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Marc Grobe
Chicago-area (Western Suburbs)
46 years old
Male
STATISTICS
Join Date: 10-03-2003
Thumbs Up: 4
Total Posts: 2293 
Last Activity 07-20-2014
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MGROBE'S JEEP
Year & Model  
1998 XJ Cherokee
Engine  
I6-4.0L
Transmission  
AW4
Transfer Case  
242
Front Axle  
D30 - ARB and alloy shafts
Rear Axle  
D44 - Detroit and alloy shafts
Gear Ratio  
4.56
Suspension  
Hybrid coilover up front and Old Man Emu with
some Tera shackles in the rear, probably stands
4"+
Tires  
32" Goodyear w/Silent Armor for DD &
Interco TSL Radials for off-road, might change
these soon
Wheels  
Cragar Soft 8's 16x7? & Mickey T. Classic II
16x8
Recovery  
Warn Winch; Snythetic rope; plenty of D-rings;
two pulleys; extra 100' of rope; tree saver;
etc...
Armor  
Bulletproof front and rear bumper; custom
transfercase skid; Olympic 4x4 rock rails; OE gas
and eng.
Accessories  
GPS, number of under hood mods, Line-X on
exterior
Future Mods  
Perhaps a refresh of the rear suspension;
otherwise I am happy with things as they're now
 
INSTALLED PRODUCTS
Armor
Audio, CB, & Electrical
Axles
Body
Engine
Interior
Recovery
Suspension
Tires & Wheels
Transfer Case
Transmissions

JEEP HISTORY
I have been involved in off-roading since
my youth (about 30 years ago) with
min-bikes, ATV's, motorcycles and with my
first licensed vehicle, which was a beater
pickup truck. I got to climb hills, blast
through mud pits, bounce along at high
speed and occasionally I got stuck, but
overall I really had a great time. A
couple years after High School I was
dormant from off-roading (sold my truck
and gave my ATV to a cousin) for 6+ years
as I went through my fast car phase. As
all interests go, I did burn out of high
speed driving before killing myself
(although I wasn't that bad in
retrospect). I eventually settled back
into something that was more my true
interest over a longer period of time,
Jeeps. When I was a senior in high school
I wanted either a Jeep Cherokee or Chevy
S-10 as a new car treat. I was working
close to 30 hours a week while in High
School and was hopeful I could swing the
cash for one of these new or barely used
shortly after graduation. Turns out I
couldn't, so then I picked up my 1985
Dodge Shelby Charger for around $7500 and
that was the beginning of my zip-zoom-fly
stage. Fast forward a number of years
and I finally bought the 98 Cherokee (XJ)
that I wanted back then as my new vehicle.
I special ordered it as I wanted Moss
Pearl Green + Up-Country + 242
transfer-case + ABS (probably a waste of
money as it was removed numerous years
ago) + Sport package (no need for crazy
bells and whistles on this vehicle as more
gadgets means more things to fix). I
took delivery in December of 1997. The
reason I selected the Cherokee in
multi-fold. First I liked the overall
size as it isn't tiny like a RAV4 or huge
like a Suburban that I once drove. It is
very easy to drive around town in an area
that is heavily populated, not too big and
not really too small, for the most part.
I just wish Jeep could have kept the
handling and turning radius and made the
entry to the rear seats and the leg room
better. Beyond that I have no gripes
about the vehicles size. Next was its
solid off-road capabilities (the XJ had
won 4x4 of the year a couple times during
its 18 year production span), durability
and finally aftermarket support was so
much more than anything else that wasn't a
swb Jeep. You could get a 3" lift
kit and more from at least 6 different
vendors. Now there is easily a dozen
vendors with a wide cross-section of lift
kits and individual components. Now it
is 10+ years later with the same vehicle
as my sole DD/trail rig. I have had
thoughts of looking into a second Jeep to
help relieve her of her of some of the
driving chores. Something that was much
closer to stock that would be easier for
2-3 passengers to use. But I still love
driving her around; consequently I haven't
been aggressively pursuing another
vehicle. If I did buy another vehicle
here is what I have considered. Another
XJ, preferably a 98 like mine to avoid
some cracking issues with later model
heads and being able to tweak the engine
with the newer intake. Positives are I
can share spare parts between the two
vehicles. Take one thing off of one and
save it for the other. Downsides are the
previously mentioned rear seat tightness.
and also the fact that I doubt I could
leave a 2nd XJ alone and not modify it. I
really could see myself reinventing the
wheel and truly this wouldn't be the
vehicle for it. There's still a pretty
good chance I may go this route
someday. Purchase a used WJ. With a
little research I would try to track down
a WJ with the 4.7L engine and only the
Laredo equipment. Once again bells and
whistles often create more troubles than
they're worth. Don't get me wrong, I
would die without power windows, locks, AC
and heck even my powered seat. But heated
mirrors, heated seats, etc are things that
are much more fringe items for me. It is
cold enough to use those things, I just
don't think I want to be whipping out the
DMM and tracing the wiring looking for a
reason why a fuse keeps blowing when I use
my butt-warmer. Another thing I would
want for my WJ is I would prefer the 242
transfer-case. Having had one in my XJ
for over 10 years, I can appreciate the
simplicity/reliability/durability of this
unit. I really don't want any electric
engaging t-case or some goofy traction
control inside it that is a high wear
item. I would love to have this vehicle,
with even the I6, 242 and maybe a Detroit
Truetrac in the rear for simple traction
assist. Keep It Simple Stupid would be
motto and hopefully this is a 200K mile
vehicle. Big bonus is the extra room
everywhere. Downside is extra
complications in the form of widgets, gas
mileage, extra power may be needed for the
I6 to be considered (I've tweaked my I6
enough that it may do the job well enough
as is) and a little more space required
when fighting for parking. Upgrades would
be minimal as it would be 99% commuter
with very rare scenic off-road
driving. Purchase a Diesel KJ. I would
also consider the 3.7L KJ as a test drive
several years ago proved that the engine
isn't awful, just not a powerhouse.
Outwardly the KJ isn't the prettiest Jeep
by any stretch, but it was the closest
thing to the XJ in terms of size and
simplicity. The model went in the same
rough price range that my XJ was 8 years
earlier. I could get into the rear seat
easily; a feat I haven't been able to do
in my XJ for 7 years now. The front was
easy enough to get into and out of.
Visibility out the glass was good (unlike
anything with a Hummer badge, what the
heck are designers thinking with the gun
slit windows??). Steering wasn't great
nor was it poor, something I could
tolerate. So was the brakes. I waited
for the diesel model, only to be
disappointed to find out that it was a
limited number, two year production run.
I plan to keep a new car for an easy
decade, so chasing down parts on a foreign
engine with small production numbers was a
bit scary for me. I mean how easy is it
to find parts for the Renault diesel in
early XJ's? A bit of a pain I am sure.
Likewise I would hate to assume that I
personally will be able to perform all the
service it will require. Knowing each
dealer may only have a tech or two with
training on this engine was enough for me
to pass on it. A buddy of mine did buy
the diesel and enjoyed it for 10 months.
Then after one off-road trip at Camp Jeep
in the summer of 2007 (scenic trail) the
transmission started to die. After two
different occasions with transmission
problems he unloaded it and traded the
vehicle in on something else. Its a shame
really because it was a peppy little
diesel that may have eventually got the
gas mileage I would prefer from my next
vehicle. To be continued....

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Sweet Pea 1998 - XJ
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