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Project: Struggle Bus

Old 07-25-2016, 03:59 PM
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Default Project: Struggle Bus

My name is Plummer and I'm addicted to project vehicles. There I was just searching Craigslist for fun and I came across this ad for a super clean Jeep. 4 door, I6 4.0, AW4, 125,000 miles, HP30/8.25, no lift/31s and best of all the interior was flawless. I was in love but unfortunately for me, it was way out of my price range. 2 months go by and I sell my STi so I start looking for a Cherokee. I see the same ad up again, but the price is 1/4 of what he was asking before. The catch was that it 'wasn't running well'. BINGO! This Jeep is for me. I rented a UHAUL car dolly and was on my way to San Diego from Tucson the next day. Short on time, we decided to meet at a local middle school. There the dude tells me that it just started stumbling over itself while driving so he just parked it and it's been sitting for almost 2 months. He lives on a dirt road so the Jeep is DIRTY. The battery was dead and I was too lazy to jump start it with cables, so I bought it with fingers crossed that it was just bad sensors making the engine not run well. We pushed it onto the dolly and off I went, right back home.

Loaded on the dolly

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/27932144003/in/album-72157668600323494/" title="IMG_1916"><img src="https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8856/27932144003_feba7ee000_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1916"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Side shot

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The entire drive home I'd catch a glance of the rear view mirror and think 'Why is this dick tailgating me so bad!'

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28469881241/in/album-72157668600323494/" title="IMG_1917"><img src="https://c2.staticflickr.com/9/8531/28469881241_e1342a1dd4_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1917"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Home and tucked into the garage, waiting to get tinkered on

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28469881101/in/album-72157668600323494/" title="IMG_1918"><img src="https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8598/28469881101_0ac5ca79c2_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1918"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

This is just the beginning to a fairly picture heavy thread so if you're not into that divert your eyes! These pictures were taken on my iPhone, but the rest should be taken on my DSLR for picture quality purposes. I hope you guys enjoy the journey and push me to finish this box o' ****. Cheers!
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Old 07-25-2016, 05:52 PM
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nice find! hopefully it is a quick fix.

what are your plans?
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Old 07-25-2016, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jalebate View Post
nice find! hopefully it is a quick fix.

what are your plans?
Thanks. You'll like this next bit (;
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Old 07-25-2016, 08:54 PM
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Okay! I let the battery charge overnight and after work I started digging. I get it started and running for the first time, but it's barely running. Giving it gas didn't necessarily raise RPMs so I had a sneaking suspicion that at least one of the codes for the CEL has to do with the TPS. Plug in my handy dandy code reader and sure enough it's P0122 and P0123: TPS voltage low and TPS voltage high. To Vatozone! I really don't like not knowing anything about previous owner maintenance (especially since we know this dude is super lazy) so I'm going to give it a once through on fluids.

Fluids tune-up

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28446185282/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_3508"><img src="https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8451/28446185282_c9396de66b_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="IMG_3508"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

So far since I've gotten home my only goal was to get it to idle properly. I swapped the TPS, clean the connector, and load with dielectric grease. Turn the key and BAM! Struggle Bus is up and running! I let it idle to heat up then gave it some gas. She purrs like a kitten now. So far she's turning out to be a winner! Both codes are gone and the CEL went away. I decided it's time for my maiden voyage to the gas station to fill up the tires and put a splash of gas in. No problems there and back as it's only 2 miles round trip, but when we get home the motor is HOT. Like HOT HOT. Gauge reads 250ish. I shut her down and now I'm concerned about the cooling system. I cracked open the radiator cap and it's dry as far as I can see. Next is the overflow tank. It looks like there's a tiny bit of liquid, but it's brown and ugly. Ergo, total coolant flush. This is all I've gotten done today. Tomorrow I have to be home to let some guy fix my garage door so I'm hoping to get a fair bit of the fluids done.

