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Old 09-01-2011, 11:55 AM   #1
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1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 Ltd

I'm looking at a 98 GC 5.9 Ltd that is for sale on CL.
Price looks pretty good.

Looking to use it as a DD vehicle and a weekend tow vehicle. I would be towing my S2000 on an open trailer. I figure the car weighs about 2750 lbs and whatever the trailer weighs. The trailer would have electric brakes if anyone is wondering.

Anything wrong with this plan? Anything I should be looking out for on a Jeep of this age?

Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appriciated.
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:42 PM   #2
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That's the last year the ZJ was made, and the 5.9L was a special option, they're rare as hell and one of my favorite jeeps. It was also the fastest SUV when it came out in 1998. If it is infact a 5.9L it'll have hoodvents on both sides, and the insurance should say its got a 5.9L V8.

The truck itself is solid just check for rust, and the transmission on these is notoriously bad in the 5.9L (due to the increased power) so just make sure the tranny runs and shifts good.

If you buy it, just do transfer case + front and rear differential fluid change. No one ever does this on these trucks, and it helps out a lot. Other than that, look for weird discoloration on the brake rotors (brownish hue) this can be a sign that the axle seals are going, which is not uncommon and can be expensive to fix.


BTW, with most of the older jeeps the i6 engine is just as bad on gas as the V8 ... so don't get suckered into buying an i6 because an ignorant seller says it's better on gas. Also, if you're using it for towing, do you know if the jeep has the factory towing package? It'll come with a rear hitch and a tranny cooler mini radiator up next to the main radiator. Oh, and if you're using it for towing, the shocks/springs are probably shot to hell, will want to replace those before you get towing otherwise it'll sag like no tomorrow (Will be cheap though, can probably get both under a couple hundred).
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:59 PM   #3
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^^^ He got it all right if you are going to tow with it put a larger then you think you need trans cooler on it this will save you tons of issues down the road and dont stop at the diff and tcase fluids do them all. I have a friend with the same jeep and he's used it to tow his cj around with little issue other then a blown tranny but age of course has lots to do with that.
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Old 09-02-2011, 12:50 AM   #4
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I should mention, don't do a transmission flush on this truck if you buy it. Get new tranny filters (and find the torque specs for them), drop the tranny pan, install the new filters, put the tranny pan back on and put in how much fluid you took out.

Also at this age the bushings may or may not be crap. Luckily for you, a few companies make a full bushing kit for the ZJ and it's relatively cheap. Full bushing kit + new shocks and springs + Tranny/Transfercase/Diff Fluids + a coolant flush (why the hell not lol) and it'll be a tank. You're lucky, I wish I had a 5.9L ZJ .. I got a 4.7L HO WJ, but it just isn't the same Goodluck! Buy a good toolset, it's easy as hell to work on these jeeps, and it'll save you a ton of money.

Btw, factory rims on almost all jeeps are interchangeable.
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Old 09-02-2011, 01:22 AM   #5
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lol the gas mileage is rated at 11 in town and 16 on the highway, about the same as my tahoe.. and I believe these grand cherokee's with the 5.9L are full time 4wd units? there might be something else out there that can tow 5000 pounds and get better mileage. but maybe i'm just a chrysler hater.
what about a 4Runner, pathfinder etc..
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Old 09-02-2011, 01:40 AM   #6
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if your gonna get a jeep. get the I6.
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:53 AM   #7
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The one on CL is starting to worry me. The owner said the car is uninsured and needs to be aircared. His first price was $3500 and within 2 days has dropped it to $3000. He went from 300,000 km's to 257K on his ad. That and the fact it needs a bit of work on it. Cracked windsheild, needs a side mirror glass replaced.
I will try to go by this weekend to take a look at it but my hopes aren't going to be that high.

Renthal, there is a QX4 that I am going to be looking at this weekend as well. This one has way less mileage than the 5.9, but the 3.5 is only rated to pull 5000 lbs which my load will be pretty close to unless I spend some bigger bux and get an aluminum trailer.

The other thing is that I am planning on taking my car on the road to race in the US, and one of the locations is at 3000 ft elevation and to get there, there is a lot of hills. Having the extra towing power is just to give myself a little bit of room as to not overtax the tow vehicle.

Thanks for all the tips dhillon09.
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Old 09-02-2011, 12:11 PM   #8
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The 5.9 is only rated to tow 5000 pounds also. I had one of these, great vehicles but prone to random electrical gremlins. When you look at it make sure that everything works. Check the climate control that all settings and positions work, side mirrors sometimes move every time you unlock the doors, things like that. It is full time 4wd but that can be changed just by swapping the transfer case. I averaged 13mpg in mine as a daily driver. The transmissions are fine in these, the 5.9 has a stronger trans than a regular Grand, however like any other automatic it does have a limited life span which can be dependent on maintenance. If you are referring to the silver one on craigslist, the price is down to 2750, which is a reasonable starting point but given the lack of aircare and the work needed I think it will go for less. It is a genuine 5.9, there are more giveaways than just the hood vents. That one also has the up country package most likely, it definitely has the tow hooks up front meaning it will also have the full skid plate package underneath. You could get the skids as a separate option but typically they were included with the UpCountry suspension, which is an inch taller than a standard ZJ.
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:43 PM   #9
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Yes, that is the one I was going to go look at. I don't think those are his pics though. When I called him, he said he didn't have a camera.

NVM. His updated ad has actual pics of his GC.
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Originally posted by Iceman_19 you should have tried to touch his penis. that really throws them off.
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:50 PM   #10
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^good luck. If there's minor aesthetic flaws, like the side mirror, it's not a big deal. Working on these jeeps is stupid easy and Jeep Forum - Jeep Enthusiast Network has a really good buy/sell forum. Ship to point roberts and save yourself a ton of $$
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:38 PM   #11
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dhillon and Phil pretty much summed it up on the ZJ.

Even though I drive a 6.5TD Chevy pickup and it's been problem free, I wouldn't recommend it unless you're ready to do a lot of reading and research. Lots of room in the ext. cab for kids and smaller people and the towing capacity is suitable for what you need but you have to know what you're getting into before thinking about buying one.

Have you looked at Tahoe's and 7.3TD Ford pickups?
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:48 PM   #12
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No I didn't. Don't need too much room since I don't have kids.
99% of the time, the vehicle will be used for daily driving. Towing the S to race in the US may or may not happen. We do our annual trek down to Packwood Wash in mid July. Going through Mt. Rainier see's some decent climbs and slopes so something with less tnan 5000 lb towing will not do, ie my current 2000 CRV.
The trek to US Nationals in Linchon Nebraska will see some long hills. Friend took his older F150 with a closed trailer pulling a Formula Ford and had some difficulty maintaining 35 mph without drafting other cars.

The 7.3 TD would be nice but would definately be overkill and I can't imagine how big of a vehicle it is especially to find parking up on SFU.
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