View Full Version : Godson - 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited

July 9th, 2017, 08:28 PM
For those of you in chat, you already know I had been eyeing a trail rig for several months. I had the stipulation that I wouldn't buy any toys until student loans were gone. But that didn't pan out. I had a deal approach that was too good to pass. Here are the specifics.

1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited
113,500 miles.
4 in long arm lift kit
35x12.50r15 tires
Salvage title
242 transfer case
Spare 5.9 v8

I'm technically the third owner. Vehicle was salvaged by first owner when they hit the rocker panel on something. Replacement rockers are 60$ each, so I will likely replace it and get some sliders.

I bought this for 1k dollars with a blown head gasket and all the heavy parts in the lift gate. Previous owner let it get too hot and didn't take care of it when the temps got high. No head damage that I could see. Head was off the vehicle for the better part of 5+ months in the Midwest, which typically doesn't bode well.

First order is as always, get the engine to rotate. Little atf, breaker bar, and about lbs of force and it freed right up. Score.

Next was to get into the rear hatch, and adjust/clean/lubricate the rear hatch release. That took about 30 minutes working blind and with bad prop struts.

Parts inventory was taken, ran to the parts store for a hefty list. I'll add it here later.

New headgasket, intake manifold and plenum gasket, and we had 90% of the engine back together with the needed wiring to get it to start by 230 last night. Cranked the engine to see if it would light, and the starter began smoking. Called it a night when we saw that. Likely the kid before cranked and cranked on it hoping it would get him home. I'll add the engine was not wetlocked and all pistons came up to flush with the cylinder deck.

Next order of business is to figure out why I wasn't getting fuel pressure. Likely a wiring hack job and the pump isn't getting any voltage. Will look into that this week. Should be running by weekend.


July 9th, 2017, 08:36 PM
Brave man! I had to take care of my friend's ZJ - I don't ever want to do that again! Best of luck and I'm sure it'll be loads of fun!

July 10th, 2017, 03:41 AM
Or can't be any worse than the BMWs or Porsche I've owned. Plus, parts are CHEAP

July 10th, 2017, 08:45 AM
I suspect her truck had been seriously abused - there was literally always something broken and the issues seemed to grow in severity every time. It was no fun! Parts are cheap - and there is no problem getting them ever. That is definitely attractive!

July 16th, 2017, 07:58 PM
So tonight. It idled under it's own power.

First order of business was to chase out the smoking starter. Turns out ground wires are super important on this chassis, because they don't have a whole lot. Hooked all of the ground straps back up, and starter cranked fairly strong but engine wouldn't take. Checked for spark, checked for compression, and lastly, we smelled the fuel.


Old as fuck gas. Check fuel gauge.

7/8ths tank.


I make a couple of phone calls, and this morning borrow three 5gallon gas cans, disconnected the fuel line, Ran a jumper on the fuel pump relay and drained 17 gallons of old fuel.

Dumped 1.5 gallons of 91 ethanol free in it, went and grabbed another 2 gallons of 91 ethanol free (it was cheaper than regular 91). And hooked up the jumper cables from my truck. Let my truck idle. Gave it 7-9 solid attempts at starting while holding the throttle to the floor, and on the final attempt it lit and idled.

It revved.

It was happy.

Next order of business is to hook up the cooling system and other ancillaries and then test drive it.

I'm in it right now for 1500.

July 16th, 2017, 08:59 PM
Ugh... facing the same thing with the XR. Not sure what to do with ~15 gallons of bad gas, so I haven't done anything. I can probably use some of it in the motorhome (mixing a few gallons of bad gas with 80 gallons of good... ) but then...?

July 17th, 2017, 08:34 AM
Check with your water company. Kansas City Water Department does disposal of hazardous waste.

July 17th, 2017, 08:57 AM
I imagine this will be an interesting read. Have fun!

July 17th, 2017, 08:58 AM
Whoa, that's cool. Ours does not... and the hazardous waste facility has limits on certain types of fluids. I can eventually recycle it, but it'll take a while. :(

July 17th, 2017, 01:59 PM
Sure burning man can use some donations right?

July 17th, 2017, 02:49 PM
:lol: Probably, but I sure don't want to have it sitting around the house for a year!

July 24th, 2017, 08:14 PM
Old fuel disposed of, 7 gallons of good fuel in. Started right up. Smoked like a train as it burned off all of the ATF in the engine when I had it torn down.

Put everything together and added water.

Instant belt squeel from water pump.

Installed new water pump. Coolant line from cabin begins leaking.

Replace bad hose.

Thermostat begins leaking.

