considering buying a 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
Vortac180
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considering buying a 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee

New guy, here. I'm considering buying a clean, as far as I can tell, rust free, straight 98 Grand Cherokee Laredo with 100K miles. It's got the 5.2 and all time 4WD with low range. Clean Carfax. It's at a dealer a 3 hours from me. I saw it on an ad, drove down and looked but declined the test drive because I didn't want to get excited. The following week I drove 3 hours each way again, this time to test drive. In comparison to my 2012 Lincoln, it wanders all over the road, and has significant wind noise, but seems to run well and the 4WD works. The engine appears very clean. The body has a few scratches but no dents. The seats are soft and they have lumbar support, which I love. The electric door lock failed on one door. The upholstery is cloth and in good shape and the interior very clean. The driver door insert is torn. The center console lid is broken. Trying to talk myself out of buying. The used car dealer is asking a lot for the old car, and I doubt he'll come down much. Now he knows I'm interested.

I'm dreaming of finding a comfortable, soft riding vehicle that will get me to work daily on my 10 mile commute, but that I can also use to explore the minimum maintenance roads in our county without getting stuck out in the desolate flint hills. I also want to use whatever vehicle I choose to take the family camping--the Lincoln is just not suitable. I had a Wrangler Rubicon for 8 years, but started not liking it--just not luxurious enough for me. Sold it and bought a 2012 Lincoln sedan 2 years ago. I now miss having a Jeep.

What do you all think about the 98 Grand Cherokee? Someone tell me they were junk and I shouldn't consider it, please. I originally posted this in the "buying a jeep" string and it was suggested I place the question here as well.

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post #2 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 09:57 AM
osgruber327
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I've owned jeeps continuously since 82 when I got my First cj5. Since then Ive had 4 more cj 5's, 2 cj7s, 2 Cherokee xjs, and 5 Grand Cherokees including 2 5.9s.
I've loved all of them, hated a few and regretted selling every single one.
Buy it, love it, learn it and it will never make you question your purchase, only your sanity.

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post #3 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 10:00 AM
RadarCoyote
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I've owned mine for a hot minute with about 141K on the mileage. Still goes and I pretty much drive it everywhere and so far the thing hasn't really given me much fuss outside of the transmission being in limp mode.
As far as wandering around mine feels kinda loose but it'll stay in the lanes without much effort but that's probs something that happens with age.
Wandering all over the road is alarming and I'd take it to someone who can check out the front end and make sure everything is tight.
The Quadra-Trac is definitely reliable but the viscous coupler will be its downfall after a while. Wouldn't worry about it until it starts showing signs of failing.

I'd say it sounds mechanically okay but watch for grounding issues.

Luxury is not its fortè but it'll try to keep you comfy despite being almost of legal drinking age.

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post #4 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 10:11 AM
Wolfeman1992
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If it's wandering id look at sway bar links front and rear id bet their broken

94 ZJ 4.5" on 31s
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post #5 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 11:42 AM
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Rust free is a bonus. If the price is O.K. with you get it.
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post #6 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 11:55 AM
wildbill23c
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My 98 ZJ wanders all over as well, I've had it to a couple shops and they can't find anything that would cause it, all the swaybar bushings are new, everything is tight....I think most of it is the dang roads because if I drive out of town to a town with better roads it does just fine, so I chalk the wandering issue up to the horrible roads where I live being the cause. My ZJ had the 4.0L I6, and selec-trac. I had a 96 ZJ with quadra-trac and I had that thing offroad more than it was on the highway and the viscous coupler finally decided it had enough of that around the 219k mark, drove it till the 232k mark and sold it to a guy that was really wanting a ZJ...its still running around the area 10 years later LOL, last I knew he just swapped transfer cases to a 242 selec-trac.

If its in good/great condition for the right price I'd go for it...the 318 V8's were pretty good...I'm still holding out to get my hands on a 5.9L Limited though LOL.

I believe a lot of the oh don't buy a Jeep is from people who have never even driven one and just repeat all the hype about reliability which most is actually caused by owner neglect and abuse, and electrical issues caused by people trying to modify and add stuff that doesn't belong and hacking the wiring harness to do so LOL....also the same reason I seem to find a lot of burned up vehicles sitting in pick a part yards people's hack wiring jobs, hack job mods, etc.

I don't see them being any less reliable than any other vehicle out there that has been taken care of. The 318 will have more than enough power and seems to be relatively reliable.
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post #7 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 12:25 PM
Wolfeman1992
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318 is a fantastic motor I've seen them continue to run with blown head gaskets for years, I would recommend harder shocks makes the ride allot better when paired with soft springs

94 ZJ 4.5" on 31s
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post #8 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 12:44 PM
Timo_90xj
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Wandering is most often caused by one or a combination of following:
* Worn/ cracked control arm bushings (wandering = front axle bushings, torque steer under acceleration = rear LCAs)
* Worn/ loose trackbar bushings, ovalized front axle TB bracket hole
* Incorrect steering geometry
* Incorrectly adjusted or worn steering box
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1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #9 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 01:33 PM
jeeepguy
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Don"t buy a ZJ era Grand Cherokee. You sound like someone who is not into "tinkering" with rig all the time, but rather one who wants to buy a rig and enjoy it. A much better choice for you may well be a 2004 Grand Cherokee. Reliable, will probably have less miles, more comfortable and easily capable (even stock) of any offroad adventures you will probably want to pursue. 1998 or earlier Grand Cherokees are getting really long on the tooth and require a lot of regular maintenance to keep running. The 2004 is a great Jeep for the combination of uses you are looking for.

