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Unread 07-30-2009, 07:02 PM   #1
rustyh
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Refurbish suggestions for 97 grand cherokee ltd

Have daughter #1's 97 Grand Cherokee Ltd.
Original everything. Leather heated electric seats, Sunroof, 4wd, v8, big dent in back where daughter #2 hit phone pole. 125,000 miles.

I need to get 3 more years out of this thing.
Daughter #2 goes to school in snow and ice winters so 4wd is a benefit.

What can be done to improve body roll. Pig like handling. Groaning noise from power steering pump, general loose driving sensation.

I do not think that many original parts have been replaced other than the 3 fuel pumps I have invested in.

Should I replace shocks with what?
How about a sway bar improvement?
Driver door is really loose. Is it easy to replace or repair hinges?
Driver seat frame is broken. Replace entire seat with aftermarket or replace frame?

Suggestions from experience are appreciated.
thanks,
rusty

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Unread 07-30-2009, 07:16 PM   #2
ratmonkey
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addco front sway bar, replace all tie rod ends(will need to replace draglink whole), new power steering pump(if it's groaning it's nearly dead), and just get under there while someone moves the steering wheel back and forth looking for movement in stuff that shouldn't be moving before the wheels turn.
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Unread 07-30-2009, 07:58 PM   #3
rustyh
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any shock suggestions?
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Unread 07-31-2009, 05:30 AM   #4
Tweaks
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If you ever find the cure for the generally loose driving sensation you let me know. I think most people with these Jeeps figure that it's a Jeep and asking it to handle like a Honda Accord is probably a pipe dream.

But, you can do a couple things to help your situation.

You're probably due for new front swaybar links. The stock ones don't last long. Along with that, you're swaybar bushings are probably worn to the point where you can see daylight through them. New ones will make the ride a bit comfier and possibly firmer for better handling. New tires help too if those are needed. There's a lot of aftermarket shocks to choose from. Folks here like the Black Diamond ones. I have Rancho RS 5000's and I can't complain. Much better than stock. You might want to look into the Edelbrock ones but they are not cheap.

What else? Get the ball joints and front bearings/hubs checked out since it's getting to be about that time.

x's 2 on that steering pump. Get rid of it before it throws a fit and breaks while your daughter is driving in snow and ice.

Be prepared to throw a good amount of money at this thing. The bright side is that this thing will go for well over three more years if you stay on top of the required maintenance.
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Unread 07-31-2009, 09:16 AM   #5
rustyh
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Thanks Tweaks and Ratmonkey for the advice.
I will start the process of refurb this weekend.
rusty
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Unread 07-31-2009, 10:58 AM   #6
ZJTechie
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x2 on everything said so far. First, the 125K mileage is NOT terriblefor these engines, years should be in order for it. Also the door was not mentioned though and I have a bit of info on that. If your driver door was like mine, it sags when opened, then slams hard against the pin when trying to close it. I found that a couple washers between the bottom hinge plate and the hinge itself corrected the sag. Unfortunately in my hinge issue there wasn't a lot I could do other than that, I found kits for replacing hinge parts but didn't get into it. Also, for the PS pump, dont forget to reconnect the lower hose or you'll spew PS fluid all over your engine, ask me how I know! Good luck.
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Unread 08-01-2009, 04:53 AM   #7
rustyh
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I have been studying the hinges for a while. I may try to replace the entire hinge. Looks like they bolt onto door and frame. My fear is the alignment of the hinge hay be difficult to perfect but its got to be better than now. I will cogitate on the washers some today. Thanks. If the weather holds here today I am going to pull rear bumper and trim to see if I can straighten enough to operate rear hatch before we spend $2000 at the body shop.
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Unread 08-01-2009, 06:09 AM   #8
rustyh
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Shocks have too many options.......

Rancho RS 5000
KYB
Black Diamond
etc

Any difference in the above for a 95% on road Jeep?
Found Rancho's for $160 a set of 4

rusty
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Unread 08-01-2009, 06:53 AM   #9
rustyh
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Is there a difference in suspension bushings?

Advance Auto sells them. Are they any better or worse than others?
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Unread 08-01-2009, 07:44 AM   #10
newfieZJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustyh View Post
Is there a difference in suspension bushings?

Advance Auto sells them. Are they any better or worse than others?
Clevite bushings are the only way to go replacing stock control arm bushings . I suggest you contact Kolak for the best price/shipping . I don't know what Advance sells

Not too sure about the frt Adcco , yes an upgrade , but , IMO , not needed . The rear is the small pencil bar . I have the rear Adcco bar , my jeep certainly doesn't roll at 5" of lift .

I'd suggest this to try as well , http://dodgeram.info/tsb/1997/19-10-97.htm . I did it with a new steering box , it works great and I have no binding or slack in the wheel , nice and tight . None of this 1/4 turn to get a reaction from my steering , 1/4 turns put me in the ditch , or.......worse .
Do a good inspection on the TRE's and ball joints . When you inspect the steering box , some play in the shaft is normal

The steering box brace is another great mod that tightens up the steering on these jeeps . There are a few write-ups here on JF if you search .

