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Repair guides and support for the first generation Grand Cherokee ZJ, an upscale mid-size SUV built by Chrysler's Jeep division.

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Stalling during cold weather

I have a 1995 jeep grand cherokee (4x4, 150xxx miles). It tends to stall as I shift from P into reverse (automatic) during cold mornings (30-60 F). or if I let the car warm up for a extended period of time (5 or more minutes) with the heater on. After stalling, the car will crank but not turn over until after 5 minutes; however, if I press on the gas while cranking after the stall, the engine will turn over but will eventually stall again once the RPM drops when I let go of the gas pedal. No check engine light. The car will successfully remain “on” if I let the car rest for ~5 minutes. A lot of white smoke comes out of the exhaust, and the concrete is stained temporarily due to whatever is blowing out of the exhaust. I also smell a chemical odor during these situations.

Side note: sometimes after it starts, the RPM will surge on its own without pressing the gas. This sometimes occurs after putting the car into D — the car will accelerate on its own without pressing on the gas pedal.

Also, some unrelated (but could be related issues) worth noting:

-had a slow, slugging crank for a week that seems to have gone away

-heater has progressively weakened in past few months

-I occasionally hear liquid draining nearby the glovebox which seems to come from under the hood

It stalled at a stop light this cold morning which prompted me to seek help. I’ve done a ton a research and I’m seeing recommendations to replace throttle positioning sensor (my suspicion also), ECM, fuel filter, etc.

Does anyone have any recommendations or similar experience?

Much appreciation in advance,


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What engine is in your Jeep?

I suspect you have a leaking head gasket. That will not be an easy fix. You will need to take that to a repair shop.


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Thats what i was trying to say


Sorry, @thefluffyfist, didn't mean to step on ya.


nah its good man


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If there is white smoke coming out of the exhaust then, the engine is probably burning coolant. you probably have a cracked cylinder head.

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Also, check to see if the coolant has gone down from where it normally is.


Thanks for the quick reply.

The coolant reservoir seems to be empty frequently. Could this be associated with the car stalling? Unfortunately, I can't provide temperature readings at the moment because the sensor that provides that measure in the dashboard is out (I'm realizing that this could be be relevant to the issue?)


yes, it could. what happens when you have a cracked cylinder head or broken seal is the coolant gets into the air/fuel mix and doesn't burn well.


i just reread your problem and i would think that there would be a check engine light if it were burning coolant. I don't 100% know why there wouldn't with all of the sensors cars have now.


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