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1998 white XJ, " 'Liz "

Old 03-18-2019, 08:31 PM
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Default 1998 white XJ, " 'Liz "

So I've finally done enough to my Jeep to justify a build thread.

This is where I started a couple of years ago:

This is my second XJ. A lifted 1998 Sport. My last XJ was a stock 1999 Sport. Before that I had a 92 YJ, and two Comanches. My name is Kevin Smith. I am 50 years old, retired Navy, Submarine Service.




It has been a while! 2 years later, and the Jeep is still running strong with 165K miles.

Since my last post I have installed armor on the lower doors and rockers, installed a Smittybilt 9500lb winch to the winch bumper (along with a neoprene cover, since the vinyl Smittybilt ones are complete garbage), a roof rack basket that attaches to the stock roof racks AND my Yakima rack crossbars, replaced the rear U-joints, the passenger side axle (the wheel bearing went out this winter and actually caught fire while towing the Jeep behind our RV...the axle is a Ford 8.8 with factory LSD off of a Bronco II, with Ford Ranger backing plates, drums, and brakes), new rear wheel bearings, and today I had to drop a grand on new Cooper STT Pro 33x12.5x15r MTs. I had the tire shop install the best of the old tires on the new spare tire rim I just bought from Quadratec, and it is now mounted on the roof rack, strapped down, and covered with a brand new Smittybilt spare tire cover.

Pictures will be coming soon! Sometime in the next couple of days.

Oh yeah! I also named the Jeep: I call her 'Liz...since she's white, but says she's a Cherokee.

Kev

Last edited by ClydesdaleKevin; 03-18-2019 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:43 PM
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Default More pictures taken today!

So here is Liz. After all this work and 1100.00 in new tires, she decided to give me a major oil leak...which I am still trying to track down and fix, and made another specific post about the oil leak.

Anyhow, more pictures!






























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Old 03-27-2019, 11:04 PM
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So yeah. It wasn't an ENGINE oil leak. It was a transmission fluid leak! And the transmission died. I found another on Craigslist, which is the wrong one...and then found another. Here is the story:

Good grief! Transmissions are hard!

So I picked up the used transmission for 150 bucks for our 98 Cherokee. Earl, the guy I bought it from, bought the transmission from eBay, and when he bought it, the eBay seller said it was from a 98. He never ended up using it and it sat in his garage for years. It was NOT from a 98 or newer!!! It had to have been from a much older model.

One would think that an AW4 transmission from a Jeep Cherokee would be pretty much compatible with EVERY year Jeep Cherokee with very little modification, right? WRONG!

After '97, they added more sensors, increased the size of the output shaft from 21 spline to 23 spline, changed the plug connectors, and even changed some sort of speed sensor in the transfer case adapter on the transmission tail cone, which happens to NOT be easily transferred from one transmission to the next, because the internals on the transmission side don't line up with the internals of the later transfer cases! What the heck?

Anyhow, I got an early start this morning. And by noon realized that there was simply NO way that this transmission was going to fit in my '98! The splined shaft was smaller, the plug ends were different with different numbers of wires, the kickdown linkage was different, etc.

So I cleaned up and called Earl, the older retired gentleman that sold me the used transmission. And gentleman he was! Integrity like his is hard to come by anymore! He told me to bring the transmission back to him, and he refunded my 150.00 bucks!

I had found another used transmission for 300.00 on Craigslist the same time I found this one, and it was from a 99...totally compatible with the 98. I talked the seller down to 250.00...so me and my buddy Will went down to Earl's and returned the wrong transmission, and then drove all the way to north Phoenix, 120 mile round trip, to see and possibly pick up the 99 transmission. And pick it up we did!

It was on a pallet at D&M Automotive, who had done an LS swap for the original owner of the '99 Cherokee from which the transmission was removed. They assured me not only of the year, but also that it had been running just fine when they pulled it to make the swap. The torque converter was even still in place and had never been removed. It was NOT drained of ATF fluid though...so in addition to the gas money I gave Will, I slipped him some more to clean out the bed of his truck at a car wash.

Upon arrival I counted the output shaft splines...23! And even though two of the wire harnesses had been cut, they were the right number of wires and the right color wires (I had cut off/unplugged the old two harnesses from my old transmission and brought them with me to match them up).

Success! We brought it back to camp, and I spent the rest of the day transferring parts, splicing in wires, installing the transfer case, etc. I also made a keeper from an old table saw wrench to keep the torque converter in place while installing the transmission.

I got everything switched over and ready to install before dark. It is now sitting under the Jeep on a piece of plywood, ready to be reinstalled...which will happen tomorrow, come hell or highwater.

A couple of things I noticed removing the old transmission: Youtube videos aren't perfect! I watched a slew of videos on changing out the transmission, and not a single one mentioned a bolt that holds on the UPPER aluminum sheet metal shield between the engine and bellhousing! I'm just glad it was sheet aluminum and eventually broke at the bolt hole while I was rocking the transmission back and forth trying to remove the darn thing! Also, not a single video mentioned removing the kickdown linkage on the driver's side...but that I figured out right away using some common sense.

