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Hello from the Dominican Republic

Old 10-14-2012, 09:51 AM
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Default Hello from the Dominican Republic

Hi guys,

I'm a new member living in the Dominican Republic(originally from Florida)

I just purchased a 1990 Cherokee 2dr I found in a shop. Only two owners (both older folks) and it has 90K kilometers.

It need of lots of TLC, but it's all there. Lots to work with. I'll be popping in every so often to say hi, and let folks know how it's going.

Here's a pic when I first found it:

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Old 10-14-2012, 10:21 AM
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Hi and welcome along, looks good.
Post up in "Introduction" section, only really none Usa look here.
Dominic republic, bet the weather is horrible compared to here in England
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:47 PM
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Welcome to CF. Looks good.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:00 PM
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Default So here we go.....

(I've been working on the beast since my first post in October. This is going to be a running thread of what's happened so far, from my notes.)

The guy called to tell me it wasn't for sale, but he'd be willing to let me come and take a look at it.

This 1990 was bought new by a older woman who had it for 10 yrs, and then sold it to the older gentleman who has owned it since.

It's complete, running, but is in need of a lot of TLC. The gentleman told me he changes the oil and filters religiously, but doesn't worry about cleaning it. (down the pike, I've found he did a lot... of damage)

So.... We sat and chatted a while, I told him my history with jeeps and my hobby of car restoration, and he finally said, "Look, I can't give it away, but if you REALLY want to buy it, I'll let you have it for 130K, not a peso less." (130K is about 4 grand, 4dr's here go for twice as much)

It starts and runs well, everything is there, and everything works. I can work with that!

Last edited by jdjonesdr; 12-24-2012 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:02 PM
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The amazing thing is, I drove by that place a couple of times a day for 5 years, and never saw it sitting there. He usually parks where it can't be seen.

When he called and told me where he was located, I couldn't get my head around where he was talking about, because my brain kept telling me if it was where he said it was, I should have seen it years ago.

When I drove over, he parked it in front where I would see it.

So near, but yet so far. Karma... luck of the draw... fate... whatever you wanna call it.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:03 PM
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First... tires.

I'm going to use the Goodyear's made in Argentina. Just a couple of sizes over stock, say a 285/70-15. Those tires ride unbelievably smooth for some reason, noticeably different than the ones from the states..
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:04 PM
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Surprisingly, it runs better than I expected. The starter motor is a little lazy, but even so, it starts right up. It does runs a tad rough, which I suspect is a leaking vacuum hose. The fuel filter is noticeably dirty inside, which I think is causing a slight gas smell inside from the fuel pump pushing fuel with more pressure than the filter can handle. (turns out the fuel line was cracked)

The 4 speed automatic transmission shifts correctly, in both "comfort" and "Power" settings. The only thing I noticed immediately is a bad shock on the front(I'll change all four", a noise that I suspect is a bad U joint, and the oil pressure gauge is not connected. The four wheel drive functions correctly.

The A/C is fine, but a weak fan, the radio sounds like crap(speakers), the motor is embarrassing dirty, and it REALLY needs new tires and a paint job.

It also needs rear window struts, a REALLY good interior cleaning, wipers and window seals.

All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with it. I think it's going to be a great little project!
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:07 PM
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First steps first. The mechanic took it in to have the engine and undercarriage pressure cleaned.

He says it's solid as a rock underneath. Good news indeed.

This weekend, I ordered a new ignition key switch(just in case), the rear window struts, and the window weather strips. All things I know I need.

Time to start digging in.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:11 PM
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It's going to be a mix of locally available common parts (many Jeep parts are interchangeable with other makes, like Ford), so what will be the SOP will be check to see if it's available first, and if not, order from the states.

The first things I've ordered on line, because I know I won't find them here.

Today is front shocks, and take off the ugly front bush guard that weighs a gazillion pounds, and would probably be useless in an accident anyway.

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It actually cleaned up pretty nice. (notice the native "fix" for the side trim)

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If I get finished with the front shocks today, then tomorrow will probably be "Tires" day.

Also, I hope to:
Change starter cable
Change battery terminals
Drain water, add coolant
replace an old heater hose
Change fuel Filter
Change air filter

The oil, believe it or not, is clean.

