Jeep Creep: Your Off-Road Questions Answered

Feb. 23, 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
January 2016

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November 2015

No Jeep recalls from NHTSA this month

Low Fuel Pressure
I have a 1990 Cherokee that wouldnít start. It needed a starter and a battery and now it turns over. Itís got fuel pressure (35 psi) and spark. It initially didnít have an injector pulse so we put in a crank sensor. Now it fires up and dies right away. When it starts the injector pulse is there but then immediately goes away after starting and kills the engine. What could cause this?
Darren McGavin
Bisbee, AZ

Well, 35 psi is a little low, you should make the sure the fuel system isnít restricted. Inspect the metal fuel lines to be sure theyíre not kinked or bent, clean the fuel filter or replace it, and verify that the tank is vented properly. I also think your ignition system is compromised. From your description it sounds like the fuel pump works while the starter circuit is engaged but quits when you return the key to the run position, so the circuit is open, a fuse is blown, or a circuit breaker is open. Inspect the circuit.

Gunky Gas Gauge
I have installed a new plastic gas tank in a 1980 CJ-7. After hooking up the proper ground and wiring, the fuel gauge always pegs out to full and does not move. I may have got my wires crossed. I didnít have a chance to check, but I will this evening. One wire came from the sender and since the tank is plastic, it was grounded from the steel setting ring to the Jeep frame. Could it be a wire from the sending unit (new) to the gauge?
Chad Thomas
Hurricane, UT

The sender works by the ground, therefore, the wiring is reversed; double check all the wiring again.

Power Brakes and Other Stuff
I have a 1977 CJ5 with a 304 V8. I installed an automatic transmission because Iím missing my left drumstick below the knee. It has 35x12x15 tires on aluminum wheels, fiberglass body, disc brakes in front, and drum in back. My question is: can I put a brake power booster in my Jeep? The brakes seem rather weak. Iíve checked the pads, rotors and shoes, and I bleed them off, but they still pretty poor. If you have any other recommendation or what type of booster to buy and what would be involved installing the booster, please let me know. I was also thinking strongly about the rear disc brakes.

Besides the leg Iím missing part of my left foot, been a type one diabetic since 1960, had two bypass heart surgeries. I have leukemia and am on dialysis for my kidneys every day, and I never bitch or complain because thereíre people out there that are much worse off.

Another question: Iím going to rebuild the carb on my CJ, could you tell me what carburetor is on it so I can order the right rebuild kit, before I take it off? And I made a real dumb mistake, I dropped a carb nut down the intake. How can I get it out?
Terry Davis
Columbia Falls, Montana

Absolutely, Terry, you can install a power booster. My Ď82 CJ7 had power brakes, and youíre right they do make a world of difference. First of all you want to go to Summit Racing and order the parts (Summit Racing SUM-760210 - Summit Racing Power Brake Conversion Kit--$180). I strongly agree with you on the disc brake conversion on the rear differential. I did that on my CJ7. Youíll love the increased braking, especially in the wet.

Itís a Motorcraft 2bbl carburetor. But youíll have to be more specific when you order it. The specific model depends on where youíre from, electric choke, etc. Take a peek at and youíll see what I mean. To extract the nut, use a flexible magnet to suck it outóor you can turn the Jeep upside-down and shake it like a piggy bank!

New Cherokee
I purchased a 2015 Cherokee and Iím planning on making it a unique off-road vehicle. Iíve found that itís difficult to find parts such as lift kits, fender flares, bumpers, etc. Where can I find off-road parts for this vehicle? Do you guys sell any? Iím very interested in the Dakar concept fender flares and Iíd like to install bigger tires.
Kris Hopper
Santa Barbara, CA

First of all, we here at do not sell products. We advertise many companies and aftermarket parts, but we donít sell any. Secondly, youíre right Ė mods for the 2015 Cherokee are hard to find. Try Rocky Road Outfitters, as they seem to offer everything you mentioned.

