Sell me on a Jeep!

JeepN95YJ

Adventurer
The Grand Cherokee, back in the '80's to early '90s was this awesome big old lug of a wagon. Beautiful lines. When dressed up, a very classy and comfortable Town & Country vehicle for country-club set. But like every Jeep, it is a capable vehicle. Lifted with a nice set of tires looks really awesome. Just have to mind it's size, and expect performance relative to it's stature (read big and heavy).

This is a Grand Wagoneer, not a Grand Cherokee. Totally different beasts. The first model year for the Grand Cherokee was 1994.
 

JeepN95YJ

Adventurer
The differences between a Cherokee (XJ) and a Grand Cherokee (ZJ 94-98) aren't incredibly great, but they are significant. Grands used coil springs all around on suspension, XJs have coils up front, leafs in rear. Grands could be had with the 4.0, the 318 or a 360. XJs the 4.0, 2.8 v6, or 2.5 4cyl.

Transmissions were all decent. (I will post more later if you need it)
 

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
This is a Grand Wagoneer, not a Grand Cherokee. Totally different beasts. The first model year for the Grand Cherokee was 1994.
Thanks for the correction! :beer:
I always (incorrectly thought) it was the "original" G.C.
Appreciate the heads up.
.
Scott
 

virginia_jeeper

Craft Beer Explorer
I've got a 2001 Jeep Cherokee Limited with 265,000 miles on it. I also have a 1998 Honda civic with 106,000 miles, in the three thousand miles ive owend the civic I just put in in the shop for a Rear main oil seal, front seal, oil pan gasket, water pump, and timing belt... The jeep, 100,00 miles I have put in it and the only thing I have done to it is clean the air filter, change the oil, and I have replaced the CPS. That's it... When and if this jeep goes, ill buy another one and run it for another 150-200k miles.
 

VanIsle_Greg

I think I need a bigger truck!
The 4.7L V8 in the later model Grand Cherokee is not a bad motor, it was used in many different Dodge and Jeep vehicles for a number of years. It did have some issues, but it sounds like much of the issues are related to either poor maintenance or being overworked. The 5.2L is a better motor, more power and not far off in mileage. The 5.9L is SUPER nice, but a bit of a pig on the gas compared to the others. If you are looking at a GC of late 1990's vintage there are a few more quirks than the XJ Cherokee. Most are electronic issues, but still not insurmountable. The Grand came in the ZJ/WJ/WK depending on the year. I have a WK (2005-2010) and if I recall the others were ZJ (1993-1998) and lastly the WJ (1999-2004). The ZJ had the 4.0L/5.2L/5.9L options while the WJ had only the 4.7L or the 4.0L. I have a WK with a nice big 5.7L Hemi (love that motor) and it comes in the 3.7L/4.7L/5.7L/6.2L/3.0L Diesel.

Off topic. Lots to read here....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Grand_Cherokee

If it were me... and I wanted a 1990's GC, I would grab a 1998 5.2L ZJ LTD. The only issue, the transfer case is limited to the 242 IIRC? Hard to get lifty bits (slip yoke eliminators for this TC). Nice setup however, and many came with a Dana 44 if I recall?

If you are set on a Cherokee XJ (good call) the late 1990's units are nice, but you are still in the distributor vintage (not an issue, just to be aware). If it were me again, a 2001 LTD Country would be what I would look for...NO ABS!

4.0L, NP231 Transfer case (part time 4x4) with the sweet leather interior.

Man... I love Jeeps!
 

Root Moose

Expedition Leader
XJ, ZJ, WJ.

Of those I prefer the XJ and the WJ.

ZJ is ok too, just considering the price difference between the WJ and ZJ (i.e. none/negligible for good examples of each) I'll always recommend the newer vehicle. Also, WJ seems higher build quality than ZJ... no unibody stiffening required for example.

Automatic in the XJ from 1987-2001 is AW4 and is considered "bulletproof". Same transmission used in the 1998-2002 Land Cruiser UZJ100 (guts are ~same).

