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Old 09-11-2008, 11:24 PM   #1
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Question 98 tj newb getting very bad mpg (please help)

Hi,

I'm a TJ newb that's going to have tons of questions to come, I'm sure, but the first one is about the terrible mpg that I'm getting.

I just bought a 98 TJ w/Hard Top that only has 66K on it. It has a 4.0L straight 6, 4" lift, 33x12.5 BFG's, Headers, K&N Filter, Flow Master Exhaust, auto 3 speed, and is geared lower than normal. (how low, I'm not sure) The guy I bought it from has really taken care of it. It is a real gem, inside/out-above and underneath.

I knew from the start, with it being a 3 speed, that the gas mileage probably wouldn't be that good. But just driving it home, only 90 miles away, on the highway, I was already down to a half a tank. This equaled out to be 12mpg. Is this right? Does anyone think there is something wrong with it? Is this model really that terrible on gas? Or is it because of the lift, tires, gears,

Any input would be appreciated. Also, if anyone can suggest how to bring the gas mileage up to at least 15-17 or so, that would be great! I really love this Jeep, but the gas is going to kill me.

Also, what is the "death wobble" that I keep hearing about?

Thanks.

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Old 09-11-2008, 11:31 PM   #2
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12 mpg doesn´t sound very bad for a TJ that´s modified.

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Old 09-12-2008, 12:14 AM   #3
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12 mpg isnt to bad
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:41 AM   #4
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12 mpg is not bad for a modded rig... and you dont have mudd tires so thats a good sign
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:02 AM   #5
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I have a 98 that has no lift with 30X9.50 tires and I get 17-18 mpg around town. With your set up you would expect lower mpg. Drive it for awhile and learn the feel of the engine. You can probably alter your driving to affect some change but don't expect much. Just enjoy what you have or send your mods my way
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Old 09-12-2008, 04:39 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone. It's good to know I'm not doing TOO bad on mpg. I still wish I could do better as this is now going to be my everyday driver. Don't get me wrong, it'll see plenty of trails, but I'd just like it to be a bit easier on my wallet. At least for the gas part of it.

Do any of you have any suggestions on how I could acomplish this?
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:07 AM   #7
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BlackTooth,
Right before I got the jeep I have now, I was running the Exact same setup execpt soft instead of a hard top. You more than likely have 3.07 gears. Does it struggle getting up too freeway speeds? 12mpg is about what I was getting when I first bought it, then I added a cai and exhuast and bumped it to between 14-16mpg depending on the day. I am not saying for you too put these things in, but you may want to look at getting it re-geared.

Just a thought. Congrats on being a jeep owner though. Once you get some minor things fixed, you're gonna love it!

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Old 09-12-2008, 08:10 AM   #8
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Death Wobble is a mild to VIOLENT and very dangerous shake in the front end. It is caused by a number of different things, somethings as easy as unbalanced tires to as extreme as your entire steering components being worn(personal expierence). It's no laughing matter, especially when your entire jeep shakes and feels like everything is going to rattle off and you have to come to a complete stop before the nightmare will end. Have you expierenced anything of the sort?

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Old 09-12-2008, 11:28 AM   #9
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The gas gauge is very inaccurate, you cannot use it to even get close with what mpg you're getting. My gas gauge rapidly drops to about the half-way mark VERY quickly and then slows down after that.

The only way to get an accurate mpg reading is to know the exact mileage you drove on the tank and how many gallons it took to refill the tank, then divide the gallons used into the miles driven. But you absolutely cannot go by the gauge.

One more thing on the gauge, it normally gets to 'E' way before it's actually close to empty. When mine is at or slightly below 'E', it still normally has 3 or so gallons left in the tank.

All this said, 13-14 mpg is not unusual for a modded Jeep.
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Old 09-12-2008, 11:44 AM   #10
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Another thing: Check that your speedo gear is correct. The speedo gear (located on the trans cable) needs to be corrected for the bigger tires. If the gear was not replaced and you are using the factory OEM supplied gear you will have an "artificially lower" MPG.

I put 33's on my rig a couple of years ago and I have no corrected the speedo gear. In addition to driving speeds slightly above what the speedo says, the calculations for MPG can be way off....like more than 10% off.

