ⓘ Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a range of mid-size SUVs produced by the American manufacturer Jeep. While some other SUVs were manufactured with body-on-frame construction, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has always used a unibody chassis.
The Grand Cherokees origins date back to 1983 when American Motors Corporation AMC was designing a successor to the smaller Jeep Cherokee XJ. Three outside non-AMC designers - Larry Shinoda, Alain Clenet, and Giorgetto Giugiaro - were also under contract with AMC to create and build a clay model of the Cherokee XJ replacement, then known as the "XJC" project. However, the basic design for the Cherokees replacement was well under way by AMCs in-house designers and the 1989 Jeep Concept 1 show car foretold the basic design.
As AMC began development of the next Jeep in 1985, management created a business process that is now known as product lifecycle management PLM. According to François Castaing, Vice President for Product Engineering and Development, the smallest U.S. automaker was looking for a way to speed up its product development process to compete better against its larger competitors. The XJCs development was aided by computer-aided design CAD software systems making the engineers more productive. Meanwhile, new communication systems allowed potential conflicts to be resolved faster, thus reducing costly engineering changes, because all drawings and documents were in a central database. The system was so effective that after Chrysler purchased AMC in 1987, it expanded the system throughout its enterprise, thus connecting everyone involved in designing and building products.
The Grand Cherokee thus became the first Chrysler-badged Jeep product. Development work for the new Jeep model continued and Chryslers employees after the 1987 buyout of AMC were eager for a late-1980s release date; however, CEO Lee Iacocca was pushing for redesigned Chrysler minivans, thus delaying the Grand Cherokees release until late 1992 as an Explorer competitor. Unlike the Explorer, the Grand Cherokee utilized monocoque unibody construction, whereas the Explorer was a derivative of the Ranger pickup with a separate body-on-frame.
The Grand Cherokee debuted in grand fashion at the 1992 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The vehicle that was driven was a Poppy Red Clear Coat 1993 Grand Cherokee ZJ Laredo with a quartz cloth interior and high-back bucket seats. Then Chrysler president Robert Lutz drove Detroit mayor, Coleman Young, from the Jefferson North Assembly Plant on North Jefferson Avenue via a police escort to Cobo Hall, up the steps of Cobo Hall and through a plate glass window to show off the new vehicle. Sales of the 1993 model year Grand Cherokee began in April 1992.
Production of the Grand Cherokee started shortly afterward in the purpose-built Jefferson North Assembly in Detroit, Michigan. European Grand Cherokees are manufactured in Austria by Magna Steyr. The Grand Cherokee "played a significant part in reviving Chryslers fortunes by moving it into the then nascent market for high-margin sports utility vehicles."
Upon its introduction, it was the first USA-manufactured automobile using HFC-134a refrigerant in place of HCFC-12 for the HVAC system.
2. First generation ZJ; 1993–1998
The original Grand Cherokee was launched in 1992 as a 1993 model year vehicle in the luxury SUV segment. The "ZJ" models, manufactured from 1992 to 1998, originally came in three trim levels: base also known as SE, Laredo, and Limited, subsequent trims were added, included Orvis MY 95–98, TSI MY97–98. The base model included features such as full instrumentation, cloth interior, and a standard five-speed manual transmission, while gaining the moniker "SE" name for the 1994 model year. Power windows and locks were not standard equipment on the base trim. The minimal price tag differential resulted in low consumer demand, and as a result, the low-line model was eventually discontinued. Additional standard features included a driver-side air bag and four-wheel anti-lock braking system ABS. The Laredo was the mid-scale model with standard features that included power windows, power door locks, cruise control, and a leather wrapped steering wheel. Exterior features included medium-grey plastic paneling on the lower body and five-spoke alloy wheels. The Limited was the premium model, featuring body color lower body paneling, and gold exterior accents. The Limited also boasted standard features such as leather seating, heated mirrors, front power seats, a keyless entry system, wood grain interior applique, lace style alloy wheels, a driver information center with compass, digitized climate control, and electrochromic rearview mirror, and Jensen brand stereo with multi-band equalizer. By 1996 the option list grew to include heated seats. Standard was the 4.0, with the 5.2 V8 and 5.9 in 1998 being optional, as with other models. Package groups with the various trim levels included: fog lamps, skid plates, as well as convenience, lighting, luxury, power, security, and trailer towing packages.
