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Need Sunroof Leak and Rear Differential rebuilt on 1999 Grand Cherokee

Old 09-28-2016, 02:07 PM
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Default Need Sunroof Leak and Rear Differential rebuilt on 1999 Grand Cherokee

Hello, I'm new here. I have been holding onto my 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee and been sinking money into it. I really love this vehicle, it has 180,000 miles on it and running strong. I had the engine rebuilt only on the top heads years ago, it runs great. I am getting things fixed a little at a time. I just had the transmission rebuilt at an Aamco and the cost is $2,570. So, I'm broke again.
One thing that bugs me is the sunroof leak on the left side. I can't take it to a car wash anymore it pours through the left front corner. Any suggestions to have it fixed? I'm not a handy person with tools, so I have to pay someone.
I had the rear differential rebuilt a few years ago, I found out the mechanic was a severe alcoholic. He skipped town and I am now having trouble with it again, it makes the loud humming noise again. Mechanics in Orange County want so much to fix it. What's my alternative other than bad back yard mechanics? I'm considering going back to Tuttle Click Chrysler dealer where we bought it in 2001, but they were gouging us big time and we quit going to them. I've had other local mechanics do work on it, like a new radiator, all new air conditioning and heating system, plus an alternator recently. Now they are charging more and more for parts and labor.
I want to keep this vehicle, I am not in the market to buy a new one. We do like to go off road and intend to keep this up in the High Sierras soon where it will only be used for local traveling.
Any advice is appreciated!
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Old 09-28-2016, 09:10 PM
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I just went through this with a 1997 differential. To have it rebuilt requires someone who knows what they are doing, and I personally would not trust a back yard mechanic. Just watch a video or two about rebuilding a differential and you will see why.

Unfortunately fixing this one is going to cost some cash. I would recommend just taking it easy on the worn differential for a while and save up to get it done right. A stealership is not what I mean either, I would go to a place that specializes in differentials.

Depending on what you use the vehicle for, you might consider a Ford 8.8 swap if you want to off road, or look at complete re-manufactured axle to drop in. They are more expensive, but labor costs will be lower because it is just a part swap and alignment. If it is just a daily driver, then taking it in for a rebuild at a good differential or driveline shop is your best bet, but expect it to be a couple hundred for the parts and probably a grand for the labor.

Last edited by Danimal45; 09-28-2016 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 09-28-2016, 11:17 PM
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I would bet the sunroof drains are plugged and causing water to back up and over flow. There's a drain at each corner of the sunroof, just run some mechanics wire trough the drains to clear out the crud.
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Old 09-29-2016, 05:20 AM
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You might try a heavy truck repair shop for a diff rebuild. Those guys do it all the time and they know what they're doing. They'd have fun working on a jeep, I would imagine. That's where I went for a new front driveshaft for my 87 Chevy 4x4.
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Old 09-29-2016, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Bustedback View Post
I would bet the sunroof drains are plugged and causing water to back up and over flow. There's a drain at each corner of the sunroof, just run some mechanics wire trough the drains to clear out the crud.

This happens all to often depending on where you park them and an easy fix. But if you in fact do have a real leak I would take mine to a dealership that would warranty the work and nor do a half azzed job of it like a sun roof install shop do at times.


You didn't say what rear you had in yours my 4.7HO has a D44a in it with a lsd in it. I would want a shop who knows about that differential you have a rebuild done or buy a warranted one from a salvage yard for 30 days or so. I would trust one from a SY in mine if needed.


When it comes to any electronics in my WJ Overland and what isn't I take it to a dealer, to many bad experiences with other places working on that sort of thing on other cars.


My last new driveshaft like Daves was built by a truck shop.

Last edited by Fred/N0AZZ; 09-29-2016 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Bustedback View Post
I would bet the sunroof drains are plugged and causing water to back up and over flow. There's a drain at each corner of the sunroof, just run some mechanics wire trough the drains to clear out the crud.
X2 , although I just blow them out with compressed air, then run the garden hose and watch at the bottom 4 corners for a good flow
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Old 11-21-2016, 02:58 PM
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Thanks everyone for your advice. I had saved up funds to get the differential done, but instead was billed $2,700 for a transmission rebuild when I took it to an Aamco for slipping problems. Which really wasn't the tranny slipping, it is the stalling problem from a faulty PCM I think. I am about to file a bad review with the Better Business Bureau on the Aamco dealer. No fun being taken for a ride like that.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:17 PM
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From my experience, Aamco has never had a good reputation since they started in business. I've heard too many horror stories about them that they're the last place I would go. They were okay back in the 50s and 60s when transmissions were pretty simple, but from what I've been told, today they just take a rebuilt unit off the shelf and install it, they don't fix yours. I would sooner trust a small local family-owned shop than a large national shop.

