Jim Grant's Tech Tips
Grand Cherokee 6cyl. 4WD
Q: When I engage the 4WD in my ‘96 Jeep
Grand Cherokee, and turn a sharp corner, the front wheels sort of take
me in the opposite direction and a thumping takes place...it is also really
hard to steer. This only happens when I take a sharp turn doing 5 mph
or when I turn at a green light, turning sharp while accelerating in the
turn. Others have told me that they have the same problem with their Jeep.
Is it true that Chrysler Corp had a recall for this problem in 1996? ....Bill
you know that many 4x4 or All Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicles are not really
4x4/AWD? Many of these vehicles are either a front or rear wheel drive.
It’s the technology designed into the drivetrain of these vehicles that
allows them to transform, in merely a second, into a 4x4 or AWD vehicle,
and you’ll never feel it happen, unless there is a problem with a device
called a Viscous Coupler. A Viscous Coupler compares front wheel speed
to rear wheel speed. If a difference is noted (rear or front wheels spinning)
the Viscous Coupler engages and directs power to the wheels that are not
spinning as well, making them all work together. If your vehicle is feeling
jerky, and acting as if something is binding while turning sharp at low
speeds, then the Viscous Coupler should be inspected. Diagnosis of the
coupler takes a whole 5 minutes, but the repair will put a sizable dent
in your checking account.