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post #1 of 30 Old 10-10-2021, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
seanof30306
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Need To Learn About WK2s

OK, so I have a '96 XJ Classic Up Country with 190,000 miles on it. I bought it new, and I absolutely love it. The paint's gone to crap, and it's been hit several times. It's just not worth putting the money into it to bring it back.

I've looked around, but there are no new cars I can afford that I really like. A couple of years ago, I hit on the idea of finding another XJ with super-low miles on it. I found one in Portland Oregon with 26,000 miles on it. It still had the original tires! I flew out there to get it, and somehow, when he was taking the 155 pics he put in the ad, the guy selling it managed to miss taking any pics of the half-dollar sized rust spot on the roof. I made him come back into the airport and buy me a ticket back home.

I've also though about having Davis Autosports do one for me. Their XJs are beautiful, but the owner, Jonathan Davis is all over the place. Too shifty for me.

I thought about getting a WJ for awhile, but finding a super-low mileage one has not been easy, and a WJ is nearly as old as my XJ. The looks of the WK2 have really grown on me, so I think that's the way I want to go. There are a number of things I need to educate myself on, though. I've spent a good bit of time on Google, but I still can't make heads or tails out of the various trim levels and 4WD systems.

WHAT YEAR?

So, as I understand it, the facelift was with the 2014 model year, correct? If so, from 2014 to say 2020 (I'm looking to buy a used one), which were the best years?

Full Time 4WD:

My first concern is all weather capability. I'm not into off-roading. I volunteer for Meals On Wheels. There are a lot of vulnerable people who depend on us for their sustenance, and when the weather gets bad, we have to be able to get through. A number of times, my Jeep has been the only vehicle around here that could. That's important to me.

I have an NP242 transfer case with full time 4wd and a limited slip rear diff. That combination makes my XJ absolutely amazing in snow and ice. In 21 years, I've never been stuck, and I go out in weather everyone else hunkers down during. When I'm not delivering meals during blizzards, I drive around and help people. It's amazing how many 4WD vehicles have needed to be pulled out of a snowbank by the old Jeep.

Which WK2 4wd system is comparable to the NP242? Do any WK2 models have LSDs?


WHICH TRIM?

I've been looking at Wk2s on ebay and cars.com for the past several days, but I can't figure out what interior options come with what trims. I really don't like wood grain accents and steering wheels or white-faced gauges. What is important to me is backup camera, BLIS, and adaptive cruise control. What trim do I want?


HEADROOM:

This is hugely important to me. I'm 6'5", go around 280. I solved the headroom problem on my XJ by banging on the hump in the floorboard for the transfer case with a BFH, then having the seat brackets cut and re-welded. is that possible (or necessary) on a WK2?

Thanks

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post #2 of 30 Old 10-10-2021, 07:00 AM
ColdCase
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Check out the sticky threads https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f309...d-wk2-4376453/ and the FAQ https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f309...n-faq-1173618/


QuadraDrive is the best nasty weather setup, better than your XJ given similar tires and driving skill. No model has a LSD in front, QD models have a computer controlled LSD in the rear. They all have Brake Traction Control that stops a spinning wheel. You may find QD on Overland and Summits or any model limited and above with ORAII package, although some years it won't be in a V6. Any Trailhawk model has QD. That also gives you air suspension, which you may not want in a used vehicle you are going to keep a long time, they are expensive to repair. You can't get QD without the air, although you can replace the air with coil springs. Otherwise they are all as capable as the XJ because they simulate LSDs by braking spinning wheels. If you need 4Low you need QTII or QD (the one with a select terrain knob).

You can't have all those trim items, or they may not be easy to find. Adaptive and Blind Spot is standard on Overlands and Summits, optional on some others. If they have a screen, they may have backup cameras and cross path/parking sensors I think. There are different screen sizes.

You'll have to test drive, seats can't be modified but power seats may adjust low enough. Some large guys have issues with comfort, some don't.

