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Jeep Wrangler Maintenance and Repair Questions (1997 - 2006)



  • Thanks for the input, Mac. You really seem like you know what you are talking about. I did make another appointment for the Jeep and they are going to look at it on Thursday. When I drove it to work and home for lunch today, it was fine. My dad suggested that I should start it and let it run for a few minutes before I go anywhere so I started it a few minutes before I was ready to go back to work.

    Now, get this.

    I go back into the house and I can hear the Jeep outside. It sounds liks someone is sitting in the Jeep, revving the engine HARD. It goes from that extreme to choking out and almost sounding like it's going to shut off, but it doesn't shut off. It just sputters and keeps going. This is all happening while it's sitting in idle with the parking break on.

    I go outside and turn the Jeep back off. The air outside reeks of gasoline.

    So there it sits in my driveway. I had to take a different vehicle to get back to work.

    I wanted to relay this information to you to see if this gives you any more of a clue about what is going on with the Jeep. As I said, I'm taking it in on Thursday (provided we can get it there), but would like to know your thoughts before I go see yet another mechanic.

    Thanks so much,
  • Kelly,
    Let me know what you find out. My 98 is doing the identical same thing, down to the exhaust leak on the manifold. I've changed a lot of things. The one thing that may have helped,(time will tell) is that I changed the Crank Position Sensor last night. This problem started a couple of months ago and has been gradually getting worse.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    I really can't diagnose any further from this distance, but the strong gasoline smell indicates that the mixture is too rich. The fact that it happens intermittantly would tend to show that there isn't a constant factor involved, like a blocked air filter or a dead sensor.

    It could still be the exhaust manifold crack which would take a while to really open up as it gets hot, or it could be a sensor that reads out of range as the heat gets to it.

    Good luck.
  • I have read that the crank sensor could be a problem in situations like ours. Let me know how it goes with yours. I will tell you what they say at the garage tomorrow.
  • Thanks for all your help. I wish I could find a mechanic that pays attention as much as you do! I will post to let you know what they say about it tomorrow.
  • I was looking at a 2003 sport. It had a high pitch noise when test drove in 4 lo . Is this normal for a Wrangler?? The noise sounded almost like the squeching belt noise. There was no noise in 4 hi.

    Also, what is the power train warranties for 2003s?
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    You're welcome. :shades:

    It could be one or more of several sensors, which is why it's important to first check for codes. Not only the Crankshaft Position Sensor, but the other CPS (Camshaft Position Sensor), the TPS, the IAT sensor, the MAP sensor, and of course the primary O² sensor, can all play a role.

    It's also important to interpret any diagnostic codes properly. For instance, a code might have been retained that shows the O² sensor reading out of range. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that the sensor is faulty and needs changing, though this is often what is done on the customers dime. It could be reading incorrectly because of a cracked exhaust manifold, or maybe the relay for the sensor's heater has failed.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Is this normal for a Wrangler?

    No. However, when in low range the engine is turning at higher rpm for any given road speed than in high range, so it could have been the belt squealing as engine revved harder.
  • Well... the crank position sensor was NOT the culprit. It is still acting up. It got so bad yesterday, it actually set a trouble code. I drove it to the garage and had 6 codes. Each one a misfire for each cylinder. They believe that the fuel pump is starting to fail but.... who knows?
    Any luck with yours?
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    They believe that the fuel pump is starting to fail......

    Many reasons for misfires, did they say why they suspect the fuel pump, or was it just a guess?
  • Hi, Steve.

    Well, I finally heard back from the mechanic. He says it's the CAM sensor and something to do with the TAC dropping. He can't get the new CAM sensor until Tuesday, so I'm hoping to get it back then and see how it runs. I will let you know.

    This mechanic drove the Jeep until he was able to narrow it down to the point that he could actually MAKE the Jeep lunge. His first suspicion was there was something with the fuel, but eventually he ruled that out and noticed the "TAC dropping" when it was running in low RPMs. (I believe he said 1700, but I'm not sure. I know nothing about cars, so I don't know if that makes sense, but I know it was low RPMs.)

