jeep guys advice please

Messages
3,888
Location
southern mo
I will be starting my search for a used Cherokee soon. What's some big differences between Cherokee and the grand cherokee? I used to love 4 wheing and what not and want to get back into it. However this also needs to be reliable enough to use in the winter and when doing a rescue transport for multiple dogs. My wife and I currently do transport for dogs now and use the pt. The jeep would help out a lot with bigger or multiple dogs. My plans for it are bigger tires . Just whatever will fit on the stock rim. What's a good size to go with ? Maybe a bigger exhaust to after that I may look for a brush guard set up . Just want to be able to play with it when I want to but also use it on the road when I need to. I am looking mainly at the 90's jeep because of price I don't want to spend a fortune on it. Are certain years better than others? Pros and cons of cherokee or grand cherokee and any other helpful advice. Thanks everyone.
 

Nick1994

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13,436
Location
Phoenix, AZ
My grandpa has a 96' Cherokee. What a fantastic vehicle it has been, I drive it often and do lots of 4-wheeling in it, they're very capable. As I'm sure you know the 4.0L is bulletproof. I'd get a Cherokee over a Grand Cherokee as the 4.0L is a bit underpowered in the GC. It has plenty of power in a regular Cherokee. My brother's 91' Cherokee has 213k miles on it and has been great as well. Stock suspension on the 96' and original tires were 215/75-15 (tiny). We put 235/75-15 tire's on it and is probably about as big as you want to go stock, very decently sized. We have always run BFG All Terrains on it.
 
Messages
807
Location
Oaxaca, Mexico
For me only the Cherokee is acceptable. The Grand is only about 4 inches bigger, just as cramped inside, has nicer seats and a ton of plastic and electric trash. The Grands usually have some kind of weak full time 4wd, too, while the regulars almost always have real part-time 4wd. To me, the only redeeming feature of the Grand Cherokee is the solid front axle. Do yourself a favor and buy a Daimler/Chrysler regular Cherokee with the 4.0. Stay away from the AMC/Renault versions.
 
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8,143
Location
Mahzurrah!
I had a 99 Cherokee prior to my current 04 Grand and absolutely loved it. Problem is those vehicles are getting pretty old, Jeeps often can be used pretty hard and they require more than average maintenance. So finding one worth having is much harder than it used to be. Since you are looking at 90's Jeeps I'd probably opt for the regular Cherokee, although the Grand from those years is a good Jeep too I'd want the 4.0 in it as well though. The V8's in those 90 something Grands are gas sucking pigs. The "weak full time 4wd" mentioned above was usually found in the fancy V8 Limited type Grands, most of the I6 4.0 Grands have selectable 4wd just like a Cherokee. I too prefer that set up.
 

Nick1994

$50 Site Donor
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13,436
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Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted By: KCJeep
I had a 99 Cherokee prior to my current 04 Grand and absolutely loved it. Problem is those vehicles are getting pretty old, Jeeps often can be used pretty hard and they require more than average maintenance. So finding one worth having is much harder than it used to be. Since you are looking at 90's Jeeps I'd probably opt for the regular Cherokee, although the Grand from those years is a good Jeep too I'd want the 4.0 in it as well though. The V8's in those 90 something Grands are gas sucking pigs. The "weak full time 4wd" mentioned above was usually found in the fancy V8 Limited type Grands, most of the I6 4.0 Grands have selectable 4wd just like a Cherokee. I too prefer that set up.
Yup the V8's are pretty thirsty. The 4.0L Cherokee gets about 15 city and upper teens highway, although my grandpa's Jeep just got new plugs and a timing chain and at 65 mph for 105 miles last month on the highway it got 21.7 mpg, which is pretty amazing for a Jeep. Afterwards of doing about 55-60 miles offroad with some decent 4-wheeling and then another 100 miles on the highway at 80 mph it got around 16 mpg.
 
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1,841
Location
.
Most problems you would encounter for any XJ would be simple, obvious and cheaper to fix than most other vehicles. If you look at a CG, you will see the 4.0 is the more sought after engine (for a reason).
 
