Jeep Creep: Off-Road Tech Answers

Sep. 22, 2011 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.

No Jeep recalls this month.

Recent Jeep Creep columns:
August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

Shocking Grand
Can you tell me if anyone else has experienced the problem I am about to describe and maybe recommend a solution? My Grand Cherokee Laredo used to sway side to side and I had to fight the steering wheel on uneven or even roads. I replaced the steering stabilizer and front shocks, which helped tremendously, but still have to continuously move my steering wheel to keep it going straight (not as much anymore). I plan on replacing my rear shocks soon also. What else should I do?
Daniel Sanchez

First of all, you should have changed all four shocks at the same time. You can get away with changing just one shock if itís broken or leaking, but all should be changed at the same time. You also need to replace the rubber bushings in your sway bar(s) with neoprene bushings; this will stiffen up your ride quite a bit. If it doesnít, you probably need a larger diameter sway bar. If for some reason your Grand Cherokee isnít equipped with a sway bar at all, you need one! Last of all, three things must be checked: tire air pressure (listed on the driverís door jam), alignment and steering component wear.

Seat Lift
I need seat lifts for my 2006 Jeep Rubicon Unlimitedís both front buckets.
Jerry Lemanski

I have just the kit for you. Email Buchanan Precision Machine in California ( The seat riser kit improves visibility over the dash and makes it easier to see the end of the hood and front fenders. The product generally improves comfort in the Jeep by making it so you donít have to lift your head constantly to see over the hood. If you are leaning forward or raising your head to see out of the Jeep, you really need this product. Also if your thighs are off the seat bottom, seat risers will take up the slack and improve your comfort. If you have a ďDash BarĒ installed in your roll cage they are an absolute must have, no matter how tall you are. Seat Riser kits are available in 1Ē, 1-1/2Ē, and 2Ē lifts. The installation takes about 10-15 minutes per seat with common hand tools. One kit elevates both seats. Price for all kits is $64.95 + $10 shipping and handling.

Tranny Service
Iíve got an Ď89 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 2WD V6 automatic with 266,000 miles on her and Iím wanting to service the tranny (fluid, filter and gasket only). What is the correct fluid to use? The fluid is not burnt now and I have no shifting problems other then it occasionally slips out of overdrive at low speeds. Also would an additive such as Lucas be beneficial? I checked the dipstick, and the fluid type is not printed on it.
Robert Torres

First of all, Robert, itís an inline 4.0L six, not a V6, and congrats on getting that many miles on the clock. The correct type of fluid should be printed on the dipstick, so it must be a replacement dipstick. Use Dextron 2 or 3 for a 1989 Jeep auto transmission. I also strongly suggest that you order the appropriate shop manual for your Jeep from 4-Wheel Parts or Quadratec. Itíll answer all your questions. Lucas transmission fluid isnít an additive; itís synthetic ATF so youíd have to fill the transmission with it.

Gear Sets
Iím setting up my front axle (Dana 30) in my Wrangler with a set of 4:88 gears. Instead of playing guessing games, Iím trying to figure out if anybody knows the pinion gear depth variance on the 4:88 8-tooth gears. The number is usually etched at the head of the gear and mine doesnít have it.
Poughkeepsie, NY

Wow! 4.88:1 gears in a Dana 30 is going to give you a really tiny pinion gearóyou might reconsider and use 4.56 gears like I have in my CJ7. Every gear set has a different depth unique to itself. Call the gear manufacturer for the average shim to start the setup. Randyís Ring & Pinion has a differential book that is priceless with lots of info. Randyís also has lots of info on the website.

YJ Rebuild
I have 1990 YJ with an inline 6 and 200,000 miles on her. I am learning as I go and am currently deployed. I practice my blossoming skills on our HMMWVs and a 5-ton from the first Gulf War along with a motor pool of old guys who speak fluent ďcar.Ē I do not. They often make fun of my high school shop book that I read and try to answer the questions after every section. I have 18 days of leave coming up and wanted to spend my time working on the Jeep or fishing with my nephew. I was hoping you can give me some advice on the type of 4-inch suspension lift I should go with and if a slip yoke eliminator is within a noviceís difficulty range? I am also curious about if I should try to switch over to a new fuel injection system? I replaced the BB with a Weber (Iím not sure about the specifics) and Iím comfortable with being able to tinker with a carburetor. I am also going to have to replace the exhaust but I donít want to get so caught up in the work that I miss out on the rest of my time. Do you have any suggestions about how I should tackle this project and companies that I can order from in advance so that the parts will be waiting for me when I get home? Iím open to suggestions while keeping in mind that I am not looking to create anything over the top but something that can grow with me and my nephew.