I don't think it will mean that much on your jeep to get "the best" shock out there . I think your on the right track keeping the price to 150ish . Some will ride stiff , some soft . Do some research and you should get the results your after .

As for the door , are the pins and bushings all that need replecing ? They aren't too hard of a job if so .

For the seat track , I would go to the local junkyard , no exception here . $5 vs god knows how much at the dealer or otherwise .

You should contact Kolak via PM . He can set you up with alot of the items your gonna need .

Good luck with the project , oh , did you say your spending $2000 at the paint shop on a ZJ ? Personally , I would shop for another ZJ first , just my opinion . I found a 98 5.9ltd for $3500 , only 130K and very clean , deals are out there to be had . Put on paper what your gonna spend here and see if it's really worth it . Shop around while your at it too , after all you'd have tonnes to part out to recoupe some on the ZJ you have now . Maybe a pic of this damage would change my opinion .
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Unread 08-01-2009, 05:11 PM   #11
rustyh
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Set out today to start the process. Not much progress. Daughter #2 backed into a telephone pole at the bottom of the drive. Ugh. First project is to get back hatch opening and closing without $2000 of body shop work. Beat bumper down a little to get a clear path for hatch to swing open. Well the latch is jammed. I pried. I pushed. I pulled. I wedged. I even cursed a little and nothing.
Any idea on how to get a stuck rear latch open?
I will try to post a pic.
I can get at the nuts that secure the latch. Took them off and tried to push the latch catch thing up to release hatch. No luck.
Sigh......I am soooooo frustrated.
Did look under chasis and there is a lot of daylight in all the bushings.
Any suggestions on releasing the hatch latch are welcome.
I may resort to a Sawzall.
rusty
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Unread 08-01-2009, 05:40 PM   #12
StellaTheZJ
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With regards to the hatch:
When I bought mine, the hatch wouldn't open. Turns out there was a glove jammed int he hinge... anyhow, pushing down, up, and right on the hatch did nothing - but it popped open when I pushed to the left! This is after kicking it from inside (while someone else held the latch up) too. Try pushing the hatch in all directions while trying to open it.

Another hatch issue is the rod connecting the handle to the latch mechanism has an adjustment that gets tired, and the adjuster thing releases the rod. This may be your issue. Maybe you can pull back the plastic hatch cover at the bottom of the window and hook the release with a coat hanger to pull it up and open the hatch. Once open, remove the cover, snug up the adjuster, and zap strap it closed so it can't slip again! I actually tied a strong sting to it and ran the string out the hole for the cargo cover, so I can open the hatch from inside while camping.

IF you have to, cut an opening over the latch mechanism from inside. It's easy to repair or replace the plastic panel, not so fun to replace the whole hatch!

With regards to the handling:

If it's wandering, a common problem is the Lower Control Arm bushings at the axle die. The have lovely holes in them to make the ride as cushy as possible, but they die much sooner with the holes. When this happens, the diff rotates (bottom towards the truck, because the front tires drag ti that way when you drive), changing your caster. To fix, replace the bushings (consider using solid XJ bushings??), or, if you're just looking to try something, crank in as much caster as you can get with the adjuster bolts to correct for the worn bushings (rotate the bottom of the diff forwards). Mark the starting position on the washers under the adjusters first, so you can put it back if you don't like the results. This made a huge difference on two ZJs I've played with (before replacing the bushings and dialing in the caster).
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Unread 08-02-2009, 04:37 PM   #13
rustyh
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Stella thank you.....

Pried the trim piece on the inside of the hatch back a little and managed to see the latch rod thing. Made a tool that could pull it up and VIOLA it opened.
Latch mechanism is mangled a little from the accident. I will probably need to replace.
Back hatch is pretty bent up at teh bottom. The skin is pulled away from the frame across the bottom.
Tomorrow I start calling junk yards.

How hard is it to replace the back hatch entirely?

Where are the electrical connection plugs? I assume in the top part of the door.

Any tricks to removing the bumper?

thanks,
Rusty
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Unread 08-02-2009, 08:03 PM   #14
Chris93zj
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Plugs for the hatch are inside the top part of the door itself. Extremely easy to get out. Six (or four) bolts hold the hinges on(if you need them replaced) inside the rear headliner. To get those out pop down the inside plastic trim top piece (think there's a screw inside the light and 2 in the panel itself). The bolts will be visible.
Unplug/unscrew the connections in the hatch and feed them through, pop the shocks off, and unbolt. That's all!

The bumper may or may not have two bolts visible where the hatch closes over next to the taillights. 10mm I believe (the 98 I pulled a bumper from had them). Then the sides pop out and back away from the jeep and it kinda lifted up&back to remove, if I recall correctly.

Really, both those are really easy parts. If the main steel bumper support is mangled up, good luck. If you can get the horizontal piece that runs across off (2-4 bolts) that's much easier than getting the frame bolts that hold the mounts on out. Ended up having to PB blast mine for about a week, and still had to oxy/acetylene them to get them freed up without breaking the nuts free inside there. One did, and that was a treat! Cutting those next to a plastic gas tank was extremely nervewrecking!
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