Jeep Creep Answers Off-Road Questions from Readers

Sep. 04, 2012 By Jim Brightly
In your Jeep Creep questions, please list your first and last names, your hometown, and your state/province/country, so that we can publish that information here. If you donít provide this information, we may not be able to publish your question and answer. Donít forget to be as complete as possible with the description of your Jeep and its problems, too. Send your questions to, Attn: Jeep Creep.

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July 2012

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No Jeep recalls this month.

Rocks & Shocks
Why do so many manufacturersóif not allómount the lower shock mount on the rear axle on the bottom of the axle? This design seems to aim for the sharp rocks on a technical trail. Iíve been told that it helps locate the axle but I canít believe that!

Iím asking because Iím thinking of modifying my JKís rear Dana 44 and the mounts are really beat up, so Iíll fabricate some new mounts and weld them on top or at least higher than the OEM mounts that I have now.
Jeff Warner
Lucerne Valley, CA

I agree, Jeff, that the mounts could be safer if they were tucked up a bit and protected by the axleís tubeómine (on my Ď07 Rubi Unlimited) were really banged up on the Rubicon Trail in July (see Joshís article here on ORC)óhowever, the mounts are low on the axle tube so that the upper shock mount can also be kept low and still give the shocks sufficient length to work properly (a higher upper mount would require a higher floor level).

If you raise the lower mounts, youíll also have to raise the upper mounts, and this takes up limited cargo space. Iíve seen some XJ Cherokee owners do this and the result ainít pretty, and cargo must be protected and the floor must be sealed so carbon monoxide (exhaust gases) canít get in the passenger area.

Some owners raise the lower mount locations and then angle the upper mounts so that the shocks donít sit vertically, but the more the shocks are angled from the direction of the axle travel the less effective the shock absorbers become. In other words, if you raise your lower shock mounts for ground clearance, you may need to change shock length or cut through the floor of your JK to mount higher upper mounts (if thereís no room beneath the body).

Waggy Wondering
I have an Ď83 Wagoneer. The four-wheel drive system is not currently working because of the vacuum system. I was wondering if there is a fix or bypass to this? Can I just use some Warn manual locking hubs? Posi-Lok says they donít work for a Wagoneer but I am wondering if I can do that instead.
Jason Cummins

The Wagoneer should have a Quadra-Trac system, and the vacuum pod is on the transfer case, but is just for the emergency lock-out. If your 4WD doesnít work, then the chain, gears, etc., in the T-case may be worn out. You may have to replace the entire T-case.

Cross Member Lowering?
I have been searching forums high and low for an answer and I cannot find one anywhere. I have a Ď99 TJ with a 4-inch suspension lift (the lift was on the Jeep when I bought it). My transfer case recently bit the dust for good so I ordered a new one with a slip yoke eliminator along with a new driveshaft. When I put it all in the driveshaft barely fit in between them. I have also purchased a G2 Dana 44 rear axle assembly. My question is with the slip yoke eliminator do I still need to use the cross member drop brackets that came with my lift kit? I know the Dana 44 pinion is longer so I might have to shorten my brand new driveshaft (not thrilled about it). I could really use direction on this issue.
Billy E. Butler III, SSgt, USAF
NAS Sigonella, Italy

First of all, Billy, thank you so much for your service! If the driveline has a double-cardan joint by t-case, you donít need the lowering kit unless the U-joint binds up on full droop (youíll have to lift the body high enough so that both rear tires are off the ground to check this).

Tank You
Iím thinking of upgrading my í82 CJ-7 to a four-link suspension system with a bunch of clearance and articulation. Therefore, I want to remove the OEM 20-gallon gas tank in its stock location beneath the rear floorboard and behind the rear axle and install a fuel cell behind/under the rear seat. I think this will give me more options in wheelbase and shock location. The two companies Iím looking at right now are RCI and GenRight Offroad. However, Iím not sure if this will mean my Jeep will no longer be street legal (the San Francisco area is extremely smog sensitive!). Even though I flat-tow my Jeep to the trails (tow bar) I donít have the room to store a trailer so I need to keep the Jeep street legal.
Tom Green
San Jose, CA

Having grown up and lived in SoCal for most of my life, I can tell you that the California smog cops will get you with your next bi-annual smog inspection! The first thing they do is visually inspect everything on the vehicle. If you donít pass the visual test, they donít even bother with a sniff test. Check with your local umpireóa smog testing station should be able to tell you how to contact themóbefore you drop your tank. Take copies of the tanksí specs from both companies with you, explain your situation, and then follow the umpireís suggestions.

