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Old 01-15-2010, 12:07 PM   #1
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2004 wrangler se 2.4L hesitates under load

Hello everyone, I'm new to this site and wondering if anyone could give me some help. My wrangler has about 63K miles on and a few months ago it started hesitating slighty and sometimes does a backfire out the intake. I replaced the spark plugs last spring with E3 green plugs and new plug wires because the jeep was hesitating slightly and it stopped doing that but now it's doing the same thing plus it backfires sometimes when I take off in first gear and put it under a load. Other than that, it runs good through all the gears with no hesitation. I replaced the TPS a few years ago because it would stall on me and that fixed the problem so I'm not sure what is causing this problem. I was curious about changing my gears in the rear end. I changed the stock tires to 31 x 10.5 and would like to get some power back and I'm not sure what the stock gears are and what would be a good choice if I ever wanted to change them and also should I have the front axle changed also..probably yeah but thought I'd ask..hopefully it's not a dumb question lol I love working on vehicles but I never messed with changing gears before. Thanks for the help on this

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Old 01-15-2010, 12:25 PM   #2
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welcome. As for the hesitation.. is it giving any codes? Is it random? As for gears, you are correct, both rear and front need to match. You have 4.10's. You might need to step upto 4.56 or even 4.88's. However, your dana 35 rear axle is a weaker axle, and a great many people swap in a better axle before spending the money on the gear change.

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Old 01-15-2010, 12:38 PM   #3
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thanks for the info...nope, she's not giving me any codes so far...the only code I get is when I don't tighten the gas cap just right..that thing is touchy as hell lol If I remember right, it never did the backfiring during the summer...and I let it warm up in the morning. I don't really mash the pedal when taking off but sometimes I do when getting on the expressways. I hear a lot about the axle swaps but I'm not up to doing any swaps right now. I don't drive it rough except when we get some good snow storms in michigan and I do some trail riding but nothing extrem like mudding, etc. If I did change the gears do you recomend getting a bearing kit...quadratec recomends getting a bearing/seal kit but I don't think it has that many miles...but like I said, I never got into axle work before besides changing seals and axle shaft bearings.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:46 PM   #4
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Check out a ratio calculator...

Gears CAN be done by a competent garage mechanic, but most won't recommend it. Tolerances must be extremely precise. My buddy did it in his Cherokee and ate the gears within a few months. Did it again and so far has been good, but would have saved a lot of headaches having a shop do it.
I know some Wranglers had a recall for defective catalytic converters (and the sensor that would throw the code!), not sure if they had that fixed by '04 Beyond that, it could be a number of things. Mine did a similar thing, but stopped, so I never got to diagnose the problem.
And 4jeepn is right, if you ever plan to build this Jeep up, don't put money into the D35, even w/ the 2.4 in front of it. If its staying close to stock, you can probably get away with it...
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:56 PM   #5
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thanks for the added info gabe. yeah I do agree if I plan on building it up then I would swap out the axles...but I don't plan on doing any extreme riding that would require it..mainly I use it to get to work and back and I enjoy playing around in the snow and doing some trail riding...I'd just love to get some power back...I did install a throttle body spacer kit and a air raid cold air intake kit...do you guys any recomend any exhaust kits...I've been told the exhaust systems up the the cat converters are the same but I' dunno on that info
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:56 PM   #6
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I regeared my 2.4L with 4.88s and haven't experienced a problem yet. I would not recommend the 4.88s unless you are going to up the tire size to 33s. Right now I run 31s and can't go over 60mph without the 4 little squirrels screaming at me. I would recommend 4.56 if sticking with 31s. And yes you will need to regear both (especially if you ever put it in 4 wheel drive).

