Question about 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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My indicator stated that I had a "bad coolant sensor." The warning would come on then go off every other day. Well this afternoon, after driving around all day, my 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee started to overheat. The overfill was boiling, but my temperature gauge said the temp was normal. The overfill was leaking fluid from filling up so much.

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What repair did you make when the "bad coolant sensor" light came on? If you did nothing, I'm sure you know that not only does the sensor give you temperature info, it also tells the computer when the engine is warmed up so it can properly manage fuel delivery. That same information tells the computer when to turn any auxiliary electric fans on, or to modify the engine timing to cool down the engine.
At this point your only best option is to replace the sensor, the thermostat and re-fill with the proper mix of coolant. Check everything over for leaks and hope you have not sustained any major internal engine damage (head gaskets or cracked heads).
Good luck!!

Posted on Jun 06, 2010

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I beg to differ. Your VIC (Vehicle Information Center), will display "Bad Coolant Sensor" for two reasons. The first is naturally that you have a bad coolant sensor. The other is for the "Coolant Level Switch" in your overflow tank. I would NOT buy a Coolant Temperature Sensor for the VIC in these Grand Cherokee Years similar to yours, will do that on occasion. Since the VIC is listed at the Dealership as "NS1", which means no longer available through Chrysler and it's not repairable, your message as to "Bad Coolant Sensor" will continue to appear with NO Further Problems whatsoever.

Now, IF it were the Coolant Sensor, this would cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate for the PCM or what you would call the Computer, would "read" the Coolant Temperature Sensor as being out of it's 0 to 5 volt range and then turn on the Check Engine Light which will stay illuminated until turned off by an appropriate scanner. The Dealership employs a DRB III to do this. So in essence, you have NO Problem with your vehicle and I've replaced VIC's and it will still occur with even a new VIC.

My recommendation? Leave everything as is, for yes, the VIC will tell you that the Coolant Sensor's bad, but the Computer still has it within it's normal parameters or operating range. By the Way, I own a 1997 and mine does the same thing...turns on for no reason and then turns off for no reason. Don't waste your money on a rep[air that's unnecessary when it could just be the "Coolant Level Sensor" in your Coolant Recovery Jug. I've replaced mine to no avail as well and still with everything within my Cooling system being brand new, I can live with the "idiot message" coming up every once in a while. Remember! If the Check Engine Light is On...then you have reason for concern.

~Buck Lewis~ or "00 Buck"

"Still living on the Right Side of Dirt, but on the Left Side of the Dirt Nap..." (smile)

Posted on Jun 09, 2010

  • Mark Lewis
    Mark Lewis Jun 09, 2010

    Addendum: It appears that your thermostat has gone bad insofar as your coolant recovery jug overflowing, so just put a Thermostat and Gasket in it.

    Trick of the Trade: when draining a cooling system, leave the Radiator Cap ON, open the Radiator's Petcock and the coolant will drain out of the Coolant Recovery Jug first, so you won't have to remove the 3 10 mm bolts and wash it out manually. Once it's empty, then remove the Radiator Cap and drain the rest of the fluid into a suitable container. Note: there is a Cylinder Block Plug near the Driver's side Motor Mount under the Intake and Exhaust Manifold, but a special tool is necessary to remove it and isn't really necessary. Should you need the formula for the water to anti-freeze mix, write me back for 50/50 is recommended, however 70/30 is too much. I have mine at 60/40 and including your coolant recovery bottle, your system should take 11 to 12 quarts dependent on the Engine.

    Good Luck,




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