"94 Jeep Grand Cherokee"

"Car Improvements"

---- Getting the best possible mileage, cheap ----

Quick find:
click here to see the additional transmission cooler behind the grill.
click here to see where I added extra amp.
click here to see how I added a DynoMax S/S Super Turbo muffler.
click here to see how I added a 10 pack RF CD.
click here to see where I added driving lights.
click here to see better replacement headlight bulbs: "Bright Lights" by Wagner Industries.
click here to see how to keep your wheels clean - cheap.
click here to see how to keep your KOOL, an electric fan cools my I6.
 

THE STORY:
I purchased this ZJ from Freehold Jeep, New Jersey in mid January. It was a former lease with 39K on the speedo. It had the "bullet proof" in-line 6 (there is no V-6 for a Jeep GC) even thought I would love to see the Chrysler 3.5 - 32 valve engine from my wife's car in it.  The Jeep has power everything, including factory CD/Infinity stereo system. This includes upgraded speakers, 100 Watt amp under the back seat (still trying to find a wiring diagram). It also the 6 way power seats, and overhead console with compass and mileage computer. It had the Select-A-Trac, which I found to be a better choice then the Quadra-Trac in the area of mileage.
My main reason was to take the burden off our "main" car, our '95 Eagle Vision. My former cars used to be small cars. I owned a '68 Opel Gt ; purchased stripped down to the metal while stored outside waiting for someone to paint it. Had that for a number of years, then I purchased a '84 Fiero (4 cyl), Indy edition. That was giving 20 mpg on good days (the 4 banger really was under powered for the weight of the car). I had that for a few years till someone pull out in front of me and the insurance company totaled it. I was able to pick up an '86 Fiero with the V6. Wonderful car, gave me better gas mileage then the 4 cyl. and had no problems with it. Only one small problem, NO BACK SEAT. My son was hitting the teens and still growing.

With 90K on the Fiero I decided to get another car and picked up a '91 Eclipse Turbo, had sort of a back seat. Fast car, real nice, started right up even when the temp was zero. I joined an E-mail group on this car (WWW.DSM.ORG). After reading from many persons who wrote in about the car breaking timing belts, either original factory or replacements, I decided it was time to sell it.  If the timing belt broke when the engine was running, you would make a mess of the intake valves and pistons causing $$$ of damage.  I had 75K on the car so I decided my new car would be bigger with a back seat was what was needed. This would supplement the "family" car too, so we could take "my car" more places.

I saw this '94 JGC while visiting my mother-in-law.  While down for a "visit" my wife and I took one out for a drive (in the snow) and were impressed.  The salesman showed us a few as the "used" one we test drove was priced in the mid twenties.  I didn't feel like spending more on a used car then we did on our new '95 Vision.  The salesman found a black '94 that fit my price range... they also dropped, every 5 minutes, the price of the Jeep until by the time that I left their "final offer" was $19,900.  I never buy a car the first time I visit a dealer so we checked around.  I came back a few days later after checking and haggled a bit more and got a lower price.  I picked up my "new" car after noting on the contract that they had to repair/replace the windshield that had a chip.

The following week I found Freehold Jeep's newspaper advertisement containing my Jeep's serial number and my special "cut to the bone price" for $19,900"  Gee, does that mean the initial price they told me ($20,999) my first visit was wrong?   Could that be!   Tell a person an inflated price and cut it down and down until it reaches the "advertised price".   Actually it was not a bad deal, with brand new Cooper Discovery STE tires, full size spare, power everything including seats, "F" group options that included the overhead console and Chrysler mileage computer that I love, and other options it had.  From what I later found out (during my few trips in for repairs), my car was on the lot for a number of months and they dropped the price $1000 to sell it and "attract other customers".   You know what that's called.

NOW THE PROBLEMS: Well not that much.  My first day home the Jeep refused to start and keep running my first morning.  Forty minutes of trying this and that, I finally got off to work.  I called them and asked for suggestions.  Freehold Jeep said "there has been a known problems with the factory alarm and cold weather.  The next day (10 degrees) the car refused to start and keep running.  After calling their service people (who were very helpful) I got the car started and drove to the dealer (50 miles away).  Keeping my car for 4 days they replaced the car battery, replaced the cracked windshield (They said they'd fixed it, I made sure the contract stated replacement if customer was not satisfied) and installed an after market alarm after confirming certain factory alarms refuse to "release" in temps under 17 degrees.  The replacement alarm is much better, locks the doors when the car is started and has a few more features then the factory alarm.

