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DonTom
09-30-2008, 06:55 AM
After I got back from my trip, I did a checkout of the Jeep (1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, 5.2L, 177,000 miles).

First, I discovered large groves deep into BOTH front rotors, from the brake pad rivets.

I did the brakes yesterday, changed all pads and all four rotors. I was very surprised to discover that the front brakes had NO pad left at all. Just metal to metal, yet stopped fine without a trace of noise. I didn't think that was possible. Not a clue of a problem until I took a close look at the rotors. At least the rotors are cheap. Cheaper than the pads for the rotors made in China.

I was surprised to see the rear brakes used drums for the parking brake. The rear disk pistons have no need to turn them clockwise in, just push in, as with the fronts. It was very difficult to pull the rotors off the drum brakes even with plenty of play in the parking brake cable. I pried, even used a hammer on the old rotors. I do wonder how the pros deal with such stuff. The rear rotors were very rusty. Anyway, the brake job is completed with no damage done.

But I also discovered a leaky water pump. I could smell coolant the last 20 miles of the trip. Didn't lose enough coolant to overheat of give any symptoms by the time I got home from the trip. But during the short test drive after doing the brakes, it leaked very bad. It's getting worse VERY fast. I was lucky to make it all the way home.

It looks like this will be the most difficult water pump change I will ever do. All types of stuff and brackets in the way. It takes a hundred bucks worth of special tools just to remove the fan from the water pump! I just ordered them on line. A 36 MM open end wrench and a spanner wrench is required. But the good news is that these tools will also work on my Dodge Ram which also uses the same 5.2L engine.

At least the Jeep worked out well for us on some of the toughest dirt roads we have ever been on. I noticed no problems at all until I got back home.

-Don-

Disco Man
09-30-2008, 01:18 PM
Don,

That's some interesting info on the GC's front brakes still working well after no brake pads were left.

Three years ago my GC's water pump started leaking, I looked at the job and saw how much work it was so I had the dealer do it. It was during March (cold and bitter here during the month of March) when it started leaking. The last thing I wanted to do was to change it in cold weather.

Let us know how the waterpump replacement job goes.

My '94 GC recently went over 145,000 miles. It's still going strong. It's still has the original shocks on it, they still work great. The vehicle runs as smooth and as well as the day I bought new 14 years ago.

MikeHalloran
09-30-2008, 10:41 PM
I was surprised to see the rear brakes used drums for the parking brake. The rear disk pistons have no need to turn them clockwise in, just push in, as with the fronts. It was very difficult to pull the rotors off the drum brakes even with plenty of play in the parking brake cable. I pried, even used a hammer on the old rotors. I do wonder how the pros deal with such stuff. The rear rotors were very rusty. Anyway, the brake job is completed with no damage done.


An entire drum brake assembly is cheaper than any of the wickety-kwock mechanisms they used to put in disc brake calipers for parking, and way more reliable.

My Galaxie had the rear drums rusted on pretty well. Sidestepping the clutch with the brakes locked, more than once, and well above an idle, eventually broke 'em loose. I don't know what you could do with an automatic, other than a bucket of Kroil.

DonTom
10-01-2008, 02:13 AM
"That's some interesting info on the GC's front brakes still working well after no brake pads were left. "

I thought so too. In other vehicles, during braking, I heard plenty of noise when the pads first wore down to the rivets. In this Jeep, not a trace of noise ever while braking and no pad was even there. And it stopped well too. No symptoms at all, other than the deep groove in both front rotors.

"Three years ago my GC's water pump started leaking, I looked at the job and saw how much work it was so I had the dealer do it. It was during March (cold and bitter here during the month of March) when it started leaking. The last thing I wanted to do was to change it in cold weather. "

The weather here is almost always around 60F at any time of year so working on cars is never a problem because of the temperature. So I cannot use that excuse. ;D

"Let us know how the waterpump replacement job goes. "

I won't be able to work on it for about a week or so. I ordered the tools on line just last night.

Tom & I are leaving for Reno on Wednesday morning, right when I get off work (where I am now, if I can call this sinecure as "work"). When I receive the tools is when I will start to work on it. Hopefully by this time next week.

"My '94 GC recently went over 145,000 miles. It's still going strong. It's still has the original shocks on it, they still work great. The vehicle runs as smooth and as well as the day I bought new 14 years ago."

