Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

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Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby ttgrules » Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:55 am

Hi Everyone!

Finally getting started on the MUA5 4wd swap on my 2002 2wd 3.2l isuzu rodeo (JARVIS). Jarvis's planet debut

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I know there's easier ways to get a 4wd car, but tbh I'm doing this more for the fun of doing it than for the finished result.

After researching it for over a year, I finally pulled the trigger on a 1998 5-speed 4wd Honda Passport for a donor car. I'm naming it Donner the Donor. Engine won't turn over and the guy was nice enough to deliver it for only $40 more. Everything else on it looks to be in pretty good shape. Surface rust on the frame and driveline components but nothing structural. I haven't torn the engine down yet, but I can't spin it by hand (in neutral) so that probably isn't good. I realized after I got it that I lucked into a Limited Slip rear end as well.

Here's some pics of Donner:
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The coveted G80 option:
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I've already swapped the front hubs/spindles/calipers, and I'll be swapping the front differential (requires welding those frame tabs), the entire rear axle, the brake master cylinder, and the 5-speed. I haven't decided if I'm going to try to swap the 4wd controller from the passport or wire up my own system. Wiring my own is probably the only part I'm actually qualified for since I studied control systems in engineering school.

I'm also planning to make a set of cut-off doors, grab the tailgate with the rear-tire mount and swap a bunch of misc trim components/accessories. Finally, since I'm literally replacing most of the braking system, I'm going to plumb a full ABS delete. Never worked anyways.

I'll be adding a walk-through of some of the interesting things I learned during the spindle swap later on.

EDIT: realized I left off mid-sentence talking about the brakes
Last edited by ttgrules on Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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JARVIS: 2002 isuzu rodeo 3.2l 2wd automatic manual 3" lift (4wd manual swap in progress)
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby NAES » Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:23 pm

Its an ambitious project but FWIW you have my 100% support for going for it!

I'm interested to see what all is involved getting a 2wd converted to 4wd.
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby mudoilngears » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:45 pm

Congratulations on embarking on this! You will find it is not as complicated as it has been painted. A bit painstaking perhaps, but not rocket science. Keep us posted.
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby hessmess » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:52 pm

Interesting conversion, subscribed!
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby ttgrules » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:38 am

Glad people are interested! I'll keep posting my progress!

When I was researching the front spindle swap, I found conflicting information about the upper control arms being different between the 1998 and 2002 rodeos. I also didn't find great answers on the compatibility of the front calipers, so the first thing I did was take a wheel off each car and compare parts.

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I personally couldn't see any difference between the upper control arms, so I took a few measurements. I don't know if I was 100% thorough, but I couldn't find any major differences between the two at all.
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On the other hand, the calipers are definitely different. The 1998 has a single piston caliper and the 2002 switched to a double piston setup. It looks like the rotors are also different sizes, so the mounting brackets wouldn't fit. (I went as far as test-fitting the 02 calipers to make sure. I was hoping that I could swap the mounting brackets and keep the double piston setup, but the distance between the slide pins is different, so there isn't any way to bolt a 02 caliper to a 98 hub without finding a different rotor with the same bolt-up strategy that's bigger than the original 98 one.
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I opted to just swap over the 98 calipers and that was pretty easy. The fittings were all the same and everything came loose with a breaker bar + jack handle. I'm a bit sad to lose the double piston setup, but my brakes have been mush forever anyways. Flushing the system and deleting the ABS should more than make up for the single piston.

While I was in there I found the source of a rattling noise I've had on and off. It's always sounded like a loose shield or something so I didn't worry. Thank goodness I was right. The driver's side exhaust manifold heat shield had crumbled away around one of it's bolts. It was just floating free. I swapped out the good one from the donor truck since it was easy to get to with the wheels off.
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I'm sure people have done write-ups on removing and replacing hubs that are much better than anything I could do. (Also I forgot to take pictures) but I do have a few tips:

1) Get a can of anti-seize or something equivalent. I'd recently done the ball-joints on my 02 and everything came apart super easy since I'd lubed it all up before re-installing.
2) sometimes the nuts will spin the ball joint in it's socket instead of threading on or off. If this happens, get underneath the steering knuckle with a floor jack and lift up. Putting the system under load helps everything stick and you should be able to tighten/loosten everything then.
3) I've had lots of experience with stubborn ball joints/tie rods. I've got 2 different pullers, and a pickle fork, and none of them work great for the upper ball joint. On my 02, I ended up using a hacksaw and cutting through the ball joints, then throwing the knuckles into my vise and pounding away with a hammer. This was after shattering the tip of one of the ball joint bolt-ends because I didn't have a puller tool on correctly. (small fragment gave me a nice cut on my arm when it let go) The 98 wasn't in as bad a shape as my 02 was last spring, but it still gave me a bit of trouble. What ended up saving the day was re-visiting my harbor-freight puller with some smarter methodology. It won't quite fit around the ball-joint shaft, but it will get close enough to barely sit the pushing end on the end of the ball-joint. (This is how I shattered it last time. too much force too close to the edge) This time I threaded the castle-nut on upside-down, leaving it flush with the end of the ball joint, and then set the puller up. Worked like a dream. I also put a shop rag over it to dampen any flying shrapnel just in case.
4) 98 4wd hubs are heavy. Especially if you aren't removing the rotor before dropping them. Leave the ball-joint nuts just barely threaded on while you're breaking them lose so that you don't end up having to try to catch the hub as it falls.

