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1990 Jeep Cherokee overheating

Recently bought a 1990 Jeep Cherokee in very good condition. I was advised right up front that with it’s inline 6 engine type space was really small in the radiator area and it ran hot. I have noticed it climbing upwards of 210 (per guage). I do not run the air conditioner even though it is equiped. Is there anything I can do to decrease the temperature? It has a single chamber , metal radiator currently with the pressurized “closed” system. Everything appears to be working well, I just do not want to take a chance of doing major damage if it were to overheat. Advice?

If it’s always running too hot, there may be a faulty/incorrect thermostat installed, or even blockage somewhere in the radiator or cooling system.

They didn’t design them to run hot, so something’s not right. Get it investigated and repaired.

In the meantime, you can try driving with the windows open and the heater on to keep it a bit cooler, but it may not help.


It has actually never run hot as of yet, the temp sets at or around 210-220…is that normal for this vehicle? I just get neurotic when I see it climb above the halfway mark on the guage !

Agreed. I have owned a few straight 6 cylinder jeeps and have never had an overheating problem.

" I was advised right up front that with it’s inline 6 engine type space was really small in the radiator area and it ran hot" (Making this false information)

Try flushing the radiator and a new thermostat

210 is about where mine runs tops. then “apparently” thermostat opens and it cools down

I will keep an eye on it and see. Maybe turn on the air and see what happens then, without causing damage of course. Thanks for advice! Greatly appreciated!

Does the overheating occur when idling and in heavy slow moving traffic only? That was a problem with the early Cherokees in hot weather.

I have only owned the vehicle for 4 days now, I usually only drive back and forth from work only . Yesterday I had errands to run so drove it a bit more. It stays at or around 210 (halfway on the guage) . Yesterday it got a bit above that so I became concerned and turned on the heat. I have never had the air conditioner on so I do not know if that will or will not affect it. I can only guess that it would become hotter if it were just sitting. I can check it this evening.

Is your temperature gauge numerically graduated? I thought that the gauge was marked with ‘normal’ and ‘hot.’ And like most gauges they are accurate enough to indicate changes in engine temperature but not accurate enough to determine the actual temperature. If the cooling system is properly filled with clean coolant, the thermostat is operating properly and the system is in good condition it should run at 190* +/-. But as I mentioned earlier the early models seemed to have problems when idling. I have added an additional fan to the condenser and saw an improvement on Cherokees used on RFD mail routes. And, I owned several that my wife and kids drove and all indicated a problem at idle. If shifted to neutral and the idle raised to about 1500 RPM the temperature would quickly drop to normal on those with a belt driven fan. You might carefully open the hood and squeeze the upper radiator hose to check the pressure and temperature when the gauge indicates HOT. If it is above 210* the hose should be quite stiff and too hot to handle bare handed. But please be careful. I had a radiator cap blow off just as I opened the hood of an overheating truck.

A coolant temp of 210-230 degrees is normal for this vehicle on a hot summer day. The wife had a 1990 Jeep Cherokee with the 4.0 liter engine and that’s where coolant temperature ran in the summer.


Thank you all for your comments! It appears I was stressing about something that is a common issue but one I need to just be aware of. I checked yesterday both idling (at 210-230) and driving(195-210) so I am going to assume this is just normal for this vehicle. I have a numerically graduated gauge so it is easy to just keep glancing at it. I just did not want to cause damage. If I did attempt to put another fan in…where would I put it? LOL The space is really confined in there.

I’m with Tester. We have 4 Jeeps in the family, all with 4.0l straight 6’s. They all run in the 210-230 range.