Ranger 4WD Snaps, Crackles & Pops
Question: I have a '94 Ranger 4x4 that is totally stock. When I have it in four-wheel drive and go to turn, the front end snaps and pops. Also, the front wheels feel like they are trying to fight each other. Also, when I first put it in four-wheel drive, it makes a popping and cracking noise when I start out.
Lock Haven, PA
Answer: There are a couple of things that could be wrong with your front end. My first guess is that there is a problem with the automatic hub-locking system. Ford had a lot of problems starting around 1990 with these hubs. The problem could be anywhere from broken internal parts to the wrong lubricant used.
Yes, the front wheels would feel like that they are "fighting each other" as one hub locks, and the other unlocks. I suggest that you check with your Ford dealer service department as there are several different technical service bulletins out on this problem. Ford does offer a kit to update and repair these hubs.
There also could be the chance that the axle universal joints have a considerable amount of wear in them and need to be replaced.
Tire Fitment And Regear For Silverado
Question: I'm writing because I need help finding what tire/wheel combo can work for me. I drive an '05 Chevy Silverado Z-71 (with the G80 and Autotrac), mainly stock. I did crank up the front end to fit some 285/70R17 Pro Comp A/Ts, but I fell victim to a slashing and need new rubber. Will a 17x9 wheel work on my truck with some 305/70R17 Wrangler MT/Rs? I plan on doing a 3-inch body lift before I mount these. Would I need anything more than that for them to fit? (I saw the "2005 Chevy Silvy Back 2 Basics" articles too, which gives me hope with the wheels).
Also, what about regearing? My stock gearing is 3.42:1. Would it be a good idea to change that at all (I didn't change it for the 285s)? I saw a kit for 4.56:1s, but that may be too much. What do you guys think? Not now, but eventually I plan on towing some small stuff (and it would be nice to not be a dog off the line). I'm not really too concerned with gas mileage, either.
Port Jefferson Station, NY
Answer: Just off hand, I don't see any reason why they would not fit with the 3-inch body lift, as I believe the Z/71 package sits the truck a bit higher than your average pickup. However, you most likely will have some body contact under full wheel compression, and may need to do some slight trimming on the fenders. I will have to assume that the backspacing on the wheels you plan to use will allow for full turning without any frame contact. The overall height of the proposed tire is just under 34 inches. The 285s are about 32.75 inches.
The 3.42:1 gearing definitely will make the truck seem way underpowered, especially if you plan to tow with it. Yes, the 4.56:1s would greatly enhance the overall performance, either just driving or with a towed load. You may have to buy one of the computer reprogramming systems to correct for speedometer error and to improve the transmission's shift points. Superlift (www.superlift.com) has what they call a "true speed sensor calibrator" that will take care of this.
Direct Bolt-Ups For 4x2 Cherokee?
Question: I have a '96 Jeep Cherokee Classic with the 4.0L H.O. engine. It is two-wheel drive, but I would like to make it four-wheel drive. I was wondering if it is as simple as getting a new front axle, driveshaft, and transmission with a transfer case. I was also wondering if there are bolt-on transfer cases that could go with the existing transmission, or if I would have to go with a new one that is ready for four-wheel drive.
Answer: You got it-everything is a direct bolt-up. I would go with a matched trans/transfer case already put together to make things a bit easier. In all reality, I think that it just might be a lot more time and cost effective if you sold your present ride and just bought a factory-built 4x4. Then again, if you found a great deal on a rollover that only sustained body damage and the drivetrain was unhurt, it might be the way to go.
I think that your first steps would be to find out just how much your Cherokee is worth, then price out all the component parts necessary to complete the swap. Then figure out the amount of time that it is going to take you to make the swap and just about double it. My guess is that you will be looking to do a trade instead of all the work.
Here is another way to look at this project. The rear end in your XJ is most likely a problem-prone Dana 35, being that it came as a two-wheel-drive. It could be a Chrysler 8.25, which is a bit better, but not by much. How about using some Dana 44 axles such as those sold by several of our advertisers such as 4 Wheel Drive Hardware (www.4wd.com)? These axles are designed for the '97-'06 TJ Rubicons and are almost a bolt-in for your XJ with some rear-axle mounting changes. Yes, you will have to add brakes and steering knuckles to these, but you get lockers and quality aftermarket axleshafts. The overall price is a lot cheaper than you would expect.
Another thing to check into would be present-day Rubicon axles directly from your local Jeep dealer. Believe it or not, these axles are available at a very reasonable cost. In fact, this just may be the way I would go if I had to build "Project Ain't It Grand-er" again. The negative to this is that the bolt pattern has been changed, but then again, if you're building up your XJ from a two-wheel-drive, then I am sure new wheels and tires are on your change list.