And on the brightest side of this project? I don't have to use the brand new torque converter! So I'll get my money back, which was substantial for us and our limited budget, once I bring it back!

So wish us luck tomorrow folks! I still have to line everything up and get the transmission to seat against the engine and bolt it all up, etc. Fun fun fun!!!



Kev
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Old 03-28-2019, 08:40 PM
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WOW that was a lot of work!

The used transmission is installed! Thank God my buddy Will was over in my workshop building catapults...because having him help get the transmission on the scrapwood cradle I made for transmission on his rolling jack was incredibly helpful. I probably could have gotten it up there myself, but having a big strong 28 year old help made it so much easier! He also helped me get it all lined up and bolted in place before he went back to work on the catapults.

Almost everything is done. All the wiring and breather tubes and cables and linkages are reinstalled neatly, the dipstick tube and dipstick are back in place, the torque converter bolts are installed, the torque converter cover plate is back in place, the crossmember is installed, etc.

It did take me almost 2 hours to get the exhaust flange studs out of the header flange (which I had to cut in order to get the exhaust header pipe off...and I had to grind and drill and hammer and torch and grind some more and hammer some more...and finally they came out.

There is still a little left to do tomorrow:

-I have to install the starter, and find a nut and bolt to replace the one that was missing.

-I have to install the exhaust, and also find bolts and nuts to replace the studs I had to remove from the header flange.

-I have to grease and install the driveshafts.

-I have to drain any remaining fluid out of the transmission.

-I have to add the right amount of ATF-4+ (Dexron compatible) to the transmission and transfer case.

-I have to hook the battery back up.

-And then I have to cross my fingers and pray that it runs and drives and that the transmission I just installed is good. And then I have to take it for a test drive, and possibly have to adjust the shift cable, etc.

So if all goes well and I don't have any issues tomorrow, and if I get an early start (which I will), I should have it back up and running by noon! Woohoo!

WOW am I sore and tired! Transmission are hard!



Kev
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Old 03-30-2019, 12:43 AM
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VICTORY!!!



I did it!!!



I successfully installed an automatic transmission for the first time in my 50 years on this planet, and it works!!!



Not only does it work, but the high speed vibration is GONE on the Jeep!!!

The bellhousing must have been cracked for a while, possibly since I acquired this Jeep around 2 years ago. Now there is no hesitation, the shifts are WAY smoother (after I adjusted the kickdown linkage and dialed in the shift cable and transfer case linkage). There is no longer any high speed "vroom...vrum" vibrations which I thought was the drive shafts! SWEET!!!

I am a very happy camper, and very proud of myself...lol! I know a lot of you guys are ace mechanics...but to me, installing an automatic transmission successfully is a HUGE milestone!

I drove it all over this evening to run errands (since I didn't finish up until 3pm this afternoon...I had to get groceries and stuff for our last weekend at the Arizona Renfaire)...and so far, it is running great! Shifts are crisp and clean, and all seems well. Not a sign of dripping fluid or leaks.

SWEET!!!

Clean-up sucked, as usual. Wiping down tools, getting everything put away, etc. The most onerous job of any project.

But I did it!!! And it works!!!

Our 98 XJ is back on the road, and road worthy!!!

Kev
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Old 03-30-2019, 06:17 PM
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Doing it yourself is always a great feeling and cheaper!
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Old 03-31-2019, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by RockinRonnie View Post
Doing it yourself is always a great feeling and cheaper!
Yeah it is! Although my 50 year old body isn't feeling great right now...lol! And it is MUCH cheaper! To get the old one rebuilt, I was quoted 2K from the cheapest shop I could find, and that didn't include the price of a new torque converter and a new bellhousing. I'm only about 300.00 out of pocket doing it myself.

Kev
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:45 PM
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So far so good! Transmission tunnel still gets very warm...almost hot...but the old tranny did the same thing. I really need to install some heat protection and carpets, since my Jeep has bare floors The heat would have freaked me out if it wasn't the same very warm heat from the transmission tunnel I always got from the last transmission.

Kev
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Old 04-03-2019, 04:11 AM
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Pics donít work on post 3,4 and 5.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mikebravo View Post
Pics donít work on post 3,4 and 5.
That's weird. They all show up fine on my computer, and my Verizon hotspot SUCKS where I am at right now.

Kev
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:23 PM
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So far so good! Lots of running around and errands done over the last few days...still shifts fine and no leaks!!!

Kev
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Old 04-04-2019, 08:21 AM
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Jeep looks good in the pics I can see! What part oh AZ? I spent a lot of time in Sierra vista and also up north near Prescott.
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Old 04-04-2019, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mikebravo View Post
Jeep looks good in the pics I can see! What part oh AZ? I spent a lot of time in Sierra vista and also up north near Prescott.
Apache Junction, east of Mesa. We are fulltime RVers, so we only spend 5 months out of the year here. We have a small business, Siege The Day, and travel to renaissance fairs all over the country. Our next stop (we are leaving on Sunday) is a small fair up in northern Utah...and then we head to upstate NY. We tow the XJ behind our Itasca motorhome.



Kev
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