View Full Version : Xj Longevity

February 12th, 2012, 16:22
I apologize if this is in the wrong section, I did a search first and couldnt find any answers just by case simular thread posted before.

I have a 1994 XJ. 4.0L AW4 auto with 8.25 rear and 3.55 gear ratio. It has 173K miles on it. I have had it for almost 5 years, I have minor stuff done to it, 1" lift 235-75-15 tires, 2 row radiator, new Ford fuel injectors, fuel presure regulator, fuel pump, shocks, exhaust, rebuilt brake system, and I can bore you and keep going on.

My question is what is the life spaned of the vechile? Its 18 years old, I use it for mild off roading like sand pits, puddle hopping, and trail cruising. It doesnt smoke, still passes inspection, and oil PSI still 40-60. I put alot of money into it, between mods, repairs, and maintance its about 125 a month and put about 5K miles a year on it. My concern is at this age I dont know if its solid to keep going with it or its at that age where maybe looking into getting a 2000-2001 XJ, maybe 2004 TJ or WJ. My XJ gets 12-14 MPG and I try to keep up on all of its maintance like just had rusting through floor area where pedals are and had all of that rewelded.

I guess best way to sum it up is I want to raise it 1 more inch to a 2" lift, then a winch bumper and a 8500 lbs winch. But I dont want to put 2K more into it then I find out its at that age where 175K miles the tranny goes out or somthing major like that because its just the nature of the beast.

Thanks alot for any advice!

February 12th, 2012, 17:11
A transmission is simply a "component" like a starter, only a little bigger! Easily swapped. Same with the engine really. Nothing is a dealbreaker except rust that creates a problem with structural integrity.

If you like your XJ, keep it. You know the history of it. Buy another one and you may not be pleasantly surprised.

February 12th, 2012, 17:24
If you like your XJ, keep it. You know the history of it. Buy another one and you may not be pleasantly surprised.

That is a very good point, thats what I am on the fence about. I put a fair amount of new parts on it over the last few years and I would hate to start over again! My XJ has NEVER left me strainded!

Most of the rust was on the floor boards and back under the tail gate and not on the chasie. Its like some of the splash gaurds where removed or ripped off prevosly.

Thanks for the advice!

February 12th, 2012, 21:52
i have the same year Limited ive lifted it fitted a new 8.25 with 4.10 gears and a new d30 front with matching gears, ive had the head done front control arms and bushes 3rd radiator, 4th water pump, had the trans serviced changed the oil filter adapter O rings twice.

had the front leather seats retrimmed re trimmed the hood linning re done the carpet, had the hood turret and tailgate resprayed.

and spent vastly more than what the car is commercially worth.

HOWEVER i own it NO payments and i for the most part know how to fix it

yep i,m keeping it, when i quit work the BMW X5 goes but the XJ stays

so dont worry about it, if you like the car and own it do what you want with it, dont worry about what it costs to fix it, at least you dont have that monthly commitment to a finance co.

and we wont see you on operation repo heheheheeheh

February 13th, 2012, 07:41
I have a 95 and it has been great it has 188k on it. Owned it for about 8years now. Has never left me stranded. I have replaced most of the floor this past year and still am comfortable driving it daily, beating the crap out of it, and I recently put a 1000 mi trip on it with absolutely no problems. Just keep up on the maintenance and it's going to last forever.

Also I have an extra transmission I pulled out of a wrecked zj, I've been holding onto it for almost five years now, you know just in case. But I have never needed it and I think the aw4 is a great transmission and I wouldnt worry about that component very much.

