It's great to find a Jeep forum that we can discuss or ask for advice. My name is Dennis and I'm a retired Structural Engineer who lines in Southern California's Coachella Valley (Palms Springs area and hot Sonoran Low Desert). My Jeep is a well kept 1997 Grand Cherokee 4.0L in-line six cylinder ZJ 4x4 with the Off-road package. She is Garage kept with 153,000 original miles and all service records are kept.
I've had my Jeep since the end of the '97 model year and bought it new.
I've put in all the maintained work and in the last four years had my warped cylinder headed repaired, fuel pump, hoses and charcoal filter replaced along with the Radiator, A/C Compressor, serpentine belt pulleys and sensors that went bad replaced. new Goodrich off road tires to replace the last set of the same tires (I lone the wide Off-road tires as they lasted far longer than the factory supplied tires. I do need to remove the Space-saving Sparebtire because the are almost impossible to find.
What I love most on this model is the plastic side panels and how they protect the jeep former dings and dents. The next plus is the simplicity of the Wisconsin made 4.0L in-line six as it is a non-complicated mechanical combustion engine with the fewest computer boards and parts making it a great engine to diagnose and repair.
Overall, the investment in labor while I supply new parts from Autozone makes this Jeep a great vehicle on and off roads. I did pull out the factory radio and recently installed a Kenwood Excellon 998 Apple Smartphone Radio Head with front and Back USB drives, Bluetooth and iPhone controlled radio head with door mounted speakers (1.0 or 1.5 Din) making installation very easy afternoon project. I'm waiting for wireless aftermarket diagnostic port mounted backup and blinds pot warning systems. CNET just ran an article and YouTube video of new features that will replace running wires and make the aftermarket kit with a custom lock on License plate frame and camera that can't be removed and it it is is keyed to the installed diagnostic port adapter. Useless thither both components.
As you can see from the recent photos, you simply can't buy a new car in as good shape as this excellent Garage kept ZJ. Well worth the cost to maintain until she becomes a classic. Even then this is a Jeep with a lot of years of memories across country with our children, to of my best travel dogs and comfortable for my wife who has a neuromuscular disease (adult onset Myotonic Dystrophy Type 2) that requires frequent trips to Mayo Clinic in Phoenix and to Rochester Minnesota and to visit family in Illinois.
Glad to become a member and communicating with others who have a long history with the Grand Cherokee. Thought about looking for a second wrangler Rubicon all decked out. Would want a short wheelbase 1997 or 1998 with the same engine. Not really interested in the new models and leather seats has been my choice until I found out how hot they get in the summer here. Wouldn't mind changing reuppolstering or adding to my front seats but still comfortable after all these years.
Added a couple of photos at the local car wash. Hope you enjoy how well NY ZJ is holding up.
Maggie was my travel companion( my wife flew in from Phoenix Arizona Sky Arbor Airport four days before) in Rochester Minnesota at Mayo Clinic hotel October 10th 2014 first early sub-zero day ( -21 degrees Fahrenheit when the day before was 70 degrees above zero). Not used to this coming from the desert but Maggie loved it.