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Idle hands: assorted projects

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They are neat, but man they are a pain in the ass to work on. 


As with most tech packed vehicles from 20-30 years ago, a lot of it doesn't work now. The active aero is missing from the front so none of it works, the LCD screen for the climate control...doesn't work, the dynamic suspension has been replaced with coilovers so by design doesn't work, and I'm fairly confident the rear steering isn't doing anything but weighing a lot.

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I know what you mean, but this guy was everything went into the deal guy so they were all in primo shape.


They're definitely near cars but like you said, when stuff hits the 20-30 year ol mark shit starts to fail. I'm going thru that with my Dodge, the heater switch is only half of it works, power mirror switch is bad, the 6 way power seat is only a one way, I know the struggles man. :Lol:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back to tinkering on the VR4 armed with some gauges that will be temporary since they were meant for a different car. Nothing is simple on this car.






While taking things apart though I did come across the second piece of 90's memorabilia.




Seems the original owner really liked Florida's aquariums.


This is the one we found some months back.



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Since you asked, or demanded, whichever the case may be. Stopped off on my test drive to snap a few.








In other news. With the new gauges installed I have been able to verify that AFRs are good and the stock boost control solenoid is shot.


Completely unrelated I got several bits for the continued saga of the xj. Front diff cover bash plate, front frame stiffeners and axle tube seals. Less excitingly also got a new flasher relay and oil filter housing o rings. Rear diff cover, and truss for the front axel should be here by the weekend. Front locker, control arms and track bar bracket should be here over the next couple weeks.

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It drives remarkably well for an old car with cheap coilovers and should only get better as we actually get to replacing the rest of the steering and suspension bits.


While I wait for me buddy to bring me a boost controller for the vr4 I figured I'd get some more done on the xj. The plan was to swap out the rear diff cover, change the oil filter housing o rings and get the new front brake lines installed. Ended up swapping the diff cover, installing the new brake lines, one new hard line fitting and a caliper.




Part of my doing this today is that I'm planning to hit up the jy tomorrow to snag an extra front axle and wanted to verify my gearing.




Just a little longer. At some point I'll likely add a throttle return spring to these to these to keep them up out of the way while allowing them to stretch when flexing out.


This is about the time things went sideways. Starting with the fitting that rusted itself to the hard line.




Luckily there was plenty of extra line to be able to just cut the hard line back and put on a new fitting. Although it did mean busting out my least favorite tool, the dreaded cheap double flare tool.


Shit continued to go off when I set out to bleed the brakes.




This is where I should have gone to the Google machine to find out that calipers for this thing are practically free, but instead I first actually tried to extract that sheared bleeder. Then when I saw how cheap the calipers were I became quite sad I spent any time trying.


I did attempt to remove the oil filter adapter, but of course the bolt that holds it on is too close to the frame rail to get a ratchet on and after nearly killing myself when the doubled wrench let go I decided it isn't leaking enough for me to care. I'll try again when I pull the axle.


I also received several other parts including this baby truss that is smaller than expected.




And just something amusing.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Well all of the parts for phase 3 of the build. I'll be reordering the phases since I don't really want to rip out the interior and the ball joints are starting to make noise. To that end I have a giant pile of parts.




Those lower arms are beastly large.


I did end up getting a spring on the front brake lines. Sadly not before rubbing the outer sheathing off one of the lines.



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Well, here I was thinking all I needed to worry about was my increased likelihood of snapping axles. Thanks for that. I suppose I'll toss the spider gears in the spare parts bin instead of the rubbish bin.


I might be a bit of a redneck.




Interior is all back together though and it'll be headed home tomorrow.

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Today began the next phase of the build. This being everything under the front end. As usual I managed to find a way to project creep by deciding that as long as the axle was out I would go ahead and do the rear main and oil pan gasket as well as throwing in a trans cooler.

While in the process of pulling the axle I did go ahead and throw one of the gamblers on that is still wrapped in the 31x10.5 tire it came with to actually measure for bump stops. Turns out I only need 2" of stop to avoid rubbing. My stock stops have fallen apart so I'll be going a little back woods and just bolt a couple of hockey pucks to the spring plates. I also verified that I am shock limited even on stock arms.

At any rate the axle is out and mostly stripped. Jcr baby truss is mocked up and the axle cleaned off for welding.


Of course the one socket I don't have is the one I need for the lower ball joint nuts so the knuckles will have to wait until later.

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Slowly progressing through the build. Exteior of the axle is pretty much finished.



Bushings and ball joints didn't turn out to be nearly as bad to replace as I had been expecting. Just have to be a little creative with the rentable tool.




Control arm skids and upper mount boxing done.




Out for locker install which I hope to get to this afternoon.




With everything finally out of the way I got to marking for the stiffeners.



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Axle is finally done, until it goes back under the xj anyway.  While in the process of replacing my inner axle seals I found something interesting.




That is a nicely formed RTV o ring. I will say it seemed to be doing a good job, these seals weren't leaking, but since it was possible that I cooked one of the seals when welding on the truss I replaced them anyway.


Locker install itself was pretty simple. Hardest part was driving the new cross pin back in.




D30 now with more beef.




No after pics here, but frame rail stiffeners are in.  Here they are with a nice heaping of weld-thru primer.






Gonna try to get out there at lunch to seal up the seams so all that will be left is the rear main/oil pan gasket before the axle goes back in and I wrap this phase.

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Big goopy mess, but seam sealing is done.




Rear main and oil pan gasket are also done. What a pain in the ass that was. Not many pictures of this because, well I got very dirty so wasn't gonna reach for my phone.  I did however snag a pic of the rear lower bearing.




Considering it's a 200k motor with unknown history it seems ok. The rod bearings are definitely a bit loose, got a bit of play fore and aft on all 6, but this is why I have a spare waiting to get rebuilt. Otherwise everything looks pretty good. All my pistons still have skirts and my cam still has lobes, so winning in my book.

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Well I was really hoping to have the axle back in last night, but after having to modify my track bar mount to fit around the frame rail stiffener and having to make a new stud plate for the same I ran out of time.  I am however torquing 4 bolts away from putting the axle back under.




I'm a little sad that the guys that designed this mount didn't consider that people might be running stiffeners. This meant that I had to notch the lower mounting holes since it now sits a bit farther outboard than it would have otherwise. I'm less surprised that the original stud plate that goes through the frame rail wasn't long enough to get proper thread engagement.


Made myself some hillbilly bump stops.






Then finally got the new arms set to a base length, starting at the stock eye to eye length and will adjust as needed, before loosely bolting them in.



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Not a lot of pictures here since I was focused on getting this back together now that both of my other vehicles are broken. It's back on the ground though and has a super dead battery so back on the ground was as far as I got.


Here is an in progress pic.




Nothing really special or out of the ordinary on reassembly.


Back on the ground.




Just need to jump it and make sure it isn't pissing oil then take it for a test drive. Sadly there isn't any place close to properly test the locker.

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