Jeep Creep: Off-Road Tech Q&A

Aug. 15, 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 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.

No Jeep recalls this month.

Recent Jeep Creep columns:
July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

Ram Wheels
I just bought a ‘95 Wrangler Sahara and I’m wondering if my wheels and tires on my ‘01 Dodge Ram pickup will interchange?

The short answer, Eric, is no. However, if you really wish to use your Ram’s wheels and tires, you can purchase wheel adaptors that can change the lug pattern.

No Power GC
I have a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.0 liter. I have no power to my ignition coil and can’t figure out why? Can anybody help?

You need a good shop manual with diagrams to track down the problem.

Need a New Seat
I need a driver’s seat for a 2003 KJ model Jeep Cherokee, preferably in dark gray leather.
Raymond McFarlane

If you can’t find one at a nearby pick-your-part yard, contact Precision Automotive in Kingman, Arizona (928-757-7273). They have several.

Patriot Pads
I have a brand new 2011 Jeep Patriot Limited. Since purchasing the vehicle I can hear a squeaking sound coming from what I believe is the passenger rear side. It seems to occur when I back out of my driveway, then put the car in drive and start to pull away slowly without my foot on the brake. The dealer checked the brake pads and said they are fine. However, it mostly occurs then the vehicle is cold, driving slowly, and my foot is not on the brake. I’m frustrated as no one seems to have any answers about why this is occurring. Any suggestions?

Sounds to me, Kathleen, that your brake pads are slightly dragging. However, your dealer’s tech should be able to reproduce the same conditions as you have in the morning—you’ll just have to leave it overnight. It’s under warranty; take it back and tell them to fix it!

Commando Pans
I am restoring a 1969 Jeepster Commando and cannot find the front floor pans for it. Does anyone out there have any suggestions where I might find the pans? I have tried the Jeepster Man but have not received a reply from him to any of my emails. Any help would be most appreciated.
Linda Jones
Fresno, CA

Linda, you may have to take a short trip to Southern California. J&W Auto Wreckers ( claims to have 10 acres of Jeeps. Give them a call.

Intermittent Electrical
I have a ‘94 Jeep Cherokee Sport. I was off roading when my radio, windshield wipers, A/C and turn signals stopped working. When I hit some bumps they worked again for a second then stopped working again. I tried to find the problem and couldn’t.
Richard Ross

This is likely a bad ground or an open circuit on the power side. Or it could be a possible loose plug or a bad ignition switch. You’ll need a good shop manual with wiring diagrams to find the problem.

Bad Tranny
My wife has a 2006 Jeep Wrangler Sport with a 6-cyl. engine and automatic transmission. It is right-hand steering for mail delivery. Last week it quit shifting. It will do fine in low or reverse but will not shift out of low. Any suggestions? She never goes 4-wheeling; just uses it for mail delivery.
Robert Pearce

Unfortunately, Robert, you need to have it scanned at a transmission shop. There are too many possibilities for me to diagnose it here. However, as a guess, mind you, I think the tranny has gone into its “limp home mode” and you’ll need to replace it.

Chevy V-8 Swap
I have a 1980 CJ7 with a tired 258 and a 999 Torqueflite transmission. Want to install a 350 with a turbo Hydramatic. Your information has been very helpful so far.
Broken Arrow, OK

My ’82 CJ7 has a Chevy 400 small block and a TH350 automatic and I love it! Contact Advance Adapters for a complete book of instructions on the project.

FC Willys
I am purchasing a 1961 forward control Willys pickup truck. I have a question about the roof. There are small rust holes around the edge of the roof. I was wondering what I can do to fix these holes? Should I putty them up and paint over, or should I weld them? How much weight can a 1961 forward control Willys pickup truck hold/haul?
Andrew Monix
Crownpoint, IN

Welding up the small holes is the stronger method, but body putty will work, too, and it’s easier to work with and there’s no threat of fire. There should be a federal GVWR plate on or near the rear door post. Check it.

Rubi Lift
Just bought a 2010 Rubicon 4 Dr, want to get a lift kit. Need any advice on the best one out there. I am currently looking at getting the Rubicon Express 4.5 Long Arm. What are the pros & cons on this selection?
Kenny Miller
Garland, TX

Kenny, I had a Rubicon Express 6” lift on an ‘05 TJ that I owned for a while and found nothing wrong with it at all. However, I have a Rancho lift on my ‘07 Rubicon Unlimited—see the “Polishing a Rubi” on Off-Road.Com—and I much prefer the Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks to the RE shocks.

JK Sahara
I bought a Jeep Wrangler Sahara ‘09 about a year ago. I have only had two opportunities to put it into 4-wheel drive. When I am turning I feel like the gears are not matching up. You know... the outer wheel is rotating faster than the inner wheel. I know this has been resolved in other 4x4s because I have driven several other vehicles and never felt it. Does Jeep just use the old system or do I need to have it checked out? Thanks!!!
Backpack Chick
Arlington, VA

It sounds like you’re trying to use the 4WD while on hard pavement. This is a NO-NO! Only use 4WD while on soft terrain, in snow, etc., when additional traction is needed. If you attempt to use it on pavement, you could easily blow the front differential.

T-Case Dilemma
I am considering installing a Ford T-18 in my ‘77 CJ5 304 and 3-speed. I know that an adaptor is needed to mate the T-18 to the Jeep Dana 20. Could I buy a Ford Dana 20, and will this mate up to my Ford T-18 and also line up with the rear differential, and so on (eliminating the use of an adaptor).
TA Johnston
Hayden, Idaho

No. Actually, you’ll need two adapters; one to mate the engine to the tranny, and another to mate the tranny to the T-case.

Starting Issues
I recently purchased a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 127,000 miles. Good condition overall. The former owner told me about a starting issue he had with the vehicle. At times, without warning, the Jeep would not start. No sound at all. He said he had to put the transmission into neutral, and then the engine would turn over. This has happened to me twice. Both times the engine fired right up, but this should not be. Any suggestions?
M. Buzzi
Ford City, PA

The problem is in the shifting linkage. You’re not making full contact with the safety lock-out switch in Park, that’s why you need to shift to Neutral. It may be a linkage adjustment issue or a clean contact issue; you’ll have to discover that for yourself.

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.

Send your Jeep questions to Jeep Creep at, Attn: Jeep Creep. Be sure to be as detailed as your vehicle and the issue.

Recent Jeep Creep columns:
July 2011

June 2011

May 2011 Newsletter
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