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Cherokee Steering Fix
Q:: I am looking for an article I read four to six months ago concerning Cherokee steering/frontend stabilization for XJs that have been lifted. It talked specifically about remedying improper tire wear and so on. Anything ring a bell? I would like to purchase the back issue if I can find it. Or, what mods/fixes are out there for stabilizing the steering/frontend?
A: No Name, we scanned through the recent archives and came up with the article you're looking for. It appeared on page 72 of the Sept. '04 issue and was titled "High-Steer Solution: Solve Your XJ/MJ Steering Woes." The article detailed the installation of Teraflex's Dana 30 High Steer Knuckle, which is designed to raise the steering arm position to correct steering linkage geometry on lifted rigs. Teraflex knuckles are available for a variety of Dana 30 applications, including YJ, XJ, TJ, and some ZJs, and require use of a custom tie rod and drag link (also available from Teraflex). To purchase a back issue of 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility, contact the back issues department at (866) 601-5199, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unlocking Rubicon Lockers
Q:: I own an '05 Jeep Rubicon. It's a quite capable rig straight from the factory. I have come to the realization that I am only able to actuate the front and rear lockers while in 4-Lo. This is all fine and dandy while rockcrawling, however when 'wheeling in the mud it tends to present a problem. My Rubicon is equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox, and in Low range top speed in Sixth gear is only about 15 mph. This is not quite fast enough to stay on top of the mud in many situations. My question is, Where is the switch located and how do I disarm the system so I can engage the lockers in 4-Hi? I realize that Jeep has produced the Rubicon this way because of the many people who will purchase one and not have the experience to manage the use of locked differentials in High range. However, with 30 years of 'wheeling experience under my belt, I would like to have the ability to manage the systems on the Rubicon a little better. Thank you.
A: Les, you are correct, there certainly is a way to disarm the system so the lockers can be engaged in 4-Hi. Even better, it's a fairly simple procedure that involves installing "jump" wires from the factory locker switches to a new locker bypass switch. The idea is to trick the computer into thinking that the transfer case is in Low range, so both the front and rear lockers will engage regardless of where the transfer case is set. The factory locker switches can be accessed by removing the dash bezel, and then the correct wires can be tapped into and connected to the new switch. We found a few methods of completing this procedure on the Internet, but we'll detail the modification in an upcoming issue.
Airing Down For Sand
Q: I have an '04 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with stock 245/70R16 Wrangler SR-A tires on it. I am going to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in June and want to know if these will be OK for driving in sand on the beach. I plan to deflate to 16 psi while in the sand. I want to upgrade to BFG All-Terrain T/As soon, but can't afford to before the trip.
A: Tim, your stock tires aired down to 16 psi should be sufficient for hitting the hard-packed sand, but you may want to drop the air pressure even more should you begin to explore the dunes. Lowering your tire's air pressure will increase the tire's contact patch to the ground for an increase in traction, but it won't turn a radial into a sand or mud tire, so be wary of venturing beyond your stock vehicle's abilities. Also, you don't want to drop the air pressure too low or you could risk slipping the tire off the rim. Bead-locked wheels are an effective measure against slipping a tire bead but not crucial to running lower tire pressure. We usually drop our tire pressure to 5-8 psi for most trail adventures, but could easily go lower (and sometimes do) since our rig is equipped with bead locks. The BFG All-Terrain T/A is a great tire. We've run them on a variety of rigs ranging from a fullsize crew cab truck to our '85 VW Westfalia camper van, each time to great results.