Take thermostat off. Inspect to make sure Everything installed correctly.

Make new gasket. Inspect mating surface. Someone helicoiled the thermostat housing bolt, and didn't get the coil all the way installed. Grabbed a severely used grinding disk ( less than 3mm around the bolt that holds it in), and lightly cleaned up the high point.

Reinstall thermostat. Still leaks.

I cuss.

Look at rear bolt where leak is coming from, and it isn't seated. But it is clearly bottomed out and torqued to spec.

I grab a washer and fix said leak.

Alternator begins squeeling and showing low voltage.


Run to parts store and get replacement.

Install replacement and change oil again. Starts right up and dies.

Give light throttle in cab an it runs.

Drive Jeep 3 miles round trip to parts store to get my core for the alternator, and return a shitty compression tester.

Next order of business is the electric fan and the lack of idle. I'm betting fuel pump or fuel filter.

July 25th, 2017, 04:07 AM
Hoss. :cool: :up:

Those tires look dangerous. Should probably invest in a new set sooner rather than later. How's the trans?

July 25th, 2017, 09:07 AM
That is my experience with Jessica's ZJ over the course of three years. Fix this, that's broken. It was infuriating. Hey, like the KJ CRD. :smh:

July 25th, 2017, 11:17 AM
Hoss. :cool: :up:

Those tires look dangerous. Should probably invest in a new set sooner rather than later. How's the trans?

The front tires, which have been rotated to the back, are bald. Rears have 12/33 tread.

I already have a replacement for the bald tires.

July 25th, 2017, 11:19 AM
That is my experience with Jessica's ZJ over the course of three years. Fix this, that's broken. It was infuriating. Hey, like the KJ CRD. :smh:

I'm 99% certain most of this is from former neglect, sitting for 6+ months in the midwest, being owned by a teenager with no mechanical ability, and poor dissasembly practices.

We shall see what happens from here on out.

July 25th, 2017, 12:27 PM
Haha - that's almost the same story with Jay's. Except I think rather than sitting for six months it got stuck at an offroad park and the parents took it away after a very expensive tow bill came to the house. :lol:

July 27th, 2017, 08:50 PM
First order of business was to get it to idle correctly. That starts with taking the idle air controller out and cleaning it carefully.

Before I took it out I found this in it.2499

That's mouse nest feeds DIRECTLY into where the idle air controller controls the idle. This had completely plugged up the entire assembly.

I pulled the throttle body off, took off the IAC, removed the fluff, and reassembled everything. Started right up and idled at 760rpm.

Next order of business was to figure out why a second electric fan was installed. The 5.9 has a low and high speed electric fan from the factory. We hook up ground to the fan motor, I supply 12 v from my power probe, and the electric fan spins to life.

We take the motor off the shroud to blow it out with air because of dirt, reassemble it, and put it in the Jeep. Back the Jeep outside and let it idle. It reaches operating temperature, and holds steady, engine eclipses 205 or so and fan kicks on. So the electric fan works and has no issues as we let it cycle 4 times. Coolant level doesn't budge. No leaks.

Hop in it and run to the parts store to pick up the next round of things. Transfer case, front and rear diff oil, and I make an order from rock auto for brake pads, wipers, oil pressure sending unit ( kid broke the on on the engine) and a new idler pulley among many other things.

I'll place an order for the steering gearbox stabilizer ,without it you will eat gearboxes.

First trip with it is August 12th.

P.s. while we were at the parts store I climbed a 1.5foot wall for the hell of it. Started in 4 high, the rear diff lsd was moving the back end around, so it works, I kicked it into 4lo, and it crawled right over the wall.

Things are looking good.

July 27th, 2017, 08:56 PM

I forgot to add this.

July 28th, 2017, 03:42 AM

When does the roof-rack tent go on? :assclown:


July 28th, 2017, 04:47 AM
Pretty cool project, Tyler. Looks like you're ironing out the bugs nicely. Good luck.

July 28th, 2017, 02:30 PM
No roof rack tent. They are heavy and big dollars. I camp on the ground.


July 28th, 2017, 04:19 PM
Yeah... You forgot to mention that they're dorky as fuck. :lol:

July 28th, 2017, 07:30 PM


July 29th, 2017, 10:47 AM
Rooftop tents are dorky, not Scouting.

August 11th, 2017, 08:03 PM
First shakedown is tomorrow. Starting to get excited.

Got it loaded on trailer, the extended rough country brake line that came with, it was leaking out of the back of the crimped fitting. Checked around and orielly had one that was 4 inches longer that stock. It'll do for tomorrow. Tossed it on, rebled the brakes. No leak.

