MR2 SpyderChat banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,296 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I used to have a 1998 Mitsubishi Montero Sport, but the timing belt broke and took out the motor, so I'm left with the 2001 MR2 Spyder and a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally. I was looking for something with a little more utility that I could haul bags of mulch and maybe do some research on a cheap trailer, etc.

The Jeep Commander has been on my future wish list for some time now, but the Cherokee/Grand Cherokees have started to grow on me because of it's boxy look (but I don't like the Scion xB). I think I settled on the ZJ Jeep Grand Cherokee because it has a nice looking 3 spoke steering wheel. Probably the last year they made them - 1998. The interior of the 1999/2000 Grand Cherokee looks like a boring truck. I'd also probably go with the Laredo vs the Limited because the leather seats on the Limited will most likely be cracked, and the Limited wheels look like a pain in the but to keep clean.

Has anyone had any experience with Grand Cherokees? What should I look for and what are the common problems? I was also sorta looking at the Ford Ranger and the Ford Escape - basically something cheap (under $4k) that would look good with fire department plates.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,518 Posts
I had an '85 about 15 years ago and loved it, would like to get another myself. Never had any issues with mine but not sure what to expect with the newer models. Enjoy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,661 Posts
Personally I like the cherokee sport body style better. I'd also go with the 4.0 straight 6 over the v8.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,296 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jeep Cherokee Interior:


2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior:


1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Interior:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
642 Posts
I used to have a 1998 Mitsubishi Montero Sport, but the timing belt broke and took out the motor, so I'm left with the 2001 MR2 Spyder and a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally. I was looking for something with a little more utility that I could haul bags of mulch and maybe do some research on a cheap trailer, etc.

The Jeep Commander has been on my future wish list for some time now, but the Cherokee/Grand Cherokees have started to grow on me because of it's boxy look (but I don't like the Scion xB). I think I settled on the ZJ Jeep Grand Cherokee because it has a nice looking 3 spoke steering wheel. Probably the last year they made them - 1998. The interior of the 1999/2000 Grand Cherokee looks like a boring truck. I'd also probably go with the Laredo vs the Limited because the leather seats on the Limited will most likely be cracked, and the Limited wheels look like a pain in the but to keep clean.

Has anyone had any experience with Grand Cherokees? What should I look for and what are the common problems? I was also sorta looking at the Ford Ranger and the Ford Escape - basically something cheap (under $4k) that would look good with fire department plates.
My brother in law had a grand cherokee that was slightly newer, the next body style. When it worked, he liked it. It left him on the side of the road 3 times in the first 36K, he was unhappy with the reliablity, and low rent interior.

I coincidently owned a 2001 Ford Escape, which I sold 2 weeks ago for 4K. Its not a bad truck, but I will say that at the 120K on the clock, the truck needed work, suspension work, a bit of steering work and the rear hatch lock was stuck. the older it got, the more things went wrong with it. If you have no problem doing the work, or living with an aged truck that has issues, then its for you......


I tend to think my experience with the Ford Escape isn't unique, nor is it unique to the escape. I'm in NY. the roads, weather, and salt in the air are not kind to 11 year old american made trucks with over 100K on the clock. I think you're going to find the same issues with any american truck in the 4K price range, its not a toyota corolla.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,575 Posts
The specific generation you're looking for has dramatic rear differential issues. I have a friend who makes a healthy supplemental income replacing and rebuilding them. Something to do with when Dana started to build them in Mexico.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,296 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Are they all RWD as well? I've read that they have a decent 4WD system that is 100% RWD until traction is needed in the front, but I've also read that it's RWD only. Maybe I'm getting the model/model years wrong?

The Montero Sport seems to be better than a Cherokee and it got 17mpg consistantly and only had an 18ga fuel tank opposed to a 23ga fuel tank. The Cherokee is almost going into Range Rover category.

Any problems with the 1999-2004 models?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
781 Posts
Whatever you buy it will turn better than the Montero Sport - I had one for a work truck for awhile, and the Queen Mary had a better turning radius! :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
I use my 1996 Grand Cherokee as a hang glider vehicle, and it gets the job done. In the hang gliding community, we beat our trucks to death, hauling half a ton of pilots and gear up steep 'roads' barely worthy of the name on hot days at high altitude, so we get a pretty good idea what works and what breaks. I'm on my 5th hang glider truck now -- the SR5 pickup, two Troopers, and Cherokee got driven through several rebuilds until they disintegrated onto their component atoms -- and this 1st gen Grand Cherokee is the best of the lot.

Good bits:
-That 5.2L V8 is indestructible
-It's also amazingly easy to work on.
-The 1st gen Grand Cherokee has live axles front and rear, which is a plus for off-road work. The live front axle also means the front end rarely gets out of alignment.
-The suspension is nothing short of miraculous. While folks in other trucks are bouncing off the roofs, we're relaxing in comfort, sipping our soft drinks. I don't have the slightest idea how those Jeep engineers managed to pull this one off.
-IMHO, Jeep's AWD setup is the best from any manufacturer.
-The doors lock automatically, which keeps out zombies.

Bad bits:
-The spare tire is inside, where it takes up valuable room... though I must admit the Jeep still has a bit more cargo space than a Spyder :)
-Pre-1996 vehicles had some issues with brake rotors warping. I believe they changed the alloy in 1996.
-If you get the 4.0L inline 6 instead of the 5.2L V8, be prepared to replace the rear main oil seal every 80-100K miles or so if you're unlucky and end up with one of the fussy engines.
-The A/C control door has a plastic sleeve on the axle that will break -- You can find an aftermarket steel replacement for a few bucks that should last forever if you search the forums.
-As the bushings on the transfer case lever wear, it will eventually get hard to shift into 4WD low. This happens with many old 4WD, but my two Jeeps seemed worse about this than my other three trucks.
-The front hubs are solid rather than locking, which probably costs an extra 2mpg in gas
-I'm lucky to get 18mpg on the freeway
-A full tank of gas costs $70.
-For some inexplicable reason, Jeep keeps their wiring diagrams secret. I eventually had to subscribe to Alldata to get a copy.

Problems to watch out for:
-I really can't think of any.

If you decide to go with the Grand Cherokee, look for a 1996 or later 1st generation with the 5.2L engine. This will avoid the minor chance of oil seal problems with the 4L, get you the better brake rotors, and also get you the split rear window they added in 1996. There's pretty much nothing to watch out for on these vehicles. Check the rear main oil seal for leaks, just to make sure, and do all the usual checks you'd do on a used vehicle for warped rotors, etc.

Other old 4WD vehicles that stand up to the kind of abuse we deal out are the 2nd generation Pathfinder, post-1996 4Runners (or pre-1996 ones that had the head gaskets replaced), Xterras, and any Isuzu Trooper without the Evil 2.8L GM V6, which was... evil. Durangos also seem pretty solid, if you can afford the gas. Around here, Ford Exploders had a reputation for electrical problems and trouble with the FI. RAV4s have a great engine, but the suspension has some expensive bits hanging down just waiting to get ripped off if you sink a wheel in a rut. Foresters are OK, but don't have 4WD low, which rather sucks if you're headed up a steep hill on a hot day with half a ton of pilots and equipment.

BTW - My previous Jeep was a regular Cherokee, and at 190 hp and 3000lbs, the thing was a hoot. You couldn't carry much gear, but you sure could carry it fast! Don't get one though. Trust me.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top