February 13th, 2012, 07:52
I have a 1990 with 266,700: 3 waterpumps and a new head on the motor, and every other mechanical component replaced (except the trans and Tcase) she takes a second to start but I DD it everyday with a 3.5 lift. if you stay up on the maintenance i have a feeling this jeep may outlast me

(Yeh i could drive me 325is but its my track car :P)

February 13th, 2012, 08:14
Both of mine have 150000+ on them and are doing fine being wheeled. I cracked the unibody by the steering box got it welded and plated and is good. Watch for cracks in the unibody. Now my brothers is a 92 with over 300000 on it and it is still running like a champ. It has it rust spots but nothing that can't be fixed. This jeep with minor care will last as long as you are willing to fix it

February 13th, 2012, 08:18
i plan on having mine untill the thing Gets totalled (Serious unibody damage?) or untill i die.

if it needs a new engine /Trans or whatever part it will get it
The way i look at it if its not rusted to swiss cheese or completely smashed theres nothing i cant fix or can't learn to fix or swap out. Especially with resources like NAXJA to get the info on anything you don't know (and most often with pictures or a walkthrough)

February 13th, 2012, 09:01
How many other vehicles can have a broken piston, broken connecting rod or other major internal malfunction and still run like a champ? :repair: Even if you do end up with a major issue and need to replace an entire engine / transmission, how cheaply can you find those items??

The Cherokees are built to take abuse and get you home and they're not too far from being just as cheap and easy to work on as a VW bug..

February 13th, 2012, 12:26
If you like your XJ, keep it. You know the history of it. Buy another one and you may not be pleasantly surprised.


My 1987 Ranger has 285k on it, and the transmission is slipping a little. Am I getting rid of it? Nope. Trans is just another "part." Had it for almost 15 years, grandfather was first owner. no rust, paint is perfect, and I know every inch of it. Just swapping in a 5.0L because, well, I can :greensmok

If you can't use the word "unreliable" to describe it, then it's fine.

February 13th, 2012, 12:38
You will find a lot of late 'eighties on the roads.., so you should last as long as those of us in the pre-ninties, lol. If I was to be in position I'd go for a '99'er, and have two XJ's !!

February 13th, 2012, 13:31
Thanks everybody for your help! Your posts give me great confidence! I was a bit concerened being at 173K miles and putting more money out on more lift then hopfully a winch and bumper, but you guys have def helpped me out! My cherokee is owned and not my DD just mainly my off road puddle hopper, toy, and my veichle when its wet out and I dont use my car. I do most of the repairs myself so that does help keep the costs down as parts are cheap for the XJ.

I appresate everyones posts! :cool:

February 13th, 2012, 14:20
from what i have seen here if you don't know how to fix it someone on here does and more then likely be willing to come and turn wrenches with you to get you back on the trail or road. after being here a while you will want to join so you don't feel like you are stealing.lol plus the money is put to good use.

Matthew Currie
February 13th, 2012, 19:03
Of course it is going to depend a little on history and climate, and how you care for them, but my previous Jeep, a 95, reached the "not worth bothering" stage of deterioration a couple of years ago, at 263k miles. At that point, rust and a host of annoying problems like no heat, electrical gremlins and huge rust holes, made it prudent to set it aside even though it ran strongly. Now at 264K my current 99 is threatening the same. I'm going to try to keep it going a little further, but right now it has a cracked windshield, huge rust holes in the floor, a cracked header, a leak in the heater connection at the water pump, and a bad wheel bearing. I hope to finish the winter with it, and I have the wheel bearing ready to put in, but it's not going to get much more money thrown at it.

I should add that I never had engine trouble with any of them. The 99 has never burned a drop of oil, and even now leaks almost none. I broke the AX15 tranny on it when the clutch failed, but put the one from the 95 in last summer, and it's fine. No drivetrain issues either except of course for universal joints.

It may be my last XJ, though I hate to think it. It's getting too hard to find a good one up here in Vermont at any kind of reasonable price. They're all getting old and rusty.

So I'd guess if yours is pretty solid now at 173K, you are looking at a good hundred thousand yet to come if you take care of it.

February 13th, 2012, 19:16
i guess thats the sad part about it, if your in an area that gets freezing / wet/ snow weather that will take its toll.

luckily here in Australia we don't see that and can expect to get better service from a vehicle

February 13th, 2012, 19:24
I really expected to see some higher mileage numbers on this post. I've been consistently running mine to about 250k and then selling them. They still ran and drove fine at that point. My current XJ and TJ both are approaching the 250k mark now, but I think I'm just going to keep them. It wouldn't surprise me if they went another 100k with normal maintenance and minor repairs. Now if I could just find a 4.0L MJ that's not rusting back into the earth...