When it was first introduced in April 1992 as an early 1993 model year vehicle, the Grand Cherokee only had one powertrain choice: the 4.0 L AMC-derived straight-six engine that made 190 horsepower. This became the "volume" engine for the Grand Cherokee. Transmission choices included a four-speed automatic transmission early production ZJs used the AW4 – the A500SE later 42RE replaced the AW4 during the latter half of the 1993 model year) or an Aisin AX15 manual transmission. Low demand for the manual transmission resulted in its discontinuation after 1994, but European-market ZJs retained it when coupled to the diesel engine which was unavailable in North America. The drive train choices included rear-wheel drive or four-wheel-drive. In 1995, the engine dropped 5 horsepower to 185 due to new EPA regulations imposed on the 1996 model year.
In 1997, for the 1998 model year, a variant of the top-level Grand Cherokee Limited, the "5.9 Limited" was introduced. Jeep ads claimed it to be the "worlds fastest sport utility vehicle", verified by third-party testing. The primary improvements in the 5.9 Limited version included a 245-horsepower 5.9L OHV V8 engine, heavy-duty 46RE automatic transmission, functional heat-extracting hood louvers, unique wide-slot body-colored grille with mesh inserts, special rocker moldings, low-restriction exhaust with three-inch chrome tip, a low-profile roof rack, and special 16" Ultra-Star wheels. The 5.9 Limited also received a 150 amp alternator and a 2-speed electric cooling fan. Other features include a standard 180-watt, 10-speaker Infinity Gold sound system with rear roof-mounted sound bar, standard sunroof, and an interior swaddled with unique "calfs nap" soft leather and faux wood trim. The 5.9 Limited was awarded "4x4 of the Year" for 1998 by Petersens 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine. Production of this model was 14.286 units.
Export models produced at the plant in Graz, Austria, were given the vehicle designation of "ZG".
3. Second generation WJ; 1999–2004
Launched in September 1998, the redesigned WJ 1999 Grand Cherokee shared just 127 parts with its predecessor mostly fasteners. The European model was coded WG. The spare tire was relocated from the side of the cargo compartment to under the floor. Like the 1998MY ZJ, the rear tailgate glass opened separately. The two heavy pushrod V8 engines were replaced by Chryslers then-new PowerTech. The new V8 engine produced less torque than the old pushrods, but was lighter, offered better fuel economy, and provided similar on road performance figures the 23-gallon fuel tank was replaced with one of a 20.5-gallon capacity. The straight-six engine was also updated. A redesign of the intake manifold added 10 horsepower 7.5 kW. While other Jeep vehicles used the Mopar 5 x 4.5 bolt circle, this was the first Jeep following the 1987 Chrysler buyout to receive a wider bolt pattern: – 5 x 5.
A notable feature available in this generation was the automatic four wheel drive option called Quadra-Drive, which employed the New Venture Gear NV247 transfer case. This two-speed chain-driven transfer case uses a gerotor, a clutch pack coupled to a hydraulic pump, to transfer torque between the front and rear axles. The transfer case contains three modes, 4-All Time, Neutral, and 4-Lo. In 4-All Time, 100% of torque is sent to the rear axle in normal conditions. If the rear axle starts spinning at a higher rate than the front axle, hydraulic pressure builds up in the gerotor and causes the clutch pack to progressively transfer torque to the front axle until both axles return to the same speed. Neutral mode is intended for towing the vehicle. In 4-Lo, the front and rear axles are locked together through a 2.72 reduction gear ratio. The NV247 transfer case is mated to front and rear axles containing Jeeps Vari-Lok differentials. Vari-Lok differentials also use a gerotor to transfer torque between the wheels on either side of the axle. The major advantage of Quadra-Drive was that the combined transfer case and progressive locking differentials in each axle could automatically control traction between all four wheels. However, only the center differential could be permanently locked, and only in 4Lo. The Quadra-Trac II system included the NV247 transfer case with the standard open front and rear differentials.
