Question about 1996 Jeep Cherokee Country

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1996 sport Whenever I try to start the engine the car turns over but it wont 'catch'. The garage managed to start it by manually pumping through the diesel, that seem ed to clear the fault for about a week. but, the next time I filled up with diesel, it started doing it again. The car still wont start, I dont know what to do next, I dont know how to pump the fuel through myself. It's recently had a new ignition coil, head gasket, radiator and battery. HELP PLEASE.

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  • hellie11 Jun 19, 2008

    The engine is 2.5L and definitely a diesel. It's a Jeep Cheroke Sport. Not a country. about 18 month ago i also had all the electrics replaced on the fuel pump! I really appreciate your interest because it's all just sooo frustrating!

  • hellie11 Aug 09, 2008

    Bill, thankyou so much for all your help. I went back to the original guy who fixed the fuel pump, who like you, suggested that there was probably some sort of contamination in the fuel. But he recommended first trying to eliminate 'air' , before we investigated for water. So one non-returnable valve, fitted as close as possible to the fuel filter, later and we seem to be in business!! Thank you, though, again for your kind efforts and I appreciate your advice about using of a 'diesel fuel conditioner' and the information about microbes in the tank. Kindest Regards. Hellie

  • Anonymous Feb 07, 2009

    how do you get the fuel pump out

  • Bill Bellomy
    Bill Bellomy May 11, 2010

    Hellie 11-

    Received your clarification, give me about an hour to dig a little deeper and scratch my two remaining brain cells, and I'll try and have an answer for you!



  • Bill Bellomy
    Bill Bellomy May 11, 2010


    What enine does your Jeep have... I don't believe a Diesel was available in that model, which clouds your statement about "pumping through the diesel".... Can you clarify?



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Well, I came up empty handed in my attempts to get detailed tech information on the 2.5 turbo-diesel, but I do have some ideas based on my general diesel experience and from your description of the problem.

Diesel fuel is VERY prone to pick up contaminants and especially water... most diesel configurations have some sophisticated filter systems to help deal with this... but good maintenance calls for the occassional adding of a can of diesel fuel conditioner to the tank, to help remove water and contaminants. In severe cases, the entire fuel system has to be torn down and cleaned, including draining and flushing of the fuel tank... and ALL filters should be changed.

Since they force flushed diesel through the system and got you running again, I am inclined to believe you have a dirty fuel problem. I would recommend they again flush your system, but also drain and flush clean the fuel tank AND change the filters... Have them capture some of the old fuel from the tank in a quart glass jar, and have someone examine it for evidence of contamination... water will separate and collect at the bottom (unfortunately, water does not separate from diesel as well as it does gasoline... that's why fuel contamination is such aproblem!)

And since the problem didn't come back until you refueled, I'd make sure the new diesel fuel you get be checked BEFORE you put it in the tank!!!

Finally, get in the habit of adding fuel conditioner periodically to help keep this problem from coming back too soon. Ask one of your mechanics about that, or collar a truck driver and get his advice on the subject!

Good luck Hellie11, don't be shy to ask for more help or post a comment, and if you need, you can e-mail me directly at

Posted on Jun 19, 2008

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  • Bill Bellomy
    Bill Bellomy Jun 20, 2008

    Hi Hellie11-

    Here is something you might find enlightening from BP, a brief treatise on Diesel fuel problems:

    You have my e-mail, so let me know how it goes... but I'm pretty sure fuel contamination is your problem!



  • Bill Bellomy
    Bill Bellomy Jun 20, 2008

    P.S. -

    This originated in Australia, so if you're not in the southern hemisphere, the seasonal information is bass-ackward!


  • Bill Bellomy
    Bill Bellomy Jun 20, 2008


    Here is something else I found while Googling:


    Another difference with diesel fuel is that it tastes good to certain microbes, especially if there's water in the tank. Certain bacteria can actually thrive inside a diesel fuel tank, forming slime, acids and other creepy stuff that can gum up fuel lines, filters, injection pumps and injectors. Infected fuel often has a "rotten egg" odor, and leaves a black or green coating on the inside of fuel system components. The growth rate of most organisms increases with warmer temperatures, but some can thrive down to freezing temperatures.

    To get rid of a bug infestation, the fuel tank needs to be drained and cleaned. A biocide approved for this type of use should also be used to kill the organisms and to prevent their reappearance. The cleaning process should be followed by a fresh tank of fuel treated with a preventative dose of biocide. If the fuel lines and injection pump have also been contaminated, they will also have to be cleaned.


    Let me know!



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