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2013 ATS Premium 3.6, 1989 Allanté
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Discussion Starter #1
well,my caddy is showing signs of headgasket failure, along with transmission issues. i dont want to get rid of it. but i need something else while i fix it. my girlfriend lives up a mountain so i need something that will handle frequent trips up and down and all around said mountain with no complaints.

i was thinking about a jeep cherokee (grand cherokee/sport/laredo/?). ive CL'ed them and they run from about $400 to about $5000 in years ranging from 92 to 2000. year range doesnt necessarily correlate with price.

im curious about a few things:

1) are these considered manly cars? or at least not especially UNmanly
2) are these models good for my desired use: daily driver, mostly flatland but frequent mountain duty. mostly on paved road with frequent change in grade)
3) i hate transmission trouble, do these have or develop transmission issues?
4) is a v8 available from the factory on these (or a large v6)
5) how do the trim packages work on these? is there an option for leather?
6) what major expensive non-self-serviceable issues are there. example engine internals, transmission...stuff where you need special tools and knowledge. as opposed to stuff you can just common sense/forum your way thru.
7)i like it when the grille is flat and painted to match the body, i think this is the Sport...am i right?


thanks in advance guys. if the jeep is the wrong choice, or even if this particular model is the wrong choice, feel free to suggest another domestic brand and model.

id like to have cargo room, but that is not necessarily a requirement
 

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Well, it is has 6 Cyl in those years it is a 4.0 inline 6.
Not sure what year they started using the Mopar V8 in there but the years you are looking at
most likely will have either the 318 (5.2) or 360 (5.9 although the 5.9 is rarer)
My good friend has an 01 or 02 and he just did the transmission at 100,000 miles it was 2500 bucks.
Maybe someone else can chime in on their Transmissions. The engines are for the most part pretty bullet proof.

Have you looked at a 98 and up S-10 Blazer or Ford Explorer?
 

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Chrysler has had a long history of building crappy automatic transmissions, so I'd try and steer clear of one of those. One of my best friends has an '01 Cherokee Sport with the 4.0L I-6 (a rock solid reliable engine, and a torquey one to boot) and five speed manual and he's had NO trouble with the engine or transmission, aside from an intermittent SES light caused by the catalytic converters. Actually, come to think of it, it's been a very reliable car overall, very few problems. The Grand Cherokees were available with either the 4.0L I-6, or a 5.2L V8 in the 1993-98 models (that's probably the most common engine), and in 1998 they put in the 5.9L V8 into the Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited, a one year performance SUV. Those are really rare and really desirable. 1999 was a new body style for the Grand Cherokees, and they had an all new V8 in those, the 4.7 liter. Those seem to be rock solid as well, but like my friend's dad has seen with his '01 GC, they have a reputation for going through brakes like nothing else.


But the Cherokee is probably the more reliable of the two. It came out in '84 (?) and they didn't change it too much, aside from facelifts and interior changes and different motors, through it's final year in '01. They never offered it with a V8, but the 4.0L makes enough power for the smaller, lighter Cherokee.


I don't know too much about Jeeps, aside from what I hear from Evan. You'll wanna talk to Rick about this.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
LS1Mike: I had actually forgotten about the blazers. My brozer had a "blazer tahoe lt" with the 4.3 and it was awesome. Ill look into those, thanks

Chad, thanks for the info, very helpful.Rick is Nightwolf right?

So what manufacturer DOESN'T make a transmission that blows?
 

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2003 Cadillac Seville STS 73k Miles, '90 Chevy 1500 Reg Cab
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Well if you're looking for the classic form of transportation thru mountains I would check this out:



Its a Hybrid, enviornmentally friendly, and has a tried and true reputation. Now the comfort level that you're used to with the Caddy might be a bit lacking....but we've all gotta make tradeoffs at times :)

Now back to something that is more along the lines of what you were looking for, I would have to recommend the Blazer over the Jeep. Chrysler's tranny's are historically poor, and all the jeeps I've worked on have developed strange electrical gremlins. I had a 95 Blazer up until last October that I loved, it was the smaller S series, 4 door, 4WD, 4.3L, plenty of get up and go, 4WD worked great when needed, plenty of capacity, very comfy and easy to work on. I won't say that they're not without their issues, I bought mine at 90k miles and drove until 167k or so, and in that time I replaced the water pump(extremely common on 4.3L GM's around 130k), both front wheel hubs, all tie rod ends, idler arm, all 4 shocks(fronts twice), all 4 ball joints, alternator, all brake pads/shoes, oil cooler lines and power steering hoses. For the most part those would be considered normal maint, especially on a 4WD, and with the exception of 1 set of oil cooler lines it was all pretty straight forward and easy work. I've actually been tempted to look for another one, but I've got a 1/2 ton pickup for driving to work and around town and I don't need 3 cars, so I probably won't get another one but it was a great vehicle for the 80k miles or so I had on it.
 

