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The 2005-2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV details and buyer guide

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The 2005-2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV details and buyer guide

2008-2010 Grand CherokeeReview1999-20042011-20132014-? Jeep Grand Cherokee

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The 2005-2007 "WK" Jeep Grand Cherokee was the first completely new Grand Cherokee since the original, which had originally been created to be a successor to the classic "XJ" Jeep Cherokee. The vehicle was a joint effort with Mercedes, and as a result ended up with the U.S.'s top safety rating, but a relatively numb feel, a low-cost interior, and arguably lower off-road capability.

The 2005 Grand Cherokee did provide some power boosts, with a choice of four engines: the Hemi, 4.7 V8, 3.7 V6, and (for a time) a 3-liter Mercedes V6 diesel. The 3.7 came with a
Mercedes five-speed automatic, while the V8s all had a Chrysler five-speed automatic with
dual second gears (for six speeds in total). The Hemi brought an
additional 60 hp and 40 lb-ft of torque over the 4.7 High Output V8
with no gas mileage penalty; the V6 brought an extra 15 hp and 5 lb-ft
of torque over the prior year.

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New for 2005 were an active suspension, electronic
differentials, and an independent front suspension. New gadgets, from DVD to
navigation to automatically-lowering headlights, rounded out the package. For 2007, a diesel was added (see below); for 2008, the 4.7 got a major power boost, features were added, interior and exterior styling was tweaked, and other minor changes were made.

An SRT version used the 6.1 liter Hemi (with 420 horsepower) and four wheel drive to outperform competitors costing twice as much; it was fast even by SRT standards, with 0-60 in under five seconds, and was the second fastest SRT (falling behind the Viper). It was also surprisingly popular, and paved the way for the even-more-successful second generation SRT Grand Cherokee.

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Grand Cherokee engines

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The base price for diesel-equipped Grand Cherokees started at $38,475, including destination; it was available with both rear and four wheel drive, on Limited and Overland, in 2007 only. The Bosch-developed Mercedes engine produced 215 hp (160 kW) @ 3,800 rpm and 376 lb.-ft. torque (510 N•m) @ 1,600-2,800 rpm and got an estimated fuel economy of 20 miles city and 25 miles highway for 4x2 models and 20 miles city and 24 miles highway for 4x4 models. Towing capacity was 7,400 pounds, and driving range of about 450 miles led the class. See our review of the Grand Cherokee diesel.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD was fueled with B5 (5%) biodiesel at the assembly plant.

The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine
provided best-in-class power
along with better gas mileage, thanks to the multi-displacement system
which shut off half the cylinders when they were not needed. The speed
of the system (switching in .04 seconds) made its operation
imperceptible, while raising gas mileage by up to 20%;
90% of peak torque was available from 2,400 to 5,100 rpm. Electronic
Throttle Control provided more consistent
speeds under cruise control than the
old mechanical throttle control. The
Hemi was tuned to 325 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque - more
torque and less horsepower than in Ram trucks and cars.

2004 - 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee Engines
4.0 I-6 (2004)1621195230
3.7 V-6 (2005)1621210235
4.7 (2004)1520235295
4.7 (2005)1420230290
4.7 H.O. (2004)1520265330
5.7 (2005)1421325370

The 3.7-liter single-cam V-6
replaced the 1970s-vintage 4.0 straight-six engine, providing higher peak
power and torque at the cost of low-end responsiveness; the engine was lighter, smaller, quieter, and reportedly cheaper to make.

The 4.7-liter V-8 was updated, with dual knock sensors and new engine calibrations. Noise and vibration were
reduced through the use of composite valve covers, changes to the air box and resonator, and improved dampening of
the heat shields. The engine produced 230 hp (172 kW) @ 4700 rpm and
290 lb-ft (393 Nm) of torque @ 3700.

2005 Grand Cherokee automatic transmissions

The five-speed Mercedes automatic transmission (W5A580) used with
the V-6 had partial engagement in third, fourth, and
fifth gears to improve shift feel, economy, and transmission cooling; like other modern Chrysler automatics, including the 545RFE, the shift
schedule adapted to the driver's style, road situations, and other

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The 545RFE five-speed automatic transmission used
with V8s had refinements for higher-quality shifts and increases to
the Grand Cherokee's towing capacity, including a quieter solenoid, and a turbine damper to cut noise and vibration. It continued to provide dual second-gear ratios. The 545RE had three planetary gear sets and one overrunning clutch,
with an electronically controlled torque converter

Both transmissions featured Electronic Range Select (ERS) interactive shift control for the first time on Grand Cherokee; the driver could manually select each gear by moving the
shifter left and right from the "drive" position.

