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Discussion Starter #1
So, I'm new here. I did my 5 new member posts in the New Member section. There are pictures and explanation of how I got to the point of this discussion over there.

2006 Commander Base
Present Equipment:
4.7 L Engine (trashed)
545 RFE Transmission (190K miles)
NVG245 Transfer Case (190K miles)

Future Possibilities:
5.7 L HEMI (2019) - Already purchased from a wrecked 1500 Ram, with 30K miles.

545 RFE Transmission (just rebuild or swap with a remanufactured)
NVG245 Transfer Case (just rebuild or swap with a remanufactured)

or

ZF 8HP70 Transmission, 8 speed (Came with the HEMI)
Borg Warner 44-45 Transfer Case (Came with the HEMI)

IMG_5327[859].jpg



Either way I'm in this for a bunch of wiring work. Question is would it be worth it for all the mods required for the 8HP70 8 speed transmission fitment and drive shaft work? I really do not know a thing about the BW 44-45.

I am certain the newer Grand Cherokees have this transmission. I know the tranny is pretty solid in the Charger.

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well, I decided on selling off the the ZF transmission and the BW transfer case. Will stay with 545RFE and NV245. Hopefully I’ll get enough cash from selling them to rebuild the existing gearboxes.
 

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Sounds like quite the project. You are probably smart to stick with the stock drivetrain.


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Discussion Starter #4
I am a bit overdue for an update on this project. Again you can read my new member post for the gory background information.

Summary: I bought a real junker 4.7 with an engine that had all three big failures (dropped rockers/broken lifter casting, dropped valve seat, and broken exhaust bolts) among many other trashed interior / exterior components.

As far gone as everything was, I thought I would just try to swap in a HEMI.

I bought an engine and began sourcing together parts and ran into some real show stoppers (no used header to muffler exhaust sections can be sold at salvaged yards, and finding an uncut wiring harness that I could trust at a reasonable price). The high cost of these two components really caused me to reconsider my decision.

I started looking for options to flat out just buy a "needs work" HEMI, since I already had a new engine. That is another story.

So, the block and pistons looked good. Really only the right head needed to be replaced on the 4.7 because of the broken lifter casting. The head was actually flat within less than .001.
I found a good head from my local Pull-A-Part and did a total top end rebuild.

I did the following:
Pressure washed and cleaned the heads
New hydraulic lifters
Valve seals
Head gaskets
Exhaust gaskets
Valve cover gaskets
All the minor gaskets and seals included with a head gasket kit
New exhaust bolts
New head bolts
Spark Plugs
Coils
Water Pump
Tensioner / idler
Accessory belt
Timing chain and guide set with new cam sprockets
Thermostat
T-stat housing
Upper /lower radiator hoses
Both heater hoses
Both low pressure power steering hoses
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I forgot to mention the new headlights. They added quite a facelift.

I filled the cooling system with distilled water. If you ever do this, you MUST fill from the upper radiator hose bleed port to prime the water pump FIRST.
Then I overfilled the power steering reservoir, anticipating a rapid consumption to refill the cooler and hoses.

I nervously turned the key and the old boy fired right up. It smoked like BBQ on the Fourth of July from both the engine bay and the tailpipe. I turned it off and refilled the Power Steering. On and off again twice more after rotating the wheels to both ends of the stops and kept checking the power steering and water levels.

By the fourth crank there was no smoke coming from the rear anymore and the engine had really smoothened out. I ran it like that watching the temp for about a half hour. It did start to spike up between the halfway point and the redline.

It was getting dark and I shut it off at that point.

The next day I drained all the water out. When I opened the radiator petcock, I realized that I had forgotten to plug in the electric fan. I plugged it in. I had also drained the block by opening the thermostat housing. I refilled the system with Zerex G05, and distilled water (50/50 of course).

I cranked up and ran some motor flush for five minutes and then did another oil / filter change with 5W30, and my favorite Wix XP filter.

This time I ran at 45 minutes and no smoke anywhere. The aux fan did a great job regulating the temp. Around 20 minutes I ran at around 1800 RPM.

I think I am ready for a test drive!
 

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I want that done to mine!
 
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Discussion Starter #11
The brakes were inspected and the pads have close to 3/8 " on them, and the rotors looked good. I'll bleed them all a bit later. The fluid was pretty dark.

I was able to get it on the road and test drove it for 30 miles of old country backroads. Remember this is effectively the first time I have really driven it, so I am still trying to find all the things that are wrong so I can continue the mechanical restoration.

I was pleased that the temperature maintained itself; there was no overheating at all. It actually ran pretty well. The temp stayed around 96 C, according to my Blue Driver OBD2 scanner.

Around mile 20, the Jeep check engine light came on and it had thrown a trouble code. I pulled over and did a quick scan. The trouble codes are as follows:

Active trouble codes
P2097 - Post Catalyst Fuel Trim System Too Rich Bank 1

Pending Trouble codes
P0305 - Cylinder 5 Misfire
P2097 - Post Catalyst Fuel Trim System Too Rich Bank 1

The Banks are named after the lead cylinder. So since Cylinder 1 is on the Left (drivers) Side, that means Bank 1 is on the left. All my trouble leading to the top end rebuild was on the Right Side (Bank 2), so at least there is no trouble there.

