Jeep Creep: Your Off-Road Questions Answered

Aug. 25, 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.

Previous Jeep Creep Columns
July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

No Jeep recalls from NHTSA this month

Noisy GC
I have a 2004 Grand Cherokee 4.7 Limited. It has a loud noise in the rear and I think it is a limited-slip differential bearing noise. Does this mean that I have to remove and replace the bearings only? Or should I change the gears too? I found some metal shavings on the magnet.
Venice B. via email

You need to pull the differential cover and inspect the gears for the lash and wear pattern to determine how far you need to go with the repair. During the inspection you can determine just what needs to be replaced; i.e., gear set, axle bearings, pinion bearing, etc.

Clunky Cable
My í88 Wranglerís gas pedal goes to the floor. I have to step on it pretty hard to even go anywhere and it feels like Iím only getting half the response and no power. I can only do like 35 mph uphill.
Patrick James
Mission Viejo, CA

Patrick, you probably need a new throttle cable. To test youíll need an assistant. Have the assistant press the pedal to the metal and check the linkage at the engine. Are you getting a full throw? Disconnect the cable at the engine and work the linkage on the engine. Do you now get the full throw? Is it sticking? Use WD40 on every moving part in the linkage, including inside the cable sheath.

Dumb Dismantle
I have a Ď97 Wrangler with the 4.0L. 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 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 Evans
Elkhart, IN

With the engine on TDC No. 1 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 Ė see the 4-Wheel Parts website ( When I worked for Haynes in the Ď80s, the manuals were more complete than yours appears to be.

Can anyone tell me how to get my 1994 Jeep to start? I only have the key but the Jeep is in some kind of security mode and has no power. I tried to put the key in the rear trunk lock but no luck. HELP!!! The lights flash, a light on the dash flashes security, and there is no power when that happens. Usually you can reset it by using the rear lock.
Meghan Johnson
College Park, MD

There is possibly a door switch that is causing the activation of the security system. Try the most used door on the vehicleóleft frontólock the door with the key and then unlock with the key. If the security does not go off when the door is opened, then that switch may be worn out and need to be replaced. You may have to disconnect the battery to reset the computer. A competent locksmith can make you a key for the rear lock. A locksmith may also be able to help you with the security lock. How did you come by the Jeep without all the keys and the security key fob, anyway?

I have a 1989 Wrangler. At a half tank or more of gas, it runs great. However, between a half and a quarter tank, on left turns the Jeep will stumble. If I pump the clutch and the gas, I can keep it running sometimes. Again on a left turn, when the gauge is below a quarter full, the engine will completely cut out. I will have to try to pull off the road to restart. This problem has been going on for a long time now.
John Gibbs
Carmel, CA

Something similar was happening to my Ď82 CJ-7, as it was only using 5-7 gallons off the top of a fresh tank. We determined that it was a damaged pickup tube in the tank. This is more than likely your problem also. Your in-tank electric fuel pump may also be damaged and could behave as youíve explained. Either way, youíll have to drop the tank and examine it completely. You may want to drain the tank first to avoid fighting the weight of eight-pounds-per-gallon of the gas inside. Have you monitored the amount of fuel it takes when you fill it up? Does the number of gallons coincide with the gauge?

YJ Four
I have a 1990 2.5-liter Jeep YJ Wrangler that I just started having issues with. I drove it today and all was well until about five minutes into my drive. While accelerating, the Jeep started to stumble like itís not getting gas. Then it either straightened out on its own or when I gave it gas it would be fine, until I decelerated. It would die, or really come close to it at a stop. It starts right back up, no problems. I first put Heet into it because it had not been driven for about a week and sat out in the pouring rain for a while. I thought it might have water in the gas. I drove it and it did the same thing until about five minutes in, then it ran fine for 15 minutes or so. Then I shut it off to put gas in it, and upon restarting it began the routine again. I drove it and this time it stopped having issues after about five minutes again. Then for fun, I shut it off and waited, and again upon restart the same thing happened and was fine after about five minutes. I havenít ran it for more than about 10 minutes when it would start to run fine, so I am not sure if it is completely gone after that time, or if it is not doing it for a while. I then replaced the fuel filter which was disgusting, and maybe even original. I ran it and I am still having the same issues. Iím not sure which way to go at this point. I have read a lot of different things. Also, ever since Iíve had it, it idles at about 1,500 RPM and the engine never gets over 110 degrees. I am not sure if this is related or not. Also, mostly it idles fine, occasionally since Iíve had this issue, sometimes it will lose RPM and die.
Alan Wayne
Newport News, NJ

I would say the first thing you need to do is install a 180-degree thermostat, and that could solve your problem. Second, make sure the interior of the distributor and all the ignition cables and connections are dry. While youíre making sure the cables are all dry you may discover a cable that needs replacing. Next, you should drop your fuel tank (but only if youíre still having the same problems), and clean it out really well. Once youíve done that, youíll have to replace the fuel filter again after running a tank of gas through the filter.

I have a 1986 XJ. I think it has an NP207 T-case with a five-speed manual transmission. I need to know how to get rid of CV front driveshaft. It wonít hold up to a 3-inch Skyjacker lift (itís over-extended). Will a 1987 front driveshaft work?
Joe Bass
Grants Pass, OR

Well, Joe, you need to call a good driveline shop, such as Hendersonís Line-up in Grants Pass. Tell them I sent you and it should get you a free cup of coffee.

Unstable Cherokee
I have a 1996 Jeep Cherokee with a 3.5-inch Rustyís lift with 32-in. tires. When it was taken for the New Jersey Stability Test they failed it because they said it was 35 pounds too heavy on the downside. Is there any way to correct this problem that is not expensive? I need a good inspection sticker on it immediately.
Lori Sunday
Mays Landing, NJ

We donít have any such tests out here in the wild and wooly West, so Iím not sure what you might need. You should take it to a local off-road shop thatís familiar with New Jersey regulations. If what youíre saying is that the Jeep is 35 pounds too heavy, leave your spare tire at home when you return for the next test.

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. Newsletter
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