2001 Jeep Cherokee Head Possibly Cracked - JeepForum.com
  • 1 Post By CJ7-Tim
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 5 Old 07-14-2017, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
1982 CJ8 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: East Tenn
Posts: 87
2001 Jeep Cherokee Head Possibly Cracked

Hey guys, so I have been reading through the forums and believe my cherokee probably has a cracked head.

Back story: I bought the 2001 cherokee sport 4.0 in the beginning of March and had to get the coolant system flushed as it was rust red and some of the hoses were clogged. I had it want to over heat a few times (running heat on high saved me) so I replaced the radiator with a spare I had from a cherokee many moons ago and it seemed to fix my over heating woes. I have also flushed the coolant several times myself since I bought it, trying to clear it up better. I have also been adding coolant more regularly than I should. I thought it was just air in the system at first

Now that it's been super hot out the jeep has gotten close to over heating and I could even hear the coolant boiling after I shut it off once today. It also had issues starting after a short stop at the store, acting as if it was miss firing and had low oil pressure time I was able to get it moving. I have not seen any trace of coolant or water in my oil. Looks like it normally does, but I also haven't drained any out to see if it separates.

So I am pretty sure the head and/or gasket is shot. I am going to run cylinder and coolant pressure tests Sunday. What should I be looking for during the tests? It looks like I should drain the oil too. Can I leave it empty while I do the work on the head?

Thank you!

reundo is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 07-14-2017, 03:34 PM
Real Jeeps have dents
CJ7-Tim's Avatar
2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: out in the garage - Minneapolis
Posts: 25,734
The almost overheating is probably from the poor cooling system maintenance, you will need to look at the rest of the cooling parts. See below.

Test for oil in coolant with a Blackstone Labs test kit, test for combustion byproducts in the coolant with a parts store test kit.

The mis-firing is probably just the common Heat Soak issue.

Overheating can be caused by anything that decreases the cooling system’s ability to absorb, transport, and dissipate heat, such as a low coolant level, loss of coolant (through internal or external leaks), poor heat conductivity inside the engine because of accumulated mineral deposits in the water jackets or radiator, a defective thermostat that doesn’t open, poor airflow through the radiator, a slipping mechanical fan clutch, an inoperative electric cooling fan, a collapsed lower radiator hose, an eroded or loose water pump impeller, leaky frost plugs, or even a defective radiator cap.

The cooling system is a group of related parts that depend on proper function from each of its component parts to keep the engine cool. Service the cooling system and replace any under-performing or suspected weak parts. Any component part of the cooling system that is not fully doing its job will stress the others, and your engine will overheat. Temperature creep on the 4x4 trails, at idle, or in stop-n-go traffic, points to a weak or failing mechanical fan clutch or worn out water pump fins.

The most important maintenance item is to flush and refill the coolant periodically. Coolant should be replaced every 36,000 miles, or every two to three years. Anti-freeze has a number of additives that are designed to prevent corrosion in the cooling system, but they have a limited life span. The corrosion causes scale that eventually builds up and begins to clog the thin flat tubes in the radiator and heater core, causing the engine to eventually overheat.

-Inspect/test or replace the mechanical fan clutch. A worn fan clutch will allow temperature creep at stoplights, in heavy traffic, and on the 4x4 trails. A fan clutch that “looks” OK is not the same as working OK.
-Inspect the electric cooling fan and the fan relay. Apply 12 volts and make sure the fan runs. Exchange the cooling fan relay with one of the others similar relays. Confirm that the e-fan starts when engine temps reach 215-218*. Repair or replace the fan or relay as needed.
-Inspect/test or replace the coolant temperature sensor that activates the e-fan.
-Replace the water pump. The pumping fins can deteriorate over time and the pump will not flow enough coolant to keep the temps under control.
-Inspect/replace the radiator hoses. Make sure the coiled wire is installed in the lower hose.
-Inspect all of the freeze plugs in the block and the ones on the backside of the head for rust holes and coolant leakage.
-Use a chemical flushing/cleaning solution to remove mineral buildup or rust, flush with clean water, and then drain and fill the radiator with a fresh 50/50 coolant and water mix. With neglected cooling system you may have to flush several times.
-Inspect the radiator for mud/bugs/grass clogging the outside and mineral deposits clogging the inside. Clean or replace as needed.
-Replace the thermostat with a genuine Jeep 195* thermostat. Cheap thermostats are cheap for a reason.
-Replace the radiator cap if your Jeep has one. An old worn out radiator cap will allow not hold system pressure which can cause boil overs and/or allow the coolant flash over into to steam. You will likely see the coolant temps suddenly jump from 210* to the Red Zone and back to 210* if your radiator cap is weak.

If you have covered all the points listed above and still have overheating issues, inspect and test the head for cracks and head gasket for leaks. Exhaust gasses entering the coolant can raise the temperature of the coolant or cause steam pockets in the coolant that will temporarily block the flow of coolant.

Read more about cooling systems here –

deadcode likes this.


A recent Gallup public opinion poll shows the NRA, at 58% approval, has a higher approval rating than either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Progressive Liberalism: Bringing you new Healthcare ideas so wonderful, they have to include mandatory participation ...

Originally Posted by Ronald W. Reagan: Government is not the solution to our problems; Government is the problem.
CJ7-Tim is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 07-25-2017, 08:30 AM
Registered User
2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Loveland
Posts: 2
Thank you for this post... first for being one of the best and most through posts regarding overheating issues and what to check, and second for answering this guy's question rather than just posting "Google it" like so many others do.

I have a 2000 XJ with the 0331 head and thus far (180k miles) had no issues with the cracked head. I think you'll find more posts about a cracked head on-line then actual cracked heads. That's not to say that cracked heads aren't an issue, and this guide you gave is a great way to check the entire system without just assuming it needs a new head and taking on that project.

My only addition to this would be to include a note about using a TUPY head replacement if the original 0331 is cracked. The i6 lived a few years longer in the WJ and the TJ and the week spot between cylinder 3 and 4 was fixed with the TUPY casting. There is a topic already here devoted to the TUPY head, but I cant post a link because I don't have enough posts

Thanks again CJ7-Tim!
DJTimyD is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 07-28-2017, 09:25 AM
Web Wheeler
bluejunior's Avatar
2001 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Dallas
Posts: 6,442
Fully inspect your cooling system, as Tim said and send some of your used oil off for analysis to see if it's contaminated with coolant. That'll let you know if you have a head/gasket issue. It's like $28 bucks with blackstone which is way cheaper and easier than pulling the head and having someone use a magnaflux machine to actually test it for an invisible crack.

Lifted, Locked, Stiffened

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bluejunior is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 07-29-2017, 10:36 PM
Registered User
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 32
Dou you smell a sweet smell in the exaust that could indicate a craked or blown head gasked or head

Sent from my LGMS330 using Tapatalk
Ct10272002 is offline  

head gasket , head gasket leak coolant , head swap

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome