Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ 1999-2004

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge Common Problems/Pattern Failures Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ 1999-2004

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      Common failures associated with ’99-04 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs:

      Cooling Fan Relay – This is a common failure, and unfortunately isn’t easily accessible. It is behind the right headlight. If your Grand Cherokee has the tow package, you don’t have to worry about this problem because you have a mechanical fan & fan clutch.

      Window Regulators – Very common failure. Usually it only happens to fail on the driver’s side.

      Camshaft Position Sensor (CMP) – This only applies to the 4.0L I6. If you have a Grand Cherokee with the I6, it will more than likely need a new CMP at one time or another. This problem doesn’t always trigger a CEL to come on. The part itself is about $60. The symptoms can include: randomly stalling while driving, no start, long crank, ect.

      Front Brake Rotors – WJs are known to warp their front brake rotors, even under light driving conditions. Under severe driving conditions, you can expect brand new rotors to be warped within a year or two. Folks on the Jeep forum have had success with an aftermarket set up.

      CD Disk Changer – Mostly found on limited trim models, most of them don’t work after about 10 years or so.

      Piston Skirts – Mainly effecting 2000 and 2001 models with the I6, the piston skirts break apart and fall into the oil pan. Most of the time this just happens for no reason, and once it happens, kiss the engine good bye. If I recall correctly the main cause of this was the cast used to make the pistons in the factory was defective. ETCG actually made a video on a Jeep that came into his shop:

      Transmission & Axle – The I6 was paired with a 4 speed automatic 42RE transmission and Dana 35 axle. While the failure rates are intermittent, most fail in the 150,000 mile range- even the perfectly maintained ones. Neither of these components has a stellar reputation for being reliable. They’re just “okay”. If you have the 4.7L V8, then you don’t need to worry about axle or transmission failure because the ones paired with the V8s are very strong and reliable.

      4.7L Aluminium Head – In 1999 Chrysler introduced their new line of truck V8s into their lineup. Their aluminum heads are very prone to warping, even if the engine has not overheated. The symptoms are typical with what you would expect from a warped head. The repair bill would be about what you would expect too. If this happens, be prepared to shell out a lot of $$$.

      Hood & Rear Glass Struts – The supports for the hood and the glass portion of the rear tailgate are notorious for early failure. This is a cheap and easy fix, however.

      Despite these problems, I believe the WJ Grand Cherokee is a great SUV as far as practicality and versatility are concerned. They’re practically trail ready as is (provided they have decent tires and 4 wheel drive). You can pick them up for between $2,000 – $5,000 these days, making them great candidates for a project vehicle, family SUV, rock crawler, or off roader. The I6 is an iron engine that can survive neglect like a champ, easy to work on, and has cheap replacement parts.

      That’s all I can think of for now. Mods feel free to edit my post with your own input. WJ owners are also invited to comment. 🙂

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