i second the reliability of the cherokee, but go with the auto if you will ever be using it to tow. I have a 2k classic I bought last year, and have never looked back. Just make sure to throw on a tranny cooler for some cheap insurance. mileage has been pretty decent at about 22-24mpg, but mind you it's basically stock and im 95% highway
I drove a '93 cherokee sport for a year and it was great! It is the only automatic transmission that I have ever actually liked. I bought it for $550, put another $500 in it, and it was bomb proof. I sold it for $950 a year later when I bought my outback. They are great because they are incredibly simple, so there is nothing to go wrong. Mine had 225k miles when I bought it, and it ran rough, but new plug wires fixed that and it purred like a kitten for the whole time I owned it. I got about 16mpg in it I think.
i have a zj with some front end issues. but the car is seriously awesome.
parts are fairly cheap. there are a million jeep forums too
----. Yeah. "Death Wobble." How the hell did I forget about that? Even though it's a POS Chrysler I really do love my jeep.. but seriously, bad tires can actually cause the wobble. Every time it happens I want to punch a Chrysler engineers face in.
Replaced track bar, Outer tierod, drag link, and stabilizer. Checked control arm bushings which looked acceptable for age, balljoints are rock solid, didn't really find ANYTHING that'd cause it except maybe a .5mm lateral movement on the steering box output. Replaced front tires and performed a measuring tape alignment, hasn't done it in months.
Consider the 5.2 Magnum is the same basic motor as the 5.9 Magnum which came in the 98ZJ-Limited. Off the shelf crank, rods, pistons and you've got a 408 starting with the 5.9 block, which was also found in mid-90s 1500 Dodge trucks. Yeah, I'm going to megasquirt it, too.
it's getting to much worse...
and it's mainly when turning left. the jeep sounds like ----.
it's not that bad when going straight or turning right, so it's not death wobble. luckily, i haven't had that issue.
We had a '96 Sport VM 2.5lt Turbo Diesel for a while, great fun. It had its moments... oil leaks (new catch can), rear spring sag (gave it a 2 inch lift over the stock diesel 2 inch lift), rear brakes binding when wet (went sideways at stop signs), rear bearings, rear axle (due to bearing wear), clutch slave goes soft (needs removing and pumping up again to remove air), heads cracked twice (common VM diesel issue), EGR replaced, 2 injectors, a piston + bearings + rings, rear taillift struts, headlight tilt switch burned out dramatically (had to jump out, was choking), fuel lines split, rocker bolts stripped (helicoiled) + more, but still loved it ;-)
Most of the big issues were related to the VM Diesel and sorted in the end ;-) Would buy another.
I already knew my GFs Cherokee with the 4.0 was relatively quick, but had no idea they put a 5.9 in the Grand Cherokees. Holy crap!
You bet your *** they did..
Stock they were rated at 245hp/345tq AWD and weighed around 4000#. Best friend bought one in 98 when they first came out and we discovered how easy it was to troll highschool kids in the 5.0 mustangs and pretty much everything else on the streets with it. Damn thing did 0-60 in upper 6 second range and clicked off 14 second quarter runs..