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Hood Safety Catch Adjustment?

Old 01-21-2019, 03:43 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 9
Model: Cherokee (XJ)
Default Hood Safety Catch Adjustment?

On our 1992 XJ I just noticed when I close the hood the little safety catch in the center is actually out of wack and rubs on the forward most part of the opening made for it to fit down into. I can still close the hood, but the safety catch has to push itself back a little to get back into its hole.

Does anyone else see this problem. Is the safety latch adjustable at all if I loosen the bolts attaching it to the hood? Thank you.
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Old 01-23-2019, 08:03 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 269
Year: 1995
Model: Grand Cherokee (ZJ)
Engine: 4.0L

This is the ZJ/WJ/WK Non-modified/stock forum.

I have a 98 XJ and 95 ZJ.

The ZJ has a different hood release than the XJ using one latch in the middle where the XJ uses two left/right latches on both sides.

Sure you can try to clean and lube them and adjust the two latches to determine it solves any problems. However if there's something misaligned, not adjusted correctly, poor lubrication, dirt, gum, etc. often leads to even worse problems, such as cable breakage, etc. So I find it's better to inspect the entire system to determine if anything else needs to be repaired, adjusted and maintained.

Some people tired of monkeying with the Jeep's hood release just remove the entire latching system and install hood pins. Clean and simple, doesn't cause any problems. But if wanting closer to stock system then it going to need to be maintained, possibly adjusted and repaired due to use, corrosion, etc.

Cost for non locking hood pins are as little as $10.00 a pair. Locking hood pins are going to cost significantly more, where some are over a hundred dollars. So it's usually less expensive just to maintain and repair (if needed) the stock hood release system.

What I've learned about the 98 XJ's hood release, after replacing two cables. (perhaps more information than you need to fix your problem, but it's good to know about the entire hood release system so it can be properly maintained, which usually only involves some periodic lubrication. )

I have my system working on the XJ so very little force is required to pull the handle and open the hood. If it starts to become difficult to open the hood, additional force required then there's usually something wrong, with the hood release system that can lead to needing to replace the hood release cable. The hood release cables typically break on the XJ because of misused, rust, corrosion, damage, etc. Once the entire hood release system is working correctly and periodically lubed then it doesn't normally exhibit problems. What break the cable is if the hood become difficult to open people start applying additional force to a point where the cable breaks. That's what happened to myself I would just yank harder and harder until the cable broke because I was too busy to go through and clean up the entire hood release system. So the third time decided to entirely remove all the parts and clean, wire brush, paint, etc. then re-assemble with a new cable. Now it takes very little effort to open the hood.

OEM cables are usually a min. of $50.00 where the aftermarket (lower quality) can be found for as little as $20-$30.00.

So when you get it working again, with little force to open the hood, means it's adjusted to where it should be. More force usually indicates somethings off, not adjusted correctly, etc.

On the XJ the bars, springs, levers, handle, cable, side latches all need to be positioned, functioning and lubricated correctly for the hood latch system to function and operate. I've replaced two handles with cable and the handles kept breaking. The third time I took my time and cleaned up the entire latching system, cleaned and repainted rusted parts, etc.

I think the main problems with the hood release system such as not working and cable breaking is 1. there not properly lubricated and 2. often the handle isn't secured correctly with three screws. I've two screws and the handle eventually became loose where I ended up breaking the cable.

1. The handle under the dash needs to be mounted correctly using three screws / bolts (not two). If one is missing there should be a threaded hole for the third bolt.
2. the spring loaded bell crank (lever) with needs to be clean, straight (un-bent), properly mounted and lubricated. The spring also needs to be working and in good shape.
3. the latch connecting rod that goes from either side of the hood needs to be in the correct shape, undamaged, and mounted correctly.
4. the locking mechanisms on either side need to be in good shape, clean and lubricated.
5. the locking striker bars that fit into the latches also need to clean, lubed and in the correct position to fit into the latches.

I found the best way to go about fixing the XJ's hood latch is to completely remove all the parts under the hood and make sure the cable and handle are mounted correctly and not in any sort of bind. On my 98 it's entire latching system where one part of the hood locking system effect the others. So if something not mounted correctly, is bent, gummed up, etc will directly or indirectly effect latching.

Unless there's some sort of damage all you should need to do is remove all the pieces under the hood, clean them up and lubricate with a lighter oil and not any sort of grease. Grease gums up the hood latching system.

It's sort of difficult to explain exactly, but if you remove the pieces of the hood latch "system" remembering where the pieces go, you should be able to figure out how it functions and operates.

Basically when you pull on the hood handle inside the cable pulls on a spring loaded lever (bell crank) that moves a rod (latch connecting rod) (left <> right) and opens latches on either side. Everything needs to be mounted correctly (not bent, etc.) for the hood latch "system" to function correctly. Once you have it working and lubricated I've never had any problems. Problems start to occur when the hood latch system is forced, which usually ends up breaking the cable. If the all the pieces are OK, not bent, broken, etc. all that's required is to clean them up and give them some light lubrication. Especially the pull handle connected to the cable needs to be security mounted (using three bolt screws) When all the parts of the latching system are properly installed little force is required to open the hood. Just slight tug. Shouldn't require much maintenance, just make certain no dirt and rust is effecting the hood latch mechanisms which is comprised of levers, springs, rods, cable, latches, etc.

Last edited by Muddz; 01-27-2019 at 05:36 AM.
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:28 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,137
Year: 1989 Laredo
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0 L 6 Renix

Hey Dibbons, go ahead and loosen the safety catch bolts, move the catch a little for better alignment, retighten and check the closure.
On my 89 I have a little play in the loop when the fasteners are loosened and can also adjust the loop position slightly.

For the hood release, I spray a white grease lithium lube into the cable end and onto the under hood mechanisms, X2 yearly.
The white grease works for me. Grease can collect debris and dirt, flush is periodically and then relube.
Best one i have found is the WD40 White Lithium Grease spray. Thinner than other brands and the nozzle doesn't continuously clog.
If the hood release is getting hard to pull, free it up prior to cable failure. It's a real pita to get open after the cable snaps.
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