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Old 12-29-2009, 11:41 AM   #1
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New guy here with a few questions

I probably the biggest newbie when it comes to Jeeps and mods. I'm used to working with Hondas

I drive a red 98 Jeep wrangler Unlimited auto ( I know) Oh well, it's here to stay since it tackled the 24" of snow without issues 2 weekends ago.

My question is to you all, what mods would you do if you were in my shoes? The car is 100% stock at the moment. I have been looking to replace my radiator and hoses as the ones in the car are looking old and worn. Like I said, I am a newb and I am looking for easy things to do and I feel comfortable working with the cooling system right now as it seems pretty simple.

Has anyone seen these silicone hoses?



Here's the website where I found them at:
Jeep Wrangler 6 Cyl Silicone Hose Kit, 1997-2006 , by Mishimoto

Any suggestions on what else to do that would be fairly simple and cheap?

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Old 12-29-2009, 11:45 AM   #2
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Welcome! I'm sure you'll enjoy your new ride.

I have zero opinion on those hoses. But generally speaking, my "what to do first" upgrade list would start with really good tires, a modest lift (just because it impacts which tires you go with), some recovery equipment (winch is nice, but not necessary) and lots and lots of money for gas. Go drive.

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Old 12-29-2009, 12:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 4x4anyone? View Post
I probably the biggest newbie when it comes to Jeeps and mods. I'm used to working with Hondas

I drive a red 98 Jeep wrangler Unlimited auto ( I know) Oh well, it's here to stay since it tackled the 24" of snow without issues 2 weekends ago.

My question is to you all, what mods would you do if you were in my shoes? The car is 100% stock at the moment. I have been looking to replace my radiator and hoses as the ones in the car are looking old and worn. Like I said, I am a newb and I am looking for easy things to do and I feel comfortable working with the cooling system right now as it seems pretty simple.

Has anyone seen these silicone hoses?



Here's the website where I found them at:
Jeep Wrangler 6 Cyl Silicone Hose Kit, 1997-2006 , by Mishimoto

Any suggestions on what else to do that would be fairly simple and cheap?

Why would auto unlimited be lame? I used to think so too, but alot of offroaders are switching to automatic due to higher low end torque and the ability to keep a constant speed among other things.

As for hoses, I dont know. But maybe you could help with this AC problem in my 2000 Beater Honda.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 4x4anyone? View Post
I drive a red 98 Jeep wrangler Unlimited auto ( I know)
Don't be so quick to jump on the anti-automatic bandwagon. By far, most offroad competitors, especially rock crawlers, switched to automatics years ago for a number of reasons. Better low-speed control on the rocks, increased low-end torque, etc. I first learned to drive a stick back in '64 so I know how to drive them but after 170K miles on my '97 Wrangler, I converted it from a 5-speed to an automatic solely because of my rock crawling offroading needs. Converting to the automatic made my TJ MUCH more capable on the rocks & tougher offroad trails. On easy offroad trails it doesn't matter that much but the tougher the trail, the more an automatic shines.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:50 PM   #5
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Auto, stick.....still a jeep and that's all that matters.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:01 PM   #6
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Welcome to the group - Each and every jeeper has a different opinion on what should be moded first or second etc. What really matters is that this is your jeep & you can do what ever you want to with it.

The silicone hoses are great - but then I think stock hoses are great to. There is no real advantage gained in the hoses - kind of like wipers - they do a job, & you can get high end ones, but the low $ ones do the same job.

If you drive mostly on the highway & don't off road or only mildly off road - you don't need hard core upgrades - as stated before get a good set of tires - but if it is a highway rig - super aggressive off road tires will wear out in 1 year. Find a good mix like BFG all terrain's. They have great off road capability & a very good on road characteristics.

My first mod was adding cruise control - since I drive mine 50 miles round trip every day for work.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:15 PM   #7
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1 question: What's a 98 UNLIMITED? I thought they didn't come out until 2004?