As far as model year, there isn't one in that range any more troublesome than others, newer models have a tendency to be more refined, but they also seem to loose std equipment. There were a small facelift in 2016 where the V6 was also improved. Details in the referenced threads.
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I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory;
Current: 2011 Grand Cherokee Overland V8, 2009 Liberty Rocky Mt V6
Previous: 2000 Grand Cherokee Laredo I6, 1979 CJ7 I6 Quadratrac
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post #3 of 30 Old 10-10-2021, 07:03 AM
bryanintowson
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I have owned an XJ (92 with the NP231) and a ZJ (94 with a NP249) and just recently (last week) bought a 2011. I ended up buying the one I did for a couple reasons. First, it was a Laredo without the air suspension (not my cup of tea) but it did have the QuadraTrac II and the off-road package with skid plates and recovery hooks. QuadraTrac II has the variable modes including snow so I think you should be good there. It also has the 5.7 V8. I had become accustomed to a V8 from my years driving the ZJ with the 5.2.

What I have learned from a week of ownership and a month of shopping is that this thing is HUGE compared to my XJ and ZJ. There's tons of room. I am however not as tall as you so ymmv. If you get a black interior, the wood grain is much more muted than if you get the buff colored interior. My interior is dark gray medium brown and the fake wood accents are gray. The gauges are not white-faced in any WK2 that I've seen. My Jeep does have a backup camera (I think these are standard as long as you have the screen-based UConnect for 2011-2013. The 2014 and up have the redesigned interior and the 8speed transmission vs the 5speed on my 2011.

The WK2 is a thoroughly modern Jeep and feels like moving to a spaceship from my XJ/ ZJ. Before you buy, remember the 74th Rule of Acquisition.

2011 WK2 Laredo, 5.7
1994 ZJ, 5.2 - SOLD
1992 XJ, 4.0 - SOLD
2002 TJ, 4.0 - SOLD
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post #4 of 30 Old 10-10-2021, 07:13 AM
ColdCase
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Just a nit, in 2011 you could not get QuadraDrive in anything other than a Summit or Overland V8, although they build a few unique configurations early in 2010. The Laredo could have the optional QTII, which uses the same transfercase as QD (variable modes) but without the rear variable locker.

I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory;
Current: 2011 Grand Cherokee Overland V8, 2009 Liberty Rocky Mt V6
Previous: 2000 Grand Cherokee Laredo I6, 1979 CJ7 I6 Quadratrac
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post #5 of 30 Old 10-10-2021, 11:07 AM
bryanintowson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCase View Post
Just a nit, in 2011 you could not get QuadraDrive in anything other than a Summit or Overland V8, although they build a few unique configurations early in 2010. The Laredo could have the optional QTII, which uses the same transfercase as QD (variable modes) but without the rear variable locker.
Just checked my build sheet, I stand corrected!

2011 WK2 Laredo, 5.7
1994 ZJ, 5.2 - SOLD
1992 XJ, 4.0 - SOLD
2002 TJ, 4.0 - SOLD
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post #6 of 30 Old 10-10-2021, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
seanof30306
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanintowson View Post
I have owned an XJ (92 with the NP231) and a ZJ (94 with a NP249) and just recently (last week) bought a 2011. I ended up buying the one I did for a couple reasons. First, it was a Laredo without the air suspension (not my cup of tea) but it did have the QuadraDrive II and the off-road package with skid plates and recovery hooks. QuadraDrive II has the variable modes including snow so I think you should be good there. It also has the 5.7 V8. I had become accustomed to a V8 from my years driving the ZJ with the 5.2.

What I have learned from a week of ownership and a month of shopping is that this thing is HUGE compared to my XJ and ZJ. There's tons of room. I am however not as tall as you so ymmv. If you get a black interior, the wood grain is much more muted than if you get the buff colored interior. My interior is dark gray medium brown and the fake wood accents are gray. The gauges are not white-faced in any WK2 that I've seen. My Jeep does have a backup camera (I think these are standard as long as you have the screen-based UConnect for 2011-2013. The 2014 and up have the redesigned interior and the 8speed transmission vs the 5speed on my 2011.

The WK2 is a thoroughly modern Jeep and feels like moving to a spaceship from my XJ/ ZJ. Before you buy, remember the 74th Rule of Acquisition.

Bryan, thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience. It brings to mind the 208th Rule of Acquisition.

I used to live in Cockeysville many years ago. Really miss the Caesar salad at Sabatino's ... best I've ever had.

