missed... bad. If you look at the pics above you'll see it, but here are some cose-ups.

Before:

IMG_20200302_184851.thumb.jpg.691941d7470ba1c9de46ea594b83631f.jpg

IMG_20200302_184842.thumb.jpg.20a0e236bd66a3a7b009914e412b42cf.jpg

IMG_20200302_184845.thumb.jpg.12a0a34e187a9d0bd6b4ace16b5703f8.jpg

After (Warn Epic 1" in Gunmetal):

fairlead.thumb.jpg.daa3045258e6555230d113ee9e041ca8.jpg

IMG_20200302_190842.thumb.jpg.7f053a610fb3c88268e59230bea2e6a3.jpg

IMG_20200302_190845.thumb.jpg.decc1c51b772835e1fbd15eb16d0df58.jpg

 

And yes, I put the new fairlead on upside down to "hide" the Warn symbol, since I'm not actually running a Warn winch and I'm not a big fan of logos and branding anyway.  Also, as you can see this bumper looks good from far, but is far from good.  It had a plate mount and bracket on it and the previous owner had obviously rear-ended somebody.  In fact, both bumpers have stretch-marks and stress-cracks from hitting things before it was ours... but that's perfect for a wheeler so I don't have to feel bad destroying it. 😛  

 

 

 

Edited by tjZ06

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Posted (edited)

One other little announance with HK's instructions, is their pics show chopping the first and last of the grey vertical bars in hte lower bumper (along with all of the rest of them). But I don't see any reason why that's needed now that it's on. Here's an example:

IMG_20200302_190837.thumb.jpg.0d9db3c431ae8bd588f5b74e68416065.jpg

I think it'd look cleaner and keep the bumper more rigid with that part left in place. If I find a really clean one in a junkyard this color I may take another shot at cutting up the bumper overall (including how I did the foglight buckets). Or... maybe not cuz I'm probably just going to thrash it on the trail.

-TJ

Edited by tjZ06

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Pictures don’t seem to be loading

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No pics TJ!

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29 minutes ago, CHRIS J said:

No pics TJ!

@tjZ06 doesn't know how to use a computer... :bigrin 

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19 minutes ago, Rockwood said:

@tjZ06 doesn't know how to use a computer... :bigrin 

Dang ole interwebernets...  I'll fisssss it. 

 

-TJ

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Should be fissssssssssssed now.  

 

 

So, one nice thing about the e-fan swap was removing the hydraulic fan and all of the associated plumbing REALLY cleans up the front of the engine.  Access for future maintenance will be way better:

IMG_20200303_134334.thumb.jpg.08e4c037c3ac324d9c18144f431b585d.jpg

IMG_20200303_134339.thumb.jpg.de5d47292645c7ee69ea96446d5c4024.jpg

 

Took the grocery getter to get some groceries:

IMG_20200303_134241.thumb.jpg.7c12dfd633e85aff7cb873e914c86332.jpg

 

I'm actually home this week, so I I pulled it in the garage last night, to pull the headlights back out today, tweak the fan temp settings, install my new alternator and install a new driver's door check.

I think I forgot to mention earlier that I got a HID kit for the lows, LED bulbs for the highs and also LEDs for the blinker and parking lights. I like HIDs for the high beams, because IMHO they throw the best distance (short of factory HID or LED setups). I don't like HIDs in the high beams though, because HIDs typically need to "warm up" so flicking them on and off isn't the best for the application so I went with LED there. The LEDs for the rest are just so I don't have to pull the headlight buckets out again anytime soon (it's a bit of a PITA to get them back in with all the HID wiring and stuff... and there's only so much you can secure before you push them back, it always takes a few times before they land w/o something in the way)...






...of course, they sent the wrong color/heat range for the HIDs, so they're super yellow (3k vs. the 5k I wanted). The new bulbs will be here today so I'll pop those out and swap 'em. I also need to turn the fans up some, it's honestly running too cool and short-cycling the fans (which is okay with the PWM, but I can let it build a little more heat).  The 300 amp alternator (you know, in case I ever want to add a welder or 19 batteries and 42 fridge-freezers like a real Overlander) I ordered also finally showed up, so I'll pop that in.  Finally, I need to replace the door check on the driver's door and "repair" the rubber boot (which has been messed up from repairing the door wiring). Little stuff, which feels nice after all the major projects.

