Nov 17 2013

Double K *beep* *beep* U-R-T-I-S

In what has turned out to be the most difficult portion of the rebuild so far, I’ve actually completed my T90 transmission rebuild. A few weeks ago, I got the lower end of the transmission rebuilt, getting 44 needle bearings in place and fighting with trust washers to get the cluster gear into place. The other problem was reverse idler shaft and countershaft not going in at the right angle. To keep the shafts from spinning and working their way out, a plate slides between two keyed slots in each shaft. As you can imagine, getting the a flat slot on two round shafts that are press-fit into a cast iron case is not easy. Especially when the reverse idler is installed after the input shaft is installed and the cluster gear is installed, but in order to get it out, you have to remove the input shaft which gets held in place by an oil collector complicating everything.

After the third attempt, it all worked out and the plate and shafts were installed in a satisfactory way. Building the second/third and output shaft cluster was an adventure. The synchronization assembly that makes moving from second to third smooth and non-grindy utilizes a central clutch hub sandwiched between two blocking rings that catch little springy keys to line up the hub sleeve and the second and third gear when shifting between the two. The rebuild kit I bought came with two new springs for the clutch, but they were WAY too stiff and didn’t allow the keys to depress enough to allow the sleeve to transition without digging into the keys themselves. The old ones were still fairly springy and seemed to provide just enough resistance to keep things together without hindering the sleeve, so I had to build the assembly twice. If that wasn’t enough, there were – you guessed it – more needle bearings!

One thing that is interesting about the T90 is that the input shaft is fixed in place in the front of the case, but the output shaft is essentially free floating and requires that the transfer case sandwich it into place against the needle bearings inside the input shaft. To keep things together I used a length of safety wire behind the second gear and tied up against some bolts that I entered into the front. I think I might change this and put the safety wire through the output shaft and string it through the transfer case mounting holes to allow me to finish assembling the top end shifter.

For now, I’ve got the shifter temporarily held on with some washers and wire between the top of the case and the shifter platform, but it’ll do for now. I’ve got to find an alternative to the crushed roll pins that kept the shifting forks into the rails. I removed (and probably shouldn’t have) the shifting forks and had to un-damage roll pins to remove them. Unfortunately, that left the end of the roll pins too brittle to put back, especially dangling over the spinning gears. Once the shift forks are installed, I’m ready to bolt up the top slightly more permanently to wait for final installation behind a newly rebuilt engine.

Next step, finish up the shift cane assembly, then turn my attention to finishing the frame stuff that I’ve skipped or need to go back and finish. I’ll get the knuckles torn apart again and then put back together with proper sealing. Steering will be installed, brake lines filled and bled, suspension greased up, and the rear engine crossmember and draw bar will need to be prepped and painted before installation. Should be just enough to keep me more than busy while I wait for Hayden to get here.

Oct 14 2013

Oh yeah, I have a Jeep

A lot has happened since I last worked on Ike. The weather got unbearably hot. I got really into reloading ammunition. I found out I was going to be a father. I installed more storage in the garage. Oh yeah, and I’m going to be a father. That actually might have something to do with me not giving the Jeep any attention.

I’ve spent the last few months not working on the Jeep and instead focusing on other endeavors. Until today, and now I feel like I really missed out on the last few months of Jeep building time.

On top of getting paint on the transmission case, shifter cane, drive shafts, and other small parts, I started rebuilding the actual transmission. Using a few guides online, the way this thing goes back together is actually starting to come back to me. The task that seemed the most daunting was putting back the cluster gear and bearings. Rather than use caged bearings like the transfer case, the transmission uses free-floating needle bearings around a central shaft. That means that I had to build bearing packs, all four of them with 22 needle bearings each, inside a solid piece of metal that has a shaft and multiple thrust washers all holding it in place. It only took a few hours, but I have the whole bottom end of the transmission (the cluster gear, reverse idler, input shaft, and oil slinger) all set in the case.