Follow the cable into the trans and remove and count the # of teeth to make sure it matches your configuration.

Remember, a brick on 4 wheels has little to no aerodynamic qualities.... 12-15 mpg is about par.

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Old 09-12-2008, 12:34 PM   #11
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i got a 5 speed, i get 12-16 depending on how i drive most of the time its like a pissed off teenager, so i get about 14, when i go 80+ its 12, i could milk it and get 17 but MPG isnt that important to me right now i have a car that gets 33 ill just drive that
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:22 PM   #12
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I have a 97 TJ with 4.0.......... 3 speed auto ..........35" Tires ..........4.88 that with a JBA Header & after market Intake
I get 12 Mpg ..... 13 on a good Day But I dont see to many good days
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:31 PM   #13
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Duckit, I have that same combination after converting earlier this year to the same 3-speed auto you have. When I finally slowed down to around 60 mph on the local freeways, I got back up to a consistent 13.7 or so. On a long trip, that'd even improve if I can keep my speed at about 60. That's the same I was getting with the 5-speed and the same 35" tires and 4.88. Yeah it's tough to drive in the right two lanes now but...
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:33 PM   #14
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BlackTooth,
Right before I got the jeep I have now, I was running the Exact same setup execpt soft instead of a hard top. You more than likely have 3.07 gears. Does it struggle getting up too freeway speeds? 12mpg is about what I was getting when I first bought it, then I added a cai and exhuast and bumped it to between 14-16mpg depending on the day. I am not saying for you too put these things in, but you may want to look at getting it re-geared.

Just a thought. Congrats on being a jeep owner though. Once you get some minor things fixed, you're gonna love it!

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TJ1230,
Thanks for the heads up. I left an email for the guy that I bought it from about the type of gears that are in it. No reponse yet. No, it doesn't really have trouble getting up to freeway speeds, but it definately has alot more low end power than high end. I don't know what a cai is, so I can't comment. As for the gears, what would be recomended for better gas mileage, but still good power for my 3 speed automatic?

Thank God I don't seem to have the Death Wobble at this point. I do however have another concern with the steering. A new Rancho Steering Stabalizer was put in the day I bought it. It seems to do really well, but the one thing that I noticed was that any slight steering wheel movement, REALLY makes a big move. It's like the there is no play at all. At high speeds, it's kind of a pain because the wind will blow you one way, you correct, but it will actually over correct because the steering is that way it is. It does it at low speeds as well, but not as bad. Does this sound normal for a Jeep?
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:35 PM   #15
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The gas gauge is very inaccurate, you cannot use it to even get close with what mpg you're getting. My gas gauge rapidly drops to about the half-way mark VERY quickly and then slows down after that.

The only way to get an accurate mpg reading is to know the exact mileage you drove on the tank and how many gallons it took to refill the tank, then divide the gallons used into the miles driven. But you absolutely cannot go by the gauge.

One more thing on the gauge, it normally gets to 'E' way before it's actually close to empty. When mine is at or slightly below 'E', it still normally has 3 or so gallons left in the tank.

All this said, 13-14 mpg is not unusual for a modded Jeep.
Yes, I'll definately be checking that upon my next fill up. I just don't want to run it down too far just in case. No Jerry Cans on this rig.
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:43 PM   #16
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Another thing: Check that your speedo gear is correct. The speedo gear (located on the trans cable) needs to be corrected for the bigger tires. If the gear was not replaced and you are using the factory OEM supplied gear you will have an "artificially lower" MPG.

I put 33's on my rig a couple of years ago and I have no corrected the speedo gear. In addition to driving speeds slightly above what the speedo says, the calculations for MPG can be way off....like more than 10% off.

Follow the cable into the trans and remove and count the # of teeth to make sure it matches your configuration.

Remember, a brick on 4 wheels has little to no aerodynamic qualities.... 12-15 mpg is about par.

