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The Jeep Cherokee (XJ) is a compact SUV that was manufactured and marketed by Jeep from 1997 to 2001. Sharing the name of the original full-size SJ model, but without a traditional body-on-frame chassis, the XJ instead featured a light-weight unibody design.

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Idle problem remains a odd frustrating headache after much work.

I had posted a problem about this before.... and proclaimed my victory after a tune up........ then back to the same issues the next day.

SO, i have replaced the idle position sensor. Cleaned the throttle body but not off the intake clean, but cleaned it.

also the tune up mentioned above.

and no codes, computer isn't throwing back any codes not sure if computer keeps track of this.

When first started for the day,it's ok..... idles a bit high and settles down once warmed up a bit...... so if i keep driving it around and not turn it off it seems to be ok for the most part..... sometimes once it gets up to normal operating temp. it will idle a bit low.

SO i turn it off and start it right back up last week at mechanic's shop and it works just fine of course.

most of the time if i go out and get back in it to go home etc. it either won't start without pushing on the gas, reving it a bit, or kinda driving with both feet.

When this thing acts up you can put it in drive and it idles so low it will learch forward bit at a time.

So if anyone has any ideas, let me know....... I would test for a vacuum leak but don't know how to do that.

Could it be a intermittent problem with the crank position sensor? I had that go bad before but usually the jeep just won't start or runs messed up.

I also can't understand the odd sometimes working behavior....... and no consistent problem to find a solution.

this isn't a 1986 jeep with a carb or something, so not sure whats going on, this sort of can't figure it out stuff should be behind us with OBDII etc? i dont intend to go on any sort of rant but this has been a problem for a long enough now.

ALMOST FORGOT: 2000 jeep cherokee 4.0L ( with the coil packs not regular ignition plug wires etc) ..... its a limited XJ trim, that shouldn't matter but thats what it is.

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You should do a quick list of what the tune up involved so everyone is caught up and can help. Is there any chance of you maybe getting video of what's going on? Sometimes sounds can help us figure out whats going on (IE are there clunks, is the idle unsteady, are there weird noises going on that match or don't match rpm?). Any chance there is a correlation between temperature and this issue?

video is a good idea...I will do my best to do that with equipment i have and edit it together so its not a 15min of video of nothing making sense..... ( THE QUICK LIST: tune up plugs only, it has no wires etc, used but working idle position sensor, cleaned the throttle body / plate etc which worked for awhile, but without taking it off the intake manifold, it sometimes idles rough, when idleing smooth that can be at a variation of steady low end RPMs, first startup of the day is fine but closer to 1,000RPM and drops down to normal after a bit.. usually runs pretty good until i turn it off... Sometimes after the 2nd start of the day or when it gets good and warm it will drop RPMs and catch it's self and bring them back up after feathering the throttle when starting it up after the first time of the day..... i think thats what has been done other then having good mechanic friend hook up the fancy computer to it which lead him to the idle position sensor).... it runs fine and strong i could drive it on the highway all day.

forgot the other half of comment: and yes once it starts up and gets warm it acts up "sometimes"....usually fine until i turn it off from 1st start of day.... no noises but fan for radiator is always on it seems (coolant level is normal but i did add coolent to he resivor thing but don't remember how long ago that was)..... it does make a small squeeking noise i have noticed, not sure if all the time, from the front of the engine but not sure what that is..... no "engine" clicking or other kinds of noises thou, it does seem to produce a significant amount of water vapor or whatever from exhaust and not sure if that is normal or not like most people not noticing these things before problems..... exhaust muffler leak.

Have you done a compression or leak down test? Troubles idling but ability to run at speed could be an indicator of the beginning of compression issues. Shutting off the engine allows heat to build up around the cylinder area and may be exaggerating compression issues?

No i haven't done that..... and i guess is should...... i can schedule that with my mechanic friend, just will take some time since he will be doing me a favor by doing this at a discounted rate etc. I have also read that my year cherokee had occasional problems with the head cracking? or something like that but i don't believe everything i read so not sure about that.

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What it sounds like to me is you have a vacuum leak. Idle bogging under load is a pretty common sign of a vac leak. Easy way to test for a vac leak without any gauges is to spray break parts cleaner or carb cleaner all over the motor while its running and when your idle jumps thats the area where your vac leak is at. If that doesn't work I would clean the sensor of your afm with afm cleaner NOT brake parts cleaner! Start with those two things and im 99% positive you will find your culprit and fix it!


