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Thread: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

  1. #1
    DonTom
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    ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.2L

    ABS lamp is on. What's a good place to start?

    My service manual says the error code gets sent to the Data Link Connector. But my Innova 3100C code reader says there's no codes in memory. What type of reader do I need to retrieve what the ABS problem is?

    I notice the manual talks about a scan tool. I see they cost more than the Jeep is worth (several thousand bucks).

    The ABS was very helpful in the snow last year. I would like it back!


    -Don-

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    I don't know 'dem codes - but I'd suspect (given the year of your vehicle) aproblem with the ABS pump. Do you regularly (every two years) flush the hydraulic fluid on this vehicle?

  3. #3
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    Do you regularly (every two years) flush the hydraulic fluid on this vehicle?

    Come to think of it, I have never done so. Perhaps it's never been done. I usually don't bother to change brake fluid until I have a need to bleed the brakes. I have never done anything with the brakes in this vehicle since I owned it (a few years, which is only a few thousand miles). Other than the ABS not working, the brakes seem fine. Owning as many vehicles as I do makes a guy lazy when it comes to general maintenance. I normally just wait for something to break. :-[

    Has old brake fluid been known to destroy ABS pumps?

    Or . . .

    Would clean brake fluid do any good now? ???

    -Don-

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    Yes!

    If you check your owner's manual and service recommendations you will find regular flushing of the brake fluid is part of the normal service regimen. Brake fluid attracts water (and becomes contaminated) over time; this is never good - but on a car with ABS,it canlead to problems such as you are experiencing...

  5. #5
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    Yes!

    I asked two questions and only got one answer:

    Has old brake fluid been known to destroy ABS pumps?

    Or . . .

    Would clean brake fluid do any good now?

    -Don-

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    "Has old brake fluid been known to destroy ABS pumps? "

    Yes.

    "Would clean brake fluid do any good now?"

    Probably not. If the pump/lines have been contaminated, the only fix is to replace the damaged components and thoroughly purge the system before installing replacements.

    This sucks, I know.

    But you'd be amazed at how muc internal deterioration occurs within a brake system that is no properly maintained...


  7. #7
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    But you'd be amazed at how muc internal deterioration occurs within a brake system that is no properly maintained...

    Considering I have had cars where the brake fluid wasn't touched for the life of the car, I would be somewhat surprised.

    In my 1984 Venture, I change it quite often. But that's because the rear brake lines go above the engine. This makes little bubbles into larger bubbles when the engine heats up. That means I must bleed them more often than in a car. And if I go to bleed them, I change the fluid, which isn't much more trouble.

    But I have been ignoring the brake fluid in the cars. I didn't realize that ABS is a lot more critical to brake fluid being clean.

    -Don-

  8. #8
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    Eric,

    Check this out:


    http://www.bba-reman.com/content.asp...ing_bba_repair

    Especially this part:

    "99% of the time it is the control module (electronic black box on back of ABS pump) that has failed. You can seperate the module from the pump leaving the pump on the car. This means you are not breaking into the brake hydraulic system."

    -Don-

  9. #9
    mrblanche
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    If the ABS light comes on when you start the car, and stays on after you reach 5 mph, then you have suffered the total failure of some part. If it's not on when you start the car, but comes on after you reach 5 mph, then likely you have a bad wheel sensor.

    The brake expert I quoted in another thread says exactly what Eric said; on an ABS system, you should replace the fluid in your system every two years, no matter how many miles you've driven. If you don't, your pump is trying to move mud, and it doesn't like that!

    So...why does the Jeep have the problem, and not your other cars? My guess would be that you drive the Jeep in wetter weather, and the moisture gets drawn into the system.

  10. #10
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    If the ABS light comes on when you start the car, and stays on after you reach 5 mph, then you have suffered the total failure of some part. If it's not on when you start the car, but comes on after you reach 5 mph, then likely you have a bad wheel sensor.

    I've seen it do BOTH. It's an intermittent problem but now a lot worse than it was last October, which was the last time this vehicle was used. Now, it seems the ABS lamp comes on every time. But sometimes as soon as the Jeep is started and other times after I drive it a short while.


    So...why does the Jeep have the problem, and not your other cars? My guess would be that you drive the Jeep in wetter weather, and the moisture gets drawn into the system.

    That IS the case here. It's most often driven when we are in snow or expect snow.

    -Don-

  11. #11
    mrblanche
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    Here's another kicker. Most cars with a manual transmission now have a hydraulic clutch (for example, my big Volvo truck does!). That also needs to be replaced every couple of years, for the same reason. My truck sat for 11 months before I bought it, and just a couple of months later I noticed the fluid turning dark. I used a vacuum pump to suck out what I could, and it was the consistency of half-set jello.

  12. #12
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    , and just a couple of months later I noticed the fluid turning dark.