On the internets, one must never forget the 59th Rule of Acquisition:
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post #7 of 30 Old 10-10-2021, 11:19 AM
bryanintowson
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Hey alright!!! I grew up in Timonium so basically, 100 yards south on York Road. Keep me posted about what you end up doing. I agree with ColdCase that you definitely need to test drive it. I think a modern vehicle would react less well to panel beating than one from the late 20th century. The WK2 has active head restraints in the seats plus a bunch of other electronics for the airbag system so I don't know if messing with the seat geometry would be a good idea anyway.

Thanks for what you do with Meals on Wheels. As someone who works in healthcare, getting people good nutrition to help them heal is a major hurdle.

Next time you're in town we'll hit up Sabs for a bookmaker salad.

2011 WK2 Laredo, 5.7
1994 ZJ, 5.2 - SOLD
1992 XJ, 4.0 - SOLD
2002 TJ, 4.0 - SOLD
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post #8 of 30 Old 10-10-2021, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
seanof30306
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanintowson View Post
Hey alright!!! I grew up in Timonium so basically, 100 yards south on York Road. Keep me posted about what you end up doing. I agree with ColdCase that you definitely need to test drive it. I think a modern vehicle would react less well to panel beating than one from the late 20th century. The WK2 has active head restraints in the seats plus a bunch of other electronics for the airbag system so I don't know if messing with the seat geometry would be a good idea anyway.

Thanks for what you do with Meals on Wheels. As someone who works in healthcare, getting people good nutrition to help them heal is a major hurdle.

Next time you're in town we'll hit up Sabs for a bookmaker salad.
Ha, I lived right off York Rd. Can't remember the name of the cross street or the apartment complex, but if you were going North on York Rd. there was a big shopping center on the right with a nightclub called "Christopher's" in it. You turned right there, went up a hill about 1/4 mile and the apartments were on the left.

This was 30 years ago, though.

EDIT: Cinnamon Ridge Place off of Cranbrook Rd!

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post #9 of 30 Old 10-10-2021, 07:06 PM
Bilko
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanof30306 View Post
OK, so I have a '96 XJ Classic Up Country with 190,000 miles on it. I bought it new, and I absolutely love it. The paint's gone to crap, and it's been hit several times. It's just not worth putting the money into it to bring it back.

I've looked around, but there are no new cars I can afford that I really like. A couple of years ago, I hit on the idea of finding another XJ with super-low miles on it. I found one in Portland Oregon with 26,000 miles on it. It still had the original tires! I flew out there to get it, and somehow, when he was taking the 155 pics he put in the ad, the guy selling it managed to miss taking any pics of the half-dollar sized rust spot on the roof. I made him come back into the airport and buy me a ticket back home.

I've also though about having Davis Autosports do one for me. Their XJs are beautiful, but the owner, Jonathan Davis is all over the place. Too shifty for me.

I thought about getting a WJ for awhile, but finding a super-low mileage one has not been easy, and a WJ is nearly as old as my XJ. The looks of the WK2 have really grown on me, so I think that's the way I want to go. There are a number of things I need to educate myself on, though. I've spent a good bit of time on Google, but I still can't make heads or tails out of the various trim levels and 4WD systems.

WHAT YEAR?

So, as I understand it, the facelift was with the 2014 model year, correct? If so, from 2014 to say 2020 (I'm looking to buy a used one), which were the best years?

Full Time 4WD:

My first concern is all weather capability. I'm not into off-roading. I volunteer for Meals On Wheels. There are a lot of vulnerable people who depend on us for their sustenance, and when the weather gets bad, we have to be able to get through. A number of times, my Jeep has been the only vehicle around here that could. That's important to me.

I have an NP242 transfer case with full time 4wd and a limited slip rear diff. That combination makes my XJ absolutely amazing in snow and ice. In 21 years, I've never been stuck, and I go out in weather everyone else hunkers down during. When I'm not delivering meals during blizzards, I drive around and help people. It's amazing how many 4WD vehicles have needed to be pulled out of a snowbank by the old Jeep.

Which WK2 4wd system is comparable to the NP242? Do any WK2 models have LSDs?


WHICH TRIM?

I've been looking at Wk2s on ebay and cars.com for the past several days, but I can't figure out what interior options come with what trims. I really don't like wood grain accents and steering wheels or white-faced gauges. What is important to me is backup camera, BLIS, and adaptive cruise control. What trim do I want?


HEADROOM:

This is hugely important to me. I'm 6'5", go around 280. I solved the headroom problem on my XJ by banging on the hump in the floorboard for the transfer case with a BFH, then having the seat brackets cut and re-welded. is that possible (or necessary) on a WK2?