Can't wait to put on a lift and 33s......
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:57 PM   #7
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vehicles these days are sensitive to the right spark plug, i'm not sure what that plug you described is, but i'd switch to the o.e. iirc its a plane champion plug. that motor is in our newer minivan, it will misfire at 30k on the dot practically due to the spark plugs, and thats when the plugs are recomended.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:58 PM   #8
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thanks for the added info gabe. yeah I do agree if I plan on building it up then I would swap out the axles...but I don't plan on doing any extreme riding that would require it..mainly I use it to get to work and back and I enjoy playing around in the snow and doing some trail riding...I'd just love to get some power back...I did install a throttle body spacer kit and a air raid cold air intake kit...do you guys any recomend any exhaust kits...I've been told the exhaust systems up the the cat converters are the same but I' dunno on that info
Where did you get the throttle body spacer? I can't find one anywhere for the 2.4L. I currently run the Air rade intake with a flowmaster....sounds pretty decent.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:04 PM   #9
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I got the TB spacer off of JC whitney....I can't remember the brand but just put in your info and look it up in the search box and it should be there still. Sure is hard finding up grades for the 2.4L huh? lol have you ever thought about jet chips? I've been searching for years....does anyone recomend a good spark plug? I have no love for champions but I guess I'd use whats best
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:12 PM   #10
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Usaftj, your Jeep must be fun as hell around town though! Be careful putting exhaust on these little engines, usually a better flowing cat and a muffler will give you a little power, not much, but too much flow will lose you some torque at low RPM's where you need it. I'd keep the pipe itself at stock diameter.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:16 PM   #11
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Yeah, I agree...I don't want a fatter pipe...just a stock diameter pipe setup with a better muffler is all I want. Luckily I paid attention to my shop teacher that built race cars, so I learned a few things here and there.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:23 PM   #12
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Usaftj, your Jeep must be fun as hell around town though! Be careful putting exhaust on these little engines, usually a better flowing cat and a muffler will give you a little power, not much, but too much flow will lose you some torque at low RPM's where you need it. I'd keep the pipe itself at stock diameter.

For the most part it is....Around town it's great. Where I dislike the 4.88s is on the highway due to the high RPMs. That's exactly what I did (stayed with the stock pipes and just replaced the muffler). In the mud and snow, the 4.88s are a champ on my little 4 banger. Still trying to locate the throttle body spacer that was mentioned earlier for the 2.4....I've been looking for one of those for a while now.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:49 PM   #13
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usaft05, I got the throttle body spacer from JC whitney...the is Helix Power Tower Throttle Body Spacers SKU Number: 1JA 348715 Manufacturer Number: 24040
Whether or not I got more power or torque is another story. I will also mention that with the spacer, you have to move the coil pack out to the left more...they give you brackets for this....but it also pulls on the plug wires more..especially the #2 plug...one thing I hate about this engine is the fact that you have to pull the TB off to get to the 2 plugs under it grrr
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:42 PM   #14
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usaft05, I got the throttle body spacer from JC whitney...the is Helix Power Tower Throttle Body Spacers SKU Number: 1JA 348715 Manufacturer Number: 24040
Whether or not I got more power or torque is another story. I will also mention that with the spacer, you have to move the coil pack out to the left more...they give you brackets for this....but it also pulls on the plug wires more..especially the #2 plug...one thing I hate about this engine is the fact that you have to pull the TB off to get to the 2 plugs under it grrr

Thanks for the info....I found one at partsgeek.com for $90.
05 2005 Jeep Wrangler Throttle Body Spacer - Air Intake - Airaid, Street Performance - PartsGeek

Ordered and on its way.
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Old 01-15-2010, 04:02 PM   #15
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Usaftj05. I take it that you have an 05 model...you have the 6spd right?
If so, how is it with your 2.4?? I have the 5spd, which seems
to work fine so far. I'm curious if it is possible to convert mine over
in the future. I'd love to Have the low gear for 1st
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:04 PM   #16
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Usaftj05. I take it that you have an 05 model...you have the 6spd right?
If so, how is it with your 2.4?? I have the 5spd, which seems
to work fine so far. I'm curious if it is possible to convert mine over
in the future. I'd love to Have the low gear for 1st
The 6 speed trans was great until I put in the 4.88s. Now having that low of gearing, 1st gear is useless. I just start out in 2nd from stops. I can actually start out in 3rd if ya give it some gas. When I lift and put on 33s, I should get the use of 1st back as well as being able to do 60-65 with reletively low RPMs (2200-2500). This is the major reason why I recommend 4.56 gears if you plan on keeping the 31s. Since I invested almost a grand for my BFGs, I plan on waiting till the tread runs down to purchase the 33s as well as the lift. Only problem is the tread isn't going down at all. They still look brand new and I have put almost 20K miles on them.
1st gear does work excellent on the trails with the 4.88s. The low end torque is amazing. Old saying is true....JEEP..Unstoppable.