My '97 has 177,000 miles on it and the rear shocks look old but seem to still be working. It looks like an easy job to replace the rear shocks. I cannot tell if they are original shocks or not. We purchased this Jeep used years ago with 155,000 miles on it. It doesn't get a lot of use with us, only when we need it for snow (going to & from Reno in winter) or dirt roads.

I will let you know how the WP replacement goes. It looks like a tough job but after I get all the junk out of the way, it just might be a "piece of cake".

-Don- (SSF, CA)

DonTom
10-01-2008, 02:34 AM
"My Galaxie had the rear drums rusted on pretty well. Sidestepping the clutch with the brakes locked, more than once, and well above an idle, eventually broke 'em loose. I don't know what you could do with an automatic, other than a bucket of Kroil."

After trying to get it off for about 20 minutes, I put the wheel back on and spun it to see if it felt a little looser in any position. Changing the position by about 180 degrees seemed to help a lot but still wasn't easy to get the rotors off the drum parking brake.

After that hassle, I prefer the parking brake in the brake caliper even if it doesn't work as well. This job took about four or five times as long as it should have, just because of the time wasted to get two rear rotors off.

But what do the pros do when they run into this type of thing? I know they won't waste as much time as I did trying to get rotors off the drum brakes.

BTW, the new (made in China) rotors went on easy and could be removed easily too.

-Don-

MikeHalloran
10-01-2008, 08:30 PM
Snap-On sells a very nice FIVE POUND ball pein hammer that works wonders on bearing races, and would probably dispatch a rotor pretty quickly too.

Hey, if you're going to replace it anyway, do you care if it comes off in one piece or five?

DonTom
10-01-2008, 10:22 PM
"Hey, if you're going to replace it anyway, do you care if it comes off in one piece or five?"

No, but I don't want to break anything else or pull the brake shoes off or even crack them. It looks like a real hassle to replace the parking brake shoes which I assume will normally last the life of the vehicle.

-Don- (Reno)

Eric
10-02-2008, 07:40 AM
I really hate to say this - but your (and Don's) stories are why I bought (and love) my Japanese truck.

I was able to change the water pump on my Frontier in 30 minutes, without rushing. Not only were no special tools needed, it was obvious that the engineers designed this truck to make service work easier. For instance, the accessory belt tension is maintained by a clever "screw it in to tighten/screw it out to loosen" system, while all the bolts you need to get at to remove the accessories/brackets are clearly designed to be accessible.

Not an isolated example, either. A few months back some of you might remember the post I wrote about replacing the truck's windshield wiper motor. I have done this job on many vehicles - and on some it can be a gigantic PITAS. But on the Nissan, just basic hand tools were needed. Even the wiper arms just come right off after loosening up a single 10 mm bolt. No tangs to depress or other Rube Goldberg-esque annoyances!

The Frontier's brake calipers are like some motorcycles I have worked on. You can even remove the pads without removing the caliper from the rotor.

In all honesty, I'd have to have a very good reason to even consider an American truck in the future. My Frontier is one of the best vehicles we have ever owned. (And the next-best would be my wife's Corolla.)

DonTom
10-02-2008, 08:09 AM
"I was able to change the water pump on my Frontier in 30 minutes, "

Small engine? V8's are usually a lot more hassle, no matter who makes them.

My Chevy Biretta (2.8L V6) water pump crapped out and it was about a 20 minute job. That was the easiest water pump change I have ever done. I think my Jeep (5.2L V8) will be the most difficult, yet both are American cars.

BTW, I just discovered on-line that the tools I just ordered the other day were attempted to be delivered yesterday (Wednesday) but I am at the wrong home. Signature is required. That was the fastest UPS order I ever seen, but I wasn't there to receive it. They tried to deliver it right after we left for Reno. I wasn't expecting the order to come in until we got back to SSF.

I just discovered the order only came from 180 miles away from our SSF home.

If I knew it would be there today, I would have waited around and worked on the Jeep a bit before coming here.

-Don- (Reno, NV)

Eric
10-02-2008, 08:19 AM
"I was able to change the water pump on my Frontier in 30 minutes, "

Small engine? V8's are usually a lot more hassle, no matter who makes them.

My Chevy Biretta (2.8L V6) water pump crapped out and it was about a 20 minute job. That was the easiest water pump change I have ever done. I think my Jeep (5.2L V8) will be the most difficult, yet both are American cars.

