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1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Lift Kits - 4x Forum

Posted in Features on September 1, 2006
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Send questions, comments, and suggestions to: 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility MAGAZINE, Attn: Christian Lee, 2400 E. Katella Ave., 7th Floor, Anaheim, CA 92806, or christian.lee@primedia.com.

Lifting Grands
Q: I own a '97 Jeep Grand Cherokee and I was wondering about lift kits for it. I am new to off-roading, so I was wondering if you could give me some advice where I could find a quality (but cheap) lift kit.
Chris Swift
via e-mail

A: Chris, congratulations on your recent purchase and welcome to the sport. BDS Suspension [(517) 279-2135, www.bds-suspension.com] makes a 3-inch kit that includes front and lifted coil springs, a front track bar relocation bracket, extended sway-bar links, and front and rear shocks. Replacement front control arms can also be added, as well as a steering stabilizer. The system should net your vehicle enough lift to comfortably clear 31-inch tires. A variety of other manufacturers also offer lift systems for your vehicle, including Skyjacker and Rock Krawler.

T-18 Transmission Ratio
Q: In the July '06 issue, the First gear for a T-18 is shown as 4.03:1. Jeff's Bronco Graveyard (www.broncograveyard.com) shows it as 6.32:1 I hope you guys are wrong since I can't afford anything different for my current build and want those low gears. I've only heard good things about the T-18. I liked mine till I found it was cracked. Cool mag. Thanks.
Frank
via e-mail

A: Frank, Many versions of the T-18 exist - Jeep used 12 different models over the years. Both ratios are used in Jeep T-18 transmissions, but the higher 4.03:1 ratio is most prevalent. Ford T-18s, on the other hand, use a 6.32:1 First gear, which I actually indicated in the article just above where the Jeep T-18 ratio is listed (July '06 issue, page 76). For more information about these and other transmissions, check out Novak Conversions' Knowledge Base Gateway at www.novak-adapt.com. Advance Adapters can also supply a good deal of info.

CRD Diesel Needs Power
Q: I recently purchased an '05 Jeep Liberty diesel because of the cost of fuel. I'm having a hard time finding a high-flow fuel injection performance kit for it. K&N makes a high-flow filter for it, which I installed. It boosted my mileage roughly 1 mpg from 24.2 to 25.1. I then removed the muffler and straight-piped it with a minimal increase in sound. That increased the fuel mileage to just under 27 mpg. I have a '95 Dodge Ram with a 5.9 turbocharged Cummins diesel in it that's twice the size of this Liberty, and I can get 21 in town and 27 on the highway. This Liberty should be able to break 30 mpg. Can you tell me where I can get a high-flow intake kit for it and maybe some other tips that would increase my mileage and wouldn't void my warranty? Thank you.
Bill Prieto
via e-mail

A: Bill, you really think 30 mpg is possible? After all, published figures from Jeep only indicate 21 to 22 mpg in the city and 26 to 27 on the highway, and even those numbers earned the Liberty CRD a spot on the EPA's top 10 ranking of the most fuel-efficient SUVs and pickups, and the top three were 2WD hybrids. I got to tell you, from a standpoint of driving gas rigs, even 15 mpg in the city sounds good to me. But as I understand it, you diesel folks are used to quite a bit more. Alas, there are a few options available in your quest for better gas mileage. Dieselpowermodule.com offers its Digi CR module for '05-'06 Liberty CRD vehicles. The module features factory connectors for plug-in operation and is said to create 20- to 30-percent gains in horsepower and torque and 3-percent better highway fuel economy. Turbo lag is also reduced, and more positive shifting is achieved resulting in fewer downshifts, especially during towing. Your lack of a muffler may present issues during smog inspections in some states (and could possibly void your warranty), but I'll leave that to you to worry about. Another option would be to install a more free-flowing muffler, such as a Flowmaster or MagnaFlow unit. No complete after-cat exhaust systems were currently available for the Liberty CRD at time of print, but either company should be able to provide a muffler for this application. Also, dieselpowermodule.com is said to be very near to releasing a complete after-cat exhaust system for the CRD, so this is certainly another option to explore. For more information about Jeep Liberty vehicles, check out www.lostkjs.com.

