Grand Cherokee WK2 Off-Road Capability and Reliability

Looking for some feed back from WK2 owners. My current P38 isn’t reliable enough for us to comfortably trail ride and get far off the beaten path. I’ve always loved my Rovers but I’m thinking I want something domestic (not as flashy as a newer Rover) and hopefully a little more reliable. My current P38 I’m thinking of just restoring to a clean presentable condition and retiring it from trail ridding. I’ve noticed how cheap used WK2’s are getting and I’m seriously considering finding a 11-12MY Overland with around 40-60k miles on it powered with the V8 option (it will tow a small camper on road). If the WK2 can provide the off-road capability I want with rock solid reliability it will open up a lot more overlanding opprutubity for us traveling.

How durable is the air suspension on these and the vehicle in general? Do you find your WK2 to have constant electrical issues and other nagging issues? Any water leaks? How you found your HVAC system reliable?

As far as off-road capability goes I’m not looking for Defender/Wrangler capability but with a set of BFG KM2s I need it to be able to hold it’s on in the red clay mud and sandy trails we encounter here in Florida. I will equip it with a winch (hidden mount most likely, maybe an ARB if budget permits), rock sliders, and a set of KM2s. Have you found your WK2 able to meet the challenges of trail ridding/over landing? How does it handle water crossings and sand? Any hinderences off-road that you’ve encountered?

I appreciate the feedback I’m excited to start the process of building a newer, more reliable overland vehicle!
 

Attachments

RubiconGuy

New member
Howdy, I've had my WKII down Blackbear Pass and up Imogene Pass. I've had my Rubicon up and down the same trails. The WKII did great, just have to pick a good angle. I rubbed less on the WKII since there aren't any diffs to hit. The drive home was WAY better in the GC!40667489_10102059945679638_8134752935767703552_o.jpg
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
Hey there!

Just over two years into the WK2 game, with a '17 Trailhawk. I've used and abused it a fair bit over that time, including a trans-Canada overland trip in 2017 and extensive exploration in the remote Allagash Wilderness. It's been modified it extensively, and there have been no issues with the air suspension or really anything else. Truthfully once the tires were upgraded the vehicle has become relatively unstoppable. There are a great many write-ups and images both on my build thread, and on my website under the Overland tab. I'm happy to answer any additional questions if you'd like.

Ryan

 

Thorsten

New member
MY 14' Summit
QL (air suspension) & QD systems.
I have ~65K miles on it and have only had to do normal wear & tear maintenance. Have had zero issues with the air suspension working reliably. No issues water fording on the Mojave Road trail here in California. No electrical issues, no HVAC issues, no leaks. I take it on overlanding trails and through the snow. Very capable rig.
Mine has the MOPAR skid plate set and 32" KO2 tires. Upgrade the tires and you should be good to go.

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Weeds

Adventurer
We have 40,000 miles on our 2015 Limited. We have the diesel engine and air suspension. We also have the trail rated version with factory skid plates. We have had no problems. The only minor complaint would be at max suspension lift the suspension makes a clunk. We love this vehicle and the diesel tows great.
 

echo7tango

Overlanding Road Tripper
We’ve been very happy with our 2016 Overland EcoDiesel. It didn’t come Trail Rated or ORA-II badged but I’ve effectively made it equivalent to that. I changed from the stock 20” wheels to 18” Black Rhino wheels and 32” BFG KO2s. The 32” Goodyear Duratracs that I previously had on the 20s were a good tire but i wanted more sidewall height and am happy with the taller KO2s.

It is a great long-distance, high-speed, comfortable highway cruiser with decent enough off-road ability. It’ll tackle the occasional black diamond trail. The QL air suspension gives enough momentary clearance when needed.