The 45RFE and 545RFE automatic transmission in the WJ was notable. It included three planetary gear sets rather than the two normally used in a four-speed automatic. This gave it six theoretical speeds, and it would have been the first six-speed transmission ever produced in volume, but it was programmed to only use five of these ratios. Four were used for upshifts, with a different second gear for downshifts. Although five of the six ratios were used, Chrysler decided to call it a "4-speed automatic". For MY 2001, the programming was changed to make use of all six ratios. Rather than have six forward gears, the transmission was programmed to act as a five-speed with the alternate second gear for downshifts. The rpm at 70 miles per hour 110 km/h on a 545RFE is 2000 rpm, 200 rpm less than the 45RFE programming. 1999 and 2000 model year WJ owners can have their 45RFE transmissions programming flashed to enable the extra gear as both transmissions are physically the same. Must purchase new PCM and ABS module and program them with a fake VIN to make this work. The 42RE 4-speed automatic remained the transmission for the Inline 6 engine. It had slight changes from the previous model Grand Cherokee.
The interior was also completely redesigned. The redesign allowed for larger rear doors, and more space for rear passengers. Controls for various items like headlights, heated seats, and rear wiper were moved to more convenient locations. The electronic Vehicle Information center was moved from below the radio to above the windshield, and was standard on 2000-2004 models. Limited models included automatic dual-zone climate control. A 10 CD-Changer was also available with the Infinity Audio package.
In addition to Jeeps UniFrame construction, Daimler Chrysler partnered with Porsche to further strengthen the frame. This was done to reduce Noise Vibration Harshness NVH. UniFrame is an unusual construction scheme, it incorporates all of the strength and durability of a body-on-frame construction into a unitized construction. By adding stiffness and rigidity to the structure, they enhanced the ride and strengthened the network of steel beams, rails and pillars or "safety cage" that surround and protect occupants. More than 70 percent of the underbody is high-strength steel. All Jeep Grand Cherokees feature UniFrame construction.
The Grand Cherokee received a minor facelift for 2004 including round fog lamps, a lower front fascia and a new body-color matched inset grille design.
Export models produced at the plant in Graz, Austria, were given the vehicle designation of "WG".
4. Third generation WK; 2005–2010
The WK Grand Cherokee debuted in 2004 for the 2005 model year at the 2004 New York International Auto Show with available Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive, rear-seat DVD player and optional 5.7 L Hemi V8. The 3.7 L V6 engine replaced the 4.0 L Straight-6. A Mercedes Benz sourced 3.0 V6 Common Rail Diesel CRD was available outside of North America from launch.
Jeep replaced the XJ-era live-axle with leading-arms front suspension found in the ZJ and WJ with an independent double-wishbone setup like that which debuted in the 2002 Liberty. Classed as a truck-based SUV, the WH/WK Grand Cherokee offers "crossover" refinement, capability and NVH.
The 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee made its European debut at the Euro Camp Jeep in Ardeche, France. This Jeep has gained 4 stars in the Euro Ncap crash safety tests conducted in 2005.
The Grand Cherokee received a minor facelift for 2008 with revised headlights and High Intensity Discharge HID Headlamps with auto leveling. The lower portion of the front bumper was still removable as it was from launch to increase the approach angle for off-road use. The 4.7 L was refined, now producing 305 hp 227 kW; 309 PS, and 334 lb⋅ft 453 N⋅m.
The 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee is available with an improved 5.7 L Hemi engine rated at 357 hp 266 kW; 362 PS and 389 lb⋅ft 527 N⋅m of torque. The engine uses variable valve timing to increase fuel economy.
