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Jeep Wrangler Maintenance and Repair Questions (1997 - 2006)

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  • My Jeep has a 4cy 2.5 engine automatic w/4x4. However trying to get onto highway and gaining speed is a joke. It has 31" tires but I dont think that would cause it to drive so slow. Once I get it going it will max out at about 80mph on a fairly straight away or especially down a hill. But try to drive up an incline, it slows to about 55-60mph. Its embarrassing! If I can't find a good 4.0cyl. engine, I hear I can replace the 2.5 and install a Chevy 350 cause it will fit right in? Is this true? I guess I'll have to change the transmission as well. I was also told I could just change the gears. Would this give me that much more power? Im not a mechanic so I don;t know what the answer is. I just want to travel a bit with my wife and not have 39 cars tailgating me for driving too slow. Help!
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Do you have a 2.5 with auto? A manual is better, but it is still sluggish.

    You can replace the engine easily enough - you have options, but consider that you will also be needing to replace the transmission. The trannys in the 2.5 won't handle a 4.0 or a V8 w/o serious mods or problems (they WON'T handle the torque).

    You'll also be swapping engine harnesses and such, so just be aware it is more than just a simple engine swap. You will need to relocate engine mounts at a minimum.

    I have a 2.5L and 33" tires. But I regeared to 4.88 (I have a manual). It's still no barn burner, but I can travel most highways decently. I downshift less than I did with the 4.10's and 30" tires, but I still have to do it. I just don't get in a hurry. If I need to go fast, I shouldn't be in my Jeep. I had a BMW 6 Series for the go-fast.

    If the Jeep is your only vehicle, you may be better off getting a slightly newer one with the 4.0 (perhaps an Unlimited - longer wheelbase) would be a good choice.

    -Paul
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    It has 31" tires but I dont think that would cause it to drive so slow.

    That's exactly what the problem is. The 2.5 auto is a slug on the road to start with, but add larger diameter tires and it'll hardly be able to get out of it's own way.

    You can change engine or gearing to improve matters. New axle gearing will be easier and cheaper but won't make it a sports car. A new engine will make a huge improvement to all round performance, but it's an expensive and complex (depending on your skills) option.

    If you go that route it's actually easier to fit a 350 than it is a 4.0; strange but true. :surprise:
  • i appreciate your reply. I am leaning towards the 350 and all its expense. I plan on keeping this jeep.
  • thank you for the heads up! Points me in the right direction.
  • My first problem is minor, my fan for my heater/ac quit working on the 2 highest levels. So, it works on low and medium, and it has been single digits here and I need heat! Has this happened to anyone, and is it an easy fix? I hate to take it to a dealer and have to pay a fortune!

    Second problem is more severe I fear. I noticed my heat, what little I get, was cool. I checked my antifreeze and was out. I do not see where it is leaking or anything, I do notice a hot smell when i've been driving and stopped coming from the vents. I was told it sounded like a manifold gasket leak. Can someone give me some answers on what they think it is?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    What year TJ? There is a problem in your fan switch it sounds like, but Mac can confirm if it is the the controller there at the dash or elsewhere. Replacement HVAC controls CAN be found online and is a pretty easy swap.

    As for the leak, do you still have a stock radiator? They are infamous for leaking at the top where the plastic meets metal. Again, an easy swap. But you may want to check your oil to see if it is cloudy (it'll either be fresh or dark, but it shouldn't be cloudy). If cloudy, you're leaking into the engine and that is bad juju.

    I'd suspect the bad radiator first. If your TJ is old enough (ie older than 2004), I'd recommend a radiator flush as well being sure to get the heater core. My 97 has been flushed, but the heater core needs some attention. It takes a LONG time to get warm, though it eventually gets there, in the cab. I either have air in my lines or my heater core is gunked up and needs some cleaning/flushing. It's just too darn cold to do it right now. :)

    -Paul
  • Battery was dead. Charged overnight. Now she cranks but does not start. Also has no voltage gauge or gas gauge function. Ideas??
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I'd venture to guess either you have something left on, a short somewhere, or perhaps your battery cables are worn. If the battery has been killed enough times, it will NOT hold a charge. One reason I went to a battery like the Optima gel batteries.