Also note that the cylinders alternate sides as follows:
Left Side (starting at the fan)
1357
Right Side (starting at the fan)
2468

So Cylinder 5 is also on Bank 1, which might be a clue. I replaced and gapped the spark plugs and coils, but only replaced the o rings on the fuel injectors. I also replaced the exhaust gasket, and bolts (which were torqued to FSM specs). So those are unlikely culprits. I will start with checking all the connections / wires for the O2 sensor after the catalytic converter, and may just go ahead and replace it. Those connections are a real pain to reach. Not looking forward to that.

I did notice that after the code appeared, the idle became erratic. I'll check everything out, reset the code and let you guys know how it shakes out.

Tomorrow, I am picking up four nice Jeep GC wheels with like new tires for $125. The ones on my Commander are worn out and mismatched, and the wheels are all peeling off the clearcoat. I am just sticking with the OEM tire size.

Then, I am heading over to Pull - A - Part to take out a good windshield from a wrecked Commander, and will put it in this one whenever we get a couple of days nice weather.
 

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Nice to see I'm not the only one out there crazy enough to take what others have given up on and giving it new life! You have done a lot of work on this one physically and mentally. Hope it just keeps getting better.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Well, today I am a bit defeated.

I broke the windshield I was trying to take out of a pull it yourself junk yard. At least I didn't have to pay for it. But, I am going to have to likely buy a new one, and possibly just pay someone to put it in. I did not really have the budget for that.

Two of the "Like New" tires had irreparable damage. I had to source a matching one from the salvage yard. I happen to have another one on hand. But I couldn't get them all on because some ham fisted knucklehead had tightened one of the lug bolts down so tight, even the tire store I had do the balancing, couldn't get it off. I am in the process of trying to drill it out. I have worked on the lug nut for three hours and still do not have it off.

I had ordered two replacement keys because all I originally got was the grey transponder key. Every time I used it to unlock the vehicle, the alarm would go off until I put it in the ignition. Well, the auto locksmith could only get one key to work. He said the other one was showing up still matched to another vehicle. I had bought them from a key refurbisher online. I had already paid to have the key cut by the time we found this out. I hope I can at least get an exchange from the online retailer. On the bright side, I have two keys now, and one of them is a remote key, so no more alarm every time I enter the vehicle, and I can program the next one myself.

I still haven't looked at trying to clear the codes.

I did get the vehicle on the interstate, and now have around 80 miles on the rebuild, and so far no problems running up to 70mph. One thing I noticed is that the Jeep is just floating on the springs, bouncing around like one of those playground animals on top of a spring. I am debating whether to put shocks on it at this time or not.

I am really starting to get tired. Every thing I put my hand on with this thing has some sort of major underlying issue. Between all the multitude of POs not doing a lick of maintenance and used car dealers hacking this thing up, if not for me, this old boy was bound for the graveyard.

Well, enough whining. Tomorrow is another day. I am going to get that last wheel swapped, but will have to change out the lug another day. Also, I will bleed the brakes. At least then, the brakes, the cooling system, and the power steering will be finished.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
New windshield installed today $180 installed at my house.

Finally drilled out the lug nut and have four wonderful GC wheels and tires that match. I still need to replace the bad lug bolt. Starting to really come together.

IMG_5524[1430].jpg


IMG_5540[1428].jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Now, for the big news...running great and NO CODES!!!

I cleared all the codes and cranked up to see which code came back first, P0305, or P2097. Almost immediately the P0305 Cylinder 5 misfire code returned. So, I set my focus on the cylinder 5 ignition system. I had overtightened the coil bolts, and could not fit a wrench under the coil to catch the manifold bolt head to keep it from turning. I went to Harbor Freight and got a cheap set of wrenches and ground down a 10mm real thin so it would fit underneath it. I still couldn't fit it. So I just backed out the whole coil / stud assembly until it was raised up enough to get my skinny wrench underneath it.

So, I got the coil out, with the intention of swapping coils with another cylinder to see if the problem followed the coil. I decided to go ahead and take a look at the spark plug while the coil was out. Man, I found the biggest smoking gun and it made me a happy man. Apparently when I installed that plug, I must have dropped it down the sparkplug hole because the electrode had zero gap. I for sure had gapped them all according to the manufacturers spec, which for these plugs was .044". I regapped the plug, put it all back together, and have been driving it for two days now and there are NO CODES!!!.

Now I just have to drive it a while until it gets enough miles to log all the internal checks so I can pass inspection. Once that is complete, I am confident that I am finally in pass territory.

I still need to replace the rear bumper, it had had a mild impact, and I want to put one on ready for the trailer hitch I got from the salvage yard, for the bike rack. I found one (a rear bumper assembly) locally in the right color. Hopefully they will still have it tomorrow.

I replaced a bunch of door fasteners today, so the door panels all look flush and clean. Again the salvage yard was a gold mine for OEM fasteners, and they usually do not charge me anything for even a handful of them. I have one interior door handle to replace as well. I bought a replacement from eBay with the metal inside flange. Then I shall focus intensely on the carpet, and upholstery steam cleaning.

