Jeep Creep: Trouble Shooting Off-Road Problems

Jun. 14, 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 editor@off-road.com, Attn: Jeep Creep.

Previous Jeep Creep Columns
May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

One Jeep recall this month:
12V-216: Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2010 Jeep Wranglers equipped with an automatic transmission. The transmission skid plate, which is close to the catalytic converter, can collect debris. If this occurs, the debris can ignite without warning, resulting in a vehicle fire. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the skid plate with a skid bar, free of charge. Owners may contact Chrysler at (800) 853-1403. Chryslerís recall number is M22.


YJ Tranny
I would like to replace the transmission in my 1991 YJ Jeep Wrangler. Would the AX15 be best? Where do I buy? How much? Also, could I swap out to a better transmission like a NV3500 or NV3550? How much modification would be required? What would be the benefits?

Bill Donovan
Mission, TX


Since the NV3550 (five-speed manual), manufactured by New Venture, was used in 2000 and 2001 in SE models with 4.0L I6 engines, very little modification will be needed. You can either find the parts in a junkyard or at Advance Adapters.


Waggy V8
My grandfather gave me a Ď78 Wagoneer with a 401 and Quadratrac. He got it new in Ď78 and it is completely bone stock. I am doing a few upgrades to it (new carb and intake) and I would like to put a lift on it. What would you recommend for a lift? Iím thinking 4 inches.

Scott Gibson
Canby, OR

With 4 inches you should be able to run 33-inch tires. Itís a good choice. Just make sure you pick a kit from a reputable manufacturer such as Pro Comp, Skyjacker or Rancho. You should also consider replacing the Quadratrac with a more reliable transfer case.


CJ Corvette
Iím installing a 5.7L ĎVette V8 in my í79 CJ. The problem I am having is replacing the OEM Jeep ignition switch under the dash (non tilt steering column). I canít figure out how to get the hook from the cylinder lock into the switch. It lines up and I see how it goes up and down when you turn the key. But without twisting the hook severely, I canít figure out how it fits into the side of the ignition switch. I was upside down for two hours and canít figure out what I am doing wrong.

Chuck


Chuck, that sounds like a super combination. If you live anywhere near Glamis, give me a shout and weíll have some fun in the sand dunes. The switch that youíre putting on must be matched to the old one to make sure that it is the same. If it is, then turn it end for end and see if that helps. Or take the Jeep to a shop that does electrical. The ohms should be 33 full/240 empty.


Dumb Distributor Dismantle
I have a Ď97 Wrangler with the 4.0 6 cylinder. To make a long story short, I was an idiot when replacing my distributor. I pulled the No. 1 plug and found TDC; however, I need to know which direction the rotor is supposed to point when at TDC. I know it points to the No. 1 on the distributor cap, but where exactly is that? My Haynes manual wasnít much help because it shows the position of the cap mounting screws at the 11 and 5 oíclock positions, however, looking at mine they are at the 1 and 7 oíclock positions and thatís the only way they face with the distributor mounting bracket lined up with the mounting hole in the engine block.

Scott
Elkview, WV

With the engine on TDC, the rotor is in the 5 oíclock position when the distributor is installed all the way into the block. You might need to go to Jeep itself for a better manual, see 4wheelparts.com. When I worked for Haynes in the Ď80s, the manuals were more complete than yours appears to be.


Gas Leak
Iíve got a problem; big gas leak around the gas tank. My Jeep is a 1995 Wrangler automatic with a 2.5L 4-cylinder. Iím looking to price replacement gas tanks and everywhere I look I canít seem to find anything newer than for a 1990. The 1990 tank (from pictures) appears to be the same tank, and is the same size, 14.5- to 15-gallon (with four- and six-cylinder variations). My question is: Would the 1990 version tank be the same one Iím looking for?

Sarah Nevin


If you can get at the leak, you can temporarily seal it by rubbing it with a bar of hand soap (I usually use Palmolive or Fels-Naptha). A product called Super Tape will also work if itís in the hose, although you should replace all the fuel lines and filler hoses. If one is leaking, theyíll all be leaking soon. The two tanks should match. Once youíve removed your tank, compare the two tanks side by side. Make sure all the fittingsóboth hose and mountingóall match.


Starter Snafu?
I have a 2000 Wrangler Sport 4.0L with automatic transmission. I recently installed a 4-inch suspension lift with a transfer case drop (didnít have the money for SYE). I am running 33-inch tires. While getting the front end aligned and a couple of captured nuts replaced for the transfer case drop (rusted in frame and broke), the tech took it for a test drive and said he heard a clunk under the floorboard when he went over some R/R tracks. When he returned to the shop we inspected everything and could not figure out what made this noise, everything was tight and in place. Here is my problem, on the way home from the shop a loud clicking noise began from under the floorboard. It sounded like something spinning and clicking against something else (like the old card in the bicycle tire spokes trick). It was extremely loud and was in time with the speed I was running. When I got home to investigate I put it in park and the noise stopped. The noise can be heard in neutral so I got under the Jeep with it in neutral, the noise seemed to be coming from the bell housing. The next day, I was going to get it looked at and the noise was gone. It has come back intermittently in the last couple weeks, but I cannot tell you the circumstances and I have tried everything to make it happen. Sometimes it happens after a short highway ride; other times it occurs when cranking it on level ground or while accelerating/driving uphill. Your advice/help would be greatly appreciated so I can get this fixed.

Kevin McFarland
Columbus, GA


Pull your starter and check its gear for unnatural wear. Although itís very difficult to diagnose something like this remotely, it sounds like your starter ring (flywheel) might be damaged and contacting the starter while it spins. If this doesnít work, send me an update.


OBDII

I have a 2001 Jeep Cherokee that continues to have the check engine light on. The car doesnít want to accelerate at times and I can hear a knocking noise at rest but the mechanics can seem to find nothing wrong. Any advice?

Sarah
Sugarloaf, PA


Sarah, youíre going to have to find out what codes are stored in the computer? Youíll need an OBDII reader that plugs into the computer multi-plug outlet beneath your dash.


Slipping and Sliding
Iím trying to find some help with my 2003 Liberty Sport 4x4 3.7L with an automatic tranny. Recently, I began to feel a ďsurging/slipping/missingĒ sensation while driving. It is very noticeable on the highway. It almost feels like Iím driving across small patches of ice. Then the other day I heard a loud sound from the rear that made me think I had run over something or the spare tire was loose on the rack. Could the two things be related? I checked the U-joints and found no play. Should I be more suspicious of an actual tranny issue?

Teresa
Eudora, KS

Teresa, have you checked all the fluids in your Jeep to make sure they are all full? You need to check the transmission, the transfer case, and the rear end. If your tranny is low, it could exhibit the effects youíve described, such as slipping. If the T-case or rear differential is low, they could be overheating and seizing, which could give you the same impression as a slipping transmission.


Gunky Gas Gauge
I have a 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the fuel gauge reads over full. Can you help me with a cause?

Unplug the sending unit to see if the gauge drops to empty. If that happens, 9 times out of 10 it is the sender. If notóand if youíre not sure with electricalófind a good electrical shop for diagnosis. Also, if youíre comfortable doing your own work, buy a good shop manual with a good troubleshooting section.


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.

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 editor@off-road.com, Attn: Jeep Creep.

Previous Jeep Creep Columns
May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

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