Jeep Creep: Wrangler Hardtop, CJ-5, Cherokee Questions and More

Jan. 26, 2016 By Jim Brightly, KF7SCT

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 Jeep questions to [email protected], Attn: Jeep Creep.

More Jeep Creep Q&As
December 2015

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October 2015

Three Jeep recalls from NHTSA this month

15V-826: Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2015-2016 Jeep Cherokee vehicles manufactured February 18, 2015, to September 10, 2015, and equipped with the power liftgate option. In the affected vehicles, water may leak into the Power Liftgate Control Module and result in a high-resistance short circuit. A short circuit in the module increases the risk of a fire. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the module and connectors for corrosion, replacing the damaged components as necessary. The mastic shield will be removed and the module will be covered with a water shield. These repairs will be performed free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at (800) 853-1403. Chryslerís number for this recall is R67.

15V-878: Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2015 Jeep Compass and Patriot vehicles manufactured January 1, 2015, to May 11, 2015. During assembly, the power steering hose retention clamp may have been installed at an incorrect location, resulting in the detachment of the low pressure return hose. If the power steering fluid return hose detaches, it would leak fluid and increase the risk of a fire. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the return power steering hose clamp, repositioning the clamp as necessary, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at (800) 853-1403. Chryslerís number for this recall is R68.

15V-879: Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2011-2013 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured December 3, 2009, to September 1, 2012. In the affected vehicles, the wiring for the vanity lamp in the sun visor may short circuit, after having been remedied for a prior recall for the vanity lamp wiring. This recall is also addressing certain vehicles that have not been remedied under that prior recall. The vanity lamp wiring may short, increasing the risk of a vehicle fire. Chrysler will notify owners. The remedy plan is still being developed. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at (800) 853-1403. Chryslerís number for this recall is R71.

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you have less trouble this year than you did in 2015, but please keep those questions, queries, and comments coming in.óJim Brightly


Iím thinking about buying a 1976 Jeep CJ-5. I know itís not going to be good on gas, but how bad is it? Itís a straight six.
Stephen Austen
Carson City, NV

If youíre worried about mileage, you donít want a Jeep, Steve. Youíre going to find out that youíll be having so much fun with the Jeep that you wonít be thinking about mileage! As a rule of thumb, Steve, the better you make a Jeep work off-road the less mileage occurs on road. Lifting it creates a larger wind wave to push down the road; larger tires and wheels mean more weight for the engine to twist; and lower gears cause the engine to rev higher for the same speeds. I remember testing a brand-new blue 1976 CJ7 with a six in Ď76 for Four Wheeler magazineónot sure if the gears and tranny match yoursóbut with a 4-speed (if I remember correctly) I managed 12-15 mpg. Of course in those days I was more interested in performance than in mileage.

Fouled-Up Fuse
I have a 1994 Jeep Cherokee with 213,000 miles. My taillights and instrument cluster lights are not working. I keep replacing the fuse in slot #15 but it keeps on blowing. Where do I start looking for this problem? Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.
Michael Connelly
Oceanside, CA

You have a short somewhere in the taillight/running/headlight circuits, Mike. Do you have a trailer plug on your Cherokee? If you do, Iíd start there and work forwardóthatís more than likely the culprit. It can be easily damaged from dragging on a rock or the raised center of a deeply rutted road. If you donít have a trailer plug, start at the taillights and work forward (the taillight wiring is much more susceptible to road damageóitís less protected than the grille lights). Disconnect the lines at each connector and test the fuse. If you havenít found it by the time youíre back at the fuses, begin again at the parking lights and work backward. Donít forget the side running lights. If itís not in these lighting circuits, itíll probably be a breakdown in the dashís printed circuit board.

Hard Hardtop
I have a 2004 Jeep Wrangler and I bought an aftermarket hardtop for it. The problems that I am having are the driverís side door fits very tightly and the liftgate is leaking water. I believe the problem with the liftgate is there is a gap between the gate and the tailgate that is allowing water, dust, and snow to come through. Can you help me?
Melissa Galley
Charlotte, NC

Thatís a real bummer, Melissa, with all the storms that have been hitting your area this winter! If the hinges arenít rusted to the body, the door is simple to correct, although it will require some arm/wrist strength and the proper tool. Loosen the hinges enough so that they still provide resistance against the body. Now move and adjust the door until it fits properly. Retighten the hinges. (The reason you want the resistance is because if itís too loose, the hinges will just fall against the loose screws whenever you let go of the door. With solid resistance, the door hinges will remain where you leave them while you try the fit.) For the tailgate gap, use Velcro-glued strips on the lift gate and the tailgate. Make up a strip of material the proper size, apply Velcro to it to match the strips on the Ďgates, and stick it on. Apply the Velcro to the inside of the lift gate and the outside of the tailgate (when youíre applying the Velcro to the Ďgates, think shingles).