Knowing all that beforehand would have made things so much easier. But that's how learning experiences go. At least I didn't hurt myself. lol

While I had the hubs off, I went ahead and removed the ABS harness section that runs to the speed sensor in the hub. It has a plug right up near the frame-rail you can un-clip. It has several 10mm bolts on various mounting flanges, and on the passenger side it's bolted in with the rear brake-line bracket, so remember to put the bolts back in when you are done.

Does anybody know why the rear brake line runs to the passenger side wheel well before running back along the frame? I know you need some slack when transitioning from the body to the frame to account for vibrations and all, but that seems like an unnecessary detour to me.

I'm not a big fan of just cutting wires, so I left the factory harness plugs in place near the frame-rail. I just zip-tied them to a brake line so they wouldn't swing over and melt on the exhaust manifold.

I also found the harness components for the active-ride suspension just dangling there. It was switched over to standard shocks years ago and I guess the guy who did it didn't bother to take the extra minute to unclip and remove the system.
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As much as I'm hacking this project together I like clean wiring.

I've got better pictures of dropping out the differential, but I'll have to save that post for later since I need to get to work.
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JARVIS: 2002 isuzu rodeo 3.2l 2wd automatic manual 3" lift (4wd manual swap in progress)
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby ttgrules » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:23 am

Status Update: I've got the front differential out, and I'm over halfway done with swapping the rear axles. Got the new one in place, just need to put the stabilizer bar on and tighten everything down. Then I need to bolt the old one onto the donor so I can roll it away when the time comes.

I've got the transmission swap planned for this weekend. Picked up one of those Harbor Freight transmission jacks and it seems good enough to get the job done.

Side note, haven't been able to tear into the donor engine yet to see why it's busted, but it does look like it was puking oil everywhere underneath it.
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Stuff I learned the hard way with the front differential:

Remember to drain the differential first. Otherwise you'll be halfway to the ground, the inner cv axle will come out like it's supposed to, and with it will come differential fluid. Then you'll be stuck with a balancing act trying to drain it while it's being supported by a jack.

Have a buddy help or come up with a better way to lower the differential than just trying to balance it on a jack. I tried using a jack stand but it didn't work out too well. Went with a "semi-controlled drop" by the end of it.

One of the four bolts that holds the housing to the mount plates is hidden behind the frame. You can partially-unscrew the four bolts holding the mount plates to the frame, which will lower the entire assembly enough to get to that last bolt on either side.
Bolt that's behind the frame:
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Bolts to release to drop the assembly:
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Had a few learning experiences on the axle swap as well:

Turns out the parking brake cables are different, so you have to swap those.

While the drum-brake axle can just sit on the floor, I didn't realize how much I was bending the dust shields on the replacement axle until it was too late. Had to do some manual re-bending. I'd recommend using something (wood, jack-stands, the bottle jacks from both vehicles) to support the disk-brake axle if you have to put it down while doing the swap.

Pics from the swap so far:
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JARVIS: 2002 isuzu rodeo 3.2l 2wd automatic manual 3" lift (4wd manual swap in progress)
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby ttgrules » Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:55 pm

Finally got the auto trans out of the rodeo. Took way too long and I busted up my knuckles pretty good. Should have gone and gotten a 17mm zero-offset wrench, but I didn't and ended up going in through the starter with a socket, a swivel joint and some extensions.

Barely managed to get the car high enough for it to clear the torsion bars. Wish I had a low profile transmission jack.

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Posted in the classifieds in case anyone wants it before I haul it off for scrap.
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JARVIS: 2002 isuzu rodeo 3.2l 2wd automatic manual 3" lift (4wd manual swap in progress)
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby ttgrules » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:21 pm

Been a bit since my last post but I've been making progress. Got the rear main seal changed, but had to drop the crankcase cover for it because I couldn't pick it out for the life of me. Ran the engine for a bit and didn't see any leaks.

Finished the ABS delete. Haven't tested it yet and I'm sure if I post a picture someone on here will have a heart attack, but for my first time working with brake lines I think it turned out ok. I'll do a better job in the future but for now I just need it to work.

Got the hole cut in the floor, and the clutch pedal/master cylinder installed. Ended up having to use socket extensions and a spade bit to drill the hole in the firewall cause it's all I had that would work. Cleaned it up with a die grinder.

Now for my favorite part, the wiring.

