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Discussion Starter #121
I've been making progress the past month or so now that the weather is clearing. My emphasis this year is to get the truck moving again under its own power. I think I have a handle on the basics I need to have the wire harness and computer operational and even though there is more sheet metal work left to do, moving without towing will make the metal work easier to accomplish.

I got some unexpected funding this year, so I went through the engine as much as I could. There is now a new, albeit computer friendly, camshaft, along with a double roller timing set and a timing chain tensioner. The plenum gasket on the stock intake has been replaced, as have the front and rear seals and the oil pan gasket. Internally, the engine looked to be in good shape. The bearings and journals all looked healthy, but I did install a high volume oil pump, just to play it safe.

While getting the engine sorted, I found two broken intake manifold bolts, common to the Dodge Magnum V8 engine. I was able to weld nuts to the remaining bits of bolt and once cooled, then spun right out.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #122
The new cam required new valve springs. I swapped them without pulling the heads with a little help from about 4' of 550 cord fed through the spark plug hole to keep the valves from falling. The new springs are noticeably bigger than stock.

I had a $20 credit on my Autozone rewards card, so the valve spring tool was free. I just went through about 20 zipties making sure the spring tool didn't slip off.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #123
Here is a block of pictures over what I have accomplished during the last 45 days or so. I got tired of looking at the 90k engine sitting on the stand, waiting for attention, so I pulled it out, stripped off the accesories,cleaned it and shot the block Hemi Orange.

I discovered a previous owner had done the plenum gasket, and in the course of making the repair, he broke off two intake bolts, one front and one rear on opposite sides. I was able to weld 5/16" nuts to the remaining portion of the bolts and then spun them back out without additional drama.

I sandblasted the stock kegger intake manifold. Since this truck is going to be a driver, not a racer, I'm not looking to spend money on a Hughes Air Gap or other aftermarket intake. Stock with a computer friendly cam will work just fine for my application.

The OEM timing set looked pretty stretched out, so I picked up a Cloyes double roller and a tensioner for a 3.9L V6 to keep things running true.

The cam is a Comp Cams 20-745-9 which should do well for my purposes.

I also replaced all of the freeze plugs with brass plugs. Even though the steel plugs are much better quality than the plugs used in the LA series V8, having one rust through with the engine installed is such a huge pain to deal with. Brass plugs will guarantee I never have a leak from one again.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #124
The new cam requires use of new springs. I lucked in to a set of slightly used springs from Hughes, along with the retainers and locks. It was a bit hard to pass up. I swapped springs with the heads on the engine with a free tool from Autozone, since I had $20 in rewards available. The only modification was adding zip ties as I went, to keep the new springs from slipping out. The difference between the stock springs and the replacements is clearly visible.

I forgot to mention above, I found some damage on my timing cover, where the water pump seals to the cover. Someone gouged the sealing surface about 3/16" wide and 1/16" deep. I filled the gouge with JB Weld, then ground it flush. No chance it will leak now.

After sand blasting the intake manifold and all the accessory brackets, everything got a fresh coat of engine paint, silver for the aluminum bits, black for the oil pan and valve covers, and of course, Hemi Orange for the block.

When I had the oil pan off to replace the rear main seal and the oil pump, I inspected all the bearings for signs of wear. The mains and rods all look good, good enough that I didn't fuss with plastigauge. I coated all the rotating parts with a liberal amount of Lucas Assembly Lube to ensure things stay slick and lubed on start-up.

-Joe
 

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Hot Damn, He's Back At It!!!!

Glad to see ya back and posting up your progress. Looks awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter #126
Hot Damn, He's Back At It!!!!

Glad to see ya back and posting up your progress. Looks awesome!
Yessir! I'm back at it. Like I said, I've gotten a little behind on updating this thread. The good news is I got the engine in this week. I still need to get some more parts and sort the wire harness and a few other issues to get it running, but it is much, much closer than it was last fall.

Everything is bolted up, the EGR port has been blocked up with a custom 3/16" steel plate & gasket, the torque converter is bolted up, as are the stock exhaust manifolds for now. I've found I can use the 1994 upper radiator hose to make both the upper and lower hoses to connect to the 1957 Chevy radiator. I also fabbed up an air cleaner stud adapter to allow me to run a 14" air cleaner. I used a spare throttle body, so ignore the crappy appearance. The power steering is all hooked up again and I have plenty of room for the Taurus two speed electric fan.

