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Quirks of the 97 model

SSTJ

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I thought it might be nice, for us owners of the 97 model, to keep track of some quirks.

Post your known quirks so we can know in advance, instead of learning the hard way.

I’ll make a list and update it so folks don’t have to scroll through each post. I'm just pulling from the posts in this thread and others, so I can't take credit (or blame!) for what's below. Correct me if you see something wrong.

———

General:
  • See this thread for an overview of TJ changes by year.
  • This forum's copy of the 97 FSM was updated in mid-2021. See here if you downloaded it previously.
  • Not a quirk, but FYI that 97s become "antique" cars in some states starting in 2022. See here and here.
  • Early 97s manufactured in 95 had a mix of YJ and TJ parts. Models manufactured in 96 were all TJ parts, or so I've read.
  • Jeep never made a 96 model TJ. The 97 was supposed to be released as a 96 but there were manufacturing delays. However, it seems that there were some 96 exports. See here for details.

Electrical:
  • 97s and 98s have different PDC connectors. See here.
  • For a discussion of 97 cruise control resistance settings, see here.
  • Some 97s have different color wiring for the speed sensors. See here for pics.
  • Some UK 97s have a different "immobilizer" than 98-and-up models do. The fix is here.
  • 97 manual transmission models have a different clutch safety switch. See here for details.
  • Some 97s have radio antenna thread of 1/4–28, whereas other TJs have 5/16–18. See here.
  • 97–98s have different electrical connectors to the fuel injectors. See here for details and a pic.
  • Some early 97s have a different under-hood PDC fuse and relay block, which matches the XJ's. See here.
  • The 97 TCC pass-through connector and solenoid connectors are different. See here and next few replies.
  • The 97 VSS would break down internally and leak ATF up into the electrical connector— hence the redesign.
  • The 97-99 models have the AC mounted on passenger side. This means the Durango alternator swap won't work.
  • The 97s (and maybe others?) have a grounding strap from the upper end of the gas filler tube to the frame. See here
  • Early 97 models manufactured in 96 use some electrical parts (like sensors) from the YJ. TPS and VSS, among others.
  • Some 97s have an AC blower motor (under dash) with pigtail connecting to harness, instead of harness plug. Pics and PNs here.
  • Some early 97s also have an AC blower motor switch that is different than other TJs and YJs. Seems hard to find. See here.
  • The 97 had different light bulbs in a few places:
    • Step / Footwell / Courtesy Light: 89
    • Sound Bar / Dome: 906
    • HVAC and Instrument: 74
    • Front side marker bulbs are also unique to 97s. See here for pics and scroll down for a link.
    • Tail lights use a 4-pin GM weatherpack, just like YJ. 98s and later use a proprietary plug. See also here.
    • For all other bulbs, see here.

Frame & Body:
  • Few-to-no quirks when it comes to doing a body lift. See here.
  • Apparently, some of the transition models came with leaf springs.
  • 97 models have three cowl vents, whereas later models have just one.
  • Under those cowl vents, the AC air intake has no cover. See here and here.
  • 1997 and 1998 were the only years that used Mist Gray for an interior color.
  • 97s had two grilles with different hood-latch mechanisms. See here. Part numbers are here.
  • '97 half doors had plastic track attached with push pins and two-sided tape. Rubber seal slides into track. Pics here.
  • 97s have different door hinges, which means two thing:
    • 1) You can't remove the OEM metal bushings by pounding upward (from the bottom) with the tapper-tool that comes with replacement bushing sets. Instead, you have to chisel the top edge loose and pull it out from above with pliers.
    • 2) You can't use any of the replacement bushing sets without trimming them down to about 3/4 of their original length. Buy Delrin bushings instead of ABS so you can trim them without shattering the bushing.
    • See here and here for details.
  • There were two different latches used on the '97 TJ based manufacture date. For more, see here and here.
    • HOOK, Hood Safety Catch 55074952AB 1 (Up to 1-2-97)
    • HOOK, Hood Safety Catch 55176731AA 1 (After 1-3-97)
    • The screw that holds it is: SCREW, Tapping, M6x1x20.

Engine & Drivetrain:
  • 97 was the only year a TJ had 3.55 gears with a Dana 44 option.
  • 97 4.0s had a TSB for weak valve springs that could cause a misfire. See here.
  • 97 fan clutch is held to the water pump by 4 separate 5/16" nuts and all thread studs.
  • 97 4.0s have 15mm bolts on the manifolds, not 14mm. 2.5s had 14mm bolts. See here and scroll down.
  • 97–98s have different electrical connectors to the fuel injectors. See here for details and a pic.
  • 97s have the evap canister under the hood. It was also a different canister than used in other year models.
  • 97 2.5Ls had the fuel rail damper located opposite side of rail from regular 2.5Ls, and also used a vacuum line.
  • 97s (some) have different plug for speedo gear. Pins vs blades in the connector (important for super short SYE).
  • Big quirk in the wiring of the 01-03 1996 build dates. @Wildman has more to offer here.