To answer a question you mentioned above, I use bosch platinums. Been awesome for me especially this winter with the -40 weather in Nebraska.
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:21 PM   #17
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Yeah, I hear you on the BFGs, I put on a set of 15x8 aluminum rims with 31's from BFG and I probably have put on around 15k on them and they still look new. I got the set of rims and tires off of JC whitney for about a thousand also and they're great...but I notice they fill up with snow easily...I have BFG a/t T/a's...I used to have Kelly MSR's and I think they were a lot better in the snow cause of the larger tread gaps. Right now with my stock gears and the 31's, I mainly drive around 60-65 and she revs around 2600. What type of lift are you looking to put on your ride? I put a 4in body lift because I was on a budget at the time but I'd love to take it out one year and put on a 4in suspension lift....I will say, the body lift does wonders for reaching bell housing bolts etc. I just don't like the gap you see between the frame and body. I think I'll try a set of bosch plats for the hell of it. I'm not much of a fan for champion plugs..which is what they recomend from the factory I think. Have you heard about using an msd coil pack from a neon? I read one time on here a guy with the same wrangler did a coil upgrade using a msd coil pack used on a dodge neon...it was in a thread somewhere on here but he wasn't sure if it made any difference.
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Old 01-16-2010, 02:17 PM   #18
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Yeah, I hear you on the BFGs, I put on a set of 15x8 aluminum rims with 31's from BFG and I probably have put on around 15k on them and they still look new. I got the set of rims and tires off of JC whitney for about a thousand also and they're great...but I notice they fill up with snow easily...I have BFG a/t T/a's...I used to have Kelly MSR's and I think they were a lot better in the snow cause of the larger tread gaps. Right now with my stock gears and the 31's, I mainly drive around 60-65 and she revs around 2600. What type of lift are you looking to put on your ride? I put a 4in body lift because I was on a budget at the time but I'd love to take it out one year and put on a 4in suspension lift....I will say, the body lift does wonders for reaching bell housing bolts etc. I just don't like the gap you see between the frame and body. I think I'll try a set of bosch plats for the hell of it. I'm not much of a fan for champion plugs..which is what they recomend from the factory I think. Have you heard about using an msd coil pack from a neon? I read one time on here a guy with the same wrangler did a coil upgrade using a msd coil pack used on a dodge neon...it was in a thread somewhere on here but he wasn't sure if it made any difference.

More than likely, I'm leaning toward the Rubicon Express 3.5" Standard Suspension System (about $580). There are a ton of lifts out there....I've heard both pos and neg about. As far as Rubicon Express, I've heard nothing but good things. I have 31 BFG AT KOs on a 15x8 Procomp 8179 rim. I love the look of it. At 60 mph, I'm at roughly 3100 RPM in 6th gear. I don't think that gear ratio chart is as accurate as individuals say. At 65mph, I'm at routhly 3300. According to the chart, I should be at 3838. Being off 500 RPMs is a big difference. If it's off by 500 or so, then I should get exactly where I want with the 33s.
Haven't heard a thing in regards to the msd coil pack.
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:25 PM   #19
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Does the 2.4L use a timing belt? Sound a little like it may have jumped a tooth.
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:28 PM   #20
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yeah, it has a timing belt..unfortunately..it's a DOHC setup. I was thinking about that it could be the belt...but the wierd thing is that it did it last spring and I did a full tune up and it ran perfect and now it's doing it again this winter...wish it was in the summer haha. I checked the belt before and it was like new and has an automatic tensioner on it. The wierd thing is...the manual says to change the plugs every 30k miles...I've never knew any engine that needs that done so soon but eh, I'm only 28. I wonder why it says to change them so early?? I wish they just stuck to a more simpler engine.
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:49 PM   #21
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its nothing to do with the timing belt at 63k, and like i said at the beginning of your thread, its the way they built it, they're on a time clock practically, every 30k it needs plugs, and vehicles these days need the plugs that were put in from the factory, it is not smart to deviate from them.

