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1996 Cherokee

Overall rating:  Product Rating: 4.0

Reviewed by 134 users

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Jeep Grand Cherokee - 170K and still going strong

by rushlies:      Apr 18, 2002 - Updated Jul 7, 2004

Product Rating: 4.0 Recommended: Yes 

Pros: Excellent riding SUV compared to the other popular SUVs
Cons: No major problems
The Bottom Line: As far as the ride goes, this SUV is (or was) near the top of the pile. Has performed (and worn) exceptionally well for me.

After three years in a Cherokee Sport, I moved up to the Grand Cherokee for the better ride. And there IS a major difference in the ride of a Sport compared to that of the Grand Cherokee. The standard Cherokee was on the rocky side (meaning a little bit of a side-to-side rocking motion on moderate to sharp turns), having the feel of a Wrangler. The ride of the Grand Cherokee is much smoother, much quieter, and more comfortable. Not that the Sport was a bad model, but the step up is an honest "step up".

The interior is nicely-appointed, classy but not overbearing. An understated kind of class. Leg room in the back seat is about average.

As for storage capacity, I was able to load a week's worth of hunting/camping gear.....for two guys.....in the back of mine with the rear seat down. This cargo included two large bow cases, two gun cases, two tree stands, two climbing sticks (for the hunters out there who know what these are), bedding, clothes, some food, and miscellaneous other supplies. We had to re-pack a couple times to get the configuration just right, and we were packed to the roof, but that Grand Cherokee took a whole lotta stuff.

It trailers fine, but the towing package w/the trans cooler is advisable. I haven't done much towing with mine, but if you're going to get an SUV, that's one of the reasons to buy one. You never know WHAT you might have to end up hauling in addition to whatever toys you might have.

The 4-wheel drive is adequate, and I had my Jeep going through some small bit of terrain that, while not extreme, would most likely not be travelled by the average Grand Cherokee owner. Especially nice is the full-time 4-wheel drive feature for wet or mildly slick conditions.

Body-wise, I am only getting small strips of rust on the hood, of all places. A 4-inch strip on the trailing edge of the hood right in front of the driver's side, and some along the front/bottom edge along the right side of the hood. I've seen worse, and I'm not famous for taking great care of my vehicle's exteriors. If I had washed and waxed it more, I probably wouldn't have the rust.

The straight-six motor has been around since the 40s, I believe, and mechanics love it. Not because they get to work on it alot, but on those occasions when they do, the motor's simplicity makes it a joy to work on. I'm up to a little over 170K miles on mine, and have lost very little compression, and burn very little oil between changes (which have averaged about every 7000 miles). The transmission is just starting to slip a little bit in cold weather, and I suppose that by next winter I may have to put in a re-built transmission.

Other than that, the only work needed was installation of a transmission fluid line (a line going to the fluid cooler on the front of the radiator) that cracked and needed to be replaced, but that's about the only trouble I've had with my Jeep. I did have a leaky door gasket around the passenger-side front door that, when it rained heavy, used to leak onto the floor of the passenger side a bit, though this hasn't happened in a while. I'd take that over a bad motor or major trans trouble any day of the week.

One last thing is that the A/C, while never particularly strong, now needs to be re-charged every spring (most likely due to small leaks in the system that have developed the past 6 years or so).

In short, this has been a very solid vehicle for me. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat.

UPDATE, 7-7-2004

Well, the GC has rolled 211K miles, and I'm still on the original engine AND transmission. A transmission mechanic neighbor who happens to work for Chrysler/Corporate told me about the "brake fluid" trick to address the transmission slippage. The trick? Add not a drop more than 2 ounces of brake fluid to the transmission fluid. One of the chemicals in the brake fluid will swell the seals in the transmission and virtually eliminate the slippage. Since doing this, I've gotten an additional 41K miles out of the original transmission. Can't beat that with a stick.....
Amount Paid (US$): 26,000
Condition: New
Model Year: 1996
Model and Options: Standard GC package, auto trans, power everything (except seats)
Product Rating: 4.0
Recommended: Yes 
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