18th Dec 2003, 11:47

My interior lights dim and brighten without any reason too. My trans is shot. I just replaced normal wear items: brakes, shocks, wires, plugs. Also, replace radiator, thermostat, drive belt, rear wiper motor, shorted out radio, and the motor was rebuilt. This weekend in the cold (~30 degrees F) my drivers side rear door window shattered like magic! I don't know if I want to fix the trans or not. I still drive it to work everyday, but the cars not really worth anything if I sell it.

5th Jan 2004, 11:30

I have a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. I purchased my Jeep in 2000 with 74,000 miles. Until 2 years ago I just had normal problems with my Jeep and was very happy with it. We had a huge snow storm and I had problems getting the Jeep to go out of 4 wheel drive. It would go in with no problems, but I had to drive in reverse and yank it back into 2 wheel drive; and then it felt like the whole bottom fell out. Now I am having problems with my steering wheel. The steering wheel turns completely around and the whole front end feels as if it's not matching with the wheels. My steering wheel also is making this knocking noise. My seals starting leaking around the transmission which cost me a lot of money to replace them. I'm at my wit's end and not very happy at all. I'd love to trade it in, but I have $5000 left to pay on it and I found out it's only worth $3000.

8th Jan 2004, 23:02

Your dash light issue is likely a headlight switch. I just replaced mine and the flashing problem is gone.

A good way to test this is to push on the switch or the dimmer switch when it is happening. If the problem stops, you have found the solution.

A new switch with auto lamp and fog lights is $84.00 from the dealer and EASY to replace.

2nd Apr 2004, 11:21


What was the reason you replaced the second gear? My tranny has problems shifting from 2nd to 3rd unless I let up off the gas substantially. Is this a similar problem?

And to everyone else, I notice that when my interior lights dim or lighten that it is when it is getting lighter of darker outside. I know that when I have my exterior lights on automatic, they come on when they consider it dark enough. At this point my interior lights will dim as well. My take on it is that it's programed to do so so that you can see your lights during the day and at night they are not too bright.


15th Apr 2004, 20:35

We bought our 1996 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 4 years ago. We didn't have many problems with it until this year. however, we have a serious problem shifting from 2 to 3. It used to be sometimes, now it just wouldn't go into gear. They said we need to replace the transmission. I wonder if this is a common problem with this model. We also have that noise from the back, we tried to get it fixed a couple of times, I thought it was coming from the muffler, but they could never fix it.

However, the transmission is very important. Could you please let us know if you found a solution for it?


21st Jun 2004, 17:26

I have had several problems with my '96 Grand Cherokee too. Got stuck in part time and didn't know it till AAA was towing me to the nearest dealer, lights dimming in the dash, had trans rebuilt, rear wiper doesn't work, replaced fuel pump twice radiator went, throttle repaired.

But the problem that no one can solve now is that, the car will cut off for no reason at all while on a highway or city street. The dealer can't find the problem; But I could be cruising along on I.95 not a problem in the world and all of a sudden the car will cut off. I pull over to the side wait about a minute and can turn it back on. Like nothing ever happened. No clue as to the problem though. Anybody had this?

2nd Jul 2004, 09:27

I bought my 96 Laredo (4.0 I6) in Oct. 2000 with about 52,000 miles on it and drove it for about 3 years without any big repairs (replaced oil sending unit, cat converter, nothing too expensive).

I now have a cracked exhaust manifold and have received estimates from $750+ to replace it. Per my mechanic, the factory manifolds suffered from poor design; the gooseneck on it is smooth and therefore has a tendency to crack from heating and cooling over time. The replacement manifold has ridges (like an accordion) that allow it to expand and contract without cracking.

My jeep guy also warned me that the biggest problem to worry about is the transmission. Apparently Jeep used two types in '96; one built by Chrysler and the other by a third party. One (the Chrysler if I remember correctly) tends to have more problems.

I too have the "light dimming" issue. I see someone suggested it's due to a change in the amount of sunlight. I've never noticed this to be the reason, but I'll keep it in mind.

18th Oct 2004, 16:45

Apparently the 1996 Grand Cherokee Laredo has repetitious flaws in it's engineering. Mine suffers from the same cracked manifold, but I have also been told by my mechanic that the evaporator has poor drainage, causing the coil to deteriorate. He's said that he's had to replace up to three for the same owner and the cost is not cheap. The part is 2-3 hundred, but most costly is the 6.5 hours labor to install it. It is truly a money pit! As a previous comment was made, I'm also going foreign. i.e. Nissan. It's more upfront, but less costly in the long run. Brian.

28th Apr 2005, 12:11

The interior lights going dim to bright is definitely the headlight switch.

Mine has been doing it for about a month now, "jiggle" the headlight switch to correct problem until I realized that when you turn the switch to off, it doesn't always close the connection resulting in a dead battery.

Replaced battery and headlight switch, problem fixed.

My 96 is beginning to leak fluids, looks like I am in for big repairs soon.

My doors now sometimes lock, sometimes not.

Passenger side window only opens/closes from the drivers side controls. Sometimes all windows do not operate unless I turn the car off and then back on again, must be a switch for that as well.

Replacement parts have been difficult for me as well, local parts stores have parts, but never are the correct fit... IE Headlight switch, horn relay.

Still, I'm hard pressed not to love my Jeep.

2nd Jul 2005, 15:42

I purchased my 96 Jeep Grand Cherokee just 2 months ago and had to drive half way across the USA with it the first month. Made it fine from Florida to Missouri, then stopped in Alabama and the water pump went out. The 2 radiator hoses also collapsed, so had to replace those. (total 400.00) Now I've noticed the common Transmission problem from shifting to 3rd gear. There for the fist 2 weeks after I noticed it, I would let up on the gas a lot and it would shift. Now sometimes I have to pull over, put it in park, turn it off then restart it and it will be fine for a while. Other than that no problems so far. I just hope its not a complete transmission repair thing I have to do.

Anyone have more insight let me know what you did to fix it.