1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

The fuel tank may become hard to fill and/or the fuel fill nozzle may shut off repeatedly while fueling. Our technicians tell us that various items including the fuel tank, vapor recirculation tube, fuel fill tube, or EVAP system canister control valve may be at fault. Proper diagnoses will be required to determine the exact cause of this concern.

Excessive gear noise can indicate differential bearing failures.

Failure in the blower motor power module (automatic temperature controls) or resistor block (manual AC) may cause the heater blower motor to work only on the high setting. The connector to the power module/resistor block is known to overheat (and sometimes melt). The connector or terminals should be replaced; a replacement connector is available.

Leaks at the front and/or rear differential pinion seal and from the transfer case are common. Leakage from the transfer case normally occurs at the case-mating surfaces and require removal of the transfer case to reseal.

Temperature blend and recirculation doors commonly fail, which can cause the AC modes not to change or the temperature to be different on the left and right sides. If replacing blend air doors, a recirculation door, a door link, or a sub-assembly housing, new heating, ventilation and AC (HVAC) sub-assemblies are available that improve reliability.

The AC evaporator drain commonly clogs and causes water to leak onto the passenger side floor. A sloshing noise may also be heard from the water inside the heater housing. Decaying organic debris in the housing may cause an odor. A service bulletin (TSB 24-06-96) was released; it describes how to clean the drain tube without removing the heater AC housing.

The AC/heater (HVAC) system may unexpectedly switch to the defrost mode when accelerating. This system is operated by engine vacuum and should be inspected for any vacuum leaks if this problem develops.  There is also a revised vacuum check valve available to address this concern.

Loose or worn suspension and steering components can cause a wobble or shaking in the steering wheel. It may happen at a certain speed and subside as the vehicle accelerates through the range. Tire balance can contribute to this as well.

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.

External oil leaks from the valve cover gaskets, intake manifold gaskets (front or rear), and the rear crankshaft seal area are common. The rear main seal is an unlikely source. Normally, leaks in this area are from the bearing cap mating surfaces as well as the sealing surface between the oil pan and bearing cap.

A chirp type noise may be noted from the serpentine belt when the steering wheel is at full lock with the engine idling. Our technicians tell us a revised serpentine belt tensioner is available to correct this concern.

On the 3.9L V6 and 5.9L V8 the engine oil leaks at the distributor can be misdiagnosed as leaks from the intake manifold seal, oil pan gasket, or rear crankshaft (rear main) seal. A revised distributor is available if oil is found inside the distributor.

On 3.9L V6 and 5.9L V8 engines, the intake manifold gasket may leak and cause increased oil consumption and a spark knock during acceleration; the gasket should be replaced.