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Thread: JeepManJim's 2004 GC Overland Build

  1. #1
    Junior Member JeepManJim's Avatar
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    JeepManJim's 2004 GC Overland Build

    So last year I moved from the great Jeepin' state of Arizona to the beltway near DC. After driving my 2011 JK that was built based off a short commute to work and rock crawling on the weekend, in DC for about a year I determined it was a pig... It'd been over 18 months since I'd been able to take it offroading and the little 3.8L really couldn't hack it's new highway duties of swimming up stream in traffic even with being regeared... So I began searching for a 2002 - 2004 Grand Cherokee with a V8. My assumption is the added power from the v8, a mild 4" or so lift and 33's would make for a decent light duty offroader and still be able to keep up with traffic on the beltway.

    After searching the car lots and living on the online car sites for about 2 months I found what I considered an acceptable deal on a 2004 Grand Cherokee Overland. As luck would have it, the WJ was even the color I wanted after personally inspecting it, I was amazed to find so little rust and it appeared to be in pretty good shape. I did notice a couple of minor issues though, first, what I would call the AC coolant return hose showed signs of a leak when with the AC on. Since it's fall and the AC has been off I have not seen any additional evidence since wiping it off. So I believe I'll have a few months until I'll need to fix it, but it will definitely want to revisit it before summer.. Secondly while I had the WJ on the lift I could see evidence of oil on the back passengers side of the engine, probably from the valve cover gasket. Honestly it looked pretty aged and have not seen any drops on my drive way so I am hoping the previous owner already replaced the gaskets... regardless I'm keeping my eye on it just to make sure and first signs of oil I'll take it in to have a shop evaluate or confirm the leak location and then I'll probably perform the labor.

    Since I was lucky to find a WJ with the overland package it came from the factory with the skid plates and sliders... to get me by as I begin the build. In the short time I've owned the WJ I've really come to enjoy the heated seats which is a bonus that my old 2011 JK didn't have. The only thing I've determined that I miss is the satellite radio. After about two weeks of ownership I began noticing what I thought was the front trac-lok diff chattering while turning in parking lots. After some research I learned it was probably the diff in the NV247 transfer case. I also read that this is a pretty common problem, especially when the incorrect fluid is used. Jeep only recommends the Mopar transfer case fluid designed specifically for the NV247. This perfectly explained why the chattering happened so suddnely as the Ford dealer I bought it from said they put in all new fluids... and I'll bet they didn't use MOPAR Fluid. After draining and readding the correct fluid I drove to the elementary school parking lot about 1/2 mile away and noticed an immediate improvement. The chatter went away except when at full lock which I could immediately tell was the front diff. I'll be replacing it next...

    In prepping to do the diffs, I began searching for JT7 85w-140, which is what I've always ran as it's great synthetic oil and has friction modifier in it already for the limited slip diffs... my problem was I couldn't find JT7 here on the east coast and had to order it. Since I was ordering that I decided to cheat a bit and ordered LubeLockers which are reusable diff gaskets because I hate messing with RTV. Couple days later when the lubelockers arrived I found out the Dana 44A on the WJ uses a different bolt patter than a standard Dana 44, and lubelocker doesn't make a gasket that will fit it. I guess I'll be RTVing the back after all... :/ One more reason to add JK Rubicon front and rear Dana 44's with e-lockers to my dream list of future mods.

    So I got lucky as a friend back in the great Jeepin' state of Arizona was just upgrading WJ with 4.5" clayton lift with 6" coils and said he'd sell them for a great deal. So those are currently being brought to me by the brown suited santa and should be here before the end of November.

    So that about brings my progress up to date...

    Currently I've been reading alot regarding WJ lifts and I'm debating on which lift kit best suits my needs. I really like the quality of the Iron Rock Offroad (IRO) Critical Path kits. However, I really like the completeness of the Rough Country (RC) Long Arm kits... One thing that keeps popping up in my mind is how this rig is 13 years old and has 150,000 miles and I'd really like to replace every suspension bushing... With that in mind the RC kit most of that while I believe the IRO kit would require me to reuse some of the stock parts in the rear (retaining some of the wore out bushings). Oh and the less complete kit costs more to boot.

    A few other things on my dream list of future mods are an upgraded rear sway bar, quick disconnects and JK Rubicon take off wheels w/ mud tires which could slip right on after I do the suspension install.

    If anyone has any advice or experience with WJ's I'd be willing to listen.
    --
    JeepManJim
    An Arizonan transplanted in the beltway...
    2011 Wrangler Unlimited - couldn't keep up in the beltway
    2014 Grand Cherokee Summit
    2004 Grand Cherokee Overland

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    JTS Contributor 4.3LXJ's Avatar
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    Not much real experience here, but some advice. I do have a parts WJ though. First of all, if you have the 4.7L engine, which it sounds like you do, pay particular attention to lubrication and coolant temp. These engines are built to very close tolerances and cannot be abused. I recommend that you add a product called Power Punch to the crank case. It has been around for at least 60 years and is like a high pressure friction modifier intended for engines. They make a product for differentials too. This will keep your close tolerance engine running strong. Weak point in the engine seems to be the passenger side camshaft. But I like these engines anyway. If you feel adventurous, 08 heads, cam, and intake will take this engine up to 310 hp. Also if you feel like wrenching, I would suggest changing out the NP247 with the NP242. It came in the WJ so you can get all the parts to make it a factory job. I think this is a much better tcase for street and off road purposes since you can lock the case in high or low range and save a little fuel on the highway in 2WD. On RC suspensions, beware of low quality. They are known for cheap bushings. With suspensions, you get what you pay for

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    Junior Member JeepManJim's Avatar
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    Glad you found my thread @4.3LXJ
    I have very little experience with the 4.7 but friends that have, have warned me the same, and those with 4.7 HO experience have warned me even more... So I've been watching the temp gauge and the oil pressure gauge religiously. Honestly, I've never heard of power punch will look into it.