BTW, I just discovered on-line that the tools I just ordered the other day were attempted to be delivered yesterday (Wednesday) but I am at the wrong home. Signature is required. That was the fastest UPS order I ever seen, but I wasn't there to receive it. They tried to deliver it right after we left for Reno. I wasn't expecting the order to come in until we got back to SSF.

I just discovered the order only came from 180 miles away from our SSF home.

If I knew it would be there today, I would have waited around and worked on the Jeep a bit before coming here.

-Don- (Reno, NV)




Yes, , my truck has the four - so there is more space to work. But still, no special tools needed and it was obvious that thought was given to making removal of components simple. And brake work, etc. is the same whether the truck has the small or large engine.

My wife's Corolla was also very easy to work on...

DonTom
10-02-2008, 08:31 AM
"And brake work, etc. is the same whether the truck has the small or large engine. "

If that's the case, why do they ALWAYS ask for the size of engine when buying brake pads?

BTW, the Jeep parking brake will hold the Jeep better than any disc parking brake, so it's all a trade-off. I assume if those rotors didn't have 177,00 miles on them (and were quite rusty) there would have been no problem with removing them.

-Don-

Eric
10-02-2008, 10:45 AM
"And brake work, etc. is the same whether the truck has the small or large engine. "

If that's the case, why do they ALWAYS ask for the size of engine when buying brake pads?

BTW, the Jeep parking brake will hold the Jeep better than any disc parking brake, so it's all a trade-off. I assume if those rotors didn't have 177,00 miles on them (and were quite rusty) there would have been no problem with removing them.

-Don-


Well, you may be right that rotors & discs are larger/higher capacity with the larger engine but I doubt the basic design differs significantly. In my truck, the big issue w/parts seems to be whether the truck is 4x4 or 2WD...

DonTom
10-04-2008, 05:45 AM
I removed the water pump today. As I expected, this was the toughest water pump removal I have ever done. I expect the installation to be a bit smoother.

To do this job the correct way, besides the usual stuff (fan, hoses, etc) the A/C compressor, alternator & power steering pump all must all be unbolted. Not completely removed, hanging by wires and hoses is fine, as long as all bolts are removed, so the main bracket, as well as a few other brackets that holds all these items can be removed. I must have about 30 or so bolts removed, along with several brackets, including the main one, totally removed from the vehicle.

However, after all these items are removed, it's easy to get at everything in the cooling system. It's a perfect time to replace all the radiator hoses, especially the bypass hose, that is right behind the main bracket. If that short hose ever leaks, it will be the same procedure as above, even if no desire to change the water pump. It's also easy to get at the thermostat with all this stuff removed. I am going to replace all this stuff.

I discovered my old water pump in my 1997 Jeep is the 1998 and later style, which has a pressed on pulley instead of a bolt on. Perhaps the water pump has been changed once before in it's 177,000 miles. Or perhaps they changed to the pressed on type just before the 1998 model year.

This means I purchased the wrong tool to hold the pulley, but I removed the fan from the water pump with a large size needle nose vice grip right on the edge of the pulley, so I could turn the fan clutch bolt loose. It worked and it made no difference if I ruined the pulley as it comes with the new water pump already pressed on. However, there is a $70.00 tool to hold the water pump pulley. But I also heard of five dollar strap wrenches used to hold these pulleys, when there's enough room.

The other tool, the 36 MM open end wrench, works on all the 5.2L fan clutch bolts. This wrench is nothing special other than size. Any 36 MM open end wrench should work, best if thin like this tool.

I worked on the Jeep for several hours. Most of the time was trying to figure out how to hold the WP pulley still to unbolt the fan clutch bolt. I found a large needle nose vice grip in the garage that did the trick, but I didn't think of that idea until a lot of fooling around with other methods. I found out about the strap wrench trick on line in a Jeep forum just a few minutes ago, well after I had my WP removed. And I have a set of strap wrenches in the garage too, but I didn't think of that idea.

The new WP cost $77.00. But by the time I got out of the auto parts store, I paid about twice that by buying all the related hoses, sealants, thermostat, etc.

I would not even think about buying a rebuilt pump for this job!

-Don-

Eric
10-04-2008, 06:15 AM
"However, after all these items are removed, it's easy to get at everything in the cooling system. It's a perfect time to replace all the radiator hoses, especially the bypass hose, that is right behind the main bracket. If that short hose ever leaks, it will be the same procedure as above, even if no desire to change the water pump. It's also easy to get at the thermostat with all this stuff removed. I am going to replace all this stuff."