The next step will be building the second and third gear cluster which I’m sure will take just as long if not longer to put together. Hopefully I didn’t lose any parts from the rebuild kit in the time that has passed since I bought it.

Apr 22 2013

Shifting to high (and low) gear

With the exception of a missed spring on the last part order (sucks that the $4 spring prevents a $300 rebuild from being completed), the final setting of the rear drum, and the front yolk, the transfer case has been completely rebuilt. The front yolk will require that I borrow the impact wrench from my dad again to get the appropriate 100-120 ft. lbs. of torque on the nut. The rear companion flange and drum will get pressed on once the spring has been replaced and the shoes adjusted. Since the output shaft of the transmission runs through the input opening of the case, and the input gear is bolted to it, I’ve left the rear inspection cover loosely seated for now.

Luckily, the shift from 2W high to 4W high and from 4W high to 4W low all work just as expected. Once everything is mated up, and filled with oil, it should operate even better than before.

After a small digression to the bell crank installation (I still can’t get the oil retention seals to seat properly), I pulled the transmission up onto the work bench. It’s not only lighter than the transfer case, but isn’t nearly as odd shaped either (if I ever meet one of the engineers that designed that case, I think I’ll punch him in the nose). The output shaft already became dislodged during the removal of the transfer case way back when. That not only necessitates a rebuild to “fix” but also helps remind me to make sure I secure that shaft once I get done to prevent me from having to do it all over again.

Removing the top case revealed far less going on inside than I anticipated. I expected a labyrinth of gears and bearings, especially after working on the much simpler transfer case. Instead, there is a lower gear cluster that is more or less a single piece with a complicated mounting scheme, a reverse idler gear off to one side, and the direct/second gear cluster up top. Taking everything apart makes me glad I didn’t place an order earlier in the weekend to get that spring. I need a new second speed gear, a new pair of blocking rings, and I’m slightly iffy on my reverse gear. Since reverse and first speed aren’t synchronized, a lot of grinding happens. I also need to take a second look at the clutch sleeve and decide if that needs to be replaced also. Aside from those replaced gears and a fresh set of bearings and seals, I’ll be ready to start rebuilding the transmission. I’m going to try and get a few more parts tore down and then get a box of parts down to the parts store to get them cleaned up nice. I’ll be sure to include the supporting crossmember as well as the two drive shafts.

Which brings me to a slight conundrum. I’ve done so much work so quickly on the gear boxes, that I need to decide what I’ll be doing next. I’ve gone far enough that I can go back and finish some small odds and ends. For instance, I could tow the thing down to the driveline place to get the pinon seals replaced on the front and rear. The brake system still needs to be filled with fluid and the air evacuated. I should also consider fixing the leak on the front knuckles since I neglected to properly seal the bottom kingpin caps (not looking forward to that and the 600W oil that’s inside).

All that will surely keep me busy for a few weeks, but the very next thing I need to work on to finish the chassis is going to be getting the engine rebuilt. I honestly didn’t think I’d get to this point this soon after having a rolling chassis. I’m happy that I’m to this point, and even more happy that I’ve been putting away Jeep money for such a big cost. I think I’ll likely spend a few weeks getting the rest of the small stuff done before getting the engine done, like finally lubricating all the zerk joints.

For now, it’s time to focus on the gear box.


Apr 14 2013

Prepping the T-Case

It just so happens that when you work all day on what is supposed to be your off Friday, getting a transfer case put back together is nearly impossible to accomplish. On top of that, hunting for a baby brother for Ike certainly spent what little extra time I had left. Especially when that hunt comes up short.

That being said, I was able to get all of the various transfer case parts cleaned, prepped, and painted. In fact, I got all the way to starting to put the output gear cluster together and then realized that I hadn’t bought any safety wire to hold the shift fork bolt in place. Without safety wire, the very first step of putting this thing back together can’t take place. For now, I guess my garage will just sit strewn about with parts while I wait for the safety wire I ordered to get here.