    Anyway, I guess the point is, it sounds like it really could be anything. I know it's hard to find a good mechanic, but it seems like it's the type of issue they really need to narrow down and diagnose properly before they have you throwing all kinds of money at it.

    He didn't think the crack in the manifold was causing any problems. I know you said you had a crack in the manifold as well, so I wanted to pass that along.

    (If any of this doesn't make sense, let me know, I'm sure my husband could explain it better!)

    Best of luck, I know how hard they are to drive when they throw fits like that. Please keep me posted on how things go with yours.
  • Hi, Mac.

    Well, you were right about everything. Learned that it could have been one of so many things causing the problem. Turned out to be the CPS you reference above. I think I got a really good mechanic this time and really believe he did the job well. I'm really expecting it to run better when I get it back this time.

    The Jeep dealerships around here are a pain in the butt. Their parts shops don't have the sensor, so Tuesday is the earliest I will get it back.

    Thanks again for your help!
  • I don't think the Cam Position Sensor would be the problem on mine. I have a 98. According to the Haynes Manual, they did not use the Cam sensor until the 2000 model year to replace the distributor. Let me know how yours turns out.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    .....they did not use the Cam sensor until the 2000 model.....

    The CPS (Cam Position Sensor) on the '97-'99 is located inside the distributor. Injector timing (among other things) is referenced by this CPS.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Glad to hear you've found a tech that's taking the trouble to look at it seriously. Too many places just want to spend lots of the customers money on parts to throw at the problem and see what sticks.

    Make sure to post if the CPS fixes it.
  • If thats the case, then I'm guessing that that's still not my problem. When my problem first started, I changed plugs, wires, rotor, cap..... when I went to change the cap, I found one of the bolts for the cap was broke off in the distributor. In an effort to extract the broken bolt, the ear on the distributor was broke. Distributor was replace. The problem gradually was getting worse. At the suggestion of a local mechanic, I replaced the distributor with a third one. The condition is still getting worse. I'm still open to suggestions/
  • This started out with no headlights, but after checking
    signal switch, headlights are working. So need to replace that. Now I have no brake lights or turning signals and when I replace the fuse in turn signals and turn them on it blows the fuse. I have had the brake light switch checked and it is working. All other lights are working.
  • 2 different Jeep dealerships said my 7yr/70mile warranty wont cover the rear axle seal leaks because the 33" tires i put on caused the leak. Is this possible? And Does anyone have any clue how to fix the issue?
  • 2 different Jeep dealerships said my 7yr/70mile warranty wont cover the rear axle seal leaks because the 33" tires i put on caused the leak. Is this possible? Or are the dealerships full of it? And Does anyone have any clue how to fix the issue? Or how to change axle Seals? Thanks
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Possible, yes......probable, no.

    Unless the seal is faulty it's probably leaking because the bearing has worn. The bearing might have worn prematurely if you've been offroad and got water in the axle, or because you're using a wheel with inappropriate offset/backspacing. Bearing and seal should be changed together. The procedure differs slightly depending on whether you have a D35 or D44 axle, which is why it's always a good idea to give full details of your vehicle (year, model, mileage, etc.) if you want a complete answer.
  • 33" tires do not cause axle seals to leak...
    Just an excuse...
    Jeep/Chrysler?Dodge will not stand behind any of their junk...
    Get a repair manual and follow the directions replace them yourself or find a real mechanic...
    By the way if you do go off-road with you Jeep broken leaky things are just part of the game...
    Quit taking it to the dealer.
    They only want to work on street-wheelers anyway.
    I love my Jeep.
    I hate my Jeep Dealer.
  • My 2001 Wrangler with 4.0l auto tranny and 48k miles just did something weird - I had the accelerator floored and it would not upshift from 1st to 2nd gear, and I think it must have hit the rev limiter because the engine cut out a couple of times. I let off the gas and it went into gear, and driven normally, it shifts fine. Should I worry about this? It has always been reluctant to downshift to first gear in cold weather when coming to a full stop, but that is only while the engine is cold. After about 5 minutes, everything is fine.

