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takemehome4LOroads said:
OME shocks and leaf springs
Energy suspension bushings for leaf springs and sway bar
New ball joints and lower + upper control arm bushings
I've done most of the mechanical stuff so far but never fooled with a suspension. How hard was it to get the new bushings in? My suspension squeaks like rusty bed springs.
 

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Leaf springs bushings can go either way, I redid mine last summer and had a real hard time. I literally had to beat them out. What had happened was the rubber had seized to the shackle bolts and would not break loose. It was a good thing I was doing a shackle lift at the same time as I ruined the originals. What helped was I finally soaked the bushing in WD40 and things started to give. Didn't want to use heat next to the gas tank.
The previous 3 times on other Troopers was pretty darn easy. Plan on using 2 jacks during the process. I used a small bottle jack to reposition the spring when putting it back together.
Ball joints are not that tough, but plan on using two BF hammers in the process, I am in the middle of that right now.
I have never had to replace the front bushing on the rear leaf spring, they seem to have a low wear rate in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #104 ·
For me the leaf spring bushings were no problem. Some of them were dried up and shrunk and I could just push em out. I'm in the same boat as you as far doing a lot of engine work but not a lot of suspension. The rear is a piece of cake. The front is an ordeal. Mainly the control arm bushings and just not getting overwhelmed because there are a lot of parts and you might as well service everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #105 ·
So my 4ZE1 had developed a concerning problem: small droplets of oil in the coolant, accompanied by small black flecks of something (gasket material?). As far as I can tell there is no coolant in the oil.

I noticed this while bleeding the cooling system with a large funnel on top of the radiator, and I saw the drops float to the top, probably like a half teaspoon of total oil. I let the engine idle until I didn't see anymore floating up, dumped the contaminated coolant, and topped up the system with fresh coolant.

Then I went on a 200+ mile drive on a hot day, came back home and put the funnel back on the radiator and sure enough, there were noticeably more drops of oil floating to the top. I pulled the cylinder head off, and I couldn't find any obvious failures in the gasket, but perhaps it is such a small failure that it wouldn't be easily seen by the naked eye. Yes I've been checking the torque on the head bolts.

Going to throw on a Fel-Pro head gasket and see what happens. Anyone have any other ideas? :help:

Edit: Forgot to mention, checked the head and block with a straight-edge, no warping found. Original head gasket was an ITM brand, from Jerry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #106 · (Edited)
OK. Been a while since my last post. Just to tie up the loose ends, I ended up getting a new cylinder head on eBay from a seller based in Vegas. Installed it with a Fel-Pro head gasket and haven't had any overheating problems since. We'll see how it goes when the temp gets up to the triple digits. I've also since swapped my auto to a 5spd, so if anyone has any questions while it's still fresh in my mind, feel free to ask! Also, after much consideration, I'm officially rechristening the Trooper. No longer will it be White Lightning, which I've found to be an all too common name. Henceforth, it shall be known as El Burro, in honor of the feral burros of Death Valley, whose ancestors helped many an emigre cross the barren landscape.

On to recent news, last weekend, my GF, the dog, and I all loaded up to go on a day drive up to Big Bear (6800 ft), then down FS 3N03 down to Pioneertown (4000 ft), hoping to get some supper at Pappy & Harriet's. On the way up the hill, we smelled something somewhat indiscernible. Electric? Rubber? Not sure what. I chalked it up to the old Suburban ahead of us, because we have recently driven the crap out of the Trooper with no issues. We get up the hill, go through town, and finally get to the FS road. It's pretty rough at first, so I air down to 20 psi. This part of the San Bernardinos is really is quite beautiful-- where the snowy pine forest meets the juniper and yucca high desert. About five miles in on this road, I can see the RPM dropping and the gas pedal is not helping at all. The Trooper just dies. I hook up my Noco jumper pack, and the Trooper starts right back up again. Great! Then I disconnect the pack and it dies again. Oh crap. My immediate thought is it's the alternator, but it can't be because it's a somewhat new Bosch reman with less than 5K miles on it. I think it's probably a loose ground wire and check all my grounds. They seem good. Of course I didn't pack a multimeter! We decide to try to head back for the main road. I connect the jumper pack to the battery, turn it on and close the hood, fire up the engine and drive as fast as we can. I'm shocked this is working. But after a good five minute run, the jumper pack runs out of juice and the engine dies again.