That's always been my policy, too. Might as well do the hoses (as well as thermostat, etc.) while everything's accessible!

Overall - this is an example of how ridiculous even basic service work has become - not just complexity wise, but also cost-wise. In contrast to your Jeep, removing and replacing the water pump on a typical '70s-era GM car equipped with a small block Chevy took maybe an hour or so and cost maybe $50 (for the pump and some RTV).

DonTom
10-04-2008, 07:02 AM
"Overall - this is an example of how ridiculous even basic service work has become - not just complexity wise, but also cost-wise."

But it's a trade-off. Spark plugs and oils last a lot longer. And it seems to me that belts and hoses are a lot better than they used to be. And newer cars last longer than did the older ones. Remember those days when your odometer only went to 100K because it was somewhat unlikely to make it past that mark?

Now, many odometers can read to a million miles. It's now expected for a car to last well more than 100K. How many cars in the 1970's did you see that had 177,000 miles on them? And I expect to get a lot more out of this Jeep.

I cannot remember the last time I saw a car on the side of the road smoking from a bad upper radiator hose. That used to be a fairly common sight. And serpentine belts often last the life of the vehicle, yet are easier to deal with than the older belts. It took me about ten seconds ( and I do NOT mean minutes) to remove mine from my Jeep.

Besides, I had nothing better to do yesterday afternoon than working on my Jeep. ;D

I enjoy fixing things, at least when they go fairly smooth.


-Don- (SSF)

Eric
10-04-2008, 07:43 AM
"Overall - this is an example of how ridiculous even basic service work has become - not just complexity wise, but also cost-wise."

But it's a trade-off. Spark plugs and oils last a lot longer. And it seems to me that belts and hoses are a lot better than they used to be. And newer cars last longer than did the older ones. Remember those days when your odometer only went to 100K because it was somewhat unlikely to make it past that mark?

Now, many odometers can read to a million miles. It's now expected for a car to last well more than 100K. How many cars in the 1970's did you see that had 177,000 miles on them? And I expect to get a lot more out of this Jeep.

I cannot remember the last time I saw a car on the side of the road smoking from a bad upper radiator hose. That used to be a fairly common sight. And serpentine belts often last the life of the vehicle, yet are easier to deal with than the older belts. It took me about ten seconds ( and I do NOT mean minutes) to remove mine from my Jeep.

Besides, I had nothing better to do yesterday afternoon than working on my Jeep. ;D

I enjoy fixing things, at least when they go fairly smooth.


-Don- (SSF)


All good points; can't deny the logic of it.

My little Nissan pick-up still feels new after ten years and with 110k on it. I have no doubt it will run to at least 170k (and another 3-5 years) before it begins to feel tired.....

Mase
10-04-2008, 01:16 PM
"Overall - this is an example of how ridiculous even basic service work has become - not just complexity wise, but also cost-wise."

But it's a trade-off. Spark plugs and oils last a lot longer. And it seems to me that belts and hoses are a lot better than they used to be. And newer cars last longer than did the older ones. Remember those days when your odometer only went to 100K because it was somewhat unlikely to make it past that mark?

Now, many odometers can read to a million miles. It's now expected for a car to last well more than 100K. How many cars in the 1970's did you see that had 177,000 miles on them? And I expect to get a lot more out of this Jeep.

I cannot remember the last time I saw a car on the side of the road smoking from a bad upper radiator hose. That used to be a fairly common sight. And serpentine belts often last the life of the vehicle, yet are easier to deal with than the older belts. It took me about ten seconds ( and I do NOT mean minutes) to remove mine from my Jeep.

Besides, I had nothing better to do yesterday afternoon than working on my Jeep. ;D

I enjoy fixing things, at least when they go fairly smooth.


-Don- (SSF)



Yeah, I can remember when 100,000 miles was pretty much the end of a car's life. Odometers only went to 99,999. Engine overhauls were common on cars getting close to that mileage. Tires lasted only 15k or 25k miles.

DonTom
10-05-2008, 04:25 AM
Job completed today. Thermostat, water pump, bypass hose, heater and radiator hoses now all new.

Test drive OK, checked for leaks while running and after stop with warm engine. Doesn't leak a drop of anything anywhere.

It really wasn't all that difficult, just time consuming. But I was surprised that I did not have a single bolt left over ;D.