    Of course, I rarely floor it, I inadvertenly pulled out into some traffic and needed to speed up quickly.
  • how would i find out if i have a D35 or D44 axle? its a 2005 Jeep wrangler Sport with 26000 miles on it. They are also saying that my 4" skyjacker lift is putting the pinion at a steep angle causing that to leak too. I really have no mechanic training for the exception of changing a tire and changing my oil and oil filters. So any info would help a lot. Thanks for you replies.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Your automatic transmission is usually incredibly reliable unless it's abused. Usual methods of abuse are by heat, contaminating the fluid, or by neglect of service.

    Excessive heat is often caused by towing, aggressive driving especially offroad or on mountainous roads, and long periods in low range (high rpm/low road speed).

    Fluid contamination is usually water (driving too deep) or particulates, which can come from poor cleanliness when servicing or wear particles from worn internal components, which usually come from a lack of servicing or just general wear and tear due to high mileage.

    Servicing is very important, but also very easy. It consists of dropping the pan, draining the fluid, replacing the filter, adjusting the front and rear bands (very important and often overlooked), cleaning and replacing the pan, then filling with fresh fluid.

    Does any of the above apply?
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    If it's a D35 the differential housing will look like this:


    and if it's a D44 it will look like this:


    These of course are rear axles. Your front one will be a D30, and look like this:


    With regard to your 4" Skyjacker lift, if no other mods have been done to correct the driveshaft angle, then they're most probably correct about the pinion housing leak. You can also expect premature failure of the universal joints.

    Few major modifications come without side effects, one of which is that they can put stress on related components, and another is that consequent warranty claims connected to the modified components can be denied.
  • Kelly,
    Success at last..... After changing the complete ignition system, crankshaft position sensor, catalytic converter, fuel pump etc. and getting NO codes, I decided to look into the exhaust manifold a little closer. In order to see if it was causing the O2 sensor to get false readings, I took the O2 out of the equation by unplugging it. While it won't be good for fuel economy, it did stop the problem. I am ordering a new manifold to stop the leak and will probably install a new O2 sensor. Don't know if it would be your same problem, but the problem seems to be resolved on mine. Let me know what you find on yours.
  • Thanks for you help Mac24, is it a hard process to change axle seals myself? if so is there a specific reference or manual you could suggest for me?
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    It's not hard, though it will require the use of a press. As I mentioned before, you should change the bearings at the same time. You can remove the axle half shafts yourself, then take them to a machine shop, a local mechanic, or even NAPA, to have the old bearings removed and new ones pressed on.

    The best reference is the Factory Service Manual (FSM) which costs about $100 (or two tanks of gas). Alternatively, you can have twelve months unlimited access to the FSM for $25 here at: AllData
  • No, not really. I did tow a really heavy generator one time (I'm guessing 3 or 4000lbs), but that was only for 20 miles or so, and I was very easy on it, and the Jeep was brand new.

    I've serviced the transmission, and although I'm not sure what the manual says, once under 49k should be enough.

    Wonder if the bands were adjusted?
  • Hi, just posting to let you know the outcome of mine. This is going to be of NO help to you at all. I decided to sell the Jeep while it was still worth a good bit of money. I was trying to wait until it got fixed to sell it, but the Jeep dealership took six days to get the CAM sensor in. By then, I had found a car that I wanted, so the mechanic never did pick up the part, never did fix it, and I took it to the dealership to sell it today without it being fixed. Soooooo...obviously I don't know how it will run anymore.

    I can tell you it's a heartbreaker to give up your Jeep, but ours was going to start costing us more money than I wanted to get into with the roof leaking, potential rust issues, the cracked manifold that will eventually need to be fixed, etc.

    Anyway, best of luck with yours. Sorry I couldn't be of any more help with this.
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