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Jeep Cherokee



  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    I have the tow hooks on my '01 but no up-country package. Dealer installed option, but I admit it's a good indication that somethin's going on:) I would think the missing rear sway would be a good clue. Not many folks going to just up and remove that. Seems like someone told me the rear diff. pumpkin is shaped different on the trac-loc units. You could look at a unit you knew didn't have it and then compare from there.
  • vin_weaselvin_weasel Posts: 237
    The diff units would be the same unless you open up the case. If you're going to change the fluids yourself, which was relatively easy, you'll notice a big difference between the front and back internals if you have a trac-lok. The front will be open and the rear will have a cylinder-looking object in the opening. I changed out my fluids in the spring and it was quite a learning experience to see how those things actually work.

    The Cherokee came with 3 different rear axles. There is sort of a rhyme and reason to the selections, but it can be random. The Dana 35 rear is very common and has an oval shape (I'm not sure if there were different versions offered over the years and if so they didn't vary by much) It will be found on any XJ with ABS. The Dana 44 (the strongest one offered) will only be found from the factory on '87 and some '88-89s. It has a strange shape with a bulge in the cover. Finally the Chrysler 8.25 axle, which came in two versions, 27 & 29 spline, was introducted in the early to mid 90's and has a sharp flat edge on the bottom. The trac-lok was offered in all three and I don't believe you can just swap one to another, they have to be the same axle type.

    My Jeep is almost an upcountry. I've installed tow-hooks, and two of the three skid plates (still looking for a front in the junkyard)and the rear sway bar is in the garage. I didn't get the extra lift springs but I do have a 2" kit waiting for when I've got a little extra money and time for incidentals. I haven't noticed any change in handling or towing without the rear sway bar.
  • thank you to all who contributed information, greatly appreciated. I had a local dealer run the vin # from a particular jeep cherokee (actually two cherokees) and said that he couldn't find in his computer that either jeep had the trac-lock option. However, he did say that his computer stated that for service needs only a special type of diff-fluid made for trac-loc axles should be used. I guess that would be a good indication of a trac-loc axle. Have'nt checked on the sway-bar for the up-country suspension though. He also said that there is usually a metal tag on the axle or a sticker wrapped around the axle with numbers on either one and from that he could definately tell if it had trac-loc.
    On a side note. I read some of the comments in this particular forum about chrysler service being terrible and that some cherokees basically were lemons.
    ruggedness of a jeep: I formerly owned a 98 wrangler sport with a 4" lift running 33's. Stories: Stuck in mud umpteen times( only trying to get to places that no other vehicle could even attempt to go), stuck in a river(no snorkel, which will definately have on the cherokee), able to go down trails that only 4-wheelers or dirt bikes could go.
    service by chrysler: except for the sheering of teeth from the rear end axle (definately my fault) that was replaced by the dealer with absolutely no questions asked, no mechanical problems whatsoever. Oh yeah, and talking to a Jeep dealer parts guy for twenty minutes about how to find out if a cherokee has trac-loc, and it was'nt even the dealer who had the cherokee for sale. Sound like bad service? Or for that matter like an undependable vehicle? There is a reason why the military used and actually still has some jeeps in service. They are bad-[non-permissible content removed] utilitarian vehicles made for dirt. Give me a break, grow up people and use your lemon laws but quit bitchin cause you will never find that perfect vehicle, unless you drive a jeep.
  • vin_weaselvin_weasel Posts: 237
    I would love to see numbers on the cherokees (not Grands) returned under the lemon laws in the States. I wonder what the difference is compared specifically to the Grand Cherokee and then other vehicles. Does anyone know of any good resources for this info?

