Car Tech forum: Jeep Grand Cherokee stalling fixed!

by: 1996Jeep GC May 18, 2007 7:44 PM PDT

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Jeep Grand Cherokee stalling fixed!

by 1996Jeep GC - 5/18/07 7:44 PM

Found that the outboard PCM cover screw was shorting out the circuit board. Chrysler PCM p/n P56028412, s/n TEH106636023.

Short story long: I have a 96 Grand Cherokee 4.0L, 125,000 miles. Several weeks ago, I started to have stalling issues. Hot or cold, dry or wet, first drive of the day or last, it didnt matter. The engine would cut out. It felt like it lost all electricals.
At the time it was showing an ASD relay code. Swapped the ASD and A/C relays. Same problem. I didnt have time to look at it, so I had the dealer go through it. After 2 days and $200, they called and said it was the ASD relay, and that they put in a new one, and its all good. Um, ok, maybe I missed something. Im a trusting soul, but lets see if this fixes it. The next day the problem was back. I went back to the dealer and they basically said, We dont know what it could be, good luck with that. Now my wife knows why I dont go to the dealer. By the way, the old relay tested good.
My turn. Being the methodical aircraft mechanic that I am, I grabbed a multi-meter, contact cleaner, and wiring diagrams. I cleaned connectors, ohmed out wires and sensors, checked for power and grounds. Everything checked good. By now, its showing ASD, crank sensor, and primary ignition codes. Then, with my wife trying to start it, I wiggled the connectors on the PCM. Every time I wiggled the gray C3 connector just right it would run. When I let go, it would die. So I took the connectors apart and tightened up the crimps (I dont recommend doing this without the proper extractors and crimper). Threw it back together and BAM! Same problem. Well, time to bite the bullet and check for bad solder joints on the PCM board. I took the cover off of the PCM and realized that looking through the potting compound is like looking through Guinness Stout. But, I put it back in and hooked it up. It started stronger than ever, and didnt even think about stalling. Yes! I figured that I finally got the connectors sorted out, so I left it over night to cool down. Got up the next morning and it started right up and wouldnt stall even when wiggling the connectors. So I put the cover back on, put the PCM back in, hooked up the connectors, and BAM! It wouldnt start! That was the point when my wife asked, Hows it going? And I, being the methodical aircraft mechanic that I am, said, what the ----? Thats when my wife turned around and went back into the house. While smoking a pack of cigarettes, I thought, Gee, it runs with the cover off, but not with it on. DUH, wonder what it could be? So I backed out the two screws that hold the cover on and BAM! It started right up. Then, while it was running, I tightened the outboard screw and sure enough, it died. Yes! Aircraft mechanics love it when they can make things stop working. I installed new screws (1/4 long, factory screws are 1/2 long Torx head), and shes been running great ever since.
Now, will this fix a bad crank sensor or idle air motor? No. But it is an easy trick to try before going to the dealer and having them throw expensive parts at your Jeep and seeing if any of them stick. Just back out the cover screws about 1/8-1/4 (dont worry, nothing will fall apart inside). If it fixes it, great! Spread the word. If not, use logical trouble-shooting steps. Learn the systems what will and what wont cause the problem. Good luck.
As a side note, if you want to see a service managers eyes pop out of his head, tell him that you want your money back because your not going to pay them to trouble-shoot a design defect. Its a glorious sight.

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