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The Jeep Guru Jeep Performance Improvement Ideas Sun, 21 Jun 2020 23:58:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chasing Death Wobble Sun, 21 Jun 2020 23:55:42 +0000 Continue reading "Chasing Death Wobble"

Changing parts to reduce wheel shimmy

After a recent tire rotation, I noticed that the steering had a small shake. Over time that shake got worse and worse. Then one day, I hit a bump, and there it was full-on Death Wobble.

I immediately ordered a track bar. Because almost every Jeep that has come through my shop with death wobble, the problem was the track bar.

When I unbolted the axle end, I thought I had found the problem. The mounting hole was oval-shaped. I welded a washer over the hole and drilled it out to tightly fit the mounting bolt. A test drive showed this was not the problem.

So I went ahead and installed the new track bar. I had to use a tie road end breaker to get the tapered pin out of the mount as it had been in there a while.

A test drive showed the steering felt much better but there was still some shimmy at 55 to 60 MPH. I hit my test bump nad is was back to death wobble. But there was some improvement.

I had my Dad watch the steering while I worked the steering wheel and he noticed some play in one of the tie rod ends. So I ordered those.

  • Moog ES3094L Tie Rod End

Moog ES3094L Tie Rod End

  • Moog ES3095R Tie Rod End

Moog ES3095R Tie Rod End

Curiously, when I had my toe rod off the Jeep, I noticed that is was installed backwards. When I reinstalled it, I swapped the tie rod end for end and that makes the grease serts easier to access and now it matched the factory manual.

I did not take time to reset the toe but I counted the threads on the old tie rod ends and put the new ones in the same number of threads. A test drive showed the shimmy was gone and the feel was the steering was better. But the steering wheel was at an odd angle when straight. So I knew the alignment was probably off.

The next day I got out the Longacre alignment boards that I use on the race car and set them up. Sure enough he toe was way off. I dialed it in to near zero toe. A test drive showed the steering wheel was back to straight but the shimmy was not gone either. The test bump shoed still some wobble but it went away much faster.

  • Longacre LON52-79501 Toe-in Plate

Click image to open expanded view

Longacre LON52-79501 Toe-in Plate

There are still two tie rod ends that I can change. The control arm bushings are relatively new so I don’t think they are causing trouble. And I refuse to try the steering stabilizer as that only masks the real problem.

So I got to thinking about how the shimmy started after the tire rotation. I removed the front tires and rechecked the balance. They were both at Zero grams. So I decided to try swapping sides with the tires to spin them in the opposite direction.

So far, the shimmy is gone and there was no sake on the test bump. Could it have been simply the tires all along?
Coleman CT200 Predator 212 swap Sun, 17 May 2020 02:05:42 +0000 Continue reading "Coleman CT200 Predator 212 swap"

Repowering my mini bike with a Harbor Freight motor

When I went to ride my Coleman CT200 minibike after winter storage, it did not want to run properly. It would start up and idle fine, but it would not make any power. I could not even ride it at all.

I first cleaned the spark plug. Then I replaced the spark plug.

I then assumed a fuel problem. I disassembled the carburetor and cleaned the jet. The stock Hisin carburetor has a nonremovable jet so I was limited on the cleaning I could do.

So I bought a new carburetor form Go Powersports. This had no effect. It would start but make no power.

So I pulled the valve cover and reste the valve lash. Still no change.

Next I tried a high performance carburetor from Go Power sports. No Change.

I removed the head and checked the valves. They looked like they were sealing fine and operating correctly.

I bought a new ignition coil and spark plug wire. No change.

I finally gave up and ordered a new engine from Harbor Freight. I carefully selected the part number so that I would get the non-hemi version. What I received was the Hemi.

I removed the Hisan engine by first removing the clutch and chain. I then removed the jackshaft mounting plate. I left the rear chain attached.

I hten removed the four mounting bolts holding the engine to the frame. I disconnected the kill switch wire and lifted the assembly out.

I mounted the Predator engine in the sme mounting slots. I used new bolts and nuts.

I disconnected the cover mounted kill switch and connected the wire to the mini bike handle bar switch. I connected the throttle cable to the Preadator throttle plate and loosened the swivel snut to allow the throttle to move freely and retun when released.

I then mounted the Jack Shaft plate to the engine. I adjusted the engine in the slots to tighten the rear chain.

Since the Predator has a 3/4 shaft and the Hisan has a 5/8 shaft I had to replace the clutch. I got this one from Amazon. I had to use three washers to get the spacing right to line the clutch up with the jackshaft gear.

The new engine made a huge difference in performance. The fastest I had ever gone wi the original engine was 14 mph. The bike now goes 28 easily. I have not made any modifications to the new engine and it is still running the governer.

The bike is much more powerful now. It will pull the front wheel from a start if I am not careful with the throttle.

I may swap the Hisan Gas tank on to the Predator as the fill cap is under the frame rail. But it is easy enough to refuel with a hose or funnel, so I may just leave it. The Predator engine is also quieter so I enjoy riding the bike more now.

If I had known what a difference the engine swap would make, I would have tried that first. I think I spent more on carbs and other parts than the engine cost from Harbor Freight.

New battery for my XJ Sun, 10 May 2020 19:16:50 +0000 Continue reading "New battery for my XJ"

Troubleshooting a slow start on my Renix stroker.

I have been experiencing some odd behavior when starting my Renix Cherokee lately. While the starter sounded like it was spinning fine, the engine would not fire up. Often it would fire just as I let go of the key.

I have been running an old Optima battery that I got back when ChumpCar was giving them away as part of their sponsorship, The battery read over twelve volts and the starter sounded fine. However, I noticed that the REM was shutting off and the voltage was dropping while trying to start.

Adding a small lithium battery would cause it to fire right up every time. So I decided to try testing the battery.

Sure enough, the internal resistance was high meaning it was sulfated. I tried a cheap deslufater but after several cycles, the battery actually read lower current so I gave up.

So today I decided to pick up another battery. I decided to go back with another Optima since they seem to handle the vibrations well. Now the Jeep starts right up as it should. I am no longer afraid to shut it off in the woods.