By Steve Young / May 2005

American Towman Lockout Column

When Jeep first introduced the Grand Cherokee in 1999, it was one tough truck to unlock. The linkages were all hidden behind a heavy rubber sheet that protected the inside of the door from water. As the years went by, Jeep reduced the size of the rubber sheet and then eliminated it entirely, apparently as a cost saving measure. The later Grand Cherokees are a lot easier to unlock than the early ones.

Photo One: 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee


Photo Two: The Tech-Train 1017 tool can unlock the Grand Cherokee quickly.

Photo Three: Use care to protect the weatherstripping as you insert the wedges.

The all-new 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee (photo one) is even easier to unlock than the 2004 model because of a change from a horizontal linkage to a totally unshielded vertical linkage. The two main reasons for the change are to reduce weight and provide better performance in the government mandated side-impact collision tests. The doors on a vehicle that is equipped with a vertical linkage system are much less likely to come open in a side-impact collision. The unshielded linkage rod can be easily attacked with the Tech-Train 1017 tool (photo two).

To unlock the new Grand Cherokee, begin by using two wedges to open a gap between the glass and the weatherstripping at the base of the window near the inside lock button. The Grand Cherokee is equipped with multi-layer weatherstripping, so you will need to use care while inserting your wedges and your tool. I use a thin plastic shim inserted between the glass and the weatherstripping to protect the lower layers of the weatherstripping. After the plastic shim has been inserted, I slip the wedge between the glass and the shim (photo three). Once the tip of the wedge is below the lower lip of the weatherstripping, I remove the plastic shim. If you don't protect the weatherstripping, it can roll under your wedge and be damaged, or restrict the movement of your tool inside the door.

After both wedges have been inserted, carefully insert the hooked end of the tool just forward of the inside lock button. Once again, use the plastic shim to prevent the lower layer of weatherstripping from binding against your tool (photo four). The two hooks on the TT-1017 tool face in opposite directions so that you can grasp the linkage rod from either side after the tool is in place within the door. Hooking onto the linkage from the outboard side works best for the Grand Cherokee. When the hooked end of the tool is as deep inside the door as possible, carefully rotate the tool so that the shaft can be inserted deeper into the door. Make sure that the end of the tool that is inside the door doesn't bind against or hook onto the base of the window glass. If that happens, you will most likely break the window glass. Once the tool has been rotated, the hooked end of the tool will be horizontal inside the door.

When the tip of the tool is below the bottom of the glass, probe for the linkage while watching the inside lock button for movement. The linkage rod can be located easily by feel, but if you like, you can use an inspection light to locate the linkage rod visually. After you have hooked onto the linkage rod with the tool, pull forward and upward on the tool in order to bind the linkage rod into the "V" shaped hook on the tool. Pulling upward on the tool will lift the lock linkage and unlock the door (photo five). If the tool slips, angle the top of the tool slightly to improve your grip. A small piece of duct tape can also be added to the hooked end of the tool to increase friction.

After the truck has been unlocked, carefully remove the tool from the door, being very careful that you do not hook onto the base of the window glass or bind against the glass with the hooked end of the tool.

Photo Four: Using a shim, carefully insert the tool so that it can grip the linkage from the outboard side.


Photo Five: Pull forward and upward at the same time on the tool in order to unlock the door.

Steve Young is the founder of Tech-Train Productions, which merged with Lockmasters, Inc. in 2003. His company has been producing vehicle entry tools, training videos, and manuals for the automotive security industry since 1988. Tech-Train Productions and Lockmasters, Inc. markets vehicle entry tool sets and the original Jiffy-Jak Vehicle Entry System, as well as a full line of automotive locksmithing tools. Steve Young teaches hands-on seminars across the country in conjunction with Lockmasters PUREAuto (tm) Seminars. Steve can be reached by email at: