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Choosing a Cherokee


 
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Axshon
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Joined: 29 Feb 2008

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:45 am    Post subject: Choosing a Cherokee Reply with quote

Hello all, I have some questions for the group.

As background, I had a 95 Grand Cherokee Laredo (4.0L) for about 6 years and it was the best vehicle I've ever owned. Folks used to tell me I looked like a Jeep commercial in the mountains of NC, SC and GA. I had it off the ground a few times and climbed hills I had no business being anywhere near more than once. Never a problem till about 125K when the trans started ticking. Before a big trip, it was broken into and the interior trashed at a point where I couldn't afford to fix it so I traded it in on a Volvo. (Please, I know!)

So now I have a little Suzuki SUV whose parts cost an arm and a leg, nobody carries them and I don't like it anyway. I figure at the rate I'm driving I can get a year more out of it. I'll be getting another Jeep but not a GC. Parts and size seem much more appropriate for me with a Cherokee. I intend to put mostly road miles on it with the occasional curb hopping but when the time comes I want to have a good off road vehicle. I'm now in MD so road mileage can be 80 mph but usually closer to 65-70 tops.

So some questions:
1. How do Cherokee's handle on the road at speed?
2. Is the manual transmission worth looking for or is the AT good enough?
3. Buy older and rework it or newer and drive/tweak it?
4. What kind of mileage can be expected?

My thought was to spend 4K or less getting into a nice body with high miles (193 hp 4.0L from 2000 or 2001) and then drop in a long block and perhaps rebuild the front/rear/tranny and a rear disk conversion. I am thinking of doing the motor right away primarily as a start-from-scratch maneuver since I don't want the down time if it dies later. (Sales pitch for the wife, I know the motor will last well over 200K.) My goal is rock solid reliability, 200K more miles and the ability to wrench it myself and teach my wife how to drive in the mud and crud. All for way way under 10K. Any thoughts?

Many thanks.

JJ
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Tim Hallam
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Joined: 06 Dec 2007
Location: Mt. Shasta, California

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just get a any 4.0 Cherokee with under 120k and I think you got your car... I personally wouldn't just drop in another engine if there's nothing wrong with the original.

Stay away from '86-'89 manual transmissions. Peugeo 5/10 transmission is crap. The Aisin AX-15 is a good transmission but maybe not for a engine swap.

Anway, personally I'd buy a 1991-1996 4.0 High Output Cherokee, manual or auto and just leave the engine stock. If the 4.0's are cared for and well maintained you can get 'em to 300,000 miles and sometimes more. Most of the time (from what I've seen) they just get old around 250,000.

There are more people on this forum who are much more qualified to give you advice than me... Those are just my recommendations.

Check out these links, this might help you out.

http://www.novak-adapt.com/knowledge/xj_swap.htm

http://www.novak-adapt.com/knowledge/engines_general.htm

I learned a lot from those two links.

(Passed down from "Kaos")

Take care and welcome to the forum...

Tim
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DavidXJ
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Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Location: Visalia, CA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. They handle like a Jeep... great offroad, mediocre onroad.
2. The AW4 automatic is reliable and tough. Does have wierd shift points in 1-2 gear. But worth buying.
3. Buy a 1997-1998. Best of all options.
4. I've heard everything from 12mpg to 20mpg... but with the 3 Cherokees I have driven I've averaged 15mpg with a heavy foot.

Kelly Blue Book says that a private party 1998 Cherokee w/ 100,000 in excellent condition is worth around $4500.

I suggest going with a 1997-99 because they have the best configuration of desirable parts:
-refreshed exterior styling
-upgraded interior styling and sound dampening
-4.0L H.O.
-AW4 transmission
-NP231 transfer case
-High pinion Dana 30 front axle
-29 spline Chrysler 8.25 rear axle (if you can find one with this instead of the Dana 35 rear)

The 2000+ has all of the above desirable options with the exception of the front axle, which became athe more undesirable low pinion Dana 30.

I think you should be able to find one of these years with those options for under $4000 if you look for one that is mechanically sound but maybe has some cosmetic "problems" that you could fix.

If you can't find an affordable enough 1997-99, it seems like the years around the 1995 have the most aftermarket performance parts available. The only problem is that if you can find one with a Chrysler 8.25, it will be a 27 spline. Whatever you do, go with anything after 1991, since that is when they switched over to the HO 4.0L and they don't have the crappy closed loop cooling system.
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Brad The Best
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Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Location: Kamloops B.C Canada

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

100% agree with David . i wont even write a real post .
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Orangeamc13
Got Rev Limiter?
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Joined: 20 Feb 2006
Location: East Springfield, Massachusetts - U.S.A.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree also, but one more thing, later than 92 will get a HPD30 non-disconnect.
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Brad The Best
Member


Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Location: Kamloops B.C Canada

PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

some how i got a 91 with a non-disconnect . so the main thing is to look at the axle and see if has some little vacuum hoses coming off of it .
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Orangeamc13
Got Rev Limiter?
Got Rev Limiter?


Joined: 20 Feb 2006
Location: East Springfield, Massachusetts - U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They started cutting out the disconnect axles in 91, so there are some with non-disconnect in 91. That's why I say just go for 92 or later for the sure thing. Wink
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JeepinNH
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Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Location: New Hampshire

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I like the Grand I had more than the XJ I now have. Way more comfy and I like the rear coil springs better. The Grand isn't that much bigger in size. I would drive some back to back and go from there.
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Mike

Present: 99 Cherokee
Past: 86, 87 Cherokee; 94 Grand Cherokee
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Brad The Best
Member


Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Location: Kamloops B.C Canada

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JeepinNH wrote:
Personally, I like the Grand I had more than the XJ I now have. Way more comfy and I like the rear coil springs better. The Grand isn't that much bigger in size. I would drive some back to back and go from there.


agreed but there is something about a xj .
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88xjSUPERJEEP
Member


Joined: 30 Jan 2008
Location: NJ

PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brad The Best wrote:


agreed but there is something about a xj .


Haha! I have a crush on my XJ... Very Happy
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rockjock
Member


Joined: 03 Feb 2008
Location: KY

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Brad, the XJ is a simple work horse with clean lines. Itīs a "Git R Done", Mans man kind out truck. No fluff and powder. Nothing wrong with Grands they're great vehicles, but off road the TJ's and XJ's are in their element so to speak
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Axshon
Member


Joined: 29 Feb 2008

PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info everyone. I think I'll go with David's recommendation. Right price and I like the look of the "classic" edition. There are a couple in the neighborhood and the gunmetal blue is nice when its cleaned up.

As I said, I loved my Grand Cherokee but I'm looking for something that I can gradually tweak into a nice off road vehicle. The parts for the Cherokee are so much cheaper and more available than for the GC that I think its a better choice. Plus I like the shoebox look. Similar to the current crop of Jeeps and the old HMMWV's I drove in the Corps. No nonsense, business is business SUV.

Jim
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