1998/9 vs 2000/1 head issue - JeepForum.com
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Unread 07-22-2015, 05:19 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Denville, NJ
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1998/9 vs 2000/1 head issue

Is the head issue mostly confined to wheelin use or is it an issue for daily drivers? Found a few nice deals with low (100-110k) miles on some 2001s, but want to know if I should look to the 1998/9 models for winter use/ light towing (2 dirt bikes )

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Unread 07-22-2015, 06:05 PM   #2
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1992 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ewing, New Jersey
Posts: 1,420
It seems like the head issue is made out to be more severe than it really is, but there really isn't anyway to know if you are going to have a problem or not. If you overheat the 0331 head, it is much more prone to cracking - doesn't have anything to do with offroading vs daily driving.

If you find a good deal on a 2000 / 2001 I wouldn't be afraid to go for it. Just keep the cooling system well maintained and keep the thought in the back of your mind that the cracked head is a potential failure point. There are also some out there that could have had the head replaced with the revised 0331 head. Pop the oil fill cap and look down inside with a flashlight. If you see "TUPY" cast between the #3 and #4 cylinders, you have the replacement head that is not prone to cracking.

- Justin
1992 Cherokee Laredo - all stock, DD. Needs some minor rust repair, then on to the mods!

1996 Cherokee Classic - 3.5" lift / 31.0x10.5 Mastercraft Courser CTs / Warn XD9000i - Stripped for parts / junked :(

2004 Grand Cherokee Laredo - 4.7, bone stock - Wife's DD

NJ F-Body Owners Association
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Unread 07-23-2015, 08:51 AM   #3
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
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Location: Syracuse, New York
Posts: 2,001
It just happens randomly. I know a few guys that have 2000/2001 Cherokees and they aren't the best on maintenance. They have hit 260 a few times rocking in the mud and the head has not cracked.

It was a concern of mine when I bought my 2000. I think a bigger issue (still not as big as either are made out to be) is broken pistons. For some reason a lot of 2000/2001s seem to break pistons. And the early WJs with the same engine do as well.

The 2000/2001 XJs are going to be the newest, obviously. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. Plus, it has coil on plug and not a distributor. That's enough to go with one for me!

If the head cracks, there are ways to get one of the better heads to work.
2000 XJ - 3.5'' Lift & Skinny Mudders.
Previous: A CJ, Few TJs and JK.
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Unread 07-23-2015, 01:38 PM   #4
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Toledo Ohio
Posts: 2,635
wife's 01 head cracked at 110K. I maintained the Jeep and she drove like a grandma.
Current: 99XJ 6.5 lift-Bought 2015
Sold: Patriot Blue 00 XJ.
'sploded: 01 stock-0331 head victim
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Unread 07-24-2015, 11:25 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Denville, NJ
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Thanks for all the feedback!!! I owned a 1999 from new many years back and have wanted to get another one ever since we parted ways in 2003 so I know just how capable these Jeeps are :-)

Going around today to look at some options:

3 99s with 142/153k Limited/Sport

2 2k+ with 135k - 165k Sport/SE

Have my checklist ready to go and I think I have a good idea what to be looking for:

Trans Fluid - black or burnt smelling
Radiator - muddy or straight water. Needs to be green
Rust underneath floor panels
Pull carpet check plugs
Check power windows & locks
Check wipers read and front
Check all signals
Check ac and heat
Check cruise
Check 4x4 hi and lo
Check floor mounts for seats

Has been hard finding rust free examples around here so hopefully today is the day!
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