    -Paul
  • Battery seems to be holding charge. Is cranking like a champ, but still will not start, and has no gauge function.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    May want to remove gauge from the dash assembly (just a phillips screwdriver is all you need) and check the contacts. They can get bent up a bit or more likely just need to be cleaned with rubbing alcohol and a q-tip. Apply some dielectric grease to ensure a good contact.

    Have you had your starter checked out?

    -Paul
  • skyking49skyking49 Posts: 112
    Is the glass covered in the 3 year warranty? I have an 06 wrangler x and a small crack appeared on the front window...passenger side. It is not from a rock being throwned up. TIA
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Worth asking about. I had a crack develop in my BMW windshield from high heat in the Mojave desert. They looked, saw no impact from debris/rocks, and replaced it under warranty.

    On another note.... THROWNED? :)

    -Paul
  • skyking49skyking49 Posts: 112
    No..not thrown either...just a minor crack at the edge of the windshield.
  • skyking49skyking49 Posts: 112
    Just called the place I bought the Jeep and they said I would have to go through my insurance company which means it is not a warranty issue. DRAT!!!
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I'd suggest trying to call a couple of dealers and see if glass is covered... It is a Jeep warranty, not with the specific dealer.

    -Paul
  • Help, i am new to this site and hope someone can help. I have a 97 wrangler that i am having a complete air conditioning kit installed. I purcased a new OEM kit on ebay. it was for a 1999 and was told it would fit in a 1997. know i am being told it will not work because the plugs are different. Anyone know if it can be adapted to work?

    Thanks Eric
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    It can probably be made to work, though there will obviously be some extra expense involved.

    Although physically similar, the '97 uses slider controls for the HVAC and the '99 uses rotary ones, hence the difference in control connections.
    You'll have to get the later style electrical harness, vacuum lines, blower control switch, and switch mounting panel.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,763
    May want to remove gauge from the dash assembly (just a phillips screwdriver is all you need) and check the contacts. They can get bent up a bit or more likely just need to be cleaned with rubbing alcohol and a q-tip. Apply some dielectric grease to ensure a good contact.

    I'd only add that I've seen DeoxIT recommended as a first-rate electrical contact cleaner. I plan to use it on my TJ's gauge plugs if/when they need cleaning again.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Thanks, Sounds like someone gave me the wrong info so they could sell me there 99 kit. I think i am just going to buy the 97 kit and just sell this one.

    Thanks again Eric
  • Hello,
    The headlights went out on our jeep wrangler, so we bought a new switch , so now the new switch is in... headlights work,, , bad news is , tail lights, park lights, fog lights, and instrument panel lights do not work.. we thought it was a faulty switch so paid another 75 dollars and guess what same problem.. we also changed the fuse.. just a baffler to us.. any answers???? if so we sure would appreciate it. :sick:
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Did the other lights that are now out still work when the headlights first failed?
    If so I'd guess that you've dislodged a connector or damaged a wire while fitting the replacement h/l switch.

    If not, then it needs to be diagnosed 'hands on' with a DVOM (multimeter) and the circuit diagrams.

    Just a thought, but you say you checked 'the' fuse. On my '99 (I don't have the '97 circuit diagrams handy but they're probably somewhat similar) there several fuses concerned with the lighting circuits. You might want to check on those.
  • I bought a '89 Wrangler from a person in another state and don't have contact information with him anymore. It runs good, but the previous owner modified the wiring. I suspect they put a big amp in the back with monster speakers. The wires from the radio are cut and hanging and I have no dash lights. I have taken the cowling off the front of the dash, but can't see where the dash lights go. All the fuses seem to be ok.
    Does anyone have a wiring diagram they could send me a copy of or tell me where I can get one?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,763
    On my 1999 there's another fuse box under the hood in front of the battery, You might check those fuses.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • anyone have any ideas?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    Does the pitch change with speed? How about the rate of thumping?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • Thanks for replying, there is no change in pitch I can hear.
    The rate dosen't seem to increase either. This one is driving me crazy. It dosen't happen all the time.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    That might be related to motor or transmission mount issues. Perhaps a Wrangler owner with similar experience can offer some words of wisdom. Anyone?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • I DONT KNOW HOW TO TAKE OFF MY SHIFTER ON MY 2001 TJ WRANGLER SO I CAN ADD AN EXTENSION AFTER DOING A BODY LIFT, HOW DO I TAKE THIS OFF?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    It is easy to do. There is a writeup on www.4x4xplor.com and it should come with instructions.

    -Paul
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