Jeep Creep Answers Off-Road Tech Questions

Feb. 27, 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 don’t provide this information, we may not be able to publish your question and answer. Don’t 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
January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

No Jeep recalls this month.

2012 Wrangler
I’m really interested in purchasing a new Wrangler Unlimited before next summer. What’s a-must-have accessory list for an outdoorsman like me who like to fish & hunts big game?

Charles House

This email from Charles House was my first question last month. And answering Charles’ question started me thinking about a “Dream Machine” for 2012. In addition to the Rubicon model and the various modifications I suggested to Charles last month, he might want to consider the following, if budget is not a consideration.

I mentioned a lift kit last month. To be more specific, the 2012 Dream Machine needs a tall lift, such as a 7-inch lift kit by Skyjacker, which will allow 37-inch Goodyear MT/R tires (if a set of wheels with the correct offset is included), and 5.13:1 or 5.38:1 gears from Randy’s Ring & Pinion. Those gears should be surrounded by Dynatrac heavy-duty Dana 44 or Dana 60 front and rear differentials (depending on how rugged your trails are going to be). Changing the gear sets and tire sizes will require reprogramming the Jeep’s computer and I’d pick the AEV ProCal Module, especially if you decide to add a Rock Lizard Trail Shower (hot water for those overnighter trips you’re going to be enjoying in your new JK Rubi!). Speaking of AEV, you might consider an AEV 5.7L Hemi conversion kit for a bit more kick, such as you’ll find in the Quadratec prize Jeep—or a V10 conversion such as that in the Daystar prize Jeep (both companies are currently hosting contests with these Jeeps as their top prizes). You’ll also need a winch—I prefer electric to hydraulic—that’s rated at least 9,000 pounds (any of the well-known manufacturers make good winches) and a winch accessory kit. Now that you’ve jacked up the Jeep, don’t forget a HiLift Jack. For communications with other Jeepers you’re going to need a Cobra CB and a Yaesu amateur radio (I mounted my radios to a Tuffy Overhead Console, and a friend mounted his radios on an over the windshield tray by Misch 4X4). A set of bumpers and a swing-away tire carrier from Bestop completes the list for now.

2012 Wrangler Lift
I am in the process of buying a 2012 Rubicon 4-door. I want to lift it and put 35-inch tires on it. I am going to use the Jeep to tow a bass boat that weighs 3,000 lbs. quite often. I’m looking at installing one of the long arm kits and lifting the Jeep 3 to 4 inches. There are so many kits out there, and the reviews are all mixed, one good, one not etc. How do I go about evaluating which kit is right for my application? Cost is not a concern.

Kent Horn
Clovis, CA

As I told Charles last month, I envy you the 2012 Rubicon. If you search for “Polishing a Rubi” here on ORC, you’ll find my article on lifting my 2007 Rubicon Unlimited with a Rancho 4-inch lift kit. I’m still enjoying the Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks, so my first choice would be Rancho. Second choices would be Skyjacker or Terra Flex. As for tires, living in Clovis, I highly recommend the Goodyear MT/R with Kevlar tires.

Wrangler Studs
My son purchased a rebuilt 2.5L long block for his 1989 Wrangler. We need to find out what the stud and bolt sizes are for the exterior parts of the motor, such as the water pump, thermostat housing, intake & exhaust manifolds, etc. Is there any way you could guide us in the right direction or would you have this info? We are trying to keep the old motor complete or we would use the old stuff. My son is going to install the new motor with all new motor components, keeping the old one together. Since we are having such a hard time finding the bolt and stud sizes, I thought you may be able to help us out or point us to the direction we need.

David Turowski
Tehachapi, CA

Well, since you don’t want to remove the old bolts and studs from the original engine—which would be your best bet—you’ll need to plan a trip to a local salvage yard. To find a Jeep with a four banger, you may need to visit several yards, though. You should also purchase a Haynes Jeep Wrangler (1987 thru 2008) shop manual. It contains information on fastener sizes and wiring diagrams.

Taillights’ Schematic
I’m having a tough time troubleshooting my non-working taillights on my ‘98 Wrangler Sport, 4.0L. All the other lights, front and rear, work fine, so I’m guessing a short may be the culprit. Can you please send a wiring schematic?

Jorge I. Huey

You’ll have to do one of two things; visit a Jeep dealer or do an Internet search for a schematic. I have nothing like that.