WJ with the 4.0 is probably underpowered to build (pains me to say that). It'll get the job done, dead reliable. Mated to a Chrysler 42RE transmission. Not the most stellar reputation for the transmission but takes to a quality rebuild well enough. The 4.7 V8 is a decent enough engine - make sure you get one that has a good service history. They are sensitive to infrequent oil changes and being overheated. The transmission that came with the 4.7 is decent, especially later five speed ones (545RFE). The early four speed ones can be reflashed to be a five speed apparently (same hardware). My ideal spec for a WJ would be a 4.0 stroked to 4.7 liters, rebuild the 42RE to be bulletproof, NVG242J.

Full disclosure: I drive a heavily modified XJ, would probably start with a WJ if I was starting over again. Always flirt with switching to a UZJ100 or URJ200.

Can talk about this all day but other things call me away.
 

Ridge Runner

Delta V
Deleted because I'm having a bad day and don't want to be argumentative. I'll just say that I respectfully disagree as to the longevity of the 4.7L. :)
 
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redthies

Renaissance Redneck
Automatic in the XJ from 1987-2001 is AW4 and is considered "bulletproof". Same transmission used in the 1998-2002 Land Cruiser UZJ100 (guts are ~same).

Full disclosure: I drive a heavily modified XJ, would probably start with a WJ if I was starting over again. Always flirt with switching to a UZJ100.
Who makes the AW4? It's definetly a solid trans.

I just traded my 2011 Rubicon (mildly built) for a new 2014 3500 Cummins truck, and sold my dually and bout have lifted and locked '99 UZJ100. The LC has 130,000 more miles on it and still manages to drive nicer than the Jeep did new. The new motor in the Rubis would have helped, but my main (only?) complaint (same with my '05 TJ) is the steering feel and ratio. It's just way too twitchy for a vehicle as tall and skinny as a Jeep.
 

87Warrior

GP'er
OK guys - I've decided to go Jeep.

...

My only question now: what do I need to look out for? What are the common issues?

...

Any differences in axles/transfer cases to look at? What about the Selec-Trac or Quadra-Trac options - one less prone to problems than the other?
Rust. XJs like to rust. It is a sad truth. The rockers, lower door seam, front floor boards and floor near the front leaf spring perch.

As mentioned before, avoid the Dana35 rear axle if possible. However, if the perfect XJ has a 35, don't be discouraged as a C8.25 is a simple swap. Either of the two transfer case options found in the XJ are stout and are rated almost identically in regards to strength. Your only question should be, 'Do I want Full Time 4wd capability the NP242 offers over the NP231'? Once again, if the perfect Jeep doesn't have what you want, it is a simple swap.

As long as the unibody is in good shape, anything else is a simple repair or swap.
 
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Root Moose

Expedition Leader
Who makes the AW4? It's definetly a solid trans.

I just traded my 2011 Rubicon (mildly built) for a new 2014 3500 Cummins truck, and sold my dually and bout have lifted and locked '99 UZJ100. The LC has 130,000 more miles on it and still manages to drive nicer than the Jeep did new. The new motor in the Rubis would have helped, but my main (only?) complaint (same with my '05 TJ) is the steering feel and ratio. It's just way too twitchy for a vehicle as tall and skinny as a Jeep.
AW4 is made by Aisin-Warner and is the same as the Aisin A340 used is Toyotas like the UZJ100.

Comparing a Jeep anything to a TLC is kind of ridiculous at a low level. Completely different target market and build philosophy.
 

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
I'm considering buying a new-to-me vehicle and would like to get some feedback from owners. There is a story here, so bear with me!

Currently my wife and I drive Mitsubishi Monteros - I have an '87, she has a '97. I like the vehicles, but the manual transmissions in the '87 are apparently weak (mine needs a rebuild at 135k miles), and the V6 used in the later versions have issues with valve guide seals, cam seals, breaking butterfly valves in the intake, etc. The V6 is also a serious PITA to work on, which is an issue since I do all of my own work.

Parts availability is an issue (the nearest dealer is an hour and a half away), as are the vehicles themselves (I'm in Oregon but well outside of the PDX area.) I'd like to replace the '87 with something from the late '90s, but low-mileage Monteros of that vintage without major problems are quite rare in my neck of the woods.

