Jeep Creep: Off-Road Technical Q&A

Sep. 21, 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
August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

No Jeep recalls this month.


2012 JK Wish List?
I’m really interested in purchasing a new Wrangler Unlimited. What’s a-must-have accessory list for an outdoorsman like me who likes to fish and hunt big game?
Charles House

Well, Charlie, the short answer would be “All of ‘em!” But I’m sure you’re looking for a longer answer. I’m also assuming your budget isn’t a concern, so I’ll give you my personal wish list for the 2012 Jeep JK (even though I don’t know what your trail preferences are). First of all, you should read my article from 2010 on the Moparized Jeep. Print out the article and this column and take them with you to the dealership as a reference, because I’m sure all the Mopar options in the article are still available for the 2013 models. Next, you’ll want to start with the Rubicon model because it includes all kinds of options you’ll want for the more technical trails you’ll encounter. If you can control the level of your jaw and wear a bib to catch the drool, go to for a complete and extensive option list, and you can build and price your Jeep right online. Here’s my wish list, which will hopefully trigger some ideas for you:
• Dual top option for both hardtop and softtop.
• Half doors—really cool in more ways than one.
• GPS touch screen (which includes several electronic options, including Sirius satellite radio)
• Mopar Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (similar to Lojak)
• WiFi (makes the Jeep a WiFi hotspot)
• Aftermarket bumpers (I prefer Bestop, but there are many manufacturers offering better off-road bumpers), skid plates, and winch to improve the Jeep’s legendary off-road capabilities.
• Towing hitch receiver and wiring harness (since the JK Unlimited has a 3,500-pound towing capacity).
• HiLift jack, fire extinguisher, and tow strap for safety and recovery.

Shockin’ a Fiver
I have a ‘73 CJ5 regular ride height and I’m not planning on lifting it. However, I’m wondering what the best off-road shock would you recommend? Is a Procomp shock any good? And what kind of crawler suspension would you think best or where is the best place to get one?

I thought you said you’re not planning on lifting your CJ5, Justin? You can’t install a crawler suspension without lifting it. Procomp shocks are the equal of any off-road shock out there, and it’s Four Wheel Parts’ brand name. And Four Wheel Parts is a good a place to start as anywhere. I’m not sure who is still making suspensions for the mid-seventies Jeeps, but the Four Wheel Parts or Quadratec websites are the places to look.

Willys Numbers
I have a 232 straight six in a ‘57 Willys Jeep. The engine numbers on front right read “321861 8” (also on other side of the engine is stamped “E”). What does this mean? Do I have a ‘79 model?
Craig Campbell

I don’t know why you think you have a ’79 engine, Craig. Since you emailed your question to me, you have access to the Internet. Do a Google search on 1957 Willys Jeeps and you’ll find all kinds of interesting websites and information pages. You might even find an Internet-based club of Willys Jeep owners.

2012 Wrangler Rubicon
For the last five years I have had two H3 Hummers. As far as I am concerned, nothing can touch an H3 for off-road performance and city comfort (and I do extreme off-road!). Now that the H3 models are not produced anymore, I am considering seriously buying a 2012 Rubicon Unlimited (check out our review here). My question is how good is it compared to an H3? And is there anything else to buy? Perhaps a Disco 4?
Stanley Perlman

Stanley, first of all, I can’t believe you come to a Jeep tech column and ask about a Disco! I spent the most uncomfortable two days of my life crossing the Mojave Road in a Disco—the Mojave Road is an easy but scenic and historical 120-mile off-road trail between I-15 and the Colorado River in Southern California—so I wouldn’t recommend a Disco for anything, on or off the road. I’ve owned Jeeps since ’64—almost every type and model made, except for an FC model—and I agree with what several of my Jeep-owning friends have said numerous times: “You haven’t been four-wheeling until you’ve been four-wheeling in a Jeep!” I’ve also owned a 2004 Chevy Avalanche since we bought it new in December 2003, which, as you may or may not know, has the same chassis and driveline as the H3, and while I love the Avalanche, I also think that after just one trip in the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited you will throw rocks at your H3 (probably with the Jeep’s rear tires!). In my opinion, a stock AMC Jeep CJ5 is not only more fun on the trail than a Hummer, but it’ll outperform it as well!

Testers, Please
I have ‘99 Wrangler TJ with a 4-inch Skyjacker lift and I’m sorry I bought it. I want a Rubicon 5.5-inch long-arm kit. I was wondering if you were looking for testers to give an honest opinion in exchange for a discounted price or no cost for testing.
Bronson Simmons

Sorry, Bronson, there are no job openings for test drivers here. That’s what Josh and I do, and several other contributors. However, I’m sorry to hear that you’re unhappy with the Skyjacker kit. I’ve had a Skyjacker 4-inch lift on my ’82 CJ7 for nearly 20 years and still love it, although I may have to update the shocks pretty soon. And we’ve installed a Skyjacker 6-inch lift kit on our project Master ‘Kee Cherokee. Is it not providing the clearance you want and that’s the reason for the want of a long-arm kit?

Classic Jeep Events
Where are ANY Classic Jeep/FSJ events/shows in the Northwest? Preferably, shows in Oregon or along the coast (Camp Rilea, Fort Stevens, Seaside, etc.). Or even Long Beach, WA?

Peggy, I don’t even know where there are any non-classic Jeep events in the great Northwest. However, every off-road magazine offers an event calendar in the back of each magazine, so that’s the place to start looking. You could also do a Google search. Also check out the Jeep Jamboree USA website. They offer jamborees all over the US, including the Northwest, and you’ll see all types of Jeeps at one of their jamborees. Another place to look is Jeep’s website ( Lastly, I’d check here on the Forums at Maybe you can ask fellow off-roaders in the area or look for other like-minded individuals as yourself (

OR-Fab Project FerrarJeep XJ
Where can I get a set of the rear quarter panel covers like on your project XJ? I want something like that so that I can put custom taillights in my ‘89 XJ rig.
Name withheld by request.

First of all, it’s not our project; it is OR-Fab’s Project FerrarJeep XJ. Even though we staffers have dehydrated ourselves somewhat drooling over it, the cool ’89 Cherokee belongs to OR-Fab’s R&D guy, Chris Faustmann. If you click on the rear quarter panel’s red hyperlink—located between the second and third photos in the story—it’ll take you directly to OR-Fab’s website. Contact them for more information on all the products installed on the Cherokee.

Up, Up, and Away!
Are there any supercharger kits for the 2011 JK Jeep?

Dave, I couldn’t find anyone making a supercharger kit, but I did find a company offering turbochargers for both the 3.8L and 3.6L V6 engines available in the Jeep JK models. STS Turbos ( is the company. Also, are you aware that either a turbo or a supercharger, due to the increased compression chamber pressure, will require you to run premium gasoline? Just a consideration.

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.

Previous Jeep Creep Columns
August 2012

July 2012

June 2012 Newsletter
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