    It seems that they've ironed out the majority of the problems during the long run of Cherokees. I've had only one mechanical item needing replacement (one of the pre-cat cats on the downpipe of the header) and a few squeaks. Now if only I could keep people from trying the steal/break into it (twice now).

    cmtruran, what gear ratio/axle were you running to shear off the teeth?
  • ealmeealme Posts: 6
    My daughter has a 1996 Jeep Cherokee, 6 cylinder with 100k miles on it. We have the vehicle for a couple of weeks while she is using ours. I drove it the other day and upon hard acceleration I heard the sound of "marbles being shaken in a can" coming from under the car. Thinking something terrible was wrong I took it in to Precision Tune who told me that the Catalytric Converter was starting to come apart. He said they don't do catalytic converters but it wasn't a big problem at this time. Can somebody give me a quick lesson on catalytic converters? Do they need to be replaced? Is 100k miles approximately the time they need to be replaced? How much does it cost to replace them? And did this guy really know what he was talking about when he told me it was the catalytic converter? Sorry, but in all my years of driving, I have never had anything to do with a catalytic converter on any of my vehicles.
  • vin_weasel: I believe the gear ratio was 3.07(98 wrangler sport). It was my first "outing" in a 4-wheel drive vehicle. My friend was pulling my vehicle out with chains. I was in neutral being pulled along this ditch(one side of jeep was caught in very deep tractor tire ruts) and I slipped it into reverse thinking this would help. There goes the teeth. This was before I had the lift and 33's. Also about the lemon laws you can check this out:
    "Thanks to the efforts of the Center for Auto Safety, we are able to provide you with the vehicle complaints on file with the National Highway for Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Each year, thousands of Americans call their government to register complaints about their vehicles. The federal government collects this information but has never released it to the general public. The complaint index is based on a ratio of the number of complaints for each vehicle to the sales of that vehicle," the rest is at

    ealme: go to it's a great site to learn from.
    also don't forget to check your skid-plate bolts for tightness. Loose ones will cause a rattle that sounds like marbles in a can. Catalytic converters are not cheap and can't be bought used either.
  • hey ealme, this link is actually better then the last one I gave you. Answeres your question quickly and even says how a mechanic can tell if yours is going bad.


  • I hear a clicking sound from the front end every time I stop and accelerate. I have replaced the brake calipers and shocks but the clicking sound remains. The dealer says my ty-rod bushing are fine. Any suggestions as to what might be causing this problem.

    Note: While stationary, moving the front end up and down does not produce the clicking sound.

    Clicking sound - as if two pieces of metal hit.
  • Both my Cherokee's ('86, and my current '93) experienced the rattling marble phenom between 60k and 70k miles. More of and annoyance than anything else, but the vehicles wouldn't pass smog until they were fixed. It's been a long time, but the cost was around $150. I believe. No trouble after that and I had 150k on the 83 and now 175k on my '93. I noticed on the Grand Cherokee board someone posted that there was a recall on converters for crapping out prematurely. Perhaps that applies to Cherokees as well.

    < And did this guy really know what he was talking about when he told me it was the catalytic converter?> Yes, and he sounds like a keeper since he wasn't making any $$$ off the diagnosis.

    I have never had anything to do with a catalytic converter on any of my
  • 1997 cherokee 4.0l. Belt tension seems fine, but when engine is revved with ac compressor engaged, there is a squealing sound. When ac is turned off and engine is revved, the noise is not present. Is this a belt problem or a ac compressor problem? Should I change the belt first, then see what happens?
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    Sounds a little like the AC clutch hanging up. Have a friend rev the engine while you're looking at the belt/ac pulley. When it starts squealing, look to see if the pulley isn't moving. If it's the AC clutch/pulley hanging, the belt will just slip around it and squeal. The bad news is I'm pretty sure you'll have to replace the whole A/C compressor. Not sure if there's any good news.
  • It's happening more frequently now! ALL gauges will go dead including speedo., tach, and odom. then the red airbag light will illuminate. Any suggestions where I should look first?
  • perque,

    I had the same problem on my '98. Would squeal like hell whenever the ac or defogger was on. Turns out it was just the belt, so check that first. Much cheaper!
  • Read your post on towing capacity, and towing a 17 ft boat should be fine. Just make sure your trailer hitch is a class III and you can tow 5000 lbs.

