4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!
|Every once in a while I was
getting an ABS warning light. I was also getting some vibration from the pedal every
time I put the brakes on. So, with 66,000 miles on the beast, I figured it was time
to go to the mechanic.
As if that was not enough, on my last trip, the left-front rotor was making metal-on-metal noises.
Smooth rotor and grooved rotor
I also knew that my rear pinion seal had been slowly leaking for a couple weeks. When I researched the work involved to do the pinion seal, I decided that it was too fussy for me to do while laying in the garage with two small kids asking me the perpetual "Why?" question. My front end needed alignment after the installation of the Old Man EMU springs.
I generally don't like to have people work on my cars because I have had multiple bad experiences. It is pointless to go into the individual stories - that would fill a web site. Suffice to say that anytime I had the keys over to someone, I have great reservations about what they are going to give back to me.
So it was that I booked an appointment at Tysons Jeep in Vienna, Virginia. The shop was not busy so I was able to get an appointment right away. I dropped it off and listed the items that needed attention:
Carl gave me a ride to the shop and I left the Jeep off. Later, the service writer called me to detail what they had found. In addition to the items that I had already identified they recommended flushing the cooling system, rebuilding the rear brake wheel cylinders, turning the drums, and replacing the drive belt. The grand total for all this was pretty imposing but not unexpected. There goes the winch for a few more months... So I gave them the go-ahead and the work was done.
The brakes were done. It turns out that the ABS problem was related to a sensor that failed when I was on my first trip to State Line. What's interesting about this is that the technician actually knew HOW it happened. He said that the emergency brake was engaged while the rear wheels were turning fast...
When I was being towed out of the second "stuck", I forgot to take the emergency brake off. When I was snatched, I applied power and the tow vehicle pretty much dragged me out of the hole. When we did that, the rear brake shoe hit the wheel cylinder and bent, causing damage to a wheel cylinder, brake shoe and compromising the ABS sensor.
The lesson learned is that I should have had it checked right away instead of nine months later... It didn't cost me more money to wait but my brake system was compromised for quite a while.
It was nice to have the serpentine belt replaced since they found a crack in it, which suggests it would fail soon. I don't relish the thought of being out on the trail with that kind of weakness waiting to leap out and grab me. I shall have to get a spare belt but for now the old one lives in the Jeep as a last resort.
The cooling system cleaning was too expensive for what was involved but it saved me the trouble of doing it so I suppose I should not complain.
The front-end alignment was worth every cent. The steering wheel is once again centered and the Jeep tracks nice and straight. So I can rotate the tires and not worry about premature wear. Not to mention that it should drive better on the highway.
As I have noticed lots of TJ owners seem to have trouble with leaky pinion seals, I will have to watch that to see if it resurfaces, but at least during the short trip back to the office, it seems fine so that is a good start.
All told, I am satisfied with the work and feel that it was worth the extra I paid to have them identify and resolve the problems that I might have missed. I am not sure that I could have easily identified the ABS problem. I probably would not have replaced the drive belt, which could have led to serious problems soon. I would not have flushed the cooling system, which would eventually lead to premature failure of the radiator. And forget about the pinion seal. I have a long history of just refilling the differential and neglecting the seal because I never seem to get the time to do the job...
The mechanic was pretty direct with me about the few things that should have been addressed sooner (the ABS and the brake pads on the front) but also commented that I had done a good job taking car of the vehicle.
Considering that it goes off-highway at least once every two weeks, and really has not seen much preventative maintenance, that made me feel pretty good about the sturdy nature of the vehicle, and my fair attempts to keep up with anything obvious.
I would recommend getting the brakes done according to the service interval for severe duty, and to have any ABS warnings investigated using the diagnostics that the dealers have. You should not skimp on them - it's the only thing stopping you from hitting something or going off a cliff...
When I got home, I removed the rust dust that had accumulated on the front wheel by using some Naval Jelly. The wheel cleaned up beautifully.
Tire Rotation and Balancing
On Saturday, I got up at the crack of dawn and brought the Jeep to Radial Tire in Bethesda where I got the tires rotated and balanced at no charge as a part of the deal I got when I purchased them. It is one of those places that is so popular that if you do not get there three hours before they open, you will find yourself spending the day waiting your turn. I was first in line, waited almost three hours for them to open, and was out of there within an hour after the doors opened. There were at least 30 cars in line behind me...
I discovered that the tires had "migrated" since the brake service. I was able to identify where they had last been located because one was more worn than the rest, and the left-front tire had heavy rust dust on the wheel from the brake pad failure. So I labeled the tires with the location of where I wanted them mounted after balancing. This is one of those times when it pays to know your vehicle well and be clear about what you want from your service technician. In my case, he was happy to oblige and the rotation and balancing went well. I had the spare rotated in, and the worn tire rotated to the spare location. That worked out well since that was the tire that should have gone to the spare anyway.
Some places do not let their employees accept tips but I always offer since these guys often don't make what they should, and a couple extra bucks here or there is always well received. Besides, the service was "free" so I had no other out of pocket expenses. The Jeep rides nice and smooth and the tires are ready to finish out the rest of their natural life in their current locations. I expect I will be replacing them in the early winter.
|1||56027728||Sensor AN 5005005||44.00|
|1||4883344-AD||Pad Kit F 5003003||141.00|
|2||5015965-AA||Rotor BRA 5005003||134.00|
|1||83504946||Seal Driv 2010066||11.10|
|1||4723367-AB||She Kit 5003004||114.00|
|1||5252630||Seal Package 5005009||48.70|
|1||4549625-AB||Fluid DOT 1081006||4.20|
|1||53010150||Belt Acce 7003001||33.50|
|2||4267020-AB||Coolant C 1081004||14.80|
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