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Looking to Identify this Jeep

Old 05-06-2019, 02:28 PM
  #1  
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Model: Cherokee (XJ)
Default Looking to Identify this Jeep

Hey everyone, im brand new to the Jeep Forums, im looking to purchase a used XJ Sport, 98 or 99. And i was hoping to get some quick input on what to look for, as well as hoping someone could identify this modem of Jeep.


Modifications aside, it looks to be a 98 Cherokee XJ Sport, ans has those nice Sport decals on the side fenders, but as ive been looking up Sport models online, im noticing that some models have and dont have that decal....and some sport models have Rocker trim pieces along the side of the Jeep on the doors...where as this Sport in the video does not. Can anyone please tell me exactly what model of Jeep this is??

Lastly ive been told certain Jeeps had electrical wiring issues, but then they were resolved or at least a great deal of them were addressed in later years (i believe 98 and up) can someone confirm??? And can someone simply confirm if the 98's and 99's were "good" years to buy? As long as it has the 4.0l inline 6 engine? Thanks so much guys in advance, i appreciate it.
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Old 05-06-2019, 03:37 PM
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Year: 1996
Model: Cherokee (XJ)
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Based on the title of the video it is most likely a 98 Jeep Cherokee (XJ) Sport.

1997-2001 XJ Sport models would all look very similar. Some paint colors and various other exterior trim elements were only available in certain years, but their bodies would be the same (exactly the same).
It might have had some trim on the sides at one point, and removed (a popular modification for cleaning up the appearance). Or never had trim to begin with. That decal could have been original, or added later for effect. Most people would not add the sport decal, unless it was in fact a sport. Because sports were normally the simpler, or less expensive of the trim packages.

98 and 99 are fairly desirable years. Some say that 99 had the best combination of drive-line components. I love my 96 (the way you love an old dog), but if I was buying from scratch, I would probably target a 99. Some are wary of the 2000/2001 model years because of a well-known manufacturing problem with the engine head that has a reputation for leading to cracked heads and blown head gaskets (I have no personal experience on the matter). Though most of the experienced members here say that shouldn't keep you from looking at them if their condition is otherwise good.

97+ XJs (like the one pictured) are not particularly known for wiring problems. Though with them being more than 20+ years old now - electrical issues come with the territory.

Jeep Grand Cherokees from this era have a fairly well known reputation for electrical problems, and because many people don't know the difference between a Grand Cherokee and XJ - they probably just associate the problems with both.

For example - my coworker who came in one day all excited to tell me that he had just bought a Jeep Cherokee for one of his grown kids. He was eager to tell me all about it, because he knew I loved my Jeep. About half way through the conversation, the details weren't adding up - so I asked "Did you buy them a Jeep Cherokee or a Jeep Grand Cherokee". He couldn't answer the question. He did not know. He bought a vehicle without even knowing the difference! who does that? I try not to judge, but that is just strange. It wouldn't have bothered me, but he kept saying that it was just like mine. He didn't even register that they look completely different.

Last edited by jordan96xj; 05-06-2019 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 05-06-2019, 04:06 PM
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That is a Jeep Cherokee Sport. "Cherokee Sport" is the model. I have seen plenty of them in the yards with and without side trim, but all had the "Sport" badging. The badging, as well as the side trim are easily removed, so i would not concern myself over that. Electrical issues from one year to the next are pretty much the same from 97-01. The wiring is a trainwreck regardless so the model means very little. What matters most (to me atleast) are any factory suspension upgrades (UP Country, for example) and extras like overhead, cruise, SENTRY. I ignore the rest as long as it is in good shape and nothing has been hacked to make it work. Then there is the troublesome 0331 head for 00-01, the extra cats and sensors, and low pinion axle. The only issues i have with that are the extra cost in parts and labor should i take it somewhere for whatever reason. Aside from that, they are all the same to me. Many say the 99 was the best, but to me, thats just a number. Mine is a 97 with over 230k miles, and the only issues i have had were the door switches, dirty grounds, and worn suspension, which is something every XJ will experience at some point. Just pick a year and take care of it, and it will take care of you.
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Old 05-06-2019, 04:11 PM
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I have a '98 and a '99, both Sport models. There are a few minor differences that I have noticed. '98 had longer roof rack rails. The one you showed has an aftermarket rack so doesn't apply. The intake manifolds are different. The '98 has more squared off intake manifold runners. the '99 switched to more rounded and more efficient intake manifold. The injectors are different and have different connectors. They also have different oil pressure sender units. The part # in the official MOPAR parts catalog for the '99 oil pressure sender seems to be completely wrong (ask my how I know). Again, no differences that I have seen that I would say one more desirable than the other. I took the side trim off the '98 and like the clean look a lot better. Once the side trim starts to fade and go gray you can repaint it periodically.

The 4.0 litre motor is very durable, but not indestructible. The AW4 transmission is simple and reliable as long as it gets regular fluid changes.

The '98 and '99 are both "good" years in my book. As long as the Jeep has been maintained with fluid changes either should do well. That's a pretty clean looking XJ just waiting for some mud.
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Old 05-06-2019, 04:15 PM
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Year: 01, 99, 98, 98,98
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Exactly that. ^ to elaborate the 97-98 had the sport sticker. 99-01 had chrome emblems on the door. Same as the CHEROKEE. First two years was a sticker and the latter 3 had chrome.

99 is most desirable because of the updated head and intake. It makes slightly more power.
Also it was the year they switched interior colors and shortened the roof rack.

The SE model was the base model. Usually no power options. Mine does have power mirrors though.

It also bothers me when people don’t know the difference between an XJ and ZJ. Seems like every time I buy parts and tell them it’s for a Cherokee they will ask Grand Cherokee or just a regular Cherokee. Once I bought a water pump and clear coated it all nice. Then installed it only to realize the pulley wouldn’t fit on it. Went to exchange it and they realized it was for a Grand Cherokee. I also see Grands for sale listed as cherokee’s as well.
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Old 05-06-2019, 04:43 PM
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As others have mentioned, Sport is just a model type.

For most years it goes
SE - Standard Edition, base model
Sport - Sportier model with some upgraded optional equipment. Includes factory roof racks
Limited, Upcountry, Classic etc. - Specialized model with additional upgraded equipment.

The differences are really not huge - I have an SE, 95 model year (which I love) with the 4.0 and A/C. It has manual windows, doors, transmission and no factory roof racks (though my Dad had a nearly complete Thule gutter rack set that I currently have installed). My Dad had a 94 Sport which was 2 door, 4.0, A/C, roof racks and manual windows and doors. So the biggest difference between the SE and Sport in that era (94-96) seems to be the factory roof racks and a decal that said "sport".

If my current XJ fails me and I can't make the jump to a brand new JL 4-door, I'd be searching for either a later 96 (basically - with OBD2) or a 98-99. Of course, this is primarily due to the AX15 -> NV3550 changeover and not wanting the first year of a remodel (97) rather than any specific concern with other years. In the end, to me any year with the external slave AX15 (94 - 99) with little to no rust that was 4.0L/4wd/4door would be highly desirable.
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Old 05-06-2019, 05:13 PM
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Year: 1996
Model: Cherokee (XJ)
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Mine is a late-year 96 XJ Sport - and as far as I can tell has no special options.

- Manual locks, mirrors, and windows
- No ABS
- No Security or key identification
- No Cruise Control
- 231 Trans (no full-time 4H)
- No special consoles
- Dummy Dash (just speed and fuel level - that's it)

It does have some rubber trim-strips (black with red stripe) along the lower portion of the door/body. And a roof-rack. And 8-slot grill! Perhaps those were the options. lol.


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