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The Jeep Liberty and the Grand Cherokee models of there era were notorious for condensation getting into the sockets and frying the rear running and brake lights. You have to clean the contacts before a new bulb will work. I used steel wool and jewelers screwdrivers to scrape the contact until it is bare shiny metal. (mostly). You may now notice that a lot of Jeeps have only one rear driving light working... and this is 99% the cause.
Also, since the water will still get in, you should consider LED bulbs, which draw much less power than incandescent bulbs, last 10 times longer, and are less susceptible to power surges due to water infiltration.
I know this is a mouthful,. Just clean the contacts and install a good bulb of whatever type fits
I owned a Grand Cherokee V8 Laredo and really loved the way it drove. Even more than my new (2 year old now) car. Glad this info confirmed your diagnosis.
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