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klaykrusher

Cherokee - What should I be looking for?

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Explanation of different model years

 

The question of which year to buy comes up often. Truth be told, it will depend on what your intentions are for the vehicle. I will cover over some pros and cons for each year:

84-86

Pros:

Usually can be had quite cheap

 

Cons:

Body welds notorious for coming apart

Under powered carberated engines with the exception of the 86 4cyl that was EFI

Transmissions were decent, but no Overdrive

Transfer cases are not the most desirable, and finding parts for them nearly impossible

 

Overview:

These can be had quite cheap. With work the 2.8L GM V6 can be made to run reliably, but it requires a lot of upkeep in the form of vac lines and many parts are no longer available for them. Not many aftermarket parts for them either. If you can find one cheap and score a GM 3.4L V6, swap that in and run that. Lots of online info on that swap.

 

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87-90

 

Pros:

First years of the 4.0L Renix engines

Optional D44 is a great axle right out of the box

Manual Trans options were mixed, but the AX15 is a good unit. The BA5/10 is not as desirable

AW4 trans a solid unit with an Aux cooler installed, also optioned with Power/Comfort switch for towing

Fairly easy to troubleshoot with a voltmeter

Quite a bit of support from the aftermarket

ABS equipped units used x297 Ujoints on the front axle shafts

Single O2 sensor

 

Cons:

The Renix system does not store codes. It requires a bit more work to diagnose problems

Power output was 177hp. Still has a good balance of weight to power

D35 more prominent

The BA5/10 manual trans is not as desirable

Two piece D30 axle shafts with CAD set up can be problematic (vacuum line failure)

Single diaphram brake booster

Closed cooling system requires some maint to keep it tip top

 

Overview:

These years are good years for owners that aren't afraid to get thier hands dirty and know how to use a volt meter. They are pretty common and can be had on the cheap. Can be easily built to be a good daily driver and offroader. Aftermarket has a decent amount of support as well. Some of the weak point sof these years can be upgraded with newer model year parts. These older systems tend to react better to performance upgrades without error codes being thrown or sensor freaking out.

 

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91-94

 

Pros:

Intro of the HO engines and management with 190hp (91-00)

From 92+ the two piece CAD D30 axles were replaced with one piece axles

OBDI systems allowed for self diagnostic and stored codes

Simplicity of Open Cooling system

Intro of the 8.25 axle (stronger housing and axle tubes)

Single O2 sensor

 

Cons:

Non ABS D30s used X260 Ujoints

8.25 rear axle used 27spline shafts

 

Overview:

These years are great for entry level shade tree mechanics for a good daily driver or offroader. Plenty of aftermarket support. Most weak parts can be swapped out very simply (example- dual diaphram booster from a 95-96 swap right in). HO TB easy to mod to 60mm. Single O2 sensor makes for cheaper up keep and less complicated.

 

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95-96

 

Pros:

Used a dual diaphram brake booster

Used the X297 as standard equipment on all D30's

Late build 96 8.25 axle may have the 29 spline shafts

96 OBDII system allowed for scanners

 

Cons:

Many sensors were swapped between these years and it makes getting the right one a PITA

 

Overview:

These years are great for intry level shade tree mechanics for a good daily driver or offroader. Plenty of aftermarket support. Most weak parts can be swapped out very simply. HO TB easy to mod to 60mm. Single O2 sensor makes for cheaper up keep and less complicated.

 

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97-99

 

Pros:

Out of the box stronger front and rear axles (D30 front and 8.25 rear)

Can be had for reasonable prices

Some have lower miles on the Odo

Transfer cases used sealed output slip yoke housings

99 Intro of the equal length intake manifold

Cup Holders on center console

97 was intro of metal rear hatch

 

Cons:

Generally more susceptible to driveline vibration when lifted

Dual O2 can be expensive if overhauling

99+ used different hubs and rotors not a problem, but something to be aware of

 

Overview:

Great beginners vehicles with the stronger axles you can comfortably run 33's locked.

 

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00-01

 

Pros:

Same as the 97-99

NV3550 manual trans has lot of aftermarket support

Can be had with low miles on the Odo

Saw a 3hp increase to 193hp

 

Cons:

Same as the 97-99

Low pinion D30

 

Overview:

Great beginners vehicles with the stronger axles you can comfortably run 33's locked. It's usually recommended to swap to the HP D30 front axle.

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Reading on JeepForum it seems the big debate is 96 vs 99, tho I dont have exp with either so I will have to make a choice as well!

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Thanks guys, a lot of good info. My main reason for thinking about the 5.9ZJ was for the horsepower on the freeways. There is one for sale, asking $13,000 with only 20,000 miles on it, yep I typed that right, hahaha. But once the upgrades start it will easily climb to $20,000.

 

Been focusing my search on the '99 XJ. A lot out there, but prices and mileage are all over the place.

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http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ctd/2445863005.html

 

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ctd/2446061724.html

 

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/ctd/2444531796.html

 

prices pretty standard in my area.. but that doesnt mean there is not room for negotiation haha

 

FYI, The Kalifornia XJs have Kalifornia emissions and they can't get out of their own way! George:cool:

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I loved my ZJ and miss it at times, but to build them solid is not the cheapest and why I went another direction. The 249 TC is junk (loses power to front wheels on steep climbs, and robs gas milage), most swap in a 231 or 242. The D44a is a weak point as mentioned, but I know a few who wheel with it. Sliders in my opinion should be a early up grade since they work as "frame" stiffeners, my ZJ felt much more solid flexing once they were on. One advantage we have in Arizona is that Kevin's Offroad is local, and those guys specialize in ZJ's. If you are seriously interested in a ZJ I may know of what that is already fairly built that may be going up for sale- 5.9, custom front and rear bumpers, winch, custom sliders, custom roof rack, air tanks, Kevlars blah blah blah, lol. Only real upgrade I know it would need is a good lift and maybe TC swap.

 

All of that said...An XJ will probably be the way I go when I go with a grocery getter again in the future, the '99s are great.

 

Here is my old ZJ on a VERY cheap build.

How she sat when I sold her, running 32s with trimmed fenders.

DSC03286.jpg

This is running 31s with stock front springs and spacers and front XJ springs in the rear, stacked on about a 38" tire.

DSCF3869.jpg

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Dave if those sliders you had on my LJ diff's will work on an XJ Dana 44, and you wind up getting one, you can have them back.

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get any '99-'00 you can find in the best condition possible bone stock. make sure it doesn't have the dana 35 rear end.

 

addendum:

buy any '97-'00 you can find.

the emissions control system on '01 models can $uck your pockets empty if it ever fails.

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