Last edited by jdjonesdr; 12-24-2012 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:17 PM
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After the engine wash, the transmission wouldn't shift out of first gear. A quick visit to a Jeep Forum suggested it was the Throttle sensor. I did a quick check, and that was the problem. I was able to find one here locally, and it's back to normal. Forums are an excellent source of info.

This week, I took a quick inventory and started ordering stuff. Keep in mind I'm trying to get the XJ back to excellent mechanical condition, so almost everything underneath will be replaced.

That includes Tie rod ends, steering shock stabilizer, differential strut bushings, motor mounts, new brake shoes and Discs, and front shocks. The radiator had a small pinhole, and a can of stop leak took care of it in a question of seconds.

The temp sensor that kicks in the fan was bad and had been bypassed, so there's a new one the way.

The engine has a spider web of vacuum lines and fittings that are not in great shape; the whole thing is divided into two major parts, and they're cheap, so those are coming too.

A new battery, and 4 new Yokahama 225/70-15 have it rolling smoothly. ( couldn't find the Goodyears. Damn island!)

I changed the ignition switch lock, and will start looking for a drivers side vent window (the vent window from hell)

Inside, it's going to need a new digital clock and digital display on the overhead console.

I've also discovered that the doors droop about an 1/8 inch. That's very common on any 2 door vehicle, since the doors are very large and heavy. The Cherokees have welded hinges so they aren't adjustable, and the droop comes from the skin of the door coming loose from the door jamb. The fix is to raise the door to a slightly higher than normal position, then braze the skin to the jamb. Then the door will be as good as new.

As I expected, prices here are absurd for new parts, and in many cases, the stores tell you they have to order the part, of course. If they're going to order it, I may as well do it myself.

I want to mention something for everyone. I've been ordering auto parts on line for many years, and the best and cheapest source I've found is Discount Auto Parts Online -- PartsGeek.com - Domestic & Import Auto Parts Warehouse It just doesn't get any better than those folks, and they have a huge inventory of parts and drop ship suppliers.

It's well worth your time to put together a list of things you need, and look carefully at their website to see if it's possible to get everything from one warehouse. The reason being is they charge 7.95 per warehouse for shipping. Their parts listing sometimes will list the same part in three different warehouses, and if you're not careful, you may end up ordering from two warehouse locations, while the parts you need were all in one location.

Once I've installed the parts, It will be time to start cleaning interior. The drivers seat is a little ragged, but I'm undecided on fixing the original or going for something more modern.

I also plan on installing a wood dash kit, and wood/Stainless Steel steering wheel. (I've always been a sucker for the wood dash look)

Let me tell you a bit about how I get my parts. Mail forwarding. There are a lot of companies that have a receiving office in Miami, then they forward everything to the DR. Expensive, but the only way that works.

I've been using JETPACK for a few years. I decided to try Encargopaq and Vimenpaq, to try their service since they're about a dollar cheaper a pound.

Encargopaq holds up packages if there's no commercial invoice. It doesn't matter how inconsequential or cheap the part is, if there's no commercial invoice, it's not moving. They say they are moving their packages by air, but the girl slipped up the other day and told me a package would be on next weeks boat. I've got things I ordered a month ago that arrived in Miami, and STILL haven't been delivered.

Vimenpaq told me they deliver, but I get emails telling me a package is in their office, and I can pick it up when I want. I sent 6-7 emails asking about the delivery service, and they did not respond to a single one.

I ended up calling their office to talk to a supervisor, who really wasn't interested in talking to me, other than saying I had to go pick it up. When I asked about the unanswered emails, he didn't answer, he just repeated I had to go pick it up. I gotta ask the vimenpaq delivery guy why he told me he could deliver stuff.

All of their customer service folks are nice and pleasant sounding on the phone, but relevant info is pretty hard to pry out of them. I sure wouldn't want to try to chase a lost package with them.

At least with Jetpack, when a package hits Miami, it's available here the next afternoon. I'll take the good service for a few extra bucks.

Last edited by jdjonesdr; 12-24-2012 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:18 PM
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I'm continuing to order stuff it needs. So far, I'm pretty happy. Parts for this thing, while being a little hard to find, are super cheap.