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Well, a sick doggo, Modelo Flu, and general 'life' has kept me from throwing the new alternator, bulbs, etc. in yet.  I did turn the fan temp up 2 turns (which should be ~7 degrees) and I think I like that setting better.  I do, however thing I need to find a different pickup for the AC-override.  We pulled from the fan-clutch harness, which as you probably know isn't engaged 100% of the time when the AC is on.  However, it makes the fans cycle on/off a lot as stated above.  It's probably okay, and the AC is blowing ice-cold, but it's sort of annoying.  Then again, will the fans ALWAYS be going 60% min be more annoying (cuz let's face it, I'll always have the auto climate control on, and therefor the AC... why else build a WJ?).  

 

Also, it seems like I have an oil leak.  I thought it was going to be a rear main seal, since the oil was collecting at the seem between the block and bellhousing and dripping off of one of the bellhousing bolts.  However, I got under there to look closer, and the oil isn't coming out of the weep hole provided in the bellhousing that would indicate rear main:

IMG_20200313_123101.thumb.jpg.d53b693df5e7b37fe8b74554f73dd999.jpg

IMG_20200313_123047.thumb.jpg.c49708f035ce442283f5872178fb0919.jpg

IMG_20200313_123054.thumb.jpg.3185fcb79978672c4e9d905cbe4d8c10.jpg

IMG_20200313_123223.thumb.jpg.11082545a6e5cbcdcd0714ae8403e5ae.jpg

 

So much for having the world's only non-leaking WJ.  ;)  I brought it in the garage last night and put it up on ramps so I could take a look today (I knew it'd be raining today, so I wanted to keep it dry under there, other than the leak).  We'll see what I can actually figure out...

 

-TJ
 

 

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Oil pan maybe? If it’s a gasket, try checking torque on the bolts. 

My XJ cycles the aux fan with the clutch, so that’s how Chrysler did it previously. That being said, looking at the stock wiring harness, I’m not sure Chrysler is the best inspiration for wiring ideas...

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Whatever you do, don't go to Glamis in that thing. Ranger Hermes will throw you in jail for no front plate. haha.

Hope the oil leak is a simple fix. I can't stand when they drip and I'm sure you are the same. 

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21 hours ago, Rockwood said:

Oil pan maybe? If it’s a gasket, try checking torque on the bolts. 

My XJ cycles the aux fan with the clutch, so that’s how Chrysler did it previously. That being said, looking at the stock wiring harness, I’m not sure Chrysler is the best inspiration for wiring ideas...

Turned out to it was the back corner of the valve covers.  It's weird, since they are brand new gaskets and the valve covers were cleaned in the blast cabinet so I know there was nothing left on the sealing services.  Further, the valve covers were put on with the engine on an engine stand, so we are sure we got the gaskets totally in the right place, and torqued each bolt to factory specs - something you are not going to achieve in the vehicle.  Went ahead and tightened each bolt a 1/4 turn, and we'll see if it stops the leak.  There's a chance some was just residual from the block and valley.  We cleaned things up well, and I'll keep an eye on it.  I'm just glad it's not a rear main - I think. 

 

21 hours ago, hondajimz said:

Whatever you do, don't go to Glamis in that thing. Ranger Hermes will throw you in jail for no front plate. haha.

Hope the oil leak is a simple fix. I can't stand when they drip and I'm sure you are the same. 

Yeah, I'll have to get one of those lame things to mount a plate over the winch fairlead.  And yes, I cant' stand a leaking rig, especially one that goes on dusty trails and you work on a lot (aka a Jeep) as the whole thing just turns into a total disaster underneath.   Looks like it was an easy fix, but we might still have to pull the valve covers back out if just tightening them doesn't do it. 

