OK, so now where was I?
ah yes, fast forward to last Thursday, day 1 of the 4 day weekend must get it done hit. Except I first had to swap in another front axleshaft on the XJ that's the only running one of 4 Jeeps (I'd done the job the previous weekend only to find the rotor wouldn't fit, too late to start all over again) Once I was mobile again there were a few errands to run, order those fence panels (remember?), go to the bank, get some groceries (well, I've got to live for 4 days) really to clear the decks, so it was dusk by the time I was ready to start on the KJ: thought maybe I could get to that dam' O2 sensor from within the engine compartment (that's how I tackled the LH one - with the battery & its tray already removed). It might be possible with the airbox out of the way but, despite having no apparent fasteners, try as I might, I couldn't shift it - & it was dark by then.
Friday morning's start was slightly delayed by seizing the opportunity to get my "Autumn booster" Covid jab but then get stuck in seriously.
1st, that O2 sensor, not such a pita after all, nor the LH exhaust, once I accepted the X-member'd have to come down. I dealt with that at the time in "what I did today" so, moving quickly on. LH axleshaft - I knew the ABS sensor wouldn't come out, I suppose I could've unplugged it inboard, but there just so many clips to wrestle with to release the wire I opted for removing the hub (do I hear sucking of teeth/see shaking of heads?). Did wonder about those ridiculously small, deeply recessed, bolt heads but given the right socket (T14?), a little pre-emptive heat & a liberal dousing of penetrant (for my fellow Brits may I recommend GT85? Made by Dutch WD40 with PTFE as the active ingredient!) about on a par with those strange XJ bolts - providing the flutes haven't rusted away - of which I have some experience (& nothing like the nightmare that was a certain WJ I bought in a mad moment). Don't now remember how I did it to replace the RH axleshaft but the problem of the LH hub nut was solved by a combination of a 31x10.5 MT on an aftermarket wheel that had a centre hole larger than the o.d. of my 36mm socket and a yard of square section tube I'd found by the side of the road + an 18" breaker bar. (I've skipped removing caliper, bracket & rotor because that's all routine maintenance stuff, so isn't useful or interesting). Fortunately I'd cut my teeth on replacing the RH axleshaft so getting the LH one free of the splines in the diff. was no big deal (although I couldn't remember whether to disconnect the top or bottom balljoint) but this time didn't have to loosen the top of wishbone. If only you could draw the shaft out through the knuckle, life would be so much easier - but I digress!
Moving round to the other side (out in the roadway, but advantage of it being a weekday was there was even less traffic than usual) I tackled slightly differently, as had already destroyed the ABS sensor, & removed the knuckle, hub & shaft as a unit: I bit unwieldy & may regret it come reassembly, but . . .
Given how early it gets dark at this time of year (& how cold it then suddenly gets) that seemed a natural break, especially as clearing up & putting everything away was going to take a little while. (I've grown out of working into - or even thru' - the night to get the job done.)
Come Saturday morning, reasonably pleased with my progress (yes I know I'm already 2 days into what TM considers a 35 minute job, but therein lies the difference) so not prepared to give up my ritual of a sortie out over Dartmoor (my local National Park) to commune with nature, restore my sanity & have breakfast. Besides, it was only 27* when I got in the XJ, so might not have wanted to start quite that early anyway. So, we're back & under the KJ, getting an idea of what's involved (at the back of my mind I have TM's words about not telling me of the problems I'd encounter). Those of you with good memories & infinite patience will recall I'd already tackled the 2 front mounting bolts, so the nuts weren't much more'n finger tight, off they came & the new bolts almost pushed out. The rest of it was pretty straightforward, poor access wasn't a real issue (even with the floor jack under the diff. proper) & nothing was impossibly tight. Only 2 things caught me out, I undid the 3 bolts that attach the LH top mount to the diff. whereas perhaps I should've taken out the bolt thru' the bush - the whole thing was almost on the deck before I noticed the breather!
Really should've put finger to keyboard that Sunday evening on the train back up to London, but was distracted by shopping for tyres on-line, & now honestly can't say at what stage I called it a day (that old failing light, plummeting temps thing again) & make an early start on Sunday, but next was drag diff out from under & up the driveway, transfer some hardware onto the "new" one & get that under the Jeep, 1/2 on the the jack, tipped up so tailshaft was just touching the X-member, so as the jack went up, the tailshaft would slip over the X-member & act as a pivot. All went quite well, not to difficult to align all the mountings, once I'd refitted the RH bracket (those goes round the axle tube) the right way round: idiot that I am I'd fitted it back-to-front. Managed to replace the bolts in the front mounts (they're much lower than the rear ones) really easily & then, of course, with the front supported on pivot points & the whole thing pretty well aligned it was fairly simple job gently jack it up keeping an eye on the two top mounts, to make sure the bushes entered the brackets on the body. Of course it would've been easier with a helper - but, mercifully, so much easier than swapping a transfer case in an XJ.
Not much time left now before clearing up, getting cleaned up, changed, have something to eat, pack & set off again on my travels but really wanted to get the drive shaft back in (on?). That was clearly going to be so much easier without the front 1.2 of the exhaust but it took me a little while to work out which way round it went - & which bolts were for which flange (just remember how much time had passed since I'd removed it). Lining up the rear flanges & getting the 1st bolt started was a bit of a pain (can't believe I'd not marked it, but certainly couldn't see any). After that, it all went quite well, even without my right angle 3/3" drive electric ratchet, which I'd mislaid.
That's it, up-up-to-date, still not finished, despite my avowed intent & best efforts, but now (whatever the weather throws at us) the front end's got to go back together this weekend. I feel much more confident with it now, so it should be a simple nut'n'bolt re-assembly job.
Wish me luck - & I'll be back!