My suggestion: Drive it and wheel it as is at first. Then you'll find out what you really need and want as opposed to what we want you to get. I've had mine over a year, it's still basically stock, and I'm still very happy with it.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:22 PM   #8
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1 question: What's a 98 UNLIMITED? I thought they didn't come out until 2004?
Good catch, there certainly were no Unlimiteds around in '98.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:14 PM   #9
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But generally speaking, my "what to do first" upgrade list would start with really good tires, a modest lift (just because it impacts which tires you go with), some recovery equipment (winch is nice, but not necessary) and lots and lots of money for gas. Go drive.
Thanks, I'll check into some pricing. Any brands that are exception for the lift kits?

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Why would auto unlimited be lame? I used to think so too, but alot of offroaders are switching to automatic due to higher low end torque and the ability to keep a constant speed among other things.

As for hoses, I dont know. But maybe you could help with this AC problem in my 2000 Beater Honda.
I am used to Honda's where the auto transmissions are garbage after 100K, not to mention that they lack low end power and torque in general. I am a huge fan of Manual trans.

What's wrong with the A/C in your Honda?

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Originally Posted by midget-farmer View Post
My first mod was adding cruise control - since I drive mine 50 miles round trip every day for work.
Ooooh, that sounds like a good idea. My commute is about 40 miles round trip to work and back.

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1 question: What's a 98 UNLIMITED? I thought they didn't come out until 2004?
Ouch, I just looked at the registration paperwork, and you're right. Think I should call the seller up and ask him about this? I don't think there is anything I can do about it. I do love the car, but I was assuming it was an Unlimited as it was advertised that way.

Anyways, I appreciate the warm welcome everyone!
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:21 PM   #10
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... not to mention that they lack low end power and torque in general. I am a huge fan of Manual trans.
The torque converter that is part of an automatic transmission actually generates 2-3X more low-end torque than a manual transmission can. Yes, that is true... no rumor.

That's one reason I swapped my TJ's original 5-speed manual transmission for an automatic transmission two years ago for my rock crawling needs. The added torque my TJ now has means it scoots up the exact same obstacles without problem now that it used to struggle with that required me to be winched up the same obstacles. Same 35" tires and 4.88 ratio, just noticeably more low-end torque since having converted to the automatic.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:44 PM   #11
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Ouch, I just looked at the registration paperwork, and you're right. Think I should call the seller up and ask him about this? I don't think there is anything I can do about it. I do love the car, but I was assuming it was an Unlimited as it was advertised that way.

Anyways, I appreciate the warm welcome everyone!
Wrangler Unlimited refers to either an extra long TJ (sometimes called an LJ), which looks just like any other TJ, just stretched out 10" behind the seats, or to the four-door JK models.

I think your seller just called it an Unlimited. Makes it sound better.

But plain old regular TJs are among the most loved Jeeps out there.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
The torque converter that is part of an automatic transmission actually generates 2-3X more low-end torque than a manual transmission can. Yes, that is true... no rumor.
Can you expand on that Jerry? 03RUBI and I were discussing this very thing this evening, and I can't see how an auto transmission can actually increase torque. I can see a much better control of existing torque with an auto over a manual thus making it easier to apply more of the existing torque to the wheels to conquer the obstacles.

I run a manual btw, nothing against autos tho.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:32 PM   #13
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Ac dont work = ) haha im guessing there was a leak in the valve as it is a 2000 Honda and itll blow air (feels like the outside air because it blows hot air when its hot and cold air when its cold out) but it wont do the AC thing and make it cold = \

The light to the AC button lights up and itll blow air. Think I should manually refill it? or should I do the right thing and get it checked for leaks and then get it fixed for about $300 probably.
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Geoff@Bestop View Post
I think your seller just called it an Unlimited. Makes it sound better.
Probably. I still love it though.

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Ac dont work = ) haha im guessing there was a leak in the valve as it is a 2000 Honda and itll blow air (feels like the outside air because it blows hot air when its hot and cold air when its cold out) but it wont do the AC thing and make it cold = \

The light to the AC button lights up and itll blow air. Think I should manually refill it? or should I do the right thing and get it checked for leaks and then get it fixed for about $300 probably.
The AC system probably just needs to be recharged, but $300 seems about right (give or take $50 or so). Have you checked to see if the AC fan turns on when the AC button is pressed and the green light comes on? I know this may sound dumb, but is the belt that drives the AC condenser still there? If it was never replaced, it could have broken and fell off.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:07 PM   #15
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Jerry - I'm thinking about converting mine to an automatic.
Can I ask which trans did you use?
Did you use a higher stall speed converter? Or stock?
Does the PCM need to be changed or flashed?

