I started off today by taking the top back off – I figured I would have to do it when I am ready to put the final paint on anyway, plus I’ve been wanting to change those pitted windshield hinges (I’ve had the replacements painted for a few months now).
Pretty, huh? They sure do look a lot better than these did – these are on eBay if anybody needs some
Next, I jumped on the front end (not literally!). After jacking it up and putting it on stands, I grabbed the ties and wiggled them – looking for any play. The driver side had some looseness – I could detect a little play by pulling on the top of the tire. I pulled the tire off and tried to move everything, but I couldn’t get anything to wiggle. I tightened the kingpin bolts, but they were fine. So then I pulled the lockout hub apart to look check the bearings – that’s when I found the problem! The inner wheel bearing nut was looser than it should have been. I tightened it down and backed off until she turned freely, then put the retaining washer and lock nut on. I put everything back together and figured I would check the other side even though I didn’t detect any looseness. It seemed fine, but I re-adjusted them anyway.
Next I moved on looking for play in other areas. I found some in the bellcrank, drag link and steering gear!
I took the bolt out of the bellcrank because it had some side to side movement. I couldn’t tell where that movement was coming from, so I put it back together. It still had some movement, so I took a gamble and tightened the clinch bolt (?) on the back side of the bellcrank mount (that is riveted to the frame). It still had some movement, but not as much – so I tightened it more. It was getting better, so I put a cheater bar on the ratchet and tightened her down more. It was a good bit better, but I figured if I kept going something was going to strip, so I stopped there.
Next was the drag link – I tightened the plug on the front down as much as I could because it seemed like it was looser than it should be. I don’t know what you’re supposed to use to tighten them, but my biggest screwdriver was way too small. Maybe I’ll make a tool to do that with.
The sector shaft is moving maybe 1/16″ of an inch in the bore of the steering gear. I remembered that I didn’t replace the bushing when I rebuilt the box because it was going to be “too hard” – guess what? It’s going to be a lot harder now! I have about 4″ of play in the steering wheel before the tires start to turn. Most of that is in the steering sector and drag link – you can see the movement. All of the ball joints are new. I need to replace the steering shaft tube and bearing anyway. This is a job that will have to wait until after the rally.
I re-adjusted the steering gear, because I had tightened it up thinking that would take some of the play out – it just made it harder to turn the wheel!
I lowered the tire pressure back down to 25 psi. I am going to take the tires back to the garage that installed them to get them balanced too.
I checked the gas before my test drive – man, this thing is burning some gas! I’m down to about 1 1/4″ in the tank – it stops pulling at about 1/2″. I put 5g in it last time I was off. I took off on a test drive – went 6.5 miles. It seemed to drive better – maybe a little tighter. It didn’t do the “death wobble” this time, so that’s a good thing!
I figured out how the top bow tie down straps are supposed to be attached to the Jeep (after about 10 minutes) and installed them. They are held on by a footman loop. Of course when I started to take one of the screws out to put the strap on it, it stripped out – which turned a 5 minute job into a 15 minute job! They are done though – I’ll take a pic of them tomorrow.
I took Jordan for a ride with the windshield down because “she has never ridden in it with the windshield down” – her words – at least she wants to ride in it I guess!
Now, what to do tomorrow? My list is still pretty long.