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Old 09-28-2014, 01:22 AM
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Which JGC do I need if I........

Planning on buying a '15 Grand Cherokee ecoDiesel for our home in Belize. We already have a JKUR as my kick around ride.

Belize has: not very good roads (but they are, at least, free of traffic!), rainforest, sand roads, dirt roads, creeks, beaches and floods. We live near better roads but we also like to travel dirt backroads and head to the rainforest with guests (My JK only has front seats, an it will stay that way). These are not Trail Rated adventures and there are no true large rocks to traverse, but I would like to have the combination of a plush ride and the ability to cross a stream or flooded road, climb a reasonable hill with certainty or go over an out-of-the-way dirt and rock trail. Admittedly, the JK is overkill, as the terrain is not anywhere close to taxing the JK's full abilities with 35's and a slight lift.

I have been reading the WK2 forums and keep hearing about the difference between the Overland and Summit. I gather that the Overland is considered more robust for off roading, but that there is a forum member who makes skid plates for the underside of the Summit that help to protect it? Would someone please explain who it is and what they manufacture? Is the Summit not considered an off road Cherokee?

I am hoping to get the forum's collective view on the real life differences between these two models relative to my planned usage, as well as your suggestions for what it sounds as though I need from the JGC lineup.

FWIW, I like the Outlander and the Summit for the sheer upscale nature of what they both offer. I do have to say that the extras on the Summit are options that I appreciate, i.e., sound system upgrade, etc. But if I get the Summit I want to make sure that I have everything that I need for my purposes. If she is just a Street Queen with air ride, it doesn't fit my brief.

Thanks for any comments and questions.

Bill

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Old 09-28-2014, 03:46 AM
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Re: Which JGC do I need if I........

I can only speak from the earlier WK2 perspective (for now). I own a 2011 Overland Hemi. I love that thing to death. Yeah it's not a rocket shit but it does exactly what I want, when I want it to (when the air suspension is not crapping out).

The air suspension is great and don't take my experience as a negative view. I've taken it in more times for the air suspension than I can count. However, jeep dealer here has basically unofficially told me that they cannot fix it. Everytime they try, it craps out after a few months. Unfortunately I had the problems towards the end of the Lemon Law period and at first I thought it was an issue that could easily be fixed. They have actually fixed it now according to them. They've brought in engineers from Dubai and apparently an American rep has been in contact and working with the software for it. I just lost confidence in this vehicles air suspension and we're working in a great trade in value as compensation for all my down time. It's not going to be much but it's better than trading the vehicle outside or trying to sell it to buyer here. I mention all of this because I think it's important that if you do get the air suspension, if you get one single problem with it go in to the dealer. I can tell you that the frequency of air suspension issues are actually very rare, but when they do go wrong it seems to be the case that they go horribly wrong over long periods of time. I'm sure though that your dealer would have easier access to certified engineers etc to work on these problems and troubleshoot it.

I'm just giving you a heads up as a forum member. Do not fear the air suspension, but do pay close attention to it.

As for the air suspension it is a great feature to have. It literally turns your SUV into a giant. Works great off road and gives you clearance. I'm not sure about the 2014s but my 2011 had skid plates. I am not sure if that was optional from our dealer (I didn't pay extra for it) but it came with my 2011. So maybe check with your dealer when you come to purchase the vehicle. The summit's extra features such as the upgraded sound system is awesome but it depends if you value it enough for the price diff. I know some people have just done their speakers themselves with aftermarket. I have heard the summit sound system recently when I went in to look at the 2014s for the trade in. It's absolutely wonderful. Those harmon kardon speakers are amazing.

With the trade in, I was pretty much like you. I stopped doing hardcore offloading but I still do go through rough roads and travel through the desert. I realized that the air suspension for me was not that big of an issue. Not many obstacles anymore in my driving to go over, mainly just sand dunes. I opted not to get the air suspension this time. I actually opted for a limited hemi. The one they had left on the lot (unfortunately all of the ones left were with the beige interior which I think gets dirty too quickly and only 4 colours left for exterior red, green, silver and gold). My advice is go for black interior if you're worried about getting your interior dirty. The black tends to blend better than the beige.

I'd say after everything you've written, I'd probably opt for the overland. I would even consider normal suspension if it's just some basic rough terrain and some low level streams. You can always get a slight lift kit if needed but I'd imagine you have your Wrangler for the heavy duty stuff so if I was in your position I'd trim costs on these features. Just my humble opinion.

Sorry for the long writeup but I thought maybe I'd give you some insight from my past experience that may help you in the future and in your buying decision. Again, I must stress. If you feel you need the air suspension, do not fear it. You have a warranty for a reason and although it's a hassle if you have to take it in, it will probably show up before the lemon law period and you can make a case. Mine started showing up around 25,000-30,000KM and about 1.5 years into ownership. Also, again I stress the air suspension has actually not been known for the issues. You'll see a lot of complaints on the forum because that's what people do online but if you compare this to the overall ownership around the world, it's a very tiny percentage and most get it dealt with their dealers.

So that's my 2 cents. I think this vehicle will treat you well for what you need. My advice is go for the overland.
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Old 09-28-2014, 06:56 AM
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Re: Which JGC do I need if I........

You can put the Mopar skid plates on a 2014 summit. That's what I've done. One member even put the rock rails on. The only difference is the front and the tow hooks.
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Old 09-28-2014, 08:25 AM
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Re: Which JGC do I need if I........

Buy one of each.
Have you read this thread? 2014 Overland vs. Summit
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Old 09-28-2014, 09:06 AM
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Re: Which JGC do I need if I........

It seems to me that you want a fully optioned Overland.
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Old 09-28-2014, 09:14 AM
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Re: Which JGC do I need if I........

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacko15 View Post
Buy one of each.
Have you read this thread? 2014 Overland vs. Summit
Yes, that article was the first one that I searched for and found regarding the two levels of GC. My post question was based on a desire to get input regarding my particular need in Belize. Would my use be classified as off road or not?

$$ is not the determining factor here. But I will not be on American-quality roads. Think country, undeveloped America in the 1930's.

So, if I get a Summit, I can get everything that the Overland has but I need to order the skid plates from someone? Is ORA II an available option for the Summit? Or do I not need it?

Thanks
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Old 09-28-2014, 09:29 AM
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Re: Which JGC do I need if I........

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReelMan View Post
Yes, that article was the first one that I searched for and found regarding the two levels of GC. My post question was based on a desire to get input regarding my particular need in Belize. Would my use be classified as off road or not?

$$ is not the determining factor here. But I will not be on American-quality roads. Think country, undeveloped America in the 1930's.

So, if I get a Summit, I can get everything that the Overland has but I need to order the skid plates from someone? Is ORA II an available option for the Summit? Or do I not need it?

Thanks
You can't get ORA II on a Summit. As stated above you can add some of the components yourself, like skidplates.

Based on your needs and your stated road conditions, the Overland would be a better choice than the Summit. With ORA II you go to an 18 inch wheel, which would be better suited for those conditions and also give you a better selection of tires. I believe the Summit only comes with 20 inch wheels. Yes, you can switch to 18's but it's an additional expense.

Keep in mind that the diesel lacks underbody protection for some component (can't recall what at the moment... total brain fart) and there is no factory skid plate available for this. I don't think there's anything aftermarket either. Someone on the forum has designed something for this I believe. Check the diesel threads.
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Old 09-28-2014, 09:39 AM
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Re: Which JGC do I need if I........

Just curious... what are your feelings about the Wrangler Unlimited? If I was looking for a vehicle to meet the requirements you stated, that would be the one I'd be looking at.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:02 AM
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Re: Which JGC do I need if I........

Quote:
Originally Posted by MDBones View Post
Just curious... what are your feelings about the Wrangler Unlimited? If I was looking for a vehicle to meet the requirements you stated, that would be the one I'd be looking at.
I love the Wrangler. I use it for all types of things, and have pulled many out of ditches, mud and sand, etc. The top is rarely on--just a bikini top, generally. I got mine with 1/2 doors.