Not sure how to describe it - when at idle, then you apply power, there's a delay before it gets moving. Not so much a delay, but it has to rev a little before it moves. Doesn't this hamper crawling?

And -- how long did it take 'till your left foot stopped feeling "guilty?"

I've always preferred a clutch, seems like more control.
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:02 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ray - San Jose View Post
Can you expand on that Jerry? 03RUBI and I were discussing this very thing this evening, and I can't see how an auto transmission can actually increase torque. I can see a much better control of existing torque with an auto over a manual thus making it easier to apply more of the existing torque to the wheels to conquer the obstacles.
Yes it's true, a modern torque converter can increase low-end torque by 2-3X. I got my personal confirmation of that when I could climb the same three steep rock obstacles (called waterfalls though they are dry) on a specific rock crawling trail I do nearly every year without the use of my winch with my automatic. Before, with the same 4.88 axle ratio and same 35" tires, try as I did to make it up without the use of a winch over successive years, I never made it up without my winch when my TJ had the OE 5-speed.

Here are a few links that will help... this one talks about the 2-3X greater torque specifically... HowStuffWorks "Torque Converters Benefits"

This talks about torque converters in general... the key to how an automatic transmission equipped vehicle gets that 2-3X greater torque. HowStuffWorks "How Torque Converters Work"

Earlier torque converters could produce even more than that 2-3X greater torque but for reasons I'm not aware of, they are no longer used.

Here's an old article talking about an early torqueflite transmission where Chrysler said they were getting up to 6.62x torque. HowStuffWorks "1957 Plymouth Belvedere"

Note that all of this torque multiplication is at the low-end like when you're accelerating or climbing up an obstacle, not the torque that is developed once you're cruising.
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:14 PM   #17
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Jerry - I'm thinking about converting mine to an automatic.
Can I ask which trans did you use?
Did you use a higher stall speed converter? Or stock?
Does the PCM need to be changed or flashed?

Not sure how to describe it - when at idle, then you apply power, there's a delay before it gets moving. Not so much a delay, but it has to rev a little before it moves. Doesn't this hamper crawling?

And -- how long did it take 'till your left foot stopped feeling "guilty?"

I've always preferred a clutch, seems like more control.
I used the same 32RH used in TJs from '97 to 2002, it's a 3-speed with a lockup torque converter and the stock/same speed stall converter. For offroading, stock is best.

The PCM has to be swapped from one that had an automatic so the PCM can control the lockup torque converter. Mine has zero delay after stepping on the gas, there is no delay with any automatic if everything is working and set up properly.

Control-wise, and this may be hard for manual transmission enthusiasts to understand or agree with, but the tougher the trail, the better control an automatic gives. I noticed that right away in Johnson Valley when I did Sledgehammer after doing the automatic conversion. The Jeep was much smoother and I had far less drivetrain shock loading than when I did the same trail before with the 5-speed. Going up steep obstacles, the automatic's increased amount of control is dramatic whether you're the driver or you're outside watching. With 40+ years of driving sticks, I know how to drive them but on rock crawling trails, the automatic made me look and feel like a pro. I immediately saw after my conversion why a big majority of pro level competitors long ago switched to automatics.

I bought my TJ back in '96 with a 5-speed thinking it was the best transmission for offroading. I later learned that for the 5 and 5+ rated trails I enjoy, it's not. For easy trails it doesn't much matter but it sure does on the most difficult and extremely challenging 5 and 5+ rated trails.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:03 PM   #18
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I occasionally get to take newbies offroading - and it's always much more relaxing when they have the automatic vehicles. Even the good drivers have trouble w/ manuals in the rocks, and people with auto's can actually stop on a hill! When you get nervous and want to change your mind or change your line, an automatic is so much nicer.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:16 PM   #19
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I used the same 32RH used in TJs from '97 to 2002, it's a 3-speed with a lockup torque converter and the stock/same speed stall converter. For offroading, a stock stall speed converter is best.
Just clarifying what I meant to say earlier by adding the underlined portion.

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