Thanks
The basic QD1 transfer box works really well on snow and ice. I specifically bought my WK2 with QD1 for weekend ski trips to Tahoe and it has been awesome in the snow. Technically it is an AWD system because it has three open diffs but when combined with the electronic braking of any spinning wheels it works surprisingly well and you don't have to worry about changing any settings. Techies will talk for hours about the different 4WD systems but if you don't off-road then you don't need a dual-range transfer box and it is one less thing to go wrong on a higher mileage vehicle.

The one thing that makes the difference in winter is tires. Get some good quality snow/winter tires and you will be able to make your deliveries. This is particularly important on a WK2 because they are a heavy car for their size and hence require more stopping traction. One of the things I really like about the WK2 is that it has a 50/50 front to rear weight distribution so if they do get out of shape in adverse conditions they are usually very manageable without needing Scandinavian rally driving abilities.

I am 6'4 and it says 220lbs on my driver's license but that may not be 100% accurate I don't have any issues with headroom so I doubt the extra inch is going to be an issue. For a taller person, the WK2 is one of the most comfortable cars I have owned. I can sit in it without having to drop the seat to the lowest setting. Lowering the seat is just a way of fitting taller people in vehicles but it is ergonomically wrong. If you had a choice of chairs, would you pick the lowest one? It's like going to your kids back to school nights and having to sit on kid-sized chairs.

My WK2 does not have a sunroof, this option could lower the available headroom.

If you are considering a V6, then 2015 and onwards should be good years to look for, they have the upgraded Pentastar engine and the 8-speed auto, this was rumored to have teething problems in 2014 model years but I know owners that had zero issues, IMHO the V6 is a better vehicle for winter driving, its less front end heavy and has a very smooth and progressive power delivery which is exactly what you need.

Just remember a 4WD Vehicle is still constrained by the laws of physics, 4WD will provide extra traction to get you going but you can't stop or corner any faster than a 2WD vehicle with the same tires.
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post #10 of 30 Old 10-10-2021, 08:13 PM
JackB1
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I have gone from a 96 ZJ to an 09 WK to my current 14 WK2 Limited and it is a great vehicle. Hard to put a finger on exactly why. First, it was last year without ESS which most folks do not like. The limited provides most of the safety and luxury features needed and 18" tires. Seems also to have maintained some Mercedes quality. Stay away from air suspension and unless you need the Hemi for towing I would go with the 6. Being on this forum for a while it has more issues and changing 16 spark plugs, not for me. Pentastar at 290 HP is no slouch and connected to "new at the time" 8 speed provides reasonable mileage, shifts great. 2014 was also a styling change year which still competes well in my opinion with newer models. One disadvantage is most likely the older you look the more mileage will be on the vehicles. Good luck.
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post #11 of 30 Old 10-11-2021, 07:31 AM
bryanintowson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanof30306 View Post

EDIT: Cinnamon Ridge Place off of Cranbrook Rd!
My first job in 1996 was at the Cranbrook McDonalds which has since burned down and is now a Mexican restaurant. In that shopping center on Cranbrook, the Safeway is now a gym, Patrick's Restaurant became a sports bar and is now Pappas' (world famous crabcakes- Oprah endorsed) .... BUT my favorite bakery in the entire world, Simon's is still kicking. Mr. Simon is pushing 100 years old and is there making donuts just about every morning.

2011 WK2 Laredo, 5.7
1994 ZJ, 5.2 - SOLD
1992 XJ, 4.0 - SOLD
2002 TJ, 4.0 - SOLD
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post #12 of 30 Old 10-11-2021, 10:11 AM
2014RedHemiGC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackB1 View Post
I have gone from a 96 ZJ to an 09 WK to my current 14 WK2 Limited and it is a great vehicle. Hard to put a finger on exactly why. First, it was last year without ESS which most folks do not like. The limited provides most of the safety and luxury features needed and 18" tires. Seems also to have maintained some Mercedes quality. Stay away from air suspension and unless you need the Hemi for towing I would go with the 6. Being on this forum for a while it has more issues and changing 16 spark plugs, not for me. Pentastar at 290 HP is no slouch and connected to "new at the time" 8 speed provides reasonable mileage, shifts great. 2014 was also a styling change year which still competes well in my opinion with newer models. One disadvantage is most likely the older you look the more mileage will be on the vehicles. Good luck.
Hmmm… I think the consensus on the forum has been that the Pentastar has had more issues, but to be fair, the number of V6 GC’s outnumbers the V8 models. Changing 16 spark plugs every 100,000 miles doesn’t sound like something that needs to be done every other Tuesday!