Interior:
  • The non-cruise, one-piece steering wheel was only used for 1997 and early 1998 models.
  • The ignition key cylinder has older-style turn grips that was only used on 1997 and early 1998 models.
  • 1997 and 1998 models were the only years that used "sliders" to control the HVAC system. Discussion here.
  • The 1997 and early 1998 windshield visors don't have those stupid, colorful airbag warning and child seat labels yet.
  • Early 97s did not use the fabric strap to hold the glove box in place. They used a plastic "catch" that is built into the box itself.

Misc:
  • 97s were the only year to have "Unleaded Fuel Only" written on the gauge cluster.
 
Last edited:

Jerry Bransford

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Very early 97 models like mine that was manufactured 3/96 use a lot of electrical parts like sensors from the '95 YJ. My '97 needed a new throttle position sensor and the one made for a 97 didn't fit. Both me and the Jeep dealer's parts guy were scratching our heads with that one. Tried one from a 95 YJ and it fit and worked perfectly.
 

TJRick

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 2, 2019
Messages
414
Location
South Carolina
I thought it might be nice, for us owners of the 97 model, to keep track of some quirks.

For instance, on this forum I’ve learned that my glove box straps, and my dome light bulb, and my hood cowl, are different than other models’, etc.

Post your known quirks so we can know in advance, instead of learning the hard way.

I’ll make a list and update it so folks don’t have to scroll through each post.

I have an early 1998 model, and it has a few of the 1997 "quirks."

- The non-cruise one piece steering wheel was only used for 1997 and early 1998 models.

- The ignition key cylinder has older-style turn grips that was only used on 1997 and early 1998 models.

- The 1997 and early 1998 windshield visors don't have those stupid, colorful airbag warning and child seat labels yet.

- 1997 and 1998 models were the only years that used "sliders" to control the HVAC system.

- 1997 and 1998 were the only years that used Mist Gray for an interior color.
 
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LittleTankTJ

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Some 97s also have a different plug for speedometer gear. Pins vs blades in the connector (important for super short SYE)
 
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SSTJ

SSTJ

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Oh no my 97 is already quirkier than I thought.

Keep them coming and I’ll update the list when I’m at a computer.

@LittleTankTJ do you know more about those bulb numbers?

@TheBoogieman I assume you mean that the Dana 44 was NOT an option for the 97s?
 

Fishtaco

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The paint was definably better! very early TJ,s seem to sparkle after a wash & Polish much better than later models!
My 2006 must have been painted in water color! lol
 
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SSTJ

SSTJ

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Just learned on another thread that “As some may know the 97-99 have the AC mounted on the passenger side so the dorango alt. Won't work.”
 

97' 4 Popper

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Manufactured December 1996, only drove it for a year 2019-2020 it is unfortunately gone now because of frame damage. :cry: Sold to a redneck type that cut the body up put 35s on it without no lift and regear. It will probably be in a junkyard in a few years.

I don't know if it was specific to the 97', but my 97 would flash check gauges and zero oil pressure because of the sending unit. After 2002 they went with the idiot gauge iirc. Also it seems 97 is the only year that produced almost 50% of the Tjs with 4 cylinders.
 
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TJRick

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I don't know when it changed, but 97s have the evap canister under the hood.

My '98 also has it under the hood, but I think they were all located there for a few years.

But you are on to something - the EVAP canister that was used in '97 was different than all the others.
 
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LittleTankTJ

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My '98 also has it under the hood, but I think they were all located there for a few years.

But you are on to something - the EVAP canister that was used in '97 was different than all the others.
Oh yea. Mine went bad. It's not replaceable. The duralast VC120 fits in the same spot though and seems to work
 

machoheadgames

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-3x cowl vents (also had more problems with leaks than all other TJs)
-AC slider knobs (also used in most/all 98s)
-Older YJ sensors in many locations (confirmed TPS and VSS for sure, likely others as well. Old style VSS would break down internally and leak ATF up into the electrical connector, hence the redesign)
-Tail lights use a 4-pin GM weatherpack, just like YJ, 98+ use a proprietary plug
-Optional 3.55 ratio, rather than 3.73

Probably a few others I'm forgetting as well, that's off the top of my head.
 
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