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Jeep Cherokee



  • I have a 1990 Jeep Cherokee (I6) the RPM's vary wildy from 300-2,000. When the RPM's are low the vehicle begins to lose power, (power steering, brakes, and windows are affected). It does this sputtering occasionally and I can smell gas inside the vehicle when it happens. I have replaced the oxygen sensor, plugs, module, and rotary cap. Has anyone ran into this problem before? If so what worked to fix it?
  • dancermandancerman Posts: 220
    The check engine light (CEL) comes on when the computer that controls the engine senses a condition that is not what it is supposed to be. Many things can cause the light to comes on and the computer saves this information so it can be retrieved by a code reader to help find the problem. Some auto stores will retrieve the codes for free (hoping to sell you something to repair it I guess). If you aren't the mechanical type, I would not try to fix this myself. The owners manual doesn't address the CEL repairs. You need a shop/repair manual or code reader to find the meaning of the stored codes.

    You should note any symptoms such as stalling, hestitaion, etc. and take it to a trusted garage. If it runs fine then it's probably not serious and can be fixed inexpensively. Maybe a basic tuneup or new gas cap will do it. Let us know what you find out.
  • new2dieselnew2diesel Posts: 148
    Thanks Dancerman. So far, no problems running - everything seems ok. Do I need to go to Jeep or do most garages have the computer diagnostic system to read the chip? Could it really be as simple as a gas cap?
    All the gauges are reading normal and it drives the same. I only use this Jeep for towing a 17' boat 1 mile back and forth to the ramp. Should I just keep driving it and not worry about it? I was told you can turn the key and hold the odometer button in and it will flash a code if something is wrong. When I tried it it cycled through all kinds of tests but did not flash any codes. I don't know if that means anything or not?
  • dancermandancerman Posts: 220
    Jeep garage should be best equipped to do the work but any FULL service garage has engine diagnostic tools. The Jeep dealer will probably be more expensive for labor and parts.

    One on the things the engine computer does is monitors the fuel system and if it detects a leak (which could be a bad seal on the gas cap) it will turn on the check engine light. This probably isn't the problem.

    Seeing that you only drive it short distances, the engine doesn't get hot enough and that's not good for it. It leaves alot of moisture in the cylinders, crankcase and exhaust. It will lead to corrosion that can prevent the engine from burning efficiently and/or the sensors (particularly the oxygen sensor) from working properly.

    Your Jeep has an OBD-II engine management system. My repair manual doesn't say anything about turning a key and holding a button. That kind of feature was on older Pre-OBD-II vehicles. You need a scan tool to properly retrieve the codes and reset the computer.

    Here's what I would do if I were you. I believe AUTOZONE stores will read your codes and reset the computer for free. Drive there and have them do it for you. Write down the codes (and post them here) and then drive the Jeep and see if the light comes back on. Since it runs good for you I doubt if it's anything serious that could ruin anything. If it does come on, then you will need to do the work or have someone do it. I'm guessing a basic tune-up may do it.... spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor, air filter and a can of fuel system cleaner in a full tank of gas.

    I have a '99 sport with 72,000 miles and never had the light come on (knock on wood). I just did my second tuneup. I think driving a car regularly and avoiding short trip use is good practice. Good luck and please post your results.
  • cowfarmerscowfarmers Posts: 1
    How is the best way to get the dash out to work on the radio?
  • bls1bls1 Posts: 4
    my 95 Cherokee transfer case is leaking.I not sure if the leak is from a seal, how can I tell where the leak is coming ... fluid just poored out when I parked it. ON a Automatice 4wd Cherokee do you add transmission fluid in transfer case?
  • new2dieselnew2diesel Posts: 148
    I have a 99 Cherokee Sport that I tow my boat with. The tongue weight is less than 500 lbs but it still causes the rear of the Sport to squat too low. It also doesn't help that the hitch was mounted too low on the Jeep (aftermarket). Are there any inexpensive suggestions to stiffen the rear up and properly support the tongue of the trailer. I don't want to drive around with my as* in the air when not towing either.
    Thanks. :D
  • ngaron1ngaron1 Posts: 3
    I failed an emissions test. The following fault codes were returned. 1)P1281 Engine Is Cold Too Long. 2)P1698 No Bus Message From TCM. I have been having problems with the transmission not downshifting automatically. Is this an engine problem, or a trans problem? What causes the engine to be cold for too long? I live in Phoenix, so cold days are not an issue.
  • ngaron1ngaron1 Posts: 3
    I am getting the following codes:

