Monday, April 25, 2016

FSJ Cowl Vent Screens

If you've owned an FSJ during autumn, you know that the cowl fresh air intake is a magnet for leaves, twigs, and other debris that end up clogging your fresh air vents and drain holes, leaking water into your FSJ and rusting it from the inside out.

Several years ago, I implemented a low cost solution that's easy to install and aesthetically pleasing.

First, remove the vent grill. Lift the engine hood and then remove 7 screws and the windshield washer nozzles and lift out the cowl vent grill. The grill measures about 48" x 6".

A trip to the local home improvement store yielded several viable options. Of those, I selected these plastic gutter screens as one of the lowest cost options. They've held up well for 10 years so far.

Next, use the grille as a pattern and mark on the rain gutter covers. Two are required to cover the entire cowl vent. Position the cover to hide the thick bars of the gutter cover. Measure twice, cut once! 

Gutter screens
Each covers half the cowl vent
Measure twice and mark
Cut, test fit, trim
Then cut out the gutter covers with strong, sharp scissors, metal snips, etc.  Test fit and trim so that the guard is slightly smaller than the grille area. 

Now test fit on the cowl to make sure the guard is not blocking the cowl grill's tabs that fit into slots nearest the windshield. Trim as needed.

Remove four rubber pieces against which the grille rests. Note where they were positioned. You'll put them back on later once the guard is in place, using some adhesive.
Reattach bumpers with adhesive
I used these #8 self-tapping screws
It is easiest to attach the guards directly to the Jeep's body, rather than to the cowl grill. I used #8 self-tapping sheet metal screws with wide, flat phillips heads. Before you start screwing in the screen with these screws, mark locations for the screws where they'll be hidden by the grill.

It works great!
Next, drill/drive in the screws, starting at the center and working outward. I used two screws in the middle, at the edges, and one on either side of the washer arms. That's enough to keep it in place and sufficiently tight against the surface of the intake.

What about the window washer nozzles? You could cut a hole for the stock nozzles which suck by modern standards. And, a little bit of stuff might get into the cowl. You could install modern hood nozzles, but that requires cutting up your hood. I tried this but be sure to measure carefully. Finally, wiper arm nozzles are an option, but may require cutting a small hole in the cowl screen to route the tubing.

The final step is to reinstall the cowl vent grill. Then, no more fall leaves entering your fresh air vents! Hope you find this helpful. I'm very glad I did this mod and wished I'd done it even sooner.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Replacing an A727 Reverse Servo

I knew what was wrong with the A-727. The reverse servo piston had cracked.

The Shimniok daddy-daughter Moab trip was coming up at the end of March.

I just had to get my rig back on the road and fast!

Which New Piston?

Unlike the stock, cast material, billet aluminum isn't prone to cracking, making them popular among the Mopar drag race crowd who also prefer 1-piece servos without the stock inner spring that cushions reverse engagement.

But surprise! The Jeep isn't a dragster. Fortunately, Randy J (mrrandyj) sells both 1- and 2-piece piston kits for 727. He's a good guy, easy to work with, and happy to share his considerable knowledge.

Real engineering, the kind that takes obsessive dedication and doesn't fit in a sound bite or ad slogan, is what Randy put into his awesome products.

The kit includes the piston, a new piston spring, and a beefy spring retainer, eliminating all the common reverse servo issues. You reuse the stock pin and inner spring.

Read on for the disassembly and reinstallation...

Monday, April 11, 2016

Mosquito Pass 2015

Back in August, 2015, right after blowing up reverse in my transmission, CFSJA went on a trail run over Mosquito Pass. We had a good turnout with 3 FSJs and two baby Jeeps.

The weather couldn't have been better and thanks to all the rain there were still wildflowers in the high country.

Read on for more pictures...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Diagnosing 727 Reverse Problems

Chrysler A727, picture from Novak Adapters
Last we left off, I was scrambling to get the rear brakes done in time for the Mosquito Pass run. The parts arrived quickly and I did the brake job with time to spare.

One adjusts the rear drums by driving in reverse and pressing the brake, which activaties the automatic adjusters. I did this a few times and then...


I did this a few times and was almost done, then ... no reverse! Nothing. Uh oh.

With a sinking feeling I drove home. Violet and I would be passengers on Mosquito Pass.

Transmissions are a final frontier for me: dark, arcane magical boxes of wonder, their inner workings a mystery wrapped in an enigma, enshrouded in a big WTF?! Well, here's what I did next...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Rear brakes and wheel bearings

I have been planning to go four-wheeling on Mosquito Pass with the CFSJA on Saturday, two days from today. However, my Jeep currently looks like this:

Good thing I checked the rear brakes. Shoes are gone. One side's cracked. The other side's at the rivets. And, I found side play in the passenger axle shaft. Ugh. Time to scramble...