The radiator core support and inner fenders are in place to protect my work from the weather and only require removing six bolts to get it all out of the way again.

For just a brief moment while looking at one of the pictures this morning, I had a vision of sectioning the front fenders, leaving just enough to keep the front lighting and grille, then open the inner fenders to allow for some fenderwell headers exiting over the frame in to side pipes. Of course, doing something like that would require a nice, old school 426 Hemi under the hood. Lol.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #127
After making the air cleaner adapter, I decided to clean up the 1994 throttle body, as it isn't interchangeable with the one on the 1999 motor, due to sensors. I stripped off the sensors and cable bracket and set it to soak in a bucket of PineSol for a couple of hours. After soaking for a bit, I hit it with an old tooth brush, followed by a rinse in hot water and then blow dry. The difference was amazing. To keep it looking clean, I coated the bare aluminum with a few coats of clear high temp engine paint.













While mucking around with the transmission linkage, I began to get the impression that I may have to use the steering column from the 1994 Dodge Ram. This is a bit of a problem because the steering wheel is trashed and I don't have the 3/4"DD-3/4" 36 spline u-joint to connect the steering shaft to the column. The problem exists because the Dodge steering column has the shifter arm on the frame side of the column, rotating down to Park, where as the GM column has the shift arm on the engine side of the column, rotating up to Park. I've determined I will fabricate some sort of simple linkage to reach around the column to work the Dodge linkage from the GM column.



I now have the engine wire harness somewhat installed. The EMC/PCM is mounted on the right inner fender and I just need to secure the harness to keep it out of harm's way. I'm still lacking the lead that runs from the Power Distribution Center to the alternator and the ends to connect to the starter, as someone cut those off the original 1994 harness before I bought the donor truck. While working on the wire harness install, I added a fitting to run a mechanical oil pressure gauge, as I'm not using the 1994 instrument cluster. Good gosh brass has become expensive. Three pieces that used to cost $4-$6 ended up being $16 for a 1/8" NPT nipple, a Tee and a 45* adapter. I will also add a mechanical water temp gauge before firing the motor off.





I'm still lacking a few pieces and a bit of custom wiring to get it running, such as the starter, the fuel pump module and a serpentine belt. I need to sort through the 84 pin body connector and select which circuits need to be retained for starting and engine management. The rest of the lighting and body electrical will be handled by the Ron Francis harness I bought nearly 20 years ago.

I also have my transmission cooler more or less mounted up. I still need to connect the plumbing, but since my reproduction radiator doesn't have the fittings for an automatic transmission, I'm running the oil to water cooler from a Dodge Cummins diesel, followed up by a oil to air cooler in front of the radiator. I ran this set-up on the GM engine and transmission I had before hand without issue, so it should work fine for this application as well, though I should probably include a temperature gauge to be certain.





-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #128
I sat down with the Big Yellow Book of Knowledge last night and went through the wiring for the 84 pin connector, breaking down the wire codes, sorting what is definitely needed for the truck to run, what may be needed for the truck to run, and what really doesn't matter in this configuration. Afterward, I pulled the in cab harness out of storage and began looking at what I want to keep vs. what wasn't going to be needed. I began to realize it may be easier to shorten (by about 6') the circuits I need, and use the factory harness, than trying to build my own connections from the pass-through at the firewall. If I had the starter, fan belt and fuel pump, and I used the ignition switch from my Jeep, it would turn over and fire up right now.

This thought began to take me down yet another option that I am beginning to embrace. As much as I still love our 5 speed Grand Cherokee, it requires far more put in to it to make it a dependable driver again than it would ever be worth. The collision damage from the uninsured motorist will never be fixed and there is a wealth of parts that I could use from it for this build, and the wheels and 1/2 used set of tires on it fit the XJ. I could take the steering column from it, which should be interchangeable more or less with the Dodge column. I've said it many times that I want the front seats from it for this truck, so there's that. I'm starting to warm to the idea of parting out the Grand Cherokee, then using the proceeds to fund additional needs for the truck. At this point, the ZJ will still run and drive, though once the steering column is gone, starting and driving won't happen. Still, I figure I can clear $500 for the good parts and sell the rest as scrap metal. When I dispose of the extra scrap I have laying around with it, I'm looking at another $200.

