Jeep Creep: Tech and Maintenance Jeep Questions Answered

Jan. 03, 2012 By Jim Brightly
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 questions to, Attn: Jeep Creep.

Recent Jeep Creep columns:
November 2011

October 2011

Septermber 2011

One Jeep recall this month.
NHTSA Recall No. 11V-528: Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2008-2012 right hand drive (RHD) Jeep Wrangler vehicles manufactured from February 1, 2007, through October 10, 2011. Some vehicles may be equipped with driverís airbag clock-spring assemblies that could experience a compromised airbag circuit resulting in an airbag lamp illumination, which indicates that the airbag may not deploy. A broken electrical circuit in the airbag clock-spring wiring assembly can lead to non-deployment of the driver frontal airbag and will not be able to properly protect the driver in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injuries. Chrysler will notify owners and remedy the vehicles as necessary free of charge. Chrysler will mail to owners an interim notification during December 2011. Owners may contact Chrysler at (800) 853-1403.

Engine Switch
Do you know if a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee motor will be compatible for a 2001 Jeep Wrangler? My daughter blew her engine in her Wrangler, threw a rod and I have found the above mentioned motor for a decent price. Just want to be sure it will work.

Melissa Jean McMillan
Nashville, Tennessee

You didnít say what engines youíre asking about, so Iím going to assume youíre asking about the 4.0L inline-six. Yes, the engine is compatible between the two Jeeps you mentioned. Just make sure you keep the Wranglerís engine available when you install the Cherokeeís engine because some external hardware may differ on the two applications.

No Passing Gear
I wonder if you can please offer some advice on my Ď96 Grand Cherokee 4.0 petrol on LPG? Car has run great for the past few years but all of a sudden I have lost the kickdown (downshift). It still picks up midrange but when I floor the pedal, nothing. I have tried to adjust the throttle valve cable to the gearbox several notches either way but it has made no difference. I have checked the fluid levels and all wiring. Is there anything else in the system that is linked to the kickdown? Or is it just the throttle valve cable? It also seems to be a lot thirstier, I did a 500-mile round trip and seemed to get 11mpg.

You need to do some tranny work. You have either a sticking valve body or an electronic problem.

Dropped Balls
I had to rework a full seal kit into my steering gearbox and I pulled the recirculating shaft out too far. I cursed as soon as I heard the broken glass sound of all the balls falling into the cylinder, knowing exactly what happened. I can get all but one of the balls back into the track. I know this is not correct. I closed it back up, letting the last ball float and obviously have a lot of slop in my steering. What is the trick to getting the last ball back into the track?
Andy Seals
Houston, TX

You need to contact PSC Motorsports ( They can help you with parts, kits, and instructions.

4.2L Head Conversion
Okay, I did the head swap, but the intake wonít reach the head. It hits the exhaust. I have a Ď74 CJ5 258, and I have a Ď92 head. Whatís the skinny? Do I need the 4.0 intake, a different exhaust, or what? I want to try this out!
Frank Ravosa
Enfield, CT

Frank, the Ď74 Fiver is really a fun Jeep! I bought mine new but I had a 304 V8. You need either the 4.0ís intake or its header for the swap.

Engine Swap
I have a Ď94 Wrangler into which I am attempting to shoehorn a 5.2L. The motor is in and everything is hooked up with only one major problem. When I start the motor it runs for 3 seconds and shuts off. I am pulling my hair out on this one. What do I do? I have really soaked a lot of dough into this project.
Big Dan

Dan, your problem cannot be diagnosed remotely. You need a good auto electrical shop. If youíd have included your address, I could recommend one.

Major Tune-Up
I am trying to fix my Ď95 V-8 Grand Cherokee. The car sputters at high RPM, even when it is in neutral. This happens all the time. I also had a problem where the RPM fluctuated drastically (from 200 to 2,000), even when the pedal position was held in a constant position. That problem seems intermittent. I replaced the fuel filter and fuel pump and it has not helped. Any other suggestions?

It sounds to me, Max, that you need a major tune-up. If that doesnít work, you need to check the computer for any codes itís throwing. The codes will tell you whatís wrong. By the way, you could also need a new ignition coil.

Warm Zone
I have a 2000 Grand Cherokee Limited. It has dual-zoned temp control. The passenger side will only blow at half the volume as the driver side. Does this model have a cabin air filter that might be dirty, or could it be something not opening up all the way?
Belleville, IL

Your air duct may be plugged with debris, or the heaterís control head could be bad.

Shield Bolts
I have a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 114,000 miles on it. I just had the transmission rebuilt but the torque converter shield was lost in the process. Iíve since found the shield, but not the bolts. What size bolts do I need to install the shield?
Cathy Polisher
Canton, NC

Cathy, you have two choices. Find a ďPick Ur PartĒ lot with some í97 Grand Cherokees and pull one of the shields (keep the shield in case you dent the original). Or stop by an Ace or True Value hardware store with a full selection of nuts and bolts. Try one bolt at a time until you find the right size. All the stores Iíve used have allowed me to try the nuts or bolts until I found the right size, so you shouldnít have a problem doing it.

Camshaft Sensor
My husband and I are debating on whether to take my Ď99 Jeep Cherokee to the mechanic, or have him put in the camshaft position sensor himself. This all depends on where itís located? I was hoping you could help us with that. I had Advanced Auto Parts hook their code reader up to it when my check engine light came on. The code read: ďcamshaft position sensor A Bank 1.Ē

Itís in the distributor, Emily, but Iíd strongly suggest taking the Cherokee to an experienced mechanic.

Crankshaft Sensor
I have a 1991 Wrangler. I changed the 5-speed out this morning and got in a hurry and forgot to unhook the crankshaft positioning sensor. Well you would know that the wires broke off even with the sensor. I put the other 5-speed in it and figured the other sensor would be the same. I think the other 5-speed came out of a Cherokee possibly an Ď88 or Ď89. The plug on that sensor is a flat 3-prong and only had two wires on it. The plug on my Ď91 had a round plug with three wires. Is there any way to make the 2-wire sensor work? If so, how do I wire it?

Matt, the 2-wire sensor wonít work. Buy a new 3-wire sensor from a Jeep dealer.

Speedometer Sensor
I have installed a 5.2L V8 into my CJ with great success. I have moved to the speedometer adapter issue. In the article, a pass-through VSS is identified. I have acquired one of these, but it has only two wires where the donor harness has three. Can the two wire sensor be used in place of the three wire sensor? If so, which wires go where?
Marty Bowyer
Reno, NV

Contact Advance Adaptors (

Stinky CJ-5
Iíve got a Ď78 CJ-5 that for its age is in great shape. I would like to begin restoring the Jeep and want to start with the exhaust system. There are a couple of things going on that Iíd like to fix. First, the Jeep does not like to start when itís cold. I have to pump the gas pedal, try and crank it, and then let it sit for several minutes before it will fire up. Would replacing the carburetor fix this or do you think itís something more? Also, when itís running it emits heavy fumes that are sometimes difficult to bear. My thought is that in addition to the carburetor I will need to replace the headers and possibly the entire exhaust system? Any thoughts on how I should get this project started are greatly appreciated?

Kyle, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you donít need a new exhaust system. Itís the OEM carburetor thatís causing your problems. I realize that youíre trying to restore the CJ-5 to its original form, but forget replacing the carburetor. The OEM carb needs a wizard to repair and maintain, and just when you get it working right on the highway, itíll flood out on the trail. Discard the carb and buy an electronic-fuel-injection kit from Howell. Mine works great!

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.

Recent Jeep Creep columns:
November 2011

October 2011

Septermber 2011 Newsletter
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