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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my wife and I are looking to buy an XJ for use as a “daily driver”. We have no plans to lift it or anything. We basically want a factory XJ that is super reliable. That said, I am sure there are differences in the years that it was produced.

My question is, is there a certain year or range of years that is considered “the golden year” or whatever. I know with most vehicles there is generally a range of years that are considered the most desirable or the best. Any information regarding this would be much appreciated.
 

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I would say from 92 to 97. You just have to be extra careful not to overheat 98+ because of the heads cracking.
I have owned a 94 two door, a 99 four door and my current one is a 97 four door. If you take care of them, they really will last a long time. I only have 135k miles but hoping to make it to a few hundred thousand.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would say from 92 to 97. You just have to be extra careful not to overheat 98+ because of the heads cracking.
I have owned a 94 two door, a 99 four door and my current one is a 97 four door. If you take care of them, they really will last a long time. I only have 135k miles but hoping to make it to a few hundred thousand.

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From what I’ve read it is the years 2000-2001 that are more prone to the head cracking. Is it also the 98-99?
 

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The 00-01 have the 0331 head which is known for cracking but 98 and more 99 had some head gasket issues. The 99 i had, had about 160k miles on it and didn't have any issues.

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1997-2001, because it has the newer styling and has OBD-II diagnostics.

2000-01 0331 head cracking has more forum threads about cracks, than actual cracked heads.

I have a 2000 with 170,000 miles, and a 98 with 284,000 miles, no head or head gasket issues.
 

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NONE! The reason I have two XJ's is that both my daughters gave up on using them as daily drivers. Too many problems and codes being set all the time. One suffered the 0331 head crack but that was after a neglected overheat condition. One daughter has a 2012 KK for a daily driver and that one is problematic too. I like my Jeeps for the winter snow and towing a boat. But I use GM compacts for daily driving.
 

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Ha ha ha. Pinoy59- I am a guy that used to drive a 1968 Firebird with a 400 engine and 4 speed manual transmission as a daily driver. So I am known for weird and unorthodox rides. But I do require them to start up every day and get me home again. I wish I had a cold beer for every dead Jeep I had to drag home with my old man station wagon.
 

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I like 91 to 95. The 4.0HO in the OBDI configuration. It works and does not have the extra BS codes for cat monitoring for example. It was very efficient and worked well.

However. I would take any year based on overall vehicle condition and the biggest condition being rust and knowing where to look for it. I would rather have a vehicle that has solid floors, rockers, etc..... No rust. ..... A cylinder head for instance can be replaced. A rotted out vehicle or one that is soon to be is another story. Rusty vehicles are a waste of time.
 
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I like my 1995 more than my 2000, quality seems a little better to me on the older one. I also prefer things top be lower tech and built more simple. Given how old all these vehicles are now they all will have similar problems. The biggest challenge is finding ones that are not rusted to bad. There's always the option of learning to weld and work sheet metal, than they all can be fixed.
 

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1999, but hey....I'm a little biased! Actually 98 and 99 are my favorites, 97 coming in third on my list. I do like having OBDII for diagnostics.

I put 200K on my 99, it was very reliable. Never left me stranded or needing a tow. Sure, I had to put in a couple of sensors (yup the crank sensor was one!), a radiator and water pump. I did have to rebuild the front differential. And of course, basic maintenance items like plugs, wires, distributor caps, brakes, batteries, a fuel pump, thermostats, hoses and an exhaust replacement at around 190K. NOTE: I was religious about changing fluids (anything wet). Fluids are the lifeblood of your vehicle. With maintenance, you can either pay me now or pay me more later.....

Good luck in your search!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
NOTE: I was religious about changing fluids (anything wet). Fluids are the lifeblood of your vehicle. With maintenance, you can either pay me now or pay me more later.....

Good luck in your search!
I once thought the same thing but now I’m not so sure. The reason I’m even looking at different vehicles is because our Toyota Tundra 1794 engine just blew up with 148,500 miles on it. Like you, I have always changed all fluids and stayed on top of maintenance. I spent around $2,000 at 100,000 miles on preventive maintenance actually. Now I’m stuck spending $7,000 on a engine swap. (That’s for a used engine BTW, a new one cost $29,000)

So my plan is to fix it, sell it, and use the funds to buy a couple older vehicles with cheaper parts that are less complex so I can work on them myself when the need arises. I’m sure I will continue to do regularly scheduled maintenance but I doubt I’ll put the faith in it that I once did. I looked at it as a guarantee that I would get 300k out of an engine and that’s clearly not the case.
 

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Here is my experience with the 4.0 motor. My Daughter had an '01 since new. At around 100k it was overheating and by the time anyone did anything the 0331 head was cracked. Since she was very attached to the XJ I said we could rebuild it. So I had a local machine shop re-build the short block and source a new head. I drafted my Grandson to help remove/ re-assemble/replace the engine. After all was said and done it cost $4000. Probably the most difficult engine replacement I have ever suffered through. So now we have a fresh 4.0 in a 21year old Jeep. Not long after this the windshield leaked and flooded the floors. The CATs started setting codes. The ignition cylinder jammed up. An exhaust leak developed. Power steering lines leaked. The power door locks are hit-or-miss. The headliner fell down. The EVAP system set codes. My point is- any XJ is going to be old and experiencing old car troubles. Ok for a part time use vehicle but not what I would rely on for everyday transportation. Unless you manage to find a creampuff with no miles and no rust.
 

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I have two XJ's and they are usually pretty simple to work on except for stuff in the engine bay can be a bit tedious at times with the 4.0L. The 2.5L has more room and not bad at all. There were a ton of them made over the years and there are still a lot of aftermarket parts available. I'll hopefully will be running mine for many years.

Fourspeedmans right, they are all going to be more than 20 years old. They all will have age problems unless someone has gone through and fixed everything already. If not plan on having to fix things regularly. Buy two then you'll have something to drive while your fixing the other one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is what I ended up with. 191,000 miles with no rust. $11,500. So far I have purchased around $1,000 worth of parts included a new double din radio kit with 7” touchscreen to replace the stock radio that doesn’t work, full fluid swap for everything, passenger door switch, new window regulator passenger side, new turn signal switch, new door checks to fix the popping sound, spark plugs, plug wires, distributor and rotor, and air filter.

I plan to get it up on the lift Monday and start the fluid swap and undercarriage clean and undercoat to prevent rust and hopefully keep it in good shape for years to come.




 
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