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Jeep 4×4 Performance Handbook, 3rd Edition

Price: $33.35
(as of Jan 21,2022 05:00:20 UTC – Details)


From the Publisher

A truck driving over rocky terrain.A truck driving over rocky terrain.

The Whole Jeep: Getting Started

The first lesson to learn in a Jeep buildup is that you have to think beyond just one part. If one snazzy gizmo becomes the whole focus of your mechanical lust, take a step back and evaluate the big picture. Changing one part may have an effect on something else, and that part will affect another, and so on.

The trick is to get an idea of just what you want the Jeep to do, following all the threads that lead from that goal and then integrating the modifications required to create a “whole Jeep.” For the purposes of definition, we’ll call a “whole Jeep” one that is assembled so that the modifications enhance rather than fight each other. The whole vehicle is balanced in strength and ability according to the uses you plan.

An ink impression of tire tracks.An ink impression of tire tracks.

On the left is what a tire footprint looks like on a 35×12.50-15 with 1,500 pounds of weight at 30 psi (left) and 10 psi. On the right, the footprint almost doubles in size at the lower pressure. With that comes a reduction in ground pressure of almost 50 percent, offering more floatation on soft ground. At the lower pressure, the tire will also conform to rough, hard surfaces better, such as in rockcrawling. From the street perspective, note that on the 30-psi print, the edges of the tread are indistinct, which is an indication of too much street pressure. At about 26 psi, the edges were distinct, but 28 psi was the chosen street pressure. Finally, whether or not you can run 10 psi on your Jeep depends on many factors, including weight and rim type. You could get the same footprint at 15 psi on your rig if it’s heavier.

A jeep driving down rocky terrain.A jeep driving down rocky terrain.

Multiplying Torque: Manual and Automatic Transmissions

Transmission upgrades rate somewhere between axle and engine work in popularity with Jeepers. Often an engine and transmission swap go hand in hand. Lack of strength or reliability is one issue, gearing is another. Either way, you have many options.

What does the transmission do? It’s a torque multiplier, of course, but it does more. Unlike an electric motor that makes full torque as soon as power is turned on, your Jeep’s internal combustion engine must be running at some speed to do it. To get your engine turning at a speed sufficient to generate the necessary torque, we need a device that gears it down to a ratio that allows the engine to run at a higher speed than the output of the gearing device. Since we need a wide range of speed options, from three to five speeds (even six in some of the latest vehicles) are needed.


A 2005–2006 2.8-Liter “CRD”Four-Cylinder Diesel engine.A 2005–2006 2.8-Liter “CRD”Four-Cylinder Diesel engine.

A 1966–1971 225 “Dauntless” V-6 engine.A 1966–1971 225 “Dauntless” V-6 engine.

A 1972–1991 AMC V-8 engine.A 1972–1991 AMC V-8 engine.

A 1998 “5.9 Limited” V-8 engine.A 1998 “5.9 Limited” V-8 engine.

2005–2006 2.8-Liter “CRD”Four-Cylinder Diesel

Applications: 2004–2006 KJ

Displacement: 2.8-liter (171 cubic inches)

Common Power Output: 160 horsepower @ 3,800 rpm (net)

Common Torque Output: 295 ft-lb @ 1,800 rpm (net)

Bore and Stroke: 3.70×3.94 inches

Common Compression Ratio: 17.5:1

Performance Potential: Good

Performance Parts Availability: Slim

1966–1971 225 “Dauntless” V-6

Applications: 1966–1971 CJ,

1966–1971 Jeepster

Displacement: 225 cubic inches

Common Power Output: 160 horsepower @ 4,200 rpm (gross)

Common Torque Output: 235 ft-lb @ 2,400 rpm (Gross)

Bore and Stroke: 4.75×3.40 inches

Common Compression Ratio: 9.0:1

Performance Potential: Good

Performance Parts Availability: Good

1972–1991 AMC V-8

Applications: 1972–1979 CJ

(304), 1972–1991 SJ

Displacement: 304 cubic inches; 360 cubic inches; 401 cubic inches (1974–1978)

Common Power Output: 150 horsepower @ 4,200 rpm (net,

304) 175 horsepower @ 4,400 rpm (net, 360 two-barrel) 195 horsepower @ 4,400 rpm (net, 360 four-barrel) 215 horsepower @ 4,400 rpm (net, 401 four-barrel)

Common Torque Output: 245 ft-lb @ 2,500 rpm (net, 304) 285 ft-lb @ 2,900 rpm (net, 360 two-barrel) 295 ft-lb @ 2,900rpm (net, 360 four-barrel) 320 ft-lb @ 2,800 rpm (net, 401, four-barrel)

Bore and Stroke: 3.75×3.44 inches; 4.08×3.44 inches; 4.16×3.68 inches

Common Compression Ratio: 8.40:1; 8.25:1; 8.35:1

Performance Potential: Good

Performance Parts Availability: Good

1998 “5.9 Limited” V-8

Applications: 1998 ZJ, 5.9 Limited

Displacement: 360 cubic inches

Common Power Output: 245 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm (net) Common Torque Output: 335 ft-lb @ 2,800 rpm (net)

Bore and Stroke: 4.00×3.58 inches

Common Compression Ratio: 8.7:1

Performance Potential: Good

Performance Parts Availability: Good

A  crown looks on a as a Jeep goes up a steep ridge.A  crown looks on a as a Jeep goes up a steep ridge.

Stayin’ Alive: Safety

Four-wheeling, even extreme four-wheeling, may be safer by far than the rush-hour commute. For one, you are most often moving at a snail’s pace (much like rush hour, but without the road rage) but the main difference is that you don’t have other people to worry about. No drunken, nose-picking, bebopping, glazed over, nodding off, cell phone addicted, or incompetent drivers to worry about. That leaves 99 percent of the control of nearly every off-highway situation in the driver’s hands. The control freak’s dream!

The very first items on the safety equipment list are your attitude, judgment, and skill. With most of what happens in your hands, you become like the pilot of an airplane. You are responsible for the safety of your passengers, your vehicle, and yourself. In the heat of an adrenaline-charged moment, you may be faced with a decision to abort takeoff in the face of some ribbing from your buddies on the trail.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Motorbooks; 3rd edition (September 14, 2021)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0760370087
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0760370087
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.95 pounds
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.3 x 0.65 x 10.65 inches

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Jeep 4×4 Performance Handbook, 3rd Edition
Jeep 4×4 Performance Handbook, 3rd Edition


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