Iím thinking about converting my original in-line 6 for a Chevy 350. Besides the obvious challenges and cost, is it worth it?
Jordan Marrale

The short answer is: Hell yes!! But I should ask where you live first? If you live in the Midwest, where the land is mostly flat, it probably would not be worth it. I recently sold my 1982 CJ7 with a Chevy 350 V8 with TBI and a TH350 automatic. On the trails here in northwestern Arizona, on the trails in Moab, and on the trails in Nevada, it not only sounded beautiful, it idled over almost any obstacle. If it hesitated, a blip on the throttle popped it over. With a set of paddle tires, it could literally fly over the dunes at Glamis, Coos Bay, Oregon, or Florence, Idaho. Please respond with your hometown and more information on your YJ. Gears, lift, tires, etc., and type of wheeling you do.

Goofy Gauges
Iím just looking for some advice on a Ď99 TJ with 125k miles and a 2.5L engine. When I hit a bump my gauge cluster acts goofy and my fuel gauge goes to empty. When I hit another bump the gauge cluster (speedometer/tach go completely to 0) and then start working again along with the fuel gauge. I put in new spark plugs, wire, rotor, cap, coil, crankshaft sensor, fuel pump, and fuel filter. I also put a new wiring harness on the back of the gauge cluster because the old one had some corrosion on it. Iím really out of answers here. Everyone I ask thinks it is the gauge cluster or fuel pump but with the new wiring harness, pump and fuel filter, I think I have ruled that out. Also, when I fill up with gas it wonít start. It will crank but after it sits for a little while it will finally start. Iím very hesitant on taking it to a dealer. Do you think the bump and filling up are related? Iím thinking that maybe there is a fuel shutoff valve somewhere that went bad?
John Hubert
San Antonio, TX

The short answer is: get rid of the 4-banger and get a real engineójust kidding! Your problems can be traced to a single problem: bad ground. The real problem lies in where the bad ground might be. Iíd say the first place to begin looking is in the ignition harness on the steering column. The next time you hit a bump and the gauges go goofy, wiggle your key and/or thump on the steering column. Also check the ground connection where the ignition loom exits the column--itís probably corroded as the dash wiring was. The other place to examine for a bad ground is the new wiring harness you installed (did the gauges go goofy before you changed the harness?). Lastly, make sure the frame-to-engine ground strap is in good condition and both contacts are clean. Before you visit a dealer, buy a good repair manual that includes a wiring diagram.

Hot Wrangler
I just bought my first Jeep, 1999 Wrangler Sport 4.0L with 117,000 miles; very good condition with a lot of extras. But itís starting to run too hot; sometimes all the way to the red line. It has an electric fan and an aluminum radiator with a high-flow water pump and thermostat housing. The thing is, when the engine is cold, it can idle for hours and the fan clicks in at 208 or 210 degrees, no problem at all. But if you drive it, it starts to get hot and when the temperature goes over 210 the fan refuses to start and when it does it shuts down right away. Honestly, I donít know what can be wrong. I took it to a mechanic; he changed the temperature sensor, but still the same. Iím thinking to go back to a mechanical fan, but again I donít know if itís better for off-road?
Ruben Acosta
Glendale, AZ

According to my favorite Jeep tech, the mechanical fan with a fan shroud is the best cooler with an electric add-on fan between the radiator and grille for crawling speeds. You could also install a relay and toggle switch for the electric fan without the thermostat control so that you can turn it on and off as you desire. You should install a 180 thermostat for the best performance.

Bump Stops
I have a 2003 Wrangler Sport with the sport suspension package and 30x9.5x15 on 15x8 rims. I upgraded to Pirelli Scorpion ATR 31x10.5x15 tires, which do not fit on my spare tire carrier. If I remove the five rubber bumper stops on the carrier, the spare tire fits just fine and clears the third brake light. There is about 1-inch between the tire and the tailgate. I do not want to drive without the spare tire being supported by the rubber stops. Do you know a solution or where I can get shorter rubber stops or is it better to by an extension bracket?
Robert Scanlon
Bayfield, CO

Although the extension bracket would be the better way to go, you could cut the bump stops down to size and reinstall them. Check the websites of Summit Racing, 4Wheel Parts or Quadratec for an extension bracket.

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. 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 [email protected], Attn: Jeep Creep.

More Jeep Creep Q&As
January 2016

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