I was thinking about changing the timing chain, since it has 177,000 miles on it. Does anybody here change timing chains as normal maintenance when a vehicle gets this many miles?

The water pump bolts to the timing chain cover, so it was temping. But I decided against it. Seems I have good luck with timing chains with all vehicles except for GM. Every timing chain problem I have had was with a GM vehicle, but it's not exactly the chain that fails. Usually the timing chain falls off because GM likes to use nylon teeth in their timing chain sprockets which wear out. That happened to several GM vehicles I have owned, including my 1988 Biretta at 138,000 miles (I then junked the car).


-Don-

DonTom
10-05-2008, 07:45 AM
"Tires lasted only 15k or 25k miles."

But wasn't that mainly because most cars in the 1970's had a lot more power?

-Don-

Eric
10-05-2008, 08:34 AM
"Tires lasted only 15k or 25k miles."

But wasn't that mainly because most cars in the 1970's had a lot more power?

-Don-


Actually, today's cars are - in general - much more powerful. 300 and 400 horsepower (real hp) is common; even economy cars routinely have at least 110-120 hp (vs. 60 or so "back in the day").

DonTom
10-05-2008, 08:46 AM
"Actually, today's cars are - in general - much more powerful. 300 and 400 horsepower (real hp) is common"

I didn't realize such was all that common these days where most people seem to be driving a small four cylinder. Even my 1.9L (116 CID) Saturn has a larger engine than many others.

In the 1970's. I remember a lot of cars had engines larger than 6.6L (400 CID). Not many cars these days have engines that large, do they?

I know they can now get more HP out of smaller engines, but that much more?

-Don-

Purceld2
10-05-2008, 10:39 AM
Hi Don,

I have been try to contact you regarding totally disabling the Alarm and immobiliser on my RHD JGC. i live in London England. and today tried your instructions of disconnecting the c3 connector from the BCM. but there is a mass of wires down there and i do not wish to disconnect the wrong one, any tips on how to locate the C-3 connector which needs to be disconnected from the BCM.

Your help will be much appreciated

regards

Desmond

Ken
10-05-2008, 10:54 AM
Hi Don,

I have been try to contact you regarding totally disabling the Alarm and immobiliser on my RHD JGC. i live in London England. and today tried your instructions of disconnecting the c3 connector from the BCM. but there is a mass of wires down there and i do not wish to disconnect the wrong one, any tips on how to locate the C-3 connector which needs to be disconnected from the BCM.

Your help will be much appreciated

regards

Desmond


Purely as a not of caution, one might wonderwhy someone living in London, one of the UKs auto theft capitals, would want to completely disable their alarm system. Perhaps Desmond could explain a little further?

Ken.

DonTom
10-06-2008, 05:34 AM
"I have been try to contact you regarding totally disabling the Alarm and immobiliser on my RHD JGC."

I am now at work. I will have to look at the service manual and / or my Jeep when I get home. I can now only remember that it's left of the steering column (inside car) next to many other connectors that look the same.

But C-3 will be the only connector with a violet / yellow wire on pin 10.

But why do you wish to disable the alarm?

-Don-

Eric
10-06-2008, 07:05 AM
"Actually, today's cars are - in general - much more powerful. 300 and 400 horsepower (real hp) is common"

I didn't realize such was all that common these days where most people seem to be driving a small four cylinder. Even my 1.9L (116 CID) Saturn has a larger engine than many others.

In the 1970's. I remember a lot of cars had engines larger than 6.6L (400 CID). Not many cars these days have engines that large, do they?

I know they can now get more HP out of smaller engines, but that much more?

-Don-


Engines were much larger then, but produced far less power. For example, my 1976 Trans-Am's 455 was rated at just 200 net hp. This from a 7.4 liter V-8! Today, the Mustang GT's 4.6 liter V-8 makes 300 net hp - 100 more hp from an engine that is almost 3 liters smaller!

Most of today's econo-car engines are in the 1.5-1.8 liter range - and typically make at least 105-110 hp. Most mid-size cars today have V-6s in the 3.0-3.8 liter range with (typically) at least 220-250 hp. (The current Taurus has 265 hp; the Camry, 270).

DonTom
10-06-2008, 10:07 PM
Desmond, (Ken, Desmond explained his reasons via E-mail).

Look in front of driver's seat, left of the diagnostic connector, near the door, near the hood release. There is a small pop-out cover (no screws, just those cheap black plastic thingies) to remove. Under that cover, you will see a BLACK connector most towards you on the extreme left. This is C-3 and will have violet-yellow wire on right side, closest to you.