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ehh, I actually sold it recently, However, i got a new battery and the problem became much better , after messing around with it, so a new battery fixed it " enough" for me.

So many times we forget the exhaust, after 20 to 30 years things plug up. Back pressure is created. You be be amazed at this answer.

The Jeep XJ was introduced in 1984 not 1997.

2000 Jeep XJ 4.0 is a fuel injected vehicle which has a computer to keep the fuel mixture around 14.7:1. When the vehicle has a vacuum leak it will idle at a higher rpm than normal. I am assuming that "afm" is referring to a mass airflow sensor (MAF) which the XJ does not have. Instead it uses a MAP, a manifold absolute pressure sensor, which can't be cleaned.

Have you changed your air filter? Fuel filter? Have you checked your fuel pressure? Have your put a vacuum gauge on it? The vacuum gauge can tell you if the exhaust is restricted. When you have trouble starting it is the fuel rail hot? Sometimes the fuel rail gets hot enough to vaporize the fuel in it and you get vapor coming out of the injectors rather than liquid fuel causing hard starting. I would look at fuel delivery problems. If the engine speed doesn't increase when you pull a vacuum line that would point to fuel delivery problems.

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Had exact same problem. ODBII indicated check engine light was owing to TPS (Throttle Position Sensor). TPS checked out okay. However problem eventually traced to TPS connector plug. Unplugged, WD40 applied to male/female connections, connection worked by connecting/disconnecting, left overnight. No more stuttering or hesitation in lower gears at 1250 - 1500 rpm. Idles like new. Advise checking electrical connections especially if vehicle lives outside in damp climate.

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Well after going to the shop and running codes, and testing various things physically. The idle control motor is odd..... sometimes it responds to commands to raise the idle and sometimes it does not..... this weekend it ran (OK) but a bit rough and despite one of the comments normally the 4.0L runs smooth.......and then earlier this week the idle was bouncing up and down a bit........something new i guess.

It still has not been completely figured out yet....... I might have to drill a hole in the throttle plate or adjust the screw so the plate is slightly open, that is the current plan, i think one person suggested that and the friend i have suggested the same thing, at least that is the plan for now.

So its a work in progress just diagnosing it and i will update this once the solution is found/fixed and the jeep is running the way it used to.

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My 2001 Jeep Cherokee runs good most of the day and after driving long hours on my mail route it starts to idle rough. I turn it off for a few minutes then when I start up it runs rough and I have to push gas pedal several times to get it back running smooth again. What's up with that,as I have replaced fuel pump,injectors, maf,plugs,coil pack, air valve, wiring harness, and throttle position sensor?

@apounders There's a few more things you can try . Replace the air filter, clean the throttle body . Try buying gas at a different location . Also try getting gas with no ethanol in it for a while and see if your problem persists. You should also look for wireing shorts to the injectors . Have you had the codes read and if so what codes are thrown

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Same problem mine was idle air control valve and tps 229000 miles 4.0 l

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Location Chicago:

I have a 2001 Cherokee and have the same issues with the idle control. This problem has developed over the last 5 years. A few things I have figured out after numerous attempts to fix the issue. It does not seem to matter how often I replace the sensor or test the functions, the symptoms continue to occur in different times of the year. These symptoms seems to occur seasonal or with changes in the weather. I can go months without a single problem and one day…. Dam… it’s not working again. It continues to not function properly for a week or so and suddenly it works for another few months. I know we are gong into our snow season and 3 days ago it started having its issues. I can’t warm up my car in the cold without sitting in it and manually keeping the idle up other wise the idle immediately drops to 0 and engine dies. My idle also has done the opposite and reached almost 2000 rpm or 2,500 rpm and I actually have to press on the brake so it does not move forward. It is scary to hear the engine reach such High levels because I feel I can’t control it.

I can’t use my remote starter because of these problems. Sometimes when I step on the accelerator and give it some gas in high idle it may correct itself, but most likely it does nothing. Extra acceleration does not correct in low idle. People have mentioned that I might have a vacuum leak, but when I tell them that it comes and goes 2 times a year, they look at me in a bewildered way. I have not done a vacuum leak because the symptoms are not continuous. If I had a vacuum leak it would have this problem all the time and it doesn’t.

So, I concluded over several attempts to fix this issue myself and with professional mechanics replacing parts and the symptoms still Come and go twice a year. Seasonal changes must play a role in how my jeep functions. Any advice will be greatly appreciated or I am just crazy. ?

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