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28446181562/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_3513"><img src="https://c3.staticflickr.com/9/8819/28446181562_e10801d983_c.jpg" width="800" height="534" alt="IMG_3513"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

As far as plans go, I have no idea where I want to take this build. I need to figure out if I want to fix her problems and sell for a profit or keep and build into a weekend/ camping rig with some decent off road capabilities, but maintain on road qualities. With low miles I'm slighting leaning towards keeping, but we'll see.
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:06 AM
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might as well throw a new water pump, thermostat, radiator cap and hoses in there with that coolant being bad, and being an Arizona jeep, anything rubber or poly has already degraded. Ask me how i know.
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:26 AM
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Yeah a whole cooling system overhaul would be wise if you plan on keeping it. Also check your fan clutch to make sure that is not worn out while you are in there
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Old 07-26-2016, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by WyoCherokee View Post
might as well throw a new water pump, thermostat, radiator cap and hoses in there with that coolant being bad, and being an Arizona jeep, anything rubber or poly has already degraded. Ask me how i know.
Originally Posted by Jalebate View Post
Yeah a whole cooling system overhaul would be wise if you plan on keeping it. Also check your fan clutch to make sure that is not worn out while you are in there
Yep that's the plan. I got a water pump, thermostat and radiator cap. No new hoses though. It's actually a California Jeep, so not quite as much dryness or sun damage. Fan clutch is N/A because the PO swapped the mechanical fan for an electric fan on a switch. I'll probably take it off the user controlled switch and put it on a temperature controlled switch. Also looking through the engine bay the wiring done by the PO is GARBAGE. There's wires running everywhere and a couple of them are just dangling around.

PO's excellent wiring skills

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/27953331203/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1921"><img src="https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8763/27953331203_f8038a4d9d_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1921"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
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Old 07-26-2016, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Plummer View Post

PO's excellent wiring skills

Seems Legit to me. I don't know why you're worried.
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Old 07-27-2016, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott'sXJ View Post
Seems Legit to me. I don't know why you're worried.
Of course! Normally I'd keep it, but I'm not a HUGE fan of fires so I ripped it out
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Old 07-27-2016, 05:49 PM
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I feel like I got quite a bit done yesterday! The wiring really freaked me out so I started pulling it and I'll end up replacing it completely. This is about half of what I pulled from the engine bay alone. There's even more in the cab and on a skid mounted transmission cooler.

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28595248685/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1923"><img src="https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8815/28595248685_29092c28b1_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1923"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

After I got the wiring pulled including the fans themselves, I started the coolant flush. I took out the plastic drain plug and nasty brown water came out. We're talking almost Coca Cola tint. Nasty! I got the Vatozone special flush kit that attaches to a garden hose and ran it for maybe 10 minutes until the water coming out was actually clear. Next I pulled the thermostat and water pump. Nothing wrong with either, but might as well swap them out. Old vs. New

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Everything back together and hoses connected, I filled her up with Prestone Antifreeze/ Coolant and distilled water. Then came an hour or so of running the engine and filling the radiator as it sucked water in then puked it right back out. LOL. Once I thought it was sufficiently filled, I took it for a drive around the block. I don't have any fans currently, but she runs just over 210 when it's 106 out. I'd say that's good enough for government work.

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28488509852/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1929"><img src="https://c5.staticflickr.com/9/8883/28488509852_5a608bf58d_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1929"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Then the clouds came in and the rain gods blessed us!

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Another view from our house

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I called it a day in the garage and started grilling
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Old 07-27-2016, 07:05 PM
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Nice work!!

Make sure the fan clutch is in good shape and that the fan shroud is on there. A fan clutch is so cheap and makes a huge difference in cooling.
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Old 07-27-2016, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by investinwaffles View Post
Nice work!!

Make sure the fan clutch is in good shape and that the fan shroud is on there. A fan clutch is so cheap and makes a huge difference in cooling.
Fan clutch is N/A. I'm replacing the already replaced mechanical fan with a temperature sensor switched electric fan. If that makes sense?
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Old 07-27-2016, 08:47 PM
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Today's goal was to make the transmission my b*tch and I think I did a pretty good job at it. Drained fluid, popped the pan, replaced the filter, new gasket, pan back on, fill with fluid. The 'old' fluid wasn't too bad; actually, it was pretty clean so it must've been replaced recently. After fluid I went through all of the connections. Blown out with electronic cleaner then packed with dielectric grease and sealed with a ziptie.

To take a break from boring maintenance I'd like to bring up and slightly make fun of the PO's rat's nets of a wiring job. Here are some interesting photos of what NOT to do when "installing" "aftermarket" wiring "harnesses". Make sure you use finger quotes while reading that bit.

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28519514601/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1935"><img src="https://c2.staticflickr.com/9/8280/28519514601_6e14c246cf_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1935"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28597930595/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1936"><img src="https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8626/28597930595_e3ecc873b5_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1936"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

I'm pretty sure this isn't supposed to be like that

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28519513341/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1937"><img src="https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8807/28519513341_542b26b813_c.jpg" width="800" height="600" alt="IMG_1937"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

That's all for now. I'm sure I'll find more lovely wiring as I go. On the positive, I got my Hayne's manual!