    I have '98 Cherokee and it tows my 14ft (a very heavy 14ft) boat just fine. Drags a little on hills though - could use more than 190 hp.
  • Just got word back from the dealership the the rear drums on my 2000 Sport w/ 59,000 miles were slightly warped. The vehicle makes a little thump thump sound in the back when stopping so I thought I would have it checked out. I've heard of the front rotors warping (I still have the original and they are OK), but nothing about the rear drums. Is this common? Is there a good aftermarket drum available that anyone has used, or should I stick with Mopar. I will eventually replace these myself(the noise isn't too annoying yet), but was just wondering.
  • Hey folks,

    Should have checked out this forum before I bought my '98..(sigh)..oh well.

    Anyway, here is my beef. Scheduled another appointment to get NEW rotors again. First time was at 36K, now need new ones at 70K. Feels like my tires are going to fly off when decelerating from 50+ on uneven pavement, as well as the whole steering column.

    This is the part I don't get: when the mechanic looked at my warped rotors they said I need new ones, since they are now a composite metal & graphite material (?) and they can't be reground. But if they are composites shouldn't they not even be warping again in the first place?

    I am growing wearing of my expensive repair bills on this peice of junk.

    Anyway, I was looking for a place where I can buy rotors myself and maybe save some money. I checked, but they don't have rotors for my Jeep. Anyone know where else I can get them, as well as other Jeep equipment?

    Thanks all, you guys are great!
  • Thanks to all of you who helped me with the catalytic converter information. I really appreciated your help. Today my wife drove the 96 Jeep Cherokee to work and when she came home she said that she thought it was leaking fluid underneath about in the middle. We placed some newspapers under the Jeep and sure enough, two hours later we had a spot. Looking under the Jeep I saw a drip waiting to drop from the transmission. Consulting the owners manual, I checked the fluid level which registered full. The manual said not to overfill with fluid or it would foam out. My question is; Is it common to have a leak in the transmission, or should I assume that someone overfilled it at the last check-up? Thanks in advance for any insights.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    It's quite possible the fluid came out the vent. I had my fluid changed at 30K, and this summer was doing some very hard running (90mph or so) and had a big puff of smoke come out. Figured I bought the big one, but nothing happened. Checked underneath and sure enough it was tranny fluid blown all over the place. Checked the fluid level and it was a bit above full. Guess the dealer bozos overfilled it, which doesn't surprise me (in their defense it's slightly difficult to refill a auto tranny). I'd give it awhile and see if it quits. If it just got hot and shot some out the vent, it's probably just leaking "residual" fluid off the tranny.
  • A common cause of the rotors warping on jeeps is over torquing the wheel lug nuts. They should only be torqued to 80-90 foot pounds. Over torqueing apparently distorts the center of the rotor causing misalingment of the rotor and warping. Also make sure you avoid too much heavy praking. I have not problems on my 89 cherokee and 97 grand cherokee. I even tow a horse trail w. the grand and have the original rotors w. 82,000 miles on them. An occasional pulsation felt but not often. Go to autozone (check on reasonably priced rotors and also get some performance friction pads which are great you won't be dissappointed. Remember brake early and gently. The brake problem and solutions are often discussed on and Greg
  • Maybe it's just a problem on the '98's; they did do a recall on the rotors once already. I was always sure to never hammer my brakes; I think I was pretty easy on them but they still need replacing again.

    I've heard mechanics say that since they are metal they heat up quick and sometimes if you would hit a puddle or something the quick change in temp would warp them.

