1996 jeeo cherokee country 4x4 6 cyl


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Hello. I have a 96 jeep that use to recently run (last tested this summer). Its a rust bucket but it sure runs. its my driveway plow and nothing more.

Since my dad left years ago, I decided to change the oil myself. its probably been on the same oil for at least 3 years+

It was now near winter and i stupidly forgot to check if its running fine

Problem 1: i loosened the wrong bolt looking for the oil. The bolt was hard af, and i couldnt get it to re-torque. Things didnt sound great when it came loose. The bolt didnt come out either.

I think it was the tranny fluid reservoir, its a metallic pan to the southear of the oil drain. No fluid came out. pretended to re-torque it and moved on.

Problem 2: i drained allll the oil, and it sure was black, and i put in 6 quarts new oil. I tried to crank the jeep. It cranked. It may have fired a bit, it occasionally makes sound. but it failed to start. I spilled probably a cup or 2 of oil all over the engine block somewhat close to distributor but i dont think that was cause for concern.

I had a mechanic take a very quick look- distributor was sparking find. i checked gas pressure- it squirts when i test it pretty nicely. Allthough the fuel filter is ancient. He recommended i hit the cap with wd40 and said the engine is flooded... with gas?

I have left the hood open before, for a while. probably in the rain.

Diagnostics: Fuel seems pressurized, distributors sparking, starters cranking, BUT engine sometimes fires or rolls over or something. it usually does it alot when i dont start it in a while but if ive been starying it it wont do anything.

Did the loosened bolt break a belt/gear preventing starting (its 4x4 so idk if this applies)? Is this a symptom of too much oil? (even spilling 2 cups, oil so old probably tons of sludge, oil dipstick kinda shows too much oil but the whole dipstick entry is oily so cant tell.

Ive tried starter fluid, and even wd40 to try and dry out potential water in the air hole.

from my research its not a fuel or pressure problem. and from my mechanic and wd 40 test its probably not the distributor (i cleaned the cap and eveything looked good)

Battery is new, fuel filter looks in bad shape but am getting some pressure (itll squirt about foot). plus starter fluid should work if it was fuel pressure problem.

Any body have any clue/ suggestion? i have an obd2 and i noticed the gen light, i think, though i have a fully charged fairly new battery that should start it by herself plus a jumper. Ive been abusing the starter so much every now and then and dont want to abuse it any more without better research.

I think, maybe in the summer when things really dry out itd probably run. Im inclined to think somethings flooded with fuel or water but I need some opinions here. Not a car guy at all but been learning alot with this jeep. was my first oil change and i sure polluted the groundwater a good bit.

said the engine is flooded... with gas?

That is pretty common when cranking too long without the engine starting. It will dry out given a little time. Only good way to test fuel pressure is with a gauge. What does the air filter look like? Have you pulled the plugs to see if they are fouled?

Can you post a pic of the first bolt you tried to remove? The tranny drain plug shouldn't be overly hard to remove and you would have had fluid come out.
Thanks for the reply. I'll get a pic up of the bolt/pan tomorrow. No fluid came out for sure, not a drop

As far as gas flooding the engine-thats exactly what the mechanic thought. However i left the jeep sit for 3 full weeks (cold winter weather occasional snow) and although it made more firing sounds than previously, it still didnt start. I forgot to mention that the jeep was near empty, and the fuel that was in there is very old-although it started fine in the summer.

The mechanic was really resistant to blame anything on fuel pressure/fuel filter. Although Ive seen the fuel filter and its pretty dank.

I tried putting in 5 gallons of new fuel to make sure the old fuel wasnt causing this. I forgot if the fuel gauge works on it, but i think the fuel was very low. I think now when i test the fuel pressure the fuel looks decent-ill try to get some on a tissue too.

The air filter looked fine- the hose isnt even locked into it its just there, either lined up or not at all when im trying starter fluid

I might rent a fuel pressure tester. BUT if it was fuel pressure (and there is some pressure), wouldnt starter fluid have caused it to at least start?

Things do smell pretty gassy when i crank on it. i usually crank for too much hoping for something to happen but i know that wont end well. I guess i can try to let it sit as long as i can before trying for the next snow storm.

Any tips on speeding up the drying process, if the problem is in fact flooded engine? No plug or anything an amateur can drain?

My biggest issue with the flooded engine theory--- Jeep started months prior to oil change. Hood was left open between last start and oil change-and it did rain at least once. Rainwater seems to be very likely culprit of issue, i think. but the distributors sparking and starters going so i cant imagine what the rain got it- maybe the air hose.

ill get that pic of the bolt and pan tomorrow. odd how no tranny fluid came out but i think thats the pan for it.
From videos ive watched i think that was the tranny pan. The bolt wouldnt come all the way out and it aint torquing back in well so i think it wont leak on me. ill still get that pic in anyways.

Any bolt that breaks loose but will not tighten is cause for concern. Yes please post a pic of the part you are commenting on.


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Hood was left open between last start and oil change-and it did rain at least once. Rainwater seems to be very likely culprit of issue,

Enough time has passed that it's unlikely that rain water is the issue. Even if things got wet the odds are that moisture would have evaporated long ago.