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Moz,
I know the guy didn't replace the speedo gear. I run about 3-5mph faster than what it says. I didn't know that would throw off your mpg though. If that's the case, than would it also throw off the actual miles on the Jeep? I bought it at 66k. What do you think it actually has on it?
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Old 09-12-2008, 07:11 PM   #17
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CAI = Cold air intake. As for gears, do you plan on lifting it anymore or running bigger tires? I would go with 4:56 gears. If you're mechanically inclined then you can do a gear swap yourself, if not or you don't feel comfortable doing it, a professional can do it. I cannot really give you the price quotes that I received to do mine, becuase mine included adding lockers front and rear and new diff covers.
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Old 09-13-2008, 06:17 PM   #18
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CAI = Cold air intake. As for gears, do you plan on lifting it anymore or running bigger tires? I would go with 4:56 gears. If you're mechanically inclined then you can do a gear swap yourself, if not or you don't feel comfortable doing it, a professional can do it. I cannot really give you the price quotes that I received to do mine, becuase mine included adding lockers front and rear and new diff covers.
No, I'm not going to lift it any further. The 4" Teraflex is plenty for what I am going to do with it. If I want a bit more clearance, I might go with a bigger tire. As of now, I don't plan on putting any bigger tires on it. In the future, I may consider some 35", but it isn't something that is pressing in my mind at this point.

Swapping out gears is not something that I feel comfortable doing, but I would definately be interested in it, if it would improve mpg. So I would definately have a shop do it. How much better mpg could I expect with 4:56 gears? How much power would I lose? What is the bene to a CAI? What differences did that make for you?

Another thing that has been bugging me is that the person I bought this from, put the 33x12.5 spare on the stock tire carrier. Doing some reading on this forum, I'm finding that a lot of guys are saying that the 33x12.5 is too heavy for that stock rack and will break it and/or my tailgate. Is this true? The gate has zero sag, and the brackets appear to be fine as well. I don't know how long the guy has had that 33 on there, (I'm still waiting for a response from him on various things) but I know that he had personally owned the Jeep for 4 years, and he is the one that switched over to 33's. So it's possible that the tire has been on the rack for 4 years.

About front and rear lockers...
I've heard of them, but I don't know what they actually are, or what they are for. Could you explain?
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:37 PM   #19
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Yeah I would stick with the 4" lift. Good Choice.

Well re-gearing to 4.56's can basically bring you back to stock. Stock power and stock mpg. It may actually increase the response just a bit too.

Well it all depends on who you are talking to about CAI. As far as me, that is the first thing that I run on any vehicle. I defenitely notice a difference in MPG 1-3 and a noticable difference in throttle response. Plus it's a sounding tone. So right there is my three pros. Con's even just going with a K&N filter it's pricy right off the bat as is the same for CAI.*(mine was about $100 )

33x12.50x15 is kinda heavy for a stock spare carrier. It actually depends on the jeep. Some get lucky and run 35's on a spare carrier and NEVER have a problem, others have 32" and have MAJOR sag. Swing away spare tire carriers(aftermarket) will resolve any possible questions about that. Is your tailgate hard to shut? On my 98' I had a 33x12.5x15 on the stock spare carrier and it was damn hard to shut the tailgate.

Lockers or locking differentials. Basically they cause both wheels to spin in unison whether there is traction or not. Usually resulting in more traction or gained extra bit.
There is a couple different types and people will give you the pro's and cons of all of them. Limited Slip differentials, automatic and selectable. They are arranged in the order of price and quality.


Sorry about the novel. Hope that helps just a bit.
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Old 09-14-2008, 01:56 AM   #20
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Duckit, I have that same combination after converting earlier this year to the same 3-speed auto you have. When I finally slowed down to around 60 mph on the local freeways, I got back up to a consistent 13.7 or so. On a long trip, that'd even improve if I can keep my speed at about 60. That's the same I was getting with the 5-speed and the same 35" tires and 4.88. Yeah it's tough to drive in the right two lanes now but...
I will check next time I head down to the desert or out to the mountain ...Freeway driving only..... I will see what it does

Doing 65 mph I'm doing 3000 Rpm..... are you in there some where,
should be ???