I say that with tongue-in-cheek because my wife had the trans in her 97 Dodge Caravan rebuilt at Cottman Transmission and it was perfect. I took my 97 ZJ to them and they rebuilt my 42re which also was done right, HOWEVER they screwed up the replacement of my rear pinion seal that caused the diff to blow up 2 days later! They put a whole new set of parts into it but it still whined and when I took it back, they had closed their doors! I called the national headquarters only to be told that shop was a franchised shop and I had to take it up with the owner. He refused to answer his home phone or respond to a registered letter.
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:32 PM
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The sunroofs do have a tendency to leak on ZJ's and WK's... you could just have it sealed off and disconnect the switch so it doesn't open. That's if you don't use it. That would definitely be the least expensive option for you.
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Old 11-22-2016, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by EstherW View Post
Thanks everyone for your advice. I had saved up funds to get the differential done, but instead was billed $2,700 for a transmission rebuild when I took it to an Aamco for slipping problems. Which really wasn't the tranny slipping, it is the stalling problem from a faulty PCM I think. I am about to file a bad review with the Better Business Bureau on the Aamco dealer. No fun being taken for a ride like that.
I took my toyota into an Aamco once. I told them I just wanted a diagnostic because it seemed like more of an electric problem than a worn out transmission, and the toyota had only 89k on it but I just wanted to make sure before I started diving into the wiring and controllers. The problem was intermittent, and sometimes it ran and shifted fine.

I watched as the guy pulled the pan while full of fluid, even though it had a drain plug on it. It splashed everywhere and he acted like he was surprised. Then he twisted and torqued on the pan for 20 minutes before realizing that he did not pull the dip stick. Then he pulled out the dip stick which now looked like a S and pulled the pan. He looked at it for five minutes while writing stuff down. Then walked in and told me that it was worn out and needed a new transmission or a complete rebuild. I told them that this was a joke and to put fresh fluid in it and I would pay for the filter and fluid change. They said that they could not put new fluid in it, because "the old fluid might be all that is holding it together". I said fine put the old fluid in it. They tried to bill me $500 for that crap. After I had the keys in my hand I walked out and filed a complaint with the BBB and every local business group that I could find, and sent them a letter on my lawyers letterhead stating that I would not pay the bill because they did not provide the service requested and placed the vehicle in an unsafe condition (low transmission fluid) prior to returning it to me. Never heard back from them.

I pulled the transmission pan to replace the filter and fluid found an electrical connector that was loose. I cleaned it really good and plugged it back in. I drove it for 5 more years and sold it to a friend that has over 200k on it now and it is still running and shifting strong. I would rebuild my own transmission using only my feet before I brought it into an Aamco. My 02c.
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by 94zj318 View Post
The sunroofs do have a tendency to leak on ZJ's and WK's... you could just have it sealed off and disconnect the switch so it doesn't open. That's if you don't use it. That would definitely be the least expensive option for you.

My WJ doesn't leak a drop in the sun roof in even the highest pressure car wash's. If it did to the dealer I would go.


The differential needs special setup done by someone who does only that kind of work or again the dealer, as I plan on keeping my WJ also being the 04's were the last GC's made IMHO.
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Old 11-22-2016, 12:00 PM
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Definitely take the advice about going to a professional for the differential work. I've had training on rebuilding differentials and I still don't do it. It's definitely a skill that takes time to perfect and special tools.
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Old 11-22-2016, 03:17 PM
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its a bit of a drive for you, but there is a guy near Lancaster CA that does good diff work. he did mine and was referred to me by a few of the members of the off road club I belong to. his prices are reasonable and he wont rip you off. if interested let me know and I can post his number.


I know two guys who each own an AMMCO shop. they focus on R&R by pushing the rebuilt trans. one of them pushes adding in lubeguard to the trans. the reason for that is he only has to carry one general fluid and by adding the additive it makes the fluid work for your vehicle, plus he charges for the additive talking it up like the new sliced bread. in both cases, their techs are not that experienced and they push product (trans). this is not to say all AMMCO's are this way, just the two I personally know.


the BBB is a toothless private company so don't waist your time. the businesses that belong to them pay a fee and they don't want to loose that income so they don't (and cannot) do anything to help you if the business does not want to. best bet is to submit a review to Yelp or something like that.


If you were closer I would say stop by and I could help you out with the simple stuff as it comes up to save you a few bucks.
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Old 11-22-2016, 07:40 PM
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Basically all the BBB does is file a report and put it in a folder, PERIOD. Most of the time they don't even tell the business there was a report filed! Been there, done that! The only option you have is to check their file before you do business with that company. Who does that?
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