Messages
689
Location
Chicago, IL
90's? I just sold a '94 Grand Cherokee (GC) to guy that's using it as a winter beater. Still ticking. I'll comment on the GC's specifically, though the Cherokee's shared much of the same with the 4.0 trimmed GC's The GC's will both have solid Dana30's upfront. At this age I'd be looking at the balljoints. Drive over uneven/bumpy roads and listen for pops. If it has U-jointed front axle shafts, check those for leakage and wear on the crosses. Check the tierods all the way up from the pitman arm to the balljoints for evidence of greasing. Some years had greasable joints that many owners often neglect. Loose steering can also be caused by wear in the steering box, the box can be adjusted, to a point. Check the condition of the fluid, the box isn't cheap. You'd typically find the 42re tranny in the 4.0's and 46rh in the 5.2's. 46rh is, not surprisingly, more robust. If you run into a 42re that shifts rough, hard or lazily it may likely be that the throttle valve (TV) cable is simply out of adjustment. Many owners don't know about this and get swindled by trans shops. GC's had 242 and 249 transfer cases. The chain driven 242 cases had selectable 2wd, 4full, 4part time and 4lo. The viscous coupling 249's had only 4full, 4part and 4lo. The 242's hold up fine over time but I would check that the linkage still moves (many are rusted solid from lack of use) and that the front and rear prop shaft seals aren't bleeding oil. The 249's generally go out to 100K before the viscous coupler locks up, drivable, but the front axle will bind in tight turns. Perform figure 8's on dry pavement to confirm this. A new viscous coupler alone is ~$400, not to bad to DIY though. For the rear axles you'll find Dana 35c's and 44a's. 4.0's typically sported the 35c's and most 5.2's sported the 44a's. Many 35c's, at this age, will show signs of spun axle tubes or broken plug welds at the axle tube/center diff interface. Look for an oily residue at that interface, no fix for this. If you see a 35c with gear oil dripping out by the tire this means that the tube seal has failed likely due to the bearing failing. If the bearing has failed then the axle shaft on that side is also likely done ($). Leaking pinion seals are another common problem at this age. The 44a's were more robust but the center section, being made of aluminum, was prone to scratching on rocks. Bring a magnet with you to discern between the 2 variants. The 4.0's at 150-200K usually require a new crankshaft position sensor. Symptom is no spark, requires disassembly of transfer case linkage, 3 feet of extensions and a universal joint to replace. High idle at start is the idle air control valve (easy) and delays in throttle response or strange throttle behavior is the throttle position sensor (easy). The '95+'s had body control modules (BCMs) that controlled the interior lighting, windows, etc. If you see the interior lighting and such acting funny, it's most likely the culprit ($). Some 96-01 Cherokees and 4.0 GC's had piston skirt failures, listen for loud engine noise. If the head has 0331 stamped on it then it is likely an infamously flawed head. Most 4.0's at this age also have cracked exhaust manifolds. Most never grow bigger than a hair though and seal when the manifold heats up. Upon initial start, go under the hood and use your nose to smell for un-catalyzed exhaust. Should be a loud tick at that time also. Plenty more, but the Jeepforum has write ups on how to fix most things. Best of luck on your purchase.
 
Messages
4,672
Location
Massachusetts
Nothing wrong with the Renix XJ's. There are plenty of resources available online to troubleshoot issues if they happen, the cooling system is easily upgradable and the Dana35 in those years was not a C-clip axle. If you're lucky (very lucky) you may even find one with a rear Dana 44 (metric ton option). More than likely though, you'll have a greater chance of finding a later model, so I would recommend a 4.0L auto with the command trac (NP231) transfercase, for rock solid reliability. Try to get a model with the 29 spline rear 8.25 axle for better survivability off road. As far as tires go, you're looking at a 30x9.5R15 on the stock rim without a lift. I fit 33x12.5R15's on my daughter's '89 two door with only a 2" lift, but I massaged the sheet metal a bit (the Two doors have a slightly larger rear wheel well opening).
 
Messages
163
Location
CA
My friend has one with the 4.0L and a 5 speed manual. Very early 4.0L were not the 190hp HO. With the 5 speed manual they are pretty quick just harder to find.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,293
Location
New Jersey
How about an older one? Like the old cherokee chiefs from the early 80s? They were pretty neat. A neighbor had a waggoneer, sold it for a lot of $$$, apparently some of the older stuff is well sought after. Good luck, OP, sounds like you're going to have two project trucks!
 