I'm STILL waiting for some parts via Encargopac and Vimenpac.

Encargopac decided to add a "transportacion terrestial" charge to the package they delivered on Friday. $200 pesos for a motocycle to bring a small box. And even though they still advertise that their service is by air with FREE delivery, the last package with them is STILL on the ocean. So much for "Free." Idiots.

Vimenpaq has held up my front shocks in Miami because they are "hazmat", but the rear shocks I ordered via Jetpack at the same time arrived this past week.

These kinds of problems Vimenpaq and Encargopac are having smell of "we're not sure what we're doing." I'm done with both. Have I mentioned how good the service is with Jetpack??

This week I'll be receiving the front tie rod ends. The plan is to stick the thing on a lift, disassemble the front running gear, and put it all back together with all new bushings and connections. I also added a resonator where the catalytic converter was. Now you can't hear it when it's running. Niice.

There were a couple of issues with the title. First of all, it was purchased new by an elderly woman in 1990.

During her ownership, the govt here changed to a new license plate. When they did, they issued new titles as well.

Everything was correct on the original, but after the switchover, there were three errors on the new title. It went from a 6 to a 4 cyl., the model changed from 'Cherokee' to 'Great Dan spb 7', and the motor size was left off.

When she sold it after 11 years to an older gentleman, he never took the Matricula to Rentas Internas to have it transferred to his name. Bad decision.

The older gentleman didn't want to mess around with getting the matricula fixed, so he just left it like that, in her name. For 12 years. SMH.

After a short period of time, it starts accumulating a monthly charge as a penalty. 12 years of penalties makes the fine more than the vehicle is worth.

So obviously, I decided to see if I could find the old lady and "buy" it from her. After a couple of weeks of investigating, we found her (incredible luck) and she agreed to sell it again. No more 12 years of penalties. And better still, since the vehicle is now 23 years old, only paid 2700 pesos tax! (about 75 bucks, a major coup)

I took all the docs to Rentas Internas, waited in line for 5 hours, and got the title in my name. The kid at the window informed me that the cost to fix the errors was 100 pesos per error, so for 300 pesos, plus 2700 tax, I walked out the door with the corrected title in my name. Win-win.

This is going to be a great little truck once I finish. That legendary 4.0 inline 6 coupled with a Toyota automatic 4 speed transmission(they came with Toyota or Chrysler transmissions) is not the most frugal gas sipper in the world, but it's bearable. Plus, the plan is for it to be a standby vehicle, not a daily driver.

Last edited by jdjonesdr; 12-24-2012 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:21 PM
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Once I located the old lady, we had her lawyer contact her to set up the deal. She wasn't a happy camper, I can tell you that. I could hear her on the phone from 5 ft away. lol

We made sure she knew that this guy would do the deed right away.

But, in all fairness to the other owner, he only drove it about a mile a day. I don't think that truck has seen more than 40 mph in years.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:23 PM
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We finally yanked everything from underneath the front end. The new stuff I mentioned before arrived and got installed.

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Right down to new wheel studs and nuts.

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That included: tie rod ends, strut bushings, shocks, ball joints, stabilizer bushings..... anything that wasn't a solid piece of metal got changed. I think I already mentioned it got new shoes and calipers in front. I also had to adjust a lot of play out of the steering box.

I even got new lug nuts and studs for the wheels. (I'll spare you the story of the idiot with the pneumatic lug wrench that screwed up the nuts)

I'm still waiting for the rear shocks. I FINALLY received the rear hatch struts, and stuck them on.

Once all that was done, I drove it over to the alignment shop, and had the whole thing given the once over.

Now it tracks straight, the steering wheel is where it should be, and hard braking with hands off the wheel is a straight stop. Perfect.

As you can imagine, now that everything underneath is new, it pretty much rides and handles like a new truck again.

So now, under the hood.

The battery tray was gone, so I replaced that. Lots of wires and hoses disconnected. Thankfully, most are just laying next to where they should be connected.

I know why it's like that. The computer gets feedback from sensors, and constantly corrects things so the vehicle will run efficiently. Once a vacuum hose develops a leak, it's common for an engine to idle roughly. Finding that leak is a pain if you don't know how to look for it. (small air pump and soapy water is one way) It's a lot easier to just disconnect and plug lines until the rough idle goes away. BTW, Except for the rough idle, it runs fine and starts right up.

