Question about 1988 Jeep Wrangler

2 Answers

My 88 wrangler runs out of power to get up a hill

After changing the fuel pump,, wires plugs, filters it still has no power for
a simple hill

Posted by on

  • terntob Jan 06, 2009

    hey thundergod !!!

    this has been the answer that makes the most sense ! and believe
    me i have been playing with this for a month, replacing o2 censor
    fuel pump, dist. cap, plugs and since i am a girl and not a great'
    mechanic its been difficult, my next step is a 2 inch lift if i can just
    get her to "lift" up the hills !!!!

    thanks again thundergod
    terntob@gmail.com




  • Anonymous Mar 14, 2014

    1998 olds 88 , has new wires and plugs

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Does the catalytic converter rattle?  My money is on a clogged Cat.

Posted on Jan 07, 2009

  • Al-88YJ Jan 07, 2009

    Oh - you never mentioned if you have the 2.5 4 cyl or the 4.2 I6 motor.  

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  • Jeep Master
  • 6,982 Answers

Got a 4.0 in there? I'll bet the timing chain has streched. At about 160K, the strech on the chain causes the distributor (cam sensor) to be "out of phase" with the crank sensor, effectively messing just enough with the engine ignition timing, to give you these symptoms. On older vehicles, you could simply adjust the base timing by turning the distributor. Yours is locked in one position, therefore you can't do that. I don't recommend you do this but there is a way to "cheat".
You need to remove the distributor and grind off the hold down tab so it is now able to turn past the hold-down bolt. Place a large flat washer under the bolt(with one edge ground down to conform to the distributor housing) The timing can then be changed. If you turn it about 1/4" CCW, you will note an immediate change in performance. Use a timing light to bring timing up to about 4 degrees advanced.(back off a bit if getting into knock on hills). This will buy you some time before changing chain. Remember though this is temporary and that the base problem needs to be dealt with!!!

Posted on Jan 04, 2009

  • Richard Scordino Jan 06, 2009

    Only a month??? The first time I encountered this, I wrestled with it for nearly a year... I tested everything in the entire system five times, convinced myself that the tps was bad, replaced it and then wanted to throw a wrench through the windshield. And, I should know better... 30 yrs in auto repair including real nasty racemobiles (top fuel).
    I finally gathered my thoughts and decided to go back to basics.
    Instead of a big washer, I used a modified holddown from a smallblock chevy. I also made a really nasty coil by modiying an old GM HEI coil. I now generate a huge blue spark instead of the pathetic one the stock jeep makes. This requires cutting down the rotor blade to avoid cross-sparking and is really unorthodox, so I won't get into it here.
    I'm glad my suggestion makes sense to you. But...don't forget it's a band-aid, not a fix....a worn chain has to be changed!


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