Goofy Gauge
I have 2001 Jeep Wrangler Sahara. Recently, Iíve noticed the oil pressure goes up to about 60 psi on the gauge when I start the engine. The pressure mostly stays there while Iím driving. The gauge never used to do this so I am a little worried. Is there something wrong that I need to get fixed? I love my Jeep and I donít want to let a problem go unattended.
Luke Tracely
Walla Walla, WA

Have the OEM electric oil pressure gauge verified with a mechanical gauge for comparison. The problem might be with the sender or with the gauge. If the sender is contaminated with debris, removing it to insert the mechanical probe and cleaning it with brake cleaning spray will more than likely remove the debris. If the mechanical shows a different pressure, reinstall the OEM sender to make sure it is defective before replacing it. If the gauge now works fine, youíre finished. If the gauge is still goofy, youíll need to buy a new gauge, which is going to be expensive (and you may have to buy an entirely new dash PCB). You may want to replace the OEM gauge with a pair of aftermarket gauges. The second gauge can be either a temperature gauge or battery-condition gauge. You can even leave the OEM gauge online with a brass ďTĒ in the engine. Connect the original sender to one side and the new sender to the other side of the T-junction.

Jerking and Juddering
I have a Ď99 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and I have a couple of problems, hopefully they are all related. 1) At times, when I am driving, the Jeep jerks and the RPM go way down, then it will all of a sudden speed up again like normal. 2) Sometimes when I get in the car to start it, nothing happens, no crank or nothing, and then all the gauges go to the end and back. Afterward, I can turn the key and it starts like normal.
William Bushnell
El Paso, TX

I think you better check your battery connections. It sounds like you have corrosion on one or both sides of the battery. Check at the posts and at the cable connections. You can clean them with a baking soda/water solution (just make sure the solution doesnít get into the batteryís cells). If that doesnít solve your problem, trace and verify all the wires and connections of the alternator. Lastly, verify that the ignition key switch and all its wiring are okay. If youíre having other problems with the tumbler assembly, replacing the ignition switch will fix it. If it doesnít, youíre still ahead because it sounds like the assembly should be replaced anyway.

Hot TJ
I have a 1999 Jeep TJ, which I bought used and have loved every minute of it. However, my A/C stopped working along with my blower on all speeds. I raised the hood and tapped the relay and it started again. I drove it home and when I turned the Jeep back on, the A/C clutch and blower were not working again. I tapped on the relay but this did not work. I need some expert advice.
Patrick Allison
Casa Grande, AZ

Obviously, Iíd start with installing a new relay. Also, since itís a Ď99, Iíd have the A/C recharged. The electrical part of the ignition switch may be wearing out. Try returning the key to the run position manually to help the return-from-the-start-position spring. If that works, then replace the electrical part of the ignition switch or the entire ignition switch.

Drink Holders
Does anyone offer additional or replacement mounting brackets for BCS drink holders? I would like to be able to move the holder from vehicle to vehicle.
Robert Crane
Perth Amboy, NJ

Bob, Google the drink holders; it may surprise you. Or check the websites of Summit Racing, 4Wheel Parts, and Quadratec. One of them should have the drink holders. If none of that works, try Camping Worldís website.

Lifted Grand
I have a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee; I would like to know how much lift I can install without hurting the driveline or doing anything else to the transfer case or the transmission. A friend told me to put on a 4-1/2-inch kit. I have 33-inch tires, can I put them on?
Tim McCoy
Dana Point, CA

You can safely lift it 2.5 inches without doing anything else, Tim. The 33-inch tires should fit beneath the fenders, but might contact the body or the fenders during tight turns with the change in elevation.

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.

Send your Jeep questions to [email protected], Attn: Jeep Creep.

More Jeep Creep Q&As
December 2015

November 2015

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