Jeep Cherokee Seals



My 2001 Jeep Cherokee (plain vanilla … not Grand) has about 90k … in the past couple of years, we (the car and I) have spent a lot of time driving between San Diego and Phoenix, where we spent about 50% of our time (yes, even in the summer). I was recently told by the dealer that I need some seals rebuilt … in order of importance (according to them):

1. Valve Cover reseal ($215)

2. T-Case reseal ($480)

3. Rear Main seal ($510)

4. Oil Filter adaptor o-rings ($115)

5. Rear Pinion seal ($120)

My questions …

a. which, if any, of these can I monitor (and thereby postpone this radical surgery)?

b. does the order of importance sound right?

c. do the estimates sound about right?

Appreciate any feedback.

– Chris


I think the valve cover reseal is way over the mark, for one that should not take that much time and that seal is not that expensive. T-Case reseal i really could not tell you, but the Rear main seal, the Tranny has to come out. Oil filter is a little to much also. Try an independent mechanic as far as pricing goes.


Good news: if your Cherokee has the 4.0 inline six, the rear main seal is a two-piece and the tranny doesn’t have to be dropped to replace it. I’d put this at the top of the importance list.

Realistically, it shouldn’t be more than three hours of labor for a good independent mechanic (I’m not a mechanic, and a buddy and I did a RMS on the 4.2 L Jeep for the first time in about six hours…the process is basically the same).

I think that the prices are way off the mark - find a good independent mechanic, and you’ll save some money.

Also, you don’t mention this - is your Jeep actually leaking oil or any other fluids? It’s common for the RMS and the rear seal on the output shaft of the transfer case to go in the Jeeps with 4.0s and the np231 transfer case, but the other stuff…egh. Most valve covers can seep for the entire life of the car, and never cause a problem, but sometimes they do leak quite a bit.

In fact, before you let anyone touch the rear main, have them verify that’s where the leak is coming from. More than once I’ve seen these Jeeps leak from the back of the valve cover and drip down off of the oil pan or tranny bellhousing…it can look just like a rear main blowout.

I’d say get a second opinion, away from the dealer, before you agree to any work.

  Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee. 

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic.


How much lubricant is being lost from any of these leaks. The oil filter adapter is a leak problematic to the 4.0L Jeep engine but even that leak is not usually critical. If in normal maintenance all fluids can be kept up to safe operating levels and the cost of the fluids is nominal why repair the leaks. If a quart of oil is lost every 1,000 miles and the truck driven 12,000 miles a year the leak is costing less than $40 each year. It would require 13 years of oil savings to pay for the rear main seal repair at that rate. Can you expect the engine to last another 150,000 miles? Keep the crankcase vents clean and look closer at the coolant system and power stearing system which are much more likely to have catastrophic failures which leave you stranded.


Considering you have multiple engine oil leaks on an '01 vehicle with only 90k miles on it, I would suggest checking the PCV valve.

A clogged PCV can pressure up the crankcase and force oil out. The PCV is also cheap and rear main seals are frequently misdiagnosed.


Thanks everyone for your help / insights.

In re the engine configuration … yes, it’s an inline six. And no, there have been no visual signs of leakage (in garage and such, at least).

I will take the car to an independent mechanic this weekend, to see what he has to say … it survived yet another hot high-speed desert crossing, so I guess it’ll go to the weekend.

@Rod … thanks for the prioritization advice … that helps! I will take a closer look at the crankcase vent and such, as you suggest.

@ck4450 … interesting notion, which I’ll have to look at … thanks!!

Again, thanks everyone!