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The Famous Jeep Grand Cherokee Electrical Problem

Nov 16, 2007 7:05AM PST

It seems no one has solved this puzzle yet, but I'll give it a shot of my own. Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated.

'97 Grand Cherokee Laredo, 135,000 miles

Various warning lights
Power comes on at night
Instrument cluster & gages haywire
Dead battery overnight
Feedback in speakers
Repeatedly blown 20A fuse on engine fuse block
Turns over, but now won't catch

Replaced: Ignition switch & ignition cylinder block, cam sensor, throttle position sensor. Cost: $750

Tried: new battery, unplugging PCM computer, checked all fuses.

And the alternator checked out all right.

Any ideas?...the dealer in stumped. (replacing the PCM computer seems to only have a 50% success rate)

Discussion is locked

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Nov 16, 2007 7:20AM PST

I would check to see if any "recalls" have been made on that model to include 1yr. before/after your yr.. With all the problems, it can include the wire harness and the panel/gauges themselves as they are now so electronic. If you can, remove the gauge panel and inspect it, its not unknown to have flaked flat wires peel away or burnt. To include the electronics, etc., thus you may want to know a junk yard to salvage such parts rather buy new, as they cost. On top of all this, the parts cost, it maybe just so dang hard to remove/service buried parts like the gauge panel so proceed at own risk. -----Willy Happy

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2000 gcl
Oct 28, 2009 8:30AM PDT

couldn't beleive it worked ! after checking all possible problems and suggestions from friends , I got lucky. windows not working, gauges not working, ac not working ,intreior lights not working on door opening on entry, flasher lights not working from wireless remote, overhead console not working, getting a code auto zone reading from his handheld remote dig checker,(1686) and not knowing what it was refering to. he said i would have to call a dealer and get an answer. They didn't know either ! I was giving up ! until I ran across you site and remember a response about his 1997 jeep cherokee stating he diconnected his battery for 10 minutes and it fixed his problem. well I disconnected my negitive for 20 minutes, then reconnected and started up. EVERYTHING WAS WORKING AGAIN!!!!!! Thanks whomever you are for that answer. Simple and sweet and my headache is gone now and i still have a little money in the bank !

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Sometimes the simplest answer
Mar 24, 2011 3:00AM PDT

Similar thing happened to me this morning...tried to unlock the driver's side door using the remote entry key fob. Nothing unlocked the door using the key. Once inside, the interior door unlock switch didn't work...nor did the window switches. Read in the blogs about possible resolutions. Went with the simplist first. Disconnected the negative battery cable for 30 seconds and then reconnected. All problems fixed. At least in this case, it appears that the electrical problems were related to the PCI Bus. Disconnecting and reconnecting the battery seemed to act like rebooting a home computer...cleared the problems and now good to go. If anyone is having similar problems, I suggest trying this super simple fix first before doing complicated testing or parts replacements.

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RE: Sometimes the simplest answer
Mar 24, 2011 4:52AM PDT

Hopefully diconnecting the cable will fix your problem but I found it to be a temporary fix for me. I have been fighting this problem for almost 2 years. You kinda learn to live with it. The car runs and I know how to work around the problems.

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little suggestion
Mar 26, 2011 4:33AM PDT

so i have a 2000 gc, same symptoms as all, gauges die christmas tree lights up. checked bus signal at diagnostic port and reads 6-7v i disconnected alternator and everything works just perfect!! V at bus drops to a normal 1-2v, replaced alt and same thing. could it be the regulator shorted inside pcm thats causing pcm to go haywire?

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Just tired it and it worked
Apr 6, 2011 4:01AM PDT

We couldn't believe it. We disconnected the negative terminal form the battery for about 2 minutes reconnected and everything works fine, so far. Will let you know if we have a recurrence like "frabuk" below. By the way the post below by "carsqwerty" is consistent with whatweI saw on some tightly bound wiring as we were working to solve this problem. If this recurs we'll be taking his recommendations next and separating the wires in some of the wire-bundle locations.

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simply sweet
Apr 12, 2011 9:53AM PDT

thanks for taking the time to post. it worked. THANK YOU JESUS AND YOU TOO lnorrell

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Sometimes the simplest answer doesn't work
Apr 12, 2011 11:48PM PDT

I wish it was that simple for my 2000 GC. I finally removed the ASD then re-set it. Next I stood on one foot (the left one), held my right hand over my head with my left index finger up my nose and pissed into the wind.

That didn't work either.

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2004 GC electrical problem
Apr 11, 2014 11:10AM PDT

Door control panel inop... all functions do not work - windows (all doors) dont work, mirror control dsnt work, seat position dsnt work, door lock dsnt work. Remote key lock/unlock works on other doors only. Also, interior lights stay on all the time, unless manually clicked off with steer col. contrl. As sugg'd by others, I disconctd battery for a time ... didnt cure. Any advice ?? ANYBODY????


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2004 GC electrical problem response
Apr 16, 2014 4:24AM PDT

In my 2002 GC V-8, identical symptoms lead to broken ground wire in door harness between the door and the body. Problems were intermittent for a year, then failed completely, leading me to dig into it. Symptoms all pointed to something common with all control functions on the drivers door.

Broken wire was obvious. Grabbed the rubber protective sleeve and work it loose at the door - it fits over a plate in the connector and can just be lifted with a blunt tool and pulled back.

Fix was simple - strip back both sides of broken wire, made a jumper out of three inches of identical wire, crimped a butt connector on both ends - made a loop in the jumper for flexibility, two crimps later I was back in business.

Wish I'd done it a year ago.

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2004 electrical problem on Jeep GC 2004
Aug 24, 2014 3:45AM PDT

driving to go shopping, my "driver door open" alert came on along with the interior light. Of course..opened and closed the driver door while in transit, the light went off .....but the alert and light came back on a few minutes later! pulled into the shopping parking lot, I opened and closed the driver door a few times. discovered the problem was intermittent. diagnosis, loose or broken wire at the driver door. When I got home i looked for the trouble in the likeliest place.....the rubber flex boot between the driver door and the car body. Pulled back the flex boot with a little effort and saw a previous repair connection on the heavy bue wire! aha moment! someone had this p[roblem before! (previous owner)
pulled on this wire and out it came. caught the other end hanging in mid air. I "Soldered" these wires back! the small wire nuts that were holding it together were loose. turned on the jeep and tried the window buttons....Nothing! looked further into the flex boot...the heavy Orange/White wire was severed! Soldered a wire to both ends and taped everything up. Boom.....turned on the car and checked the window buttons...Success!!! so some looking into the flex boot on the driver door and some wire and solder and tape and I'm back in business. I hope that my experience with this helps someone else having this kind of trouble.

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electrical problems
Apr 30, 2014 6:15PM PDT

I've just had the same problem with my GC Limited 2000 model, I took the door trim panel off, then checked wiring back to harness that passes through the door to body to fuse box, I checked all of the fuses they were fine. I then took the black rubber boot off the door where the multi plug is, I noticed a black wire that had broken, I then tried to find this on the car interior side but no luck, I then decided to take it to a local auto electrician, I left the panel off then showed him what I had found, he said leave it with him, 3 hours later he told me he had sorted it, he told me that the wiring is very tight and that Jeep/Chrysler were always sparse in giving extra wiring that's why this happens. He charged me £45 sterling, so I was happy to pay this, and this was on Tuesday of this week 29/04/2014.
I thought this was a result as I was looking to be paying mega bucks for this.
Just as a matter of course, I took the bulb out of the door panel that lights up when you open the door, please bear in mind my vehicle is RHD as I live in the U.K. so I took the bulb out of the Passenger side LHS to you, then put it in the Drivers side RHD no power, the bulb I took out of the Drivers side RHD, put it in the Passenger side LHS it worked, so there was no power to the Drivers side RHD.
Hope this helps.

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Electrical issue
Jul 27, 2011 7:10AM PDT

Your info is still helping others after nearly 2 yrs - THANK YOU! On 7/27/11 I had my driver side window controls go out, but the front passenger window control worked just fine. All others, not operational. Disconnected the negative terminal and removed some minor corrosion, then secured back in place. All windows now work as expected once again....

