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Unread 07-17-2014, 02:26 PM   #1
tj1997tj
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Best years for the XJ

In your opinion and why , would you say are the best years of XJ to look at if in the market?

Have been considering getting one for those times I have more than 1 passenger along and could serve as my TJ recovery vehicle....... not that I ever needed one.

It would serve mainly as a street legal trail rig with about the only mod being a slight suspension lift.

Dependability and ease of finding/replacing parts are strong considerations in that order.

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Unread 07-17-2014, 02:52 PM   #2
DunmerBoy
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thats a can of worms. youre opening, but a lot of people seem to like the 97 to 99s best. it has the new set up, the 29 spline rear axel (non-ABS), and does not have the 0331 head that had the casting error and is more prone to cracking.
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Unread 07-17-2014, 03:32 PM   #3
mschi772
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Try searching. Nothing has changed in the last 13 years since the last XJ was made, so there's more than enough info already available

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Unread 07-17-2014, 03:39 PM   #4
wizardPC
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94 and 99
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Unread 07-17-2014, 03:49 PM   #5
tj1997tj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DunmerBoy View Post
thats a can of worms. youre opening, but a lot of people seem to like the 97 to 99s best. it has the new set up, the 29 spline rear axel (non-ABS), and does not have the 0331 head that had the casting error and is more prone to cracking.
Thanks. That's just the kind of stuff I am looking for.
Interesting enough it seems I am finding more 97's and 98's for sale than most anything else.
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Unread 07-17-2014, 03:49 PM   #6
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94 and 99

Any real reason you like those 2?
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Unread 07-17-2014, 03:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tj1997tj View Post
Thanks. That's just the kind of stuff I am looking for.
Interesting enough it seems I am finding more 97's and 98's for sale than most anything else.
yep, just look in those years
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Originally Posted by tj1997tj View Post
Any real reason you like those 2?
bet he has those years
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Unread 07-17-2014, 05:19 PM   #8
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Guys whose only advice to you is "buy a 99" aren't really helping you much. Some of them just blindly regurgitate that because they read it somewhere when researching Jeeps, and they don't even know why. There are some reasons that 99 is a particularly favored year, but it might be that NONE of them matter to YOU. I mean, what do you want to do with your Cherokee? Is it just going to be a daily driver? Will you wheel it? If so, how often? How hard? What kind (mud, sand, rocks)? Are there any particular modifications/upgrades you'd want to do to it?

I think some people's obsession with 99 is a bit disrespectful to how great all the other XJ's are. Even the 00 and 01 XJ's are worthy of respect that is often denied to them by many. You really can't lose. Many minor and some major changes were made between 84 and 01. I'm sure you can find a list of all the changes out there somewhere; I know I found that info myself once upon a time.

Aside from the normal stuff to look out for with ANY used car, be aware that 84-86 XJ's had GM engines that pale in comparison to the 4.0 of 87-01 (I'm just ignoring the 4 cyl engines that some XJ's had). The pre-91 Renix systems are a bit ... "special" and simply something to be aware of and ready to work with if you're looking at one. 00-01 4.0's have a head with a casting flaw that may or may not crack between cyl 3 and 4. Many of them never crack (or at least haven't after hundreds of thousands of miles), but many do. It's something to watch-out for but not something that should keep you away completely, and you should be aware that identical heads without the casting flaw are out there should you have a crack. The manual trannies are solid as are the autos. The two possible transfer cases are both great. There are a variety of rear ends each with their own advantages and disadvantages, and unless you're planning on doing lots of wheeling, even the weakest of the bunch (D35) will be just peachy. The floor pans are easily the most susceptible to rust on all years. Because of the limited space for a radiator, XJ's are just barely able to maintain their operating temperature, so you have very little room to slack on maintaining the cooling system; luckily the cooling system is a reliable as any other part of the 4.0, so it's not likely to require much work (and any work will be relatively cheap). The stock exhaust manifold cracks easily which can impact the performance and efficiency of your engine negatively. APN makes a replacement header that is a very affordable replacement should you ever need/want one (there are other header options out there as well).

It is my opinion that if you get an XJ with a 4.0 from 91-99, you have virtually nothing but cheap regular maintenance to worry about. If you get an 00 or 01, you just have to make sure to never overheat it (as if you'd ever be OK with overheating any engine), and to pay closer attention to the oil and coolant "health."
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Unread 07-18-2014, 07:32 AM   #9
wizardPC
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Originally Posted by tj1997tj View Post
Any real reason you like those 2?
94 has the HO motor and OBDI. If you get a 95, you may get one with OBDI, or it may have OBDII. There are people who say they've seen OBDII 95's but lot's of folks say it didn't start until 96. It may or may not have a mechanical airbag. 96 is OBDII with a driver airbag but the older body style.

so what you wind up with is that 95 and 96 are oddball years that whatever fix you're trying to do may or may not work. The parts listed in the parts store/website/guy's head may or may not be the right parts and you won't know until you try to replace it. My 93 was a police package with california emissions and the export package. They only made 800 of them and oh the stories I could tell. I sold it because it had a bad computer and there was literally no way to get it running for less than it cost me to buy a different one.

...

99 doesn't have the head cracking problem that the 00-01 does. When I was looking for my latest xj someone made the argument that the bad heads are probably no longer out there; that after 14 years the ones with bad heads have all cracked and either been replaced or junked. I don't think that's true because the heads are prone to cracking during overheating which may or may not have happened. 00-01 also moved to a distributorless ignition system which I loathe, and has a low pinion D30. Again this makes them oddball years so parts availability may be a problem--if not now, then eventually.

I have a 98 right now, but it's got the 99 intake and exhaust manifolds which are pretty much the only thing that makes 99 the "best" year.

So there ya go. Corrections to my heresy are welcome
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