View Full Version : ahhh! my new cherokee is a headache!!

July 12th, 2006, 12:55
Ok, so heres the deal.
I have been driving my 4.0 96 'rokee classik for almost two years now and I absolutely love everrrything about it....except for the fact that shes at a healthy 150k and it has the older body style, manual locks and crank winders.

I just recently sold my sportbike and since I had a little extra cash flow, naturally...wanted to upgrade and find a 97+ newer body style/ fewer miles/ power options xj.

After quite a bit of looking around, I found a black 4.0 98 sport in my $ range, with 114k and power everrrything and sunroof yadda bladda. I got a pretty decent deal on it, and it drove really nice and all that jazz during the test drive. It was a 3 1/2 hour drive back home and after the first 30 minutes of drivin' it started acting up. I've already searched and found out that its a fairly common problem, but at the time (last night) I was furious. The airbag light kept coming on and my tach and speed-o would go dead. I was sweating bullets thinking that it had been in a wreck and the guy had lied to me or something....and the airbags had been deployed or something horrible. It only goes dead for a couple of minutes and it does it probablly once ever 30-60 min...not a huge deal, but I am definately wanting to fix this. Also fairly common, none of the windows will roll down except from the drivers door control panel. And the keyless entry button works like 30% of the time.

I just kept finding little things wrong with it that made me start thinking about keeping my 96 and selling this new 98. I mean, I have had like 1 problem (water pump) with my 96 in two years, and like 10 problems in the first evening with this 98. So, I guess my reason for posting is to ask for some "general" advice from those of you that have perhaps owned both a pre 97, as well as a 97+.

My 98 just feels kinda cheap. The motor doesn't feel nearly as responsive/powerful as my 96...and it just sounds cheap when accelerating. My 96 just feels much more solid overall; engine, body, etc.
SO, would you guys recommend just sticking with the 98 and getting used to it and fixing the little problems. Or should I get out while I can and keep my 96. I know this is very vague and opinion oriented...but I really feel like I got the shaft with this "newer" jeep. Maybe if anyone could give me some specifics examples of how one model is better or worse, then I could go by that. Thanks in advance.

July 12th, 2006, 13:29
Sounds like you should have kept the sport bike, especially with gas prices hovering $3/gal. I drive mine to work everyday and leave the jeep for the weekend. Anyway, it sounds like you have some electrical gremlins. Have you checked all the fuses, the battery and the alternator? I would've just stayed with the 96, they are easier to lift without sye and you have less to go wrong with manual windows and locks. Just my .02

July 12th, 2006, 15:15
Frrom what i understand, most of the 97+ cherokee's have the "dead gauges" problem. I have read to take off the panel surrounding the gauge cluster, pull the gauge cluster out disconnect the wiring harnesses, and clean them, use dielectric grease before replacing them. Over time the wiring harness develops a bad ground or something, losing contact and making the gauges go dead. Overall it is fairly simple to do. There is a Technical Service Bulletin, so you can take it to the jeep dealer, and they will probably do the same thing i just mentioned to fix it. Good Luck.

July 12th, 2006, 15:34
Doesn't the air bag light have to do with the clockspring inside the steering wheel?

Lawn Cher'
July 12th, 2006, 15:43
Those are common electrical problems on the new ones. There is a documented fix for the gauge issue, and you can solve the power window problem by replacing the entire switch unit inside the drivers door... the lockout button goes bad and overrides the individual power window buttons at each of the other doors.

Not sure on the keyless entry thing, try putting new batteries in the remote.

July 12th, 2006, 16:06
I have a 99 and it does the same thing once in a while. Just push on the panel hard and it will come back up. This is a temp fix but it will work for a pretty good while between doing it again.

July 12th, 2006, 16:19
yeah thanks guys I plan on doing the dash-off terminal cleaning and dielectric grease as soon as i get time... and I'm looking into doing one of several window button fixes....either checking connections, bypassing the window lock, new drivers panel entirely, etc. .....but I'm not sure which yet. I realize these problems are all fairly common and fixable. Oh, and I'm getting some new remote batteries...ha

I would want to fix all this little stuff no matter what, just incase I did ever want to sell it. But, I just don't know if it sounds healthy. Does anyone know what I'm talking about when I say that the 97+'s engine just runs/sounds like a crappy diesel compared to a mid 90's? I don't know if I should trust it enough to sell my 96 (that I know is trustworthy) or if I'm just scared of it because it sounds and runs "differently" than my previous xj.

Lawn Cher'
July 12th, 2006, 18:42
It might have a cracked exhaust manifold, my '87 MJ sounds like that. My '97 and '01 XJ's run beautifully though. Sounds like an excuse for you to install a performance header.

Matthew Currie
July 12th, 2006, 18:49
I haven't noticed a real difference in engine feel between my 95 and 99, both 5-speeds. In fact, the 99 feels more solid to me, and runs quieter. I haven't had the dash issues yet.

There are some annoying noises from the 99 associated with the evaporative emissions control. The purge solenoid sounds just like a bearing going bad at idle.

I notice that with the keyless entry, it often helps to push the lock button first, and then the unlock. I don't know why, but it seems to wake it up.

July 13th, 2006, 00:09
I beg to differ. My 97 is a turd machine compaired to my 92. Both have auto,s.The 92 is much more responsive than the 97, they have the same lifts and gears btw. I too have the window switch malfunction prob. And the interior seams to be making more noise day by day. The 97 had weird probs like that with my electrical. I fixed it by ripping the stupid ****ing aftermarket alarm that was entwined with everything out. I rewired it all back the way it is supposed to and have had noo problems since. That was 2 years ago. Now i have a dog and an unlocked screen door that keeps them both safe.


October 26th, 2006, 12:31
99 xj classic, same problemo'. fuel gauage & battery gauage, just stop working until i turn off truck and turn back on. only the drivers window panel will work the windows. At 54k yes it's 10/2006 part time driver the radiator builds up sludge and over heats unless i flush it every 4 months. where is this Technical Service Bulletin ????

October 26th, 2006, 14:08
I would love to have a rig with manual locks and windows. So much less crap to go wrong :)

I have had an 89, 90, 91, 93 ZJ, and 98 all with 4.0L engines. The 91+ all pretty much run the same. The 98 had lots of piston slap from almost the day I bought it but never had any troubles.

I have the 89 and 91 right now. The 91 is my DD. I just like the older style interior personaly. The 97+ just doesn't suit me, seats to high and feels more cramped, also cheaper feeling.

I just bought the 91 because it is nice and only has 138K miles on it, that is like new to me :)