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Battery first!
Nov 14, 2011 8:11AM PST

I had similar systems to those described here in my 1999 Grand Cherokee. It turns out that there was a bad connection at the negative battery terminal. After cleaning both the positive and negative terminals and cable ends, everything worked perfectly! My guess is that the success others are seeings after disconnecting the battery may have as much to do with re-establishing a good connection as some possible reset of the system. Lesson learned (like every automotive manual says) - always check the battery first. When in doubt, put a new battery in.

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2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Windows
Feb 1, 2014 7:26AM PST

I had a similar problem after trying to jump start my 2002 Jeep GC. The windows stopped working, the temperature gauge showed --, the interior lights did not come on, the horn did not sound when the remote was pressed to lock the car. I went to Advantage Auto Parts to determine the fuses for the windows and they were all good. I started searching the internet and found this forum using body control module, which was not the problem. After reading several post, which had the same problems as mine, I decided to try disconnecting my battery to re-boot the on-board computers. I disconnected my battery, cleaned the terminals, which had a little corrosion, reconnected the battery and everything started working again, the windows, lights, horn working when using remote, the check engine light does not stay on. Who would have thought that just re-booting the computers would solve the problem. And I have been involved with computers for over 20 years.

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2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Windows
Aug 16, 2014 10:49AM PDT

I had the exact same symptoms, I tried disconnecting/cleaning the negative cable and it fixed everything except the windows. How long did you leave it disconnected? Or does that even matter?

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Grand Cherokee, 2000 4.0 runs rough but not all the time
Feb 2, 2010 2:17AM PST

I have a 2000 Grand Cherokee 4.0 that runs fine until you try to Accelerate and it feels like it's running on 4or 5 cylinders. Somtimes just just driving normal at a steady speed it will start shaking . Now here is the weird stuff, if you shut off the ignition and turn it back on if will run fine. Haved change the pcm/ecu by the Brains at the Jeep dealership A mistake !!! Also the head lights will come, blink the go off with nobody in the jeep.
The car will go on the highway for hours and be fine. Also on more weird thing, sometime if your parked and put it in drive and hold the brake it will shake,IF YOU PUT IT IN REVERSE IT WILL BE FINE. HELP

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Rough Idoling
Feb 2, 2010 8:16PM PST

I have the very same problems. If anyone can help please do. I have replaced the fuel pump, and this did not fix the problem. The local dealer would not believe me as it did not fault for them. PLEASE HELP....

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rough idoling
Dec 10, 2011 3:21AM PST

my 1999 did the same thing it was a broken spring around one of the motor rods replaced spring runs like a dream

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Grand Cherokee Jeep Electrical Problems
Feb 18, 2010 5:43AM PST

I have read with great discouragement, the electrical problems GC jeep owners are having with electrical problems. They range from the 1998 to some 2007 year models. Never had a problem and after 10 years and 130,000 miles, this happens. Since Oct of 2009, I have spent $2000 and the jeep has been in and out of the dealership. They have tried and ARE still trying to resolve the situation. I went out and got the following from another expert. I hope it helps someone. My dealership is trying the steps and when or if it's resolved, will update this posting. Good luck, jeep owners. Hope you write Chrysler about this fiasco, I certainly did, although I don't think they really care. Jeep is mud with me as is Chrysler.


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Grand Cherokee Electrical Problems
Feb 18, 2010 10:10PM PST

You said something about getting the following from another excerpt but I did not see what "the following" was. I am desperate to try anything without having to pay thousands for dealer hit and miss attempts. If it comes to that, I would rather put it into another vehicle, even though I do like my Jeep GC.

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Grand Cherokee 2000 Electrical Problems
Feb 20, 2010 3:21PM PST

Hi,Frabuk. Sorry. My info might have been too long. I'll try this again, these are solutions from an "expert" with Jeep.

How to Fix the Famous Jeep Grand Cherokee Electrical Problem

PCI Bus Diagnostics for 1999-2004 (WJ) Jeep Grand Cherokee

PCI Bus Diagnostics for 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee

PCI Bus Diagnostics for 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee

PCI Bus Diagnostics for 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee

PCI Bus Diagnostics for 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee

PCI Bus Diagnostics for 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee

PCI Bus Diagnostics for 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The PCI Bus system is a one-wire communication system. It allows the various modules (computers) on the vehicle to communicate with each other and share information. This information sharing reduces wiring complexity.

