The "Black Hole Project"
I have a line on an engine and have decided that the old engine will become a stroker motor.
I need the thing for winter, so replacement before teardown is worth the risk. Besides at 240,000 miles, even in good shape it could have used a little TLC.
Lift, gears, tires and other goodies are being planned as well.
Timeline for build ~1-2 years to completion, or as complete as it gets for this stage.....
Wow that is a long time. I don't like being down for a week. We do our mods between weekends to keep on the trail.
See 4wheelingplus.com for the best prices on lift kits. Tell him I sent you!
The Jeep will be driveable once then new engine is in. That way I can hit the trails while I am building the other engine.
My goal for the time being is a BB and bigger tires. Upgrades to happen as my wheeling preferences change.
Just an update on the project. I decided that since I write articles for a Mopar based website (and a couple others) I should probably update this site too.
First the back story: If some of you remember me from the Operation Shore Patrol on the Long Beach Peninsula a couple years or so ago, you probably heard this thing lumping along on 4 out of six cylinders.....
It's got low compression throughout, but Cylinders 1,3 and 6 are the lowest at roughly 30 PSI. Not good.....
I shut it down shortly after OSP and began researching my options, then I got super busy at work and home and put it on hold. I was injured late last year and now have the time to work on this again during my recovery.
This is just the beginning. There is more to come....Lots more!
How to remove the front facia from a 1987-1990 Jeep Cherokee XJ. Other years are similar.
13MM Socket - 3/8 Dr.
7MM Socket - 1/4 dr.
1) Remove the Corner Marker Lights and headlight trim. Two Phillips screws per light. Also remove the two other Phillips screws that secure the headlight trim. These are on the inside, next to the grill. Light bulb sockers are a quarter twist and they pop out.
2) Remove the Grill by removing the 8 Phillips screws that secure it. I chose this photo so you can see where the screw tabs are for the grill. Also remove the Parking lights by removing the 2 Phillips screw per light. The Parking light socket are a quarter twist and they pop out.
3) Remove the side corner trim by removing the 7MM bolts that hold each trim piece on. This will reveal four hidden 13MM nuts that hold the header panel to the fenders. Only two 13MM nuts per side.
4) Raise and support the hood at this point (or earlier as I did) as you will need to access the four 13MM nuts at the top, backside of the header panel. Remove these nuts and the header panel will slide forward off the studs on the fenders that help to align the panel when it is in place. Unplug the headlight sockets and remove the panel. There is a connector on the drivers side that you can unplug and simply take the harness and header panel as one piece. I chose to leave the harness in place for now.
5) All done! The header panel is removed gives you access to the radiator core support as well as the A/C condenser. I will cover removal of these in later articles.
I put all the screws I removed, back on their positions so I wouldn't lose them. Some need to be replaced, so this is an easy way to remember what goes where. I also tucked the headlight harness in behind the bumper for now. I am amazed at how skinny the headlight wires are! :ignore:
You don't need to pull the grill (unless it has issues like mine), but it does make for a better handhold with it out of the way....
You may not need to pull the header panel as well to pull the engine, but I did, just to gain some extra room to work. Engine, trans, transfer case are going to pulled at once......
To remove the radiator from an XJ Cherokee you will need to remove the 5/16” bolts that hold the mechanical fan shroud and the Electric fan to the radiator support. Unplug the electric fan and the switch. (two plugs, one high, one low)
You will then need to remove the two 5/16” nuts from the top of the radiator support. These go onto studs in rubber vibration isolators.
Then remove the four 10MM bolts from the radiator support (two on each side) and lift it off. If your isolator studs spin, just pull firmly on the radiator support and the studs will come out with the radiator support. Once the support is off, just set it aside.
On certain models like mine, the left side support mounting bolts hold the hood prop in place. I used the hood “prop” from the Toronado to hold the hood up since I don’t want to pull the hood until I have too. Just set the prop rod aside. I put the bolts and nuts back in their places once the support was removed so I don’t lose them.
I found it easier to remove the radiator and trans cooler hoses with the support out of the way. You don’t need to remove the A/C lines and condenser. They don’t get in the way much. My A/C is defunct, so I will be removing the compressor and A/C junk altogether when all is said and done.
For slush-box equipped vehicles only:
The trans cooler lines are quick disconnect style fittings, just squeeze the tabs and push the hose off the hard line. My upper trans line didn’t want to separate from its hose; then I removed the upper line at the radiator using a 15MM line wrench and then disconnecting the hard line from the support loop by removing the 5/16” screw from the bottom of the radiator.
I have no pictures of the trans line removal; I needed both hands for this…
Now loosen the hose clamps on the upper and lower radiator hoses and remove the hoses from their fittings on the radiator. Mine came off fairly easy, but since they should be replaced, you can cut them off too.
Now you should be able to remove the radiator from the vehicle by pulling straight up.
The last portion for today is removal the serpentine belt and vacuum manifold. There are three 14MM bolts the hold the pump in place. Loosen (do not remove) the three. Two in the front, one high, one low, and one in the rear. Then the 14MM Jack screw can be turned counterclockwise to rotate the pump down to loosen the belt. Once the belt is good and loose, work it off the pulleys and around the fan.
The vacuum manifold slides up and out of its holder behind the Power Steering pump, then squeeze the tabs and pull it apart. Remove the fresh air hose from the valve cover and lay vacuum manifold halves off to the side….. (no picture here)
I need to replace my battery box as it is trashed from years of battery acid drippings. Remove the three 15MM nuts from the bottom of the box and pull it out. (Sorry no picture here.)
Next installment will be removal the front skid, alternator, A/C compressor and PS hoses.
I apologize for the crappy cellphone pics, I can’t find the digicam…..
BTW, thats not black paint on the valve cover. It's all the oil it puked out from the fill cap when the last cylinder died...
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