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klaykrusher

Cherokee - What should I be looking for?

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Well I've slowly been looking into my next off-road vehicle. The XJ seems to be the way I'm leaning although I do like the thought of a 4.7 Grand. Since I'm not a master mechanic and not looking to be one I prefer a newer 1999-2001 model. Not that that means things won't break, just that hopefully these years will have less miles and abuse.

 

Anything special I should be looking for or looking out for with the vehicle? What type of price range is reasonable? I've been seeing anything from 4000 -10,000 for these years.

 

Thoughts on cost of upgrades after the purchase? Obviously, armor, lift and tires. Would like to keep budget at less than 10,000 for all if possible.

 

Thoughts?

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The 99 would be my choice, 29 spline Chrisler 8.25 rear axle and a high pinion Dana 30 front. The exhoust has one cat instead of three and after market parts are abundant. There's much more I have to say but I have to work on my Cherokee. This is a great campfire conversation. George :cool:

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99 limited or classic is the cream of the crop as G said, after that the last 2 years had low pinion front (not a bid deal though still for up to 4"). the 01 and maybe the 00 had different brake rotors to, also not a big deal but does limit upgrade options.

 

if you can find a 97-99 4.0L in good shape with less than 70k miles, you'd be in heaven. i'd get the auto but that's personal preference, i do know it's a good tranny though. i don't know anything about the stick, but i think i'd heard it was questionable. as you already know, the 4.0L is a solid engine.

 

i'd start with as clean of "stock" vehicle as i could find, old lady towed behind motor home. or you could go the other route and get one with lots of mods you like and save tons of money, but then be prepared to re-do some things and spend time dialing it in just how you want it... again personal preference, i like to start with a blank slate, but some like prefer a pile for good parts.

 

the only problem i ever had with my 01 was a couple times getting a misfire on cylinder 3. there was a TSB about putting heat shield under the injectors related to that, but mine already had it, so i changed plugs and tuned it all up and it was fine for a couple years then did it again once. i never did just swap the injector, but i think that's what it was. it never ran rough or anything, just threw the code.

 

it's obdII after 96, so you have easier time with emissions testing. you can do the key trick to get codes from the obdII as well.

 

as far as i know, most all of them had the np231 t-case which is solid. when you get around 4.5" you probably will want a SYE (again, so common for the 231). you need angle shims in the rear to point the pinion right when you do a SYE, don't get aluminum ones unless they are billet - cast ones are common and crumble. you'll need adjustable lower control arms at the very least to dial in the front caster/pinion compromise - but i'd skip short arms in general and go long arm kit if you can.

 

the front dana 30 is fine up to 33's even with locker if you're not stupid on it. the 8.25 29 spline is actually strong, just happens to be a c-clip axles.

 

4.5" and some trimming gets you 32's. you could wedge 33's in but would really need to bump-stop it alot.

 

several companies make good exhaust kits. that with the throttle body spacer and a JET stage II or similiar chip works well on performance.

 

you can add a switch to make it up the revs a bit (was as police option) for when your sitting a long time so that the alternator keeps charging good and it stays cool.

 

heated seats on limited will probably not work, can open them up and re solder wires to fix, but usually just breaks again.

 

plenty of aftermarket support for bumpers, steering, etc.

 

i had the JCR 1 ton steering, JKS track bar, JKS disconnects, and some bastard springs/control-arms, etc.

 

stay away from Rusty's, it's cheap but performs as such. Rubicon Express long arm used to be considered one of the better kits for lifts, but they are sold to 4wheel parts now i think so meh. TNT Customs was some of the nicest stuff back when i had mine- i'd look there at lifts unless you are going budget.

 

you don't need a rear sway bar with the rear leafs unless you are over 4.5" and then you might want one still.

 

they handle great and flex pretty darn well. can you tell i actually miss mine? ;)

 

scott knows everything else there is to know about them - so chime in scotty!

 

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get any '99-'01 you can find in the best condition possible bone stock. make sure it doesn't have the dana 35 rear end.

if you can find one for $5-7 grand then you gotta throw gears and lockers in front and rear in my opinion (ARB?) thats $4000 then a good long arm lift is $1500 i wouldn't waste money on a short arm lift again, been there done that. armor is another $500-1500 depending on how much you can fabricate yourself might be cheaper. if your going with big tires you might want aftermarket fender flares for $500

or just go buy this guys right here: http://phoenix.craigslist.org/wvl/cto/2421193168.html

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Thanks for all the insight guys...dang I didn't think the lockers/gears were going to run 4 G's though.

