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Thread: my Jeep repairs . . .

  1. #1
    DonTom
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    my Jeep repairs . . .

    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-




  2. #2
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    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.

  3. #3
    MikeHalloran
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    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.


  4. #4
    DonTom
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    "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)

  5. #5
    DonTom
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    "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-

  6. #6
    MikeHalloran
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    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?


  7. #7
    DonTom
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    "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)


  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    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.)






  9. #9
    DonTom
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    "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)


  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "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...




  11. #11
    DonTom
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    "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-

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "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...

  13. #13
    DonTom
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    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-

  14. #14
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    "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).

  15. #15
    DonTom
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    "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)

  16. #16
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "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.....

  17. #17
    Senior Member Mase's Avatar
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "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.
    A man's greatest mistake is to think he is working for somebody else.

  18. #18
    DonTom
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    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-

  19. #19
    DonTom
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    "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-

  20. #20
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: my Jeep repairs . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "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").





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