Jeep issued an emissions recall in late 2006 to update the powertrain control module (PCM) software on certain 1996 vehicles. As part of the recall, the catalytic converter will also be inspected for damage and replaced as necessary. To see if your vehicle is included in the recall you can visit the Jeep website (owners' section) that allows owners to input their VIN number and check the recalls on their vehicle.
Emissions Recall to Update PCM Software and Inspect the Catalytic Converter on Jeep Grand Cherokee
Average mileage: 146,750 (120,000–203,000)
Exhaust & Emissions affected: 4.0L 6 Cylinder
8 people reported this problem
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1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee 141,000 mi, Visitor
Random loss of power. Hot converter and smoked on long drive.
Problem with a defective catalytic coverter.
Pcm "software" is actually a hardware issue, the ignition coil circuit to be exact. It can cause stalling backfiring due to the feeding of raw fuel into the exhaust. Catalytic converter was melted and ruined inside. Converter was removed, PCM was replaced with a functional reconditioned unit.