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theksmith

Late to the Party: theksmith's 2016 JK Unlimited Rubicon (Gadget)

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got on Metalcloak's CTI trailer at a local shop yesterday. only scored a 770, which is a bit disappointing... with the current level of mods i expected to at least break 800.

 

still better than the last time though! in 2018 Gadget had just a baby lift and tires and scored a 600

 

i did find it interesting that the JL's consistently out-flexed the JK's (comparing similar tire size and overall rig height, all short-arm lifts).

 

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Edited by theksmith
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random new photos...

 

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Edited by theksmith
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went out for a little bit yesterday and managed to avoid most of the mud!

 

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Gadget started to have short spikes of running a little hot (230*) randomly even though it's been cool weather. i also noticed the coolant overflow tank getting filled almost every time i drove (then getting sucked back to nearly empty when the rig cooled as it should). i bled the system multiple times and replaced the radiator cap, but then i also noticed the exhaust smelling sweet on initial startup.

 

so last week i used a block check type fluid test and confirmed my suspicion, Gadget has a combustion leak. :(

 

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she continues to seemingly run fine (other than getting warm) and does not throw any codes. however, i spoke with Joe at On Point Performance and Offroad and he informed me that continuing do drive with coolant entering the exhaust could ruin the catalytic converters. those are over $1k each, so she's been parked since confirming the leak.

 

Joe also said in his experience with the 3.6L it was about equal chance of being a cracked head vs just a head gasket. the only way to know for sure was to take it apart and send the head out to be checked.

 

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based on several factors, i decided to put in a whole reman engine instead of digging into the top end... Gadget has 164k miles on her and I've had horrible luck with this engine since day 1. besides the typical oil cooler replacements, she's already had 1 complete new head, another camshaft, and had rocker arms & lifters replaced at least 4 times (i've lost count)! and i have what appears to be a large rear main seal leak currently.

 

there's also not that much more labor to replace the entire thing versus a head. i'd hate to spend the effort on a head replacement only to have the other side leak soon after or need to replace the oil pump, etc.

 

the 3.6L engines are at least plentiful. so despite the overall complexity of the DOHC layout and VVT system, a remanufactured long block can be had for $3,500. or, a completely new long block from Mopar is just under $7k. for that price difference i've decided to roll the dice on the reman and just hope to get 100k miles before i have to tear into it again. i also still have a dream of swapping in a 5.7L and 8 speed trans at some point. so if the remain can get me by for another few years, maybe i could acquire parts for that swap in the meantime - a man can dream right?

 

FYI, a full gasket set for these engines is over $300! while i'm in there, i'll also replace a few sensors and the only remaining original coolant hoses (to the heater core and oil cooler). so that will bring the project total with tax & shipping closer to $4,400. ouch! thankfully i can do all the labor myself which saves several thousand dollars.

 

the reman engine should be here Thursday or Friday, so I'll start working on pulling the old one mid-week.

 

Edited by theksmith
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H1DkZuA.jpeg

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1 hour ago, 4x4tographer said:

H1DkZuA.jpeg

 

 

 

that's even funnier because i was just outside figuring out how to position Gadget to do this project in the garage - can't work on her in the driveway (HOA).

 

got a nice diagonal parking job going on... just had to deflate the front tires to 5psi to get the flipped-up hood beneath the garage door opener! 😅

 

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Edited by theksmith
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received an oil analysis report from the oil change i did a couple weeks ago. just further confirmation of an internal coolant leak...

 

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got the engine nearly ready to pull today, but stopped to assemble my new engine hoist and folding engine stand. the reman engine is on schedule to arrive tomorrow and i'll need the hoist to unload it.

 

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i also made some quick attachment points for the hoist out of a 1/4" thick bar i had in my scrap pile and some thick washers. apparently the exhaust header mounting bolts are the generally accepted place to lift the 3.6L from.

 

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i could hook the leveler's tabs to those 4 bolts directly, but it takes up a lot of vertical space and i'm trying to pull this thing without removing the front clip/radiator/condenser/etc. so instead i'm using a 6'x1" lift sling (strap) doubled over to 3' to  hook the hoist too.

 

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tomorrow i need to remove: a/c compressor, power steering pump, flex-plate bolts, bellhousing bolts, loosen the motor mount bolts, and take the wheels off to lower the front end - then i can try to yank this POS! total time into this project so far is 9 hours.

Edited by theksmith
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received the new engine yesterday and got it mounted to the engine stand. i needed to work so that was the only progress made toward this project!

 

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Edited by theksmith
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