Jeep Creep: Off-Road Tech Questions Answered

Oct. 11, 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.

One Jeep Recall This Month:

NHTSA Recall No. 11V-487: Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured from August 31, 2011, through September 13, 2011, that are equipped with 3.6L V6 engines. These engines may experience connecting rod bearing failure due to debris inside the engine block. Connecting rod failure may lead to engine seizure which may increase the risk of a crash. Chrysler will replace the engine free of charge. This is Chrysler safety recall L33. The safety recall began during October 2011. Owners may contact Chrysler at (800) 853-1403.

Recent Jeep Creep columns:
Septermber 2011

August 2011

July 2011

I have a 1998 TJ with 4.0L and 5-speed, and I have a 1999 RT Dakota two-wheel-drive with the 5.9L and auto trans. What do I have to do as far as putting the 5.9L in the TJ? Will my transmission in the Jeep mate with the 5.9L out of the Dakota?

Myrtle Beach, SC

You’ll need to contact Advance Adapters ( They can provide all the answers and products you’ll need for the conversion.

Shockley’s Shocks
I have a 2001 Jeep Wrangler with a 4-cyl. engine. I have put a snow plow on the Jeep and added 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 any place 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

Thomas, take a look at

Six-Banger Mileage
What sort of mileage are any of you getting with the 3.4L? I have a 1986 Jeep Comanche with the 2.8 and am thinking about upgrading to the 3.4 with a 4-barrel carb.

Sarasota, FL

Dave, why spend the money on such a small engine? Go a bit larger with a 4.3L GM sixer and enjoy almost V8 performance. Plus you’ll find a freight trail load of aftermarket performance products for it should you decide to improve its performance even more at a later date.

4.0L Starting Problems
I have a 1995 Jeep Wrangler 4.0. I am having starting issues. I will explain the best I can. When I turn the key to the “on” position the check engine light does not come on. So I wait anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes and the ASD and fuel pump relay will start clicking. After about a minute of that I then hear the TPS turn on and the “check engine” light will come on and the Jeep will start. I have replaced the ASD and fuel pump relay, crankshaft position sensor, cam sensor, and PCM computer. I have cleaned or replaced all ground connections under the hood (as many as I could find). I have replaced the positive and negative cables for the battery. I have checked all fuses with an ohmmeter and they seem fine. I have had the Jeep at two different shops now and no one has been able to fix this little problem. This has been an ongoing problem for about six months now. After countless hours of research and cleaning electrical connections I am unable to locate the problem.

Charles Anderson

Bypass the ASD with a jumper and see what happens. If the engine starts, the ASD circuit is bad.

Axle Swaps
I have a ‘92 YJ Wrangler and am looking to do a rear end axle swap for a Ford 8.8” from around a ‘98-01 Ford Explorer. I want to beef up my front axle to a similar size and strength. Can I use a front axle from the same Ford or what? What do you suggest for a front axle swap?

Zach Crowe
Andrews AFB, MD

Zack, no, you cannot use the Explorer’s front axle. If memory serves—and I’m definitely not a Ford expert—the Ford’s front axle is an IFS (independent) design. Contact Dynatrac for a heavy-duty Dana 30 or Dana 44 front housings -

Grant Wheel
I have an ‘86 CJ7 that I bought last year. A previous owner had replaced the original steering wheel with a Grant and removed the turn signal canceling cam and all its parts. I replaced the broken turn signal switch and ordered a new canceling cam. When I reassembled the parts, the cam is pushed too far down on the column by the retaining plate and spring-loaded clip so it activates the horn constantly. When I remove the new cam, the horn works only by pushing down on the steering column. While this may seem to work, it is not how it supposed to be. The Chilton manual provides an exploded view of the column and the order of reassembly, but doesn’t explain about the horn issue. Any ideas what may be wrong?

Dave Denn
Napa, CA

Dave, I remember doing the same thing to my CJ7’s Grant wheel several years ago. You have installed the parts in the wrong positions or you have a bad part. Contact Grant’s technical support, they’ll help you install it correctly -

An Alarming Cherokee
I have a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee that when I open the door the alarm goes off. I have to shut the door and lock it with the key for it to shut off. The Jeep won’t start when the alarm is sounding. Now if I go and unlock the hatch in the back and go to open driver side door everything is fine and car will start and all is good. Any suggestions about the alarm? Can I disconnect it?

Larry Fierman
Broomall. PA

A door lock switch is bad or its wire is grounded. Check all of the doors’ switches and circuits and you should find the issue.

More Wrangler Power
I have a 1988 Jeep Wrangler with 31” tires. How many mpg should I be getting? What can I do to get more power out of this rebuilt 4.2?

Mark Oakly
San Antonio, TX

Mark, the short answer is to install a V8 or a GM 4.3L V6. However, this is one of my many pet peeves. Asking about a Jeep’s fuel mileage? Everything you’ll do to improve a Jeep’s off-road performance will decrease its mileage. So why worry about it? If you want to wheel, forget about it. If you want mileage, get a VW diesel!

Blue Block
I am having a miserable time finding engine paint for my 1980 360 Jeep motor, preferably in a spray can. I hear it’s blue but no one can tell me for sure or give me a paint number. Can you help or at least send me in the right direction.

Scott Bradway
Mayville, MI

Scott, in 1974 I bought two new Jeeps; a J20 and a CJ5. Both were blue with white interiors, and both V8s were a kind of bluish-green—called AMC blue. I was able to find one reference: No. 100582 in Seymour Paint rattle cans.

YJ Rubicon
I need to know where to get spring perches and shock mounts for the Rubicon axles I’m putting under my ‘94 YJ.

Beaver Creek, OH

Poly Performance is your best bet. Find them at

PTO Problems
I have 1976 CJ-5 with a c-18-15-24-7 transfer case with a Ramsey winch reducer 73001. The original rubber mount is shot and looks like it was modified with a torch. I purchased a new stock mount but with the PTO winch reducer it does not come even close to fitting. Any ideas on other mounting hardware?

Lane Lucas
Patricia, Canada

Try Crown Parts. Check them out here:

Auto Slip
I have a 2004 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited automatic and I’m having some gear shifting issues. It seems to happen more when it is hot outside. When I come to a stop and the transmission downshifts, it feels like it jerks right before I come to a complete stop. Also when I’m almost at a complete stop and then get back on the gas it seems to make a “motor whining sound”—sorry I don’t know how to describe it—before the gear catches and starts to move. Any ideas on what could be causing this?

Chris Henderson
Alpharetta, GA

There are too many variables with an automatic transmission to try diagnosing from afar. You need to find a good trans shop in your area.

Let There Be No Light
I have a 1991 Jeep Cherokee. I’m having problems with the interior lights. They will not shut off after the vehicle is off. Just wondering if there is a timer for the lights, and if so where it would be located?

Ryan McNeil
Salt Lake, UT

There is a timer, so you may not be waiting long enough. However, you need to check all the switches in the circuit.

Leaking Axle
I have a ‘91 Wrangler with Dana 30 front axle. I removed the vacuum assist and split axle. I changed it to larger alloy axles, and used the seals sent with the axles, placing them inboard. However, I cannot get the passenger side to quit leaking. Could use some ideas.

Tim Mooney
Upper Lake, CA

You may have a bent axle tube, Tim. Take it a good alignment shop for an examination.

DJ Year?
I have a DJ-5C (I think) right-hand steering mail Jeep. Does anyone know where I can find the year of it using the serial number?

Michelle Shell
Birmingham, AL

You’ll have to Google or Bing it on the Internet.

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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