I've really over-thought this, but I wanted to keep most of the stock features, without having to deal with the stock computer. So I re-purposed the donor's fuse box and relays to act as a motor driver for the transfer case motor. I'm hooking it up to some buttons in the center console. I'll have one for engage, disengage, and front axle vacuum engage as well. I'll be able to replicate the SOTF procedure with myself as the computer. I'm also hooking up indicator lights so I can see when the front axle/transfer case are engaged.

Got a friend of mine with a EE degree to help me set up the system so it won't short itself out if I hit both buttons at the same time. Only needed 3 of the relays total, so I've got tons of room for expansion. Here it is set up and ready to go in the car. I mounted it where the ABS module used to be.
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Bottom two relays are for transfer case motor forward/reverse, and the top relay is for the vacuum solenoid enable/disable. Once I got it in the car I hooked it up to power and tested it to make sure it wouldn't short. Worked perfectly.

Picked up some flex hose wire-wrap and I'm in the process of getting everything routed where it's supposed to go. Once that's done, I just need to re-install the power steering rack (had to pull it to get the crankcase out), install the transmission/driveshaft, and then bleed the brakes and clutch. Then it's test drive time!

I want to make sure everything rolls before I start trying to set up the front axle.
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JARVIS: 2002 isuzu rodeo 3.2l 2wd automatic manual 3" lift (4wd manual swap in progress)
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby ttgrules » Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:16 pm

Had some issues working with the brake lines that run across the back of the engine bay, couldn't get them out of the little white clips without the clips disintegrating. Figured I could either try to find some kind of generic replacement, or 3d print my own. Here's my results, original clip on the left, finished version on the right. All the in-between are prototypes. I'll send the source files to anyone who wants them.
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby ttgrules » Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:54 am

Been a while since I updated and a lot has happened! JARVIS is on the road, with a 3" lift! Got the MUA5 in, got the wiring done, and I've been driving it for a couple months. It's so much more fun to drive now! I'm going to try welding up the diff tabs this weekend, and after that hopefully I'll be ready for a trial run offroad! Here's some pics:

JARVIS's first time back on the road in december:
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Spare doors to make cut-off doors:
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Saying goodbye to the donor:
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Installing MOOG 782s and Skyjacker Hydro 7000s:
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How it looks with the 3" lift:
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby ttgrules » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:32 am

PHEW! Finally got all the 4wd gear installed and working, and took a fun trip out to St. Joe National Forest! What should have taken me a couple weekends ended up taking MONTHS. (all because I did stuff wrong the first time around.)

Lesson learned: LISTEN TO WHAT JERRY SAYS! The first time around I got the wrong rear main seal which promptly started leaking before I even had the front diff installed. [url=/viewtopic.php?p=39374]Thread I should have read beforehand where Jerry explains why I was dumb[/url]

I also didn't torque the pressure plate down so it was good I already had to take the trans back out again.

After I got all that squared away, I got the frame tabs fabbed up, welded and painted. Terrible welds, but they'll hold alright.
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Painted up the front diff and got it installed. Realized I definitely needed a diff drop so I got longer bolts and some washers. Dropped it 1" without having to do any more welding! I only figured it out after I had it all mounted up and was able to install the bolts/washers without fully removing the diff from the car.
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After that, it was time for wiring. I got everything installed cleanly, and it held up nice off road! I know people recommend against using MUA5s with the electric 4wd shift motor, but Honestly this wasn't terrible (after I got it all diagrammed out) If anyone else ever want's to do it, PM me and I'll send my diagrams over.

Basically, you have three buttons and two LEDs.

The LEDs are hooked up to the 4wd sensors on the trans and the front axle. (One for transfer case engage and one for front axle lock) They are powered with ignition and light up when the circuit closes after the shift action has been completed.
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The double button on the left side of the console drives the transfer case shift motor back and forth. You'll know it's shifted once the bulb in front of it lights up.

The single button on the right of the console (repurposed the 4wd button from the donor in mine) is a locking button that turns on the front axle solenoids. This locks the front axle disengage when pressed.

While I was in there I installed a usb hub in the radio trim piece to charge from, and powered it directly from battery (through a fuse of course) with a switch. Now I can charge with the car off.
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And now, pics from JARVIS's first time offroad at St. Joe National Forest: (The hill looked bigger in person and all that rock was super loose)
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Had no problem with anything I've thrown at it so far!
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby SRN » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:34 am

Looking great!
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Re: Project JARVIS 4wd MUA5 swap

Postby Enemigo » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:32 pm

Well done. Thanks for documenting the journey.
1999 Amigo with Moog CC247 springs and Skyjacker Nitro 8000 N8055 shocks on the rear. On front are Moog K90685 Lower ball joints, Moog K9465 Upper ball joints, Skyjacker Nitro 8000 N8052 shocks, and Sway-A-Way Heavy Duty torsion bars. Sold.

1999 Trooper. Mods TBD
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