 

-TJ
 

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Oh, and I drove it ~160 miles down to Palo Alto last night, and it was flawless.  It still gets pretty bad mileage, I got 16 MPG coming down here yesterday mostly freeway at 70-72 MPH using cruise control (setting the CC speed off of GPS, not the dash and also hand-calculating MPG using Google map distances since the speedo isn't corrected).  I guess that's not horrible for stock gearing and 32"s, but I kind of hoped it'd do a little better.  It was windy the whole way down, so we'll see if it does better on a calmer day. 

-TJ

 

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20 hours ago, tjZ06 said:

Oh, and I drove it ~160 miles down to Palo Alto last night, and it was flawless.  It still gets pretty bad mileage, I got 16 MPG coming down here yesterday mostly freeway at 70-72 MPH using cruise control (setting the CC speed off of GPS, not the dash and also hand-calculating MPG using Google map distances since the speedo isn't corrected).  I guess that's not horrible for stock gearing and 32"s, but I kind of hoped it'd do a little better.  It was windy the whole way down, so we'll see if it does better on a calmer day. 

-TJ

 

My 4.slo gets 12-13mpg...  Wish it got 16.

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So, the only, and I mean ONLY thing we ended up re-using from the old motor were the valve covers.  They were cleaned and blasted and obviously we used new, high-quality gaskets.  Well, this was after only having the Jeep in the garage for 2 nights:

IMG_20200329_133748.thumb.jpg.257e5494f5b0d06c2b0bdc4cc9cc0a4e.jpg

Super beat-up size 12s for size reference.  Keep in mind, the valve covers were put on on the engine stand and properly torqued.  We also re-tightened them as described above.  I guess the covers are just warped.  I probably should have known better than re-using ANYTHING.  But shoot, there are AL valve covers, I thought at least that would be okay.

Anyway, I went ahead and ordered some new Mopar valve covers:

IMG_20200329_134636.thumb.jpg.06e386e947bb6908176d40e5c0a54ed8.jpg

IMG_20200329_134857_MP.thumb.jpg.3c6c02fac23e2d0ed7ccda376f521a13.jpg

IMG_20200329_134811.thumb.jpg.f4eaf79bc2464231261ee64783d0fca4.jpgIMG_20200329_134727.thumb.jpg.5dd52cdc8490853d1919cb5b6a4cf943.jpg

IMG_20200329_134903.thumb.jpg.7a1d3c6c033927e1b1eaca7c115be4e3.jpg

As you can see, they're plastic.  And they came loaded with gaskets and hardware.  Well, I'll give 'em a run and see how it goes once I get the RZR out of the garage (it's a hover-craft right now so I could do the wheel bearings, I'll update the RZR Wheel Bearing Greasing thread about that): 

IMG_20200329_154126.thumb.jpg.a004e929750b598336537f52d1687dac.jpg

 

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On 3/30/2020 at 10:59 AM, tjZ06 said:

IMG_20200329_133748.thumb.jpg.257e5494f5b0d06c2b0bdc4cc9cc0a4e.jpg

 

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4 hours ago, Rockwood said:

 

...can't afford shoes when you own a Jeep.

Actually, the sad truth is those shoes are fairly new.  I coated them with a stain-protector/water-proofing spray and they did this in a week or two, so they became garage shoes.  

 

-TJ

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Posted (edited)

Man, I was just laughing with a buddy about an "Every Day Carry Flashlight" thread on another forum.  Really, we're going to talk about flashlights like they're firearms?  And people actually have specific "EDC" flashlights, or worse-yet flashlights for different environments "this is my carry-flashlight for days I go to the office..."?   

What. The. F00k. 

Also, that's one thing I really like about the WJ: it's NOT a Tacoma, 4Runner or JKUR with a rooftop tent.  It's at least a little different and interesting.  