February 13th, 2012, 20:40
Well, my 88 has over 350k on it, and runs fine, altho the trans is starting to shows signs of its age.

I say over 350k, cuz it has had 30" tires since ~ 90k....... so that adds another 20k or so to it, and the uncorrected odo actually reads ~340k

Body still looks good, and have only had to repair one spot in the floor.

February 13th, 2012, 20:44
My xj is an 89 with 250k on it, still runs good, I hope she sees another 100k.

February 14th, 2012, 14:01
Motors and trannys are cheap and fairly easy to come by.

I picked one up for $200 before and I see AW4s around for 100-150 bucks.

Most of the time I can find a motor for $200-$300.

February 14th, 2012, 14:34
I've got a 1992 with 195k miles and it still runs very strong.

17-19mpgs usually, 40psi oil pressure, no rust, great heater, fits me, my wife and 3 kids whenever we're not in her ford.

Cargo area always seems too small "in my head" when I daydream about other vehicles (it's a sicknes..lol) but on a daily basis when I load it up, it works just fine for everything.

I like you, OP, have done a fair amount of work to this rig, (all myself in my driveway by the way) and I feel like I know just about every inch of it.

I feel like if the engine "blows" at some point and its not a simple componant fix, I'm just going to spend the $2200.00 and get a nice ATK reman'd engine. I honestly don't expect the motor to be an issue at all. That's one reason I'm putting a snorkel on next, because I'm somewhat impulsive when I go offhighway, and I'd hate to hurt a vehicle that seems to be purring along just fine, simply because I wanted to get to the campsite across the river/stream.

February 14th, 2012, 15:44
I've got a 1992 with 195k miles and it still runs very strong.

17-19mpgs usually, 40psi oil pressure, no rust, great heater, fits me, my wife and 3 kids whenever we're not in her ford.

Thats a minor issue I have is MPG. Granted it only gets 5K a year and does alot of short distance runs but when I first got my jeep near 5 years ago I got 16-18 MPG. Now I only get last 2-3 years 12-14. I tryed everything. Once a year (5K miles) I put new plugs, wires, cap, fuel filter. I just put another new coil on hopping to help MPG went from a stock to Acell. I have cat back exhaust, adjustable fuel presure regulator and put PSI to 49 with the 4spray tip ford injectors, a CAI and put the IAT sensor in the filter to keep the heat temp reading down, I have ran fuel injector cleaner and still 12-14 MPG. I do have 235-75-15 tires but I wouldnt think that would do it. I even have synthetic gear oil in the rear.

February 14th, 2012, 16:01
i guess thats the sad part about it, if your in an area that gets freezing / wet/ snow weather that will take its toll.

luckily here in Australia we don't see that and can expect to get better service from a vehicle

Freezing wet snow is not what does it...it's the salt on the roads used back east/north. Out here in CA it isn't a problem. We have snow and ice in our area. Twenty miles away there's 2-3 ft. right now. We use decomposed granite (sandy gravel) on the roads...not salt.

Any way...I have an XJ with 235K on it...original engine, tranny, t-case and only superficial rust, no structural damage. I also have an 88 MJ with 185K that I've just about completely restored ($$$$) that I got with literally zero rust.

Matthew Currie
February 14th, 2012, 17:07
Yes, it's the salt and slush that get them. In between snowstorms our cars are white with crusty salt residue, even in a mild winter. My 99 was rust free when I got it a few years ago at 144K miles, and stayed nice for a while, but then it just blossomed. The floors are shot, the rocker panels went from a little blistering to gone in about two years, and it's getting the dreaded roof rot, which is part of what sidelined the 95 - the puddles on the seats when it rained were bad enough, but it also blew in cold air all over the place, and the heater couldn't keep up with it. The paint is also going on the roof and hood, with a million little rust zits. I just noticed a rot spot starting on the rear hatch too. If it weren't for the rust these things would go forever. I am guessing from the wear I've seen in my last two XJ's and in my stepson's that the engines would be good for well over 300 thousand miles if you kept a little oil in them, and probably the same for the rest of the drive train (except of course for the u-joints).