Problem solved: Next problem: In March, while driving to work, the Jeep decided to drop into second on the highway and stay there. Kicking in and out of second it would shift fine until it decided to stay in second (safety mode).  At work I check the trans fluid with the car running and in park (like the manual says).  The fluid was 2-3 inches above full and had tiny bubbles on the dipstick, no smell or anything.  At home I noticed some fluid leaking from the rear main seal, I took off the quick disconnect trans fluid line going to the radiator and had my wife start the Jeep. Only a drip or two came out when I disconnected the hose and nothing came out when my wife started the Jeep with these hoses disconnected. Back to the dealer for another 4 days.  They "removed and cleaned" the valve body, the area where the fluid flows which determines when and how the trans shifts.  Got it back and all went well until Nov. 24th.
    Again on a highway, going to work it shifted from 4th into second for a mile.  At work I checked the fluid and it showed the high fluid level and fluid dripping from the rear mail seal again.  Worked fine after that one time and ran fine the next two days.  I brought it to a different Jeep dealer, they said "nothing was wrong" and actually added fluid a pint stating you have to have the Jeep in neutral to check the fluid.  Got it home and the rear mail seal was not leaking as it had when it went nuts the first time.  Confused I wrote to a few news groups ( News:rec.autos.4X4 and www.4x44u.vmag.com).  Someone wrote to me stating he was a 30 year retired trans mechanic.  His statement on my strange trans problem, was in short: the radiator trans coolers were collapsing (he said mini-vans were the main problems), this slowed the fluid from the trans to the radiator cooler area, over heating the trans and the fluid would boil over a vent in the torque converter.  This seemed sensible to me.  The torque converter would get very hot and allow my rear main seal to leak due to thinning the oil and passing the seal.  The safety (overheating) would kick in on the trans and drop me into second.  This person told me to by-pass the radiator cooler and get a good trans cooler.  So the next pictures and text will show how to add a trans cooler to you Jeep with the little room provided, that is unless you don't have air.


click here to see the additional transmission cooler behind the grill.
KOOL SOUND

* click on links or right click on pictures to see larger image.
I also added a extra amp to my Infinity stereo system.  Not an easy feat since no one seems to know the wiring of the extra factory amp.  The color coding from the back of the stereo doesn't match the amp wiring.  Plus the amp has six speaker outputs, two for the back doors (you can't hear these two).  Two for the front doors and two for the midrange speakers on the dash. None of the wire colors match even at the speaker ends. I decided to use an extra 100W Radio Shack amp that was to go into my wife's Lebaron convertible until she decide to sell the car for the spacious '95 Vision. I spend a lot of time tracking down the wiring to the rear under seat amp.  I wrote it down then lost the paper, one speaker wire was marked so I do have one additional rear speaker added.  This is a Radio Shack metal "patio" speaker.  This factory amp is under the back seat, the usual spot for a 10 Pack CD player.
 

 
KOOL 10 PACK CD SOUND
* click on links or right click on pictures to see larger image.

I have the Chrysler Infinity stereo system.  A 100 watt amp under the back seat with the standard CD/Radio head.  If you own a CD in your car you know that driving and changing the CD gets to be fun as you weave back and forth on the road trying to get a new music to play.  I purchase a 10 pack CD player that runs through the radio (RF version).  There are many available, mine is a Sony RF3.  Installation should be simple.  Just hook it up to the radio.  Finding a location for the CD unit required some thinking.  I finally decided to attach it to the back seat.  You have to install the unit backwards in order to make the vertical arrow point straight down so the CD functions right (according to the manual).  The extra amp I added is right below it and both are sort of hidden a bit by the spare tire.  I place the RF unit under the dash by the gas pedal.  All I had to do was add two power wires and place the car antenna into the RF supplied antenna wire.  Easy!  Have you ever wondered why the glove compartment is so small in your JGC?  There is no room behind the dash, none. Zip.
    In order to do this you need to remove the stereo and the heater controls (just carefully push the heater controls aside). If you are capable,  take the two fused wires and reverse them so the fuse end are at the RF unit.  There ain't much space to push the fuse holders up where needed. With the space from the removed stereo you should be able to see, in the front left side of the stereo hole, a clear shot down by the gas pedal.  I used a wire and pushed it down from the top down to the gas pedal.  I then attached (with tape) the wires from the RF unit and pulled them up.  You can then pull the wires to the back of the stereo holding unit so they will reach the back of the stereo head and not get in the way.  I hooked the two power wires to the CD/stereo wiring, they are labeled in the back of the stereo.  The orange is hot all times and the red is hot when the car is on. The radio antenna is switched and added to the RF unit.  No loss of antenna sensitivity was  noted.
    I placed the remote unit on the dash below the stereo.  I purchased self sticking velcro from Wal-Mart so I could remove the remote unit out of sight if parked somewhere undesirable.  The main wire from the RF I draped over the steering column then down the side of the plastic step guard.  A few screws need to be removed to put the wire under the step guard and a special socket adapter is need to remove the seat belt bolt that holds that area's plastic shield. Don't crush the main wire, the unit won't work.  When the seat is down (for large items) the extra amp and CD are out of the way. 

 One other item I added to my JGC are  "Bright Lights" by Wagner Industries.  These replacement 9004 bulbs are 55W/65W rather then the normal 35W/65W bulbs.  They are also filled with Xenon gas and are suppose to be whiter.  These bulbs do work, I drive in rural NJ and need all the lighting possible.  They provide a noticeable improvement for the few bucks they cost.  To replace the light behind the battery you have to remove the mounts and very carefully tilt the battery back.  It is possible.  If you disconnect the battery the clock and radio station sets are lost.   "Bright Lights replacements are made for 9007 bulbs but they are already 55W/65W.  The only improvements will be the Xexon gas for "whiter" lights.

KOOL KLEAN WHEELS
* click on links or right click on pictures to see larger image.
    I purchased from Pep Boys, metal (RALLY brand) wheel inserts  that are to keep your mag wheels clean.  They are suppose to keep the brake dust off your wheels.  If you look for the "original" wheel inserts, they are some $40 per pair.  These were $15. and fit the 15" wheels.  If you do lots of off-road and heat up the brakes you may want to reconsider.  These are not vented as the others are so they may not cool your brakes enough.  Make sure these inserts go on flat at the lug nut area and check, after a few days, your lug nut tightness.