How Many Catalytic Converters Are In A Jeep Grand Cherokee?

catalytic converters are in a jeep grand cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the most iconic and popular SUVs on the market today. Having debuted nearly 30 years ago in 1993, it has gone through four generations of redesigns and upgrades to become the capable, luxurious, and powerful vehicle it is today.

With such a long history and wide range of trim levels and engine options, many Jeep owners wonder: how many catalytic converters does my Jeep Grand Cherokee have?

The short answer is: between 2 and 4 converters, depending on your Jeep’s motor and exhaust system configuration.

In this detailed guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about catalytic converters in Jeep Grand Cherokees, including:

  • What catalytic converters do and why vehicles have multiple cats
  • The number of converters in each Jeep Grand Cherokee generation and engine
  • Tips to protect your Jeep’s catalytic converters from theft
  • And more…

Whether you recently got a check engine light and suspect a bad catalytic converter, want to know what’s involved in replacing them, or just curious what’s hiding under your Jeep, read on to get the full picture on catalytic converters in the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

What is a Catalytic Converter and What Does It Do?

Before jumping into the specific details on Jeep Grand Cherokee catalytic converters, let’s quickly cover what catalytic converters are and why your vehicle needs them.

A catalytic converter is an emissions control device that is part of your vehicle’s exhaust system. It looks like a small muffler and is usually located under the car just after the exhaust manifold.

Inside the catalytic converter housing is a honeycomb-shaped structure coated with precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. As hot exhaust gases pass through, the metals act as catalysts to trigger chemical reactions that convert toxic pollutants into less harmful compounds.

Specifically, the catalytic converter converts:

  • Carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide
  • Hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water vapor
  • Nitrogen oxides into nitrogen and oxygen

By cleaning up these dangerous exhaust emissions, catalytic converters play a crucial role in reducing the air pollution that comes from internal combustion engines. They help vehicles meet emissions regulations for cleaner air.

Without properly functioning catalytic converters, your vehicle would belch clouds of nasty smoke full of smog-forming pollutants. So even though they eventually wear out, catalytic converters are a vital emissions control component in today’s vehicles.

Why Do Many Vehicles Have Multiple Catalytic Converters?

When you peek under your vehicle, you may notice there are actually two, three, or even four catalytic converters in the exhaust system.

This redundancy is there for a few key reasons:

  • Increased conversion efficiency – By splitting the exhaust flow across multiple catalytic converters, more surface area is available for reactions. This results in higher overall conversion rates of toxic gases into benign ones.
  • Pre-cat and main cat division of labor – Many vehicles have two (or more) cats in sequence. The first one is a “pre-cat” converter meant to warm up fast and reduce emissions during cold starts. The second main cat provides workhorse conversion duty once the engine reaches operating temperature.
  • Multi-bank exhaust configurations – Some engines, like V8s, have two separate exhaust banks. Each bank requires its own catalytic converter(s) to handle that side’s exhaust gases.

By incorporating multiple cats in strategic configurations, automakers can optimize the conversion of harmful pollutants into cleaner emissions over a wide range of operating conditions.

Number of Converters by Jeep Grand Cherokee Generation

Now that we’ve covered the basics of catalytic converter design and function, let’s get into the details of how many are equipped on the various Jeep Grand Cherokee models and engine options spanning nearly 30 years.

The number and configuration of catalytic converters has evolved over the Grand Cherokee’s four generations as engine technology and emissions regulations have changed.

First Generation Jeep Grand Cherokee (1993-1998)

The iconic first generation Jeep Grand Cherokee had three engine options, all with the same converter configuration:

  • 4.0L Straight 6 cylinder – This bulletproof inline-6 powered the bulk of first gen Grand Cherokees. It has 2 catalytic converters – a pre-cat and main downstream converter.
  • 5.2L V8 – This strong but thirsty V8 was paired with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Like the straight-6 models, it has 2 catalytic converters.
  • 5.9L V8 – Topping the performance lineup was this beefy 5.9L “Magnum” V8 packing 245 horsepower. It also has just 2 converters in single exhaust configuration.

Second Generation Jeep Grand Cherokee (1999–2004)

The second gen Grand Cherokee brought more engine choices and saw some get additional converters:

  • 3.7L V6 – This SOHC V6 replaced the old inline-6 as the new base engine. It features 2 catalytic converters like the 4.0L straight-6.
  • 4.0L Straight 6 – This workhorse carried over from the previous generation, retaining the 2 converter setup.
  • 4.7L V8 – This modernized PowerTech V8 introduced an additional bank of converters. It has 4 catalytic converters, with 2 cats handling each side’s exhaust flow.

