Fuel Filter Issue or Something Else?

1999 Jeep Cherokee Limited, 4.0L, 4WD, I-6,

199,000 Miles

Every once in a while, after I start the car and drive maybe 50 feet, the jeep will sputter and have trouble accelerating. I push the gas peddle and it sputters (kind of jerky motion) and doesn?t increase speed. If I remove my foot from the accelerator and press slowly back down (I have to repeat this usually about three times before it works), it ?fixes? itself and drives fine. It only happens shortly after starting and it only occurs occasionally.

Nothing in the fuel system has ever been replaced, including the fuel filter (because of its inconvenient location).

200K miles and the fuel filter has never been changed? It’s a wonder that it runs at all.
Of course, I must assume that you have neglected at least some of the other maintenance that should have been done, so it could be something else too.

Thank you for your quick response. I’ve had all the maintenance as recommended in the manual and there is no recommendation for changing the fuel filter. I do periodically clean the fuel injectors and use Seafoam fuel additive. Those are the only things related to the fuel system that I think I’ve had done (outside manual recommendations). It is fairly expensive to change the fuel filter in Cherokees since you have to remove the gas tank (at least that’s the case with mine). This problem only occurs once every few months. So, are these the symptoms you would expect to see with a clogged fuel filter?

Other then that, the Jeep runs great with the original engine and transmission. I plan on keeping it for a while, so I really appreciate you taking the time to help me trouble-shoot the issue.

I would not think a fuel filter would be an intermittent issue, but it may be causing occasional problems with the gas pump. Change the filter, and go from there. I had a toyota you basically had to remove the starter motor to change the filter. Do you like a car that runs? Use the manual for a min and pay someone to do it if you do not want to tackle it.

You’re correct. The fuel filter and the fuel pressure regulator is part of the fuel pump assembly. Geez! You got almost 200,000 miles out of the pump assembly! I wouldn’t complain too much if that’s the problem.