Your Jeep

Jp Magazine - - Table Of Contents - By John Cappa jped­i­tor@jp­

XJ Power Play

I have a ’85 Chero­kee with a 2.8L V-6, au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, 4 inches of lift, and 32-inch tires. I’m look­ing to put more power into the en­gine and driv­e­train. What is the best way to get the power I need?

Dar­rell Heller Via face­­pa4x4

The 2.8L 60-de­gree GM V-6 found in the early Chero­kee models has never been known for be­ing a pow­er­house or a pil­lar of re­li­a­bil­ity. It was so bad in fact, that GM de­vel­oped and of­fered the 3.4L 60-de­gree V-6 crate en­gine as a di­rect re­place­ment for the 2.8L. The wildly pop­u­lar and re­li­able GM 4.3L V-6 will not bolt in place of the 2.8L. Un­for­tu­nately, the 3.4L crate en­gine has long since been dis­con­tin­ued. If you’re do­ing it on the cheap, you might see if you can get your hands on a re­built 3.4L. Al­though, if your en­gine is still run­ning strong, you could make some sig­nif­i­cant per­for­mance gains by match­ing the axle gear ra­tio to the 32-inch tires. Your Jeep should have come with 3.55:1 ra­tio axle gears. A switch to 4.10 or 4.56 gears would perk up on- and off-road per­for­mance sig­nif­i­cantly. Many dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies of­fer af­ter­mar­ket ring-and-pin­ion gear sets and in­stall kits for your axles. A junk­yard up­grade is also a pos­si­bil­ity. Some four­cylin­der XJ Chero­kees came with 4.10 axle gears from the fac­tory. If you can find them, you could sim­ply bolt these 4.10-geared axles in place of yours.

Anti-Smog FSJ

I have a ’67 Wagoneer with a ’76 AMC 360 V-8 un­der the hood. I want to strip all of the un­nec­es­sary vac­uum and smog-re­lated equip­ment. Is it even worth the trou­ble?

@elec­tricmike Via In­sta­gram @cap­pa­works

I can un­der­stand your frus­tra­tion. Many of the AMC V-8 en­gines came with a lot more smog equip­ment than what was orig­i­nally used un­der the hood of your ’67 Wagoneer. The nu­mer­ous smog-re­lated hoses crack and de­te­ri­o­rate with age, which can cause the en­gine to run poorly and in­ef­fi­ciently. How­ever, the le­gal­ity of re­mov­ing the smog equip­ment will de­pend on your lo­cal laws, so check those be­fore spin­ning any wrenches.

Now, if you are com­mit­ted to re­mov­ing all of the smog gear, you might also want to con­sider up­grad­ing some parts to help make more power and in­crease re­li­a­bil­ity. The first things I would change out are the fac­tory car­bu­re­tor, air cleaner, and in­take manifold. A 600-cfm Holley ( car­bu­re­tor (part num­ber 0-1850) will bring a lot of life to your AMC 360 en­gine. The Edel­brock (edel­ dual-plane Per­former in­take manifold (part num­ber 2131) is also a great up­grade. For a sim­pli­fied and im­proved ig­ni­tion up­grade that offers more re­li­a­bil­ity and power, look into the Per­for­mance Dis­trib­u­tors (per­for­mancedis­trib­u­ Davis Uni­fied Ig­ni­tion (DUI). It’s ba­si­cally a GM HEI dis­trib­u­tor that has been mod­i­fied and tuned to meet the needs of the AMC V-8. With the in­stal­la­tion of this new dis­trib­u­tor, you’ll be able to re­move the en­tire prob­lem­atic fac­tory dis­trib­u­tor and Mo­tor­craft ig­ni­tion sys­tem.

If you plan to hit the trails with un­even ter­rain and climbs, you might con­sider a fuel in­jec­tion con­ver­sion. How­ell EFI

(how­ offers a com­plete GM TBI-based fuel in­jec­tion kit specif­i­cally for the AMC V-8 en­gines. Some How­ell AMC V-8 EFI kits are even smog le­gal for those re­sid­ing in states with smog laws.


I want to elim­i­nate the ABS mod­ule in my ’10 Jeep Wran­gler. Can I make my cur­rent master cylin­der and brake booster work well without the ABS mod­ule? The Jeep is a ded­i­cated trail rig. It’s no longer reg­is­tered for on-road use.

@chknkatsu Via In­sta­gram @cap­pa­works

It’s un­der­stand­able why you would want to re­move the ABS sys­tem for off-road use. The an­tilock brak­ing sys­tem can ac­tu­ally be a detri­ment in some sit­u­a­tions where you want the tires to lock up and pile up dirt, mud, or sand to help slow the Jeep down. Un­for­tu­nately, there is both good and bad news about re­mov­ing the ABS sys­tem from your Jeep. First, the good news. The fac­tory brake booster and master cylin­der will ap­ply the brakes just fine without the ABS mod­ule. The bad news is that re­mov­ing the ABS mod­ule will likely cause the ECU to freak out and light up the dash like a Christ­mas tree. It will also af­fect how the sta­bil­ity con­trol func­tions. It may even be bad enough to not let you op­er­ate the Jeep. Ul­ti­mately, I wouldn’t rec­om­mend this mod­i­fi­ca­tion un­less you are com­pletely gut­ting the Jeep for an en­tire pow­er­train swap where you no longer need the fac­tory ECU.

Fuel Finder

My ’82 CJ-7 is very close to be­ing road­wor­thy. Where do I start to trou­bleshoot the fuel gauge?

Ja­son Bent Via face­­pa4x4

Does the fuel gauge on any old Jeep ever work? Sadly, the an­swer is al­most al­ways no. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are only a few areas where a problem could sur­face, which would cause the fuel gauge of your old Jeep to not func­tion prop­erly. You’ll want to start with the in­ex­pen­sive stuff first. Check the gauge and send­ing unit ground wires, ground con­nec­tions, and any plugs that the ground wires pass through. Clean up any cor­ro­sion, re­place rot­ted wires and ter­mi­nals, and use di­elec­tric grease on the con­nec­tions. You might even con­sider run­ning the ground wires di­rectly to the bat­tery to avoid any is­sues.

Is the gauge still not work­ing right? Make sure all of the power and sender wiring is in good con­di­tion. Re­place any rot­ted, cut, smashed, burnt, or poorly re­paired wires. If you are still not get­ting a proper fuel gauge read­ing, use a mul­ti­me­ter to en­sure that the gauge is re­ceiv­ing the proper 12 volts of power with the ig­ni­tion on. If all of your wiring and con­nec­tions are on point and you still have a finicky gauge, it’s time to dive into the send­ing unit. Re­move it and make sure that the float still floats. If it has holes in it, the float will sink and the gauge will al­ways read empty. Cor­ro­sion on the other parts of the send­ing unit can also cause the gauge to not work prop­erly.

If you know the out­put range of the send­ing unit, you can use a mul­ti­me­ter to test it. If the send­ing unit checks out okay, the problem is likely in the gauge it­self, or you may have a mis­matched gauge and send­ing unit. There are three com­mon send­ing unit ranges in the af­ter­mar­ket. If the send­ing unit sends a sig­nal range that is dif­fer­ent than what the gauge is look­ing for, you won’t get a proper fuel read­ing. The stock ’72-’86 CJ gauge fea­tures a 10-73 ohm im­ped­ance range. It reads empty at 73 ohms, 1⁄2 tank at 23 ohms, and full at 10 ohms. If you don’t know and can’t fig­ure out the ranges of your gauge and send­ing unit, then you will be bet­ter off re­plac­ing them as a set to en­sure that you get the proper fuel level read­ing.

Wreck Re­hab

I have been re­build­ing my Jeep af­ter it lost a battle with a tele­phone pole. I’m go­ing to in­stall ad­justable con­trol arms. Any ad­vice on di­al­ing them in?

Jon An­der­sen Via face­­pa4x4

In­stalling ad­justable con­trol arms on a wrecked Jeep might take some fi­nesse. If the frame was dam­aged and one frame rail was pushed back­ward, your frame could be a di­a­mond shape. If that’s the case, you’ll have to de­cide what the best plan of ac­tion will be. Ad­just­ing the arms to equal lengths with a di­a­mond frame will cause

the axle to look crooked un­der the Jeep. One tire will ap­pear to be far­ther for­ward than the other. If you try to com­pen­sate for this by ad­just­ing the arms dif­fer­ently, you could cause the Jeep to han­dle oddly and sus­pen­sion com­po­nents may col­lide as the sus­pen­sion cy­cles, de­pend­ing on how badly the frame is bent.