The PCI Bus wire is either yellow with a violet tracer, or white with a violet tracer, depending on year and model. The easiest place to access this wire is at the data link connector, which is the connector that the scan tool plugs into for diagnosis. On LHD North American Jeeps, the data link connector is located under the driver side of the dash, adjacent to the fuse block. It is easily visible without removing any panels.

The PCI Bus wire is in pin #2 of the data link connector. Normally I remove the connector from it's bracket and pull it down for better access. This allows me to backprobe the connector with my voltmeter. You do not want to damage the portion of the terminals which make contact with the scan tool connector.

Here are the symptoms you are probably experiencing with a PCI Bus issue:

The A/C blows normal volume but the air is not cold, because the compressor will not engage, even with the 'snowflake' or 'A/C' button pressed.

The instrument cluster backlighting is ON at all times (when the key is on), even with the headlamps OFF.

Power windows are inoperative.

The overhead console displays 'lines' instead of information.

The gauges are not reading correctly.

These symptoms may come and go. Often PCI bus problems are intermittent.

The PCI Bus system operates on a 0 to 7.5 volt square wave. If you were to connect an oscilloscope to pin 2 of the data link connector, on a system with no problems, the oscilloscope would display a nice square wave. Most people do not have a $2000 scope, so I have devised an easier method. You will need a digital voltmeter to continue.

Set the meter to 'DC Volts'

Connect the red lead of the meter to pin 2 of the data link connector

Connect the black lead of the meter to ground. Any bare metal surface under the dash will work.

Turn the key to 'ON'. Or, start the engine. Sometimes the PCI Bus problem is easier to duplicate with the engine running.

Observe the volt reading on the meter.

If the volt reading is zero, or very close to zero, it is possible that the PCI bus is OPEN, or SHORTED TO GROUND. A different test will be required, which is detailed later in this article.

If the volt reading is close to 12 volts, or battery voltage, the PCI Bus is shorted to voltage, and diagnosis should be fairly easy.

If the volt reading is varying between 0.5 and 2.5 volts, the fault is not present at this time. Verify this by inspecting the operation of the windows and other symptoms.

Normally what I see on problem vehicles is a reading of 4 to 6 volts. This indicates that a module (one of the vehicle computers) is pulling the bus voltage too high, causing interference and a loss of communication between modules, which leads to the symptoms you are experiencing.

If the PCI Bus voltage reading is consistently above 2.5 volts, we need to determine which module is causing the problem. There is no quick way to do this. Each module on the bus must be unplugged until the voltage returns to the 0.5 to 2.5 and fluctuating range.

Module examples are:

PCM (engine computer)...engine compartment

TCM (transmission computer)...engine compartment

BCM (body computer)...under dash near fuse block

ABS (antilock brake computer)...engine compartment

Instrument cluster

Airbag computer...under center console/armrest

Driver door module (the window switch assembly)...remove door panel to access

Passenger door module (the window switch assembly)...remove door panel to access


Audio amplifier...under back seat

A/C control dash

Overhead console computer

Immobilizer module...remove steering column covers to access

I begin with the interior modules, unplugging the ones that are easiest to get to. Continue to unplug modules until the bus voltage lowers to a normal level; 0.5 to 2.5 volts and fluctuating up/down randomly. Keep in mind that unplugging some modules will cause other symptoms...try to ignore those for now and focus on the voltage reading.

Once you find a suspect module, reconnect everything else and observe the bus voltage. Reconnect the suspect module and try to duplicate the symptoms. Verify that the suspect module is actually the problem several times before you spend money on a replacement part. Be sure to cycle the ignition key every once in a while during testing. The trick here is to be able to consistently verify that the bus problem is present, then verify that it is not present when the suspect module is unplugged. Try to not let the system 'fool' you.

If the bus voltage is around 12 volts, or is the same as battery voltage, and ALL modules are unplugged, then the bus wiring is shorted to voltage. This problem may not be easy to find. You will have to trace the bus wire extensively. The good news is that this scenario is very unlikely.

