Helluva 12 Months

Wow, a full year since the last entry. Well, it’s been a helluva past 12 months. So, let me get back to it and see if I can update a few things.

Steering Issues: 4/13/23

After a weekend trip to Cougar Buttes a couple of weeks ago I began having steering issues. On hard left or hard right turns the steering stutters. Something was binding and fighting. It only happens on hard turns. Gentle turns or straight and there’s no problem. I took it in to the off-road shop.

It appears the front locker is not disengaging. There is no indication of being engaged on the dash. There is no error code that I’m aware of, although I didn’t check with an OBDII reader.

They found a portion of the wiring harness messed up. They got an OEM replacement for that part of the harness, but that didn’t fix it. It’s still binding up, particularly on the passenger side. But no obvious cause.

The problem now is this: tearing everything down, troubleshooting, and repairing is labor intensive. If they don’t find the problem quickly it will get very expensive. And it might not be easily repaired. So, do I go ahead with that and take a chance on a huge bill for essentially just a stock axle? Or do I go ahead and upgrade to heavy duty axles?

This is the third front axle for the Whisky. Obviously stock equipment is not up to my level of wheeling. I believe it’s time to upgrade the axles so that I don’t have to worry about things breaking every third trip out. We’re looking at the Dynatrac ProRock kit which is a D44 front and D60 rear heavy duty axle.

The front axle won’t be worth much, if anything. The rear should be okay, especially since it has chromoly shafts. Here’s what I’m going to want to do as well as a few questions:

  • Upgrade the axles with the Dynatrac kit.
    • What gearing is recommended: 4.88, 5.13, 5.38? Assume a future upgrade to 37” tires.
    • Are there any existing suspension or steering components that will need to be changed out or upgraded?
    • Are the Dynatrac axles heavy enough as-is or should they also be trussed and gusseted for additional reinforcement?
    • Are the current Adams drive shafts compatible with the Dynatrac axles?
  • Recover the ARB diff covers. Replace with stock covers if necessary.
  • Note: current rear axle has Revolution, Discovery Series chromoly shafts, 32 spline
  • Are there any other recommended upgrades while we’re at it?

Fox 2.0 Monotube shocks (Fall 2022)

Fall of 2022, new Bilstein 5600 shocks installed. The Fox 2.0 were still hard to get.

Locking Hood Latches

The old Drake pin-style locking hood latches broke. I was never particularly happy with the Drake hood latches. One side had to be filed down for the eye of the latch to fit. The quality wasn’t great and, in the end, they didn’t hold up well to the dust and grit of regular trail use. In the late summer of 2022 I replaced them some latch style locking hood latches. They’ve been working a lot better.

Engine Running Hot:

In early 2022 the dealer replaced entire cooling system; radiator, water pump, 2 other major components. Coolant will sometimes get up to 230°, but then fans kick in and temp comes back down. I’m calling it resolved for now.

A little background: (dealer)(Updated: 6/27/22) In April dealer stated they found no cooling system issues. Dealer states this is normal behavior with oversize tires. 6/24/22 – 6/27/22 trip to Oakhurst saw routine temps in the 230° – 254° This is a problem and needs to be figured out and fixed.

Engine: driver side ticking Updated 6/27/22

(dealer) Found leak in exhaust manifold gasket; replaced gasket as well as intake manifold, replaced a missing bolt. Done. Yeah, they actually found a bolt missing from the engine housing. I’m not sure what it was for.

Rear bumper or tailgate reinforcement

Teraflex tailgate reinforced heavy duty hinge replacement installed in December 2022. This was on my list for a LONG time. I finally got it done.


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