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1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Problems

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

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25
Known Problems

Due to warped front brake rotors or variations in the thickness of the rotors, brake pulsations may develop. The best method to reduce pulsations is to use an "On the Car" brake lathe (as long as the rotors are suitable for turning). "On the Car" equipment can correct variations (or "runout") in the rotor surfaces because it also corrects variations in other components (e.g. the hub).

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.

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 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.

Water may enter the liftgate ajar switch and corrode the switch connectors. This can cause the information center to display the liftgate ajar warning, the rear wiper to be inoperative, the interior lamps to stay on, the security alarm not to set, and/or the battery to drain when the engine is off. A new liftgate ajar switch is needed and the harness connector should be repaired.
If the radio station or CD track changes when the steering wheel volume control is used, a revised body control module (BCM) will fix the problem.

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.

Excessive gear noise can indicate differential bearing failures.

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.

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.