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Why would a Cherokee be unmanly? FWIW, I see more chicks driving Wranglers than Cherokees (equal popularity among the sexes is part of the reason Wrangler resale remains so high). That's kind of a weird criteria but anyhow...

You really can't go wrong with ANY year XJ Cherokee so long as you go with the 4.0L I6 motor, though early I6s used a captive cooling system that could sometimes be problematic. I believe if I am not mistaken the XJ never did use a Chrysler transmission, but an AW4 Japanese transmission and outside of solenoids going bad, they are rock solid units. We've owned a ton of these Jeeps over the years and they've been more reliable than our Grand Cherokees overall. My dad had a 1989 Limited that we bought in 1998 up until about 2 years ago down in Guatemala where he lives now and it took a beating and kept on going with minimal maintenance.

They are good, if not a little austere.
 

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Why would a Cherokee be unmanly? That's kind of a weird criteria but anyhow...

You really can't go wrong with ANY year XJ Cherokee so long as you go with the 4.0L I6 motor, though early I6s used a captive cooling system that could sometimes be problematic. I believe if I am not mistaken the XJ never did use a Chrysler transmission, but an AW4 Japanese transmission and outside of solenoids going bad, they are rock solid units. We've owned a ton of these Jeeps over the years and they've been more reliable than our Grand Cherokees overall. My dad had a 1989 Limited that we bought in 1998 up until about 2 years ago down in Guatemala where he lives now and it took a beating and kept on going with minimal maintenance.

They are good, if not a little austere.
Thats a good point, all the Jeeps I've worked on were Grand Cherokee's, several were Limited Editions which only makes them worse, never worked on a straight Cherokee.
 

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The Jeep Cherokee is a very solid, reliable vehicle. Kind of a cheap interior and a stiff ride, but this was back in the day when trucks were trucks, before they came out with Escalades and such. Its an old AMC design, Chrysler didn't own Jeep back then, so luckily they didn't screw it up. Also, the auto trans is not a chrsyler unit, and is pretty durable. They're great off road as well.

I personlly wouldn't go for a Blazer when you can get a Tahoe for the same price. Gas mileage is equally crappy in either one.
 

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When I first read the title, before I even clicked the link, I said to myself "He should get an XJ" Then what do I see? A picture of an XJ.

The XJ shares many parts with the TJ.

The 4.0 I6 is one heck of a solid engine, no troubles there.

Like to shift your own gears? You can get a spd.

Not positive, but I am quite sure the XJ has the same auto tranny as the '97-'02 TJ... If that is the case then that is the (IIRC) Chrysler 727, 3spd w/lockup. It is an old, outdated transmission that is very durable, not many problems with them.

XJ is unibody, but it really is like having a bigger Wrangler. Basically, I a Wrangler is a niche vehicle. If someone still wants to own a Jeep, and a vehicle with such capability, but wants a hard top, and more specifically, never plans to take the top and doors off, and enjoy the tub-based Jeeps for what they offer, I'd steer them away from one, and into an XJ. XJ's can be had for cheap too. Huge aftermarket suppost.

1) are these considered manly cars? or at least not especially UNmanly
2) are these models good for my desired use: daily driver, mostly flatland but frequent mountain duty. mostly on paved road with frequent change in grade)
3) i hate transmission trouble, do these have or develop transmission issues?
4) is a v8 available from the factory on these (or a large v6)
5) how do the trim packages work on these? is there an option for leather?
6) what major expensive non-self-serviceable issues are there. example engine internals, transmission...stuff where you need special tools and knowledge. as opposed to stuff you can just common sense/forum your way thru.
7)i like it when the grille is flat and painted to match the body, i think this is the Sport...am i right?
1) yes
2) yes
3) depends on use/abuse/miles/maintenace. Overall not a highly trouble area (the older 5spd of the 80's, IIRC with the GM V6 were problematic)
4) No. The 4.0 I6 is better then a V8 in one of those anyway. It's an excellent engine. The XJ is the lightest vehicle the 4.0 was offered in, so it is the quickest, and best MPG of the bunch.
5) Usually any "Sport" Jeep is an upper trim level. Limiteds should be the highest. Leather may have been an option, save yourself the headache and skip it.
6) The only common issues on the 4.0 are valve cover leaks on the older ones, and rear main seal leaks on just about any year. Other then that they are one heck of an engine. It's a Jeep, an old school design, if there is something that you'll have trouble fixing yourself on it, then forget working on anything else.
7) IIRC after the 1996? facelift, all grilles are body color. IMO the facelift did wonders inside and out for the old design. Defintly one of the classics.

jeepforum.com for any info you'd like to know on them.