P.S. - I've owned many a Jeep, including both a 2004 and a '98 and while my needs made the '98 a more viable vehicle, the 2004 was far superior in many ways.

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post #10 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeeepguy View Post
Don"t buy a ZJ era Grand Cherokee. You sound like someone who is not into "tinkering" with rig all the time, but rather one who wants to buy a rig and enjoy it. A much better choice for you may well be a 2004 Grand Cherokee. Reliable, will probably have less miles, more comfortable and easily capable (even stock) of any offroad adventures you will probably want to pursue. 1998 or earlier Grand Cherokees are getting really long on the tooth and require a lot of regular maintenance to keep running. The 2004 is a great Jeep for the combination of uses you are looking for.

P.S. - I've owned many a Jepp, including both a 2004 and a '98 and while my needs made the '98 a more viable vehicle, thge 2004 was far superior in many ways.
I gotta agree for the average person a wj overlander is more then plenty, factory skid plates, tow hook, tow package, lsd, only drawback it's cv style axle shafts

94 ZJ 4.5" on 31s
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post #11 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 01:56 PM
wildbill23c
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeeepguy View Post
Don"t buy a ZJ era Grand Cherokee. You sound like someone who is not into "tinkering" with rig all the time, but rather one who wants to buy a rig and enjoy it. A much better choice for you may well be a 2004 Grand Cherokee. Reliable, will probably have less miles, more comfortable and easily capable (even stock) of any offroad adventures you will probably want to pursue. 1998 or earlier Grand Cherokees are getting really long on the tooth and require a lot of regular maintenance to keep running. The 2004 is a great Jeep for the combination of uses you are looking for.

P.S. - I've owned many a Jepp, including both a 2004 and a '98 and while my needs made the '98 a more viable vehicle, thge 2004 was far superior in many ways.
The ZJ's aren't bad, but a WJ is certainly going to be a step forward LOL. I'm on my 2nd ZJ, and other than the weird wandering issue that is only present driving on the roads in the town I live in (doesn't wander on roads in other towns) so its not necessary an issue with the Jeep, it may well be road build problems. However, its always best to have a shop go through the suspension to be sure.

Stop recommending WJ's its making me want one HAHA!!!! They look good, and continued on with the ZJ's tough offroad capability, yep even in stock form they do really well...and with upgraded options in the WJ's (quadra-drive with front and rear limited slip differentials) will really do wonders offroad.

The ZJ and WJ seem to have a pretty good highway ride at least in stock form my ZJ's have really done well on the highway in all conditions...I assume the WJ would be a bit better but how I have no idea I always thought they were pretty much the same as far as axles and suspension components?

If you get a ZJ or WJ they're both long in the tooth and gotta really watch out that you don't get a hold of someone's cobbled up offroad toy with a basket full of problems LOL...most likely the reason they'd be selling them too HAHA!!
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post #12 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 02:23 PM
Wolfeman1992
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Originally Posted by wildbill23c View Post
The ZJ's aren't bad, but a WJ is certainly going to be a step forward LOL. I'm on my 2nd ZJ, and other than the weird wandering issue that is only present driving on the roads in the town I live in (doesn't wander on roads in other towns) so its not necessary an issue with the Jeep, it may well be road build problems. However, its always best to have a shop go through the suspension to be sure.



Stop recommending WJ's its making me want one HAHA!!!! They look good, and continued on with the ZJ's tough offroad capability, yep even in stock form they do really well...and with upgraded options in the WJ's (quadra-drive with front and rear limited slip differentials) will really do wonders offroad.



The ZJ and WJ seem to have a pretty good highway ride at least in stock form my ZJ's have really done well on the highway in all conditions...I assume the WJ would be a bit better but how I have no idea I always thought they were pretty much the same as far as axles and suspension components?



If you get a ZJ or WJ they're both long in the tooth and gotta really watch out that you don't get a hold of someone's cobbled up offroad toy with a basket full of problems LOL...most likely the reason they'd be selling them too HAHA!!
Wjs are something akin to triangulate 4 link in the rear and factory crossover steering their bout the same otherwise

94 ZJ 4.5" on 31s
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post #13 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 02:35 PM
watertrucker
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I’ve had 2 ZJ’s The first with the 5.2 and the one I have now is a ‘98 with the 4.0 I liked them both but the 5.2 had a little more get up and go. Dealers tend to inflate their prices to cover their overhead so you might be better off looking for one from a private party
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post #14 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 07:53 PM
Benthal8
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Do you mind saying the price? Because unless the price is really good, I’d pass.
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post #15 of 58 Old 11-21-2019, 11:19 PM
kachink
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100K is just broken in. On the other hand, expect to spend some time any/or money on any 21 year old vehicle. I really like my 98. It has been a great vehicle for camping with my pop up trailer. But with 260K on the clock, I hesitate to take it on trips anymore.
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