Sunday 29 September 2013

Know your Jeeps? I need your help!

I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee V8.  It is registerd '97 but of course it could be a '95 or '96 that sat in the showroom for a while.  The exact model year of the car is crucial, though.

It's a red Jeep.  Anyone know what year it is?

The universal joint on the front propellor shaft has failed.

What I am trying to find out is: can I disconnect the front prop shaft and run the car in two wheel drive without ruining the transfer case?  This would allow me to keep running the car while I wait for the UJ rebuild parts to come in.

The trouble is, having researched this on the internet, I get conflicting advice.  Some say it is OK to run the car without the front prop shaft if it is fitted with Command or Selec Trac but NOT if it is fitted with Quadra Trac.  Mine has Quadra Trac.  Other forums refer to the type of transfer case saying that it is possible to run without a front prop shaft with a NP242 transfer case but not with a NP249.  Still other fórum advice I received state that V8's (mine is a V8) were all fitted with the NP249 so cannot run with a disconnected front propshaft while yet more advice suggests that the NP249 transfer case was redesigned between 1996-98 allowing it to run without a front prop.  My car is right in the middle of those model years and I can't take the chance.

I tried ringing some Jeep dealerships in the States and only succeeded in running up an enormous telephone bill.  The local dealership here insist I must bring the car in.  How can I drive it 100 miles with a bust propshaft UJ?  And then all they would do is take six weeks to import the parts, find loads of other things wrong and charge me a fucking fortune for a new transfer case and gearbox, it all being my fault 'cos I drove the Jeep to them.

Dropping a propshaft and rebuilding the Universal Joints is child's play, I just need to know if I can run the car in the meantime, in which case I can wait for someone to hand carry the parts in or, if the car cannot run, I take the hit and DHL the parts in.

If there was a Mopart dealership here, I could just ring them and they would tell me all I needed to know and sell me the parts needed dirt cheap.  But I am in Africa, which is a real bummer when it comes to fixing broken down cars.

Like I say, I am not sure of the exact model year of the car but the chassis number is:


I love these classic uncomplicated cars that can generally be fixed at the roadside with a hammer and a blow torch rather than all this modern stuff that needs plugging into a computer to sort out and you can't beat a big lazy American V8 when it comes to chugging through the bush.

So, my dear American readers, there's a US born car down in Africa and this English Para Medic needs some urgent advice to get it rolling again.

The bust UJ where the shaft is connected to the transfer case.
The forward end of the same prop shaft where it plugs into the front axle differential.
One question:  There's a spline there.  Is it supposed to be sliding to allow for suspension travel?  If it is supposed to be sliding, I see no evidence of it doing so; it looks as if the spline is seized into the prop shaft which means any shock or strain imparted by suspension travel will be borne by the universal joint and the diff.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the neices came to stay.  They were so disappointed when I told them the car was stuffed and they would have to stay another night,  I was gutted.
Three very disappointed neices


  1. I would worry that the broke U joint is a symptom of another problem. Have you put it on jack stands and took a pipe wrench to it to see if both ends of the break can turn?

    1. Not exactly sore toe work, inching around on your back under jack stands, no flat bed tow trucks trucks in Africa I guess.

    2. Toe truck. Very droll!

      Don't have axle stands, I got Marcia to drive the truck over me so I could look. All turning but I am bothered about that spline. Why have a spline a quarter of the way down a prop shaft if it isn't supposed to slide? If it is supposed to slide and isn't, that could explain the busted UJ. For this reason I need technical advice, I have never seen a prop shaft like this one.

    3. If you keep ogling the nieces Marcia wont need much persuasion to drive the truck over you, and you might worry more about your spleen rather than the jeep's spline.

  2. I can't help with the technical advice, just wanted to say it makes me sad that your old Jeep in Africa looks better than the fairly new Toyota covered with farm dust that's sitting in front of my house right now. How have you kept that paint such a brilliant red?

    1. Extra virgin olive oil. A quick wipe down every day with a cloth moistened with extra virgins always did the trick for me.

  3. Riveting.

    Can tell you are side tracked by your nice "neices". What's a man to do? Concentrate on his spelling or on capturing his neices? Any nephews?


  4. These guys and gals have always been helpful to me with advice and parts ordering:

  5. Sorry, my Jeeps were all built in the 40's when Willy was in charge. I am trying to resist the urge to further this conversation considering that yours is broken & the nieces are visiting. Best to retire it until you get a new joint.
    For the future:

  6. You could always hire your old truck back for a reasonable price!
    I reckon you will have to bite the bullet and DHL the part in PDQ. LOL!
    Nieces looking good :)

  7. Tom, how about emailing them instead of calling - given the time zone difference you may get a response by the time you wake up. If you spin an exciting sob story, I'm am sure you will get the ego going for them to reply. Do you think you could spin a good yarn? Or are you more into knitting yoghurt these days?

  8. Here is a diagram from Google Images with part numbers.

    Search in Google Images and maybe you'll see what you got and agree with the email trail, I usually get responses to questions fairly quickly.

    From that picture it looks like the spline might be missing a seal.

  9. Looking at that list of parts, engine size and type transfer case decide what you got.

    That post shows transfer case identification methods, but maybe the forum will take you farther down the rat hole, I mean rabbit trail to getting your question answered. Good Luck.

  10. Probably same post you read, but maybe not.

  11. Probably same post you read, but maybe not.

  12. Another one on NP249 puzzles -

    NP242 has a 2wd setting linkage where NP249 is the VC deal that sweetens the pot.

    VIN decoder shows it as a 4.0L V6 but can still be NP242 or NP249... If you have a V8, maybe it's been chopped up a bit.

    Need to find and ID the Transfer case and maybe all the stamps can further ID it's age or the 50-50 vs 90-10 torque back-front.

    It could be the VC is already cooked, (reading your tales of woe, what do you think?) in which case, running without the front drive shaft, doesn't do any more damage. I think the forum post mentions that several times.

    Heres a good Transfer Case writeup -

  13. You lost me half way through para 2. If my car goes wrong, I replace it.

  14. Sorry.... I can't even drive ! I'll ask husband later.

    Those nieces look a lively lot and full of fun. I'm having my nieces to stay for daughter's 21st birthday bash... hot tub & champagne !

  15. Ermmmm....................hmmmmm............

  16. Why wouldn't it say on the inside of driver's door like most cars?

  17. As I drive nothing but a Transit van and A Triumph 1200 motorbike, I know nothing about jeeps, except to say buy a Landrover. Checked out your other blog about cooking, and very good. Made me think of my dad, he was german, a Luftwaffe pilot in the war, and eventually a chef after. He cooked red cabbage like you do, and very nice it was. I hope that toe is better!

  18. Yoghurt Knitter here

    hmmm like double glazing is there a date on the wind screen or back window? in between the 2 panes of glass there is a date... that is when it was made, to comply with standards of that time. do they kite mark wind screens

    or what about here

    hows the toe? better I hope

  19. limo transfers sydney in affordable price in Sydney Australia for your Weddings and picnics.....


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