Question: I've got a '95 Jeep ZJ with the 318 V-8. It was mildly built for 'wheeling (3 1/2-inch Rubicon Express lift, limited-slip in the Dana 35, 4.10:1 gears and 31-inch all-terrains for street driving). However, I now have an '80 CJ for the hard 'wheeling, so the ZJ is now serving as my tow vehicle. (It's not ideal, but it's what I can afford right now.) The radiator and thermostat (now a 185-degree unit) were replaced two years ago. The ZJ does pull that load pretty well; however, with the outside temp around 75 to 85 degrees, and trying to maintain 65 mph and the overdrive off, the engine temp wants to climb to 220. The only way to keep the temp around 210 is to slow down. Is there something I can do to bring the temp down? Is 220 OK? It seems high to me.
Answer: First, I believe you're running the wrong-temperature thermostat. I believe it should be around 195 or so, maybe higher. Check your owner's manual. If the water temperature is too low, the computer will make the fuel mixture a bit richer, which in turn will affect fuel mileage and possibly activate a trouble code light when not towing. Yes, I too don't like 220-degree water temperature, but it seems my own V-8 Grand always runs in the 200 to 210 range, even without a load, and it gets close to the 220 range when pulling.
Make sure the electric fan is coming on. This alone will make a huge difference in temperature control. Other than that, I would just say live with it. As a precaution, I run a quality full synthetic oil and change it at the 3,500-mile mark-or sooner, depending on driving history. Synthetic has a much higher tolerance to high temperatures, and with less friction, it may even help to lower the overall water temperature.
Question: I have a Suzuki Samurai that has Toyota axles front and rear with lockers and 5.29:1 gears. I have a 302 H.O. V-8 from a Mustang that I am installing over the winter. My dilemma is what transfer case to use. I want to run a C4 or a C6 automatic, and want to run an NP205, but don't know if a GM or Dodge case will work with the trans (passenger-side front differential).
Is there a way to install one with an adapter, or is there a specific case to look for? I do know that Advance Adapters makes an adapter for the C4 to a Toyota case, but I feel the 205 is more durable. I would also rather run a C6 for the overdrive.
Answer: While the 205 is an extremely strong transfer case, it has a couple of undesirable traits for your application. First, it's big and heavy and will take up a lot of room between the framerails, and maybe even won't fit between them. Secondly, it only has a 2:1 low-range gear, which isn't the most desirable for serious four-wheeling.
I would suggest that you see if you can find a right-side-drop NP207 'case or a Jeep Dana 300 transfer case, as these are a lot lighter, plenty strong for your application, and have a 2.72:1 and 2.62:1 low-range gear, respectively. Either one can be adapted to the Ford transmissions, and in fact take the same adapter plate. I would go with the C4 due to its overall smaller size-and by the way, the C6 is also just a three-speed without an overdrive. You could use an AOD four-speed overdrive automatic, which is really a good choice because you get a lower First gear than the C4 has, as well as a 33 percent overdrive. Both Advance Adapters and Novak have what you need to make it happen. If you do go with the AOD transmission, be sure to have a transmission shop show you how to adjust the TV cable. It's an important part in keeping the transmission alive.
Question: I have a '98 S-10 with a ZR-2 package with independent front suspension. I was going to install a 6-inch suspension lift and a 2-inch body lift, but I was told that the IFS was not worth spending money on, and the total amount would be around $1,800.
Others suggested I swap out the IFS for a straight front axle and then spend the money on the lift, which would be cheaper than lifting the IFS. Which would be smarter to do and stronger in the long run?
Answer: I wouldn't say that the IFS isn't worth spending money on. Yes, articulation is somewhat limited when compared to a custom solid-axle conversion, but what you would lose is ride quality. Depending on what solid axle you would use for the conversion, frontend strength most likely would be increased. Superlift makes an excellent 6-inch lift kit for the truck, and yes, the price is about $1,800. Combine the suspension lift kit with a 2-inch body lift, and you can run 33-inch tires with plenty of clearance.
But the $1,800 is just a starting point. The installation cost is going to be pretty darn steep. Superlift estimates about 12 hours of time to do the swap. That's with an experienced shop doing the work, i.e., one that has a lift and all the proper tools. This isn't something that the average guy wants to take on himself. By the time you add on the $800-plus of labor for the suspension lift, plus another $250 in labor for the body lift and kit, you're looking at something like $2,800.
However, a straight front-axle conversion isn't going to be cheaper. In fact, it may be a lot more when it's done. First off, you've got the expense of the complete axle assembly. Price will depend on what model you use and if it's a high-pinion or low-pinion design, and what internal components you plan to use. If you want it to be the same width as your stock setup, it means a custom-built unit. You'll have to redesign the suspension system, which will involve new springs and shocks as well as a new steering system with proper geometry. A leaf-spring setup would most likely be the easiest, but you could also use coils or coilovers.
I'm not trying to talk you out of going either way, but just want to give you an idea of what you're getting into before you get started. I've seen a lot of people jump into a project and then be unable to complete it, either due to lack of money or lack of skill.