Older Jeep Grand Cherokee under investigation for gas tank problem

1998 and 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited

According to Automotive News, the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV is under an investigation for possible gas tank problems.  So far, the NHTSA has been notified of 13 deaths as the result of 10 crashes, while Business Week is reporting a total of 55 deaths.  The investigation is reportedly being asked for by the Center for Automotive Safety, a non-profit group founded by Ralph Nader.  Chrysler is cooperating with the NHTSA fully, and although “The existence of these post-crash fires does not, by itself, establish a defect … Further review and investigation into these incidents is needed.”

It’s important to note that this is not a recall, only an investigation.  The suspected problem is the gas tank in the Grand Cherokee, which is ill-located in relation to the rear axle and bumper, and lacks proper shielding.  For the 2005 model, Chrysler moved the tank and added more shielding to prevent possible fires related to rear-end collisions.

The Center for Automotive Safety is calling on Chrysler to recall all Grand Cherokees built from 1993-2004, citing 172 fire crashes which resulted in 254 deaths.

Stay tuned for more developments and any recalls which may be associated with the investigation.

by John Suit

Source: Automotive News and Business Week

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13 Responses to “Older Jeep Grand Cherokee under investigation for gas tank problem”


  • This is really interesting. Today while getting an oil change, my 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which has been smelling of gas for weeks with the engine light on, was looked at by the young man doing the change. The gas vapors coming from my vehicle are so strong there is no mistaking something is wrong. Looking at the shield on the gas tank, there was visible gas moisture leaking through the shield indicating gas is leaking between the tank and the shield and possibly pooling inside. I’ve had a reading from the “check engine”light that is not in any way connected to the gas issue, I’ve just had the vehicle at a jeep dealer to complete other issues for items I found out were recalled. Why didn’t they indicate at that time there may be a tank issue? The smell of gas is definite. Why are these vehicles not being recalled? Am I potentially now driving my vehicle with the risk of it exploding into a fireball? I’d like more information on where this investigation stands. How many tanks in Canada have already been replaced for this model of jeep? It seems to me accountability should be with Jeep and customers should not be at the mercy of having to repair/replace gas tanks that are a hazard as a result of the manufacturer.
    M.Quartermain

  • I am so worried about my Jeep now, Ive tried to sell it but I took it off for sale because I really dont want to sell something that could explode on someone else. We have a limited 1 income family so I cant just go get another one. I used every bit of my income tax money to pay cash and have no other options now but to drive it and pray that I dont get hit from behind. I have 3 children 14, 16, 17 that ride in it as well as my husband. With all the people texting and driving it is very easily to get hit by someone not paying attention. My Girls and I all are very fearful when driving this. I think that we should be all be given new vehicles or at least one that is not on the hit list for the tank that is in the very back right underneath the bumper. Its not right to for Jeep and Chrysler to have their customers in fear of their entires families lives. Toyota had a huge problem and recalled all their cars and they lost a lot of money… but I respect them and would still purchase from them becaue they made things right even when they knew that it was going to hurt their pocket books. Why put us in this position of imagaining us my entire famiy being hit not even hard enough for injury but enough for an explosion and us all burn alive. Have you ever had to clean up a mess of burned flesh… it smells like bacon and the car is very greasy.. it happened to a whole family that I was friends with many years ago. PLEASE Im begging you to do the right thing and Take your Dangered Jeep Cherokee and make it right for those of us who have no option but to keep driving the thing….I believe I speak for thousands of others who do not have big bank accounts and purchased their Grand Jeep Cherokee’s and then found out afterwards that they were a hell fire death trap.

    Pierce City Missouri

  • FOOD FOR THOUGHT…
    How about the executive’s of the company all Ride in one of these Grand Jeep Cherokee’s that have the Gas tank in the back for 1 month and see if that is all they think about everytime that they come to a stop sign and see if they panic or are extremly watchful when someone comes to close or at each stop light. That is NOT HOW we should have to drive our cars in all kinds fear and holding your breath and always making sure when stopping that you are at least 20 feet behind the other vehcile in case I need to escape from someone who might hit me from behind.

  • I have a 99 grand cherokee limited and the skid plate under my gas tank somehow has a perfect 3 sides of a complete square dropping down from the gas tank, the skid plate had started to rust and this happened suddenly, now I am trying to find a replacement plate. No recall! This should be as I feel it a hazzard, love my jeep always did, but I don’t want to get rear ended either.

  • I also have a 1999 jeep grand Cherokee limited which has began to emit high gas fumes. It also has moisture on the tank which appears to be run off from the upper tank. Please keep me updated of further issues. I also have had other issues that are unrelated to the gas tank, such as electrical, brakes and heating/cooling fan.

  • Is there anyway for us, as consumers, to influence a recall on these vehicles? I also have a 99 Grand Cherokee which I am unable to drive as it has a steady gas leak from the tank and is unsafe. A replacement tank through Jeep-Chrysler cost $649.00 and the fuel module, which must be replaced with the tank is $349.00, for a total of $1085.00. That is a ridiculous amount to have to pay to cover their mistake!
    We deserve to drive and arrive alive!!!!!!!!

  • Yes – but you’ll have to submit any issues you have with a vehicle to the NHTSA through their web site. The link for reporting defects is:
    https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/index.cfm

  • My 99 just started rusting over last fee months (to were it was noticeable). Now today the skid plate totally rusted off to were it was dangling there. It is off now. Not sure what to do. My 17 year old daughter drives it to school daily. I have to figure something out to protect it myself, so I can sleep and not worry about her driving a dangerous vehicle!

  • Ok so I have a 98 jeep grand Cherokee 5.9l engine is the gas tank all plastic or is the parasitic just basically a shield from an internal tank. Is the tank metal or not basically the actual tank

  • Ethan, usually the tank is metal, with plastic shielding to protect it. Your dealer would know for sure. A quick Google search brought up no consensus on the subject.

    -John

  • glad I removed hitch on my 1999 jeep grand Cherokee to repaint and I noticed how rusted out my gas tank shield is .I also noticed that my gas tank was leaking so I removed rusted out shield and seen that nothing else holds tank in vehicle.i did report this as my jeep is in great shape and also runs great.just a warning to other owners of jeep as this is very unsafe for all .I do see that they sell new ones at 400 hundred for shield and 4-6 hundred for tank plus labor.common in all from 1993-2004 so I found online.no junkyards have any that are not rusted.

  • I have a 2008 grand cherokee that is coverd in rust at the back end on the underside. I have just repaired The diesel tank and shot blasted and painted the cover. Tow hitch bracket is in need of replacing, its that bad

  • i have just finished removing my tank and fixing the gas leak i had witch was fuel line related. i put a new used tank in but was not needed,they are plastic and not the problem.
    the fuel line and replacement solutions will shock anyone and a good solution needs to be addressed , oem fuel line replacement was not available and dorman parts are all you have to work with . yes they work and im back on the road but… a solution from fuel filter to fuel pump with crysler fittings ready to go with proper slack for lowering the tank would end mechanic frustration, thanks for listening .

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