Jeep Creep: Off-Road Technical Questions and Answers

Aug. 03, 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 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
June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

No Jeep recalls this month.

Cool Running
I recently heard that it is a good idea to have additional cooling capacity for my Jeepís differentials, which is a 2007 JK Unlimited, and I tow a small camping trailer. Is this something that makes sense or just hype to sell these aluminum covers?
Ken Chapman
Las Vegas, NV

Aluminum covers for Jeep differentials are made for three reasons: improve heat dissipation, add more fluid to the differential, and improve gear protection from hitting obstacles on the trail. While you must adhere to a strict break-in period and procedure when you install new gear sets, evidence against needing such a device can be seen rolling along the trails. There are millions of vehicles without any such auxiliary cooling and they add up thousands of miles with no differential damage. Use of such a device canít hurtóand if you continually bang your diff cover into your ring gear, you might need oneóand if it offers a somewhat greater lube oil capacity, it may extend the lifespan of the oil a bit, but I donít think it would be accurate to say you ďneed one.Ē The best way to achieve long differential life for your Jeep would be to observe the factory recommended lubricant service intervals.

Sticky Wheels
While attempting to rotate the tires on my 2009 Jeep Liberty I found that three of the four OEM aluminum wheels were solidly corroded onto the steel hub. One broke away rather easily, but the other two took a lot of work to break loose. Before remounting the wheels I spread a coat of chassis grease on the hub in the hope of preventing this from happening again. Time will tell how well this works. Can you offer any better suggestion to prevent corrosion between the aluminum wheels and the steel hub?
Norbert Rangel
Puerto Rico

This can be a big problem in regions with wet weather and high humidity. As to a solution, anything that creates a film between the two dissimilar metals will work to keep them from sticking. A thin coat of RTV silicone, paint, or anti-seize compound should also do the job.

Low Lift
I own an í05 Wrangler Unlimited, and Iím thinking about a liftóI want to buy some 32-inch tires. What height lift should I consider? And would I need wheel spacers to keep the larger tires from rubbing on the frame?
Jake Johnson
Bishop, CA

For 32s youíll want either a 2-inch or 3-inch lift (you may want to go with taller tires later on). Kits with either replacement springs or coil spacers are acceptable. Youíll need new shocks for either height, but you wonít need any steering or driveshaft corrections other than setting the toe-in and centering the steering wheel after the lift. On a short-wheelbase Wrangler, if you have an automatic, youíll need to drop the T-case crossmember ¾~1-inch to alleviate the rear driveshaft angle because the tranny is longer than a manual. This wonít be necessary on your Unlimited, however. With OEM wheels you may get some slight rubbing at full turns, but spacers arenít really required (although you may want to readjust the steering stops). If youíre buying aftermarket wheels, go with a 3.5-inch to 4-inch backspacing. Thatíll push the wheels out far enough to clear.

Willys Wagon
Regarding a 1947 Willys Station Wagon, where might I find drawings, specifications and/or measurements of the frame and body?
Jim Hannah

Go online, Jim, and use several different word strings: i.e., Willys, Willys Station Wagon, etc. Youíll find many websites with all the information you need.

Turbodiesel Cherokee
I have a 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport 2.5L turbodiesel with a five-speed manual transmission. It has a New Process NP231J transfer case. I need to replace the transfer case chain. Do you know if I can use the Morse HY-VO HV027 or what else?
Roberto Fernandez
Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Use what the parts book calls for. You might also try 4-Wheel Partsí website, which offers exploded engineering drawings of most transmissions and transfer cases that are found in Jeeps, and then you can order the parts you need from the same site.

Another Willys
I have a 1953 Willys but I have this number: 353GB26017. I wonder that it is true or not, because I have a problem in my country traffics. If you have any idea, could you give me my carís documents?
Ruhay Aldik

Iím not sure, Ruhay, what youíre asking. But again, going online is best place to find information on the old Willys Jeeps. There are several websites aimed at Willys owners.

To Sway or Not To Sway
Iím building an Ď82 Cherokee for mudding. Iím currently lifting it and I didnít get any sway bars with my lift kit. Would adding sway bars hinder my performance off-road or help it?

If youíre just going to use it as a mudder, Carter, than sway bars would hinder you, and youíd have to disconnect them for full articulation. However, if you plan on driving it to and from the mud holes, youíll want sway bars on the highway (that you can easily disconnect).

My son and I have a CJ5 with a Buick engine and a 1378704 intake manifold. What carburetor should go with this? We are novices at this so weíre just learning.

Youíll need a small bolt pattern Rochester two-holer, James.

Two-Bar Shifter
My Jeep is a 1977 CJ7 with a Dana 20 transfer case, which is OK. The linkage is loose and/or worn out. I understand there is a two-lever shifter available that replaces the stock shifter. Can you send me a blueprint and information how to build that shifter?
Gene Derry

Novak Adapters ( has that shifter kit, Gene.

Brake Noises
I have a Ď93 Jeep Wrangler; my brake pads and rotors were replaced and as I was driving it home from the shop I noticed a horrible scratching noise coming from the driver-side wheel area. My friend thought it might be the shield hitting the rotor, so he bent it a little and the noise stopped for the 40-minute ride home. Then the next day the noise was back but only when I turn right. Could it be something more serious than the shield? Or did the shield just bend back to its original position?
D Havel

This could be very serious, or it could simply be the shield. However, you need to take it back to the shop that did the work and have them check their work more. You donít want to mess with the service brakes, and the shop is required to make everything right.

Traction Control Reset
I put a 4-inch suspension on my 2007 Jeep Wrangler. I have had it aligned to the specs it came with and Iíve done everything possible, but when I go into a curve itís like it loses traction. My traction light comes on and itís hard to keep in road. I had the traction control reset but I donít know what else I need to do.
Terry Moore

I have installed two different Rancho 4-inch suspensions on my 2007 Unlimited and have not experienced anything like that with either install. However, a fellow club memberówhose Jeep happens to not be a Rubiconóhas had that problem. Whatís happening is the OEM anti-skid system is applying brakes because the computer thinks youíre sliding. He ďcorrectedĒ his anti-skid by disconnecting it at the wheels. You should also have the steering wheel checked for centering, and make sure the axles are still parallel with each other. In other words, make sure everything is square.

CJ7 Parking Brake
I am putting a 4-inch lift on my 1977 CJ7 and would like to know if the stock parking brake set up will still work? Or do I have to get extra parts?
Dennis Carroll

Youíll love a 4-in. lift on your sevenómy Ď82 has a kit from Skyjacker on it, plus a 2-inch body liftóand if you need to relocate your parking brake bracket, the kitís manufacturer usually includes the necessary hardware. If not, though, you may need to drop the frame mount slightly or move it back a little. Your kitís tech support line will assist you if necessary.

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
June 2012

May 2012

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