Also measured out my Jeep versus my buddies. He has a 4 in lift on his 98 zj. We thought I was 4.5-5.

After measuring, we are thinking it is actually 6-6.5

This makes my shock choices MUCH harder.

I'll have some videos up after this weekend.

August 12th, 2017, 04:43 PM
And the hard line into said brake hose is leaking. It was bad enough it needed a refill partway through the day. But after I went over a....larger drop, the mounting bracket got tweaked, and the leak went away....

I'll be addressing all of the in the coming weeks.

Went down some seriously fun stuff.

First order of business is the brake lines/hose.

Second is shocks. They are TOAST.

Third, front skid plate and fuel tank skid plate.

Fourth and final is a welder and the bumpers done up.

August 12th, 2017, 06:42 PM
Fifth, sell.

November 14th, 2017, 09:59 AM
So where's the thread & story on the new-to-you C4, Tyler?? Waiting and waiting over here!

November 14th, 2017, 10:00 AM
He doesn't actually own it. :lol:

I mean, :|

November 14th, 2017, 10:18 AM
Well that's more info than he's posted -- thanks Nate! :D :up:

November 14th, 2017, 10:36 AM
We talked about it in chat. *ahem*

Imma just gonna set this right here: https://hangouts.google.com/group/JO4eqGJ0JywVDHt82

November 14th, 2017, 01:43 PM
We talked about it in chat. *ahem*

Imma just gonna set this right here: https://hangouts.google.com/group/JO4eqGJ0JywVDHt82



:( Because Nate's comment is accurate

November 14th, 2017, 06:57 PM
In other news, had a badass trip out two weekends ago. Went up some seriously crazy shit. Hands were shaking and everything. I was climbing shit that everyone else was either locked or welded diffs.

I fucking love this thing.

November 15th, 2017, 06:50 AM
In other news, had a badass trip out two weekends ago. Went up some seriously crazy shit. Hands were shaking and everything. I was climbing shit that everyone else was either locked or welded diffs.

I fucking love this thing.

Its always a good feeling when you handle the gnarly stuff with a lesser equipped rig and still make it. Tippy stuff would always make my left leg jitter like crazy, maybe a good thing I never finished the swap to the manual trans before selling.

November 15th, 2017, 07:36 AM
In other news, had a badass trip out two weekends ago. Went up some seriously crazy shit. Hands were shaking and everything. I was climbing shit that everyone else was either locked or welded diffs.

I fucking love this thing.

All those childhood visits to Monster Jam have prepared you for this.

February 8th, 2018, 02:52 PM
Got the CB radio installed, got the rear shock debacle handled, checked over some suspension noises, chased down a transmission fluid seep that requires dropping the transfer case and am going to probably swap out to a 242 in the process, weighed it, and made plans to build a bumper.

Jeep without any real weight from bumpers or winches, beadlocks or bias plys, is 4440lbs.

Next outing is on the 24th of February.

February 8th, 2018, 03:03 PM
Helpful link for an aspiring bucket mouth: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_CB_slang

February 8th, 2018, 07:42 PM
I'll keep the numbers handy.

February 23rd, 2018, 09:16 PM
Everything is loaded up and ready to go.

Made a swappable connecter for the CB so I can switch between the jeep and the F150 for towing purposes to communicate with the rest of the crew. I'll be waking up in 5.5 hours to be hopping in the truck for a day outing.

Dragging a good friend out who bought my 911 from me. He is used to race cars and track days, while I've got a mix of both. He may be more excited than I am.

It will be a good time!

February 24th, 2018, 07:37 PM
Great trip, shit tons of rain this week created a concrete slurry kind of condition to creep through.

Backing into the driveway, my trailer was hit by a passing car.....

No person was injured, but seriously. Wtf

March 11th, 2018, 03:21 PM
Trailer has a bent axle and a bad tire now, but outside of that, everything is ok.

Jeep started losing a fair amount of transmission fluid out of the tailshaft seal after this last trip. I need to drop the transfer case to replace the seal, and since it is out, I will likely be swapping over to a junkyard 242 transfer case. Stock in mine is a 249, which has 4high and 4low only. It would be nice to have 2 high for the sake of low speed maneuverability. 3 point turning sucks in the woods most times.

Seems it is a direct swap from one to the other, as I have a 242 out of a '98 Cherokee to work with.

I'll post photos up of the trailer work, and the jeep work after Saturday.

May 8th, 2018, 06:34 PM
Orrrrr. I won't. Because I didn't take any photos.

