Add a couple per my writeup below. Do the instrument panel ground upgrade, too.
Renix Ground Refreshing
The Renix era XJs and MJs were built with an under-engineered grounding system for the engine/transmission electronics. One problem in particular involves the multiple ground connection at the engine dipstick tube stud. A poor ground here can cause a multitude of driveabililty issues, wasted time, failed emission tests, and wasted money replacing components unnecessarily.
The components grounding at the dipstick tube stud are:
Distributor Sync Sensor, TCU main ground, TCU “Shift Point Logic”, Ignition control Module, Injectors, ECU main ground which other engine sensors ground through, Oxygen sensor, Knock Sensor, Cruise Control, and Transmission Sync signal. All extremely important stuff.
The factory was aware of the issues with this ground point and addressed it by suggesting the following:
Remove the nut holding the wire terminals to the stud. Verify that the stud is indeed tightened securely into the block. Scrape any and all paint from the stud’s mounting surface where the wires will attach. Must be clean, shiny and free of any oil, grease, or paint.
Inspect the wire terminals. Check to see that none of the terminals are crimped over wire insulation instead of bare wire. Be sure the crimps are tight. It wouldn’t hurt to re-crimp them just as a matter of course. Sand and polish the wire terminals until clean and shiny on both sides. Reinstall all the wires to the stud and tighten the nut down securely.
While you’re in that general area, locate the battery negative cable which is fastened to the engine block just forward of the dipstick stud. Remove the bolt, scrape the block to bare metal, clean and polish the cable terminal, and reattach securely.
Another area where the grounding system on Renix era Jeeps was lacking is the engine to chassis ground. There is a braided cable from the back of the cylinder head that also attaches to the driver’s side of the firewall. This cable is undersized for it’s intended use and subject to corrosion and poor connections at each end.
First off, remove the cable end from the firewall using a 15mm wrench or socket. Scrape the paint off down to bare metal and clean the wire terminal. Reattach securely.
Remove the other end of the cable from the rear of the head using a 3’4” socket. Clean all the oil, paint and crud from the stud. Clean the wire terminal of the cable and reattach securely.
A suggestion regarding the braided cable:
I prefer to add a #4 Gauge cable from the firewall to a bolt on the rear of the intake manifold, either to a heat shield bolt or fuel rail bolt. A cable about 18” long with a 3/8” lug on each end works great and you can get one at any parts store already made up. Napa has them as part number 781116.
A further improvement to the grounding system can be made using a #4 cable, about 10” long with 3/8” terminals at each end. Attach one end of this cable to the negative battery bolt and the other end under the closest 10mm headed bolt on the radiator support just forward of the battery. Napa part number 781115.
For those of us with Comanches, it’s very important to remove the driver’s side taillamp assembly to access the ground for the fuel pump. Remove the screw holding the black ground wire. Scrape the paint from the body and corrosion from the wire terminal. Reattach securely.
If you want to upgrade your grounds and battery cables in general, contact Jon at www.kelleyswip.com
. He makes an incredible cable upgrade for a very reasonable price.
Improving the Instrument Panel Ground
The ground point for the complete instrument cluster on your XJ or MJ is located up under the driver’s side dash. If you lay on your back and look up under there with a flashlight, without wearing a hat, you will see a black wire attached to a shiny piece of metal almost directly above the hood release knob. The screw will have either a ¼” or 5/16” head on it.
This ground point is responsible for handling the ground circuit for the following items: Dome lamps, Seatbelt and key warning, trans comfort switch, wiper switch, headlamp switch and delay module, fog lamp switch, cargo lamp switch, all instrument panel grounds and illumination, power windows and door locks, cruise control dump valve, and a few more things.
The problem is that where the ground point is located does not have a good contact with the chassis where the ground should be. The solution is simple.
Make up a jumper wire with #10 gauge wire about 10” long. On one end, crimp on a ¼” round wire terminal. On the other end, crimp on a 3/8” round wire terminal.
Remove the screw from the existing ground wire and attach the small terminal of your jumper so that the original wire and your new jumper share the same attaching point, one over the other.
Look above the driver’s side plastic kick panel just forward of the top of the hood release knob. You will see an 8mm stud there. Attach the large terminal end there with a washer and nut over it tightened securely.
**Special note for Comanche owners: Make your jumper wire 12” long and attach it on the driver’s side kick panel close to the fusebox on the 8mm stud.**