Question about 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited. I need help with a sound I'm hearing from the engine compartment. It seems to be coming from the below water pump. Every 8 seconds or so it sounds like a chattering for only about a second or so. I can't tell if it is the actual water pump or the area aroung the crank damper (accurate part name?) I haven't noticed any perfromance issues, but I want to make sure that it isn't a ticking time bomb. Any ideas what this may be? I've check all the fluids (oil, cooling system, trans, power steering) and they're all at the recommended levels. Any insight is greatly appreciated. Thanks. - Joey

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  • jschival67 Mar 27, 2011

    I get the same noise when it is completely off. I tested both modes, one with AC on, one with defrost on, and once again with climate control completely off. It is the same noise with all three tests. It appears that the fan clutch is working fine. It engages for about 4 seconds and then disengages and repeats the cycle. To me it seems as if the sound would relate to that of an off balanced wheel chatter, which is what was my original speculation was, or some sort of loosening part.

  • jschival67 Mar 27, 2011

    It is a possibility. The sound does sound as if it is a slip of some sort. Would I notice any performance issues if the chain is loose? If I recall correctly, I would have to remove the water pump, drop the oil pan to replace the chain, as well as the seals correct? Plus or minus a few other parts that may prevent easy access. What do you think the average cost for a mecanic to do the job? Non-dealer. Thanks for your help.

  • jschival67 Mar 29, 2011

    I appreciate the diagrams, I will have to use this as a last resort, due to the workload. The only reason I have not settled on this solution is I don't have any performance issues, nor the backfire or any related symptoms. Is there anyway you could pull the info for the ac relay we were talking about earlier, and let me test that first? I am usually good at trouble shooting, but I feel like I may be barking up the wrong tree with the timing chain replacement based on the noises compared to the performance and symptoms. Thanks.

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  • Jeep Master
  • 8,206 Answers

Hi, the only thing that comes to mind is A/C clutch trying to come on. If it's overloading the relay, it could be having a problem trying to come on. Is your climate control set to A/C or defrost? The compressor will often try to run when the mode is set to defrost. Watch the compressor clutch while listening for the noise, and let me know. I can probably pull the diagram for the A/C relay, if that is the problem.

Posted on Mar 26, 2011

  • 7 more comments 
  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 27, 2011

    Well, I suppose it could be the timing chain. They usually last 150-200K, so it could be a little loose by now. Trouble is that it's a real pain to check them. Do you think it sounds like a chain and sprockets?


  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 27, 2011

    A loose chain will sometimes cause backfire when you back off the throttle at high revs. I can send you the procedure for swapping out the chain. It usually takes a few hours (translate that to $500 + parts) if you have the right tools. You need a vibration damper puller and a way to hold the engine while you loosen the crank pulley bolt. Let me look up the exact procedure for your engine.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 27, 2011

    sorry, but the repair server seems to be down. I will post the procedure as soon as I can get to it.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 27, 2011

    does it need the EPROM chip? That isn't stock, is it? If it isn't needed, I would dump it while troubleshooting.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 28, 2011

    Oops, sorry. That comment about the EPROM was for another customer.
    The server is still down this morning, but I expect it will be up later today when those guys come to work.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 28, 2011

    server's finally up. Here is procedure. It says to remove the crank seal--I would skip all that unless yours is leaking.





    5.2L and 5.9L Engines


  • Properly relieve the fuel system pressure.

  • Drain the cooling system.

  • Remove the serpentine belt.

  • Remove the cooling fan shroud and position it on the engine.

  • Remove the water pump.

  • Remove the power steering pump.

  • Remove the vibration damper using puller C-3688 or equivalent.

  • Disconnect the fuel lines.

  • Loosen the oil pan bolts and remove the front bolt at each side.

  • Remove the timing chain cover bolts. Remove the chain cover and gasket using extreme caution to avoid damaging the oil pan gasket.




  • Fig. Fig. 7: Carefully pry out the front cover oil seal

    Place a suitable tool behind the lips of the oil seal and pry the seal outward, being careful not to damage the crankshaft seal surface of the front cover.






    1. Place a scale next to the timing chain so any movement of the chain can be measured.


    2. Place a torque wrench and socket over the camshaft sprocket attaching bolt. Apply 30 ft. lbs. (41 Nm) with the cylinder heads installed or 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm) with the cylinder heads removed.

    With the torque applied the crankshaft sprocket should not be permitted to move, but it may be necessary to block the crankshaft to prevent rotation.



    1. Hold the scale with the dimension reading even with the edge of a chain link. Apply 30 ft. lbs. (41 Nm) with the cylinder heads installed or 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm) with the cylinder heads removed, in the reverse direction. Note the amount of chain movement.

    2. Install a new timing chain if the movement exceeds 1 / 8 inch (3.175mm).




    Fig. Fig. 9: Measuring the timing chain deflection




    1. Remove the camshaft sprocket retaining bolt.

    2. Remove the timing chain and sprockets.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 28, 2011

    To install:



    1. Position the camshaft and crankshaft sprockets on a bench with the timing marks facing each other.

    2. Position the timing chain onto the sprockets.

    3. Turn the crankshaft and camshaft to align with the keyway location in the crankshaft and camshaft sprockets.




    Fig. Fig. 10: Aligning the sprocket marks




    1. Keeping tension on the chain, slide the sprocket and chain assembly onto the engine.

    2. Ensure the timing marks are still aligned by using a straightedge.

    3. Install the camshaft bolt and tighten it to 50 ft. lbs. (68 Nm).

    4. Install the timing chain cover.




      1. Install a new timing chain cover gasket to the chain cover. Apply a small amount of Mopar silicone rubber adhesive sealant or equivalent, at the joint where the chain cover and oil pan gasket meet.

      2. Install the timing chain cover taking care not to damage to oil pan. Finger tighten the cover bolts at this time.






      Fig. Fig. 8: Proper placement of oil seal onto installation tool 6635






      Fig. Fig. 9: Installation of the seal and tool onto the crankshaft








    Fig. Fig. 10: Installing the front cover oil seal



    1. Position the smaller diameter of the oil seal on top of seal installation tool 6635. Seat the oil seal in the groove of the tool and then position both onto the crankshaft.

    2. Tighten the 4 lower cover bolts to 10 ft. lbs. (13 Nm) to prevent the cover from tipping during seal installation.

    3. Using the vibration damper bolt, tighten the bolt to draw the seal into position.

    4. Loosen the 4 cover bolts to allow the timing chain cover to be realigned.

    5. Tighten the timing chain cover bolts to 30 ft. lbs. (41 Nm) and oil pan bolts to 215 inch lbs. (24 Nm).

    6. Remove the vibration damper bolt and the seal installation tool.

    7. Install the vibration damper.

    8. Connect the fuel lines.

    9. Install the water pump.

    10. Install the power steering pump.

    11. Install the serpentine belt.

    12. Install the cooling fan shroud.

    13. Fill the cooling system.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 29, 2011

    Sure, I don't blame you. Let me get the circuit diagram for the A/C clutch.

  • Jeff Turcotte
    Jeff Turcotte Mar 29, 2011

    If you just pull the A/C relay out of its socket, that should kill all power to the clutch. If you still have the noise after doing that, I recommend you hold a short hose or tube to your ear and move the other end around the engine to see if you can zero in on the location of the noise.


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