So, I'm considering switching brands to one which is more common, easier to work on, and hopefully has fewer problems than the Mitsubishis. Of course the Jeep Cherokee is the most common competitive model, and so I've been nosing around Craigslist and found lots of them available, many with low miles. (I've determined that the 4.0l is the best engine, based on what I've been reading, but would like to know if there are any other good choices.)

Usage: daily driver, frequent expedition/recreational driving in spring/summer (unimproved or historical roads); inclement weather during fall/winter. We're not into rock climbing or mudding, so major mods will not be a concern. We keep cars until they're just no longer serviceable, so models that will easily go past 200k without major work are what we're looking for (neither of our Mitsubishis has made that cut!)

The questions I have:
1) Are Cherokees with that engine relatively easy to work on?
2) What are the major problems with mid-90s to mid-00 examples? Engines, transmissions, transfer cases, differentials, electrical — what issues requiring major replacements or rebuilds seem to happen with regularity?
3) How is maintenance/repair as the mileage gets past 150k?

Finally, in your mind what is the one major objective reason to pick a Jeep over, say, a Toyota or Nissan (which are the only other brands I'm considering, and I'll be asking the same questions of their owners)?
Grant, as someone who sold a decently built Jeep to buy a 98 Montero I will say both have their place. The 4.0 Jeeps are hands down easier to work on, but they are also much smaller inside and do not feel as solid or as quiet as the Montero, nor do they handle as well. All that being said, if you choose to look at a Jeep then look for a 98-99 XJ or a 02-04 WJ with the 4.0, the 99-01 4.0 had head issues and still had the cracking exhaust manifold. And the 00-01 XJ went back to a low pinion front axle. Of the 2 the WJ is hands down a more refined and quieter rig than the XJ and is about on par with the Montero, with a 4 inch lift and 33's it will go anywhere you want to sanely go, but it almost seems like a downgrade considering you can 33's on a bone stock Montero. As far as the 97 Montero engine goes, it has the SOHC engine that does not use butterfly valves. You didn't mention which trim yours is so I cannot properly address a few other things, but the transmission and axles under the Montero make the Jeep look weak, although they do share the same family of AW transmissions with the XJ.

I'm about to sell my other Jeep and the Montero will be getting an Old Man Emu suspension and better gearing for 35's, but you would need to do a lot more than that to comfortably run 35's or even just 33's on a WJ or XJ.
 

Root Moose

Expedition Leader
Good advice in the post directly above.

The only thing I would add from a complete picture point of view is that if you are going to 33+s with a solid axle Jeep (proviso that you are fully aware of what it takes from design, effort and cost) then the solid axle Jeep will be more capable than the IFS rig on the same size tires.

That said, and I can't put a strong enough emphasis on this because I can hear the flame throwers being warmed up already, that capability difference will be lost on 99% of the users of the Jeep because they just don't use the Jeep that hard by choice or are not aware of what it can do.

So it's kind of a specious argument in a way - most of the time. That is, it doesn't really matter in the real world.

The reality is that a triple locked anything will go pretty much anywhere it needs to go for overlanding (car camping).

Pick the vehicle that makes your heart bounce when you look at it from the kitchen window in the morning and move forward.
 

1x1_Speed_Craig

Adventurer
We like Jeeps (but I'm a biased "Jeep guy"), and are working on/building late-model 2-door Cherokees for both of my daughters, currently aged 14 and almost 12, respectively. Having daily-driven a Cherokee through Michigan winters in the past, I'll say that the handling & wheelbase give a very sure-footed wintery commute. Yes, they have their quirks (some electrical, driver door hinges need repair after years of use, etc.), but overall, we love 'em.


My older daughter Mira's 1997 XJ 2-door (she's doing much of the work on her Cherokee):











My younger daughter Maeve's $500 2000 XJ 2-door (just getting started on this one). We have a 3" lift and some 29" tall BFG KM2s to mount on this one, as soon as the snow lets up a bit (probably spring).
 
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