Pull this connector out and see if your problems are gone. This completes the job. No tools required for this job.

Your alarm will appear to still work as the light on the dashboard will still function, but that's all that will work in the alarm system. This is nice, because it will look as if it's set.

Another option, but only if your interior lights do NOT time out, which drains your battery, and you still wish your alarm to still work, you can put the connector back in and cut the violet-yellow wire. From then on, you can no longer use a key for any door or you will get an alarm. You must use the remote (aka, keyless entry). If you do not have any remotes, this paragraph is not an option. This will only fix a problem with an intermittent key lock switch, such as I had, on the rear key lock where the switch fell off the bracket behind the key hole.

-Don-

DonTom
10-06-2008, 11:54 PM
"Engines were much larger then, but produced far less power. For example, my 1976 Trans-Am's 455 was rated at just 200 net hp. This from a 7.4 liter V-8! Today, the Mustang GT's 4.6 liter V-8 makes 300 net hp - 100 more hp from an engine that is almost 3 liters smaller!"

I had no idea the differences were that great. I am not a performance nut so I do not keep up with such stuff. But do they manage to increase the torque too or was there a trade off where the new engines have less torque than the old?

-Don-

Eric
10-07-2008, 06:39 AM
"Engines were much larger then, but produced far less power. For example, my 1976 Trans-Am's 455 was rated at just 200 net hp. This from a 7.4 liter V-8! Today, the Mustang GT's 4.6 liter V-8 makes 300 net hp - 100 more hp from an engine that is almost 3 liters smaller!"

I had no idea the differences were that great. I am not a performance nut so I do not keep up with such stuff. But do they manage to increase the torque too or was there a trade off where the new engines have less torque than the old?

-Don-


You're right, torque is down (generally) because today's engines are (generally) smaller displacement. A big V-8 will (usually) produce more torque (and at lower RPM) than a smaller one. So, as an example, even though the 455 in my Trans-Am doesn't make nearly as much power as the new Corvette's 6.2 liter V-8, it still makes as much or more torque.

One complaint about the new Mustang's 4.6 liter V-8 is that it lacks the "bottom end" (torque) the old 5.0 V-8 had....

DonTom
10-07-2008, 10:00 PM
Desmond,

Since your steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car, my instructions of left of the diagnostic connector might not be correct. Perhaps it will be on the right side of the Jeeps in England. But look for a small cover that snaps in and out of the underside of the dash. It should be fairly easy to find, and C-3 should be the black connector closest to the driver. If it will be on the right or left side of the Jeeps in England, I do not know. But look for the Violet-yellow wire on one corner of the connector to make sure you have C-3.

-Don-

DonTom
10-09-2008, 12:39 AM
Desmond,

I just took a close look at my Jeep. The cover that you need to remove actually goes around the Data Link (diagnostic or DTC) connector, which is right above the brake pedal (at least in the USA).

-Don-

DonTom
10-09-2008, 06:48 AM
Today, I decided to take one spark plug out of my Jeep to decide if I want to change all the plugs and other stuff. I never changed the plugs in this Jeep since I owned it. I purchased it used about four or five years ago (which is only about 22,000 miles ago). It's obvious the plugs have been changed before (because of the brand name) and they looked fine. Seems no need to do a tune up quite yet.

But the type of plugs in there are :

"Mighty Power Tip GRP33"

Anybody here ever hear of such a spark plug?

Also, in Jeep, & Dodge trucks, they put the distributor dead center behind the engine (5.2L) where it seems to be impossible to reach from anywhere. What's the trick to get to it to be able to replace the distributor cap & rotor?

-Don-(SSF, CA)

Disco Man
10-11-2008, 01:18 PM
You only need to tune up the vehicle and change the plugs every 50,000 miles on the 5.2 liter in the 1st gen Grand Cherokee. So if the plug you took off looks good and it runs well and the timing is in the good zone - no need to make changes. I replaced the cap and rotor about 10 years ago on mine along with replacing all the spark plugs and spark plug wires at the same time. It was tough job. I can't remember how I got the distributor cap off as I recall I loosened two screws (one on either side) and lifted the cap out at an angle and it came off. I remember I also used a flash light to see in there, since that area is dark since its hidden under the metal frame rail above it. I'll check the shop manual and see if there are any special tips for getting the distributor out. The one thing I do remember about the job is the metal tubes around the spark plugs were a pain. Make sure you use a rubber hose on the spark plug (when you put it back on) to turn it back into the threads. After the spark plugs turns few times around then you can use the torque wrench to tighten them to factory settings.