Jerry....remember that tranny over heating issue I was having ........
That B & M cooler has put a stop to my problem
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Old 09-14-2008, 02:05 AM   #21
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lol i got a moded jeep.. 6" of lift, intake, exhaust, bored out throttle body and 35" tires.. 4.0 with a 5 speed and stock 3.73 gears. I get about 18mpg

For you, your speedometer gauge could be off if he didnt mess to correct it. The odometer gauge relies on the speedometer mechanism or vice versa so.. if one is off, the other one is off also.
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Old 09-14-2008, 02:13 AM   #22
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haha triple u want a cookie? I get 10-11 basically on a 4cyl stocker!
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Old 09-14-2008, 02:22 AM   #23
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lol is it chocolate chip cookie?

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Doing 65 mph I'm doing 3000 Rpm..... are you in there some where,
should be ???
wohoo 65mph i'm at ~1650rpm and no problems keeping speed (corrected speedo)
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Old 09-14-2008, 02:27 AM   #24
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At 70 I am at 2900 rpm. I have 30in cooper muds on mine. That is the only mod a pitty one at that. I dunno what my gearing is- Guess I need to get the backend in the air and put a line on the driveshaft and count the revolutions until it gets back to were it started.

To the cookies actually they are and I made them about an hour ago!!

ohh trade ya you bring your jeep up to gurnee right now so I can go wheel the hell outta it and well you get cookies.
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Old 09-14-2008, 02:53 AM   #25
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I get 12 mpg with 35's and 4.56 gears and a 3speed trans
I figured I could change the trans and put the aw4 overdrive trans out of an xj or change my gears to 4.11 to raise my mpg

off coarse if I put 4.11's in I will have to get 4.1 in the transfer case
wait I want the 4.1 transfer case now

If I did put the aw4 trans in I would probily change my gears to 4.88
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Old 09-14-2008, 11:44 AM   #26
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i get good mpg mine is around 12.5
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:04 PM   #27
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I get 12 mpg with 35's and 4.56 gears and a 3speed trans
I filled up yesterday and got 13.7 mpg with 35's, 3-speed auto, but with 4.88 gearing. I can only attribute that to having slowed way down to 60 mph on average on the freeway since converting from the 5-speed manual to the 3-speed auto. It was tough at first but I'm used to the slower speeds now.
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:09 PM   #28
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I will check next time I head down to the desert or out to the mountain ...Freeway driving only..... I will see what it does

Doing 65 mph I'm doing 3000 Rpm..... are you in there some where,
should be ???

Jerry....remember that tranny over heating issue I was having ........
That B & M cooler has put a stop to my problem
Yep 65 gives me about that same rpm, that's as fast as I ever go any more, I try to average around 60 now due to engine rpms.

Glad to read the B&M cooler helped, I started to install my NAPA-special tranny cooler yesterday but I got stymied by the a/c condenser getting in the way. Once I got the hoses attached to the cooler, I could no longer get it through the grill to mount it. How did you mount yours?
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Old 09-14-2008, 04:23 PM   #29
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Yeah I would stick with the 4" lift. Good Choice.

Well re-gearing to 4.56's can basically bring you back to stock. Stock power and stock mpg. It may actually increase the response just a bit too.

33x12.50x15 is kinda heavy for a stock spare carrier. It actually depends on the jeep. Some get lucky and run 35's on a spare carrier and NEVER have a problem, others have 32" and have MAJOR sag. Swing away spare tire carriers(aftermarket) will resolve any possible questions about that. Is your tailgate hard to shut? On my 98' I had a 33x12.5x15 on the stock spare carrier and it was damn hard to shut the tailgate.
That's what is weird. Before I bought this Jeep, I had test driven some 2005 stock Jeeps. The one I bought has way more power than the newer stock Jeeps that I drove. All of them were 4 speed w/od. I don't really understand it. Do you think the 4.56 gears would kill my power in this case?

As of now, no. The tailgate door actually shuts a bit easier than the other doors if you can beleive that. So, maybe I'll be okay. I'm not sure though. Today will be the first day I get to take it out wheel'n a bit. Hope the tire doesn't go flying off the back end! I'll let ya know how it goes.
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Old 09-14-2008, 06:08 PM   #30
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It was tough at first but I'm used to the slower speeds now.
nahh its just natural aging

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