 

 

So, finally got the valve covers swapped.  I guess I didn't take an after pic, but it looks like a Jeep with a 4.7, just with black plastic valve covers that are a little scratched up.  It's really a bi0tch of a job with the Jeep back together.  The main harnesses that run above the covers, the AC lines, and a bunch of other crap make it a PITA and one of those jobs where your hands and forearms look like you've been playing Joe Exotic with your not-so-friendly neighborhood tiger.  But, I think I see why these leaked:

IMG_20200405_193825.thumb.jpg.15f3e78bb8ea887eaf37a70a8fc150fe.jpg

IMG_20200405_193821.thumb.jpg.cde55df956de0b50af7b4d7e17bfdcd7.jpg

 

That's a machinist's straight edge on them with a light behind to help show how bad they were.  Why do I have machinists's straight edges when I have no machinists... well, machines?  Apparently just for these pics since I didn't use it pre-install to see how farkin' bad these were.  I really can't believe I let these go back on the fresh motor, they are warped even to the naked eye and they were the ONLY old part that went back on.  Seriously, what was I thinking?  

 

I'll monitor it, and hopefully this solves the leaks.  However, I can also see why EVERY 4.7 leaks.  The way the heads are shaped oil puddles up to (and presumably above) the valve cover-rail level at rest.  Why Chrysler, why?  

 

Also, to make sure I'm OVERLAND-approved, I added radio and phone mounts:

IMG_20200405_124657.thumb.jpg.53556bfa7a67d04d63357eff9070fa0b.jpg

IMG_20200405_155107.thumb.jpg.8e9fddad6304196e3c6d4c7901bd5b6b.jpg

IMG_20200405_154714.thumb.jpg.f09155b9f8c5345298d62ed5df45f1a2.jpg

I guess I'm not truly OVERLAND-approved because it's just a little Rugged handheld.  Most Overland-types have 18 different radios with 53 different whips and stuff on their "rigs."  I just want something that makes it easy to communicate with the small groups I go out with.  We're not ending up miles and miles apart, so this will work.  Last trip we just used cheesy little walkie talkies and it was good enough, but I was constantly fumbling for the walkie, or my phone and both ended up under the seat or wedged between the seat and console at least a dozen times... that was annoying.  I thought about swapping the sides on these, but I like how easily the hand-mic falls to hand and I think I'll be going for that more on the trail.  Plus the phone would be kind of obstructed by the steering wheel if they were swapped.  Also, you can also see that the "ducky" antenna hits the windshield.  We'll see how annoying that actually proves to be bouncing down the trail, so I may run the short one.  

 

Finally, some beauty shots of the Heep:

IMG_20200405_193354.thumb.jpg.6e108cb7fab9207c951ad1e28c715c16.jpg

IMG_20200405_193346.thumb.jpg.6a8faa60089bba9626f51181c85d60ab.jpg

I really do like how the bumper/winch mount came out. 

 

-TJ

Edited by tjZ06

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Cleeeeaaaaaan

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Rockwood said:

Cleeeeaaaaaan

'til I try to wheel with you.  ;)

 

Low center of gravity build? 

IMG_20200407_100706.thumb.jpg.a052189bfcf4d66ba2d0385b135b229e.jpg

IMG_20200407_100918.thumb.jpg.dd15a58bf6caf06839c3ea86a24340cd.jpg

And no, I'm not actually moving the axles that far, I just set the tires there and am too lazy to position them exactly 1" forward/back. 

-TJ

Edited by tjZ06

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3 hours ago, tjZ06 said:

'til I try to wheel with you.  ;)

 

Low center of gravity build? 

IMG_20200407_100706.thumb.jpg.a052189bfcf4d66ba2d0385b135b229e.jpg

IMG_20200407_100918.thumb.jpg.dd15a58bf6caf06839c3ea86a24340cd.jpg

And no, I'm not actually moving the axles that far, I just set the tires there and am too lazy to position them exactly 1" forward/back. 

-TJ

That's gonna be a lot of hacking...

And hey, we don't scrape on rocks... Much.

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5 hours ago, Rockwood said:

That's gonna be a lot of hacking...

And hey, we don't scrape on rocks... Much.

Yeah, it'll also be going up about 2-2.5", but there will still be some hackery.  Most of the front fender area where the dent is will be gone, I think. 

 

-TJ

 

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