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Q: I was lucky enough to get a 1974 CJ-5 a week before I left for Iraq. I haven't had any time to tear into it. I've noticed that most of the products I'm finding online are for 1976-and-newer CJ-5s. I was wondering what changes were made in 1976?
A: Curtis, the CJ-5 was produced from 1954 to 1983 and quite a few changes took place in that span. Concerning your 1974 CJ, frame changes occurred in 1975 so that later models used a fully-boxed frame. Pre-1976 CJ-5s use a C-channel frame. Along with the frame came longer and wider leaf springs so ride quality is somewhat improved over previous models. There were also changes to the tub and floorboards and also the windshield frame, so pre-1976 and post-1975 tops are not interchangeable. Lastly, the Dana 44 rear axle with one-piece 'shafts was replaced with the AMC Model 20 rear axle for the 1976 model year. These weren't the first changes applied to the CJ-5 in its years. In 1972 the CJ-5 got a longer hood and front fenders and a slightly longer wheelbase (stretched from 81 to 83 inches) to accommodate AMC I-6 engines. Many mechanical changes also occurred in 1972, most notably the addition of Saginaw steering. Finding parts for early-model CJ-5s can prove to be daunting but they are out there. Trailmaster, Skyjacker, and Superlift, among others, offer suspension lifts for pre-1976 CJ-5s. Poison Spyder Customs offers its tube fenders and Stinger bumpers to fit your model CJ-5. There are also an abundance of axle and engine upgrades available. A good starting point in your parts search is Quadratec [(800) 745-5337, www.quadratec.com], which stocks many popular 4x4 brands and offers an easily navigable website. Good luck.
If the Rack Fits, Wear It
Q: I saw a web page of yours where you added the Bestop modular rack in the back of a four-door JK. I own a 2007 four-door and love this rack. My dilemma is when I go to look for it at accessory sites, they all say "for two-door only." Is this the same rack that is "for two-door only" or is there one out there that is specifically for a four-door? Thank you for your help! I am currently sitting in Iraq looking for Jeep parts to buy when I get home. Thanks again for any and all help!
A: Joshua, according to the Bestop website, the Bestop Modualr Rack system fits most Jeep Wrangler models using the appropriate Bestop HighRock 4x4 rack brackets, which are sold separately. The rack can be fixed in the rear cargo area of a two- or four-door Wrangler, or mounted to the tailgate above the spare tire. We installed the rack in the rear cargo area of an '07 Jeep Wrangler JK, so I can tell you with confidence that it can in fact be installed in four-door Wrangler JKs. Thanks for writing.
JK Accelerator Lag
Q: I recently read about a new 3rd party module that plugs into the top of the Jeep JK Gas Pedal and helps eliminate initial acceleration lag. I have looked everywhere but I cannot find the reference. Can you help me? Do you know what the new part is? Thanks.
A: Roger, I believe what you're talking about is an aftermarket programmer/tuner or power module for the onboard vehicle computer system. Such devices often plug in to the diagnostic port below the dash and reprogram the computer to allow for changes in tire size and axle gearing. Some of the devices also address fuel economy and can also increase engine performance. A variety of programmers are available from the aftermarket, including units from AEV, Hypertech, Jet Performance Products, and Superchips, to name a few. Among these we've heard that the Superchips Flashpaq unit is one that completely eradicates the despised acceleration lag that is so common in Jeep Wrangler JKs. We have not tested this unit but from what we've read and heard we will be examining it in the near future. In addition to its performance improvements the Superchips Flashpaq offers many other features, including the ability to lock Rubicon-model lockers in four-wheel-drive high range. For more information, contact: Superchips, (888) 227-2447, www.superchips.com. 'Wheel on.