Jeep Creep: Technical, Maintenance and Upgrade Questions Answered

May. 22, 2013 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 Jeep questions to, Attn: Jeep Creep.

Previous Jeep Creep Columns
April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

Two Jeep recalls this month.
Recall No. 13V-120—Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2012 Jeep Patriot and Compass vehicles manufactured October 18, 2011, through May 7, 2012. Due to an incorrectly manufactured transfer tube, the transfer of fuel from the secondary side to the primary side of the fuel tank may be interrupted, causing the engine to stall. If the engine stalls while driving, it may increase the risk of a crash. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel tank transfer tube free of charge. The recall is expected to begin during May 2013. Owners may contact Chrysler at 800-247-9753.

Recall No. 13V-121—Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2007-2008 Dodge Nitro 4X2 vehicles manufactured March 21, 2006, through March 1, 2008; and 2008 Jeep Liberty 4X2 vehicles manufactured February 15, 2007, through March 1, 2008. The transfer case heat shield may drop down and rub on the driveshaft, weakening it and potentially causing the driveshaft to break. If the driveshaft breaks, a section of it can strike the transfer case tunnel with enough force that the airbag computer will believe the vehicle is in a crash and thus deploy the airbags. Additionally, the driveshaft failure will result in a loss of motive power. Either condition may increase the risk of a crash. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will add a bracket to support the rear of the heat shield, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin during May 2013. Owners may contact Chrysler at 800-247-9753.

I have a ‘97 TJ and would like to know if a Chevy V8 conversion would be better than building a performance six-cylinder engine?
John Witte
Marshalltown, IA

John, my trail Jeep is a 1982 CJ7 with a Chevy 350 V8 and a TH350 automatic transmission conversion. Enough said? If you can afford the conversion and the cost of fuel, in my opinion, you’ll enjoy your Jeep far more with a V8 than you would with a sixer.

Parts Is Parts
I have a ‘95 Jeep YJ Wrangler with 35-inch tires. The problem it has a four-cylinder engine. I also have a 2003 Jeep Wrangler that is stock with a 4.0L motor. Problem with this one was when I bought it there was an abandonment lien on it. I can’t figure out how to get the lien taken away so I was going to swap all the suspension, motor, and transmission from the ‘03 to the ‘95. What is involved with this? Is this possible?
Mark Knight
Warner Robins, GA

It’s very possible, Mark, all it takes is a lot of time, energy, and money. Advance Adapters can help you with specific information that you’ll need as you work on the conversion.

Cherokee Grinder
I just purchased a ‘93 Cherokee and took it up to the mountains. I tried to put it in 4H and it engaged but it was grinding like the tires were being held back. Any help on this issue?
April Congdon
Cheyenne, WY

April, this sounds like what happened to me in my Bronco back in the 1970s. I believe you need to rebuild the transfer case. It sounds like the transfer case shifter is trying to shift into four-wheel-drive high gear and low range at the same time, so the T-case needs to be rebuilt or replaced. However, you should have checked the 4WD system before you purchased the vehicle. If you bought it from a dealer, I’d try returning it there since you just bought it.

Axles Anyone?
I have an ‘80 CJ7 that I’m rebuilding from the ground up. I’m looking to replace the axles with stronger axles. What do you recommend using, and what is the easiest axle to swap? But I’m on a pretty tight budget.
No Name Given
Parrish, FL

Well, my first thought is to highly recommend Dynatrac—with which I replaced my JK’s Dana 44 front axle—but you mentioned that you’re on a tight budget. Therefore, take a look at You can retain your current axles and beef them up at the same time.

Tranny Trade
I have been hearing that a TF999 transmission (1983 non-electronic) will fit behind a 4.0L block in a 2000 TJ? Is this true? What adapters are used on this application?
Montego Cruz
Mandeville, LA

It’s a straight bolt-in, Montego. No adapters needed! Just remove and replace.

No Step Down
I wonder if you can please offer some advice on a ‘96 Grand Cherokee 4.0 petrol on LPG. Car has run great for the past few years but all of a sudden I have lost the kick-down (downshift) on the transmission. It still picks up midrange but when I floor the pedal nothing. I have tried to adjust the throttle valve (TV) cable to the gearbox several notches either way but it has made no difference. I have checked the fluid levels and all terminations. Is there anything else in the system that is linked to the kick-down? Or is it just the TV cable? It also seems to be a lot thirstier. I did a 500-mile round trip and seemed to get 11 mpg.

You have a stuck throttle valve spool, a broken cable, or a bad speed sensor. Since you’ve already tried to correct the throttle valve spool, start by replacing the speed sensor.

Missing Ball
I had to rework a full seal kit and pulled the recirculating shaft out too far. I cursed as soon as I heard the broken glass sound of all the balls falling into the cylinder knowing exactly what happened. I can get all but one of the balls back into the track. I know this is not correct. I closed it back up, letting the last ball float, and obviously have a lot of slop in my steering. What is the trick to getting the last ball back into the track?
Andy Seals
Houston, TX

I have two words for you, Andy, perseverance and patience. If you get too heated, step away and grab a drink—either a cup of coffee or cold can of beer—then step back in and try again. It could just slip right in after a short break. But in any case, keep at it.

4.2L Head Conversion
I did a head swap and the intake won’t reach the head. It hits the exhaust. I have a ‘74 CJ5 258 and I have installed a ‘92 4.0L head. What’s the skinny? Do I need the 4.0 intake, a different exhaust, or what? I want to try this out!
Frank Ravosa
Enfield, CT

Frank, you also need the 4.0L’s intake manifold, you could us a set of headers, or use both for even better performance.

5.2L Stuffing
I have a ‘94 Wrangler into which I am attempting to shoehorn a 5.2L. The engine is in and everything is hooked up with only one major problem. When I start the motor it runs for 3 seconds and shuts off. I am pulling my hair out on this one. What do I do? I have really soaked a lot of dough into this project.

Check the fuel pressure pump. It may be turning off. Also, the computer may need to be reprogrammed.

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
April 2013

March 2013

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