The sun is dropping below the mountain peaks, and my GF knocks some sense into me, saying we should initiate trying to contact help. Of course, I can't admit we need help just yet, and fuddle with a couple more things before I agree. Luckily, the last thing I packed before we left was my Garmin InReach which I use while solo hiking. There is no cell service in this area, but we are able text her brother who finds us the number for Big Bear Offroad Recovery. It's dark now, around 7:30 PM and below freezing. The driver shows up within an hour of us texting him our location. He's super friendly and pulls us to the road. i accidentally run over his tow strap (sorry!). From there, AAA tows us to a Motel 6.

Overnight, I charge up the Noco jumper pack, and the next morning we load back in, connect the jumper pack to the battery, and drive the Trooper to Autozone about 2 miles down the road. I take out the alternator and battery and have them both tested. The battery passes but the alternator fails, and alas, they do not have a replacement in stock. However, the store 20 miles down the hill in San Bernardino does, so I take my now fully charged Optima Red Top and reinstall it, and we head down the mountain on battery power alone. We realize that the alternator probably failed when we smelled that smell on the way up, which gives us confidence that our battery can get us all the way down to the next store. We make it to San Bernardino, I change the alternator in the parking lot, and we head back to LA, 24 hours late. Despite the stress and expense of this trip, I felt like I learned a lot on how to be better prepared. ALWAYS take my InReach when going into questionable cell areas. Look up tow recovery services beforehand and record their phone numbers. Bring clothing appropriate for areas you think you'll only be passing through (we did this, fortunately). Bring a solid tool kit with you (I had most of what I needed, but a multimeter is now a must). And bring spares of mission critical parts (is it extreme to travel with a spare alternator? Not for me!).

Anyways, that's my little yarn for this week. Be smart out there!

 

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Discussion Starter · #107 ·

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Discussion Starter · #109 ·
Thanks! We were able to keep our spirits up and have fun with it. That brings the number of tows up to 2 since I've gotten it running. We recently wen't back up and drove that road we got stuck on with no issues, still using the Duralast alternator we bought on the last trip. :)
 

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I really like the human interest tales as much if not more than the advice posts. Your adventure is one you will recall forever. And when you get old reminiscing old adventures is fun to do. I have a daughter who is in Colorado and her and her husband have ascended some 25 of the over 60 14,000 peaks in the Rockies, and they always have with them some device that enables them to communicate cause there always out of cell phone range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #111 ·
I really like the human interest tales as much if not more than the advice posts. Your adventure is one you will recall forever. And when you get old reminiscing old adventures is fun to do. I have a daughter who is in Colorado and her and her husband have ascended some 25 of the over 60 14,000 peaks in the Rockies, and they always have with them some device that enables them to communicate cause there always out of cell phone range.
That's awesome. I've only done two 14ers myself: Mt Whitney and Mt Langley in the Sierra.

I think there is no excuse not to have a satellite messenger nowadays. My Garmin Mini was $300 for the handheld unit and is $12/mo. for 10 SMS messages. Pennies for something that could save your life.

I do a lot of solo hiking and used to think: "I don't need that fancy teck-naw-lo-gee. I know what I'm doing." However, one time, in Joshua Tree National Park, I was boulder hopping in an obscure area of the park, and thought, "Gee, it'd be really easy to break an ankle right now and never be seen again." Just then, I heard what sounded like a fleet of experimental aircraft approaching. It grew louder and while perched on a boulder high on a canyon wall, I watched a swarm of several thousand bees fly by me about 100 feet away, as I hid down in a crevice.

Now I don't know if a Garmin would've helped me one bit after getting stung a thousand times and suffering anaphylactic shock miles from anywhere, but it did open my eyes that things can happen to you in the backcountry that are impossible to predict, and there is no shame in availing yourself to the latest gadgets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #112 · (Edited)
Another Bosch (reman) bites the dust.

When I was rebuilding my engine back in 2019-2020, I deliberately tracked down Bosch remans for the alternator and starter as I thought these would be high quality units, and would give me the peace of mind of knowing I would not be stranded due to them failing for at least another 50k if not 110k miles, as the was the age of the originals.

Now only a few months after the alternator failed the starter has started to give out. The solenoid is getting 12V but not engaging the motor. I've so far been able to revive it a few times by whacking it with a heavy socket as my gf cranks the engine, but over the weekend I was alone on a mountain trail and had nobody to help me.

I had a wire with alligator clips so I probably could have rigged it to get 12v to the solenoid while I banged it, but luckily before I tried this out someone drove by and helped me out. He turned the key and I gave it a couple good thwacks and the engine started right up.

I will be replacing it with an Ultima brand reman from O'Reillys. The main factor in picking this one was that it has a lifetime warranty, and free next day shipping. Couldn't find much about the brand on the Planet if anyone else has used them. Hopefully it will perform as well as my Duralast alternator.
 
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