Grand Cherokee / Grand Wagoneer (ZJ) – MY1993-1998

Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ)
Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ) – photo by Rudolf Stricker

Jeep Grand Cherokee (ZJ)

Desirable Features

This section is still under construction, and may not have complete information.

  • 5.9L Magnum V8 – Rare, as it was only available on MY1998 Limited models


Click the links below to see common problems specific to the engines available on this vehicle.



  • Linkage and viscous coupling in V8 models with the full-time 4WD “NP242” transfer case goes bad – this does not affect vehicles with the part-time 4WD “NP231” transfer case
  • The transmission may hold gears for too long, too little, or shift erratically. This can be caused by a few things:
    • Automatic transmission fluid level may be low
    • Kickdown cable may need adjustment – if it has stretched out too long (which can happen over time), it may require replacement
    • The transmission may need new fluid and a new filter
    • The Governor Pressure Sensor and Shift Solenoid can go bad; they’re easily accessible by dropping the pan
    • The Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) may be faulty or have incorrect voltage
  • Idle issues can be caused by:
    • Clogged/faulty idle air control (IAC) valve
    • Clogged/dirty throttle body
    • Vacuum leaks – these are all old cars now, so the rubber vacuum lines in the engine may be dried out and cracked
    • Failed fuel injector O-rings
  • Clunking from the rear end can be caused by:
    • Failing universal joints on the driveshaft
    • Loose caliper bolts
    • Rear driveshaft slip joint may need to be re-greased
    • Worn bushings on the upper and lower control arms
    • Worn shock mounts/bushings
    • Worn transmission mounts
    • Worn exhaust hangars and bushings
    • Stretched transfer case chain
  • Clunking from the front end can be caused by:
    • Worn sway bar links/bushings
    • Bad joints in tie rod ends and drag link ends
    • Track bar bushings
    • Worn ball joints
    • Failing universal joints on the driveshaft or axles
  • Leaking transmission fluid can be caused by:
    • Cracked/failed lines that run to/from the radiator
    • Failed transmission pan gasket
    • Failed transmission output seal
    • Plastic connectors that snap into the radiator
  • Sloppy steering can be caused by:
    • A steering box that needs adjustment
    • Worn/broken ball joints
    • Slop in front end components when turning steering
    • Air in the power steering system – burp it by turning the wheel lock-to-lock several times
  • Clicking during sharp turns can be caused by a bad CV axle
  • Bogging down or stalling can be caused by:
    • Low fuel pressure (symptom of clogged fuel filter or failing fuel pump)
    • Failed upstream oxygen sensors
    • Clogged/collapsed catalytic converters
  • “Death wobble” can be caused by:
    • Failed ball joint ends or bolts on the track bar
    • Damaged/worn tie rod ends
    • Being out of alignment
    • Worn upper and lower control arm bushings, sway bar links, and sway bar bushings
    • Bent/damaged suspension components
    • Play in the ball joints


  • Vehicle information center (VIC) randomly throws errors
  • Autodim rearview mirror breaks
  • Alarm system will randomly drain the battery until it’s dead – and the alarm in general is awful. Chances are, if you can’t start the car, it’s the alarm causing it.
  • Factory radios and speakers are “flaky”
  • Rear wiper dies – happens because water gets into the arm and corrodes the shaft
  • Interior dome lights that won’t turn off can be caused by blown fuses, stuck/unplugged door close buttons, or faulty relays in the fuse panel
  • Windshield wipers not returning to their original position can be caused by:
    • Blown fuses
    • Failed intermittent wiper control module (located under the driver-side dash or under the removable grille under the windshield) or intermittent wiper relay (located in the Power Distribution Center)
    • Failed multi-function switch
    • Failing wiper motor
  • Power windows not working can be caused by snapped wires in the door jambs or faulty window switches
  • Parasitic drain can be caused by blown fuse #7, faulty solder joints on the Body Control Module (BCM), or faulty switch on the rear wiper
  • The climate control may only blow at certain speeds or not blow at all; this can be caused by:
    • Failed blower motor resistor
    • Failed blower motor
    • Failed climate control unit
    • Vacuum leak at the firewall “T” next to the A/C lines – often causes air to only blow out of the defrost vents
  • Heated seats – failure is often caused by worn wiring on the outside edge of the seat underneath the seat cover
  • Flickering headlights or interior dimming issues can be caused by a faulty headlight switch
  • ABS faults can be caused by:
    • Failed wheel speed sensor wiring and lines
    • Faulty ABS module
    • Blown fuses
    • Faulty Hydraulic Control Unit
    • ABS relay/box unplugged
    • Failed ABS pump

Body / Cosmetic

  • Doors go out of alignment or fall off entirely – happens most often with driver-side front door, caused by failing door pins
  • Condensation forms on the passenger-side front floorboard – often caused by a clogged A/C drain or failed heater core
  • AC Evap system can spring a refrigerant leak
  • Foggy headlights
  • Tailgate won’t open
  • Sagging headliner
  • Leaking sunroof seals
  • Rust, especially on:
    • Lower parts of doors
    • Rocker panels
    • Bottom of the tailgate