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28597932635/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1934"><img src="https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8509/28597932635_50560e32a9_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1934"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Next on the very long list of things that needs to be replaced and can't wait any longer is motor and transmission mounts. While idling it shakes and vibrates the entire car for her pleasure.. Uhh I mean...

Back on track. Mounts are on their way via Amazon Prime. Gotta love 2 day delivery. It's raining again so it's time to crack a frosty adult beverage and sit out on the porch with the dogs. Tomorrow I'm going to put the jeep on jack stand and go through the front end. Joy.
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Old 07-29-2016, 04:10 PM
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We've been getting so much rain the past few days! I'm sure the trails are primo right now, but I just don't quite have enough faith in the Struggle Bus to take it out yet. Soon though.

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Yesterday I did a thing! My first actual modification

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28019635814/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1943"><img src="https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8764/28019635814_95196102c5_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1943"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

I need to come up with better storage. I have 2 storage closets in the garage and I'm thinking I can hang them on a wall inside one of them off those question mark shaped hooks.

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28019637124/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1941"><img src="https://c5.staticflickr.com/9/8832/28019637124_1fa6120d52_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1941"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Basically all of the front suspension component's bushings are shot so I could either buy poly bushings and replace the old, nasty ones or I could just buy the whole control arm with stock rubber bushings for around the same price. I went with option number 2 for simplicity. We all know the K.I.S.S. model works well. Also my shocks are totally blown out. I'm pretty sure they're the original shocks with 125k on them. As you can see from previous posts, the post-factory wiring is garbage and probably dangerous. I've decided to completely redo the radiator fan wiring including replacing the fans themselves because I know nothing about them. I'll build a little 5 relay panel for the fans and future modifications.

In conclusion, I have on order/ delivery: upper and lower control arms, shocks all round, 2 electric fans, wiring bits, ashtray switch panel, motor and transmission mounts, and front bump stops. I'm really hoping that these bits will get me driving reliably so I can start doing more offroad oriented stuff and eventually out on the trails!
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Old 08-01-2016, 11:22 AM
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Due to super nice weather I took Saturday off from working on the Jeep. Sunday, I started the wiring for my fuse/ relay "box". This is a working project and I'm probably going to upgrade/ change things as I find out how to do it better/ more efficiently. I'm NOT an electrician so if anything looks dangerous please let me know! Here we go:

I started off my mounting my surface. In this go-around, I used an old license plate. I drilled 2 holes through the lid of the factory fuse box and ran bolts up.

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28686996495/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1951"><img src="https://c8.staticflickr.com/9/8053/28686996495_13ca4e63df_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1951"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

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I opened and closed the fuse box a few times to make sure that I could still do it. Next I decided to run my wires through the firewall and into the cab. I have a ton of amazon brand 14g speaker wire so I used that. I labeled 1, 2, and 3 on both ends then taped them all together on one end. I braided the wires together and zip tied about every 6 inches to keep all three together. I pushed them through the grommet just under the passenger hood hinge then I ran them under the carpet and through the console until they stuck out a bit.

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<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28069883964/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1955"><img src="https://c5.staticflickr.com/8/7666/28069883964_b0d5c62d57_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1955"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Now it's time to wire the relays. I drilled holes to the rear to mount the relays and just super glued the fuse box and terminals down for now. White wires run to my switch so I ran them up to a terminal. 1-5 are for switches and 6 is my hot running to the switches. Yellow wires run to the accessories, again to a terminal. 1-5 are accessories and 6 is unused. Red wires are for 87a and won't be used. Black wires run to a common ground. Blue wires are fused hot to the accessories. I ran 12g wire from the battery to the fuse box.

<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28071146973/in/dateposted-public/" title="IMG_1956"><img src="https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8862/28071146973_1909190531_c.jpg" width="600" height="800" alt="IMG_1956"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

That's all I got done yesterday as far as wiring goes. After some research I decided to send my fans back and replaced them with 3 10" fans. I also ordered the Dirtbound Offroad DIY fan shroud for ease of installation. I need to call them and figure out when it gets here. Today's plan is to get my front door hinges separated and weld pins on so they'll be removable, not just removed. Just hoping it doesn't rain too hard while I still have the doors off
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