It is an extremely capable rig but will never get pushed to its limits in Belize. I don't go THAT far off road, and there is no such thing as wheeling here. There just really isn't the terrain. It's great on the beach, as I can air down.

I took my rear seats out. Having an Unlimited with only the front seats allows me to use this as a pickup, as well. I got the JK selfishly for myself as a kick-around, head to town kind of rig. I could have gotten any 4x4 and it would have done the job, but it's just so damn much fun doing it in a JK!
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:12 AM
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Re: Which JGC do I need if I........

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReelMan View Post
I love the Wrangler. I use it for all types of things, and have pulled many out of ditches, mud and sand, etc. The top is rarely on--just a bikini top, generally. I got mine with 1/2 doors.

It is an extremely capable rig but will never get pushed to its limits in Belize. I don't go THAT far off road, and there is no such thing as wheeling here. There just really isn't the terrain. It's great on the beach, as I can air down.

I took my rear seats out. Having an Unlimited with only the front seats allows me to use this as a pickup, as well. I got the JK selfishly for myself as a kick-around, head to town kind of rig. I could have gotten any 4x4 and it would have done the job, but it's just so damn much fun doing it in a JK!
LOL... okay, didn't realize you had an Unlimited.

If you're stuck on getting a Grand Cherokee, I'd still have to recommend the Overland over the Summit.

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Old 09-28-2014, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReelMan View Post
Planning on buying a '15 Grand Cherokee ecoDiesel for our home in Belize. We already have a JKUR as my kick around ride.

Belize has: not very good roads (but they are, at least, free of traffic!), rainforest, sand roads, dirt roads, creeks, beaches and floods. We live near better roads but we also like to travel dirt backroads and head to the rainforest with guests (My JK only has front seats, an it will stay that way). These are not Trail Rated adventures and there are no true large rocks to traverse, but I would like to have the combination of a plush ride and the ability to cross a stream or flooded road, climb a reasonable hill with certainty or go over an out-of-the-way dirt and rock trail. Admittedly, the JK is overkill, as the terrain is not anywhere close to taxing the JK's full abilities with 35's and a slight lift.

I have been reading the WK2 forums and keep hearing about the difference between the Overland and Summit. I gather that the Overland is considered more robust for off roading, but that there is a forum member who makes skid plates for the underside of the Summit that help to protect it? Would someone please explain who it is and what they manufacture? Is the Summit not considered an off road Cherokee?

I am hoping to get the forum's collective view on the real life differences between these two models relative to my planned usage, as well as your suggestions for what it sounds as though I need from the JGC lineup.

FWIW, I like the Outlander and the Summit for the sheer upscale nature of what they both offer. I do have to say that the extras on the Summit are options that I appreciate, i.e., sound system upgrade, etc. But if I get the Summit I want to make sure that I have everything that I need for my purposes. If she is just a Street Queen with air ride, it doesn't fit my brief.

Thanks for any comments and questions.

Bill
Only difference between a summit and a ORA II overland is skid plates, tow hooks, 18 inch wheels and approach angle. The drive system and suspension is the exact same thing. OEM skid plates can be added to summit for part cost of about $450 and tow hooks can be added for part cost of about $140 with a little plastic cutting of lower grill, labor will vary. If you really want the 18s most dealers would gladly take your 20 inch summit rims in exchange for the 18s as the 20s are more costly.
From what it sounds you are not going to be using it where approach angle or were a 20 inch fortera would make much difference over an 18 inch latitude.

So if you want the cushyness of summit as you say. Get the summit and add skid plates and tow hooks and keep the 20s. That is what i did. I will never be anywhere that an 18 latitude is going to make a substantial difference over a 20 fortera. Skid plates definitely though slide under there and look at those two big plastic gas tanks hanging there and you will want them good luck in your search
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Old 09-29-2014, 07:31 AM
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Re: Which JGC do I need if I........

Yea, the Overland and Summit are mechanically the same under the cush and theoretically have the same capability when properly equipped. Summit is marketed primarily as a highway luxury 4x4 SUV which is why you need to add some goodies to make it more off-road worthy since they are not available from the factory that way.
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