Jeep Creep: Your Jeep Questions Answered

Nov. 30, 2015 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 editor@off-road.com, Attn: Jeep Creep.

More Jeep Creep Q&As
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Two Jeep recalls from NHTSA this month

15V-673: Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2003 Jeep Liberty vehicles manufactured March 29, 2003, to July 3, 2003, and 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured May 27, 2003, to May 20, 2004. Due to electrical noise beyond the tolerance of the air bag electronic control module (ECM), a component in the ECM may fail, causing the front air bags, side air bags, and/or seatbelt pretensioners to deploy inadvertently while the vehicle is being operated. Inadvertent deployment of the air bags may increase the risk of injury and the possibility of a vehicle crash. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the air bag electronic control module and the front and/or side impact sensors, as necessary, free of charge. The replacement parts needed for this remedy are not expected to be available until the later part of 2016. Owners will be mailed an interim notification by the end of November 2015 and will be mailed a follow up notification when new air bag control modules are available in late 2016. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 800-853-1403. Chryslerís number for this recall is R60.

15V-676: Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2015 Jeep Cherokee vehicles manufactured October 1, 2014, to June 18, 2015. The affected vehicles may have a misrouted air conditioning suction/discharge hose. If the line is misrouted, it may contact the exhaust manifold, increasing the risk of a vehicle fire. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the routing of the air conditioning hose. Any hose that is misrouted will be replaced and installed correctly. This work will be performed free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on November 23, 2015. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 800-853-1403. Chryslerís number for this recall is R57.

Dark Dash
Hi there, finally got the right Jeep (Ď94 Wrangler) but then the dash quit working! Fuses are good. Are there any ideas out there?

Hawkowl DeYoung
City withheld per request

Problems like this can be really hard to diagnose, especially without seeing the vehicle first-hand. Have you checked all the grounds? There should be a ground between the body and the frame, and between the engine and the frame. This is where people really screw up, not using a large-enough ground wire. I believe that both of these places should have a ground the same size as what youíre using for the battery cables, and they must be making a good contact. Be sure there is a good clean connection between the steering column and the dash, as this is the ground for the ignition switch. My guess is that youíre not getting a good current flow from the battery to the ignition switch. So, the first thing to check is whether there is power to the ignition switch. Seems to me the easiest way to find this out is if the signal lights and heater work with the key in the ďonĒ position. Next step would be to check the voltage at the wire that activates the solenoid when the key is turned to and held at the ďstartĒ position. There shouldnít be more than about a 0.5-volt drop between the end of this wire and the voltage measured at the battery. If there is no current here, then I would unplug the connector at the steering column and check the voltage there. Still no voltage? Then you have a bad ignition switch. I suggest that you consult a factory service manual on the proper way to replace this switch. So what it all comes down to is that you spend some time with a test light and voltmeter.


Lift for Cherokee
I have a 1987 Jeep Cherokee Laredo. It is bone stock as of now but I bought it with the intent of making it an off-road vehicle. This will be my first build of this kind and I will be doing all the work myself. I am fairly handy as I am an aerospace mechanic. I am planning on putting a lift on the Jeep in the near future. I have narrowed it down to two kits. First one is the 4.5-inch X-flex by Rough Country. The other is the 6.5-inch long-arm kit by Rough Country. Since there does not seem to be a company out there willing to use my Jeep to showcase their products, these kits were picked because they seem to be the best bang for the buck. I would like to know the pros and cons of each kit and why I should or should not use one or the other. The Jeep will be used on-road about 50% of the time. Most of the off-roading will be light and include sand, rock and dirt mostly. Not really into mud. Lastly, if you know of a company that is willing to give me parts for my Jeep in exchange for advertisement on my Jeep then let me know. Let me ask you another question. How do you feel about using Rhino Lining as an outside coating on the Jeep instead of just a primer? Any concerns about weight or anything?