The XJ will not offer the ride/handling of a Blazer/Explorer due to the front solid axle suspension, but will be much better off road. Personally, and just IMO, I'd take the XJ over a Blazer/Explorer, but if it were me, I'd take an Isuzu Rodeo/Trooper over an XJ. They can be had for cheap, and aside for a couple issues, are solid, and, IMO a better built off-road vehicle, especially if extreme rock crawling is not in the future, where a solid front axle would be of major benefit. If you want to talk luxury features like leather seats and electronic gizmos, then look at Rodeo LSE, as well as higher end Troopers. They can be had for the same prices, or cheaper, then similar XJ/Blazer/Rodeo.

Personally, I'm really fond of my TJ, as well as all other tub-based Jeeps. There is just nothing else like them out there, but if I wanted an SUV, or was building an SUV for off-road, then I'd go with a (real) Isuzu. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages and it's just cool to have something uncommon.
 

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As they get up in miles the 4.0s eventually also need a valve or ring job (I forget which, I am not a mechanic) because of carbon blow by. Other than this and small leaks here and there, it is a fantastic motor.
 

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I had a Grand Cherokee that was an absolute dog. It stayed broken down all the time with one pesky little thing or another, and it was expensive to fix. I would say the Cherokee is more reliable then the Grand Cherokee, anecdotally. The Cherokee has never been available with a factory V8 option. The 4.0 I6 suits the vehicle well though. There's an aftermarket stroker kit for the I6 that adds a lot of power to the factory motor, if you ever wanted to upgrade it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
wow so much (useful) info in this post...

Well if you're looking for the classic form of transportation thru mountains I would check this out:



Its a Hybrid, enviornmentally friendly, and has a tried and true reputation. Now the comfort level that you're used to with the Caddy might be a bit lacking....but we've all gotta make tradeoffs at times :)

Now back to something that is more along the lines of what you were looking for, I would have to recommend the Blazer over the Jeep. Chrysler's tranny's are historically poor, and all the jeeps I've worked on have developed strange electrical gremlins. I had a 95 Blazer up until last October that I loved, it was the smaller S series, 4 door, 4WD, 4.3L, plenty of get up and go, 4WD worked great when needed, plenty of capacity, very comfy and easy to work on. I won't say that they're not without their issues, I bought mine at 90k miles and drove until 167k or so, and in that time I replaced the water pump(extremely common on 4.3L GM's around 130k), both front wheel hubs, all tie rod ends, idler arm, all 4 shocks(fronts twice), all 4 ball joints, alternator, all brake pads/shoes, oil cooler lines and power steering hoses. For the most part those would be considered normal maint, especially on a 4WD, and with the exception of 1 set of oil cooler lines it was all pretty straight forward and easy work. I've actually been tempted to look for another one, but I've got a 1/2 ton pickup for driving to work and around town and I don't need 3 cars, so I probably won't get another one but it was a great vehicle for the 80k miles or so I had on it.
the gas mileage and reliability or your suggestion is very attractive, but i would have to leave a week earlier. :)

as far as the blazer, the one my brother had was the K-series i think and had the 4.3 v6 (may have been 8 i dont remember i was younger). the fuel pump had to be replaced but other than that it was a solid ride. not overly comfortable but not entirely UNcomforatable either. as far as the maintenance list you made, that all seems like diy work or "couple buddies, couple beers" work. from the couple of minutes i looked at them so far though, they seem to hold value better than the jeeps. thats a good thing but, puts it out of my desired range for spending.

Why would a Cherokee be unmanly? FWIW, I see more chicks driving Wranglers than Cherokees (equal popularity among the sexes is part of the reason Wrangler resale remains so high). That's kind of a weird criteria but anyhow...

You really can't go wrong with ANY year XJ Cherokee so long as you go with the 4.0L I6 motor, though early I6s used a captive cooling system that could sometimes be problematic. I believe if I am not mistaken the XJ never did use a Chrysler transmission, but an AW4 Japanese transmission and outside of solenoids going bad, they are rock solid units. We've owned a ton of these Jeeps over the years and they've been more reliable than our Grand Cherokees overall. My dad had a 1989 Limited that we bought in 1998 up until about 2 years ago down in Guatemala where he lives now and it took a beating and kept on going with minimal maintenance.

