Jeep Creep: Reader Tech Questions Answered

Mar. 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
February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

No Jeep recalls this month.

‘94 Four-Banger
I’m new to the Jeep world, and I have two questions: 1. If I decide to make a change, does the 1994 Wrangler 4-cylinder engine housing bolt up to an inline 6-cylinder? 2. What would be the best off-road magazine to fit my information on outfitting the 1994 Wrangler as far as information on engine conversions, such as adapter plates or upsizing to other engines (such as V8s) or suspension?

Terry Davis
Springfield, MO

I suggest that you take a peek at Advance Adapters’ website ( for complete information on bolting up a 4-liter in place of your four banger (or sliding in a V8). AA can also supply the new motor mounts and radiator that you’ll need for the conversion. Advance Adapters, as they have been since John Partridge began the company nearly 40 years ago, is the last word in four-wheeler conversions. For print magazines, Jp and 4Wheel Drive are good choices. But there’s also a good amount of info on Off-Road.Com of course, such as this build following a V8 install: 

JK Lifts
I have a stock ‘08 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited. Recently, I started going off-road and would like to increase ground clearance with 33-inch tires. What combination of wheels, tires and lift would you suggest without getting too complicated and causing problems with the original integrity of this beast of a machine? My research has brought me to this:
-Terra Flex (with VSS shocks) 2.5-in lift
-steering stabilizer
-18 x 9-inch wheels (forged aluminum), no beadlocks
-33 x 12.5 M/T tires
-appropriate spacers

Any suggestions to keep problems to a minimum and increase ground clearance? I don’t want money to be an issue. Just want to do it right the first time and allow for “air-downs” on the trail when needed without predisposing myself (and others) to unnecessary trail breakdowns.

Andrew Dick

Have you ever heard the expression “great minds think alike”? A friend and I just completed a 3-inch lift with 34-inch tires on his ‘08 Rubicon Unlimited. Just this last Thursday we took it out in one of the local canyons near Kingman for the action photos and off-road evaluation, and he was ecstatic at the results. If you can be patient for a while, the article will be posted here on ORC, but I can give you the highlights. While your choices are excellent, I can save you some money (even though you said that wasn’t a consideration). First of all, with a 3-inch lift and 34-inch tires you’ll lift the Jeep 4 to 5 inches, but you won’t need anything but the OEM wheels (no spacers, and your Rubicon is already equipped with a steering stabilizer). We used Toyo 34-inch tires and only shimmed the steering stops out 1/4” to stop the tires from rubbing on the frame. We also installed the Daystar 3-inch kit with shocks. We were able to do all the work ourselves with normal handtools and two floorjacks and jackstands. He did have to have a tire shop mount and balance the tires and the shop also realigned the Jeep after a 200-mile break-in.

TJ Parts
I have a ‘97 Jeep Wrangler and I want to know what year Jeep parts will interchange with mine? I want to put some ‘95 parts on my motor if they will interchange?

Chris Fleming

Chris, I’m thinking the engine parts will work as long as they’re not part of the smog equipment.

‘97 TJ Info
I bought a ‘97 Jeep Wrangler from a dealership in Colorado Springs and I had some questions they couldn’t answer so they told me to contact your company. I was wondering if I can convert my soft top to a hardtop, and if I wanted to get 32-inch tires, how big would my lift kit have to be?

Christine Sandoval
Colorado Springs

First of all, Christine, what kind of dealer was it that couldn’t answer these questions? They certainly were not a Jeep dealership! Secondly, you don’t “convert” your Jeep to a hardtop. You simply take off the soft top and install the hardtop. The Jeep is ready for it right from the factory. You should be able to find a top by Google by requesting “Jeep hardtops for sale” or looking at the websites of 4-Wheel Drive Hardware or Quadratec for a new top from Bestop. (And there is a 4-Wheel Parts store at 1749 S Academy Blvd., in Colorado Springs.) Next, you don’t need a lift to install 32-inch tires. Simply have the new tires mounted on the Jeep’s rims. You’ll only need a lift if you go larger than 32-inch tires.