A new stamped steel transfer case skid plate mounted to the
transmission cross member and fuel tank skidplate to provide off-road
protection to the transfer case.

2005-2007 Grand Cherokee Suspension and Steering

The company switched to an independent front suspension for better steering control on bumpy roads. A former Jeep/Truck engineer wrote:

The Grand Cherokee went away from the link-coil front suspension partly for smoother on road manners, and to cater to the pressure from the auto writers. However, a big reason was to be able to stuff the entire powertrain and suspension up into the body [at the assembly plant] in a fraction of a minute, which they couldn't do when the ZJ (original Grand Cherokee) started out (as the XJ Cherokee replacement, to be built on the XJ line). The XJ, ZJ, and WJ were laboriously assembled with the links, springs and axles coming up from below; the engine, transmission, and transfer case were swung in on a hook from above, as you would do at home (including the banging and cursing). The WK update was a boon to manufacturing efficiency.
The DHS uses the steering angle sensor, center of
gravity lateral accelerometer, and upper lateral accelerometer to
determine when the stabilizer bar is necessary. Actuators pressurize
the bar links when it is needed; otherwise, the actuators float and the bar can travel to the limits of
the links.

Front suspension wheel travel was
increased 13% (over an inch) over the 1999-2004 Grand Cherokee. The independent front suspension reduced head toss, saved 100 pounds of unsprung mass, and provided more precise steering,
and a lower center of gravity. The main losses in moving from the older, cheaper suspension design was lower dynamic ground clearance and the ability to relatively easily "lift" the suspension.

Nodular iron lower control arms were shaped for higher ground clearance; forged upper control arms increased durability. The setup used coil-over shocks.

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The 2005 Grand Cherokee rear suspension was an evolution of previous Jeep multi-link systems. Four tubular control arms
combined with a tubular track bar for total rear-axle control. The shock
absorbers were positioned more vertically than in past models for
greater body control and reduced head toss.

Grand Cherokee's new rack and pinion steering system imparted a more
precise steering feel translated to the driver through fewer linkages
than a recirculating ball steering system.

Chrysler's hydraulic-control active stabilizer system was tagged "Dynamic Handling System (DHS)" and came standard with the Hemi engine. It reduced body roll, while providing a smoother ride. The Jeep DHS effectively decoupled the front and rear stabilizer bars
except when they were needed for cornering.

The first Jeep electronic stability control system, essentially Mercedes' setup, helped drivers to maintain directional stability in severe
driving, especially on poor surfaces. The system used sensor data to calculate brake and
throttle adjustments when needed, calling in the electronic throttle control and antilock brake systems.


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seven-slot grille was painted body color on Laredo,
and chromed on Limited. The hood, air
dam and exterior mirrors were developed in Chrysler's wind
tunnel in Auburn Hills to minimize wind noise and maximize

The body was designed to protect the sides from road debris thrown off by the tires, replacing the old model's cladding. Badges were now injection-molded and chrome-plated.

A new interior included a two-tone
instrument panel, new door trims and upscale interior
finishes. Laredo seats were covered in cloth, with optional
leather, while Limited seats were two-tone leather with perforated
leather seat inserts. Gaps were reduced and parting lines minimized; storage bins were added.

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The four-gauge instrument cluster had LED illumination
with red
pointers. A new gated automatic transmission shifter had a chrome bezel; on
models with a two-speed transfer case, the manual case
lever was replaced with an electric "T-handle" lever (lifting it toggled between regular and low mode).

In the cargo area, a reversible
load door panel was carpeted on one side and with easy-to-clean
plastic on the other. The plastic side included a large shallow tray.

4x4 systems reviewed

Three full-time four-wheel-drive systems were available:

Quadra-Trac® I

on-demand four-wheel drive with no driver

Quadra-Trac® II

Used the new NV245 transfer case for
full-time active four-wheel drive, with electronic shift and a low-range gear and neutral setting.

Quadra-Drive® II

Included Electronic Limited Slip
Differentials (ELSD), replacing
the Vari-Lock progressive axles for quicker responses and greater torque capacity.
Quadra-Trac I

The NV140 transfer case split torque 48/52 percent (front/rear) for
nearly even distribution of engine power. The case was compatible with the Brake Traction Control
System (BTCS).