$700 would buy a new fuel pump module, a new starter, the miscellaneous electrical parts I need, steel for the bed floor and leave a little extra.

-Joe

** Edit...I forgot the shift linkage is at the bottom of the steering column, EXCEPT on a 5 speed M/T. I'll just steal the steering wheel and ignition switch.
 

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This level of skill, knowledge, and staying-power is beyond my comprehension.

From your first post in the Spring of 2014 to now it has been nothing short of amazing.

Just saying. :smiley_thumbs_up: :smiley_thumbs_up: :smiley_thumbs_up:
-Ej-
 

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Great progress!


Keep at it, bud. This is a cool build and I see a fantastic truck coming as a result of all your hard work.
 

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Discussion Starter #131
This level of skill, knowledge, and staying-power is beyond my comprehension.

From your first post in the Spring of 2014 to now it has been nothing short of amazing.

Just saying. :smiley_thumbs_up: :smiley_thumbs_up: :smiley_thumbs_up:
-Ej-
Thank you Jake. We'll see how knowledgeable I am when the time comes to finally turn the key. :lol3

This truck has been part of my life for more than 20 years in one form or another. I've learned a lot along the way and am continuing to learn as I go. I enjoy the challenges each new potential problem presents and the creativity it takes to make a solution on a budget.

Anyone can "build" a vehicle nowadays by installing a bunch of new parts off the shelf to make it their own, and that's fine if you can swing it. I've got to work a bit more creatively if I ever want to drive this truck again and I feel fortunate to have inherited this skill from my father.

I can't believe how close this is becoming to being a running truck. So very happy!

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #132
Now the latest update. I encountered a major snag this week while exploring the Big Yellow Book of Knowledge for clues as to the wiring. It seems that Chrysler would frequently issue peel-n-stick corrections, to be applied to erroneous pages as the errors became apparent. Of course, this was seldom done as intended with the end result being what I own now, a book that only has the 84-way plug pin-out for the Cummins diesel powered truck. Four complete pages that do not apply to what I am doing.

The long fix to this would be to go to each electrical component for the 5.9 gas motor, in the book, and then trace the wire code back to the pins on the plug and map the location of each circuit in the plug. It can be done, though would require quite a few hours to accomplish. We'll call this "the right way".

Plan B is to connect the bulkhead fitting as is, then sort through the items in the cab side of the harness that will not be used, tag them and thin them out after the truck is running, to ensure I don't kill a needed circuit inadvertently. This will also be time consuming and isn't the preferred method for doing such things, but it has been known to work effectively as well. This also rules out any additional missing peel-n-stick corrections biting me in the ass.


Of course, doing all of this translates to "I've gotta use the Dodge steering column instead of the Oldsmobile column that is installed now, since I can't be 100% certain of the correct circuits". I was reluctant to ise the Dodge column since I don't really like to big "Dodge" in the middle of the airbag, which is useless to me in this truck, but the leather wheel itself is in decent shape and using the Dodge column has the benefit of correcting the issue with the transmission shift linkage at the same time. It just means I need to spend $60 on a new u-joint to connect the steering shaft to the column.








Tuesday, I pulled out the GM column and installed the Dodge unit. It actually fits better than the Olds column and only required a slight modification to my drop bracket. Once in, the shift linkage was adjusted, again, slightly, and the whole linkage problem went away. I began to embrace the idea of the Dodge column. This also translates to the multi-function switch for the wipers, headlamp dimmer and turn signals, not to mention cruise control. I just need a replacement airbag, since mine was pre-deployed and a new ignition switch assembly to complete the column. I also ordered the steering u-joint, which should arrive next week.

Next on my list was the starter. My donor truck did not have a starter installed when I brought it home, and the leads to the starter had been cut off. Since I was close to one of the pull your part salvage yards in OKC yesterday, I stopped in and found one in a 1995 model Ram 1500. $30 bucks and the needed cables along with a bunch of sweat and almost an hour to get it out, but it was worth it.



After considering mounting locations for the Power Distribution Center and where to cut the hole for the 84-way connector, I committed to using one of the factory firewall holes to be a starting place for the connector, just left of the brake booster, with the PDC mounted below and left, hugging the inner fender.