    Sounds like a pretty flimsy explanation to me, or at least cheap-[non-permissible content removed] rotors.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    My first set were replaced for free at 25K miles and were vibrating rather bad. I'm at 50K miles now and these ones shoe no signs of vibrating at all. I tow trailers every now and then which was what I though caused the first set but maybe not. If these ones warp early, I'll go with some performance rotors.
  • Well, I'm at 30k km and my second set are starting to go. I keep them properly tightened and I drive very gently on them. My wife on the other hand...
  • Don't feel bad. My 2001 with 6,623 miles needs rotors and it's being done this week at my dealer under warrentee. Not hard on brakes, but live in urban area with stop signs & traffic lights every 200 feet. Drive to work is 7 miles, encompassing 14 lights & 3 stop streets. Stop Go Stop Go Stop Go Stop Go.....all day! I also need front pads.

    S A N D Y
  • Rotor problems are endemic on a lot of vehicles today. The Cherokee isn't alone. Cars ranging from the Ford Focus to the Dodge Intrepid have rotor problems.

    The underlying cause of this problem is that anufacturers have elected to use cheaper parts. The rotors on my own 2001 Sport were replaced at 9,000 miles. Today I have 23,000, and no problems yet. If they start warping again, which does not seem impossible, I plan to simply pony up for decent aftermarket rotors. I shouldn't have to, but it seems like a good long term investment. I'd rather pay $200 now and forget about the whole thing than pay $150 every 20,000 miles. Can anyone suggest any good brands?
  • boggseboggse Posts: 1,048
    Brembo makes their sport brakes for the Cherokee, at least up until 1998. I am not sure if the brakes changed after 1998. Anyway, you can get them drilled or slotted, but not both. Both models are compatible with the Jeep ABS system.

    Also, Performance Products sells a rear disc conversion kit. It isn't worth it in my opinion, but worth mentioning. It isn't in their online catalog, but shows up in their printed catalog which you can order for free.

  • I'm with GBSM.

    I have 48,000 on my 98 cherokee and have had no problems with warped rotors. Most of the miles are from short, in-town trips and towing a 2,500 pound trailer.
  • Looks like I've started quite the run on rotor conversation! Just in case anyone is wondering, my father-in-law works for a dealership and got me the rotors for 44.00 each, which is cost. Turns out the dealership would charge at least 67.00 each for them, and the place where I'm having them done was going to charge me at least 75.00!

    At least I know I'm not getting screwed on parts (this time).
  • I have a 1997 that I purchased new. It currently has 74000 miles and has been extremely reliable. I am currently having the belt problem that others have but believe mine is just due to belt needing replaced. Has anyone attempted this or is it something best left to the dealer. I have not had any rotor problems (new pads at 50000 and I always rotate my tires and torque to factory specs) and rear brakes still have not been replaced. The vehicle is in imaculate condition and has been well maintained. I do however have a growling/rumbling noise from drivetrain. (seems to be towards the rear) Its not real bad its just that I notice these things more than most people. Any ideas on what this might be. Now the bad part my wife (who has been driving this for last 3 years) wants to trade it in for a new Grand Cherokee but looking at the trade in values, they are only bringing 8000-8500 (in this area). This seems somewhat low for a vehicle in this condition. And past experience tells me that the dealers will try to "steal" it from me only to sell it later at a premium price. My question is do I keep the Jeep and let the wife go? Ha! Ha!
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,238
    --My question is do I keep the Jeep and let the wife go? Ha! Ha!--

    Yes! You'll definetely take a bath on trade. Many like to give $1000 under trade-in just because that's what they can buy them for at the auction all-day long. Especially when you're going to be shooting for invoice plus incentives on the new one. I would be trying to sell it outright for sure. I haven't traded a vehicle for quite awhile, and Jeeps are usually a pretty easy sell. The JGC is quite a different beast, but much more refined, smooth, quiet, (and fat IMHO). The Cherokee has the handling/drive much more like a car where the JGC feels bigger and more "minivanish" than truck. Also, consider the 4.7L V8 because the 4.0L feels like a dog in the JGC, particularly if you're used to the quickness of the Cherokee.
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