older jeep cherokee's need input! Eat, Drink, and be Merry The Dan Wesson Forum Forum

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older jeep cherokee's need input!
September 25, 2018
1:53 pm
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pops2
beavercreek,oregon
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good day all! I’m looking for some input on the older jeep cherokee’s. MY search lead me to look towards the 97’s and later because of the quality of the drive train. If any of you have experiance in this area let me know. My main interest is in a straight body clean condition. I can repair the mechanical issues and general tuning but don’t want expensive body and paint bills. I’m not looking to build a rock crawler or extreme trail rig, just a good daily driver. This said I’ve seen a few on craigslist in the 3000 to 4500 price range that look to be some what stock with slight after market work. does this seem about right? I appreciate any and all input. Dayton This is a north west market pricing.occasion

September 25, 2018
8:37 pm
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lonwolf93
Lancaster Pa
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Hello Pops!

   I do know a little about Jeep Cherokees, I  own a 1997 2-door which I have had for over 14 years. In my biased opinion the XJ platform is awesome. They possess ruggedness, simplicity, & reliability. There are still thousands on the road so parts are easy to come by, and there is a strong aftermarket support. If you look at a potential one to buy, look underneath for rust. Even here with PA winters it is possible to find relatively rust free examples in the price range you quoted. Leave the rougher ones for the offroaders. I would agree ’97 or newer, the ’96 and older is fine but they are getting so old that nice bodies are difficult to find.

   Mine has only rusted on one rocker panel, which I had replaced with a NOS part just this summer. The only reason it rusted thru is because the little vent quarter windows leaked and let water run down the inside of the body. I would suggest avoiding 2 doors, their production #s were much lower and so parts are becoming difficult to find. Also if you haul people the 4 door is just more practical.

   The 4.0L inline six is an excellent engine, good for 250K or more if it has been maintained. Ridiculously tough. We have a Wrangler with the 4.0L that my step daughter wheeled into a swamp, water up over the hood. Pulled it out, drained the oil, pulled the spark plugs and cranked the water out of the cylinders. Dried the plugs and put them back, refilled the crankcase with oil, it started right up and ran like a top. It makes plenty of power for the XJ body. A little rocker arm noise is normal. Gas mileage is not its strong suit, but is not bad until you start adding a lift kit and big tires. The 5 speed manual trans is very durable. I believe the automatics are also well regarded, perhaps a little susceptible to overheating if you wheel it hard.

   My Cherokee has 156,000 miles. It is now a second vehicle but I still drive it regularly. I would not be afraid to hop in it on a 1000 mile trip tomorrow. When my daughter turned 16, it became her vehicle for 4 years and survived. If you are an average amateur mechanic like me you can do a lot on these rigs. Unlike modern throwaway suvs, the Cherokee front suspension has grease fittings, a couple pumps at every oil change and you are good. And the local auto parts store has most of what will wear out or need replaced.

   I hope this is helpful. Here are a couple pics-

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My daughter Jess, when she was the primary driver of the Cherokee. (This was a wheeling excursion that I did not have knowledge of until quite a while later)

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"The lion and the tiger may be more powerful, but the Wolf does not perform in the circus"

September 26, 2018
12:11 am
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pops2
beavercreek,oregon
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Thanks! looks like it has been kept up and is straight. There are lots of stories my kids have informed me of years after the fact. Must be their hand me down stories.pokeyes on the later years, my search tells me they have all metal rear door hatch where as early ones were fiberglass that tended to crack later on, also the rear ends are chrysler 8.25 that seem to be a better option over earlier years. One book said they offered a tow package with some that had the prefered 44 rear end but not many took that option. thank you for the input and pictures! I’m looking but in no big hurry, hope to find one that fits my needs.

September 26, 2018
7:24 am
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lonwolf93
Lancaster Pa
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Pops yes, the ’84-’96 had a fiberglass rear hatch that often cracked at the hinges, changed to all steel in ’97. And you are right about the rears, later ones have the Chrysler 8.25 which is preferred over the Dana 35 which had c-clip axles. But either rear is fine if you are not going off-road.

Some Cherokees did come with a Dana 44, but I have looked under a lot of them over the years and never seen one. A popular custom upgrade now is to use a Ford Explorer 8.8 rear, which gives you a strong rear and gets you rear disc brakes, and they can be found with posi-traction. But the Explorer rear requires fabbing leaf spring perches etc so it is not a bolt in.

   If you end up buying something post some pics here!

"The lion and the tiger may be more powerful, but the Wolf does not perform in the circus"

September 26, 2018
8:42 pm
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pops2
beavercreek,oregon
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I will do hope to find a clean one for a winter project. I retired last year and have been catching up on honey dew projects. I would like to restore a early ford bronco but even the beaters are out of my price range so its on to a cherokee. you’ll see the results of my search here. I’m over due on posting pictures of my Dan Wesson collection and my new to me reloading room.post-picsoccasionThanks again!

October 2, 2018
12:28 am
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pops2
beavercreek,oregon
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March 25, 2008
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Good day Brian! I managed to find a 1997 4dr, 4×4, sport, auto with 139000mi.. It looks to be real clean but has the typical fading red clear coat. I just got home 9:30 pm so I’ll post some pictures when the suns up. Thanks again for your inputoccasion

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