1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

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1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:41 pm

This is going to replace my Lumina in the next few days. It's a 1996 Cherokee XJ 4L manual. I'm doing a straight swap for the Lumina - the garage that have the Jeep are going to fit a replacement engine (this one is smoky) and a new clutch as well as give it a full service. The Lumina is going to be the personal transport of the chap who runs the place - he practically begged me to sell it to him! Overall, it's a deal which suits everyone. John gets his "sporty" coupe and I get a relatively lightweight off-roader with better performance than my red ZJ.

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Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:30 pm

I picked this up tonight and first impressions are very positive. The interior is, of course, unspeakably tacky but it has a few toys (electric seats/windows/mirrors etc) and good aircon. To drive it is a revelation - the gearing is higher than expected, perhaps partly because of the slightly oversized tyres fitted to it, but despite that it goes like stink! Due to the big engine, light weight and manual transmission it feels every bit as fast as my V8 but nimble with it (unlike that great barge). It's certainly no Jaguar as far as refinement goes but it's a lot better than expected. It's going to be fun! :)

I'll put up some photos when I get a chance to take some in daylight.
Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:30 pm

Here are the promised pictures. I haven't done anything to it today but I will need to get a new taillight unit for the left hand side as the old one has faded badly.

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These two shots show the damage done to a brand new Grand Cherokee V6 being taken off-road for the first time by a driver who'd never been off-road before. Ignoring advice from people who knew what they were talking about, he launched it off the first dune we came to and after flying for a couple of seconds landed heavily, wrecking the radiator, bumper and cross-member. He then had to be towed to civilisation, ruining the day for the people who rescued him.

To give you an idea of how clueless he was, after his car had dumped all of its coolant into the sand he asked me "can I still drive it?". I half wish that I had said "yes".....
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Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by MikeMedford » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:53 pm

Manuals are rarer than rocking horse excrement here, good find!

What's happening with the two Grand Cherokees now?

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:35 am

MikeMedford wrote:What's happening with the two Grand Cherokees now?
That issue has yet to be "clarified" :) I will need to keep at least one as a backup vehicle but have not decided which. I'll run the Cherokee for a while nd then see how it all goes.
Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:21 pm

New tail lights fitted - I had to get the better looking later design because the style used on the car weren't in stock (I'm not worried about originality) so I bought a pair. £35 or so for the pair seems fair enough and my brake lights on the left hand side are now red again!
Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:03 pm

I took this out on a local run in the dunes today and have to say that the results are very impressive - even better than I'd hoped. It certainly gets more power down to the wheels than my ZJ and has me wondering if the ZJ's engine is giving all that it should (in addition to it being an auto). It was able to climb dunes that the ZJ wouldn't even get close to getting on top of and I had to change gear a lot less often than I expected. You can really feel how much lighter it is than the WJ and ZJ and reminds me of a quote from Colin Chapman which went something like: "to increase performance, first add lightness". It's certainly true.

It does need more ground clearance at both ends and so a 2-3" lift is essential. It also has a very squeaky heater blower so that will need to be looked at (it looks like a major job to get at, though).
Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard C » Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:54 pm

that looks rather nice, the original photo's didn't do it any favors to be honest but the more recent ones in day light show the car very favorably.
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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:29 pm

It's not bad - it's had a bit of paintwork done but like most cars here is pretty much rust free.

I did something stupid yesterday, though. I bought a new set of engine mounts, expecting them to be worn out due to heat and use, but the ones on there were brand new and had obviously been fitted when the engine was replaced a week or so ago! Still, they were only £10 each and can stay in the shed in case I break one in future.

The heater blower has gone noisy thanks to knackered bearings so I've got replacement on the way and I'm going to replace all the steering balljoints as a precautionary measure - they're not expensive and it's better than having one fail in the middle of nowhere.
Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:06 pm

2" suspension lift now fitted. New front coils, new shocks/bumpstops/ARB bushes and an extra helper leaf in the rear springs.

The fact that the front coils are taller and more stiff means that it doesn't hit the bump stops like it used to. On-road handling and ride are better, too, which is an unexpected bonus - a product of it having the taller front coils and rear helper springs, rather than just spacers.

Anyway, now it's even better!

I have also replaced a few other bits, including the rear tailgate gas struts. Now instead of the tailgate falling down on your head, you are in danger of being hit under the chin as it springs up! I replaced all 4 steering track rod ends last week, too - the old ones were really knackered. They are all greaseable so I suspect that they have been neglected but the steering is much improved now, thankfully.

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Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:11 pm

The Jeep had a bit of n "issue" yesterday - the radiator blew out when the electric cooling fan failed. This is known locally as an "Explodiator". Thankfully it was right at the end of the trip and my mates were able to tow me to a convenient spot to abandon the car overnight. This morning I went parts shopping and then went back to fix the Jeep - all fixed after less than an hour (taking it easy, too).

I got brand new Valeo radiator, new electric fan, new hoses, rad cap and thermostat and had change from £170. The local parts store had it all in stock (I doubt that all makes would be so well catered for) repairs were dead easy - easier than on the Grand Cherokees in fact.

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Think I found the problem
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Old and new
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New fan
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Almost done
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Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by aryan57 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:04 am

That looks like it was an impressive blowout Richard. Presumably, the spot where it blew was not made of metal?
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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:30 pm

Plastic end tanks - not a good idea in these conditions.
Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard Moss » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:01 pm

Another unexpected expense today - but then what did I expect? :)

I went down to the tyre shop to get my perished valves replaced and buy a cheap replacement spare tyre (the old one was as hard as plastic and even more bald than I am). However, when they took the wheels off, we could see that the tread on the original tyres (Klever brand) was starting to break up and come away from the tyre. I had noticed that they didn't have particularly good grip on rod and were noisy, so must have been going hard and the bit of extra strain caused by off-roading was clearly too much for them.

So in the interests of safety and of not getting stranded in the desert with multiple blowouts, I bit the bullet and changed plans from 1 new tyre and 4 new valves to 4 new tyres and the best of the Klevers going onto the spare. The replacements are Dunlop Grandtrek AT22 and I honestly don't know if they're any good but they look OK, have a nice chunky tread pattern, driving on-road they are quieter, smoother and grip better than the Klevers and were an attractive price. We'll wait and see how they are off-road......
Out in the desert with a 1998 Grand Cherokee V8 and 1996 Grand Cherokee 4L. Back home: 1969 MGC GT

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Re: 1996 Cherokee (XJ) 4L manual

Post by Richard C » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:51 am

Are all metal upgraded rads available? cooling really must be an issue in the desert, I watched a Wheeler Dealers program and Ed China put some stuff which I can't remember the name of into one of the cars he was doing up and you didn't put water into the cooling system and it had a higher boiling point or something and made the car run a lot cooler than one with a water based coolant.

Edit: This was the thing I was thinking of, some think it's great others say avoid Waterless Coolant
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