They are good, if not a little austere.
my aunt drove a cherokee, then "upgraded" to a grand cherokee. she bought both her daughters grand cherokees. my uncles wife (other "aunt" i guess) drives a grand cherokee. my gf's friend drives a grand cherokee. most people i have known to have a cherokee have been female, but thats just my experience and the reason i asked. i like them but didnt wanna end up in a chickmobile.

you mention shift solenoids going bad, thats internal tranny huh? if so no can do. transmission jobs have always been headaches because not only has every transmission mechanic given me the run around and kept my car for months at a time with no real results, but even when they're "fixed' they never run the same again... (my caddy is a prime example...i bought it in february 08, it was in the shop by march 08, until june 08, got it out, it went back to the shop immediately, stayed there till september 08, went back october, and now after being "definitely fixed" is giving me trouble again...)

The Jeep Cherokee is a very solid, reliable vehicle. Kind of a cheap interior and a stiff ride, but this was back in the day when trucks were trucks, before they came out with Escalades and such. Its an old AMC design, Chrysler didn't own Jeep back then, so luckily they didn't screw it up. Also, the auto trans is not a chrsyler unit, and is pretty durable. They're great off road as well.

I personally wouldn't go for a Blazer when you can get a Tahoe for the same price. Gas mileage is equally crappy in either one.
the more i think about the luxury/comfort aspect. the less i care. i have my luxo cruiser even if it does need work. im willing to sacrifice some comfort this time around as long as i can get a VERY accessible engine bay, nice aftermarket, and as long as i can throw a cheap radio in it and not worry about throwing off the look. (ive kept my caddy radios stock because everything throws off the look of the dash.)
on tahoe vs blazer...im also not a big truck kinda guy, i like escalades but id buy an srx. i love k5 blazers but have ruled them out. i actually prefer the s series blazers.

When I first read the title, before I even clicked the link, I said to myself "He should get an XJ" Then what do I see? A picture of an XJ.

The XJ shares many parts with the TJ.

The 4.0 I6 is one heck of a solid engine, no troubles there.

Like to shift your own gears? You can get a spd.

Not positive, but I am quite sure the XJ has the same auto tranny as the '97-'02 TJ... If that is the case then that is the (IIRC) Chrysler 727, 3spd w/lockup. It is an old, outdated transmission that is very durable, not many problems with them.

XJ is unibody, but it really is like having a bigger Wrangler. Basically, I a Wrangler is a niche vehicle. If someone still wants to own a Jeep, and a vehicle with such capability, but wants a hard top, and more specifically, never plans to take the top and doors off, and enjoy the tub-based Jeeps for what they offer, I'd steer them away from one, and into an XJ. XJ's can be had for cheap too. Huge aftermarket suppost.



1) yes
2) yes
3) depends on use/abuse/miles/maintenace. Overall not a highly trouble area (the older 5spd of the 80's, IIRC with the GM V6 were problematic)
4) No. The 4.0 I6 is better then a V8 in one of those anyway. It's an excellent engine. The XJ is the lightest vehicle the 4.0 was offered in, so it is the quickest, and best MPG of the bunch.
5) Usually any "Sport" Jeep is an upper trim level. Limiteds should be the highest. Leather may have been an option, save yourself the headache and skip it.
6) The only common issues on the 4.0 are valve cover leaks on the older ones, and rear main seal leaks on just about any year. Other then that they are one heck of an engine. It's a Jeep, an old school design, if there is something that you'll have trouble fixing yourself on it, then forget working on anything else.
7) IIRC after the 1996? facelift, all grilles are body color. IMO the facelift did wonders inside and out for the old design. Defintly one of the classics.

jeepforum.com for any info you'd like to know on them.

The XJ will not offer the ride/handling of a Blazer/Explorer due to the front solid axle suspension, but will be much better off road. Personally, and just IMO, I'd take the XJ over a Blazer/Explorer, but if it were me, I'd take an Isuzu Rodeo/Trooper over an XJ. They can be had for cheap, and aside for a couple issues, are solid, and, IMO a better built off-road vehicle, especially if extreme rock crawling is not in the future, where a solid front axle would be of major benefit. If you want to talk luxury features like leather seats and electronic gizmos, then look at Rodeo LSE, as well as higher end Troopers. They can be had for the same prices, or cheaper, then similar XJ/Blazer/Rodeo.