Quadra-Trac II

The Quadra-Trac II 4 x 4 system for 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee used the NV245 active transfer case and brake traction control.

The transfer case took sensor input to determine tire slip
and take corrective action. The system
also used Throttle Anticipate, sensing quick movement in throttle
from a stop, and took steps to maximize traction before tire
slippage even occured. Torque was transferred to the individual wheels as needed by the BTCS
to maintain traction. When the system
senses tire slipped, it modulated brake pressure to the slipping wheel,
which directed torque to the tires with the best traction.

Quadra-Trac II had an electronic shift mechanism and a neutral position for
towing behind another vehicle.

Quadra-Drive II

The Quadra-Drive II Jeep 4 x 4 system combined the NV245 full-time transfer case
with Electronic Limited Slip Differentials (ELSD). In some
cases, it anticipated low traction and adjusted to
proactively limit or eliminate slip.

The NV245 active transfer case included a center differential coupled with an
electronically controlled clutch pack, varying it from a completely
open state to completely locked, and infinite possibilities in between.
The 4-Low gear ratio was 2.72:1.

A key component was the electronic limited slip differential (ELSD), an
industry first application, which used electronically controlled clutch
packs to automatically and instantly vary from slip to lock at each
axle. This maximized traction when needed without any of the on-road
drawbacks normally associated with such a robust 4 x 4 system.

All components of the system worked together, continually monitoring
needs, to provide smooth and automatic application of the components. For example, the ELSD released the clutch
packs in the front axle during turns to allow differentiation and
prevent crow hop.

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Other amenities

Other 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee amenities (some of which were optional) included:

  • SmartBeam® headlamps that automatically dim with oncoming traffic
  • The obligatory rear seat DVD entertainment system
  • UConnect® hands-free communication
  • Navigation system
  • Automatic windshield wipers
  • Adjustable pedals
  • Dual zone heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
  • Front and side air bags with protection from A to C pillars
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems
  • Rear park assist
Common Jeep Grand Cherokee problems

early Grand Cherokees, built before March 20, 2005, the radio antenna
may accidentally ground itself, hurting the radio signals. This can be
fixed by a dealer relatively quickly.

Other early Grand
Cherokees (built before May 1, 2005) may have had problems with the door
glass sticking, moaning, binding, or tracking poorly; there were various
adjustments and repairs listed in a Jeep service bulletin to fix this
(TSB 23-023-05).

The Mercedes transmission was apparently extremely
sensitive to fluid quality and would shudder badly when the torque
converter clutch was applied with even a 0.5% water dose. The temporary
fix was to flush the fluid thoroughly (Chrysler recommended a triple
flush) and put in a new filter; the long-term fix was to apply RTV
(form-a-gasket) to the base of the transmission fill tube to avoid
contimination. If the fill
tube was incorrectly installed - that was, if the seal was not perfectly
flush with the transmission housing - that must
be fixed first, so it was completely flush. It could take up to two hours.
The warranty covered it, according to TSB

Finally, a squeak coming from the outside
door handle may be caused by a plastic clip that attached the latch rod
to the door handle; a dealer can regrease it using special grease. This
was resolved after April 11, 2005 on domestic models and May 15 on
international models.

The door trim panel retainers were to be replaced every
time the door is removed; use part 06507686AA.


The 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee was produced at the Jefferson North
Assembly Plant in Detroit, starting in the third quarter of 2004.
Assembly for markets outside North America began in the first
quarter of 2005 at the Magna Steyr assembly plant in Graz, Austria.

2007 changes to the Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • New colors; black body molding for Laredo (appearance upgrade); body color door handles on all Laredos
  • Revised rear taillights
  • Brushed aluminum stainless steel front sill guards on Overland
  • Improved finish on upper instrument panel
  • Color keyed interior color cup holders
  • Laredo: Center console bezel changed from black to match other interior bezels; chrome accent HVAC knobs; cut and sew padded vinyl center arm rest; chrome rings on instrument gauges; various package changes
  • Remote start
  • Electronic throttle control and electronic EGR on V6
  • P245/65R17 Goodyear Fortera replaces Wrangler SRA and HP as standard tire
  • ParkView Rear Back-up Camera-optional on Laredo and Limited
  • Active turn signals-"3-Blink Lane Change"
  • Standard side curtain air bags
  • SRT-8 gets a rear camera (obstacle-avoidance aid) and remote start
Jeep Grand Cherokee at Allpar

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