Friends, we are getting close to the end of this journey. It has been a true test of my perseverance. I really got down a few days ago, when absolutely nothing seemed to go right, but I just had to keep a positive mental attitude and focus on the thing I could finish, and celebrate that little win, then use the energy from that to keep moving forward. When you get there, yourself, you just have to refuse to give up.
 

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Now, for the big news...running great and NO CODES!!!

I cleared all the codes and cranked up to see which code came back first, P0305, or P2097. Almost immediately the P0305 Cylinder 5 misfire code returned. So, I set my focus on the cylinder 5 ignition system. I had overtightened the coil bolts, and could not fit a wrench under the coil to catch the manifold bolt head to keep it from turning. I went to Harbor Freight and got a cheap set of wrenches and ground down a 10mm real thin so it would fit underneath it. I still couldn't fit it. So I just backed out the whole coil / stud assembly until it was raised up enough to get my skinny wrench underneath it.

So, I got the coil out, with the intention of swapping coils with another cylinder to see if the problem followed the coil. I decided to go ahead and take a look at the spark plug while the coil was out. Man, I found the biggest smoking gun and it made me a happy man. Apparently when I installed that plug, I must have dropped it down the sparkplug hole because the electrode had zero gap. I for sure had gapped them all according to the manufacturers spec, which for these plugs was .044". I regapped the plug, put it all back together, and have been driving it for two days now and there are NO CODES!!!.

Now I just have to drive it a while until it gets enough miles to log all the internal checks so I can pass inspection. Once that is complete, I am confident that I am finally in pass territory.

I still need to replace the rear bumper, it had had a mild impact, and I want to put one on ready for the trailer hitch I got from the salvage yard, for the bike rack. I found one (a rear bumper assembly) locally in the right color. Hopefully they will still have it tomorrow.

I replaced a bunch of door fasteners today, so the door panels all look flush and clean. Again the salvage yard was a gold mine for OEM fasteners, and they usually do not charge me anything for even a handful of them. I have one interior door handle to replace as well. I bought a replacement from eBay with the metal inside flange. Then I shall focus intensely on the carpet, and upholstery steam cleaning.

Friends, we are getting close to the end of this journey. It has been a true test of my perseverance. I really got down a few days ago, when absolutely nothing seemed to go right, but I just had to keep a positive mental attitude and focus on the thing I could finish, and celebrate that little win, then use the energy from that to keep moving forward. When you get there, yourself, you just have to refuse to give up.
@Sniperdoc;

Congrats on seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Anybody who has owned a Commander for 2 or more years has most likely had some similar experiences chasing Gremlins. I went through it too, although not quite to the extent that you did.

It can definitely be trying, but, it's so worth it when it's all over, because they just don't make 4x4 SUV's like this anymore. Once you get it up to snuff, maintain it and she will serve you well.

Just to give you a little perspective, I went from this:







To this;







 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I am overdue for an update. The saga continues. Here we go again. If you give a mouse a cookie, he is just going to want ...

I had the vehicle inspected, and it failed. It was not due to any work that I had done, so that is the positive. It failed due to lower ball joints and outer tie rod ends. Also, I tried to refill the A/C lines and evacuate them. I discovered a hole in the high pressure pipe. I did this for sure trying to move things around during the engine work. I got a good high and low pressure pipe from the junk yard. Will install once the failed inspection parts are fixed.

While I am in there I decided to do replace the struts and strut hardware. I had bought new brakes, that I almost convinced myself to install on the HEMI commander, so I am just going to put them on this one, as originally intended, since I want to set up the HEMI Commander as a tow / hauler, I want beefier brakes.

Lately Completed Work So Far:
I replaced the rear shocks with some daily driver's.
I replaced the Emergency Brake shoes and hardware (found a pristine new set at the junk yard for $4). There were literally no friction surfaces remaining, and the bare metal was contacting the drums.
  • The new shoes would not contract small enough to get the drum on.
  • I had to remove the floor console, physically adjust the hand lever back and jam a tool into it to lock in in place enough to give me enough cable slack to contract the shoes enough to get the drums on.
  • While the floor console was out, I replaced the shift lever sliding cover, which was torn / missing.
I lubed the caliper pins (boots were fine).
New pads installed.
Replaced the previously drilled out wheel lug.
I cleaned all the crap off the headliner with a wet microfiber cloth, with surprisingly good results.
Replace all missing door clips and hardware.
Replaced one interior door handle.
Replaced the left side middle row seatbelt receivers.
Disassembled the middle row center seat back and replaced the retracting seatbelt and mechanism.

In Progress:
Right side new daily driver strut assembly (including all new rubber parts, and top bracket) installed on the old spring.
Right side new outer tie rod end installed.
Working on getting the lower ball joint out. I have to use some more brute force against lower strut clevis bolt, so I can free up the lower control arm so it can drop down low enough to get the ball joint tool on it. That bolt is a real bear. I hope like heck I can free it up.

Here is a picture of the tool that really worked well for getting the lower ball joint and outer tie rod end free from the knuckle.

IMG_5647[1589].jpg
 
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