    Now please bare with my ignorance here. Remember I'm coming from the land of "Lakkapower" which translates directly to english as "Jeep Wrangler JK". I was under the understanding the two engines were more like half bred cousins, than brothers, with the newer having 8 pistons and 16 spark plugs, yes two per piston.... But from what your telling me I could swap the heads, cam and intake and still be able to gain 30+ HP? Again, like I said, since I'm coming from the land of Lakkapower, I've been pretty excited with the power and grunt the HO puts forth. But 30 HP may sway my mind. Do you know how much horse power I'd be able to gain? Do you have a link to a write up that shows this?

    As for the transfer case, my apologies, it's on my list of to do's... but am thinking of picking up a 231 rather than a 242. The 231 has alot larger aftermarket support and from my experience in the great Jeepin' state of Arizona, I believe having a 2wd low option (available through teraflex) would benefit me better than having full and part time 4wd high and my understanding is most parts are swappable between the two.

    As far as the lift I am tracking like a Hemi Hellcat Challenger... and that's why I am still reading up on recent buyers reviews and such. I've read two things, first RC updated their lifts and joints about two years ago. I've also read that most buyers with in two years are pretty happy with their lifts. Soooo, I'm not sure if the update worked to fix some issues or if the new buyers are MallCrallers... But to be fair I am tossed up when it comes to quality vs warranty... I've had Rock Krawler and Teraflex stuff on my JK and both had their issues too... and to be honest they both gave me hard times as far as warrantying some parts when it came to friction points... so my current thought is it could be a Crap Shoot... your thoughts?
    --
    JeepManJim
    An Arizonan transplanted in the beltway...
    2011 Wrangler Unlimited - couldn't keep up in the beltway
    2014 Grand Cherokee Summit
    2004 Grand Cherokee Overland

  4. #4
    JTS Contributor 4.3LXJ's Avatar
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    As far as RC is concerned, yes they have great customer service, but have stopped warrantying their older stuff which needed warranty badly. Originally they came out with the first cheap long arm kits. However their stuff was crap. For the first few years they just handed out replacement parts like candy on Halloween. They have gone through two redesigns since they started in the current market. Basically they have just been rolling their money over in order to get market share and name recognition. Also, the metal is thin. So beware. I don't have a specific link on the 4.7 parts swap. Just been doing reading. One thing is needed though, a throttle body adapter. 08 has electronic throttle body and prior has mechanical. It is just a plate with holes drilled in it. There is a guy that makes one, but he wants way too much for it. Cheaper to have one made at a local shop or in my case I would make my own. Not that difficult. Power Punch is good stuff. You can assemble engines with it and not worry about loosing it over time while you take your time.

    As for the tcase. I have installed the tera low in a 231 that belongs to my son. What it does is give you another position to shift into. But..........you have to have linkage that will accommodate it. I don't think you can get away with that with the stock tcase linkage in the WJ. It is a cable instead of the traditional mechanical. The reason I recommended the 242 is that you could have such a clean install and get the kind of performance the 231 has in high range

  5. #5
    Junior Member JeepManJim's Avatar
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    I ended up going with the Iron Rock Offroad (IRO) critical path long arm upgrade kit (front only for now)... and I'm really feeling spoiled by the luxurious ride the long arms provide. Now I'd like to back track a bit... you were talking about those heads and cams from an 08, what model or will any work? Do they have the same problem the WJ 4.7's have of dropping valve seats? If not this could be a win win.
    --
    JeepManJim
    An Arizonan transplanted in the beltway...
    2011 Wrangler Unlimited - couldn't keep up in the beltway
    2014 Grand Cherokee Summit
    2004 Grand Cherokee Overland

  6. #6
    JTS Contributor 4.3LXJ's Avatar
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    As far as I know, any of the 08 pickup 4.7s will work.

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    Junior Member JeepManJim's Avatar
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    I haven't been able to find anything on being able to adapt the new heads since the gen II heads had two spark plugs per cylinder. Do you have any leads or write ups?
    --
    JeepManJim
    An Arizonan transplanted in the beltway...
    2011 Wrangler Unlimited - couldn't keep up in the beltway
    2014 Grand Cherokee Summit
    2004 Grand Cherokee Overland

  8. #8
    Junior Member JeepManJim's Avatar
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    I actually just found a couple of posts where guys were replacing the older complete engines with newer ones, any additional data would be interesting.
    --
    JeepManJim
    An Arizonan transplanted in the beltway...
    2011 Wrangler Unlimited - couldn't keep up in the beltway
    2014 Grand Cherokee Summit
    2004 Grand Cherokee Overland

  9. #9
    JTS Contributor 4.3LXJ's Avatar
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    Here is some discussion to get you started on the throttle body and intake. http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f310/...4-7ho-1458851/

    Here is some discussion on the heads including a guy that says he has done it http://www.dakota-durango.com/forum/...=107679&page=2

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