Mar 3 2013

Ike gets a column

Being an active full time MBA student has its ups and its downs. One BIG down is that the time I have available to me on the weekends is dramatically cut short. Add in the normal stuff that needs to be done while off work, some quality time with the wife (which I enjoy more than working on the Jeep the vast majority of the time-Love ya Kim!), and the time available for the Jeep becomes far smaller. That being said, over the last two months, I’ve done some work off and on. From masking parts, to putting a few coats of paint on them, the scraping off some and re-doing it because it wasn’t up to my standards. Unfortunately, none of it makes for good blog posts, since so little is actually changing for all the time spent on doing the work.

Three day weekends work out great for getting Jeep stuff done. I spent Friday over at my buddy Joe’s dad’s house learning how to weld with the new welder my wife and family got me for Christmas this past year. That of course means that now I’m looking out for scrap metal to get a little more practice in, but after a few tries I started understanding the process and what I should be listening and looking for.

This weekend, a lot of that work came together with some major structures put back on Ike. While waiting for paint to dry on parts, I finished putting the washers and cotter pins on the shocks. I also got all the various brake lines lined up and temporarily mounted the master cylinder while I waited for the tie-in bracket to finish drying. Once the steering box finished drying, I started assembling it all. Getting all the little ball bearings in place was actually far easier than I thought it was going to be. I’ll also say that I’m happy I bought a new steering column to go with everything. It was one of those things I decided to throw into my cart at the last minute because I ended up not needing a new master cylinder since I found a new one in a pile of parts. Not having to clean, blast, and paint that long tube saved me a lot of time and trouble.

Once all the parts dried enough for me to handle them, I put the newly painted tie-in bracket, crossover tube, brake and clutch arm, steering box, steering column, and even through the steering wheel and the clutch and brake pedals on for a few glamor shots. The pedals still need to stripped, primed, and painted, but they added a certain look that makes this post a little easier to see. This also reminded me that I need to get the outriggers painted and installed since the return spring for the clutch arm mounts to one of the outriggers. Since my sector shaft doesn’t have an alignment mark on the end for the pitman arm, I didn’t finish putting the steering box together until I get that issue resolved. Once that’s figured out, I’ll seal the box and fill it with oil.

The next few steps will depend on what I feel like doing and what I can get someone to help me with. I’d like to work on the brakes and getting the brake system filled with fluid, but you really need two people and a lot of patience to get it done right. Since I’m not going to be driving it any time soon, it’s not too high of a priority. The other things I’ll be looking at is the transfer case rebuild, transmission rebuild, transfer case cross member, and also starting on the engine rebuild. That of course will bring out a whole lot more money and parts, such as the exhaust system, wiring, and many other systems. That being said, Ike is really starting to shape up into a nice looking Jeep again, and I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s turning out (except maybe if it was going a bit faster).

Nov 25 2012

Two thirds of a rolling chassis

Over the last few weeks, I was able to get the front axle all back together. Unfortunately for the blog, it took an awful lot of time for almost nothing to appear to have changed. With the extended Thanksgiving weekend, I had two days that I could spend working on the Jeep. On Friday, I finished the front axle and hub assembly, from new-to-me lockout hubs, to brand new brake lines and brake hardware, and a nice coat of black paint on the whole thing. I have to say, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Now, there was one bummer to the whole thing that I discovered far too late. When I first started taking apart the front axle, I noticed that the pinion seal had a bit of a leak. By a bit of a leak, I mean it was leaking like there was a giant hole in there. The plan was that after I finished taking the axle apart and the thing was drained, cleaned, and painted, I’d take it down to the driveline place to get the seal replaced since I don’t have a socket that will fit the width of the nut and the narrow yolk. Now that I have the axle completely put back together, and even filled the differential with oil on Friday, that pesky pinion seal made itself known again by leaking all over my workbench. What I’ll end up doing is draining the differential next weekend, and then once the chassis is rolling, I’ll take the whole thing down to the driveline place I think.