Third Generation Jeep Grand Cherokee (2005–2010)

The third gen Grand Cherokee kept some existing engine options while introducing new ones:

  • 3.7L V6 – This updated single overhead cam V6 still utilized 2 catalytic converters in the base models.
  • 4.7L V8 – This tweaked 4.7L V8 carried over the previous gen’s 4 converter configuration with 2 cats per cylinder bank.
  • 5.7L V8 Hemi – New for ’05 was Chrysler’s acclaimed 5.7L Hemi V8, featuring hemispherical combustion chambers. Like the 4.7, it has 4 converters, two for each cylinder bank’s exhaust.

Fourth Generation Jeep Grand Cherokee (2011-Present)

Now in its fourth generation, today’s Jeep Grand Cherokee offers new modern engines:

  • 3.6L V6 – The new Pentastar 3.6L V6 replaces the aging 3.7L design. It uses 2 catalytic converters to handle its exhaust gases.
  • 5.7L V8 Hemi – Still going strong as the base V8, the 3rd gen Hemi maintains the 4 converter design with two cats per cylinder bank.
  • 6.4L V8 Hemi – New for 2019 is the monster 6.4L V8 pumping out 485 horsepower. Like its 5.7L little brother, it features 4 total converters, 2 per exhaust bank.

So in summary, straight-6 and V6 powered Grand Cherokees typically have 2 catalytic converters through all generations. V8 models have 4 converters, with each cylinder bank getting its own set to optimize conversion efficiency and performance.

Replacing Catalytic Converters in Jeep Grand Cherokees

Now that you know how many catalytic converters came equipped on your particular Jeep, let’s discuss some common replacement scenarios:

  • Failed or clogged catalytic converter – Catalytic converters can become clogged, reducing engine performance. This triggers the “check engine” light with efficiency-related trouble codes like P0420 or P0430. Replacing just the faulty converter is often the repair.
  • Engine replacement – If swapping a new crate motor, the existing cats may not match the new exhaust manifold outlet size and shape. New converters designed specifically for the new engine will likely be needed.
  • Theft – Unfortunately, catalytic converter theft has been on the rise due to the high value of the precious metals inside. If a thief saws off your Jeep’s converter, it will of course need to be replaced. Weld-on cages and plates can help deter future theft.
  • Emissions inspections – In areas with emissions testing programs, a failed catalytic converter can cause your Jeep to not pass inspection. Replacing the faulty converter may get it to pass emissions again.

When you take your Jeep into the shop for catalytic converter work, knowing whether you have 2 or 4 cats provides helpful information for estimating parts and labor costs.

Protecting Your Jeep Grand Cherokee’s Catalytic Converters

Since catalytic converter theft is becoming more common, it’s important to take precautions to protect your Jeep’s converters:

  • Park in well-lit areas close to building entrances when possible
  • Consider welding on a catalytic converter protection cage or plate to make it harder to saw off
  • Have the converter engraved with your VIN number to help identify it if stolen
  • Install motion sensing security lights and cameras to deter thieves and monitor your Jeep
  • Use a wheel boot lock or tire clamp when parked long-term
  • Paint converters with high-temp automotive paint to make their value less obvious
  • Hide or cover converters to make them less accessible to thieves
  • Check on your Jeep periodically if storing it or parked long-term

Your Jeep’s catalytic converters represent years of engineering to clean up its exhaust emissions. With proper precautions, you can help prevent their theft and keep your Jeep’s air pollution control system working for years to come.

How Many Catalytic Converters Does Your Jeep Grand Cherokee Have?

Even for experienced Jeep owners, it can be tricky to recall just how many catalytic converters came on their particular Grand Cherokee model and engine over the years.

Hopefully this guide provided helpful details on:

  • The important emissions reduction job catalytic converters perform
  • Reasons vehicles have multiple cats in their exhaust system
  • The number of converters equipped on each Jeep Grand Cherokee generation and engine
  • Replacement scenarios to be aware of
  • Tips to deter catalytic converter theft on your Jeep

Knowing exactly how many catalytic converters your Grand Cherokee has provides useful information for troubleshooting check engine lights, estimating repair costs, and protecting your Jeep’s valuable emissions components.

With the right maintenance and precautions, your Jeep’s converters should last for years and keep your vehicle emissions compliant. That lets you enjoy all the Grand Cherokee’s legendary 4×4 capability while keeping the air cleaner for everyone on and off the trails.

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