And of course, yesterday I came to the realization that my battery box is currently installed on the wrong side of the truck, unless I want to use roughly 12' feet of battery cables. It's an easy move though. One I won't mind making in light of how this is all beginning to come together.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #133
No new pics yet, but after a trip to Tulsa yesterday, I set about to tidy up some details. When I built and installed the battery box, I had it in my head that the electronics would be on the passenger side of the truck, not realizing I would be using the Dodge PDC or taking in to account that the starter is mounted on the driver's side of the truck. This effectively translates to battery cables that are over 12' long, give or take. Instead, I moved the battery box to the driver's side of the frame and now only need cables that are no more than 4' long.

In addition to correcting this mistake, I added some large cable ties to support the engine compartment wire harness to keep things up and away from hot exhaust parts. I still need to replace some of the convoluted plastic shielding, but now the cables are beginning to be laid out in a manageable fashion. Like I said, it's just some little things, but it was getting to me and needed to be done.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #134
Here's an update from the past month...

Right after I posted the last update, I began having problems with my XJ Cherokee overheating. I flushed the radiator only to have it blow apart the plastic tank on the side while road testing. I feared I may have cracked the head, as it is a 1999 and may have had a 0331 casting, which is known to crack. I pulled the head and found it to be in remarkable shape, but had it rebuilt anyway, since it has 240k miles on it. While it was at the shop, I did everything I could to clean out years of Pennzoil residue that had accumulated under previous ownership. I got everything back together, drained the diesel fuel soak from the oil pan, installed the new radiator and now the engine is cool and runs quieter then it ever had.

I had a bunch of parts arrive for the "Napco" in a push to have it start and run for my birthday, new fuel pump, new battery, hoses, belt, etc. I installed new plug wires, a cap and rotor, new plugs, the hoses and belt, made new battery cables and began to fill fluids. The "new" water pump had a leaking seal and when I installed it, I had my head up my ass and used sealer on BOTH sides of the gasket. The sealer held so well that I needed a pry bar and a 6' cheater pipe to get the pump off. The gasket literally split down the middle with half on the pump and half on the timing cover. It took a LOT of scraping to get the gasket off the timing cover.

I also found the transmission pan was deformed by the previous owner, whose answer to solving a pan leak was to just tighten the bolts to the point of deforming the pan. I have a new pan of the way, as the old one began bleeding out around the 4th quart in.

The weather didn't cooperate for the birthday target, but after all these years, what is a few more days. When I connected the battery, the + cable sparked, which was odd, since the only electronics on the truck relate to engine management. Then the ECM began to smoke and I attributed the weather as having flooded the computer to being the cause for failure. I hit the Pull-a-Part up for another computer yesterday and got a Dodge gauge cluster just to keep eyes on things until I get my actual gauge cluster done.

With everything reconnected, I got a seatbelt light on the turn of the key, but nothing else. I found a burnt 120A fuse and replaced it with no change. Then, after mucking around the wire harness at the rear of the motor, I got a loud whistle followed by more smoke from the computer. It appears the problem lies in the engine harness. Thank goodness I didn't modify it yet. Time to pull it out and look for the problem.

I am sooooo close to being able to crank the engine.

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #135
I took a second look a thing the Big Yellow Book of Knowledge and found I was mistaken about the 84-pin connector. The diagram in the book is correct. Also, while removing my pictures from Photobucket, since I'm not going to pay their ransom, I found an old picture from four years ago, when I nicked the wire harness with the grinder while working on the frame. I'd completely forgotten about the damaged harness, a bundle of ten wires, four of which were either cut in half or were missing insulation.

I repaired the damaged wires, then replaced all of the convoluted plastic wire loom for the entire engine management harness. No more 23 year old brittle plastic. With everything fixed and reconnected, it should have started right up, but it just wouldn't catch.

After a bit of digging, I found a had somehow gotten the distributor drive gear off time, even though I was certain it was right while the engine was still on the stand. I walked the wires 90* around the distributor cap and it fired right off.

https://youtu.be/mTPykrRnJ68

-Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #136
No new pics yet, but I'm making some progress with the rest of things that need attention. I finally have the transmission topped off, I've reconnected (spliced) all of the front wiring for lights, horns, cruise control, etc. and am getting ready to rewrap then with new sheath. I may run in to a slight issue, as there are about 12 ground leads in that group and no markings to pair them up, just black wires. All I could do is match wire sizes. I picture hitting the turn signal and having the horn rhythmically honk instead at some point in the future.