If one or more of the orig­i­nal con­trol arms were bent in the wreck, I highly rec­om­mend care­fully in­spect­ing the sus­pen­sion brack­ets on the axle and frame. It’s not un­com­mon for them to bend, crack, or break off in an accident where the tire and axle make con­tact and are pushed back­ward.

M715 Swap

I have a ’69 Kaiser M715. I want to swap the stock driv­e­train out for a Chevy 350

V-8, SM465 four-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion, and an NP205 trans­fer case for more re­li­a­bil­ity. I want to keep my stock axles for now, but will the new NP205 mess up my drive­shaft an­gle to the off­set rear Dana 70?

Ben Tip­ton Via face­­pa4x4

Your pro­posed combo should work fine. The stock Dana 70 rear axle is not as off­set as it ap­pears. You’ll likely need to move the en­gine, trans­mis­sion, and trans­fer case over to the pas­sen­ger side slightly any­way. This should pro­vide the room needed for the ex­haust and front ac­ces­sory group around the steer­ing shaft on the driver side. How­ever, you should pay close at­ten­tion to the rear drive­shaft clear­ance next to the fac­tory fuel tank. A large-di­am­e­ter drive­shaft could rub the side of the tank when the sus­pen­sion is ar­tic­u­lated or com­pressed.

JK Fuel Ca­pac­ity

First, thank you for your ad­vice on a pre­vi­ous ques­tion. I had pur­chased a ’10 two-door Ru­bi­con and it was a great car ex­cept for be­ing un­der­pow­ered. I asked if it was fea­si­ble to swap in a 3.6L Pen­tas­tar en­gine from a wrecked Jeep. You sug­gested that it was not a cost-ef­fec­tive swap, and rec­om­mended that I sim­ply buy a ’12-or-newer Wran­gler that al­ready has the Pen­tas­tar V-6. So I traded the ’10 in for an iden­ti­cal ’16 and that has worked out very well. I’m re­ally pleased with it for the light wheel­ing that I do.

Any­way, how can I add fuel ca­pac­ity to my JK? It’s sup­posed to have a tank ca­pac­ity of 18 gal­lons or so, but I’ve never been able to put that much into the thing. AEV offers a fuel caddy that goes with their fancy rear bumper. Do you know of any other Cal­i­for­nia-le­gal ways to carry more fuel? Thanks for your help. Ren Colan­toni

Via email

Jeep Wran­glers have never re­ally been known for hav­ing stel­lar fuel econ­omy, so adding more fuel ca­pac­ity is not a new idea. As you men­tioned, AEV (aev-con­ver­ offers the Fuel Caddy, which sits be­hind the spare tire and mounts to the AEV spare tire car­rier. The Fuel Caddy car­ries an ad­di­tional 10.2 gal­lons. How­ever, it is not plumbed into the fac­tory fuel sys­tem. You have to siphon the fuel from the Fuel Caddy and into your OE fuel tank. It’s not a dif­fi­cult task, but it’s not par­tic­u­larly con­ve­nient and has the po­ten­tial to be messy if you are not care­ful.

Ti­tan Fuel Tanks (ti­tan­fu­ offers the Ti­tan Trail Trekker II, which is sim­i­lar to the AEV Fuel Caddy. It holds 12 gal­lons and is de­signed to fit a num­ber of dif­fer­ent swing-out spare tire car­ri­ers.

An­other op­tion is to in­stall a GenRight ( 20-gal­lon aux­il­iary fuel tank. The GenRight alu­minum aux­il­iary fuel tank fits un­der the rear floor of all ’07-’18 two-door and four-door Wran­gler models. It has sev­eral ad­van­ta­geous fea­tures.

First, it keeps the cen­ter of grav­ity low; 20 gal­lons of fuel weighs in the neigh­bor­hood of 120 pounds. An­other advantage is that it is filled through the fac­tory fuel filler cap. Un­like the AEV Fuel Caddy, the GenRight tank is not a trans­fer tank. It is a com­pletely re­dun­dant tank with its own fuel pump. A switch in­side the cab lets you choose which tank the en­gine pulls fuel from. Both the GenRight fuel tank and the fac­tory tank tie back into the OE fuel and emis­sions equip­ment. How­ever, the GenRight aux­il­iary fuel tank is not emis­sions le­gal in Cal­i­for­nia. Un­for­tu­nately, the GenRight aux­il­iary fuel tank sits in the same place as the fac­tory muf­fler, so ex­haust mod­i­fi­ca­tions are re­quired for in­stal­la­tion.

