Jeep Creep Answers Off-Road Tech Questions

Feb. 28, 2011 By Jim Brightly
Have a Jeep tech question for the Jeep Creep? Send an e-mail with your name, vehicle year, model and a detailed description of the problem to Jeep Creep at Don’t forget to be as complete as possible with the description of your Jeep and its problems.

Previous Jeep Creep Q&As:
January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

Cherokee Shimmy
I just bought a ‘93 Jeep Grand Cherokee today. It has what looks to be a 4- to 6-inch lift. One question I got is the rear tires are really close to the back doors? They have a lot of room behind them, and seem to be way far forward; definitely not centered in wheel well. What would cause this? Also when I get up to about 50 mph the truck starts shimmying back and forth like the rear and the front want to go in different directions. It’s almost uncontrollable, feels like I’m driving fast on ice. What could cause this? Any answers would be appreciated.
Dustin Wilkerson
Kissimmee, FL

Have you measured the distance between the centers of both wheels on one side? Actually, measure both sides to compare them. It sounds like the rear axle is badly out of alignment, plus the rear lift was incorrectly installed.

Cherokee Carrier Torque
I’m putting in new gears for my ‘88 Cherokee. How many ft-lbs do I need to torque the carrier bolts?
K. Putt
Minersville, PA

For the Dana 30 front ring to carrier—55 ft.-lbs./for the Dana 35 rear differential—also 55 ft.-lbs. You’ll need to use red Loctite on the threads of all the bolts. This keeps them from vibrating back out. Also, you’d do well to buy a good shop manual for your Jeep as well. If you’re doing work like changing out the gearsets, you’ll need one.

Gearless Comanche
I have a 1986 Jeep Comanche with a TF-904 automatic transmission. My problem is when the Jeep is running I try to shift but I have no gears. It’s like it’s in neutral through all gears. The guy I bought it from said he got stuck in a hole and coming out he lost all gears. I have checked the linkage and fluid and they’re good. Do you have any idea what else could be wrong?
J. Jones
Apache Junction, AZ

The same thing happened to me once while I was riding with Walker Evans in a Baja 1000. Fifty yards from the finish line we lost all forward gears and were forced to back across the finish line. I’m afraid you need a new tranny. The previous owner obviously overheated the transmission trying to climb out of the hole and burned the clutches. You’ll need a rebuilt transmission. If you’d care to trailer it to Kingman, I can recommend an excellent shop for the rebuild.

Grand Cherokee Flasher
I have a 2007 Grand Cherokee Laredo with the 3.6L, and recently the TPMS system light is flashing. The light on would mean that the tire pressure in one or more tires is low, but what would the flashing mean, and how do I fix it?
Pete F. Griffin
Radford, VA

The flashing light means a fault has been stored in the computer. You’ll need a scan tool to read the code. You may need to visit a dealer.

Four-Liter Miss Cherokee
I have a 1996 4.0L Grand Cherokee Laredo auto. I love having an interesting, unique truck, but it has given me a lot of problems! The specific problem at present I have is an annoying miss in the motor, but just at low revs in top gear, i.e. moving slowly from lights. There is no miss once I accelerate. Everything I do changes the dynamics of the miss (such as amount, when it happens, etc.), but doesn’t fix it. I have cleaned plugs, then replaced them. I have cleaned distributor/rotor, then replaced. I have been swapping leads one at a time, but nothing changes. Any other suggestions?
Steve Devine
New Zealand

Sorry to see the news about the earthquake, I hope you’re not in Christ Church. It could have been bad spark plugs, distributor cap, or rotor, but since you’ve replaced those, hopefully, we can count them out. Therefore, you could have a burnt valve (or several). Does it use oil? You could also have a bad fuel injector (or several). However, I’d start by installing a new high-end spark plug and distributor wiring kit. Get one designed specifically for a 4.0L with ends already attached to eliminate any possible problems in that area. If this doesn’t cure the miss, you’ll have to run some engine tests (compression, injector efficiency, etc.).

Cherokee Security
I just bought this Jeep, and love it. However, the first day I drove it, I locked it with the electronic lock. Then I opened it with the key and the alarm went off. No one told me how to stop it, and it kept going for about 10 minutes. Then of course the security system wouldn’t let me start it. The dealer told me to lock it electronically and open passenger side with the key and then unlock using the driver side electronic lock. That seemed to work. Later, I had a problem starting it again. The lights, door-open bell, and radio all came on when I had the key in the on position, but the car itself would not start. No sound from motor, nothing (like it was still in security mode). A tow-truck driver happened to work on Jeeps, and he couldn’t say for sure what the problem was. He said not the starter or battery. He showed me how to hot start it, and then I could use it. Now, once started, if I run it for awhile it seems to be OK the next time I start it. If not, I have to hot start it again. That doesn’t seem to me it would be good to keep doing it, not to mention the fact that it is a pain in the ass. The dealer had no idea what was wrong, and they would not pay to have it really looked over, so I could not do that. I am hoping you may have an idea what is up with this. Tow-truck man also said the connection from ignition to motor (relay?) was OK. Hope to hear from you.
Scott Uland

First problem: Your driver’s door security switch (remote door lock/unlock mechanism) inside the door is probably bad and will need to be replaced. Also, if you lock the doors with the remote, you must unlock them with the remote as well, or you’ll get an alarm.

Second problem: Any one or more of several items could be causing this problem. It could be a bad neutral safety switch, bad ignition switch (the electric part), bad starter relay, bad starter solenoid, or bad starter wiring.

Twin-Stick T-Case
I just bought a CJ-7 with a Dana 300 T-case and Currie twin stick shift linkage. How do I get front wheel low only? I have no illustration or instructions.
John Muccianti
Fresno, CA

I’m not sure what you’re asking. Are you asking why you need front wheel low only? Or are you asking how to shift into FWD only? But either way, to on which you’ll find an illustration showing you all of the various shifting combinations.

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