Jeep Creep - Off-Road Tech and Maintenance

Feb. 27, 2013 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.

Previous Jeep Creep Columns:
January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

No Jeep recalls this month.

Mileage and Maintenance
My wife and I are new to the off-roading world and purchased a 1995 YJ with the six-cylinder engine and five-speed. We just recently got back from our first trip and found we got 15.7 mpg. I thought we would get a little better mileage, maybe near 20? Does this seem right to you or should I be looking for something wrong?
Andy Myers
Tampa Bay, Florida.

Since youíre new to off-roading, your fuel mileage may be an indication that youíll need to modify your driving habits. You are moving more weight than youíre used to; therefore you need to retrain your throttle foot.

First rule: slow down. Several years ago I wrote an article on how to improve mileage. Simply slowing down to cruising at approximately 55 mph from 70-75 mph added a mile or more to each gallon. When youíre starting off from a signal, donít floor the gas pedal, feather it. Slowly build up speed to your cruising speed instead of trying to get there as quickly as possible. Slow down for red lights earlier and more gradually than you might have been used to in a car. Your Jeep is not designed for high-speed driving and itís like pushing a heavy block of wood down the highway. Plus, anything you do to a Jeep to make it better off-road usually results in less gas mileage.

Second rule: check your tire pressures. Make sure the tiresí psi is where Jeepís tire chart says itís supposed to be.

Third rule: weigh your rig. Donít overload it! Also, put your rig on a diet. Weight costs horsepower and horsepower costs fuel. Donít carry any more weight than you need to (this reminds me of Lucyís rocks in The Long, Long Trailer).

Fourth rule: maintain your Jeep. Since you just bought it, you may not have done the following. Start fresh. Give it a major tune-up, replace all filters, replace all fluids with new fluids (engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, etc.), and have a new belt installed and save the old fan belt just in case the new one breaks down the road (a fan belt never breaks in your garage). Thereafter, each time you change the fan belt, replace the stored one with the newly replaced fan belt.

Daystar 3-Inch Lift
This lift kit may be exactly what I am looking for to install on my 2011 JKU Sahara. I am going to go down from 18-inch rims to 17-inch wheels off of a Rubicon and put 285/70/17 rubber on them. Will this lift work?
Don Ross

The Daystar 3-inch lift kit would be an excellent choice for an economical lift, especially since youíre only going with 32.7-inch tires. When we installed the Daystar on a JK Rubicon, we were able to install 33-inch tires and we could have gone with 35-inch tires with some steering modification, wheel spacers, or off-set wheels.

YJ Snow Pusher
I just bought a Ď95 YJ with a 6.5 Western plow. The front end is sagging and the tires are really close to the fender flares. What would be the cheapest way to get some lift for this problem?

Well, Mike, you have a few choices but either one will require some work and time on your part. The first wayóand probably the cheapestówould be to add a leaf or two to your spring pack in front. This will require time spent at the local wrecking yard with a measuring tape. Find two pair of leaves that will fit and try them. Iíd try just one leaf per side first and then if thatís not enough, slide in the other pair.

Second choice, talk with your local friendlyóand patientóauto parts counterman and try to match up a pair of air shocks to your Jeepís front mounts. This would be more expensive but more convenient because when the plow comes off the air pressure goes down and your ride isnít effected.

Third and most expensive suggestion: Buy a lift kit that includes new springs and shocks.

Full & Floating
Where can I find a Dana full-floater kit? Iím looking for one for a Ď56 CJ5 for towing behind RV.
Bob Doughty

First of all, Bob, unless youíve modified the CJ5ís transfer case you do not need a full-floating kit for the rear differential on a 1956 Jeep. You donít even need to release the steering wheel! All you do is shift the transfer case and the transmission to neutral and select 2X4 with the front axleís free-wheeling hubs. However, if you still donít feel safe, contact Randyís Ring & Pinion. Randyís purchased all dies, designs and rights for the full-floater kits from Warn several years ago, but I donít believe Randyís is still making the kits.

Project FerrarJeep
Where can I get this armor? I want the exact stuff. Please help!! Thanks.
Joe Mego

Joe, I talked with Chris Faustmann, owner of the OR-Fabís Project FerrarJeep XJ of which you asked. Chris said that the article ( pretty much lays everything right outóall the information is in the article for you to emulate this project with your own XJ. You can order all the products and either install them yourself, have them installed at a local 4WD shop, or a 4-Wheel Parts shop. If you have any questions, you may call the Performance Automotive Group direct at 928/636-3100.

Finding the Freon
You helped me sometime last year. My new question is where is the low-pressure connection for adding Freon to a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee?
Warren Bush
Dallas, TX

Warren, are you any relation to the other Texas Bush family? You need to follow the high-pressure line and look for the fitting.

XJ Steering
I have a 1994 Jeep Cherokee with a steering problem. I have 35-inch tires on a 7-1/2-inch lift. I just put on a new AGR power steering pump because of the old one not being strong enough to handle the load of the bigger tires. However, I still canít turn the wheel from a standing start. When rolling it turns easily. But when I stop and have to turn sharply (I do heavy rock crawling) it turns extremely difficultly and I am pulling the wheel about as hard as I can. What is the problem? Is the geometry change from the lift effecting the steering box connection or is it just a bad steering box? I am trying to keep from having to spend a fortune on a new steering system.
Bryan Downer
San Diego, CA

With a lift of that height, the geometry could be affected. However, I believe you need a new steering gearbox. You installed a stronger pump but you didnít match it with a new stronger gearbox. Mate an AGR steering gearbox to your AGR pump. And donít forget to either raise the other steering components or extend the Pitman arm as well.

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.

Previous Jeep Creep Columns:
January 2013

December 2012

November 2012 Newsletter
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