Convince a friend to buy a jeep XJ? -
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-19-2018, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Convince a friend to buy a jeep XJ?


My friend is looking for a reliable, minimum maintenance, cheap utilitarian vehicle she can take to some non-hardcore offroad trails in southern California.

I would like her to look into 1990's fuel injected jeep cherokees, but she believes they have many issues with reliability

Having never owned one, I suspect this is largely due to the bad reputation behind Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is a completely different platform that is known to spend more time in the shop than any others.
However, the XJ, branded with grand cherokee's bad reputation, is one of the simplest and most reliable barebone highway legal 4x4s on the market?

Am I correct about this, or does the Cherokee actually have some issues she should be concerned with?
Should she look into a slightly more expensive YJ?
She doesn't have a lot to spend so initial cost and maintenace is a big issue.

A big issue is the strict emission standards here. And most 90s cars eventually stop passing smog without expensive repairs.
I know about the 4 vs 2 O2 sensors for CA emission XJ's. Do non-CA jeeps still pass smog in CA if they were purchased out of state?
Have a lot of people found the older emissions equipment to be an expensive problem? Or is it just like any other older car?


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post #2 of 7 Old 03-20-2018, 07:36 AM
Duck Doctor
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The XJs are nearly 20 years old and not a good fit for someone with a minimal budget. Is your friend mechanically inclined? If not, she will go broke maintaining an XJ.

I own a 99 as a secondary trail rig. It isn’t a cheap toy to maintain and requires constant maintenance.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-20-2018, 09:35 PM
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XJs were by nature actually pretty reliable, but it's hard to find one nowadays that isn't about worn out and in need of maintenance.


"You can set my jeep on fire and roll it down a hill,
But I still wouldn't trade it for a Coupe DeVille."

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post #4 of 7 Old 03-27-2018, 03:34 PM
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Great vehicle
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-27-2018, 05:24 PM
Real Jeeps have dents
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A well cared for XJ Cherokee driven by a knowledgeable owner can be very reliable and inexpensive. Replacement parts are in every junkyard, and are inexpensive. My other XJ Cherokee is a 1999 and had 196,000 miles when I bought it, it was a fleet vehicle and received regular routine maintenance. 5 years and 90,000 miles later I have replaced the $ 22 junkyard radiator with another $ 22 junkyard radiator, it is on its second blower motor resistor, the blinker switch was replaced with a $12 junkyard part, and this past winter I had to replace the climate control blower motor. It still gets about 17 mpg's, starts every morning even at 5* below zero, uses no oil, and has +40 psi of oil pressure at 55 mph.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-27-2018, 06:22 PM
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Meh, my one Cherokee (98, XJ) was less reliable than my two Grand Cherokees (99 WJ and 12 WK2).

If I were looking for cheap, reliable, 4x4 I'd probably look for a babied Chevy/Geo/Suzuki Tracker/Sidekick. Largely undervalued and overbuilt for their size.

But it depends how "non-hardcore" you want to go, because once you start to get serious then well, cheap just doesn't jive.

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2016 JKUS
2012 WK2 Limited
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-31-2018, 10:10 AM
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SoCal XJ prices are a bit off. More money, less quality since they are quite often thrashed. They will get it from someone, so they won't budge. Also, have fun finding a 4x4 that hasn't been lifted yet. I was in the same market and ended up spending less on a 04 WJ with fewer miles. Less aftermarket, but so much more utility and the main problems with the 4.0l from the 0331 heads solved. Grantes, the 4.7l v8 has its own problems, but no car nails every single thing.

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