Swapping Carriers
Q: First off, I love your magazine. I have been subscribing for about six years now, and my off-road knowledge has grown tenfold by reading your articles. I have a question regarding a ring-and-pinion swap in my '88 Jeep YJ. My Jeep originally had a 4.2L mated to the Peugeot tranny. I have since swapped in a GM V-6 and 4L60E tranny with the stock GM transfer case (I think it is an NP233). My axles are stock with 3.07 gears. I want to change to 4.11 gears because I am planning on upgrading to 32-inch tires and I know I will need more gear for the bigger tires. I have heard that if I want to change my gears from 3.07 to a 4.11, I will need new carriers in my axles. Is this true? If so, how much more work/money would this be to swap in the new gears and carriers? I have a ported YJ with 4.11 gears in the axles and I was thinking about just taking those axles and swapping them into my Jeep so I wouldn't have to deal with the expense of buying new carriers and gears. Those axles and gears have almost 200,000 miles on them and I'm not sure if they are too worn out to swap in and put the stress of 32s on them. Any advice you can give would be great.
Aaron Raines
Parkton, MD

A: Aaron, the donor axles from a YJ will be a direct swap should you elect to proceed with that option, but changing the carrier isn't such a difficult process either. Basically, every carrier is designed as either a Low-ratio or High-ratio carrier. This means that a Low-ratio carrier can only use a Low-ratio ring-and-pinion and High-ratio carriers can only use a High-ratio ring-and-pinion. For the Dana 30 front axle in your YJ, the Low-ratio carrier case will take 3.55 and down, and the High-ratio unit will accept 3.73 and up. The Dana 35 rear accepts 2.73 to 3.31 in the Low case and 3.54 and up in the High case. As far as having the proper carrier installed for your ring-and-pinion, it's as easy as swapping gears. You'll need to remove the stock carrier from the axle and the ring gear from the carrier, so it's simply a matter of locating the correct carrier and using that for assembly. If you're installing a full-case locker, such as a Detroit, this will replace the carrier altogether, which should eliminate the need for a stock High-ratio carrier and accommodate the desired 4.11 gear ratio.

Give Jeep A Chance
Comment: I've been waiting a long time for the four-door Wrangler, and now it's here. And what does Chrysler do? They throw in an anemic V-6 engine. You would have thought they might have learned something about the importance of power from their Pacifica minivan and GM's sad H3. Unfortunately, 205 hp at 4,300 pounds = NO SALE.
Pete Tillitzky
via e-mail

A: Pete, while I can understand your dread for an underpowered vehicle, I really think you should give it a chance, man. Did you really expect to see a Hemi under the hood? We were also a bit surprised by the low power numbers, but we remain optimistic that the '07 Wrangler will offer a good deal more attributes to make up for this. Besides, YOU HAVEN'T EVEN DRIVEN IT YET! Are you really prepared to put the hex on this vehicle without any firsthand experience? Jeeps have been dealing with underpowered engines for years, and we're pretty confident that the aftermarket, as it has done for many years, will make up for any shortcomings. Will you be unleashing 300 hp after all is said and done? Not likely, but you'll probably at least be able to elevate power output to more acceptable results. Instead of writing off a potentially awesome 4x4 for one reason, we plan to take the release of the '07 Wrangler in stride, taking the good with the bad, and then doing what we can to make the bad better. Thanks for reading.

Maxxis Radials?
Q: Am I missing something? The Maxxis Creepy Crawler is a bias-ply tire, yet in the June '06 issue you list the size you tested as 37x12.50R15, which I believe would be a radial tire size. I believe that the correct size would be 37x12.50-15. You also said that it was a C-rated tire when in fact the 37-inch tires are D-rated. Other than these things, your review was dead on. I've been running a set of the 37x12.50-15 Creepy Crawlers for a year and have had great luck with them from the Rubicon to Johnson Valley.
Douglas Fowler
Glendale, CA

A: Douglas, you are not missing a thing, I am. The 37-inch Maxxis Creepy Crawlers are in fact bias-ply tires, and the size should have been indicated as 37x12.50-15LT, not as a radial. Also, you are correct that the 37-inch Creepy Crawlers are D-rated. The 35-inch Creepy Crawler is the C-rated tire. Glad you're enjoying your Maxxis tires. We like ours too. Please accept my apologies for the inconsistencies. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

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