Waterproof our Jeep JK
Relocate Vacuum Pump. Axle and Transfer Case Breather. Front Axle Tube Seal.
We were held back by water crossings over the last years. It is time to make some upgrades to the underbelly of the beast and greatly reduce the risk of water damage to the Jeep. The water depth in the video was less than 12 inches, we drove the 100 meters with just a few splashes. If memory serves us right, we did get one or two scratches from the shrubs. The vacuum pump already fell victim to water or moisture and had to be replaced. A costly excercise. This was the first upgrade.
The second upgrade is the breather hose for the axles and transfer case. The upgrade is cheap. but very effective.
The third upgrade is the front axle tube seal, but we will likely wait until we have to redo the bearings. Labor is costly and we think it can wait.
All these upgrades are well documented by reputable vloggers. Be critical when watching the videos and pay more attention to the ones that use the Jeep for a similar purpose, like rock crawling vs travelling or exploring.
We have no plans to install a snorkel. Rivers and creeks here in Ontario have often a strong current. Anything deeper than the bottom of the doors would be reckless in our opinion. The Jeep JK is not a submarine. The wading depth of 30 inches originally published by Jeep was reduced to 19 inches. That applies to a stock Jeep without lift or bigger tires. 19 inches is knee deep and it is wise to keep the doors closed. The only recommendation we have is to walk through the water first. If you have problems walking because of the current or muddy/rocky ground, so does the Jeep. Drive slow. An in-depth writeup is from Four Wheel Trends, take a minute and get the details.
Vacuum Pump relocation
Having a 2013 Jeep Wrangler JK has its benefits. There are not many people upgrading these older models, unlike the new 2018+ Jeep JL. It seems that many parts are sold at a great discount. The pump mounting bracket is one example. The average cost is around $70, we got one for less than $30 from 4 Wheel Parts. Only the Jeep JK 2012 to 2018 have a vacuum pump, the other models don't need one. The vacuum is used to drive the brake booster. The 3.6L engine doesn't always produce enough vacuum, hence the pump.
Our pump stopped working. After closer inspection, the spout was clogged. It was likely caused by water getting into the hose. We had to replace the pump. It is behind the front bumper on the driver side. The plastic cover between the bumper and frame hides the pump. The picture shows the old pump with all connections removed, we already had the hoses relocated when we took the photo. The grille was also removed. There is plenty of information available about diagnosing the pump and the steps to relocate, so we keep to the basic steps we took.
The mounting bracket came with electrical cables and crimp connectors. We soldered the plug-wires to the extension wires and crimped them to the old cable.
The thick hose that connects to the break system is simple to reroute. We removed the hose from the one-way valve about 2 inches from the connector to the pump. It is important to leave the valve there AND pointing in the right direction. This hose is the air intake. The thinner hose on the opposite side pointing down is the out-air connection. The new place of the pump does not really require a hose attachment, but we connected a short piece pointing downwards anyway.
Breather Hose extension
This upgrade is in the planning stage. The COVID lockdown this January makes it difficult to buy parts.
The extensions are regular Fuel Lines, either 1/4″ or 5/16″. About 12 feet will do. Our guess is about $3 per foot. There are other options available as well. Fuel Lines are available in different colours, making the extension very visible. The picture show the Blowsion Colored Fuel Hoses. Similar coloured fuel lines are available at Canadian Tire, check the ATV/Snow Mobile section.
The existing hoses need to be extended with an adapter. If there is a crimp connector on the axle, we don't want to replace this part. The exact upgrade is not yet cast in stone. The preferred version is a single line that terminates in the engine air intake box. This upgrade is more critical on the newer Jeep JL models. We are reading comments about the hose that terminates below the hight of the tire.
Front Axle Tube Seal
This upgrade is on hold.
The red ring in the picture is the Tube Seal. Once we have to replace the inner axle seal in the differential box, we will figure out what else is beneficial. This is one of the places where many upgrade options are available, the question is if we really need them. The comments are very controversial and tend to favour front axle upgrades for the mud and rock crawling enthusiast. That is not us. We already replaced the Inner Axle Seal, U-Joint and Wheel Bearing. We accept the fact that these are wear and tear items when we go offroading. The benefit of Mopar stock parts are clear to us, we can go to any dealership and get the repair done. We actually still do most of the maintenance at the dealership, even now that we passed the 250,000 km mark.