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Unread 07-05-2011, 02:11 AM   #1
Bale
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-98 ZJ questions - Please bear with a newbie

Just bought a -98 ZJ Grand Cherokee Ltd 4L, 120000 miles, and have a few questions for the initiated:

- A/C doesn't work. Circuit breakers are OK. A common problem? Expensive?

- "Humming" noise from the rear, varies with speed, more when accelerating than when coasting. Rear diff worn? Breakdown imminent?

- Muted "howling" noise from the gearbox when in first gear. To be expected, or somethig wrong?

- Radio antenna broken. Originally electric (motor) antenna? Easy to replace?

- Driver seat heating kaputt. Any tips?

- Wobbly steering. Where to start to firm it up?

- Ambient temperature reading on the overhead display always reads zero degrees. Broken temperature sensor? How to fix?

Some of this has probably been discussed before, but please bear with a newcomer in the Jeep universe. Any tips/pointers are greatly appreciated.

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Unread 07-05-2011, 05:52 AM   #2
melk
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Welcome! You've picked a wonderful first Jeep. A handful of problems, likely nothing too serious, but plenty to keep you busy

Do you have any junkyards where you can pull parts off other Jeeps? That's the most common solution for finding/fixing parts here stateside. Your radio antenna, temp sensor, possibly heated seat wiring. I'd just remove the seat (a couple bolts) and check the wiring first.

Start changing fluids. Engine oil, tranny and filter, transfer case, front & rear diffs.

I'm not too familiar with the AC system but I'm sure someone else can give you solid info there.

Wobbly steering: Start replacing all the rubber bushings on everything. Crawl under your jeep and get real familiar with where things are. Check for play/looseness. Find out if you have CV joints or U joints.

Good luck
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Unread 07-05-2011, 06:22 AM   #3
Bale
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Thanks, melk!

Really enjoy the car so far, despite these few questionmarks. Won't be used a whole lot, mostly to tow a heavy horse trailer. 4WD and high ground clearance is the main reason I got it, and since large gas guzzlers are not in vogue around here it fits the bill at a very reasonable price.

MPG is not a big issue since it won't be used a lot (although I find myself driving it more than I should because it's so much fun! And the macho factor...!).

The most immediate problem, the dead A/C is being fixed in a local shop right now. The car gets really hot without it, with black leather interior and all..

Will take care of the other issues in order of priority. Comments on my other questions are still very welcome.
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Unread 07-06-2011, 07:09 PM   #4
NickZJ
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That A/C could get expensive it could be a compresor or just leaky ac line or something, unfortionitly you will need to take it to a shop to get them to fix and fill it. A/C can be kind of dangerous work seeing as the lines are under so much pressure.

But have you already had a safety inspection done? Because they should of checked your front end like ball joints and tie rod ends for play already. If not id check them first but it could likely be the steering box, my old mans XJ has the same loose feeling front ends it scares the sh*t out of me because i am not used to it. You may need to replace it or you may be able to adjust that out
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Unread 07-07-2011, 12:13 AM   #5
Bale
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It's already in the shop for A/C repair. They say it needs some new plumbing, and thankfully the cost is not outrageous.

The car was extensively checked last fall, and that was a major reason I chose this particular car. With the test report I at least knew what I was buying.

Firming up the steering will probably be the next on my list of repairs. This one is not very bad, though. I tested a few Jeeps lately, and the steering on some of them was just plain scary!

Thanks for the tips!
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Unread 07-07-2011, 10:53 AM   #6
tcar
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You don't have a gearbox... you have a 44RE auto tranny.

Could the noise be coming from the transfer case (right by the tranny)? Which one do you have (what does it show on the case shifter)? Limited usually had a 249 (3 position 4HI N 4LO).

Antenna, if it makes noise you just need a new shaft with toothed drive. They're inexpensive on Ebay, with instructions on how to change the shaft (60 second job).

Seat heating is common (never kneel on the seat). Do a search, it's fixable; there's a broken wire in the element. Do a search (go to top line; "Search this Forum", when on the main menu.)

Loose steering... take it to a good 4WD suspension/alignment shop. BEFORE you start replacing stuff, it may have nothing to do with bushings. It could be dangerous.

Oh, you don't say... it IS 4WD or AWD, not 2WD, isn't it?

Go out NOW and get a Haynes Manual to help you fix stuff. The temp sensor for the OH CONSOLE is by the radiator.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 12:08 AM   #7
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Thanks a lot!

Yes, it's a 4X4, and the case shifter has three positions (4HI N 4LO), so I guess it's a 249.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 01:59 AM   #8
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A heavy horse trailer? I know my uncles two horse trailer is way over a grand cherokees tow capacity.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 04:22 AM   #9
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It's a two horse trailer. Total weight typically around 3400 lbs (Icelandic horses; popular breed in these parts). Maybe not a "heavy" horse trailer by US standards

The car is approved for 7700 lbs trailers. Shouldn't be a problem, i hope, but haven't tested it yet.
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Unread 07-08-2011, 02:35 PM   #10
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7700Lbs behind a ZJ?? That doesn't sound like a good idea. I could have sworn it was 5000Lb limit
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Unread 07-08-2011, 02:40 PM   #11
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V8 is 6500 lbs
i6 is 5000 lbs

i have pulled 5k with the v8. it wasnt too bad. i would say 3500 would be pushing it for the six.
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Unread 07-09-2011, 03:45 PM   #12
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In Norway the I6 is approved for 3500 kg trailers, i.e around 7700 lbs.

How these limits are determined I have no clue. Many 4L XJ Cherokees around here are for some reason approved for only 3500 lbs.
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Unread 07-09-2011, 10:52 PM   #13
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Rear humming noise could be a replacement muffler. At highway speed turn off overdrive if rpms go up and noise quits its just muffler cause the driveshaft will stay constant at the same speed. If you still have it its the rear end. Inspect pinion bearing and axle bearings first.
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Unread 07-10-2011, 11:58 PM   #14
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Thanks, Katesdad!

By your description it's definitely the rear end. The sound stays the same even when coasting with the transmission i neutral. At hwy speeds it's the dominant noise. Tiring after a while, and probably not doing any good for the transmission. Will have it fixed before too long.

The dead A/C, by the way, was just a leaking pipe under the hood. Not too expensive, and it works great now. Crossing my fingers that it will hold the charge.
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Unread 07-11-2011, 02:05 AM   #15
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Well i dont know if i can input much in this but i'll give it a whirl..

For one you have a 42RE not a 44re tcar said (he just mistyped i guess), the wobbling in the steering could be severly worn out wheel bearing or something. I would bring it to a shop and have the alignment checked out and have them check the ball joints and stuff to find out why its wobbly..

Not sure on the howling noise the transmission/transfercase is doing. Maybe low on fluid, check all the fluid levels. As for the rear end if your hearing howling back there most likely some kind of bearing is going bad, and it takes awhile before these things "blow up" as you say. So that IMO would be a low priority to fix.

Also since this is a 98 grand cherokee it most likely doesnt have a aux tranny cooler, and since this is a 4.0 with the weak 42re i wouldnt be towing anymore then 3500lbs if it were me, i've heared some really nasty stories with people who towed 5k pounds with a 4 liter and ended up with a dead transmission. I'd only consider 5k if i had a 5.2 or 5.9. Personally i dont think ZJ's were really ment to tow heavy loads anyway.. If you want to tow a horse trailer get a dodge ram pickup or something, diesels can tow like 10-14k pounds
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