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Old 05-11-2014, 10:05 PM
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Prioritize the prior priorities

OK, first dumb questions from a Jeep noobie - I bought my first Jeep two weeks ago. I had the GC checked out for safety at a local repair shop. The owner was a Chrysler mechanic for 20 years and is a friend of a friend. With 212k miles & not knowing its complete history other than a limited car-fax I figured a good once over was the prudent thing to do. I bought the 2004 WJ Rocky Mountain edition with the I6 for $2,500. A touch of surface rust on the hood lip and rear drivers side dog leg and a dented rear bumper but the body is straight as a board - no accidents and the paint and interior are in great shape.

He said the brakes, belts, engine and trans were good. Could use a coolant flush.

But there were some things to address which is my question... How would you rank these in terms of priorities and how do you feel about these prices parts and labor:

NTK Oxygen Sensor 23137 - replace one for $282 parts/labor (seems high).
Power Steering Pressure Hose - $153 P/L
Fel Pro Valve Cover Gasket - $143 P/L
National rear main seal/Fel Pro oil pan set $454 P/L
Moog tie rods/ upper ball joints - $534 P/L

I saw the leaks on the oil pan & head gasket before I took it to him but its not leaving marks on the driveway (the spots in the pic are water) and the previous owner's last oil change invoice noted she needed tie rods & upper ball joints so I knew that too.

This will not be a daily driver - probably weekend trips up north and hauling some things that can't fit in my car's trunk - and being here in Detroit I'm not convinced we won't get another ten inches of snow next week even though it was 75 today - so the 4x4 and higher clearance will come in handy.

Any input is appreciated! Thanks again.
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Old 05-12-2014, 01:22 AM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

really depends on what your budget is if you can easily afford these repairs then why not? if not then do the front end parts. and if you are comfortable do the powersteering hose yourself. is the check eng light on? i believe they come on when the O2 sensor is bad but that is something you could handle yourself probably just google these repairs with year and model in search title and you may find write ups and youtube videos of how to do them
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:07 AM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

With a oxygen sensor socket the oxygen sensor is very easy to change as long as it is not too crusty under there. Unplug the old one, remove the old one, install new one with high temp never seize on the threads (supplied with the sensors), and then plug new one into the wiring harness.

I would also think you could do the PS pump yourself.

The suspension stuff would be high on my list as those parts can cause serious tire wear.

Welcome and nice color on the WJ!
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:42 AM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

For sure I would do the tie rods and suspension balljoints as soon as possible. Play on those parts can cause the infamous deathwobble, so first on the list.
Is there a fault code set for the O2 sensor? You can check for fault codes using the keydance: ignition switch off/run three times and leave in run at the third time. The odometer will show "Done" when all ok, or a fault code(s). I don't know about NTK O2 sensors, but the OEM sensors are from Denso. Some brand sensors will heat up more slowly then the Denso and can cause a new fault code.
The steering hose, is it just slightly leaking? Sometimes the O ring in the coupling is bad.
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:16 AM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

Denso and NTK have both been used as the OEM o2 sensor for Jeeps, but the WJs definitely used Denso, it was right on the label when I removed the old one. I wasn't throwing a code yet but the new sensor increased mpg some, so the old one was at least partially fouled. Thats a high price too for just one sensor, they are litteraly a 15 minute job, unless they are completely rusted in place.

You may just need an o ring on the steering hose, they tend to leak after lots of miles where they connect to the pump. However if its old and starting to show signs of wear you might be beter off replacing it. That price looks like a fair deal.

Not sure on the gaskets, never had to deal with those myself.

That price is about $200 less than I was quoted, so seems fair to me. I ended up doing it myself and just taking it in for an alignment when I was done. Make sure they fix the alignment after getting the tie rod ends in place.

Looks like you found a pretty sturdy jeep overall for a good weekend hauler and snow crawler, good luck with it!
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Old 05-12-2014, 05:22 PM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamters View Post
Moog tie rods/ upper ball joints - $534 P/L
NTK Oxygen Sensor 23137 - replace one for $282 parts/labor (seems high).
Power Steering Pressure Hose - $153 P/L
Fel Pro Valve Cover Gasket - $143 P/L
National rear main seal/Fel Pro oil pan set $454 P/L
Do you have any experience working on vehicles? I've replaced every single one of those items except for the power steering pressure hose. The main seal, oil pan gasket, and valve cover gasket require no special tools and are pretty easy to replace. The ball joints require a press that can be rented for free at an auto parts store. If you can do some basic work then you can save a TON of money.