I love the long range and MPGs of the CRD motor. On the 25-gal tank I’ve been able to squeeze 835 miles out of a single fill-up. I tow occasionally and it tows effortlessly.D268B432-DF8B-40D1-B08D-DE5EFD0375D0.jpeg62266E61-CB8A-4E22-B912-1D2FC750732D.jpegF62A9A3B-1C64-49FD-BE34-5419EB551390.jpegFD43E48A-E1EE-493B-82A9-67DD64AD0216.jpeg3E06CB86-388B-4D8F-B424-3D9E90AF5EDC.jpeg42853019-5633-48E1-B457-4E4C218DD838.jpegFCFF68D9-4265-4197-9A51-629372055849.jpeg61C2DFC7-AA2E-4955-B723-4B7FC8FFE5B5.jpeg
 

echo7tango

Overlanding Road Tripper
To the OP, as was mentioned upthread, just upgrade the tires and you’ll be good to go. Here are better pics of my wheels and tires. The tires are 255/70-18s.

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Utah KJ

Explorer
The air suspension is a less than stellar option for an offroad vehicle. The CRD option for the WK2 is Italian, and that's also less than stellar for any vehicle. Jeep didn't think enough of the vehicle to give it it's own chassis code. However, you can get fender flares for the WK2, so there's that.
I looked for a year for my WK CRD. No air suspension, Mercedes-built turbodiesel engine, I don't think there was even a guy named Tony on the whole assembly line back then, offroad bumpers available for the serious enthusiast.
WK2 owners get angry when their vehicle's shortcomings are pointed out, and you just don't need that negativity in your life
 

68camaro

Any River...Any Place
The air suspension is a less than stellar option for an offroad vehicle. The CRD option for the WK2 is Italian, and that's also less than stellar for any vehicle. Jeep didn't think enough of the vehicle to give it it's own chassis code. However, you can get fender flares for the WK2, so there's that.
I looked for a year for my WK CRD. No air suspension, Mercedes-built turbodiesel engine, I don't think there was even a guy named Tony on the whole assembly line back then, offroad bumpers available for the serious enthusiast.
WK2 owners get angry when their vehicle's shortcomings are pointed out, and you just don't need that negativity in your life
Why would you point out the shortcomings of vehicle someone is enjoying? I would bet most are not buying grand cherokees to rock crawl, and fact is, the air suspension and 4wd capabilty make this a joy to drive both on and off-road. Unless someone really pushes it I don’t think people really understand how capability these vehicles are. On course with professional driver we pushed mine to extremes and even pro was shocked at how well it did.

This is a rare vehicle that is super comfy on long road trips and very capable off-road outside of extremes. Rock crawling is different than overlanding. I believe few people push wk2’s close to their limit.
 

echo7tango

Overlanding Road Tripper
Every vehicle has its strengths, and its weaknesses. The question becomes, did you buy the right vehicle for you?

No rock crawling here. No desire to. I needed a rig to be my daily driver, long road trip comfortable cruiser, occasional tow beast, with decent MPGs, and with some decent off-road capability for occasional exploring and overlanding. The JGC CRD (or, EcoDiesel WK2) is, to me, perfect for this. For my needs it is very capable off road, plenty able for what I need.

You don’t have to agree with me (the generic “you”, not to any specific person). To each their own, and I sincerely hope your purchase choice works for you.
 

JK4AER

New member
I had a 2018 WK2 Trailhawk and loved it. However, I couldn't resist the Gladiator and traded it in a month ago. As others have said, the WK2 is very comfortable and capable...and I had a Hemi!
 

ChopperCopper

New member
Why would you point out the shortcomings of vehicle someone is enjoying? I would bet most are not buying grand cherokees to rock crawl, and fact is, the air suspension and 4wd capabilty make this a joy to drive both on and off-road. Unless someone really pushes it I don’t think people really understand how capability these vehicles are. On course with professional driver we pushed mine to extremes and even pro was shocked at how well it did.

This is a rare vehicle that is super comfy on long road trips and very capable off-road outside of extremes. Rock crawling is different than overlanding. I believe few people push wk2’s close to their limit.
Anyone whose name is "68camaro" has exceptional taste and is worthy of listening to.
 
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