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Old 06-17-2010, 01:21 PM   #1
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Default replacing fuel pump on a 1997 Cherokee 4.0

Do you have to Remove the fuel tank in order to replace the fuel pump and or fuel filter on a 1997 Cherokee with a 4.0?

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Old 06-17-2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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No, but it makes it alot easier.
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:52 AM   #3
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I did mine in the car. You'll get sore stomach muscles and might bite your tongue but it's doable. Make sure you have a long brass drift handy. I used a long handled steel screwdrive to get the locking ring started and set but it's more better to have brass.

Also, somebody else wrote you want a fan set up and blowing fresh air over you - that is excellent advise and I did that. Not only is it enables you to stay down there long enough to finish the job without freaking out over gas fumes. The fumes s/b minor but even a little bit of fume goes a long way toward freaking me out...I hate the stuff.

Alos, make sure your tank is siphoned down to just a couple gallons.
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:59 AM   #4
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might as well drop the tank....empty it and take a look inside! jeep tanks are notorious for erosion from the inside which will cause havoc on your fuel, damage to pump, regulator, filter, injectors, etc....if you see sludge and crap, either get the tank boiled or get a new one to be's not worth not doing the tank check, too many other expensive problems are caused by it...

......this may not apply to yours, however, fyi....basically, gotta remove tank and take a look see inside....below is what i found and asked my mechanic to check it was bad inside the tank he, had new tank installed as well....NO MORE STALLAGE, CHOKAGE, ETC....

Jeep tech service bulletin 14-06-97 - Fuel Pump & Fuel Tank NEW DESIGN
Jeep tech service bulletin 14-06-97, which indicates that a new fuel pump module design has been released for Wranglers, Cherokees and Grand Cherokees that delivers "improved performance." The new pump module should be used whenever fuel pump failures are encountered.

Fuel pump failures have not been an uncommon occurrence on these vehicles, and part of the blame may be traced to weaknesses in the original design (hence the improved pump). This is a return-less fuel system, which means the fuel makes a one-way trip from the tank to the injectors. There is no fuel return line, as found on conventional fuel systems. The pump, which sits inside a module that also contains the level sensor, contains a small armature with a very weak set of commutator bars. The brushes come in from the sides and the brush-to-commutator speed is very high.

When these pumps fail, they can spread debris throughout the inside of the fuel tank. If the contamination is not removed before a new pump is installed, the new pump will almost certainly self-destruct. It's just a question of when. Some of the pump debris may also find its way to the fuel injector screens. Once there, it has no place to go, since it's a return-less fuel system. Pack enough debris into the screens and the vehicle may develop other symptoms, like stalling or hesitation, regardless of whether or not the fuel pump is any good.

The Jeep bulletin further states:
In rare cases where multiple fuel pump failures have occurred on the same vehicle, a buildup of residue may have accumulated on the inside of the fuel tank. The presence of this residue is not easily identifiable. The residue can pass through the in-tank filter and contaminate the pump rotor. If multiple failures have occurred with no obvious indication of the cause, consideration should be made to replacing the fuel tank to avoid future problems.

The wording of this recommendation is just vague enough to make a lawyer smile, because it doesn't actually identify the source or composition of the residue. Is it failed pump debris, renegade bacterial microbes, space goo or all three? It could be failed pump debris, but it could also be caused by the inside of the fuel tank dissolving. The gas and dissolved plastic mixture is fine enough to get past the fuel pump strainer. After that, the new pump may keep working, for a while. But once it's shut off, the plastic residue attacks the pump rotor and gums up the works. So even if you clean the inside of the tank thoroughly before installing the new pump, the tank lining deterioration may continue as soon as it's refilled with fuel. There's no indication of how widespread this problem may be. The lining on the new fuel tank has apparently been changed to address the deterioration problem.

So what should you do to make sure the sixth fuel pump your customer receives is also his last? Begin by making sure the new pump is the updated design cited in the service bulletin. When the old pump is removed, inspect the inside of the fuel tank thoroughly. Remove any pump (or other) debris you find. To make sure it's squeaky clean, consider having the tank boiled out. The fuel rail and lines should also be cleaned and the injectors may need to be cleaned or replaced. You might want to replace the fuel tank with the updated design.

Last edited by kbad; 06-18-2010 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by 93gc40 View Post
No, but it makes it alot easier.
Yes you do.

The fuel pump assembly is mounted in the top of the tank.

A little hint for the OP. Getting a hose down the filler tube is a P.I.T.A., so try this:

Remove the filler tube/vent cover below the fuel door.
Disconnect the vent line near the filler cap.
Insert a hose through the vent line so siphon the gas out of the tank.

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Old 07-04-2011, 07:28 PM   #6
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I have a 1998. based on replys from others folks I believe the design changed around 97/98 model year. I suppose it's possible to not have to remove the tank, but will be much much harder if you don't.

My jeep does not have a locking ring but rather a large plastic screw on type retaining nut. Even with the tank off it was difficult to get the nut to turn. It was actually harder to put back on because you have to compress the fuel pump in the tank and then screw it down.

With 190k mi, my tank was perfectly clean.

The hardest part of removing the tank is unscrewing the clamps on fuel hoses from the gas cap housing--hard to get to.

I strongly suggest that you disconnect the other hoses going to he pump itself before trying to de-install the tank or you my bend them and one of mine is hard plastic and almost broke. Had to buy a new one from the dealer (45 bucks).

Good luck scott
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:47 PM   #7
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thanks for the info scott

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Old 07-04-2011, 07:52 PM   #8
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Drop the tank tank, its not too bad.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kenjen11
Drop the tank tank, its not too bad.
unless you put a brand new already defective airtex pump in and have to do it again because the check valve wont hold still trying to find time to pull it back out... at least it starts on second try

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Old 07-04-2011, 07:57 PM
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