Totally agree that the Limited is a great vehicle - ordered my ‘14 with the V8 and air suspension to get the QuadraDrive and so far everything has been flawless.

2014 Deep Cherry Red GC 4X4 V8 QDII
2012 Crystal Red Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
2011 Crystal Red Chevy Corvette Z06/Z07
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post #13 of 30 Old 10-11-2021, 12:12 PM
Bilko
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The Pentastar got off to a bad start with the cylinder head issue but this was addressed in 2013 so later model years are good. Even if buyers suffered this problem, it was not a catastrophic failure that would leave you stranded and the recall covered to cost. The other V6 issues were the water pump leaks but this was also a problem on the V8s. The worst problem is the fuel pump relay because after two recalls, many owners are not convinced Jeep has actually fixed the problem, again I think this issue also affects V8s.
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post #14 of 30 Old 10-13-2021, 08:10 PM
Quadra_Drive
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilko View Post
The basic QD1 transfer box works really well on snow and ice. I specifically bought my WK2 with QD1 for weekend ski trips to Tahoe and it has been awesome in the snow. Technically it is an AWD system because it has three open diffs but when combined with the electronic braking of any spinning wheels it works surprisingly well and you don't have to worry about changing any settings. Techies will talk for hours about the different 4WD systems but if you don't off-road then you don't need a dual-range transfer box and it is one less thing to go wrong on a higher mileage vehicle.

The one thing that makes the difference in winter is tires. Get some good quality snow/winter tires and you will be able to make your deliveries. This is particularly important on a WK2 because they are a heavy car for their size and hence require more stopping traction. One of the things I really like about the WK2 is that it has a 50/50 front to rear weight distribution so if they do get out of shape in adverse conditions they are usually very manageable without needing Scandinavian rally driving abilities.

I am 6'4 and it says 220lbs on my driver's license but that may not be 100% accurate I don't have any issues with headroom so I doubt the extra inch is going to be an issue. For a taller person, the WK2 is one of the most comfortable cars I have owned. I can sit in it without having to drop the seat to the lowest setting. Lowering the seat is just a way of fitting taller people in vehicles but it is ergonomically wrong. If you had a choice of chairs, would you pick the lowest one? It's like going to your kids back to school nights and having to sit on kid-sized chairs.

My WK2 does not have a sunroof, this option could lower the available headroom.

If you are considering a V6, then 2015 and onwards should be good years to look for, they have the upgraded Pentastar engine and the 8-speed auto, this was rumored to have teething problems in 2014 model years but I know owners that had zero issues, IMHO the V6 is a better vehicle for winter driving, its less front end heavy and has a very smooth and progressive power delivery which is exactly what you need.

Just remember a 4WD Vehicle is still constrained by the laws of physics, 4WD will provide extra traction to get you going but you can't stop or corner any faster than a 2WD vehicle with the same tires.
I agree with Bilko here. Unless you are towing, I would get a WK2 equipped with a Pentastar V6 + the 8 speed automatic transmission. This is a fantastic set-up, the engine and transmission combination is just fantastic for regular driving with decent gas mileage. If I were towing, I'd get a WK2 with a 5.7L Hemi.

I happen to have a WK2 with the Quadra Drive 2 system, and it gives just fantastic traction. Great in the snow until it's so deep that you high center. Pretty sure Quadra Drive 2 marries me to the Quadra Lift air suspension. Not so wild about Quadra Lift, but it works very well off road. I haven't had any reliability issues with the Quadra Lift, but other owners may have different experiences.
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post #15 of 30 Old 10-14-2021, 07:31 AM
BubbaATL
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Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Atlanta
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This is actually pretty simple. 2018 is the best year. It's the only year that has the updated shifter, the updated Pentastar, the updated suspension, and the updated Uconnect with the good screen and Android Auto/Carplay support -- and does not have the awful piano black trim on the dash.

Next case.

2018 Limited 3.6L with pretty much everything ("almost a Trailhawk")
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