Jeep Creep: Your Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Cherokee Questions Answered

Dec. 23, 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 [email protected], Attn: Jeep Creep.

More Jeep Creep Q&As
November 2015

October 2015

September 2015 

No Jeep recalls from NHTSA this month 

Leaking A/C Hoses
I want to get my air conditioning fixed before next summer. The pressure line is leaking. After removing the hose clip, how do I remove the hose?
Steve Mason
Phoenix, AZ

Maybe you should take it to an A/C shop. If you havenít handled Freon before, you could get seriously injured if it contacts your skin or eyes. However, if you still wish to do the work yourself, take every effort to protect your skin with gloves and long sleeves and be sure to wear goggles. First, make sure the system is empty. Ask a good auto parts store to buy or rent the special tool that is used to disconnect the lines. But like I said, I suggest you have a shop change them out and then recharge the system. I have no idea how much the tool will cost, but itís not something youíll be using every month.

Lifted XJ
Iím planning to put a lift kit on my Ď95 Cherokee. What are your opinions on Rough Country, Old Man Emu, and Rustyís off-road lift kits? Any company I should stay away from? I was leaning towards Rustyís or Rough Country because of their prices but I donít want to go cheap and buy crap. Any help would be awesome!
Casper Thompson
Cheyenne, Wyoming

I have had personal experience with installing and using Skyjacker, Rancho, Pro Comp, Rough Country & OME. All three companies you mentioned are respected and offer good kits. I really like the Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks but they are expensive. I recently replaced a 20-year-old Skyjacker kit with a new Skyjacker kit on a CJ7 with excellent results. I also installed a Skyjacker kit on a Cherokee with very good results. Also, take a look at our Holiday Special on off-road suspension. Just make sure to check with 4-Wheel Parts, Summit Racing, Rustyís, Quadratec and others, as they may have some specials going that could save you some money.

Syncíing Feeling

I have a 1988 Jeep Wrangler with a five-speed Peugeot transmission that I installed a Skyjacker 2-1/2 inch suspension lift. I am now getting a vibration up to 15-20 mph. I have a new clutch and new universals. The flywheel was resurfaced and transmission gearbox was rebuilt. Before the lift kit was installed the old springs were new with a 2-inch helper spring installed and did not have any vibration. What do you think the problem could be?
Harry Winston
Parker, AZ

This sounds to me, Harry, like your rear driveshaft was installed out of sync. Make sure the U-joints are matched. You do this by separating the two pieces of the driveshaft, rotating the shorter end until the U-joints at each end match, and slide the shorter end back onto the grooved slide joint. You may also have to add angle shims on the spring perches to rotate the axle housing to lessen the U-joint angles. Iím sure a phone call to Skyjackerís tech support would have told you the same thing.

Raising a Grand
I have a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee. How much lift can I install without hurting the driveline or doing anything else to the transfer case?
Ray Kingman
Yuma, AZ

You can safely lift it 2-1/2 inches without doing anything else. We did a 4-inch BDS Suspension installation on a 1999 Grand Cherokee (WJ) and the manufacturer suggests replacing the front driveline and we did so with a Tom Wood Custom Driveshaft. If you want to avoid having to add the additional parts, stick with the 2-1/2-inch kits.

Fluttering Gauges
I have a 2001 TJ with 70,000 miles on the clock. The oil pressure gauge started fluctuating at idle. Long story short, the cam bearings were blown and a new engine was necessary. Another friend with a Rubi Unlimited TJ had the same problem. He was just under the warranty of 30,000 to have his engine replaced on Jeepís dime. Does anyone know what causes this? I have read articles on replacing the crankcase oil with one with SL/diesel versus others. Looking to keep this engine running as ďjust-eats-every-paycheckĒ should have been spent on aftermarket upgrades.
Las Vegas, NV

I bought an í05 Rubi Unlimited last year with almost 100,000 miles on the odometer, and we drove it back from New Hampshire in three days at the freewaysí legal limit. Some engines just happen to last longer than others. However, you might want to switch to synthetic lubricants; they will extend your engineís usable mileage. But donít go beyond the 3,000-mile oil change intervals Ė especially if youíre consistently driving in dusty, off-road environments. Also, cam bearing wear is usually indicative of over-revving so you might want to watch the rpm during low-range wheeling. (Crankshaft bearing wear indicates lugging the engine too much.)

