Question:I have a '93 Jeep Wrangler YJ, and was changing the oil when I discovered water droplets on the dipstick. What are the possible causes? What solutions do you recommend?
Answer: Possible causes? Could be a number of things: A cracked valve seat, a cracked cylinder head or engine block, a leaking head gasket, or just plain-old condensation from not driving the vehicle long enough to get the oil hot enough to burn off any moisture that has collected from short hot and cold cycles.
My guess is the latter because you are only seeing water drops on the dipstick and not a milky yellow color in the oil. My second guess is that you'd checked the oil after just a short trip where the engine never came up to operating temperature-or if it did reach temperature, it didn't stay there very long.
What happens is when the engine is warm and you shut it down, during the cooling process, cooler and moister air is pulled into the engine where it condenses on the sides of the hot engine, or in your case on the dipstick. There have been some cases where a very small crack develops under the valves' exhaust seats and the head castings around the valve guides.
If you're convinced that the moisture is not coming from condensation, then I would suggest you try a quality block sealer. Chances are it will solve the problem, and it's a lot easier to do than pull the head and weld up the crack. My favorite brand is K-W Block Seal. Be sure to follow the instructions.
Question: I have a '96 Bronco and I installed rear revolver shackles. Should I install a traction bar in the rear? If so, where are the best anchor points for it on the chassis and the differential? For traction bar, I mean the bar that goes along with the leaf springs.
Jose Ortiz Gonzalez
Answer: If the springs are correct in design, and you're not using an excessively large tire combined with lots of horsepower, then a traction bar most likely is not needed.
Adding revolver shackles to the rear springs may cause some unseen problems. Funny thing about revolvers is that on some vehicles, they work great, and on others they cause all sorts of handling problems. A lot has to do with the suspension geometry, including the height difference between the front and rear spring mount locations.
I run them on the rear of my own flatfender Jeep using reversed Cherokee XJ 6-inch lift springs from Rusty's Off Road. I like the heck out of them. Maybe it's the reversed spring (short half to the rear instead of forward), the mounting angle, or whatever, but they work just great.
Keep in mind, to get the full amount of suspension articulation out of them; you're also going to need longer shocks, which also means new shock mounts. Now if you really need the traction bar to control axlehop, then the revolvers may not be of any benefit. Traction bars, unless they are properly designed, somewhat limit articulation-enough so I think that the revolvers won't open up like they are designed to do.
If you plan to build the bar yourself, then I suggest you take a look at the bulletin boardwww.fullsizebronco.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1235381#post1235381, as I am sure there is something here that will be of help. Superlift, Fabtech, Pro Comp, and several other suspension companies offer traction bars that would simplify building your own.
Question: I have a 4x4 Dodge 3/4-ton pickup with the 360 V-8. After adding a lift and 35-inch tires, even with a 4.10:1 gearset, I feel a big loss in power. Besides that, the fuel mileage sucks. I would really like to improve the performance, especially down in the lower rpm range as well as the fuel mileage.
I remember reading in a past issue on something that you wrote about headers. You said that on small-block engines, leave the short-length, large-diameter tubes to the racers and use very long tubes with a small diameter (in the 1.5-inch range). Besides that, living in the Great Lakes region, where they put salt on the road, I want something that will last and not have to be replaced every couple of years. I've looked at all the major manufacturers and it seems that the only headers that are available are short-length, big-tube designs. Do you have any recommendations?
Answer: You're right-long-tube headers for the Dodge truck just don't exist. Mainly because there just isn't enough room for them due to chassis design. I had a set of so-called "brand name" headers on our Project Rammit and I just wasn't impressed. They were short and unequal and didn't gain all that in performance or mileage, and the coating on them peeled off within the year.
I did some checking and it seems that L&L Products (972/475-5202, www.landlproducts.com) has a set of headers with 1.5-inch primary tubes that are about 20 inches long. OK, they're not really long enough, but about the longest I could locate. These aren't your mass-production, 18-gauge, low-buck headers, but use 14-gauge tubing, 1/2-inch-thick flanges, and are Nickelshield-plated. These are covered by a lifetime warranty for not only workmanship but rust-out. By the way, L&L are the guys who make the great 460 Ford motor swap kits, and they do have some really long primary tube headers for most of their conversions.