Having heard and read many horror stories about Jeep 4.0 not working after removing the distributor, I was very careful when installing the distributor on my new Titan Stroker Engine.
The procedure in the factory recommended procedure is surprisingly simple. This is my method of implementing best practice.
Use a 3/4-inch wrench to turn the engine to the zero degree mark on the shock. This is easier if the electric fan is out of the way. Also, you need to make sure you are in the engine compression lunge. One way to make sure of this is to watch the movement of the valves and make sure you are using the mark right after the intake valve closes.
Another note: if your shock is old, this is a good time to make sure it’s not crooked by checking that the motor is actually at TDC when the shock lines up with the mark.
With the cap on the distributor, write a line just to the left at terminal number one. Transfer this line down to the metal manifold housing. In the Renix version, it will be close to where the cables come out.
Use a screwdriver to set the slot in the oil pump transmission at 11 o’clock.
Now remove the distributor cap. Note the mounting dowel over the mounting bolt hole in the block. Lift the gasket you just released and replace it.
Position the rotor so that it is pointing at approximately 4 o’clock. It will be a little to the right of your mark.
Lower the distributor into the hole and allow it to engage the camshaft drive gears. The rotor will rotate as the gears mesh. When bottoming out, the rotor should point to the mark you made earlier. If not, please try again.
Attach the mounting bracket and tighten the bolt.
Based on the stories I’ve heard, the computer won’t work if the distributor indexing is off even one gear tooth. By using this procedure, yours will be correct. Check another item on your Jeep Cherokee engine trouble list.