BTW, AC Rapidfire spark plugs really add some punch to the 5.2 liter best plugs I ever had in my 5.2. Gas mileage improved to after installing them. If you use them no need to gap them, they are pre-gapped from the factory.

DonTom
10-12-2008, 03:31 AM
"You only need to tune up the vehicle and change the plugs every 50,000 miles on the 5.2 liter in the 1st gen Grand Cherokee. "

My 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Factory Service Manual says every 60,000 miles. And that's almost twice as often as my 2002 Ford Mustang that say every 110,000 miles.

"I'll check the shop manual and see if there are any special tips for getting the distributor out."

No chance. I've notice the more difficult a routine job is, the less likely they will give a hint of how to do it. It's like they don't want to admit to it in writing. A good example is my 1997 Sebring. I have every service manual possible for it. How do you remove the rear spark plugs? Not a word about it any where. The front plugs are in the clear. To get to the rear plugs, the first step is to remove the upper intake manifold and all the other stuff in the way. That's better than the 1996 Carmaro that Tom used to drive. Want to remove the six spark plugs? First step is to remove the engine from the vehicle. You think you will find that in the service manual?

I think I can get the distributor cap out of the Jeep with some hassle. My Dodge pickup truck is a lot worse because it's a lot wider. With the truck, I did not even try. Hopefully the distributor cap & rotor can last the life of the vehicle. Otherwise, I will have to find a way to sit or lay down at the far end dead center on top of the engine compartment. I wonder how the dealer would do this job.

But there is some good news with my 97 Jeep. Those metal tube thingies around the plugs easily come off with the wires. But I know what you're talking about because they were a big hassle in my 99 Dodge truck which also has a 5.2L. I don't know why my Jeep 5/2L is so different. Removing the spark plugs in the Jeep look to be very easy. All eight of them, unlike my truck where it took me over an hour to get the one removed that's just under the large brake booster for the master cylinder. And I have tons of all types of weird tools for such jobs. It would have been easiest to remove the master cylinder to get that one plug out, but I didn't do that.

"BTW, AC Rapidfire spark plugs really add some punch to the 5.2 liter best plugs I ever had in my 5.2. Gas mileage improved to after installing them. If you use them no need to gap them, they are pre-gapped from the factory."

Perhaps you had a bad plug before. I somehow doubt you can notice a big difference versus good stock plugs.

Look at this poll asking hot rodders how the plugs compare:

http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/ac-regular-vs-ac-platinum-vs-ac-rapidfire-plugs-49013.html (http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/ac-regular-vs-ac-platinum-vs-ac-rapidfire-plugs-49013.html)

-Don-

Disco Man
10-13-2008, 06:32 PM
Notice how the test is "What's best for the dollar?" not what is the best performing spark plug. Rapidfires are expensive. To the "Charlie Cheepo" who wants to save money up front, going with the standard AC sparkplugs always wins out. However performance is better with the Rapidfires. I have tried them in several different cars over the years. I did a test years ago on a 2.8 liter MPI Pontiac 6000 with new AC sparkplugs vs. AC Rapidfires. You could feel the difference with the Rapidfires they had a better throttle response (entire rpm range) and the gas mileage was about 1 mpg better on the highway with them. In the long term the Rapidfires save you money and give you more performance. If you look at the spark plug design the Rapidfire plug has much larger current than the stock AC plugs and the more current you have the more power the engine is going to produce. AC Rapidfires were originally designed for use in racing and later released to the public. Both my T/As have Rapidfires in them right now and they perform better with them than the stock plugs.

DonTom
10-14-2008, 12:28 AM
"Notice how the test is "What's best for the dollar?" "

I did notice. These days, the best for the dollar will be the plugs that give the best MPG!

But I will try a set or two of the rapid fires (I couldn't care less that they cost more, they are supposed to last 100K miles anyway) when I change the plugs in my Jeep.

I might change them soon just because they look very easy to change, even though the one plug I took out to check looked fine.

Also, I need to check the plugs in my 96 Saturn. It's got 90K miles on it and I don't think they have ever been changed. I will try the rapidFires there too.

I also need to check the brakes in the Saturn, which I will do soon.

-Don-