Your Tech Questions Answered
I just have a question about the project Ground-Up. In the first installment you have a diagram of the frame with the measurements, and the title of the diagram says “Frame diagram for an intermediate CJ-5 frame.” You guys are building it for an early CJ-5 body. Are the frame dimensions the same for the early Jeeps and the intermediate Jeeps? I thought the intermediate Jeep was 3 inches longer beginning in 1972.
Orange County, California
Gunner, you are spot on and you caught us on a big ol’ “oops” moment. We incorrectly based the measurements for Ground Up on an Intermediate CJ-5 diagram, and the ’56 is an early version that should have had a frame 3 inches shorter. Oh well. The steel was already cut and welded up. The end result is the body sits back a few inches, and the wheelbase is even longer than it would be otherwise (we also moved the rear axle back as far as possible on the frame). This little goof won’t really have any drawbacks on the Jeep as a finished project…in fact it probably will only make the Jeep work a bit better off-road, but the frame does stick out the front farther than it should.
I would appreciate some guidance on preventative maintenance for my ’01 Wrangler. I’m a casual “wrencher” and when the magazine starts layin’ out tech specs and engine numbers my body starts curling into a fetal position and I yearn to suck my thumb. In other words, I’m a real novice gearhead. Anyway, my TJ has the 4.0L and I drive it every day (mostly interstate), racking up in excess of 300 miles a week. The clock shows a bit over 116,000 miles. Here’s what I’ve done to date, other than routine oil changes every 3,000 miles or so and tire rotation. I’ve added platinum plugs and plug wires, a RedTop battery with new connectors, new shocks, brakes and rotors/drums all around, have had the tub Rhino Lined and the frame undercoated again, new sway-bar links, front U-joints, upgraded the headlamps and put a new blower resistor in and she’s sporting a K&N air filter. Having bored you with that, what else should I start being proactive about replacing or doing? It’s my main transportation, so I want to keep the old girl happy. Of course, I’ll have to do this as funds allow, but any guidance will become my checklist to hopefully avoid big breakage at the worst possible time. Well, I can dream can’t I? I would appreciate any advice and love the magazine.
Jeez man, I guess I generally subscribe to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” theory of Jeep maintenance. The truth is it sounds like you are well on your way to preserving your TJ for the future with all of your proactive maintenance. Jeeps built in the late ’80s to present can easily rack up 200,000 miles or more even when maintenance is not followed quite as religiously as you have. If I could give you any advice I would suggest that you keep an eye on all the fluids of your Jeep as it gets up in mileage. Keep them full, and learn to read them like an animal tracker reading sign in the bush. Automatic tranny fluid and the tranny filter probably need to be changed at some point soon. That is, if you have an auto. For example, auto tranny fluid will turn darker and start smelling burnt with use. Also since you live in the land of salting the road in fall, winter, and spring, make sure you stay on top of rinsing salt off your Jeep. Also keep an eye out for rust and attack any signs of the cancer. Any water, dirt, or salt that gets trapped in any relatively closed-off area can quickly become a rust problem (think boxed frame, hat-channels under the body, inside inner fenderwells, and so on). I’d also check the fan belt and look for any cracks on the ribs on the inside of the belt and replace if present. Check your gear oil frequently, too, as the rear axle especially is doing lots of work during your commute. It’s hard to tell what you should address, but keeping your eyes peeled and learning about what has failed for other people with similar vehicles and mileage will enhance the proactive care of your Jeep.