Also, if you have the money and are replacing the upper ball joints then I would also replace the lower ball joints (if not already replaced by previous owner). If you're paying for the labor to replace the upper ball joints, there's VERY LITTLE additional labor to change the lower ball joints. Basically put the ball joint press on the lower joints and press out/in. You should essentially only be paying parts.
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Old 05-12-2014, 05:27 PM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

Thanks everyone for the replies. I've been looking for a WJ for several months. Wanted to stay in the price range of 2500 - 5000k. Missed out on a couple that I just couldn't get to fast enough - they sell quick. One was an '04 Freedom with 137k miles for $4k. Another was an '04 Freedom Inferno Red with 135k for $5k. Both sold within hours of being listed. So when this one popped up for 2,500 I weighed the higher miles, the lower price and the possible repairs. The lower price means I can stagger the repair costs a little. Plus its a Rocky Mountain which they only made for the last month of WJ production and the color is a late year run so its less common too. But if the repairs get to high it makes it harder not to kick myself for missing the higher priced but way less mile Freedoms.

I'll take care of the front end first and try and tackle the PS and O2 sensors myself. I understand there is a trick to getting the wire connector free for the O2s - there's an internal clip that a flat head screw driver releases to make it easy to separate and I'll look for the special socket. Thats a good tip.

I also have a jar of Quick-glo coming so those wheels are going to wake up soon too.
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:46 PM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

NTK Oxygen Sensor 23137 - replace one for $282 parts/labor (seems high).
Power Steering Pressure Hose - $153 P/L
Fel Pro Valve Cover Gasket - $143 P/L
National rear main seal/Fel Pro oil pan set $454 P/L
Moog tie rods/ upper ball joints - $534 P/L

I honestly wouldn't worry about minor oil leaks on the 4.0. Yes, you can make it totally dry, but a tad of seepage can help coat the underneath with a nice thin coating of oil...

If the O2 sensor is really bad, you can take out a much more expensive catalyst, and the 4.0 seems to like to eat the aftermarket ones every few years.

Definitely fix the suspension, and if it has a steering stabilizer replace that or face death wobble.

Power steering hose is a pita but nothing a shade tree mech couldn't fix.

The valve cover has a bad habit of leaking, and the oil runs down the rear of the block and looks just like a main seal leaking. The main seal MAY be leaking, but fix the valve cover and then pressure wash the back and under of engine before springing for a main seal.

Take a look at the output from the CPS as well, they do fail, typically at the worst possible time and are a pain to reach but easy to replace.

Check the water pump for any weeping, once they get to weep stages, they go out. Hesco makes a good replacement. Replace thermostat at that time...

I prefer the more rugged aftermarket radiators to the factory plastic tanked ones--unfortunately don't have brand as I gave paperwork to buyer of my 4.0. It was a 3 row if memory serves--your mech may be a good resource.

Oil pressure sensors go wonky, trivial easy replace.
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Old 05-27-2014, 07:43 PM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

So the front end work is done and all the fluids changed except for the trans which they said was clean. The radiator was reversed flushed and new five year coolant added.

While it was in the shop they noticed that the AC blows only on defrost and not through the vents. That was traced back to a vacuum hose that was not attached and they reconnected it and zip tied that back in place. Now the air blows through the vents as intended.

However... since I got it back it has a lower idle. It sits around 700 rpm until I put it in gear then it drops down to around 400 and then quickly stalls. I can drive it two footed but thats not a good solution. The only thing we did to the motor was reattach that vacuum hose and the reverse flush. Does that sound like my idle issue is connected to that hose or is that a coincidence? I'm wondering if that hose was intentionally disconnected by the previous owner - a trade off of AC and cruise control vs correct idle? If so, seems like there's a better solution.
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:04 PM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

I would have a look at the IAC stepper motor (idle air control). Many times its plunjer is dirty and idle air can not be controlled well. Give the plunjer and air canal a good clean and try again.
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:30 PM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

Great advice. A quick search on youtube found a few good how to's - looks like something I could do. Thanks for the answer.
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:38 PM
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Re: Prioritize the prior priorities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamters View Post
Great advice. A quick search on youtube found a few good how to's - looks like something I could do. Thanks for the answer.
I had put the service manual instructions in my previous post as well.
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