Wild Willys
I have a 1947 Willys Jeep truck and I want to make it into a sweet off-road mud bogger. My question is, will I be able to put my Jeep body on an ‘80s Chevy half-ton frame? Or what frame would you recommend using that would be a descent fit? The only reason I ask about the Chevy frame is because I have an ‘88 short box and figured save a buck and use that.

Harvie Hootermin

As those of us who’ve been around this sport for a few years have learned, anything can be mated to anything—all it takes is sweat, time and money. This would be an expensive, labor-intensive project, but if that’s what you want, it would be a hell-of-a-truck. I think a better way would be to use the Chevy running and steering gear and keep the original Willys frame. Take plenty of pictures and send me some.

Ah, I could have had a V8!
I have a 1984 CJ7 with an I6 and I would like to swap in a 304. I would like to know more about the swap. I understand that the bell housing and the clutch is the same but the mounts would have to come off the donor Jeep or something. Anything would be helpful.

Jaylen Becker

Take a look at Advance Adapters’ website ( for the complete information on converting your Seven. AA can supply everything you’ll need, including the new motor mounts, V8 flywheel, radiator, etc. Advance Adapters, as I said earlier, is the last word in four-wheeler conversions.

Not-so Nifty ‘99
While accelerating, I have noticed a stutter when the throttle is pressed over half way on my ‘99 Jeep TJ. Today it totally quit while I was taking off. Here’s the strange thing: if I leave it for a while it will crank up and move unless I accelerate, then it dies. I know if I press the bleeder there seems to be adequate fuel pressure even though I don’t have access to a pressure gauge.

You need to have a full diagnostic done on your Jeep. The fuel pressure and spark need to be tested first then read the codes. Take it to a good tune-up shop.

Weird ’88 Wrangler
I have been working on a friend’s 1988 Jeep Wrangler, 5-speed, 4.2L with 82K miles. Recently it has really been giving us some issues. The issues started off with a no-run condition. The Jeep just died and lost spark. After sitting for a while, sometimes as little as 3 minutes or as long as 2 days, it would fire up and run like a champ or as best as it can run. I pulled the distributor cap and found it to be in pretty bad shape so I replaced the cap, rotor, plugs, and wires, still has a no-spark issue so I find some wires above the exhaust manifold are semi melted and also that the coil is bad. I replaced the coil and repaired the melted wires and I have good spark all the time now. The Jeep ran well for a bit, however, it still had an idle problem. Looked into this and adjusted the idle speed as the idle stabilizer solenoid was defective, I adjusted the idle speed screw to try and maintain proper idle. Jeep will rev up however I cannot get it to idle for the life of me. I have checked all vacuum lines, replaced coil pick up in distributor, replaced ignition control module, replaced carb, new fuel filter (all parts and new) and it still will not idle. So the main issue now is I cannot get it to idle, I have moved the distributor to change the timing and it does not make a difference for the better at all. This Jeep has electronic feedback on it and I am yet to find any good solid info on how this system works, it also has what looks to be an oxygen sensor as I can’t find out how that works in the system either. Does this Jeep have an ECU? Is there a manual that describes how the electronic feedback and such works? I also did a compression check and 4 cylinders are at 150 PSI and 2 are at 125 PSI. My manual says that the normal range should be from 185 to 150, does that mean 150 is ok or at the bottom of the normal scale? Also this Jeep has always seemed tired and when we loaded it up on my trailer it did not have enough compression to stay in place while in gear. So with all that being said, what are your thoughts? Can you point me in any direction to try and pinpoint what could be going on? Any and all info would be appreciated.

Tom Veeley

Tom, hop-skipping around a diagnosis and then using the same theory for repair gets confusing and expensive. This type of bouncing repair technique costs time and money and gives all shade tree wrenches a bad rap. I would suggest a new oxygen sensor, at least. With two low cylinders and not enough compression to hold it place should tell you something; do a complete engine rebuild or keep all the new parts and install them on a good long block.

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
February 2012

January 2012

December 2011 Newsletter
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