Key-Locked Laredo

I was having brake problems the other morning and had to quickly downshift from DRIVE to LOW. No problem then until I got home. I can turn the ignition into the off position but cannot ďbring it backĒ one more position to remove the key. HELP! Itís a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo.
John Ryan
Rapid City, SD

John, to remove the key, make sure the transmission is in park all the way. Your transmission linkage could be bent or loose. You probably bent the linkage when you had to quickly downshift, so youíll want to verify that itís OK at a Jeep dealership or qualified off-road shop.

Give Me Liberty!

I have a 2002 Liberty that the odometer reads ďerrorĒ about 95% of the time. On occasion the odometer will give me a mileage reading. Any ideas? The local Jeep dealer says it is the instrument cluster which would cost 900 bucks to replace. All the gauges are working fine.
Daniel Regan
Rockaway Park, NJ

Since your engine doesnít seem to be missing or hesitating when the odometer goes off-line, your ignition system can be eliminated as the cause. So itís either your computer, its wiring system, or in the dash as the dealer told you. Iím afraid youíre going to have to bite the $900 bullet if the error message disturbs you Ė otherwise, just learn to live with it. You might try a local off-road shop or a speedometer shop; they might be cheaper than a dealership. Iím thinking the error message means your dash display is slowly going away. The gauges might be working now, but they may also go away as the display deteriorates. In the meantime, the error message wonít hurt anything.

Preheater Tube
What is the preheat tube from the block to the air cleaner called on a 1988 6-cyl 4.2L Wrangler? What is the purpose of it? The Weber carburetor doesnít have a place for it and Iíve had it off for years but was just wondering what itís for.
Steve Williams
Lake Havasu City, AZ

Steve, itís part of the engineís smog equipment; it heats the air in the air cleaner container as the air enters the carburetor.

Computer Check
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. Have you any advice?
Sarah Warner
Pocatello, ID

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. The mechanics should have done that first thing!

Trail Treats
I see you travel quite a bit both near and far; I have several questions that are a little different from the typical Jeep ones. In your travels; what are some of your favorite trail grub goodies you typically bring along with you? Do you have any memorable dinners at sunset, lunch break trail stop views, or breakfast at sunrise? Great friends (where you got your party on) or that special someone that sticks out in your mind? Are you the camp chef in your adventures? What is your favorite after-trail-ride or dinner beverage (cold carbonated bubbly, fermented grape connoisseur, or smooth spirit sipper)?
Chef George McGraw
Denver, Colorado

Youíre right, these questions are a little off the mark, Chef, but Iíll try and answer them. In reverse order, years ago, when I was much younger, my favorite after dinner, around-the-campfire beverage was a cold Coors. Nowadays, though, itís usually hot chocolate because coffee wonít let me sleep. Iím also what would probably be considered a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to trail food. Iíd say steak and beans is my favorite on-the-trail dinner, and bacon, beans, and eggs are my favorite breakfast. A good sweet trail-mix is good to munch on while wheeling, and then a typical picnic for lunch, with an ice chest full of water bottles, lemonade, and Hawaiian Punchówe donít like carbonated drinks on the trail because of indigestion. Iíd say my favorite campsite on the trail is a small, sand-filled cove in the hills near Marl Springs on the great and historic Mojave Road. One other excellent dinner just came to mind: a KFC chicken dinner with extra biscuits. The extra biscuits are then used the next morning with the cowboy breakfast of beans, biscuits, bacon and eggs. Mmmmótwo great meals!

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 [email protected], Attn: Jeep Creep.

More Jeep Creep Q&As
November 2015

October 2015

September 2015 Newsletter
Join our Weekly Newsletter to get the latest off-road news, reviews, events, and alerts!