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October 2012 Your Jeep Tech Questions

Posted in How To on October 1, 2012
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Ground-Up Confusion
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.

Preventative What?
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.
Scott Roller
Cambridge, OH

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.

Return Customer
I emailed Jp a while back about a rollcage for my ’83 CJ-7. I have another question to ask. I think the T-5 tranny I have is pretty weak. I’m going to run it until it breaks. When it does, I want to upgrade to something better. My ’93 Chevy K-1500 has a manual transmission that I would love to throw into my Jeep. I have no idea what tranny it is though. I can’t find any info about it online. All I can tell you is that it’s a five-speed, but the First gear is a granny gear. (That’s the reason why I want one in my Jeep) The shift knob says “L, 1, 2, 3, OD, R” and it’s mounted behind the 350 V-8 engine. What can you tell me about this transmission, and are there any kits that I can get to mate it to the 4.2L six-cylinder in my Jeep? Is this a reasonable swap for my Jeep, or should I look for something else? Part numbers for kits would be a great help! Thanks!
Heath Stapley
Via email

Heath, we remember that ’83 CJ-7. It sounds like your Chevy truck is running an NV4500. This has been a very desirable tranny to swap for many Jeepers over the past 10-20 years, and may be perfect for you, but there are other options that may better suit your CJ. You can easily adapt the NV4500 to your Jeep with parts from Advance Adapters or Novak Conversions. Now having said that I am not sure an NV4500 is the best swap for your Jeep because honestly how much highway time is your Jeep gonna see? It’s pretty big for a daily driver, if I remember correctly. If you plan on driving it everywhere and never trailering, then the NV4500 may be the perfect tranny for you since it has an Overdrive gear; if the Jeep is gonna be trailered on long trips and won’t see much highway time, then an SM420, SM465, NP435 or Ford T-18 truck transmissions may be a better fit for your Jeep, as they all have low First gears (some Ford NP435s have an undesirable 4.56 or 4.9:1 First) and are all smaller and lighter than the NV4500. Plus, what will happen to your Chevy if you pirate the tranny out of it? We also have it on good authority that Hazel would happily buy your NV4500 for his Monkey Bus ’78 Cherokee if you want to get rid of it and decide on a granny-geared four-speed.

Full Float
I’ve been an avid reader of Jp for years and had a picture of my ’91, ’41, ’46, and ’96 jeeps all parked together in Jeep Shots a number of years ago and I still show people that article. Anyhow, I’m building up another one, a ’58 CJ-5, and I’m having trouble locating a kit to convert the offset Dana 44 rear differential to full-float axles. Any idea where I can buy the kit?
Ken Drake
Via email

I ran an old 30-spline Warn full-float kit in my ’49 CJ-3A with a Detroit Locker for several years. Unfortunately, Warn stopped selling the full-float kits a few years back, but ATV Manufacturing ( now sells full-float kits and parts that work with the Warn kits (see: “Early Axle Upgrades” Oct. ’09).

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