Personally, I'm really fond of my TJ, as well as all other tub-based Jeeps. There is just nothing else like them out there, but if I wanted an SUV, or was building an SUV for off-road, then I'd go with a (real) Isuzu. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages and it's just cool to have something uncommon.
why bother with jeepforum.com. ive got a jeep genius here! jk

thanks for all the info, my mom had a trooper and i really hated it! i think its between the blazer and the jeep at the moment

PS: i kinda thought i was being stupid when i mentioned a blazer tahoe lt...Turns out i WAS wrong, get this, its actually a Chevy S-10 Blazer Tahoe LT


of course, there are alot of aftermarket parts on this example. but the bodystyle was my brothers body style
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I had a Grand Cherokee that was an absolute dog. It stayed broken down all the time with one pesky little thing or another, and it was expensive to fix. I would say the Cherokee is more reliable then the Grand Cherokee, anecdotally. The Cherokee has never been available with a factory V8 option. The 4.0 I6 suits the vehicle well though. There's an aftermarket stroker kit for the I6 that adds a lot of power to the factory motor, if you ever wanted to upgrade it. :)
there you go tempting me with more power...

this is supposed to be a cheap beater that i can put miles on worry free. beat like a stepheaded red child and just generally abuse. im not supposed to be looking up ways to spend more money on it :)

however i am man and will eventually want more power thanks for the info
 

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My wife bought her 96 XJ new and it has 188,XXX miles and the drivetrain runs like a top. Lately I have dumped some cash into basic upkeep: pads, rotors, brake hoses, shocks, belt, battery, wiper blades and I need to go buy a steering stabalizer and a catalytic converter test pipe (to replace the current one that is coming apart and rattles). It had one transmission overhaul at about 150k but no major problems, They are very easy to work on fill our needs perfect.





 

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wow so much (useful) info in this post...

as far as the blazer, the one my brother had was the K-series i think and had the 4.3 v6 (may have been 8 i dont remember i was younger). the fuel pump had to be replaced but other than that it was a solid ride. not overly comfortable but not entirely UNcomforatable either. as far as the maintenance list you made, that all seems like diy work or "couple buddies, couple beers" work. from the couple of minutes i looked at them so far though, they seem to hold value better than the jeeps. thats a good thing but, puts it out of my desired range for spending.
Yeah they were never very clear on the blazer and what body frame it was.....the earlier 90's model you could get the S series or the K series, same name, drastically different vehicles. Being the small pickup frame with independent front the ride was pretty good. Agree with you that most of my work list was DIY work assuming you have a mildly equipped toolbox. One thing I would recommend is stay 96 or newer, thats the newer body style and also OBD II diagnostics, on my 95 they had an OBD II connector harness, but not everything was OBD II so most handheld scanners would throw a fit when plugged in and not always read correctly. I would generally end up pulling out the Red Brick(Snap-On MT2500) in order to get a correct code.

But in the end I don't think you could go too wrong with either the straight Cherokee or a Blazer....they should both be fairly common on Craigslist, Autotrader etc so find a couple local ones and go check them out!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My wife bought her 96 XJ new and it has 188,XXX miles and the drivetrain runs like a top. Lately I have dumped some cash into basic upkeep: pads, rotors, brake hoses, shocks, belt, battery, wiper blades and I need to go buy a steering stabalizer and a catalytic converter test pipe (to replace the current one that is coming apart and rattles). It had one transmission overhaul at about 150k but no major problems, They are very easy to work on fill our needs perfect.





i REALLY like the way that looks. i would love a blue or black one but im afraid red looks better.:thumbsup:
 

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Just throwing it out there, but what about one of these?...

 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just throwing it out there, but what about one of these?...

i love those body styles. unfortunately, a good example is insanely expensive around here. im in north carolina, lotsa of good ol boys around here who love their chevy and ford trucks so the value stays high. (also alot of thugged out thugsta's rollin donks so caprice/impala prices stay as high as the cars...dumb)

anyways, the thing about those here is like i said, good examples are expensive, and bad examples are just bad examples. theres not really an in between
 

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The Cherokee is the best and easiest to maintain and repair vehicle of that category you are going to find. The solenoid issue with the trans is not something you should necessarily EXPECT, just something that is a possibility. I suspect getting to the solenoids only requires dropping the pan anyway.
 

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I used to have a '93 blazer like the one above and loved it. Excellent torque. They hold their value for a reason.
 
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