 

Kris you having second thoughts?

 

that XJ looks pretty clean Scott, I don't see any pin striping in the photos

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Kris you having second thoughts?

 

no, i love my WJ... they are completely different vehicles is all. i'd love to have one of each!

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1998 Grand 5.9l - Thoughts good, bad and ugly? I understand it has a D44a rear axle and a 249 transfer case. Seems to have a little more interior room than the regular Cherokee. Have to check on the weight factor...

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1998 Grand 5.9l - Thoughts good, bad and ugly? I understand it has a D44a rear axle and a 249 transfer case. Seems to have a little more interior room than the regular Cherokee. Have to check on the weight factor...

 

Is it a ZJ or an WJ? Tha D44 has an aluminum center section:poop:on those models. George:cool:

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Oooops....ZJ, so most folks would end up replacing the entire axle to get away from the aluminum?

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I have been reading up on the XJ for a while now also, as I plan to purchase one. It took me forever to re-locate this link but it has some great info on the model years. I am jsut quoting here so if it is not all correct I apologize, but it seems very legit.

 

The XJ celebrated a VERY long and successful run with Chrysler. It was the first small SUV on the market and it's cost and versatility made for a very popular vehicle. The pros and cons can be laid out as such:

 

Pros:

Lightweight

Mid sized wheelbase makes it maneuverable

Lots of junk yard parts available

Compatibility between years for swapping parts

Aftermarket support

Cost

 

Cons:

Unibody

 

So the only downfall of the XJ is the unibody. While on a mildly built rig this wouldn't be much of an issue, when 33" tires or bigger come to play the unibody will need to be braced. Bigger axle swaps also mean more reinforcement of the stock suspension and body. The XJ's popularity has brought about many options for doing this very thing. Weld in kits, home fabricated braces, and stiffeners abound. Rocker protection selection is also quite diverse and makes for many choices for the owner.

 

The XJ's AW4 trans is a stout unit as well. If a Aux cooler is added or a rig is factory equipped with one, the trans will generally last a long time. Many of the other Jeeps transmission available were problematic and not as strong.

 

The XJ's transfer cases options were also quite good. The NP231 and NP242 of the 87+ years are great platforms. While there is not as much aftermarket support for the NP242, every year there seems to be more. The NP242 is superior to some of the other optioned transfer cases out there and often are swapped in place of those units (ie NP249 to NP242 swaps in grand Cherokees). The NP231 is a great unit across the Jeep platform. It's tried and true performance spills over into the GM market as well. The aftermarket support is strong for this cases and offers many options for improvement.

 

Th XJ's High Pinion D30 84-99 was also a strong point. The one piece axles of the 92+ (also 87-91 NP242 equipped XJs) make for a strong setup and a platform that can be easily modified to be even stronger. The earlier ABS equipped and the 95+ XJ D30's use the bigger X297 Ujoints and these can stand up 33" tires. The verese rotation and high pinion design make for a stronger front axe in general. The Low Pinion D30 from 00-01 isn't necessarily a bad axle, just not as strong as the HP units.

 

The XJ has had various rear axles under it sense it's start. The options were:

 

D35 without the C-clipped 27 spline axle shafts

D35C with Cclips (91-01) 27 spline shafts

Chrysler 8.25 with 27 spline shafts

Chrysler 8.25 with 29 spline shafts

 

D44 optioned form 87-90 (87 was the most prominent year) with 30 spline axle shafts

The D44 is the preferred stock option for it's strength, 30 spline axle shafts, and aftermarket support. The Chrysler 8.25 with 29spline axles is the second strongest factory option. The 8.25 with 27splines and the D35non c-clipped share equal strength. The D35C tends to be the low man on the totem pole.

 

The 8.25 housing is quite strong and it's nearly 3" axle tubes are not prone to flex. It has a larger (8.25") ring gear and D60 sized pinion shaft. The D35 axle tubes tend to flex and this is what tends to lead to most failures. Any of the above axles will bolt up with the differences being that you can't run ABS on a 8.25 or D44 and that a like equipped driveshaft must be used sinse the pinion lengths are different between the different axles.

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