Category Archives: Cars

Kevin’s radiator support in my ZJ

As our plans for going to Jeep Jamboree this year start to look more promising I started to prepare our ZJ to this (I hope) demanding task. First things first – we need some recovery gear. So I ordered strong radiator support form Kevin’s Off Road Below is small howto.

Unscrew 3 bolts keeping grill in place and take it out:

Remove plastic pins on both ends of bumper cover:

Then remove 3 bolts on the bottom:

and 3 pins on the top:

At this moment you can take it carefully out and put away to not damage it during the rest of the process.

Now remove three bolts on each side of oem radiator support (15mm socket):
and take it away.

Before putting new support on check if radiator’s positioning pins are short enough to fully hide in new support and trim old rubber stoppers:

Now it gets a little tricky because you have to lift and keep new support in place while putting bolts in factory mounting wholes. Having help is good, but it wasn’t that heavy so I managed to do it by myself. Remember about putting trimmed rubber washers between radiator and support:

Now when all four lower bolts are in place it’s time to put side bolts in. Use existing holes:

Insert small plates through openings in front of frame rails and bolt them on:

Now funny part begins – carefully put the bumper cover and look where mount (and tow straps attached to them) will interfere with it. Mark it with pencil, take the cover off and carefully trim it. I did something like that:

You have to be really careful to notice that it’s not factory shape (especially after I painted trimmed areas white).

Using first part of this howto put the bumper cover back on, insert three top pins and 6 side ones. Mount grill, open beer and enjoy your work.

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NP249J to NP242 swap in ZJ

Done yesterday. It took less than 4h (total – even with changing information center’s connections). Probably because it was direct swap. When I was looking for replacement I clearly stated that I need a NP242J from Grand Cherokee with 42RE transmission. Thanks to that everything worked like a charm.

First impressions very positive – the car is more quiet, mileage went up about 3mpg in 2WD and last but the most important – due to locked visco it was impossible to do almost any maneuvers on the concrete parking lot – now it works. I hope it will save me huge amount of bucks on front differential replacement.

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Replacing ignition distributor in Jeep’s 4.0L engines.

I know that’s for many Jeep owners it’s a piece of cake. Also it’s nothing you do every day. Probably most of you will never do it in theirs but it happened to me on Saturday – my engine started chirping. I looked and listened to the engine and (with help from the Jeep Forum guys) narrowed causes down to ignition distributor and/or oil pump. I decided to start with the distributor (lately if turned out to be good decision). Here is small how-to.


1. Tools


All you need is on the picture:

  • flat screwdriver
  • philips screwdriver
  • 13mm wrench
  • 19mm socket and ratchet
  • 8mm socket
  • Sharpie marker

After you have all tools we can start the job

2. Remove auxiliary electric fan

This step is only necessary when procedure is done on the Cherokee (XJ) model – this is the only way to turn the crankshaft vibration damper. In Grand Cherokee (ZJ) you have access to this bolt from underneath. Now disconnect the battery negative cable, then disconnect the radiator fan electric connector:

Auxiliary fan connector

Then unscrew (using 8mm socket) two bolts which are also mounting points for coolant reservoir pipe:

Fan bolts

And remove it simply pulling it up.

3. Remove distributor cap

But before you do this there are two things to be done. First – write down somewhere numbers to which cylinder which wire goes. Unfortunately there is no such info on any distributor caps I have seen. You can also print this picture:

Cables order

Then make a mark both on the distributor and the cap just next to the cylinder number one terminal:

Make mark

Now, using philips screwdriver, unbolt and remove distributor cap.

4. Set crankshaft in correct position

Now lie under the car and turning the crankshaft vibration dumper clockwise (!) find the notch on it and mark it with sharpie – it will make our job a little easier:

Mark dumper

Then, this time from the top, rotate it clockwise until that notch will be aligned with 0 degree mark:

Set to zero

Now the rotor should be aligned with the mark we did before:

Rotor aligned with the mark

5. Remove the distributor

Now take out the rotor. Then disconnect distributor’s connector

Disconnect distributor

Now using 13mm wrench unbolt distributor from engine block:

Unbolt distributor

and pull it out from the engine.


6. Set oil pump

Before inserting new distributor in it’s place you need to make some alignment. First, using flat screwdriver, set the oil pump shaft around 11 o’clock position:

Set oil pump

7. New distributor preparation

Then take the new distributor, put the old cap on it and mark the distributor next to the number one cylinder terminal as you did with the old one.

Transfer mark

Then set distributor’s shaft in a way that rotor’s line should point on 4 o’clock.

Set distributor shaft

8. Insert new distributor

Remembering about distributor gasket insert new distributor carefully into the engine’s block keeping distributor’s hold down ear aligned with bolt hole in the engine. During the insertion process the distributor shaft should rotate a little bit. At the and it should point exactly at the mark we made before.

New distributor in place

If it points in other direction you have to pull it out again and change the initial position to achieve the final one. Then bolt it down to the engine’s block.

9. Rotor, cap, connections

Now install the rotor, then the cap and distributor connector. Then using previously made notes correctly connect all ignition cables.

10. Fan

Reinstall the auxiliary fan and connect negative battery cable. Start engine. Take a beer.

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