I'll dig around and get back, along with my story about how the jeep wouldn't start to be put on to the trailer this past weekend, preventing me from going to my favorite place.


Alan P
May 9th, 2018, 05:48 PM
Noting your post on Facebook, did you get to the bottom of the cutting out and rough running?

May 19th, 2018, 09:47 PM
Crankshaft position sensor was the culprit.

If I had a scanner the day it started acting up, I could have made it to the event. However, things around the house needed to be done which I had been putting off.

I'm happy and the jeep is happy for now. On to the next trip.

Alan P
May 20th, 2018, 03:17 PM

July 20th, 2018, 02:28 AM
So like. This is frustrating but comical.

The first time I have used a rebuilt anything that has failed within literally minutes of use.

Steering gearboxes on off-road rigs take a lot of abuse. I mean A LOT. So over time the get a bit sloppy and need to be replaced. When I bought mine, it was already sloppy as all get out. So we went ahead and replaced it to tighten things up and all. The rebuilt unit wasn't assembled properly and a c-clip didn't get replaced when it should have. This caused the gearbox to puke the seal, along with all of the power steering fluid out onto mother Earth.

Insult to injury, this was the first trip with the new shocks out back to allow for all of the suspension flex. I dropped the rear springs out at the see time this all happened.

Here is the kicker, it was in a big ass puddle with a nice flat plateau that I was trying to climb.

Needless to say I got to go swimming while looking for the springs. We found everything after about an hour in the water at 1 in the morning.

Next day I am scrounging about in all the local parts stores to find a new box, because it would be a long time before I'd be able to wheel again due to my surgery in a few days.

There is one about an hour an a quarter away. I unhook the trailer and set out while my buddies start removing the old box. They get it off and tidy up my suspension limiters a bit, about the time I roll up. 40 minutes later, I'm back on the trail.

We wheel for a while and after a few bouts of the springs still popping out, I get the limiter length figure out and the rest of the day goes off without a problem.

Lesson if the day, test shit out before you go out to play.

January 19th, 2019, 08:17 PM
On that notion of testing things out before you wheel...

Nothing I have touched broke this time out. :D

However, I had a solid 3-4 hours of good wheeling without springs falling out or anything wild.

Fast forward to right before dinner and I'm crawling over an 8 in flat Rock with water veins cut through it. I take a different line than the guys in front because I wanted to have some distance from the tree on the passenger side.

Mistake. I slide the driver rear off the rock table, and the wheel hit another rock in the process, snapping the factory panhard rod attachment. This also broke the cheaply welded on panhard rod drop mount.

Needless to say my driving period of that day was over and I packed up the jeep and was co-pilot/navigator the rest of the day. Still had fun.

Fast forward to the first planned workday of replacing the entire front steering track bar, tie rods, tie rod ends etc. All of it. I get it all apart and have all of the new bolted up. The steering damper bolt strips out of the old setup. No biggie because it's like, 6 bucks. Entire front steering was overhauled fo like 80$.

At this Tim, we take some measurements because the steering components are still hitting the sway bar attachment points. The front lower long arms are like a full 0.5 inch too long. Put that on the list of shit to do.

Go to start the jeep up to pull it off the trailer. No dice. Swap coil, plug wires, and cap/rotor, off buddies 5.9. still nothing.

And that's the exact spot it is in until next time I can go mess with it.

I will post photos once I get internet access.

May 6th, 2019, 05:46 PM
I tried dicking with this POS again. Just realized it has been since January that it was last touched.

Tested for power at the coil, tested for ground while cranking, both present. Means the coil is bad, replace coil, no start still.

I am heavily considering selling this to fund for things around the garage, but not until it works.

The engine needs an overhaul, transmission likely could use one too. Right there is roughly 600-1k in parts and labor. That kicks me over the point of a positive ROI. This was just a temporary stopgap for me to get back into something fast again.

Need to think about this.

September 14th, 2020, 05:04 PM
I got the jeep running with a used ecu.

And then I sold it for a profit.


September 14th, 2020, 05:38 PM

September 18th, 2020, 01:13 PM

1980 Jeep J10 Honcho Short Bed Stepside -Fuel Injected Overdrive - $15,990 (Ste. Genevieve MO) (https://kansascity.craigslist.org/cto/d/sainte-genevieve-1980-jeep-j10-honcho/7182772796.html)


Edited to fix the craigslist link.

September 24th, 2020, 09:47 AM
That is crazy fucking hot! Ever since Tremors I have always wanted a J10 Stepside.

September 24th, 2020, 11:56 AM
I'm also done with the Jeep life.