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Unread 11-20-2009, 06:15 PM   #1
kgihemp
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
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XJ or ZJ

We have been an XJ family for years. Long story short we sold our 89 XJ in Germany before moving home. Now it is time for another jeep. I am looking at a 96 cherokee country with 167K. Everything works fine. No rust. We are then looking at a ZJ (year unknown, 93-98) limited. It has the 5.2. Both are stock, and which ever one we buy will be a daily driver. The purchased jeep will be lifted (no more than a 3/3.5"). I know the XJ's history and the inline six. Any other opinions would be great. How is the ZJ turned into wheeler?

Hemp

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Unread 11-20-2009, 06:55 PM   #2
cj11
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There are acouple of lifted Zj's around my area they are nice looking and its a JeeP so i am sure it would make a good wheeler.

And one positive is there are not as many lifted Zj's as there are Xj's sometimes its nice to be differant.
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Unread 11-20-2009, 07:03 PM   #3
hampton81
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Me personally would pick the xj. Just cause the in line 6 will run forever just a bout. As long as you take care of it. AND NOT TO MENTION IT'S A XJ!!!!!!!!!!
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Unread 11-20-2009, 07:04 PM   #4
kgihemp
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I just don't know much about the 5.2 or ZJ. I have seen there are a bunch of mods like the XJ, but not sure how the 5.2 holds up against the 4.0. The ZJ has 120K on it. Is the ZJ all time 4x4 or selective. How do they handle on the trails. I think it is going to something new that is a problem.
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Unread 11-20-2009, 07:16 PM   #5
hampton81
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I not sure bout the 5.2 either and I know that some zj are fulltime 4wd (awd). I have seen some on the trail lifted and all that they do rather good. and they come with coils all the way around = better flex in my opinon. just my .02
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Unread 11-20-2009, 08:00 PM   #6
kgihemp
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Not sure what i am going to do. I am going to look at both of them, but the main thing is the price. They are both the same price and in the same good condition. Not worried about the luxuries in either of them, but the 47K mile difference might play a factor. We will figure something out. Thanks for the opinions.
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Unread 11-20-2009, 10:11 PM   #7
balloo93
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I'd go XJ for:

Straight 6
AW4 trans

I've know two different people with ZJs and they have had elec issues. Parts (especially junk yard) also tend to be a bit more $$ due to the fact it has "Grand" in front of the name
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Unread 11-20-2009, 10:17 PM   #8
nwfjarhead
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I've had both and I would go xj. The 4.0 has more torque and better mpg. Mods are much cheaper. Just my
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Unread 11-20-2009, 10:34 PM   #9
Mickey_D
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I've had both and both have their good points.
The XJ doesn't have the problematic 249 transfer case (which the 5.2 WILL have) but the 249 (when it works) is tougher than both the 242 and 231. Also very handy for winter driving as it's seamless operation.
The ZJ is bigger and better equipped on the creature comforts.
The XJ has a better turning radius.
The ZJ's climate control is far superior.
Both the 4.0 and 5.2 are bullet proof engines.
The ZJ's transmission can handle more abuse, but requires more care.
The ZJ is easier to install a BB on, but the XJ is easier to lift more than that (ZJ needs control arms front AND rear for anything over 2").
The ZJ sometimes came with factory limited slip in the rear which made it unstoppable in comparison to anything with open diffs (which I think applies to all stock XJ's).
The ZJ has more towing capacity, the XJ gets better gas mileage all around.
The limited ZJ has an auto dimming rear view mirror and easier entry/exit to the rear seat, the XJ's seats are easier to fold down.

It's all down to your personal preferences. Go with what feels right to you.
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Unread 11-21-2009, 02:33 AM   #10
xlr84fun
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have had 2 friends with the 318 in their vehicle. 1 was a dakota, and that started to burn oil after so many miles, and my other friend has had 2 grand cherokees one a laredo and one a limited, both with the 318's (5.2), and both awd. they both started to burned oil also. I've read up on this on different forums and if taken care of the 318 is a VERY good engine, and won't burn oil, but without the maintenance they usually start to burn it. The Grand cherokees he had were loaded, leather, electric everything, seat warmers included (very nice in the winter here lol). they ride WAY better than my cherokee when it was stock or now lifted. but like said earlier, my cherokee also gets better gas mileage, and from what i've compared, a little cheaper to lift. the only grand cherokee I would get would have to have the 5.2 or the 5.7, no other way around it, lol.
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Unread 11-21-2009, 06:31 AM   #11
kgihemp
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We are heading out soon to go and make a purchase. Just found another coutry, 95 with 145K that might be the ticket. Tell ya what i did in a little while. Whatever the purchase, let the mods begin.
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Unread 11-21-2009, 08:17 AM   #12
cyclonemick
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I would go with the xj, But i am biased because I love my xj and the gas mileage would eat me up if I had a V8!
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Unread 11-21-2009, 08:29 AM   #13
TMCXJ
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My two cents... if the ZJ has the 5.2, go for it. If you really want an honest side-by-side on the mpg's between the two under actual driving conditions, the 4.0 wins by only about 1 mpg, IN THE ZJ; the XJ will do a bit better, being lighter. And the 249 is problematic, but most guys do the 242 swap when the VC goes bad. Very easy swap.

