2005 Jeep Wrangler TJ Unlimited


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2005 Jeep Wrangler

TJ Unlimited

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My oldest son has started collecting Jeeps.  He has my old 1972 J2000 pickup and also a 1987 Jeep Wrangler that he restored.  I wanted to get a Jeep too so he and I could spend time playing with them together.  Also, a Jeep will fit into my life well.  

I decided to get an Unlimited if I could find one with a 4.0L six cylinder, automatic transmission and hardtop.  

I found one over in Alabama that is in decent shape.  It has about 140K miles on it and a straight body without rust.  It has always been a southeast vehicle and mostly in middle and southern Georgia.  

The outside has a few blemishes but not dents and rust.  The frame looks pristine.  I will make it look as good as possible with buffing and polishing.  The paint chips will get some repair and touchup paint.

Mechanically it had a few issues but none that caused any real concern.  They apparently were getting nickled and dimed on things that are really mostly maintenance.  It has a new starter for example.  

It had been used most recently by a college student and had very few modifications done to it.  The interior needed a deep cleaning and there was white paint everywhere.

The engine needed a good cleaning too.

They told me they had changed many of the front suspension and steering parts to try and fix the wheel wobble in the front end.  I suspected the aftermarket wheels and larger tires could have a lot to do with the wobble.  There was also some driveline vibrations coming through the steering wheel along with the wheel wobble.  

Plus the wheels did not have the original backspace so the tires protruded and allowed mud and water to be sprayed all over the sides.  I live on a dirt road so that is not acceptable.  

They recently replaced the cam sensor and the drive for it.  It is throwing a ignition code of some kind when cold, but so far I have had no problems from that.  I also knew it had bad pinion seals and the engine bay needed a good cleaning.  

The transmission had been replaced a about 69K.  Not sure why but I know the automatic transmissions can have problems with shifting.  While it shifted just fine with the OEM PCM, I planned to change the PCM with a WranglerFix PCM as a preventative maintenance issue.  I will keep the original one as a backup part.

Both differential seals were leaking.

I started by washing the outside of the  Jeep since it had mud sprayed all over it.  Then I used some engine cleaner and a pressure washer to clean as much as I could off the frame under the hood.  Much of the grimmy stuff came off.  There is still some baked on dirt that will need more attention.

My wife and I cleaned for a full day to get the inside up to par.  It still has some white paint stains in places that are inconsistent with "spilling some paint".  There was also paint on the outside of the vehicle, so I suppose a college prank of some kind caused the paint to be splattered everywhere. But, I knew it was there when I bought it and cleaned as much of it as I could.  It will be just fine for my use.

My brother and I jacked up one front tire and started checking for driveline problems.  Immediately we noticed the front U-joint was bad.  It had almost a quarter inch of side to side movement in it.  That had to be fixed.

I began the mechanical repairs by making some lift arm supports to cradle the frame so I could put it on my lift.  They  worked out great.  The lift had no problem lifting the Jeep.  Centering the vehicle was the hardest part of lifting it.  I had to make sure it was balanced and that the arms would reach the frame.  With the garage door in the right position I was able to get a full lift without hitting it.

My brother came over to help me work on the mechanical needs.  We removed the front driveshaft so we could install the new U-joint using the press.  Then I marked the front axle pinion shaft and nut before removing the nut and the yoke.  

The yoke had a small groove where the seal rides.  So I ordered a new front yoke and seals.  No one in town, including the Jeep dealer keeps the correct parts in stock.  I bought two seals at Autozone, but when I was ready to put them in, it was apparent they were not the correct seals.  The original seals have a metal lip on them.  The seals from Autozone did not.  So I took those back.

Amazon had the correct seals and the yoke.  They also have fast shipping.  The  rear pinion was removed but the yoke was still good.   I had to wait two days for the parts to arrive but I got the correct ones and I got them installed without any issue.  The new front yoke measured to the thousandth the same as the old one.  So, I put the nut back into the same position it was in originally.  I tightened the rear pinion nut to 180 ft/lbs (the service manual says 160 to 200 ft/lbs).  The nut was exactly where the marks said it should be.

I removed the diff covers, drained the oil and cleaned them up before reinstalling them.  

I used synthetic 75W-140 as suggested by the service manual for towing.  I hope to be able to tow my boat with the Jeep and I like the idea of using a synthetic oil anyway.

I purchased a cheap steering stabilizer and replaced the old worn stabilizer.

I think the jeep will work out well in my fleet.





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