I took the Jeep over to a local mechanic to get the rear pinion seal replaced the other day. When I cranked her up, I smelled gas pretty strong so I looked underneath. There was a new puddle of oil – under the transfer case rear seal! I started the short drive over there, and about a quarter of the way there I hit a rough spot of asphalt – and she started the “Death Wobble” again! I had to pull over to get it to stop. Once I got there and talked to the owner, he said he was getting ready to go fishing – the shop was closed, because it was his birthday. He looked it over and told me to bring it back Monday and he would get on it. He said he would check the steering too.
OK, today, I started out with total focus on getting the “Death Wobble” fixed before I took it to the shop. Today was the only day that I had to work on her before I took her to the shop. I know that he probably won’t get her done before I go back to work, so I had to get everything done to her that I needed to today. I get off next Wednesday night, so she has to be ready to go on Thursday to the Steel Soldiers Georgia rally!
Anyway, I jacked up the driver side front wheel and checked for play in the wheel bearings and king pins – none. Then I looked over at the bellcrank while moving the wheel – I had about 3/8″ up and down movement on the bellcrank. I knew that this was a problem – I’ve just been procrastinating! I removed the bellcrank – the cinch bolt was hell to get off (very little room to move the ratchet). Everything else came off pretty easy (I used an impact and a wrench on the main pin). The old one was scarred up, but didn’t have too much play in it. I had a rebuild kit, so I installed it – the old bearings looked like they had some rust in them, as did the main pin.
While I had the bellcrank off, I cleaned the cinch bolt slot – it had alot of grease and dirt in it. I used a dental pick to remove this stuff. I also cleaned the inside of the frame casting as much as I could.
I had to use a socket and hammer to drive the old bearings out of the bellcrank (and reinstall them). I reinstalled the bellcrank, tightened the main pin with the impact and wrench, and reinstalled the cinch bolt with an air ratchet and wrench (then tightened more with a 1/2″ ratchet and wrench). It had a good bit less play in it after I finished!
Next I hooked up the tie rod and then the drag link. I tightened the drag link plug with a big screwdriver with a wrench on it for leverage. I was able to get it alot tighter than I had it before, but I couldn’t get the holes to line up for the cotter pin.
I went to the other end, but couldn’t get a big screwdriver in the tight spot. So, I came up with a decent solution. I found a short piece of 1/8″x 3/4″x2″ flat bar with a spot weld on it and it fit perfectly into an 11/16″ socket. I put this on a 1/2″ ratchet and was ablt to tighten it down as much as I wanted, but still couldn’t get the cotter pin holes lined up (I think I have the plugs mixed up end to end).
I checked the air pressure (all were low) and aired them up. I checked the spring and shock nuts – the left side spring shackles were loose, as were some of the shock nuts. All were tightened.
I took her for a ride down the road – about 10 or so miles total. I kept waiting on a shimmy when I hit bumps, but never got one – even in the driveway! I did feel a very slight one at maybe 25-30mph, but not bad enough to hardly even feel. She almost drove like a new one! I got up to 50mph and actually felt safe doing it!
When I got back to the shop, I set the timing by vacuum reading (set it to the highest vacuum reading), and set the carb again. It has a little bit of a miss with this timing setting, but has more power. I think the valves might need adjusting – maybe I’ll get the shop to do this while it’s there.
Next, I decided to finish up the power feed wiring. I installed the clamps (had to drill 2 holes in the body). Then I painted the clamps and screws OD so they would be less noticeable.
Lastly, I gave her a bath. She was alot dirtier than I thought! I washed her inside and out – now she’s ready for the rally (once the shop gets her sealed up!).