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jrennard3 12-17-2009 10:34 AM

Gauges Working Intermittently - 1997 Cherokee

This is my first post, but I am so happy to have found an awesome forum like this! This is my second Cherokee and I am an addict. However, I never had issues with my first, so this is why I am just now finding this forum!

I've had this Cherokee for a few short months. Shortly after bringing it home, I noticed that the gauges were working intermittently. At first the speedometer and tachometer would be working, then cut out, then come back after a few seconds. Over time they've pretty much stopped working altogether, but will occasionally kick in for about 15-30 seconds before cutting out again.

More recently the other gauges have started to act funny as well. Just yesterday all of the gauges briefly cut out, before coming back on.

I've noticed that if I have the vehicle running, then stop the engine and power, then turn it back on in about 2-3 minutes, the gauges will kick on for a few seconds, before turning off again.

Do I need to be looking at connections, wires, or fuses? I'm a technical person, so I am not afraid to get in there, but some guidance is appreciated.

I look forward to hearing back! This is just one question of many to come! I also need to look into a sound coming from the rear of the Cherokee! Thanks!

MossGreen97 12-17-2009 11:58 AM

You might want to check the connectors behind the gauge cluster. sounds like a loose connection.
A possible noise from the rear may be the exhaust pipe hanger that goes into the rubber block near the tailpipe.
The rubber waddles out with age. I took a piece of tubing (3/8 or 1/2 inch ) and split it length wise to slide over the hanger piece. It acts like a bushing to take up the slack.

CJ7-Tim 12-17-2009 12:48 PM


Originally Posted by jrennard3 (Post 8498112)
Do I need to be looking at connections, wires, or fuses?

Read the info at the link below. It is for a Wrangler. but the Cherokee is very similar.


ASTEDMAN 11-29-2010 12:07 PM

guages going on and off - skim module light on
well i had the security key light come on and stay on (not flashing). sometimes it went out but it was on more than off. but my 2000 grand cherokee ran fine. however, it died on me 2 or 3 times over a week and 1/2. but always started right back up after i came to a stop and put in park and restarted.
then a week or two into it the guages all went dead, and all the dash lights came on. but the wj was still running fine. the guages would bounce on and off but usually stay on. then i realized it was happening when the temperature went below say 45 degrees. it happend alot then, but she still ran fine... the key light was coming on almost everytime but the guages seem to only bounce around when the outside temperature was under 45 degrees or so....
got to be a ground.... right??? well i undid the battery terminals and cleaned them even thought they looked good and left the battery unplugged for 20 minutes. i read this may reset the computer. did not expect much. but that was two days ago and i have not had a problem since. and the temperature was in the 30's. i am still skeptical but it is working great since i cleaned the terminals and left it unplugged to rest the computer.
so we will see

scxj 12-02-2014 05:51 PM

I have a 1997 cherokee sport with the intermittent gauge issue also.I bought the xj in 98 while living in AZ and the problem started after moving to a coastal CA city.
The speedo and tach will drop to zero and the temp,gas,voltage gauge will stay in the position that they were in when the tach and speedo dropped to zero.

My cigar lighter drops out (my satellite radio rx is powered through this so I know right away) and my power door locks also quit working. The power windows will still function.

If starting the vehicle in this state the temp gauge will stay at zero, if cold but will increase if warm and stay there, the voltage gauge will stop increasing at around 9 volts and the tach and speedo will work for about 3 seconds then drop to zero. The gas gauge will increase to whatever the tank is filled to, then stay there until turned off and on again.

I assumed there was something wrong with the 25A power distribution circuitry near the passenger side floorboards due to the cigar lighter problem. The problem went away after pulling and reseating the #2 fuse.

I believe the issue is on the backside of the fuse panel, perhaps in the daisy chaining of the B+ power. When the problem reoccurs I will investigate further and re-post the results

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