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Unread 03-10-2014, 01:01 PM   #1
s1xty7
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1998 vs 1999 XJ Differences

I'm didn't see this explicitly covered when I searched. I've owned a 1990 Cherokee and currently have an 1987 Wagoneer XJ. While those have been great for mud trips, etc I was thinking about getting a nicer, newer XJ to have as a family vehicle with eventual upgrades to something a little more expedition like. My question is, what is THE best year to start with on an XJ? The 2000 and 2001s have the redesigned head and COP along with the low pinion D30, so those are out. The 1997s had so many changes in the wiring as a transition year that I'd prefer not to take my chances with those. Now, I know the 1999s came with the newer style intake but what are the other differences between 1998 and 1999? I would likely do a header and exhaust on either to take care of manifold problems and cat restrictions (higher flow cat). Any reason to choose one over the other? If I got a 1998 I'd probably try and track down a 1999 intake.

TL;DR: 1998 vs 1999 differences?

Thanks!

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Unread 03-10-2014, 01:06 PM   #2
VegasGT
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Ive owned both, either one is a great choice, and I dont feel that the newer intake on the 99 makes much difference.

Only other notable difference are minor cosmetics pretty much. Things like the 98 model year being the last to have the full length roof rack, also Sport models have sport as a fender decal rather than a door badge like 99+. No deal breakers between the two.
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Unread 03-10-2014, 01:51 PM   #3
uberxj92
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Omg all 99's are white. Lol. Not all but 90% of them are white.
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Unread 03-10-2014, 02:04 PM   #4
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Ive had two 99's and both were red lmao. I think there are more white XJ's than any other color overall though.
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Unread 03-10-2014, 04:15 PM   #5
ParkerXJ
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My fathers 99 is red aswell
And my 01 is green, most xjs in Maine ive seen are green, or variants of it

I love the 99 my dad has, great throttle response on it, its stock
Has 160k
But its great
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Unread 03-10-2014, 09:58 PM   #6
LimeLJ
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Electrically 1999-2001 all have pretty much unified wiring harnesses for interior accessories. Which makes it nice for adding options that were not there before. Electrically 1998 is a split bastard year between 1997's dying in a pile of part numbers to figure things out and 1998's first year of unifying parts.

Personally I would prefer 1998 just for being perfectly legal to modify the exhaust header without having to worry about two extra catalytic converters. I would still buy and drive a 1999 if it was physically in better shape. The emissions difference is not big enough to prioritize over physical appearance for me.
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Unread 03-10-2014, 10:15 PM   #7
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I've seen so many color variations on the 1999s within 500 miles. I think I've seen all the standard colors but I haven't seen any yellows or the rarer ones. I'm partial to the gunmetal grey (blue steel) myself so I'll have to keep hunting for one. Just missed a 1999 gunmetal grey with 94k miles this morning. Oh well.

LimeLJ, I didn't know that about the wiring. I was going to avoid the 1997s, but you may have just made a clear case for the 1999s for me. I don't live in an area where we are required to smog our vehicles and I would likely replace the manifold and exhaust with a header and better flow out back, including a high flow cat. I would imagine that with the better intake design and better exhaust setup, a 1999 might be about the peak "factory" power for the XJs.
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Unread 03-11-2014, 04:11 AM   #8
green97xjsport
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97's aren't the electrical nightmare you think...
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Unread 03-11-2014, 05:19 AM   #9
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Ive had 2 99's, currently still own one. Both have a distributor and a single catalytic converter. Not sure where the coil packs and pre cats idea is coming from, thats a 00-01 thing.
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Unread 03-11-2014, 06:46 AM   #10
green97xjsport
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasGT View Post
Ive had 2 99's, currently still own one. Both have a distributor and a single catalytic converter. Not sure where the coil packs and pre cats idea is coming from, thats a 00-01 thing.

My mistake, I thought for sure that was a 99 start. Must be why most 97-99's are considered the best


edited previous post to eliminate bad info
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Unread 03-11-2014, 08:51 AM   #11
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I don't know that the 1997s are nightmares; just that, as a transition year, I've read cautions that it could be a hassle getting replacement parts right the first time. I've read the same things about the 1996s though too. All in all, it sounds like just about every year of Cherokee has their quirks and as long as you take your time about it, you should be fine. Might be difficult if you didn't have an original part to go off of though.

With that said, it seems like 1998 or 1999 are about the best of the new ones for consistency.
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Unread 03-11-2014, 09:14 AM   #12
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Lol I sound like an XJ whore, but I also had a 97. Moss green 2wd, just used it as a daily when I had my TJ. I never had any issues out of it at all. Matter of fact, also had a silver 01 without any head issues.

98-99 is going to be the safest years but dont let other years pass you by if they are well maintained.
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Unread 03-14-2014, 09:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LimeLJ
Electrically 1999-2001 all have pretty much unified wiring harnesses for interior accessories. Which makes it nice for adding options that were not there before. Electrically 1998 is a split bastard year between 1997's dying in a pile of part numbers to figure things out and 1998's first year of unifying parts. Personally I would prefer 1998 just for being perfectly legal to modify the exhaust header without having to worry about two extra catalytic converters. I would still buy and drive a 1999 if it was physically in better shape. The emissions difference is not big enough to prioritize over physical appearance for me.

The 99 has 1 cat The 00-01 have precats
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Unread 03-14-2014, 11:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom95YJ View Post

The 99 has 1 cat The 00-01 have precats
Precat? Excuse my lack of knowledge
Ive got an 01, can you please dumb it down for me
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Unread 03-14-2014, 11:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ParkerXJ View Post
Precat? Excuse my lack of knowledge
Ive got an 01, can you please dumb it down for me
Basically, catalytic converters built into your exhaust manifold. Tree hugger emissions shenanigans.
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