V-blocks Rule!
I just got an ‘06 4.7-liter V8 4WD Grand Cherokee. I am wanting to put a 4” Superlift on it with 33”x10.5” BFG All-Terrains, and I am wondering if the 235 hp will be able to push all that rubber without many problems.

Jack Welborn
Milton, Georgia

With the V8 you should have no problems whatsoever. Your new setup will just improve your wheeling. At some time in the future you may want to upgrade your gearing, however, so take a peek at Randy’s Ring & Pinion website. There’s a gear calculator there that you can use to determine a better gear ratio. You may also want to add lockers and a 4:1 low range as well. Editor Josh Burns has a similar setup with the TJ Wrangler that is powered by the stock 4.0-liter engine; this is a different vehicle entirely but the tire setup and gears serve as an example. He installed 4.56 gears from G2, Eaton Detroit Tructracs in the front and rear, a 4-inch Skyjacker lift along with 33” x 10.5” BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2s on 15” x 7” ATX Wheels, and he recently installed a slip-yoke eliminator kit and new driveline from Tom Woods down at M.I.T. in El Cajon, California, which should be published shortly.

Auto Headlights
I just bought a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport S and on the way home we noticed that it did not have an option to have the headlights turn on and off automatically. Is this a quick fix or do I have to pay hundreds of dollars to add that option?

Marco Contreras

Have you read your owner’s manual, or talked with your salesperson? You need to do one or the other—or both. My 2007 Rubicon Unlimited has a timed automatic headlight shutoff, which also acts like an automatic turn-on when I start the engine again. I’m not sure at what trim level this option is included, so you need to read the owner’s manual and/or talk with your salesperson.

TJ Suspenders
I have a Jeep Wrangler TJ Sport. Model year is 1997. I want to lift it, but I don’t know what is the best suspension to use. I read lots of reviews on different suspensions and found that Old Man Emu is always at the first place. Is Old Man Emu really the best suspension lift kit?
Samir El-Hajj

I have had only one experience with an OME suspension. Many years ago—nearly 20 years now—I installed an OME 2” suspension lift on my 1982 CJ7. Without anti-sway bars attached, the suspension’s softness scared the hell out of me on the freeway! And within 200 miles a front shock began leaking and a weld on a rear shock broke, leaving the shock just hanging. Since then, some of the other writers on the site have used them and said good things (see Jaime Hernandez’s OME steering stabilizer review), but I can’t speak to that. As soon as I could I installed a Skyjacker 4” lift kit without anti-sway bars, and have never regretted it. I’ve also personally installed Skyjacker lift kits on several other four wheelers and my 2007 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited has a Rancho 4” lift on it.


I have a friend who wants a new Jeep Rubicon with a 6-cylnder, but was told they get about 16 miles to the gallon. Is this true?

All the 2012 Wranglers come with the same engine, the 3.6L V6, and that’s true about the Rubicon’s mileage. But so what? A person doesn’t buy a Jeep for the mileage. A Jeep is a dual-purpose vehicle, designed for use on the road and off-road, and the better you make it for off-road use, the more mileage suffers. Everything you put on a Jeep to make it more trail-worthy reduces mileage; i.e., larger tires, lower gears, higher ground clearance, etc. However, the 5-speed automatic is EPA rated at above 20 mpg. I’m thinking about trading in my 2007 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited on a 2012 4-door.

Warning Buzzer
I recently purchased a ‘95 YJ, 4-cyl. It has an aftermarket stereo and several dangling, unattached wires. While trying to tuck them up out of the way, the key-in-the-ignition buzzer started sounding and wouldn’t stop. Door open, door closed (even with door switch disconnected), vehicle running or off, would not stop unless the key was removed. I unplugged the buzzer from the fuse box. Is there anything related to this buzzer that will have a domino effect on my electrical system? All lights, gauges and fan continue to work as before (for now).

John Burton
Columbia, MO

You’ll need to pick up a good shop manual on your Jeep that includes wiring diagrams to run this down, or take the Jeep to a good auto electric shop.

Snow Plow Sag
I have a 2001 Jeep Wrangler with a 4-cyl. engine. I have put a snow plow on the Jeep and put coil spring air bags on the front coils to carry the load. I purchased the air bags through JC Whitney and they worked for a while but then they started leaking where the fitting is molded into the bag. Is there anyplace that sells either air shocks or heavy-duty coil springs that I can put on my Jeep that will carry an extra 1,000 pounds on the front of my Jeep?

Thomas Shockley

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As usual, each month, I’m 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. Newsletter
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