I did a quick and dirty fab for a fan mount and hung the spare XJ cooling fan behind the radiator just as it was getting dark last night. It's not very big, but it will pull air through the radiator and the transmission cooler, so its a start. I'm going to wire it to a relay and have it come on with the ignition. When the big fan arrives, I can use the same wiring.

I have not yet switched out the 1999 injectors for the 1994s, but that will happen later this week after I have a chance to clean the old ones.

Looking under the truck the other afternoon and wondering about the fuel rich condition, I had to wonder if the O2 sensor was working. I looked back in to the exhaust and found the catalytic converter on the truck is an empty shell. I had a spare converter and muffler from the rusted out XJ, so for now, they are welded up to the shelled out cat. It seems like the O2 sensor is now starting to be able to heat up, in spite of being 18" away from the functioning cat, and the truck almost wants to idle on its own.

I am also starting to wonder if the plate I made to block off the EGR port on the top of the intake manifold may be a source of a vacuum leak. Even when manually holding the throttle above idle, the engine speed will rise and fall in a wave. I am beginning to think I may be better served to just buy the necessary EGR hardware and hook the system back up. Of course, I'll have to pull the intake to remove the plug for the EGR tube at the back, but I've had to do worse. At least there is a lot of room to work one the motor. The functioning EGR will at least remove that component from the equation.

At least with the functioning fan, I will be able to run the engine for more than a few minutes at a time. It is slowly improving the more I tinker with it, even though I still haven't found the missing ground for the gauge cluster. Once that issue is resolved, I can better determine what is working, and what isn't. Perhaps I'll be able to drive it around the property by the end of this week. I've got a few days off coming and the weather here right now is great. Time to tinker with it some more as soon as I get caught back up on mowing this afternoon.

-Joe
 

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What sucks is everything here is lost because of Photobuckets changes. I shut my Photobucket down as I wasn't paying to store my pictures to use, They have ruined a lot of forums because of 3rd party hosting which are no longer viewable. Since all my pictures were backed up to a flash drive before uploading to photobucket, I don't need them to store or host my pictures, eventually everyone will follow suit as its a PITA to download your pictures from PB and save, some are distorted after downloading from PB as well... I think soon they will fold up as everyone starts leaving a now useless host.
 

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Discussion Starter #138
What sucks is everything here is lost because of Photobuckets changes. I shut my Photobucket down as I wasn't paying to store my pictures to use, They have ruined a lot of forums because of 3rd party hosting which are no longer viewable. Since all my pictures were backed up to a flash drive before uploading to photobucket, I don't need them to store or host my pictures, eventually everyone will follow suit as its a PITA to download your pictures from PB and save, some are distorted after downloading from PB as well... I think soon they will fold up as everyone starts leaving a now useless host.
Amen brother! I have everything that had been uploaded to PB backed up on a hard drive and a thumb drive and, just in case I missed anything, I'm downloading everything back from PB before I delete all of my content from their site. My they die a slow and miserable death.

In the meanwhile, I am in the process of trying to upload the lost images back to my threads by other means. Obviously, this will take some time, but the whole point in threads like this one is to share ideas on what can be accomplished and how to get there.

-Joe
 

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Keep at it, Joe.


I'd hate to see this content get lost due to PB's greed.
 

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Discussion Starter #140
I found out why it will only run for a short period of time without manual throttle input. The cam I'm using was supposed to be computer friendly, but there is too much duration for the 1994-1995 ECM to handle it. I got with Marty Fletcher and found out the stock ECM can only tolerate 210 degrees of duration at 0.050 lift. Mine has 212/218 intake and exhaust. This causes the MAP sensor to start having fits after initial start up. At startup, I'm pulling 19" of vacuum and the MAP is happy with 1.6v. After about 15 seconds of run time, the vacuum begins to fluctuate with the idle, cycling between 13" and 16" and the MAP voltage goes up to 2.2v as the computer begins to dump extra fuel and the IAC searches to keep the engine idling.

The two options I have are to either go back to a stock cam or lose the OBD-1 management system in favor of and OBD-2 system from another donor truck. With OBD-2, I can get a custom tune that will work with the cam I'm using.

-Joe
 
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