1997 Jeep Cherokee Intermitten engine dies/ comes back

Tiny
CHAOTICWAYZ
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 JEEP CHEROKEE
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 167,000 MILES
This is a 97 jeep grand cherokee.
While driving, the jeep will suddenly die for a split second, but stay running. It doesnt happen all the time, sometimes when it does the the fuel gauge goes down to empty for an undetermined amout of time. Would this be the fuel pump/ sending unit, or a short? The factory radio shuts off now and then also, but could be a different problem. Just want to know what to fix for the engine issue. Thanks
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Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 AT 11:05 PM

13 Replies

Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
Is there a check engine light on?
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 11:48 AM
Tiny
CHAOTICWAYZ
  • MEMBER
There are no check engine lights on, and the jeep runs really well other than this problem
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 1:29 PM
Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
I dont really understand how it will shut down but keeps running, I think you mean, all the gauges go to zero for a split second and then jumps back as if nothing happens, usually this is an indication of a bad crank position sensor, however, a faulty pump can cause the same issue, so I would test or replace the crank sensor and take it from there, because, if it was fuel, the radio wouldnt turn off. Also I think if it was the fuel pump. It will be extremely hard at this point. To test the pressure while this is happening. You may also want to just change the fuel filter, for good measure, as this is part of doing a tune up, but at the same time, could be clogged and keeping the fuel flowing freely and its a cheap job.
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 2:10 PM
Tiny
CHAOTICWAYZ
  • MEMBER
Ok, I will change the filter, and check the sensor. And I said it dies, what it seems to do is start to die, and then right before dying completely it jumps back up. All lights on dash come on for a split second like it has died. The radio might just be a shorted wire, as it doesnt turn off and on at the same time as the engine problem.

Thank you very much for your help, I will post my findings for future reference.
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 2:20 PM
Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
Oh. Ok, so there is a possibility for a fuel issue, but we can only do one thing at a time here so I would go for the sensor yes
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 2:31 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi guys. What exactly does the radio do? I've repaired hundreds of these for new and used car dealers. The common problems are intermittent FM, intermittent AM and FM, intermittent display, plus other problems. It depends too if it is the Alpine-built cd player or the Mitsubishi-built cd / cassette combo.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 5:32 PM
Tiny
CHAOTICWAYZ
  • MEMBER
Radio sometimes works, sometimes has no display, sometimes doesnt work at all. Very intermittend. Radio is the factory cd/tape player combo.
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 5:37 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The combo model does not commonly suffer from intermittent display. What I HAVE run into is a cracked power supply regulator circuit board but that doesn't happen on its own. It is a byproduct of being dropped by the UPS basketball team.

Two totally different things come to mind and are at least a place to start looking. On most models, the display will go out if the radio presets / clock memory circuit is lost. That circuit is tied in with some other system that is always live, typically the interior lights, but it could also be the cigarette lighter or horn circuit. If the fuse is loose in the fuse box terminal, it might cause the problem but the main circuit would act up too. When the radio quits, check the operation of the dome light, horn, and lighter. If they are dead too, we'll know where to start looking.

The other thought is there have been a lot of problems with the ignition switches overheating. The contacts can become arced and pitted and the connector terminals can overheat. The circuit most often affected is the "accessory" circuit which includes power windows, wipers, radio main power, and the heater fan. This is seen most often on minivans when the owners use the heater on "high" very often. I think this circuit includes the instrument cluster gauges so you would have noticed that by now if that circuit was quitting. If the switch itself is the problem, wiggling it often brings things back to life.

One last thing to not overlook is the radio's ground wire. There ain't one! Well, ... There isn't one in the two connectors. There will be a black wire clipped to the back of the radio's case or there will be a big braided strap bolted to the back of the radio. If that is missing or left off, the radio might work through the shielded antenna wire which goes to ground at the antenna base, but that is a very poor ground for powering a radio. You might be able to make the radio act up by wiggling the antenna but if it doesn't act up, it's really not conclusive.

Other than these things, there isn't anything common in the radio itself that will cause these symptoms. Doesn't mean it can't happen, just that these radios are usually pretty reliable. Oh, they CAN develop intermittent FM but that will not affect the AM, display, or the cd and cassette player operation. I just sent one back to Florida for that problem.

A couple of things you can try include a different radio and monitoring the voltages on the two power wires. Any Chrysler radio up to 2001 models will plug in and work although there are a few different mounting ear styles. Different models might exhibit different symptoms if the problem is with the memory circuit but there will still be some noticeable problem. The second thing takes a little longer but you can pull out the radio, then connect jumper wires to the two power wires so you can hook them to a test light while the radio is installed. This is more effective than trying to connect to the fuses because that leaves part of each circuit untested. When the problem occurs, see which of the lights goes out. If both stay on, try using the radio chassis as the ground for the test lights. If the lights go out now, it's a ground wire problem. The two power wires are pink and red. They are right next to each other at one end of the gray connector.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 7:39 PM
Tiny
CHAOTICWAYZ
  • MEMBER
Thanks, i'll check it out, or try a different radio I have.
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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 7:42 PM
Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
Thanx doc.
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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 AT 8:26 AM
Tiny
CHAOTICWAYZ
  • MEMBER
Ok, so I finally changed the sensor. The fuel light doesnt come on anymore, but the stumbling seems to be worse, is it possible I got a bad sensor? I hate throwing parts at something like this. Any more advice?
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Sunday, July 11th, 2010 AT 12:44 AM
Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
Yes that is quite possible.
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Sunday, July 11th, 2010 AT 9:00 AM
Tiny
CHAOTICWAYZ
  • MEMBER
Well, I changed the sensor again, ran perfect for about 3 days, not its doing the same thing, and dying at a stop as well. I'm ready to blow it up, anymore idea's? Is there a way to test these sensors, or am I just stuck throwing a new one in again?
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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 AT 10:54 PM

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