    P1281 Engine Is Cold Too Long
    P1698 No Bus Message From TCM

    What could cause this?
  • oldtimer1oldtimer1 Posts: 2
    Bought a '88 cherokee a year ago. Tires on it were 235/75/15s and still are. Last month, while going over a mountain, brakes went to floor. Fortunately not hurt, but shook up. Discovered oversized tires had worn through brake line on left side and right side almost ready to do same. Is there a special brake line I can buy to prevent this happening? I am refering to the rubber line that goes from the caliper to the steel line, a little more than a foot long.
  • dancermandancerman Posts: 220
    Off road suppliers may have a special hose but those tires aren't that big. Just make sure the new lines never touch anything that moves, especially when turning. The stock hoses should be OK if installed in proper orientation.
  • dancermandancerman Posts: 220
    First thing to check is engine coolant temperature sensor unhooked or bad. Check wires for break or disconnect. If OK, test sensor or replace.
  • dancermandancerman Posts: 220
    Check out a helper spring. Here's one place...

    I'm sure there are other brands. These do not affect ride height; only work when vehicle is loaded.
  • dancermandancerman Posts: 220
    Yes. I believe you can use Dexron II, Dexron III or Mercon ATF. Select-trac - 3 pints. Command-trac 2.2 pints.

    Poured out... sounds serious. Did you have any service to it recently. Could be a seal tear or look closely for a case crack.

    Were you off road???? ;)
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    I've had something similar going on with mine lately. My code scanner told me it was a small evaporative emissions system leak, it's the fuel vapor management system. Turned out to be a 4" section of rubber hose that had a crack in it. I had it fixed in 15 minutes and cost me under $5.

    Your's could be just as simple. But you do need to drive it more often and/or greater distances.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    My nephew's 2000 Grand Cherokee had those exact same codes pop up. Turned out to be a thermostat that was stuck wide open. $10 for a new t-stat and silicon gasket and 45 minutes later it was fixed.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    Is it injected or carburated??? If it's injected, I'd look at the Idle Air Control valve, it's mounted on the side of the throttle body. You can test it by cranking the engine, lightly cracking the throttle linkage open by hand revving the engine a little and holding it at a steady rpm. Then disconnect the IAC plug. Once it is disconnected, very slowly try to bring the engine back down to a near normal idle by hand. If it still cycles back and forth, then the IAC is probably working properly. However, if you can get it to idle by holding the throttle slightly open, then the IAC should be cleaned or replaced.

    I'm assuming you have checked for vacuum leaks????? If not, you need to verify that you don't have any, and fix them if you do.
  • ngaron1ngaron1 Posts: 3
    Thanks. I'll check the thermostat.
  • new2dieselnew2diesel Posts: 148
    Where is this hose located and I will take a look. Thanks for the info.
  • mullins87mullins87 Posts: 959
    Locate the EVAP system purge valve, it's attached to the firewall between the valve cover and heater core, it'll have two hard plastic lines running to it. Trace the top line along the firewall towards the brake booster. It will turn and head down the firewall just to the left of the booster. About 1' down, it will join a steel line. Where the two join is the rubber hose section. However, there are little rubber hose sections all over the EVAP system.

    I was able to find my leak by slightly pressurizing the EVAP system, that includes the fuel tank!!!! There is a tag on the system that says to use no more than 1psi regulated air pressure! This is how I rigged up an airline for mine. First I used the blowgun attachment and connected a section of small diameter hose to it with duct tape. Then a put a cone adapter on the end of the hose, like one you might use to fill an air raft or pool toy. I lightly pushed the cone adapter into the top line at the purge valve. The regulator on my compressor was set so that it would shut off when I placed my finger over the line. I said to lightly push the adapter into the top line so that if too much pressure is built up, hopefully it would pop out before fuel started spraying everywhere!!! :surprise:

    Then I started tracing the lines, listening for hissing and sniffing for gasoline. Maybe you'll get as lucky as I did and this will fix your problem.
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