5. Fourth generation WK2; 2011–present
The fourth-generation WK2 Grand Cherokee went on sale in summer 2010 as a 2011 model. It was unveiled at the 2009 New York Auto Show. In 2009, during its development, Chrysler management used it as an example of future products to convince United States federal regulators of Chryslers future viability for the purpose of requesting a federal loan. This culminated in the Chrysler Chapter 11 reorganization that same year.
The fourth-generation Grand Cherokee retains its classic Jeep styling combined with a modern and sleek body style. The interior features leather trim and real wood accents, plus Bluetooth and uConnect electronics options. With the additional awards for the 2011 Grand Cherokee, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has won 30 awards for off-road capability, luxury, value, best-in-class, and safety, making it the most awarded SUV ever. Among the awards are: Top Safety Pick for 2011 from the IIHS, listed as a Consumers Digest Best Buy for 2011, Safest SUV in America by MSN Autos, and Truck of the Year for 2011 by The Detroit News.
Like previous generations, the WK2 Grand Cherokee chassis is a steel unibody. Unlike previous generations, it features four-wheel independent suspension for better on-road handling. The WK2 and 2011 Durango use a Chrysler designed and engineered platform/chassis that Mercedes-Benz later used for the Mercedes-Benz W166 series. The Chrysler designed platform was part of the DaimerChrysler engineering projects that were to launch the WK2 Grand Cherokee with the Mercedes-Benz ML to follow. However, due to the subsequent sale and bankruptcy of Chrysler, the Grand Cherokee launch was delayed and the ML launched before the Grand Cherokee.
Four wheel drive systems include Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II. Using Selec-Terrain, the driver can select modes for Auto, Sport, Snow, Sand/Mud, and Rock.
Optional Quadra-Lift height adjustable air suspension can raise the vehicles ground clearance up to 11.1 in 282 mm. Lift modes include Park, Aero, Normal Ride Height, Off-Road 1, and Off-Road 2.
Engine choices include the all new 3.6 L Pentastar V6 and 5.7 L Hemi V8. The Hemi V8 retains the Multiple Displacement System MDS that shuts down four cylinders in low-power driving situations. The V8 comes with the multi-speed automatic transmission that includes Electronic Range Selection ERS to manually limit the high gear operating range. Trailer towing is rated 7.400 lb 3.357 kg for Hemi models and 6.800 lb 3.084 kg for Pentastar models. A 3.0 L turbocharged diesel V6 developed and built by Fiat Powertrain Technologies and VM Motori with Multijet II injection rated at 177 kW 241 PS; 237 hp and 550 N⋅m 406 lbf⋅ft of torque offered in export markets from mid-2011. The new 3.0 L CRD turbodiesel engine is available in European markets as 140 kW 190 PS; 188 hp low-power version.
The new Grand Cherokee SRT8, which started production on July 16, 2011, is equipped with a 470 hp 350 kW; 477 PS 6.4 L Hemi V8 engine. Jeep claims the new SRT8 gets 13 percent better fuel economy than its predecessor. To keep the gas mileage respectable, Jeep has employed a new active exhaust system that lets Chryslers cylinder-deactivating Fuel Saver Technology operate over a wider rpm band. Chrysler claims that with the larger gas tank, the SUV can now travel up to 500 miles 800 km on a single tank, while other sources estimate range to be 450 miles 720 km.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was released in India on 30 August 2016. Alongside the Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee was the first model to be sold directly by Jeep in the country. Jeeps have been built under license by Mahindra in India since the 1960s.
6.1. Recalls Fuel system integrity
In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA launched an investigation into 1993–2004 model year Jeep Grand Cherokees which involves the fuel tanks of these SUVs. In moderate- to high-energy rear collisions, the fuel tank located behind the rear axle could be compromised structurally, resulting in fuel leakage and fire. The NHTSA claims that it has reports of 157 deaths resulting from fires caused by Grand Cherokees crashing. Also affected are 2002–2007 Jeep Liberty models and 1986–2001 Jeep Cherokee models, which totals about 5.1 million affected vehicles.