If they've both got the 4.0, go with the XJ. Just remember the rear leafs' history of going flat...

You don't say where you'll be living (at least I didnt' see it), but if you'll be in the rust-belt, go with the ZJ. The XJ's don't GENERALLY fare as well with rust.

They both use the d30 up front, but the ZJ's - like the 00-01 XJ's - are LP. Lots of HP swaps are done, though. The ZJ rear will have either a d35 or a d44a (offered with towing pkg through mid-95, after that was standard behind with the V8's), which while is weaker due to the aluminum diff housing, has even heftier guts than the steel 44, and with a decent truss is said to exceed the strength of a d60. Drawback: VERY limited locker availability; in fact, I think production for 44a lockers is a thing of the past. The 8.8 swap into a ZJ is a bit easier than with the XJ; this is not based on personal experience but on what those that have done it to both have stated on various forums I've seen; ymmv.

The AW4 was used in early 93 models. The 42re behind the 4.0's does have a history of going bad, but it's almost ALWAYS an issue with lack of maintenance, specifically NOT checking cooler lines and cooler tank for clogging. Also, the 4X series (42re's, 44rh behind the 93-95 5.2, the 44re behind the 96-98 5.2, and the 46re behind the 5.9 - only available in 98) need band adjustments. The "e" is for electronic, the "h" is for hydraulic. Well, more to it than that, but....

It has always puzzled me why we don't go to other forums for information. Instead, we tend to get stuck in "us vs. them" mindsets. Not just here, not just with Jeeps, but everything I know of - primitive archery vs. compounds... gun vs. bow... even calibers of guns!!! Tires. You name it. I don't know, I say get on over to the ZJ forum and look around. You guys on here could open a whole new WORLD of "DEATHWOBBLE" info for them; if they came over here (objectively, lol) the debate between the 4.slow, as it's sometimes referred to, and the 5.2/5.9 would have more meat to it.

I've had just about every kind of Jeep - just never owned a Scrambler/CJ-8, Wranglers (YJ, OR TJ), the Liberty, WJ's (99-04 Grand Cherokees), Commander, or the poser Jeeps. I've had the FS Wagoneers before they WERE "Grands," the FS Cherokees, pickups (including an MJ), XJ's (I just gave my last XJ away to a youngster about 2 hours south so he could build it for a project), and now 2 ZJ's, both with the 4.0's, 42re's, and 242's. I've had (didn't own, they were on the farm, at our camps or whatever) FC-150 & 170 as well, plus other stuff I was too young to know that there was a difference. It's been Jeeps. The real ones, lol! In a very real sense, "It's a Jeep Thing" doesn't mean ONLY "YOUR" Jeep... or only one model.

Rant off.. next!
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Unread 11-21-2009, 09:01 AM   #14
TMCXJ
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lol, I see you've got this going on both forums. Good for you!
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Unread 11-21-2009, 10:14 AM   #15
MichiganXJ
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I had a '96 ZJ, albeit with a 4.0. It definitely drove more car-like than my XJ. The difference in creature comforts is a night and day comparison. The back seat was a bit more usable in the ZJ. I think the decision really comes down to what you want out of a vehicle. If you want a more spartan, utilitarian vehicle, the XJ wins. If you want something a bit more luxurious, the ZJ is a better choice. I personally like the more minimalist Cherokee-less stuff to go wrong.

I also have a friend who had a '95 ZJ with the 318. He is not a car guy, and didn't maintain it to the same degree I would have, but it still gave him over 200,000 miles of reliable service before he sold it. I believe the transmission died around 180,000 miles (still not bad given the lack of maintenance) and I don't recall him ever having any transfer case issues. The 318 is definitely a solid motor.
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