For quite a while we have known about issues with our LED tail lights. People behind us on trails would often let us know one was flickering or only partially lighting up. Margaret saw it the last time we were out when she was filming from behind the Jeep. We’ve never really liked the tail lights. The ridiculous little LED spots just look stupid to us. I don’t understand why so many people are awe struck by LED tail lights and consider them an “upgrade” So we finally decided to swap them out. This post has moved to https://ourjeepadventures.com/replacing-the-tail-lights-on-our-jeep-wrangler/
Not a whole lot to write about on this. Our Jeep radiator has been leaking for over a year. Probably since we bought it. I always assumed the radiator fluid that was dripping was coming from the over flow tank. The splashes and drips came from the area of the overflow tank. It is really hard to see a lot of the seams on a Jeep radiator because of the plastic covers they encase it in. I finally was able to somewhat pin point the area of the leak and discovered it was coming from the drivers side towards the top of the radiator. This post has moved to https://ourjeepadventures.com/replaced-the-radiator-on-our-jeep/
After breaking down the front axle and accessing the damage we settled on the repair decisions. This was the perfect time to perform parts upgrades. When we had the rear axle upgraded by Redemption Offroad and the gear ratio changed, we did not upgrade the front axle. There were money concerns which prevented that upgrade. We knew there was a good possibility of the front axle breaking by not upgrading and it finally did.
This post has moved to https://ourjeepadventures.com/the-front-axle-on-our-jeep-wrangler/
Decisions To Be Made
At this point we had to decide what parts we were going to use for repairs. Cost would play heavily into this decision. The stock components had given out which means if we repaired back to stock it would probably happen again. Because of this we decided to perform some upgrades.
The first upgrade were the axle shafts. From the pictures on the last post you can clearly see the twisting that occurred. That twist was at the point where the axle shaft is inserted into the carrier. The stock shafts simply weren’t able to handle the level of wheeling we have been doing. I suppose we were fortunate they didn’t snap or there would have been even more damage. We upgraded the axle shafts to Ten Factory 4340 Chromoly axle shafts. This will be quite an upgrade from the stock axle shafts and hopefully be able to handle the larger tires and level of wheeling we are doing.
Next was the difficult decision about what to install in the differential. While it is broken down is a great time for upgrades. The only problem is it can get very expensive at this point. We wanted to install an E-Locker like we did in the rear axle. The Eaton locker runs right at $1000. As much as we wanted to upgrade to the Eaton locker, we simply didn’t have the finances at this time to do so. Another option was to rebuild the stock carrier with heavier spider gears. This would have cost us right at $200 and would have only made the carrier stronger. It would not have helped with traction to both tires when needed since it would still be an open differential. After researching heavily for a couple of weeks we decided on the Powertrax Grip Pro Extreme Traction System. This is a limited slip differential that will apply torque to the wheel that is not rotating. Basically if one wheel is slipping it will engage the other wheel so that both will be providing traction. This is an in between solution to an open differential and a locker. Cost did play into the decision. This carrier was $351 which was only a small amount over replacing the spider gears. The cost was also far less than the locker. It would also give us more traction in the front when off roading which will be an upgrade for us.
Other parts were more common that we replaced or added. We had to get new bearings and races for the carrier. We also added axle shaft seals to keep water out of the axle. The inner seals were recently replaced when we re-geared the differential and suffered no damage. The Yukon ring gear and pinion also suffered no damage which I was very pleased about. It was nice that the few parts we had upgraded were not damaged.
What Comes Next
The rear axle still has to be dealt with. We did not build the rear axle. We had Redemption Offroad perform that work. They re-geared to a 4.88 gear ratio with Yukon ring and pinion gears, Yukon chromoly rear axle shafts, and an Eaton E-Locker in the differential. This was a costly upgrade but made a positive impact on the capability of the Jeep on more extreme offroading. At this point we don’t know exactly what is broke in the rear axle. We only know for sure one of the axle shafts snapped. After our next post on the front axle rebuild we will cover all the information about the rear axle.
After towing the Jeep home and sleeping on what transpired we had to make some decisions. We knew a lot of parts were broken. We didn’t know the extent though. I decided to wait until the following Monday and call Redemtion Offroad for some quotes. They built the rear axle for us so we knew some of those parts at least would have a warranty.
This post has moved to https://ourjeepadventures.com/discovering-what-we-broke-on-the-jeep/
After discovering the broken bolt on the passenger side exhaust manifold I decided to go ahead and make the proper repairs. After removing the passenger side manifold I was greeted by a welcome surprise! The bolt was not broken into the block like the drivers side. There was still some of the bolt sticking out for me to grab. Using a pair of vice grips I was able to loosen it and even remove it by hand. This post has moved to https://ourjeepadventures.com/jeep-exhaust-manifold-continued/
Since purchasing the Jeep we have had a dreaded heat shield vibration at around 3500 rpm. It’s quite annoying and makes you assume something is wrong mechanically. After a trip to Crossbar Ranch in Oklahoma I decided it was time to find the cause. I started with the exhaust header heat shield. That seemed to make sense being attached to the block and subjected to any rpm changes. Upon removal is when all the trouble began. This post has moved to https://ourjeepadventures.com/jeep-exhaust-manifold/
A completely unplanned for upgrade took place last week. We had to get new tires on the Jeep.
This post has moved to https://ourjeepadventures.com/tires-on-the-jeep/
The final upgrade on this last round we did was to install heavier ball joints. When we purchased the Jeep it was still running the stock ball joints. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but since someone had put larger tires on and did hardly any mechanical upgrades to handle the extra rotational mass and weight we decided an upgrade was in order.
This post has moved to https://ourjeepadventures.com/jeep-wrangler-ball-joint-upgrade/
This weeks topic on our upgrade is axle shafts. This was not a planned upgrade but one we made anyway.
This post has moved to https://ourjeepadventures.com/jeep-wrangler-axle-shaft-upgrade/