In June, 2013, Chrysler Corporation responded to the recall, agreeing to recall 2.7 million Jeeps, though eliminating both the 1986–2001 Jeep Cherokee XJ and 1999–2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ from the recall. The recall will include 2.7 million 1993–1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ and 2002–2007 Jeep Liberty KJ vehicles.
Two weeks prior to this recall, Chrysler Corporation claimed that the affected Jeep vehicles were safe, citing the vehicles rates of fatal rear-impact crashes involving fire as well as their compliance with then-current requirements of FMVSS standard No. 301, though agreed to recall the affected vehicles later. To remedy the problem, Jeep dealerships will install a trailer hitch onto the rear bumpers of Jeep vehicles that will protect the fuel tank if the vehicle is involved in a rear impact. If an affected vehicle is not currently equipped with a trailer hitch, one will be installed onto it, and older Jeep and non-factory aftermarket trailer hitches will be replaced with one from Chrysler Corporation. Despite the recall, the market for these Jeep vehicles has not suffered.
6.2. Recalls Transfer case actuator
In May 2013 there was a recall of WKs with the Quadra-Drive II and Quadra-Trac II systems. This followed cases of cars rolling away due the transfer case moving into neutral of its own accord, and the owner not having applied the parking brake. The recall revised the Final Drive Control Module FDCM software. However, following the recall there were widespread reports on enthusiast web sites of both the neutral and low ratio modes of the transfer case ceasing to function, and a survey showed that fewer than 10% of respondents had experienced no issues with the recall. Attempting to resolve these issues, some dealers subsequently replaced the transfer case actuator, FDCM, and even the transfer case itself, often at customer expense and usually to no avail.
The cause of the roll-aways was faulty soldering in the transfer case actuator. It has been deduced that the revised software detects this by noting any deviation in resistance, and thereupon locks the transfer case in high ratio for safety; but that it is over-reacting to minor resistance variations from other causes. Originally Chrysler dealers claimed that the loss of neutral and low ratio following the recall was coincidence; then it claimed that the revised software was revealing pre-existing faults in the system, despite it occurring even with new parts. Chrysler have also claimed that only a small fraction of cars have issues following the recall; but most users never have occasion to use the low ratio and may never discover the fault. Four years after this recall its issues remain unresolved.
6.3. Recalls Transmission parking pawl
In April 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA ordered a recall of 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees and other cars that use an electronic gear shifter because it sometimes does not go into or does not remain in the park position, despite the operators best intentions. Consumers reported that they put the car in park and left the engine running, and then were surprised when the car rolled away under power.
An investigation by FCA US and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found some drivers have exited their vehicles without first selecting" PARK.” Such behavior may pose a safety risk if a vehicle’s engine is still running. The Company is aware of 41 injuries that are potentially related. The vehicles involved in these events were inspected and no evidence of equipment failure was found. The vehicles also deliver warning chimes and alert messages if their driver-side doors are opened while their engines are still running and" PARK” is not engaged. However, investigation suggested these measures may be insufficient to deter some drivers from exiting their vehicles without selecting" PARK,” so FCA US will enhance the warnings and transmission-shift strategy on these vehicles. The enhancements will combine warnings with a transmission-shift strategy to automatically prevent a vehicle from moving, under certain circumstances, even if the driver fails to select" PARK.”
Jeep has now replaced the shifter with a conventional lever which stays in position for late 2016 models.
6.4. Recalls Other recalls
In July 2017, 2012-14 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs were recalled due to possible alternator failure. If the alternator fails, the vehicle may stall and/or if the alternator has a short circuit, a fire may occur.
In October 2017, 2011-14 model year Grand Cherokees were recalled due to improperly installed brake shields in some vehicles.