LongRanger (th­e­lon­ is an Aus­tralian com­pany that also offers an

aux­il­iary fuel tank for the ’12-’18 two-door Wran­gler models. It’s a 42L (11-gal­lon) tank that is mounted next to the rear drive­shaft, on the op­po­site side of the fac­tory fuel tank. The com­pany also offers a 68L (18-gal­lon) aux­il­iary fuel tank for the four­door Wran­gler models.

With the stock fuel tank, both the GenRight and LongRanger aux­il­iary fuel tanks, and a spare tire–mounted fuel tank, you could con­ceiv­ably carry up to 61 gal­lons of fuel on a two-door Wran­gler and up to 75 gal­lons on a four-door model. Un­for­tu­nately, only the spare tire– mounted tanks are le­gal for Cal­i­for­nia at the mo­ment.


Can I put a hy­dro­boost brake sys­tem from a GM or Dodge truck in my ’95 Chero­kee?

Nick Camp Via face­­mag

Yes, you can in­stall a hy­dro­boost brake sys­tem in your XJ Chero­kee. How­ever, you can’t sim­ply bolt one in from a GM or Dodge truck. For­tu­nately, com­pa­nies such as Vanco (van­ spe­cial­ize in mod­i­fy­ing the hy­dro­boost sys­tems to fit many Jeep ap­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing your XJ. The com­pany also offers the pump, high-pres­sure hoses, master cylin­der, pro­por­tion­ing valve, and the brake lines re­quired to make the con­ver­sion.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the sub­ject of hy­dro­boost, check out “Jeep Brake Boost Options” on page 48 of this issue.

XJ Gear­ing

What kind of gears would you run in an AX15-equipped Chero­kee with 31-inch tires? Also, how much is safe to tow be­hind an XJ?

@will_yet­ter Via In­sta­gram @cap­pa­works

The 4.0L in the XJ Chero­kee is in­cred­i­bly torquey, no mat­ter if it is backed up with the AX15 or NV3550 man­ual trans­mis­sion or the AW4 four-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Ide­ally, you should have 3.73:1 or 4.11:1 ra­tio gears in the axles, but you could very eas­ily get away with 3.55:1 ra­tio gears if need be. If you are look­ing to do a gear swap on the cheap, you could look for some low-mileage axles from a four­cylin­der XJ with a man­ual trans­mis­sion. These Jeeps will typ­i­cally have 4.11:1 ra­tio gears in them. You could sim­ply pull your axle as­sem­blies and in­stall the four­cylin­der axle as­sem­blies without hav­ing to do a com­plex and some­times ex­pen­sive gear swap.

The tow ca­pac­ity on most XJ models is around 2,000 pounds. Ex­ceed­ing 2,000 pounds is not rec­om­mended.

Clutch Query

The pre­vi­ous owner of my ’95 YJ swapped an NP435 four-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion be­hind the 4.0L in­line-six. It’s time for a new clutch and I can’t get a clear an­swer what clutch will fit. I’ve heard some­thing about a Chero­kee clutch but no specifics.

@the­liv­ing_log Via In­sta­gram @cap­pa­works

Your swapped-in NP435 likely re­tained the OE 4.0L fly­wheel, so you should be able to use a fac­tory 4.0L pres­sure plate. The adap­tion part will come in the form of the clutch disc. You’ll need a 10.5-inch clutch disc with the proper in­put di­am­e­ter and spline count. Your NP435 trans­mis­sion should have a 11⁄16-inch-di­am­e­ter, 10-spline in­put shaft. To match this in­put, you’ll need to use an Ad­vance Adapters (ad­ or Cen­ter­force (cen­ter­ clutch disc (part num­ber 384180). How­ever, be­fore bolt­ing any­thing up, you should con­tact Ad­vance Adapters or Cen­ter­force and con­firm the com­po­nents you have to nail down the specifics.

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