February 14th, 2012, 17:29
I'm on my 3rd XJ; I've owned a 1990, a 1998 and am now driving a 2000 model.

In between the XJ's I listed I owned a few other SUV's and 4x4 pickup trucks. Nothing really beats the Jeep. The only compromise that I feel I make with my XJ is a lack of cargo space sometimes when compared to a bit bigger SUV or truck, but the Jeep makes up for it with a solid drivetrain and decent fuel mileage (bone stock I get between 24-25 US mpg on the highway from my 2000 with 5spd whereas my 4runner with a smaller engine was lucky to get 15 on the highway!).

Have you checked the o2 sensor yet? These seem to be a culprit when there's a big loss in MPG.

February 14th, 2012, 17:36
If it weren't for the rust these things would go forever.

So VERY true. Rust is the enemy........good luck to guys like me in MN; dead center of the "salt belt".

February 14th, 2012, 17:54
I would trust the motor in your '94 to go more miles than the motor in a '00 or '01. Why? The 0331 head is known for cracking more frequently than the others.

Keep it maintained and it will last effectively forever. And the best part? Parts costs...
- new-to-you 4.0, when it finally dies? I've never paid over $160. You can bolt in any XJ motor from 91 through 99 and everything will line up perfectly.
- new-to-you AW4? I've never paid over $75. You can bolt in any AW4 from 91 through 95 or 96 with no mods, 97s with slight wiring harness splicing, and 98-01s with a few parts off your old AW4 swapped on.
- new-to-you transfer case? Never paid over $100 and you can use anything from a 91 through a 95.
- new-to-you front axle? Never paid over $100, and anything from a 91 or 92 or so through a 99 will bolt right in.
- new-to-you rear axle? Never paid over $100 (seeing a pattern here? :D), and any d44 or c8.25 from 87 through 01 will bolt right in and either be as good as, or an upgrade to your axle.
- new-to-you gas tank? Never paid over 120 for a new one... and 87 or so through 96 will bolt in.
- new-to-you radiator? 91 through 01 bolt right in, never paid over 160.

As long as the unibody doesn't rot in half under you, they are dirt cheap to maintain.

February 15th, 2012, 21:16
brought my 98 back to life from a couple cracked piston skirts and a broken flexplate. Body is cherry and runs like a top, 188,937 - I was told by the previous owner it was a junker.


^^^ all I had to do was build the engine, drive it to my shop in at 8 AM, drive it out with a stroker at 5 PM with a new engine and throw a winch on it. To bring a mall and beach crawler back from the dead and hit the trail that same week for it's baptism of rock.

February 15th, 2012, 21:47
I have 212,110 miles on the 1995, and it runs very smooth. These sequential port fuelinjected 4.0 monsters run for a long time. My friend has over 400,000 on his 1992 XJ, so I just think these engines are the best. Just changed all the bearings and Oil pump for fun, and the bearings only had minor wear. God Bless all Jeeps in California !!! ;)

February 16th, 2012, 10:33
Mine is starting to rust ... I really want to get another rust free one before they all disappear.

Who has the most mileage on an original AW4?

February 16th, 2012, 10:42
My 2wd AW4 has 240 or so on it when I pulled it. I think I was the first person to ever change the fluid in it, around 200k when my friend first bought it. I was not nice to it, I owned it from 207k to 240k problem-free, now Dundy owns it.

I killed two that were under 150k miles but one was slipping when I got it and I abused both severely, so it was pretty much expected.

February 16th, 2012, 15:21
Have you checked the o2 sensor yet? These seem to be a culprit when there's a big loss in MPG.

I did think of that when MPG started dropping about 2 years ago. And that is a good idea. I did replace my O2 sensor but doesnt mean its working correctly. The first one I got I installed and that was and is the only time the Check (service) Engine Light came on my jeep. I had to take it back to advance auto and they gave me another one. The 2nd one didnt throw the light BUT that sensor may be bad also.

I may look into getting another O2 sensor on that thought, thanks for the idea!