The Jeep Cherokee owner’s manual is a little short on the calibration and update of the factory overhead console compass. The factory service manual has a section devoted to it, and I’m sharing the highlights here to help make this more searchable.
Manual Compass Calibration
The compass will calibrate over time, but after initially installing an overhead console or restoring one from a long time power loss you may need to manually calibrate the compass.
Calibrate the compass manually as follows:
- Start the engine. If the compass/temperature data is not currently being displayed, momentarily depress and release the Step button to step through the display options until you have reached the compass/temperature display.
- Depress both the U.S./Metric, and the Step buttons. Hold the buttons down until “CAL” appears in the display. This takes about ten seconds, and appears about five seconds after “VAR” is displayed.
- Release both of the buttons.
- Drive the vehicle on a level surface, away from large metal objects, through three or more complete circles in not less than 48 seconds. The “CAL” message will disappear from the display to indicate that the compass is now calibrated.
Compass Variation Adjustment
The compass in the Jeep XJ needs to account for regional differences in magnetic north. Magentic north and compass north have a variance based on your location, and by setting the variance we’ll have a more accurate reading of North. Because the Jeep is so old, the variance chart is a bit out of date. Setting it won’t make it 100% accurate, but it’ll be better than having an unknown setting.
Setting the compass variance
- Using this Variance Settings map, find your geographic location and note the zone number.
- Turn the ignition switch to the On position. If the compass/temperature data is not currently being displayed, momentarily depress and release the Step button to step through the display options until you have reached the compass/temperature display.
- Depress both the U.S./Metric, and the Step buttons. Hold the buttons down until “VAR” appears in the display. This takes about five seconds.
- Release both of the buttons. The current variance zone number setting will appear in the display.
- Press and release the U.S./Metric button to step through the zone numbers, until the zone number for your geographic location appears in the display.
- Press the Step button to enter this zone number into the compass unit memory.
- Confirm that the correct directions are now indicated by the compass.
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Please check out my other posts about Jeep Cherokee Maintenance and Projects.