1LT Woodrow Crosby
B/519th MI
SVOIP 242-1173

First of all, Lt Crosby, God bless you and everyone else over there for your sacrifices. Thereís a lot work involved with what youíve asked about. For a supplier, Iíd suggest 4-Wheel Parts or Quadratec, as either can have what you need waiting when you get home and both have websites. Once you go on their websites youíll see there are many, many manufacturers of suspensions; however, Iíd suggest checking the prices and specs on three to begin with. Pro Comp produces fine suspensions at decent prices. Iíve used and installed several Skyjacker suspensions on Jeeps and Suburbans and have never had a failure or problem with any of them (editor Josh Burns installed a 4-inch Skyjacker kit on his current TJ project). As you can see in this article on, I installed a Rancho 4-in. lift on my JK, and I must say I really enjoy having the Rancho 9000 shocks. They have nine firmness settings; for the highway I run the rear on ď8Ē and fronts on ď7Ē and for off-roadówhen I drop tire air pressureóI set all four at either ď1Ē or ď2Ē to allow it to float over the dips and bumps.

Bumpy Steering
I have an Ď01 Jeep TJ four-linked up front and on the rear. It also has Fox air shocks in each corner. I have problems with my steering and also have the death wobble on acceleration. When I turn my steering wheel the body goes up and the wheels hardly turn. I think my death wobble and steering are the same issue. I was wondering what would be the best solution to solve my problem.

Andrea Reid
Quebec, Canada

First of all, Andrea, you need to return the Jeep to the shop that installed the lift immediately! That should have been corrected at the time of installation. You have what is commonly called ďbump steerĒ and youíll probably need to start with a longer Pitman arm from the steering gearbox. Or the drag linkís elevation has to be changed. But either way, the shop must make it good. If the air shocks have a common air line feed, I suggest you use an individual feed for each shock for better adjustability.

Big Tires
I have the 4.0L in the Jeep, not sure of the gears, but I think like 3.42:1. How big of a tire can I run without changing gears? I hear a lot of guys running 31Ē tires with 3-in. lift. Does the stress of 31Ē tires cause any problems? Iím looking at an OME lift of about 2 or 3-in. with 30-in. tires. But if I can, Iíd like to put on a 4.5-in. lift with 32Ē tires. As far as cheap, Iíd like to stay under $3,000. Thanks for any help and if you can suggest what type of lift, Iíd appreciate it.

Pete Keselicka

Pete, I think you can go to the 32-inch tires, and Iíd suggest Goodyear MTR tires. Youíll probably be downshifting more on highway hills but you wonít strain anything. And if you like the Jeep on the trail, in another year or so youíll probably get deeper gears and a locker (with taller tires, lower gears might even improve your mileage). As far as the lift, I suggest either Rancho with adjustable 9000 shocks or Skyjacker with Softride shocks. Many years ago I tried an OME kit on my CJ and was very unhappy with it; it was so soft I scared myself on the freeway until I could reconnect the sway bars and I believe 1 or 2 of the shocks broke before I could change it to a Skyjacker kit. Of course, things have probably improved since then. Skyjacker shocks are soft initially and then stiffen up as they compress further. Rancho 9000 shocks have 9 positions of varying stiffness. I run them at ď7Ē on my JK on the road and ď1Ē or ď2Ē off road to float over the obstacles.

BOR Info
Read an article on ORC about the BOR 6Ē Leaf Spring Kit for XJs, but I canít find where to buy them. What do you know about them or where can I get them?

Rob McKim
Poplar Bluff, MO

As you can see, BOR is in Colorado, and hereís the contact information: BOR, 4833 Front Street B266, Castle Rock, CO 80104; 720.279.4709;

TJ Info
I have a bit of a problem with my Ď97 Jeep. I am pretty sure itís an SE. Itís basic all around the board. Nothing fancy about itóno lift, no aftermarketóand everything is stock and basic. I am a college student and canít afford most aftermarket upgrades but thatís neither here nor there. So I have been having a little bit of a problem with my Jeep. Recently I have begun to hear a rattling noise coming from the front of my Jeep. Also when I put it in 4WD I hear a horrible grinding noise after I release the clutch and almost a type of ďthud!Ē when it finally engages in gear. So I have been driving in 2WD and not worrying about it but now I have that stupid rattling noise. About 2 months ago I had my U-joints replaced because my mechanic told me they were going bad and I would know they are bad because I could hear rattling from the front of my Jeep. It was maybe a month after my U-joints were swapped out that the noise started up. At first you could barely hear it and it only happened after I had been driving for a really long time. However now it will start as soon as I start moving and itís really loud, so much so that I can hear it over my music. I am almost positive the noise is coming from my axle somewhere but I donít know what and I still donít know why my 4WD is acting up. Please note that the 4WD acts up in both H and L and itís not falling out of 4WD. It just makes terrible noises. So if you have any idea what could be wrong it would be greatly appreciated?

Jonathan Weick

At first blush, it sounds to me like one of the replacement U-joints may be bad. Have you returned it to the mechanic that installed them? They should have a warranty. Also, Iím assuming you donít have free-wheeling front hubs. If you had hubs, you could disengage them while in 2WD and ascertain if the noise went away. You also need your transfer case shifter adjusted.

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.

Recent Jeep Creep columns:
August 2011

July 2011

June 2011 Newsletter
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