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Jeep Wrangler common problems (1987-2017)

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep has one of the most recognisable names in the business, and the Jeep Wrangler has one of the most recognisable profiles in the world. It’s almost a surprise that the Wrangler was launched in 1987 because it seems to have been around forever. Indeed, the second and third-generation cars are very similar.

Still, the fact that the car has been on sale since the 1980s means Jeep has had plenty of opportunity to get it right. And so it has, but the car isn’t perfect, with some common faults such as a dodgy fuel sender unit, a binding tailgate hinge and faulty fuel gauge.

Still, the Jeep Wrangler has been fully stripped down and rebuilt in the Haynes Wrangler manual, so you can rely on us to guide you through any repairs you need to make. And you’ll be saving hundreds of dollars in the process.

Jeep Wrangler

What recalls has the Jeep Wrangler been subject to?

Despite being on sale for almost 30 years, the first three generations of Jeep Wrangler haven’t been recalled too often.

Some cars were recalled because the positive crankcase ventilation harness was found to be faulty and had to be replaced.

Then a faulty fuel tank sending unit gasket was the cause of another recall, and concerned cars built between 1987 and 1994.

Brake hoses that could be the subject of friction-based wear were the subject of another recall. They were rubbing on splash shields.

And windshield wipers that could become dislocated or start to bind forced another recall.

Jeep Wrangler

What common problems does the Jeep Wrangler have?

The Jeep Wrangler is a familiar sight because it’s been around for a very long time. And that means lots of owners have been conducting real-life testing of the car.

They’ve found some issues, such as tailgate hinges that can become corroded and sticky.

In addition, owners have reported that the headlights can become fogged up and full of condensation.

And a fuel gauge that reads incorrectly is annoying at the best of times, but a fuel gauge that reads incorrectly when the rear defroster is switched on – well, that’s just weird.

The Jeep Wrangler is never going to be the most refined of vehicles, but rattles from the hood hinges directly ahead are going to be annoying on any journey.

And if rattly hinges aren’t disconcerting enough, then a grinding noise from the left engine mount is going to be a worry.

Jeep Wrangler

Does the Jeep Wrangler have tailgate problems?

Some Wrangler owners have said that the tailgate hinges on their cars can become corroded over time, which results in the tailgate becoming difficult to open and close, and eventually the hinges become bent.

However, Jeep has issued replacement parts that are much more corrosion resistant. These are a new hinge (part number 4 J4004956) and screws (part number 4 J4007530).

You’ll need to paint the hinge and screws the right colour, then remove the spare wheel, and unscrew and remove the tailgate. Then it’s a case of fitting the new hinges to the tailgate and fitting it to the vehicle.

This entire procedure isn’t too complicated (although you’ll need the help of a friend to maneuver the tailgate into position. It’s all covered in the bodywork and fittings section of your Haynes Wrangler manual, so don’t feel intimidated.

Jeep Wrangler

Does the Jeep Wrangler have headlight problems?

Headlights are meant to be as bright as possible so that the driver can see the way ahead. That’s most of why they’re there; the other reason is to be seen. Unfortunately, the headlight’s efficiency at either task is compromised if it becomes fogged up with condensation, but that\s what happens with the Jeep Wrangler sometimes.

Lights on some examples can become fogged up, particularly when the vehicle is used in low ambient temperatures. The blame can be laid at the door of the (supposedly) sealed unit, because the sealing fails, requiring the headlight unit to be replaced.

Still, there’s no need to worry because this is a pretty easy job that you’ll be able to do in an afternoon. It’s also a task that we’ve covered in some depth in the Haynes Wrangler manual, so don’t hesitate – just get it done. You’ll save a load of money and you’ll be safer into the bargain.

Jeep Wrangler

Does the Jeep Wrangler have fuel gauge problems?

A fuel gauge you can’t rely on is about as much use as an ashtray on a motorcycle, so it’s doubly annoying that the fuel gauge on the Jeep Wrangler can rear incorrectly, but only when the rear defogger is switched on. So it’s inaccurate some of the time but not all of it. Well, that’s a relief then.

The problem lies in the fact that there isn’t a dedicated ground from the fuel sender to the vehicle’s body.

The good news is that Jeep has seen fit to release a modified component (part number PN 83506010), which involves fitting a new jumper harness and attaching a new ground connection.

Getting to this area is fully covered in your Haynes Wrangler manual, so there’s no reason not to carry out the job. And then the guesswork will be taken out of the fuel gauge reading.

Jeep Wrangler

Does the Jeep Wrangler have hood hinge problems?

The hood on the Jeep Wrangler can generate a rattle, which is deeply annoying because it’s right ahead of where the occupants sit, so it’s front and centre on every single journey. And it’s worse if the roads are bumpy.

The problem lies with the hood hinges, which can have hinge pins that rattle within the hinges. Lots of people have complained, so Jeep has developed a modified hinge (part number 55074809).

To complete the job, you’ll have to remove the hood from the vehicle, then remove the hinges from the hood, before fitting the redesigned hinges and putting everything back on to the vehicle.

Again, just look up the bodywork and fittings section of your Haynes Wrangler manual and we’ll guide you through how to carry out the procedure safely and without damaging any paintwork.

Jeep Wrangler

Does the Jeep Wrangler have engine-mount problems?

When you put your foot down in first gear, you don’t want to hear a grinding noise from your Jeep Wrangler. But that’s what some owners have reported.

And it can get worse when you use the vehicle in four-wheel-drive mode.

It’s the left engine mount that is at fault, and Jeep has produced revised parts to resolve the issue (AR Bracket, Engine (L) YJ P/N 52040269, AR Bracket, Engine (L) MJ-XJ P/N 52002607, AR Mount, Engine P/N 52040267).

The job entails disconnecting the battery, then carrying out the procedure to replace the left engine mount, as described in your Haynes Wrangler manual. Just follow the steps and pictures and you’ll have the job done in a very short period.