Starting from scratch, priority for upgrades? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-10-2017, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
barnamos
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Estes Park
Posts: 4
Starting from scratch, priority for upgrades?

Hi all,

I just acquired a 97 5.2L with just over 100K on it. It's in great shape and all stock at the moment. I'd like to make it the most reliable and efficient vehicle I can for everyday driving (but living in the mountains means capable 4X4 is required). I'm a bit blessed as I live in an area where emissions are not required so I can be flexible in exhaust and intake systems.

Where are my weaknesses in this vehicle at 20 years old? As in what is likely to be first to give out in your experiences?

It's a bit of a beastly tank, somewhat sluggish and avgs about 16mpg currently. So...

Fuel system? drive train? transmission? electrical? etc? I figure the folks on here would be the best to ask advice from.


97 Grand Cherokee - "Larry"
98 Wrangler - Barbie Version
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-10-2017, 02:17 PM
dflewelling
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1995 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Sioux City
Posts: 266
I'd say reliability over efficiency. These were never the most mindful of fuel consumption, but id start with your basic tuneup. Cap, rotor, wires, plugs, if it has stock intake, consider the Huges plenum kit as the plenum failing is inevitable, if it's not already done. If the plenum is bad, then the list goes on to oxygen sensors, as those mixed with the vacuum leak of a bad plenum will certainly cause poor(er) gas mileage. Other than that, it's pretty much yours to do with as you please. How's the viscous coupler in the transfer case? Are all tires the same size and worn evenly? How's the oil, trans, and transfer case fluid?

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-10-2017, 08:15 PM
BeardyHat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dflewelling View Post
I'd say reliability over efficiency. These were never the most mindful of fuel consumption, but id start with your basic tuneup. Cap, rotor, wires, plugs, if it has stock intake, consider the Huges plenum kit as the plenum failing is inevitable, if it's not already done. If the plenum is bad, then the list goes on to oxygen sensors, as those mixed with the vacuum leak of a bad plenum will certainly cause poor(er) gas mileage. Other than that, it's pretty much yours to do with as you please. How's the viscous coupler in the transfer case? Are all tires the same size and worn evenly? How's the oil, trans, and transfer case fluid?

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This is a great post, thank you!

I've been researching ZJ's for awhile now, hoping to make a reliable family rig and so far, I think this is some of the most useful information I've discovered.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-11-2017, 05:31 AM
LouC
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2007 WK 
 
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Location: NY
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1) cooling system, if it has not been done in the last 10 years, radiator water pump and thermostat. Consistent temps over 210 suggest the need for cooling upgrades.
2) Trans cooler, if not equipped add one.
3) all fluids should be changed.
4) rocket panel rust. Pop off the plastic threshold plates and look inside; if you see flaking rust you need to treat these areas.
5) heater core and ac evap. These should both be done at the same time if either one is bad.

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2007 WK Limited Hemi QDII
1998 ZJ Laredo 4.0 Selectrac
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-11-2017, 08:42 PM
JaimeZX
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1995 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Charleston
Posts: 569
I second the tranny cooler; especially if you plan to do any towing.

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post #6 of 11 Old 10-12-2017, 08:48 AM
Mopar4U
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 164
Reliability - Id have a mopar fuel pump on your shelf (spare) if it hasnt been replaced recently. Clean the throttle body and iac. Agree with the plenum gasket comments. Check all the grounds and wiring. Check vacuum lines, they get brittle. Service your diffs.
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-12-2017, 01:01 PM
Boone96ZJ
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Boone
Posts: 273
Lots of stickers in your side windows and installing blinker fluid add 20 horsepower
Mark-318-IT likes this.

96 5.2 242 3" 32x11.5
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/1996-grand-cherokee-laredo-5-2-a-2570290/
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-12-2017, 07:29 PM
Scsigman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boone96ZJ View Post
Lots of stickers in your side windows and installing blinker fluid add 20 horsepower
Dilley dilley!!

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post #9 of 11 Old 10-14-2017, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
barnamos
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Estes Park
Posts: 4
Thanks much, intake appears stock. The filter's been upgraded is about all.

I've only put a couple thousand miles on it but all fluids are clean, was happy to see tranny fluid as pretty as it was. I will figure out what the viscous coupler is and then check it!

Tires are evenly worn, ride is a bit mushy but breaks and steers straight. I will start with the obvious for now.

Thanks again!
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Last edited by barnamos; 10-14-2017 at 01:20 PM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-14-2017, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
barnamos
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Estes Park
Posts: 4
Been searching Amazon for days looking for blinker fluid, finally found some organic stuff from Quebec on the black market. Comes with 150 lug bolts so I should be good for a while.

97 Grand Cherokee - "Larry"
98 Wrangler - Barbie Version
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post #11 of 11 Old 10-15-2017, 04:59 PM
dflewelling
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1995 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Sioux City
Posts: 266
Pop that air hat off and open the throttle plate. Look down there with a flashlight and if you see a pool of oil, the plenum gasket is bad. A light coating is fine, you'll get that from the PCV valve.

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