Jeep Creep Answers Off-Road Tech Questions

May. 25, 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:
April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

No Jeep recalls this month.

Hot Four-Liter
I have a 2005 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4.0L I6 with the 6-speed, completely stock. It is my daily driver with 60k miles. In the last two weeks I have noticed that the temperature needle goes over the 210 degrees (which has always been the normal operating temp) and creeps closer to about 230. On one trip on the interstate the temp shot up to 260. I changed out the thermostat and flushed the coolant; however, it is still doing this. Also, the heater is no longer working. I think that my water pump may be broken, but it is not leaking as normally happens when the bearing goes. And I don’t just want to throw money at it until I find a solution. Can you offer any advice? I am very worried about this as I live the desert southwest and need it before the summer hits and can only take surface streets (very annoying). The hose that comes out of the radiator to the thermostat housing is very hot, and the hose coming from the engine block to the radiator is cool? I thought that the reverse is true.
Chido Chilango

Check the rigidity of the hoses. If there’s much flex, change out the two radiator hoses. As you described, the top hose should be hot and bottom hose should be cooler (that’s how the coolant flows—top to bottom). Check the fan belt, both tension and condition—it may be slipping. I’d change it out and then keep the old one in your toolbox in case you snap a belt on the trail. Make sure you have good air flow through the radiator with no mud, bugs, etc., causing problems. Screw on a new radiator cap as well. After you’ve changed out these small things—you’re not throwing money at the fix, these things should be changed regularly anyway—check the fan clutch’s operation (it should spin freely by hand with a cool engine but pull air when the engine is hot). Next check the water pump. Last but not least, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have a leaking head gasket allowing water to get in the engine oil or exhaust gases getting into the cooling system. To check these final two items, you’ll need a good shop manual with a thorough troubleshooting section.

Another Sixer
I need help. I have a ‘97 Jeep Wrangler V6. One year ago I changed my fuel pump and regulator. Now when it gets hot outside and I have been driving a while and come to a light it acts like it is starving for fuel and dies. It will start right back up. But, when I try to accelerate it chokes for fuel then I smell fuel. I would appreciate any help because I don’t have the money to just throw at it.

First of all, if your Jeep is stock, you have a 4.0L inline six, not a V6. You’re getting a partial vapor lock. You need to screen the fuel line(s) from any heat sources or reroute them away from the heat sources. If you smell fuel you need to inspect the fuel system for leaks.

YJ Shaft Troubles
Hi, I have a 1990 Jeep Wrangler YJ 4.5L 6-straight with a 5-speed. I have a problem with my rear driveshaft. Not sure what exactly the problem is but I can spin both tires backwards just fine. But when I spin them forward or try to they lock up and won’t move at all. I already looked into my spider gears and ring and pinion, and I can’t figure what’s wrong. So if you guys could help me out, that would be great!

How much lift do you have on the Jeep? Are you checking the wheel spin with the axle hanging or with it supported? If it is hanging you could have driveshaft bind. Pull the driveshaft off and try to spinning the tires again. Remember, if both tires spin in the same direction, you have some type of locker in the differential. If they spin in opposite directions, you have an open differential.

Spring-Over Lift?
I have a 1989 Wrangler with 31” 10x50s on it and stock suspension. I want to know if it’s possible to put leaf springs on top of the axles? If possible, what mods have to be made? Or what lift kit would you suggest?
Kenneth Hevelone

A spring-over modification can create some major driveline and steering problems if not done correctly. Your easiest bet is a body lift if you’re only going 2 inches; that way you don’t have to change or modify any driveline or steering components. You should also consider extended spring shackles with the body lift. 4-Wheel Parts, 4-Wheel Hardware, or Quadratec can provide everything you’ll need.

Hard Starting Four-Banger
I have a ‘99 Jeep Wrangler with a four-banger. It will at times be a little cantankerous to start. It will crank over but won’t fire right away. If I stop, pump the gas pedal a few times, it seems to then respond. Other times it will fire right up. However, it seems to need the extra pumps more and more often. When it’s running it runs great.

Give it a complete tune-up and change all the filters. You may also have an oxygen sensor going bad. You’ll also want to check the fuel pressure.

Sahara Suspension
I own a Jeep Wrangler 4-door Unlimited Sahara ‘07 and was looking at the BDS 3-inch suspension. Is there anything I need for a 3-inch lift that is not included with that kit? I have been reading online and some people say you need a new track bar or something like that. Could you help me out ‘cause everybody is saying different things? Also would you recommend somebody besides BDS? I was leaning to them because of their “we will send a new replacement part no questions asked” policy.
John Sampson

John, I can’t speak to whether BDS is a good company or not. I will say that I’ve had a Rancho 4-inch lift on my ‘07 Rubicon Unlimited since the spring of ‘07 and I love it, especially the adjustable 9000 shocks! I’ve also had excellent results on many different types of vehicles over the years with Skyjacker suspension kits.

YJ Gauges
I have a 1988 Wrangler Sport and the instruments do not work. The fuse is fine. Any ideas?
Bill Hohmann

If you’ve checked for juice on both sides of the fuse, I’m assuming you checked the circuit for power? If you have power, then the ground is bad.

More JK Power!
I have a 2010 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. I love it, but for one thing. It needs horsepower. It is a real pig at the gas pump also. Even with stock rims and tires it shifts in and out of overdrive on the slightest incline. Is there anything I can do that will help this problem?
Jon Powell

I’m afraid not without dropping in a 5.7L Hemi. I tried different air intakes, different cat-back exhaust systems, and different computer chips on my ‘07; all without improvement at the pump or on the dyno. I recently installed 4.88:1 gears in it, and it has really come alive (even with 35” tires). You might try a gear change. A turbocharger might also help, but then you’re restricted to premium fuel.

More YJ Gauge Troubles
I have a ‘91 Jeep Wrangler and the fuel and oil pressure gauges are not accurate. I know that these gauges are running on one fuse under the dash for the whole gauge cluster that consists of oil, fuel, temp and battery. My oil pressure gauge upon start up always reads 80 psi then once the engine warms it will read around 40 psi then fluctuate between 30 and 50. The fuel gauge is always about 1/4 of a tank off. Is there a way to fix these issues? Also I have started to notice a knock and bounce in the front end, especially when off road. It feels like the front end is loose and I can feel the knock in the floorboard. What can cause this and what can I check?
Wheelin’ Jim Duncan

Jim, you may have a bad ground, which can cause the problems you’ve described. Or perhaps the gauges are bad. To find out, replace the fuel gauge first. If it’s bad, replace the oil pressure gauge. I think your front end problem is caused by worn spring bushings.

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.

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:
April 2011

March 2011

February 2011 Newsletter
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