Zorba's JeepOrdered a bunch of stuff today, including new coolant and radiator hoses. Needed to take a look at the plugs to see if they had been changed recently. Yea, right. Obviously they've been in there a very long time, maybe even the originals or close to it. The gap on the one sample I checked was .063", and the others looked similar. So I decided to source the plugs locally and get them changed post-haste! I'm surprised it ran, much less ran as well as it did.
Spark Plugs and Fender Flares.
Old NGK spark plugs, with Goddess only knows how many miles on them...
New Autolite XP-985 Iridium/Platinum plugs - with never seize on threads.
Just after setting the gap to .040" on all of them.
Bottom side of the coil rail.
All the old ones, cylinder 1 (right) to 6 (left).
The loom disintegrated from age and heat - new loom put on this cable.
Coil rail bolted down.
Intake piping restored!
However, I've heard tell of plugs being worn to over .080" and still working in these. The later TJ versions were the first ones with the high energy distributorless ignition yet called for an "old skool" plug replacement interval of 30K miles. These were probably in for 60K, 90K or even more would be my guess. I installed the Jeep forum recommended Autolite XP-985 Iridium/Platinum plugs, which should go for at least the next 100K miles, and I'm hearing up to 200K. Unlike whoever installed the NGKs, I used never seize on the plug threads as well as the bolt threads that hold the coil rail in place. Always always...
A bit of a scare, I got the plugs all in, put the coil rail back on, and fired it up. It wasn't happy, it was running rough and it threw a code. Code was "Cylinder 5 misfire". Long story short, the plug boot was bent over rather than going onto the plug. Its pretty much impossible to see what those boots are doing when you snap the coil rail onto the plugs - the take home lesson is to grope the plug boots on all six cylinders to make sure they went on correctly. I've never worked on an ignition system like this one, but I'm learning! Engine runs much better with all 6 cylinders firing. It also idles better, there was always a very subtle stumble at idle, which is now gone!
The SEM "Trim Black" came highly recommended, and I'll say that its a very good product. TJ fender flares are notorious for looking ticky-tacky as they age. Although some guys remove them to paint, that is a royal pain in the ass by all accounts, so I bought some plastic file folder dividers, cut them in half, and slipped them between the flares and the metal parts. That worked great on the back, the front flares had some areas that even this thin plastic wouldn't slip behind, so I had to augment with masking tape.
Reprised from previously, the new gas flap shows how dingy the fender flares look.
Plastic folder dividers used to mask off.
SEM Trim Black applied.
Very fast application!
And looks MUCH better too.
Front fenders were a bit more involved to mask off.
Side lite removed...
And wrapped up to protect from overspray.
Over all view - vastly better!
After degreasing, I sprayed the SEM product. The trick with it isn't a few "thin coats", its multiple passes of "light dusting". I found it worked best to just lightly dust the plastic from one end to the other, and then go back over it again, and again, and again doing another light dusting each time. The product dries so fast when put on this way - in the Florida heat at least - that its dry by the time you start the next pass.
I expect the flares will now look great for many years, probably longer than the exposed raw plastic did. If they get scratched, I can just touch up with the spray can. I'll also need to inspect tomorrow if there are any spots I may have missed. As it is, they came out looking great. There are some minor scratches and gouges in the plastic, obviously from branches on trails that the paint can't fix, but you have to be looking closely for them to see them.
Read on for the next part!