Aside from finding out that my front axle is marking its territory all over the workbench, I spent nearly 6 hours today putting the rear axle on the frame. I ran into a variety of problems and issues, that will hopefully not be a problem for the front axle. A while back I had purchased a suspension rebuild kit that included all the new suspension parts that I needed from new leaf springs, shocks, shackles, pivot joints, bushings, etc. One issue with the leaf springs is that the end that is designed for the shackles had a bushing that needed to be pressed out before it could be used. After spending a few hours figuring out the best way to accomplish that, I got all the extra bushings removed, and after a few more hours, got the rear axle fully set and installed.

With that, I’ve got two thirds of a rolling chassis!

Over the next two weeks, I should have the front axle mounted and then it’s just a few small things that need to be adjusted. For instance, I don’t have the appropriate washers to hold on the shocks behind a cotter pin, because the washers are special and I didn’t think to keep the old ones around. Hopefully I’ll have a rolling chassis when I hit the 2-year mark on this restoration.

Oct 23 2012

A box full of grease

After another very productive weekend of work on Ike, I’m just about ready to assemble the front axle. Nearly all of the parts are here, and everything I have has been blasted and painted. The last few things I need are the spindles that I had previously had but put on the parts Jeep thinking they had the wrong bushings (turns out I had the right ones from the beginning) and the brake lines for the front axle that will be easier to install before it’s hanging from the frame. Unfortunately, I ordered the brake lines late, so hopefully they’ll be here in time for the axle to be completed this coming weekend, otherwise it will be another week before I can put everything together.

One of the things I needed to resolve last time was the Rzeppa joints for the single Rzeppa shaft that I was reusing on the passenger side of the front axle. I found a seller that had a rebuild kit for a Rzeppa front axle (2 full joints) and it was on sale for 50% off ($30 plus shipping). After being told by many online that a rebuild kit was likely too expensive or difficult to find for the joints, I figured I’d make a $30 gamble to see if I could save myself from buying a new shaft for $125. Now, I’m happy I did. What came in the mail was not only far better than the cheap Chinese knockoff parts I was expecting, but actual NOS parts from decades ago when this stuff was not only made in the USA, but still made all together. The box was wrapped in some sort of waxy grease paper, and inside was a bundled paper ball with grease packed parts. A LOT of grease with some parts mixed in. I felt like a kid on Christmas getting that one toy that had been sold out all over the place that I knew all my friends wouldn’t have been able to get. The only down side: cleaning. This grease was thick and really stuck to everything. After about 2 hours and 2 cycles of cleaning with Simple Green, the parts were nice and shiny again. Only thing left to do with them is clean out the screw holes, oil them up, and build the joint again.

After spending all that time cleaning greasy old metal (that looks nearly new), I moved my attention to all the other little parts that I had that needed additional coats of paint. I also (finally) remembered to get the lower shock plates prepped and painted after neglecting to do them last week. Kind of an important part if I plan on hanging these axles any time soon. Of course they were turned into a sort of ornament while hanging to dry.

With most of the small parts wet with paint, I started pulling the masking tape off of the knuckle spheres and the various small parts that had all their requisite painting done and dry. There really is nothing like pulling back tape to reveal sharp paint lines, clean metal, and crisp black paint on a part that only a few weeks ago looked like it was pulled up from the bottom of a greasy swamp.

Once the masking tape was removed from the knuckle spheres I was able to get the brand new bearing cones pressed in. And by pressed, I mean more of banged. However it happened, they are in and aren’t damaged. They also look WAY better than the worn ones I removed.


So next week is the big reassembly of the front axle. Assuming, that is, that I have brake lines, can swap out these spindles, actually purchased all the parts I need, painted everything I needed, and didn’t lose anything in the process. I’m also really hoping that all these new parts go together tight enough that the suggested 600 W oil I purchased for the knuckle lubricant will stay firmly where it’s supposed to and not leak out all over my garage. I think I may put some drip pans below the knuckles while filling just in case 🙂


Oct 12 2012

Short week

Due to some other obligations, today was the only day this weekend that I’ll be able to do any work on the Jeep. Luckily, I got some good stuff done with the short time I had.