Aron Call
Chandler, AZ

Iím glad to see another Arizona wheeler coming along, Aron. When youíre finished with your XJ youíll have to come up to cool Kingman and wheel around some of our canyons. Several years ago, I started building an XJ that we nicknamed Master ĎKee. See the link below for one of the first installments. Perhaps the series will answer several of your questions and/or give you some more ideas. You asked me to advise you about a 4.5- or 6.5-inch lift. While a long-arm kit, in my opinion, is superior to a short-arm kit, since you said youíll be playing in sand, Iíd recommend going with the shorter lift. In sand the higher lift would make the XJ more susceptible to turning turtle and rolling on a side hill. Plus, using it as your daily driver would soon make the higher lift seem to be more inconvenient getting in and out of the Jeep. The main reason for the higher lift is ground clearance while negotiating boulder-strewn canyons. If thatís not going to be your preferred playground, stick with the shorter lift kit. Years ago I used Rhino Lining on the interior of a Scrambler. Itís great for sound suppression and rust prevention but I wouldnít use it on the outside of a vehicle. If you ever wish to mount something to the Jeep, youíll have to remove all the lining material and thatís a bitch.

Unraveled
I need some advice. I have a 2002 Wrangler 4.0 with full doors and soft top. The stitching on the top is coming out, and I canít afford a new top. So I was wondering what kind of thread I should use to repair or if there is a kit I can buy? Iím trying not to exceed $100 if possible.

Cory McIntyre
Douglasville, GA

Cory, find an upholstery shop or an RV awning repair shop and ask them. The thread should be nylon (to be strong) of a matching color. For $100 they should do the stitching for you.

Bad Rod Bearing
I am thinking of buying an Ď89 Jeep Cherokee Laredo. The problem I am running into is that everyone is telling me not to get it. The sellers had a mechanic look at it and he told them that the No. 6 connecting rod bearing needs replacing. I have been reading reviews of the problem and I have a concern about it being further damaged on the crankshaft. Please tell me if it may or may not be worth getting just on that alone? And what I should be really looking for.

Melvin Bender
Corvallis, OR

I would pass on this Jeep and keep looking, Mel. Youíd probably end up having to replace the entire engine one piece at a timeómuch like I did a toilet many years ago.


Snarky Starter
I have a 2000 Wrangler Sport 4.0L with auto transmission. I recently installed a 4-inch suspension lift with a transfer case drop (didnít have the money for the SYE). I am running 33-inch tires. While getting the front end aligned and a couple broken nuts replaced for the transfer case drop (rusted in frame and broken), the tech took it for a test drive and said he heard a clunk under the floorboard when he went over some railroad 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.
Tom Furlong
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.


Five Fever
I have a 1977 Jeep CJ5 with a 304 V8. I took it out today and got into some water and mudónothing major. Water was only about 8 to 10 inches. Almost instantly the engine began missing and backfiring. I got across the 10-foot area and it seemed to run fine. I had to come back the same way. Again it did the same thing. After arriving back home, I lifted the hood to find lots of mud and water spatter under the hood. I figure I got the ignition wet. I took off the distributor cap and found moisture and dried it out. It now will not start. Are there any other areas that may need to dry?
Brad Chastain
Tulsa, OK

Sounds like your cooling fan threw water and mud everywhere. Youíll need to dry all ignition wires, especially both ends of the coil cable. You should also check your air filter, because it may be soaked. Once you get it dried out, spray all the ignition components with ignition protectant or clear lacquer to seal it for the next time.


No Power Steering
I have a 1979 CJ7 with a 258-cid six-cylinder engine and I have to replace the missing power steering pump. I need help to replace it. I bought a manual on the Jeep and it tells me nothing.

John Burnett
Atlanta, GA

Itís a fairly straightforward project. Loosen the fan belt, unbolt the pump, and replace it. You should buy better shop manual.


Lidless TJ
I have an Ď04 Wrangler Sahara. I have the doors and top off and canít figure out how to turn off the interior lights. Have you any suggestions?

Don Favor
Albuquerque, NM

While the Jeep is running the lights stay on, Don. Remove the 10-amp fuse from slot number 4 and the lights will go off. Thereís a rotating switch on the turn signal lever that controls the interior lights and the dash light brightness. Also the interior lights come on when you turn off the ignition, but they only stay on for a short period of time.

I have a request of all the readers out there. Send us your questions. For some reason the questions have fallen off, and I know we havenít answered all your Jeep technical questions. There are no dumb questions; only unasked questions. Send them in and try to stump us.óJim Brightly

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

More Jeep Creep Q&As
October 2015

September 2015

August 2015


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