Cookie Cutter Maintenance!
When I purchased the Cookie Cutter TJ, I thought for sure I would be replacing the motor as it was purchased with “oil pressure issues”. Even though the thing lost oil pressure while running down the highway, it seemed to have oil pressure at low rpms. Puttering around the neighborhood showed no signs of distress in the motor department. So before condemning the motor, I went ahead and dug into it to see what was going on.
After dropping the oil pan, I noticed that there was some ‘plastic’ like build up on the bottom:
Which was blocking about 80% of the oil pickup (photo doesn’t show just how clogged that screen is):
I thought “ah ha!, a timing guild must have let lose sending all this debris into the pan!” So I pulled the front of the motor off to look at the timing set. To my surprise, all was well there:
“Ah ha!” I thought, “There is some plastic things under the valve cover (PCV stuff), one of those must have failed and gotten munched up!” So I pulled the valve cover only to find all was well under there:
Feeling rather confused, I took a closer look at the oil pan:
And cleaned it out to find a mark on the bottom of the pan:
That mark is the same diameter as the oil pickup! What seems to have happened is that the oil pain met a rock at some point in its life, pushing the bottom of the pan very close to the oil pickup. Time passes and as the motor started to sludge up a little bit (there really wasn’t much), the “pre sludge” clogged up the oil pickup to the point that running down the highway starved it for oil. Thankfully, the crank and bearings were still good, so I just started cleaning things up:
I also took the time to swap out the cracked exhaust manifold for a non cracked one:
After buttoning things up, I was rewarded with good oil pressure again!
So I kept on marching through fixing all the things that had been neglected over the years, such as both front unit bearing and u joints were shot:
Swapped out the steering box and all the loose steering components:
Swapped out more dead u joints (turned out ot be a bum shaft):
Yanked the interior out to clean out the mud that had been in there:
Then I started the nasty process of getting rid of all the shotty wiring. Of which some was from the PO, and a lot of it was poor design from Chrysler. Melted junk everywhere, how did this not burn to the ground!:
Awesome wiring throughout the thing:
Just a small pile of the wiring removed:
After driving it for a bit, I found the exhaust to be annoyingly loud. So off came the flow master:
And on goes the parts store muffler.. Much quieter!
And a radiator swap happened since the old one sprung a pretty good leak:
The Motor Mount Lift mounts that were on the TJ when I bought it made things way too buzzy for me. I’m sure they’re fine in the 4.0 application, but the 2.5 was a bit much. So I made my own lift with stock mounts. Much smoother:
In an effort to coniue improving the driving experience, I wound up swapping out every bushing on the thing as most of them were quite shot:
And the front UCA’s were a bit taco’d
At this point, the little TJ was starting to look and drive pretty good:
I’ve been daily driving the thing for awhile now working on getting rid of all it’s remaining quirks. It’s a pretty solid package at this point, and I’m hoping that we’re nearing the end of the maintenance portion of the project and getting close to the improvement portion of the project.