    Caused by heating of the fluid and the darkness of the fluid has NO effect on the quality of the fluid. At least that's what my owner's & Service Manual says for the DOT 3 brake fluid for the clutch. It says right in the manuals that it will get very dark in a few thousand miles, but that is NOT an indication of it needing to be changed.

    The half-set jello, however, might be a much different issue.

    -Don-



  13. #13
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    The incremental cost of changing the clutch fluid at the same is negligible, and the rewards are many.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  14. #14
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    The incremental cost of changing the clutch fluid at the same is negligible, and the rewards are many.

    Changing it when dark won't hurt anything at all, but it may be a waste of time, according to some of my books. Heat makes brake fluid get dark but that doesn't mean the properties of it have changed as far as still being good effective brake fluid. I change the clutch fluid in my motorcycle when I change the brake fluid. Both use dot 3. The brake fluid looks clean, the clutch fluid looks dark. But I do this work when I have to bleed the brakes, which is fairly often on this bike.

    -Don-


  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    "Changing it when dark won't hurt anything at all, but it may be a waste of time, according to some of my books. Heat makes brake fluid get dark but that doesn't mean the properties of it have changed as far as still being good effective brake fluid. I change the clutch fluid in my motorcycle when I change the brake fluid. Both use dot 3. The brake fluid looks clean, the clutch fluid looks dark. But I do this work when I have to bleed the brakes, which is fairly often on this bike."


    I change out my brake fluid on the bikes every season; clutch fluid also (might as well use up the container of fresh fluid, etc.)

  16. #16
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    I change out my brake fluid on the bikes every season;

    When a person says "every season" does that mean four times per year or once per year?

    My boat manual says change the oil at least "every season" The boating season here lasts the entire year, but there are four seasons in the year.
    -Don-



  17. #17
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    "When a person says "every season" does that mean four times per year or once per year?"

    For me, it's once every year - sorry for the confusion!

  18. #18
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee


    "The brake expert I quoted in another thread says exactly what Eric said; on an ABS system, you should replace the fluid in your system every two years, no matter how many miles you've driven."


    My Service manual says to bleed the brakes, it requires a scan tool as that's the only way to get the air out of the ABS module. I don't wanna try changing the brake fluid myself if I cannot bleed them myself. But who can change the brake fluid besides a dealer? Would most service shops have a scan tool that will work with this Jeep?

    Anyway, I am not convinced brake fluid is my problem after reading that 99% of the time the ABS problems with a Jeep is the CAB (Controller, Anit-lock Brake) module. I just discovered that the Jeep uses the same ABS module as a Volvo. The CAB module can be removed from the HCU (Hydraulic Control Unit) without fooling around with the brake lines. The most difficult part is knowing what type of weird screws this thing uses. There's four screws under the module that I have to remove. I just found out that these four "screws" are not screws at all, but are Torx size E-5 bolts which is a very rare tool in that size (E-6 is more common). I can only find E-5 on the Internet, such as here:


    http://www.sjdiscounttools.com/skt42605.html

    So I decided to start with removing the CAB module and after that is completed, I will have the brake fluid changed as long as I don't have to go through the hassle of dealing with a dealer around here.

    -Don-








  19. #19
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    I forgot to mention that my Jeep Service manual calls these four small bolts "mounting screws". I guess Jeep does not know the difference between a screw and a bolt. Anyway, my Service manual does not mention what type or size these things are, but I was able to first find this same module is used in the Volvos and then a website for Volvo repair mentioned a Torex size E-5 is needed to remove the CAB while the HCU is still in the vehicle.

    It also mentioned if these bolts are not too tight, they can be removed with a 4mm socket wrench. But mine seem to be very tight, so I will wait for the proper tool.

    I have enough stuff removed in the Jeep now to get to these bolts. I am just waiting for the tool. If I cannot fix the module myself, I will send it in to be repaired to here (hopefuly, it's really broken):


    http://www.bba-reman.com/content.asp...ing_bba_repair


    -Don-

  20. #20
    DonTom
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    Re: ABS 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee

    I just got a phone call from BBA remanufacturing who has my CAB (Controller, Anti-lock Brake) module. As I expected, they found a problem that would keep my ABS light on. The have already repaired it and it's in the mail now and I will be able to reinstall it next week some time (the only real test, IMO).

    If it all works, as I assume it will, with no more ABS failure indications, I will then consider changing the brake fluid. I guess I can do it myself as long as I am careful to keep the master cylinder full at all times. If I get air into the system, it requires an expensive scan tool (price tag is several times more than this Jeep is worth) to bleed the brakes because of the ABS -- which means that it would probably have to be towed to be fixed right. The CAB module is NOT part of the ABS hydraulic stuff, so it could safely be removed.

    I assume there is a mickey mouse way to apply 12 VDC (or less) to the ABS pump motor to bleed the brake ABS, but none of my books mention such--they all say do it with the scan tool. But I don't see what a scan tool can do to bleed the brake ABS other than apply voltage on the ABS pump motor at the correct time. I guess if I screw up, I can experiment with such until I get the air out.

    -Don-





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