Chugging Cherokee
I have a Ď91 XJ 4.0L that I use as a mud bogger. During my last race of the season my Jeep just lost all power at about 4,500 rpm and it didnít hit the rev limiter. It works fine while driving around but as soon as I pin it or get the rpm up I get nothing? Do you have any idea with is wrong with it?
Harvie Hootermin

Harvie, have you heard the term ďTMIĒ? In this case, itís NEI (not enough information!). If you have a shop thatís equipped well enough for the task, you need to track this down one piece at a time. If your shop isnít up to the task, take it to a good and well-equipped off-road shop. Iíll give you some ideas, though. It could be low fuel pressure, low fuel volume, plugged air filter (especially with the mud bogging), clogged fuel filter, bad ignition cap, bad spark plugs, partially clogged exhaust system (including a bad catalytic converter), and/or even a worn out engine. I remember when I rode with Walker Evans in a Baja 1000 in which we came in second in class after 18 hours. We were having ignition problems and it took several stops to discover that we had a cracked rotor cap, which worked fine until above 4,000 rpm and then it rotated slightly on the shaft and changed the timing. As soon as we retimed it, it would run okay again until high rpm. You might to check this but if your timing doesnít change this probably isnít your problem.

Another Quadra-Trac
I just bought a 1973 Jeep Wagoneer with the idea of restoring it back to pristine condition. Itís equipped with a Quadra-Trac transfer case. I know itís a full-time system, but thatís it. How does it work? Fortunately, the ownerís manual was in the Jeep so I know how to use it.
John Crawford
San Antonio, TX

I had a two-speed Quadra-Trac in my í74 Jeep J20 ¾-ton pickup and it worked very well, even with an 11-foot camper on it and a í74 CJ-5 being towed behind it. It was made by Borg-Warner and better than any other full-time system at the time. My two-speed QT had a 2.57:1 low-range. The other model was a single-speed case. QT was used in full-size Jeeps (Waggies, early Cherokees, pickups, and CJ-7s). The two-piece aluminum case uses drive sprockets and a drive chain similar to current transfer cases. A cone-clutch limited-slip differential in the case sends power to both front and rear axles. The limited slip differentialósimilar to current rear locking differentialsóhas clutch plates that are preloaded with Belleville springs. When its torque loads exceed certain limitations (turning a corner, differing traction, etc.), the clutches will slip; allowing a seamless transfer of power; i.e., power will be transferred to the axle with the more traction.

At times you may want to lock out this power transfer (as I had to in í78 on my way to Denver in a factory CJ-7óthe rear differential broke in Las Vegas due to lack of lubrication, so I removed the rear driveshaft, locked the QT, and drove on to Denver on the front axle, where it was repaired), for various reasons. In the Wagoneer, I believe the vacuum control is in the glove compartment. If your lock-out system is workingóor if you get it workingóas your ownerís manual will tell you, donít drive the Waggy on dry or hard surfaces.

Theft Control
Hey, JC, this might be out of whack, but youíve answered other questions for me, so maybe you can help. Even though I have a hardtop on my í08 JK, I still worry about losing stuff off my Jeep while Iím at work or visiting friends in their apartment complex. Iíve already lost one spare tire and a trailer hitch, so how do I protect myself and my Jeep? I already have those funny locks on my rims and the Jeep came with a locking gas cap that matches my ignition key.
Jessie Dornbush
Las Vegas, NV

Youíre in luck, Jessie. A company recently developed some excellent locking devices that are perfect for Jeeps and pickups. Strattec calls the products ďBoltĒ (see and they offer the Bolt Jeep spare tire lock, a cable lock, and a receiver lock. All three feature the companyís one-key lock, which eliminates the need to carry extra keys to protect expensive Jeep accessories. It works by permanently programming the lock to the Jeepís ignition key to prevent problems with lost keys and costly lockouts. I have the spare tire lock, the cable lock secures my Hi-Lift jack, and the receiver lock keeps my recovery hook in place.

As usual, each month, Iím shouting out a huge THANK YOU to Paul Schupp at Rock Lizard 4x4 in Kingman, Arizona, for his invaluable assistance in answering many of the Jeep Creep questions.

In your Jeep Creep questions, please list your first and last names, your hometown, and your state/province/country, so that we can publish that information here. If you donít provide this information, we may not be able to publish your question and answer. Donít forget to be as complete as possible with the description of your Jeep and its problems, too. Send your questions to, Attn: Jeep Creep.

Previous Jeep Creep Columns
July 2012

June 2012

May 2012 Newsletter
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