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May 2007 4x4 Tech Questions - Tech Line

Willie Worthy | Writer
Posted May 1, 2007

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Question: On your Project Teal-J, you crammed a 5.7L Hemi into that thing. I have a '97 Dakota that is both my daily driver and my toy, and I would like to do a swap. Could you tell me where I could look for a replacement wiring harness like the one that was used/made for the Teal-J?
Erick Andraca

Answer: I don't know-the two vehicles should be somewhat similar, but how close is anyone's guess. Here are some places that have done the Hemi swap into Jeeps. Perhaps they can help you out with the proper wiring harness: Deibel Jeep in Flagstaff, Arizona (928/774-5337,, Burnsville Offroad in Burnsville, Minnesota (952/890-3990,, and Teraflex in Murray, Utah (801/288-2585,

Question: A few months ago, I wrote about seemingly high temperatures for the Ford AOD transmission installed in my '55 Willys Wagon. I appreciate your taking the time to investigate this situation. The situation was resolved by moving the temperature sensor probe from the filter, which is in the cooling line to the transmission oil pan. The reason for the seemingly high temperatures is because the cooling line pumps out "used" transmission fluid directly off of the torque converter, and its temperature depends on the load applied to the vehicle. A more accurate temperature is indicated at the oil pan, which is the source for the transmission fluid that the transmission actually uses. After making this change, the temperatures run between 130 and 180 degrees, which seems much more normal.

Now a quick question, and hopefully a correspondingly easy answer: Why are some aftermarket LED tail-, parking- or stoplight conversion lights not DOT-approved? What criterion must such LEDs meet to be "street legal"?

Thanks for a very helpful column and informative magazine.
Gary Holmes
Concord, CA

Answer: Guess I should have asked where you were reading the temperature. An inline temperature gauge is never very accurate. I always recommend reading the temperature of a fluid, if at all possible, right in the oil sump-or in your case, the transmission pan. This is the important temperature.

As to the lights, my understanding is that they have to be submitted for approval and the testing costs money. Maybe the manufacturer figures he won't sell enough to make it worthwhile. However, I am going to check up on this soon and see if I can get an answer as to the testing involved.

Question: I just got the Feb. '07 issue and thought it was great. However, there are a few problems. The first is from "Techline" about the NP203/205 question. The proper shift pattern is, from front to back: 4-Low Lock, 4-Low, Neutral, 4-High, then 4-High Lock, and not as you described.

The second problem is not really a problem but additional advice from "Willie's Workbench," in that before you drain anything on a vehicle, especially on our type of rigs, is to remove the fill plug, cover, cap, screw, and so forth before draining. This is experience talking. I have personally seen unremovable fill plugs on rear axles and transfer cases and had to make my own fill ports. For those unfortunate enough to not follow this simple-but-maybe-crucial first step in the process, nothing is worse than draining the life blood from your vehicle and not be able to put it back.
Michael Hodge

Answer: Yep, you're right. My own personal proofreader really slipped up on this one. I will banish her to scrubbing my transfer case with a toothbrush for that one. I must have been dreaming of Moab when I wrote that about the shift pattern, or maybe the NV242 conversion for my own Grand Cherokee. On second thought, I should be the one scrubbing the transfer case. Thanks for the catch.

I thought I had turned a lot of wrenches in my time, but I doubt that I have ever come across unremovable fill plugs on a transfer case or rear axle. OK, I assume that you mean fill plugs that are put in so tightly, and are now corroded so badly, that they don't want to come out without a lot of unfriendly persuasion. So your idea of checking the fill plug first just may not be a bad idea. Thanks for the tip.

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