If the bus voltage is always near 0 volts, a different method will work.

Disconnect the vehicle battery under the hood.

Connect your meter the same way, but switch to the 'ohms' setting, to check the resistance of the bus. A bus that is shorted to ground will have a very low resistance, possibly below 10 ohms. In a situation where the bus is shorted to ground, a module could be at fault, but more likely the bus wire has rubbed through somewhere and is touching bare metal. Keep in mind that the whole frame and body of the vehicle is ground, so that makes this scenario more likely.

If the ohm reading is 'OL' meaning infinite resistance, then the bus wire is OPEN and must be traced out for continuity. However...if every module is unplugged, and the bus wiring is OK, the meter will display 'OL' for bus resistance.

Read the following information, which is from Chrysler:

Measuring PCI voltage is the first place to go if no communication is possible with any modules. This tells what type of failure has occurred and this dictates the next step. If communication is possible with only one module, an open in the bus is likely.PCI bus vehicle are very easy to diagnose bus problems on. Since each module has a termination resistor of a standard value a measurement of bus resistance (with the battery disconnected) gives a very good idea of the condition of the bus. For example: Termination resistance 350 to 750 ohms would be a normal bus. 0 ohms would indicated a shorted bus OL would indicate an open bus 3300 ohms would be one dominant module only 10800 ohms would be one non-dominant module only

Frabuk, let me know if it helps you. So far, no success with mine. They're still working on it.

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body control module
Dec 8, 2010 12:44AM PST

I have a 2002 Grand Cherokee can you get that module rebuilt?

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Worked for me... turned out to be the pass. window module
Feb 27, 2011 8:00AM PST

Thanks very much for your info. I thought the dreaded electricla issue on my 2000 GC was too much for me having all the classic symptoms so I just took it to the dealer and was charged $400 to be told the instrument cluster had a short and it would be another $1000 to replace. Decided I'd try an ebay cluster for $90 which changed nothing, so I then knew the dealer was attempting to start with the most expensive part and work down and it would cost me $1,000's in the end. I started out unplugging and replugging the modules on your list from easiest to hardest (ECM, radio, amplifier, inst. panel, driver window ... when I got to the pass. window and pulled the plug everything instantly returned to normal (instrument cluster went normal, a/c worked, readings on overhead display went normal, etc) ordered the $30 window module from ebay and all has been well for most of a month and 650 miles. THANKS VERY MUCH FOR YOUR INFO.
I am having an issue with the keyless remote not working, but that's nothing over the anxiety of driving with that electrical issue.

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keyless not working
Jan 12, 2012 6:07AM PST

The reason it is not working is because when you replace the module on the passenger side you remove the receiver that is matched to your fob with it. it is in the passenger door module. integrated into the module. so all you have to do it get the FOB reprogrammed to the new module. try a locksmith before the dealer. Save the $$$. Hope this helps.

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Grand Cherokee Issue
Mar 30, 2011 2:39AM PDT

