Welcome! You've picked a wonderful first Jeep. A handful of problems, likely nothing too serious, but plenty to keep you busy
Do you have any junkyards where you can pull parts off other Jeeps? That's the most common solution for finding/fixing parts here stateside. Your radio antenna, temp sensor, possibly heated seat wiring. I'd just remove the seat (a couple bolts) and check the wiring first.
Start changing fluids. Engine oil, tranny and filter, transfer case, front & rear diffs.
I'm not too familiar with the AC system but I'm sure someone else can give you solid info there.
Wobbly steering: Start replacing all the rubber bushings on everything. Crawl under your jeep and get real familiar with where things are. Check for play/looseness. Find out if you have CV joints or U joints.
Really enjoy the car so far, despite these few questionmarks. Won't be used a whole lot, mostly to tow a heavy horse trailer. 4WD and high ground clearance is the main reason I got it, and since large gas guzzlers are not in vogue around here it fits the bill at a very reasonable price.
MPG is not a big issue since it won't be used a lot (although I find myself driving it more than I should because it's so much fun! And the macho factor...!).
The most immediate problem, the dead A/C is being fixed in a local shop right now. The car gets really hot without it, with black leather interior and all..
Will take care of the other issues in order of priority. Comments on my other questions are still very welcome.
1998 ZG (ZJ) Grand Cherokee Ltd, 4L 4x4
That A/C could get expensive it could be a compresor or just leaky ac line or something, unfortionitly you will need to take it to a shop to get them to fix and fill it. A/C can be kind of dangerous work seeing as the lines are under so much pressure.
But have you already had a safety inspection done? Because they should of checked your front end like ball joints and tie rod ends for play already. If not id check them first but it could likely be the steering box, my old mans XJ has the same loose feeling front ends it scares the sh*t out of me because i am not used to it. You may need to replace it or you may be able to adjust that out
Paved roads don't lead anywhere worth going
Rear humming noise could be a replacement muffler. At highway speed turn off overdrive if rpms go up and noise quits its just muffler cause the driveshaft will stay constant at the same speed. If you still have it its the rear end. Inspect pinion bearing and axle bearings first.
By your description it's definitely the rear end. The sound stays the same even when coasting with the transmission i neutral. At hwy speeds it's the dominant noise. Tiring after a while, and probably not doing any good for the transmission. Will have it fixed before too long.
The dead A/C, by the way, was just a leaking pipe under the hood. Not too expensive, and it works great now. Crossing my fingers that it will hold the charge.
1998 ZG (ZJ) Grand Cherokee Ltd, 4L 4x4
Well i dont know if i can input much in this but i'll give it a whirl..
For one you have a 42RE not a 44re tcar said (he just mistyped i guess), the wobbling in the steering could be severly worn out wheel bearing or something. I would bring it to a shop and have the alignment checked out and have them check the ball joints and stuff to find out why its wobbly..
Not sure on the howling noise the transmission/transfercase is doing. Maybe low on fluid, check all the fluid levels. As for the rear end if your hearing howling back there most likely some kind of bearing is going bad, and it takes awhile before these things "blow up" as you say. So that IMO would be a low priority to fix.
Also since this is a 98 grand cherokee it most likely doesnt have a aux tranny cooler, and since this is a 4.0 with the weak 42re i wouldnt be towing anymore then 3500lbs if it were me, i've heared some really nasty stories with people who towed 5k pounds with a 4 liter and ended up with a dead transmission. I'd only consider 5k if i had a 5.2 or 5.9. Personally i dont think ZJ's were really ment to tow heavy loads anyway.. If you want to tow a horse trailer get a dodge ram pickup or something, diesels can tow like 10-14k pounds
2013 6.2 V8 Camaro SS 9k miles
1998 5.9 V8 ZJ 180k miles
1998 4.0 I6 Laredo ZJ 227k miles