ask the older 4.0 guys what happens when you put bosch platinum plugs in, which are good plugs, but don't work in our engines.

in your scenario you need to make sure the basics are covered, and proper spark plugs and gap are a basic, it may not be the problem, but its a strong possibility, and if you avoid this step you could beat your head against a wall for a long time chasing a problem that turns out as simple as the right spark plug. it has happened many times before.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:03 PM   #22
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I agree with you totally on using the right plug. I've always stuck using motorcraft plugs in fords, ac delco plugs in gm's, etc. I ordered a set of champion plugs today...they didn't have the basic plugs so I upgraded to champion platinums for a few more bucks..I have a new set of plug wires sitting somewhere in my closet...so I guess I'll give it another tune up and see what happens. I love this jeep to death and my 16 month old daughter loves riding in it, but man this little engine is very touchy lol Now I wish I could find a manual for this thing...being an 04, I can't seem to find any repair manuals...anyone have any suggestions? I appreciate everyone's help on this.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:09 PM   #23
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i wouldn't even do the platinum, do not deviate from the factory spec plug is the best advice to follow.

i've seen it too much, i work in a shop, i do this for a living, something as stupid and simple as a slightly different plug can bring you hours and days of frustration. just as i said, you cannot put an "upgraded" platinum plug in an older 4.0, very hi chance of similar problems you're describing.

keep it simple, stick with what is recomended. in the old days i never believed in that, but on some of the things now days, you need to stick with what it had.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:32 PM   #24
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I hear what you're saying, believe me....unfortunately the plugs are already ordered so maybe I'll get lucky with them and if they suck, I'll let you know and you can tell me "I told you so" lol I'm just not a big fan of champion plugs..maybe that's my problem..I never have luck with any of them. If the platinums don't last long then I'll put the basic champions back in..I'll have to order them also because the local stores around here are hard to get stuff in stock.. but the 2.4L in mine never seemed to like them. I've never changed the plug wires because they look good still..but maybe that could be the problem?
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Old 01-17-2010, 07:28 AM   #25
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i hope it works for ya, just passin on some life expereince.

i'm confused though, sounds like in the first post you changed the wires, and now it sounds like you didn't. those are due at 60k along with the second set of plugs if i remember correctly.
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:47 AM   #26
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opps sorry about the confusion...I was thinking i DID change them for some odd reason but I actually didn't. My g/f kept talking to me while I was typing and got me side tracked for a minute, I didn't even noticed that mistake till now lol. I was browsing my local parts store and I noticed that MSD makes an aftermarket coil pack for my 2.4L I never got into upgrading coils because I didn't think it'd make any difference in how it runs, but do you thank it'd make any difference in performance? they didn't give me a whole lot of info and for $79 I was wondering if it was worth it? msd's part # is 8229
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:51 PM   #27
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i highly doubt you'd notice any difference unless your current coil is bad. btw, same thing goes for throttle body spacers.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:52 AM   #28
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Timing belt on my jeep wrangler se 2.4l

I have a timing belt question ! I have a 2006 jeep wrangler se 2.4l dohc with 97,000 miles. do i just need to change the belt or do i need to change all the pulleys plus water pump. i took the upper cover off and belt looks good and it's not loose any advise from anyone!
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:56 PM   #29
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They have kits that come with all the pulleys, water pump, belt ect...that's what I plan on getting when I have to replace my belt...might as well do everything while it's apart?

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