My last Wrangler had a computer problem. You cut two wires, connect them, no more computer. Runs like new again.

I was originally going to do that to the Cherokee, but I decided to try to get it back to original. I started out with diagrams of each system, and started tracing vacuum lines and hooked them up again. I also replaced the vacuum/emissions harness.

As a result, the engine is idling rough again, which means the computer is trying to do it's job. I'm making progress.

I had to order a couple of rubber grommets to finish hooking up the lines, and then I'll scan it to see what still needs to be addressed. Hopefully, I'll have it purring like a cat very soon.

It's almost ready to tackle the interior. I mentioned before that the previous owner didn't do much other than change the oil.
He never washed the poor thing either. The interior is 95% complete, but it is embarrassingly dirty. I have to dig in the dash and check lights and whatnot, and then see if the carpets can be saved.

That's about it. From now on, things will slow down a bit. Mechanically, it's very sound, so I've addressed the big stuff.

The long term stuff will be new window motors, new wiper motor, a nice (cheap) stereo with a bazooka, and maybe some different seats.

I'm also a nut for a wood dash. So.... guess what came in the mail this week???

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Old 12-24-2012, 03:24 PM
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I finally received all of the sensors I ordered. (A story in itself)

I've installed all of them, and as expected, the engine has smoothed out to its normal self. Pulling off any of the vacuum tubes returns it to a rough idle, just as it should.

With everything new underneath, I got the front end aligned. It's a world of difference.

Even so, I thought the steering was a little sloppy. I tried adjusting the steering box, but the steering just got tighter, but still a little sloppy. Since the steering box for this truck is very common, I decided to buy a used one locally and see what happened. It cost a hundred bucks, and the difference was... well.. unreal.

It feels just like it should. Tight, responsive, and returns to straight if you let it go after a turn. Perfect!

I've pulled all of the crappy tint that was stuck on the windows (Cabana, anyone?), and we did a monster cleaning job on everything inside, using 7-8 cans of car upholstery cleaner. Not like new, but pretty doggone close. Good enough for me.

I threw in a new hood cable, and a speedometer cable, so I know how fast I'm going.

So.... All I've got left now is a few electrical problems. The Windshield wipers threw in the towel, and I haven't figured out whats up yet.

I'm gonna pull the dashboard out, and check all the idiot lights. The oil pressure gauge only works when it feels like it. I'm not too worried about it; these things run forever and always have great pressure, and mine isn't any different. A non working gauge bugs me a little though. lol

Next week is the A/C shop. The A/C worked when I bought it, but I'm suspecting there's a leak somewhere because it's blowing warm now. Gotta have A/C.

I'm also going to start investigating what a few cut wires belong to under the hood. Believe it or not, the shop manual for this truck is over an inch thick, and that's just the electrical!!!!!! Unreal.

So.. she's getting close. I'm going to start driving her on weekends, and use the Nissan during the week. I'll probably hold on to this one for the rest of my driving days, which is why I've gone a little overboard on fixing her up. She's a good old truck.
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:25 PM
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Default The A/C nightmare

So.... where was I...

Since I last checked in a month ago, things have slowed down a bit, mainly because of continuous parts ordering.

I pulled both bumpers, cleaned them up, and installed new end caps. Got a new front trim strip under the front bumper, since the old one was chopped up to install the bush guard I removed.

Both outside mirrors were inoperable, so... new mirrors.

Now I'm getting down to the nitty gritty.

Since everything underneath is new, and all the sensors on the engine are new, it purrs like a kitten. I had to adjust the throttle sensor a little more to get it to shift smoother.

We dug into the A/C, and pulled the radiator and condenser to clean and repair. They really looked like crap, so it was obvious that somewhere down the pike, they'd need to be replaced. Once that was done, we charged the system, and watched the tubing get ice cold, to the point of almost forming frost. YES!!!

We jumped in for a spin, got about 100 ft up the road, and bam, the evaporator went (the thing inside the dash that cools the air)

That means we have to pull the dash, to see if it's fixable. Turns out it's not.

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Last edited by jdjonesdr; 03-12-2013 at 07:30 PM.
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