I have an 03 GC. It has had most of the same issues and more. The info you gave allowed me to find which "modules" were faulty and I then replaced them. Not to my surprize, the issues came back a few days later. So I am not the best with typing or writing in general, but I have some VERY important things that all GC owners should be aware of. To start this thred correctly, The symptoms I have endured are gauges going hay wire, engine misfireing(shaking), stalling at a light, or while driving,(can hold gas and break at light and it stays on), after coming to stop (idleing fine) it feels as thou it down shifts, (there is a kick that you feel, that jerks the car just a touch, yet very noticable) then the rpms drop and engine dies. (unless you are holding the gas and brake of course) So being fourtunite enough to have the tools and shop that i do, my buddies and I were tired of this car beating us and apparently everyone else. We started hunting these issues 3 months ago and have been all over looking for an answer. Took it to the dealer> same thing "nothing wrong with it Sr." Ok. we started on 3/18/11 we decided to dismantle the vehical. So far it is completly apart and we have found a few things that are definetly causing some of these issues. First one addresses the modules burning out(shorting out) at the factory they took the three power wires and two ground wires and put them in a sleve then wrapped them with electrical tape. They did this wrong! (Side note: I will have pictures posted as soon as i figure out how to post them) If you take of all that electrical tape and sleve, you will see that by having the wires in the same loom tied together real tight like this, that the isualation on the wires has gone bad due to the temp changes and this causes the wires (including the alterantor wires that are in that loom as well) arc across to each other. This issues was found before the tear down of the car, and once i replaced the wires and ran them in a more respectful manner, I no longer had modules burning out. so all of my electrical issues stopped. But still had the stalling issue. By the way, the battery wires being crossed like they were, burnt up my alternator, starter, pcm,ingnition switch, and a couple modules(trans and ecm). Some other WJ ownwers and friends of mine have opened the loom on their battery wires and had the same exact issue as well. And yes we did find that most of the WJ's in the junk yard also had this exact same issue. As for the tera down. The WJ is completly apart. complete drive tran, iterior, dash, front clip, rear bumber and canister system, gas tank, and wiring harness(all of them) have been removed for inspection. Another thing we have found is that the wiring on the top rear section of the engine is prone to rubbing on the head bolt and another section that is to be afixed to the top of the transmission also prone to rubbing, has rubbed enough to thin out the wire and even thou there does not appear to be any expossed wire, they still arc, or ground out. So those wires have been completly replaced and protected properly. Another issue we found was a celinod in the trans that was defective due to this (proply causeing the down shift issue) will know soon as we are soon to be putting the car back together. In the dash we found a few (again) tightly wrapped wires that we addressed in the same manner. these were right behind the gauge cluster and radio area. We opened the computer (PCM) and found that there may be some issues in there as well. It appers that there is a few bad soilder connections, as they look to have cracks in them. So the computer is in Florida being "refurbished". Some more random things we found were, The neutral safty switch was loose on the side of the transmiision housing, trans mount was also bad, the camshaft possition sensor was bad, crank shaft position sensor checked out ok, the pcm has a service bulletin that was listed for it in June of 2003 listing the need for reprogramming with new software. an issue we have not yet addressed but will soon. It requires "techCONNECT Workstation" all in all I can't yet say that this is soulving the issues with the car, but will soon have it back together to see the results of the extensive tear down and inspection. The WJ will back together very soon and I will post any and all cures found. As much as I have read in these forums and tryed to find, I have yet to come across any one simple solution./ Thou I am VERY confident that the battery cables and some other small wireing in the dash having been initially installed incorrectly are a major factor in all these issues. I will keep posting and would love feedback on any of this. Always Persistant, Carsqwerty

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Follow up Picture request
Sep 18, 2011 2:02AM PDT

When will you post those pictures as the wiring is difficult to trace.

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All I can say is wow....
May 21, 2011 1:12PM PDT

This is an amazing post. I have to hand it to you. Hands down one of the most helpful posts I have seen in a long time. Now fortunately for me the "reboot (pull power for a few minutes)" method worked for me... however I had a voltmeter on hand and believe it or not... a friend had an oscilloscope also. I drug all of the equipment out and was ready to go ... after that I pulled the battery cables. While waiting I cleaned the battery terminals and buffed up the headlight lenses with some crest toothpaste since they were getting really foggy. Yes... I said crest toothpaste... dont bother buying the super duper buffing kit blah blah... get some crest and some paper towels or a scotch brite pad... plastic ones not metal scratcher... little elbow grease and pow... looks about 200x better. Then I pop the positive cable on and crank it down... then the black... and crank it down. I decide just to check on the off chance the reboot fixed the issue and low and behold when I hit the key it was 75 degrees outside .... the air worked... the windows worked... and even my check engine light was now off...... I have never been so glad to put my tools away and go in the house..... Grin The only thing that could make this post any better would be if someone posted pictures of the common locations/areas of pcm/tcm/bcm etc or pictures of the actual parts... Happy

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97 jeep grand cherokee limited
Dec 10, 2011 4:12AM PST

would you know what color the pci bus wire is, for a 97 grand cherokee? or whitch pin number. how do pin numbers go? left to right, or up and down? please help if you can.

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Mar 6, 2012 3:24PM PST