First off, I got the long axle shaft down to the driveline place to get the joint replaced. The new part won’t be in for a few days, so I’ll have to wait until next weekend or so to get that back. After dropping it off, I got the rest of the front axle parts prepped for their first coat of paint. I got the differential cover painted, as well as both hubs, one side of both backing plates, both drums, lower anchor plates, brake hose guards, and a couple of rocks in the front yard on accident. Oops. Next week, I’ll get the other sides painted on the backing plates, and get the final coat on the rest of the parts. I’ll also get another coat of paint on the axle tubes and differential housing before starting to put everything back together. Maybe if I get some time tomorrow after my obligations I’ll get a few more coats put on. Hopefully by the weekend after next, I’ll have a completed front axle that is ready to be hung on the frame.

Sep 16 2012

Fantastical Frame Floating Apparatus

You know when you set yourself a goal that is months from now with every intention of completing it, only to realize that months have gone by and you haven’t done anywhere near enough work to complete the goal? Yeah, that’s what I did with getting my frame done. I had wanted to spend the summer getting the frame completed and get the axles back on the Jeep before I started class again. Now that I’m 4 days from starting class and the frame is still bare metal, I figured it was time to get moving.

Being as indecisive as I am, I went back and forth between doing the frame painting myself versus having a professional do it. I spent so much time not deciding that I completely neglected to do anything one way or the other to finish the frame.

This weekend was the end of that.

After not getting a quote I was comfortable paying for a professional to finish my frame, I got to work figuring out how I was going to turn a normal suburban garage into a paint booth. After discussing the process with a few people that have done it online, the plan would be to hang the frame upside down from the ceiling of the garage, then use plastic sheets to contain any overspray. The major issue with this plan, is that I have a finished garage, so the studs are hidden behind drywall. On top of that, the drywall is spaced from the studs with steel strips that make it impossible to use a studfinder.

So, after making a few trips to the attic, I was able to get the areas marked for the ceiling hooks. I was also hoping to utilize pulleys to allow for easy change in the height of the frame if necessary while priming and painting. However, after putting the pulley system in place, I realized that the rope I was using had far too much stretch in it to be of any real use. It’ll do for slight height adjustments, but it just isn’t able to do what it needs to. If I were to do it again, Id’ get some natural fiber rope or do away with the pulley system all together, but for now it will do.


In addition to the frame apparatus, I also got the last coat of paint on the knuckles and spindles for the front axle. Can’t wait to get the masking tape off to see how they turned out. With the knuckles and spindles painted, I still need to get the hub assembly prepped and painted and I’ll be nearly ready for re-assmbly. I’m leaning towards pulling the axles from the parts Jeep to see if they are both Spicer style, and if they’ll be more cooperative to a new set of joints.

With those axel shafts, I should be able to get a new set of joints in them and start re-assmbling the front axel. It’s been long enough that I’m unsure if I already purchased all of the other parts for the re-assmbly or not. I know I still need the brake lines from the front and the frame rails as well as the master cylinder, but hopefully that’s all I’ll need to get the rest of it together. As much as I want this frame and brake system to be put together, I’m not looking forward to bleeding the brake system in the least bit. 🙂

Aug 26 2012

Getting back to it

With my self imposed goal of having a rolling chassis before I start school up again in about a month, it’s time that I get back to working. With the extreme heat over the last few months, it’s been too hard to get motivated to do much of anything outside. Now that it’s cooled down slightly (97 instead of triple digits), I figured I’d get back to work.

Last weekend I got a few small things done. The holes for the rear crossmember have been drilled, and the leaf spring pivot hanger can now be attached to the frame. I also finished cleaning the knuckles and spindles today, and got those prepped and painted.

Next step is going to be getting the frame painted. I’ll be calling around to get some prices for the work. I had originally planned to do it myself, but with the heat not showing any signs of letting up, and since I haven’t painted anything like this before, I think I’ll let this one be done by a professional and stick to my smaller parts and pieces.