Swapping the Motor Mounts on Your Jeep

Nov. 27, 2012 By Jim Brightly, KF7SCT
As you can see, Ted Palfreyman will take his í91 Cherokee almost anywhere. The Jeep has a 6-inch lift, hydraulic ram steering, Goodyear MT/R tires with Kevlar, HiLift jack, winch, and stock engine and automatic transmission.

It was 5 a.m. The predawn darkness was as black as only a moonless night in Baja can be. I was driving my 1974 CJ5-and-trailer combination up a steep trail. The transfer case was in low range and the engine was taching over 3,000 RPM. All of a sudden the loudest rattle Iíve ever heard drowned out the sound of the Jeepís V8! All the gauges showed normal so I continued on up until I topped out on a saddle where I could park safely to find the cause of the noise.

Upon inspection, I found that the rubber in the left (driverís side) motor mount had broken, allowing the engine to lift slightly when under torque. This in turn caused the fan to slice up the radiator shroud. Weíd been on the trail about an hour after a sleepless night when this happened. And this was my first broken motor mount, so I remember it well.

Weíd been camping in the Sierra de Juarez, somewhere between Mikeís Sky Ranch and Valle de Trinidad in what has since become Baja California del Norte. The coyotes had been trying to entice our dog Slicker (heís standing in the CJ5ís window) to come out and ďplay,Ē which had kept all of us awake (myself, my wife Saraine, our daughter Kimber Lee, and sons Patrick and Chad) with their howling. We all finally realized we werenít going to get any sleep, so we took a vote and it was unanimous that we pack up and head back to civilization. Weíd been on the trail for about an hour when the mount broke.

This 1974 CJ5 was only a few months old when its driverís side motor mount broke, forcing me to chain down the left side of the AMC 304-cid V8 to the Jeepís frame until I could get it in for a warranty replacement.

Since the Jeep was only a few months old at the time, I had no expectation of losing a motor mount. They should have lasted for years. In other words, I learned a motor mount can give up at any time, and you should be prepared for it.

Iíd accidently parked on a saddle overlooking the town of Colonia Lazaro Cordenas, which is in the Valle de Trinidad. While I was temporarily tying down the engine with some chain Iíd brought along for emergencies, the eastern horizon began to appear. We could see oil lamps and electric lights coming on down in the valley, and smoke from the breakfast fires began to rise. Weíll never forget the mouth-watering aromas of garlic, beans, onions, and bacon that were mixed in those columns of wood smoke, rising to meet the morning sun.

On a trail called Serendipity, Tedís left-side motor mount gave up. Fortunately, the fan only scraped the shroud and didnít break it so the shroud didnít need replacing.

All of these memories were brought back to me when I heard the Cherokeeís fan hit its shroud. Fortunately, this time we werenít in the badlands of Baja, miles from the nearest pavement; we were just a few miles outside of Kingman on one of our favorite trails, and Ted Palfreyman was able to drive it home carefully.

The following steps can be adapted to almost any Jeep modelís motor mounts, with a few specific differences. However, the photos will show you whatís involved, regardless of model or engine type.

In a comparison between the motor mounts, the break in the OEM mount (far left) can be easily seen. The center mount is a direct OEM replacement, which is good for street and mild trail vehicles. Far right mount is neoprene and is designed for extended life and the more wild trail rigs. Itíll last much longer than rubber mounts but will also transfer engine vibrations to the vehicle.

Ted is getting ready for the procedures. Remember, change both motor mounts at the same time and donít just change one side.

First and last thing to do is disconnect/connect the battery. Itís far safer.

The easier of the two mounts to get to is the left, which is where Ted began. You might want to start on the harder side and finish on the easier.

Next Page... Swapping Out Jeep Motor Mounts

Off-Road.com Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!