Total n00b with Jeeps - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Grand Cherokee & Commander Forums > ZJ Grand Cherokee Forum > Total n00b with Jeeps

ExtremeTerrain GROUP BUY: Barricade Rear Bumpers/Tire CarrIntroducing MONSTALINER™ UV Permanent DIY Roll On Bed LineSteering and more from Ruffstuff!

Reply
Unread 07-17-2013, 09:30 PM   #1
OCDComputing
Registered User
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Orangeville, Ontario
Posts: 81
Total n00b with Jeeps

Good day all!

Ok, so I picked up a 98 Grand Cherokee Larado AWD Laredo at a pretty good price that has 170,000kms. Body is in pretty good shape and it seems to drive pretty well. I replaced the tires (undersized from what I can tell) back to stock (I believe) 235/75 R15.

So now the questions begin! LOL!

1st and foremost, if I am making a sharp turn and starting off from a stop and juice it a bit I get some serious wheel hop...is this normal being AWD?

I would like to hike it up a bit, but never having owned a Jeep before I'm really not quite sure where to start?

I haven't had it in to get the wheels balanced yet or an alignment but the steering feels a bit flighty. I'm sure that a balance and alignment will make a big difference but one thing that I've heard is to take it in a bit more than a regular alignment to tighten it up?

Any other tips and tricks to maybe improve mileage or performance? I know that is a really open ended question, but I'm a geek by nature and will do the research.

Cheers,
Cameron

OCDComputing is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 07-17-2013, 10:34 PM   #2
JColee
Registered User
1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Logansport, IN
Posts: 386
Welcome to the world of ZJ's!

The hopping problem sounds like your viscous coupler failing in the NP249 transfer case. You can replace the viscous coupler for around $300 yourself (ebay), or swap in an NP242 or an NP231 (from an XJ or ZJ) for about $300 (possibly less). I swapped in an NP242 from a 1999 Jeep Cherokee and the swap went pretty easily. I did have to change out the speedo gear connector on the transfer case as well as have the rear drive shaft shortened an inch or two. I preferred the options of the NP242.

As for lifts, some will say 2" Budget Boost, new shocks, and 31" tires. Some will say don't waste the time or money and go for something right out of the gate that you will ultimate want later with the ZJ. I'm personally going for the 2" BB, Bilstein shocks, and 31" tires, and at a later date going bigger.

The steering box is possibly leaking or starting to go bad. You can purchase a rebuild kit for the steering box, or swap it with one from a Durango? (Someone else will most likely chime in, on this). As long as I've owned my Jeep, i've wanted to get a bumper sticker that read: "I swear that i'm not drunk, you've clearly never driven a ZJ". I've gotten used to it, until I replace or repair it.

Hope I have been somewhat of a help, others will surely chime in.

Again, welcome!

-Jake
JColee is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 07-17-2013, 11:49 PM   #3
dnuccio
Registered User
1995 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 3,484
wheel hop is the viscous coupler going bad. loose steering could be worn tie rod ends, ball joints, pretty much anything in the front end. theres a good write up in the FAQs on how to adjust your steering box, because everyone loves a nice, tight box

welcome aboard
__________________
Reliability is relative
R.I.P. Ratmonkey
dnuccio is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 07-18-2013, 09:31 AM   #4
OCDComputing
Registered User
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Orangeville, Ontario
Posts: 81
So I did some reading on the viscous coupler and wonder how it could go bad if it is a sealed system? Also, I should clarify that it is the inside wheel that hops and not both. Tie rod ends/ball joints are all good so I'll have to look at the FAQ regarding the steering box.

Cheers,
Cameron
OCDComputing is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 07-18-2013, 10:00 AM   #5
dnuccio
Registered User
1995 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 3,484
Being a sealed system has nothing to do with if it can go bad or not. Inside the coupler, there are steel plates and a viscous fluid. The fluid is the connection between the plates. The fluid goes through many, many heat cycles in its lifetime, and that is what kills it. One of those "looks good on paper" designs I guess. Over time, the fluid inside the coupler hardens and locks the coupler up, causing the wheels to turn at the same speed. That is what causes the binding and hopping of the tires. The viscous coupler is there to allow the wheels to turn different speeds. The other transfer cases used in ZJs dont have this issue because they use a system much like an open differential in an axle, rather than a viscous coupler.
__________________
Reliability is relative
R.I.P. Ratmonkey
dnuccio is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 07-18-2013, 11:35 AM   #6
CanaanTSA5
Member
 
CanaanTSA5's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
Posts: 218
Quote:
Originally Posted by OCDComputing View Post
Any other tips and tricks to maybe improve mileage or performance? I know that is a really open ended question, but I'm a geek by nature and will do the research.
Mileage is what it is. Only way to help the mileage a bit is to change you driving style. I find that driving 40mph on most roads and 65mph on the highway is the best combination for me. Slower take offs from a dead stop. I get 16mpg around town and 21mpg highway. And I have some pretty aggressive tires, so my highway could be better.

As far as performance, I assume you are talking about HP? I personally wouldn't bother with trying to add performance mods to the 4.0. If you want a performance ZJ, find a Niner. There are things you can do to a 4.0, but as far as being cost effective to the HP you gain....eh...

If you are looking to lift it, the majority of people on here will tell you to go through Kolak. He is one of the vendors on the Jeep Forum. He can get you great pricing on the parts you will need to do a lift. I'll be going through him once I get my money in order for it.

And...Welcome to the Forum and the world of ZJ's


Edit and Side Note: Stock is actually 215/75/15 (Very Small..)
__________________
1998 ZJ 4.0 Stock 225/75R15 General Grabber AT2
181,000mi Strong
CanaanTSA5 is offline   Reply With Quote




Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.