Messages
8,646
Location
Texas
I had a loaded 2000 Cherokee Limited with the desirable transfer case that allowed fulltime 4WD or part time - you had best of both worlds. I loved that truck and never should have sold it. I still have my 78 CJ7 though smile
 
Messages
8,655
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
Giving Jeep owners a chance to give facts..great. Hey GMBoy, how many miles on your 2000 when you sold it? +1 on the electric trash in the GC, just not worth it. The 2000 and 2001 XJ's have the modernized ignition. Clean / replace the PCV orifice in the rear elbow. I replaced both grommets, both elbows and the PCV suction tube (to the intake manifold) when I replaced the VC gasket. Any 4.0L you find will need that done. It'll keep things clean. The NP242 transfer case is less prone to chattering in turns. I'm assured the head gaskets go in the 4.0 at around 150K. At 170K ours began sipping coolant. Remember, exactly 4 quarts of transmission fluid drains from the 4 speed when you unscrew the plug. Buy a jug of ANY Dex/Merc before doing your inspection if it has the 4 speed. Other units vary. Good luck finding one you like. Kira
 

ram_man

Thread starter
Messages
3,888
Location
southern mo
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
How about an older one? Like the old cherokee chiefs from the early 80s? They were pretty neat. A neighbor had a waggoneer, sold it for a lot of $$$, apparently some of the older stuff is well sought after. Good luck, OP, sounds like you're going to have two project trucks!
In a sense yes but this one will be for fun and for use and work. The ram will be factory clean and perfect eventually and then will he garaged most the time. Lol the jeep will never see a garage it'll be the type where a scratch adds character and not displeasure.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,293
Location
New Jersey
Actually, the SJ is what I had in mind... Much cooler than the XJ. Get it with the big block and three speed!
 
Messages
8,646
Location
Texas
Originally Posted By: Kira
Giving Jeep owners a chance to give facts..great. Hey GMBoy, how many miles on your 2000 when you sold it? +1 on the electric trash in the GC, just not worth it. The 2000 and 2001 XJ's have the modernized ignition. Clean / replace the PCV orifice in the rear elbow. I replaced both grommets, both elbows and the PCV suction tube (to the intake manifold) when I replaced the VC gasket. Any 4.0L you find will need that done. It'll keep things clean. The NP242 transfer case is less prone to chattering in turns. I'm assured the head gaskets go in the 4.0 at around 150K. At 170K ours began sipping coolant. Remember, exactly 4 quarts of transmission fluid drains from the 4 speed when you unscrew the plug. Buy a jug of ANY Dex/Merc before doing your inspection if it has the 4 speed. Other units vary. Good luck finding one you like. Kira
It had 89,000 miles. Black with black interior. Sold it in 2008 for a darn new CTS.
 
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Messages
14,828
Location
Central NY
I'd take an XJ any day of the week over a Grand Cherokee. The XJ was just a much more reliable vehicle. Less electronics - this was not a high point for Chrysler. The Grand Cherokees all suffer from too many electrical gremlins. Fried ECUs are super common the GC 4.0s (ZJ) and the WJ 4.7. Transmission - Some mopar fans will argue, but the 42RE in the ZJ and WJ grands was NOT a reliable unit. The Toyota transmission behind the 4.0L XJ would just run forever. Period. The 4.0L 4x4 Cherokee is lighter than most vehicles on the road today too. I would avoid the 2000, 2001 Cherokees, though and the 99-01 Grand Cherokees. They have a propensity to crack the cylinder head and are much more prone to breaking piston skirts for some reason. If you want OBDII - get a 97-99 XJ Cherokee. Otherwise any Renix or HO 4.0L Cherokee will provide great service. As long as it isn't rusted.
 
Messages
14,828
Location
Central NY
Originally Posted By: ram_man
Toyota transmission? Could you elaborate please?
The 4 speed auto in the XJ Cherokee behind the 4.0L is a version of the Toyota A340E. Used in both higher powered and heavier vehicles over the years.
 
Messages
4,449
Location
Guilford, CT
My uncle has a 1998 Grand Cherokee with 4.0. At around 100k, he had the transmission rebuilt. At around 169k, the engine blew. He put a junkyard engine in it and is still driving it. He also replaced a lot of other things like starters, sensors, radiators, etc. He maintains it very well and doesn't drive hard at all. Take that for what it's worth...
 
Messages
10,140
Location
Nut farm
Originally Posted By: Miller88
Originally Posted By: ram_man
Toyota transmission? Could you elaborate please?
The 4 speed auto in the XJ Cherokee behind the 4.0L is a version of the Toyota A340E. Used in both higher powered and heavier vehicles over the years.
No...but Toyota also uses the AW4, as did Volvo. Its an Aisin-Warner design, sold to many companies.
 
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