Purchased used in 98 with 28K miles, still driving with 242K. Very impressed with the inline 6. Have replaced water pump, EX manifold, computer, etc. mostly myself for low cost. Trans rebuild at 152K. Recently changed idle air control valve and throttle body sensor; got back to average 19MPG in city & 23 MPG HWY. Solid engine, would recommend the inline 6 and would buy again but this one is till running literally like it was 12 years ago.
Well this jeep is highly dependable, but there are quite a few sensors that tend to go bad and cause it to stall/lose power/misfire. Main things I have had to replace are Crankshaft Position sensor, fuel pump, and Idle air control valve. Gas mileage is great for a 1997 SUV. If you own one make sure you do a lot of research if something is going wrong with it. I have found tons of help from jeep forums guiding me to what my problem is.
***Let me preface this review by stating that this vehicle was well maintained, not abused, before and after I bought it*** I've owned my 97 Grand Cherokee Laredo for 5 years now and it has been, by far, the worst vehicle I've ever owned (and I've owned a lot). Let's start with the... Exterior: mine is the green/gold color and the paint has been peeling off of the top and hood since before I bought it (primer failure/paint defect). The driver's door hinge is worn out and the door sags. I went through an automated car wash and the clear plastic face of both head headlights fell off (?!) so I had to replace them. Safety Issues: There is a factory recall because of a chance of the Jeep exploding if hit from the rear (?!) Electrical Issues: The Crankshaft Position Sensor failed (also a common issue with these Jeeps) and left me stranded on a secluded stretch of road for 4 hours - my mechanic thought it was the fuel pump, so I ended up buying a fuel pump AND the CPS. The Jeep developed an issue where it would sporadically stall (usually at the LEAST convenient time and location) and wouldn't crank back up for 2 minutes. After replacing multiple parts over the course of 8 1/2 months and almost getting killed several times as it stalled in the middle of a busy intersection, it was determined that there was a bad connection with a wiring harness that plugs into the Powertrain Control Module (also a design flaw). A series of zip ties and wooden wedges behind the PCM fixed that problem. The instrument lights flicker off and on while driving with the lights on, because of loose electrical connection somewhere. The AC fan only works on the 3 lowest settings (not on High) unless you jiggle the wiring harness behind the glove compartment. Drivetrain: I had to replace the rear axle because the carrier bearing housing broke (and apparently this is common on these jeeps). The transmission slips and leaks. I had to replace the water pump twice, the cooling fan twice and the radiator. I've replaced the starter twice. The freeze plug on the back of the head developed a small leak that I didn't catch until the Jeep ran hot and blew the head gasket and cracked the head (I was in the middle of a long bridge and couldn't pull over). This head freeze plug rusting out is also (supposedly) a design flaw with the 4.0... something about the factory casting sand getting lodged around it, causing it to rust. Other: the carpet on the passenger floorboard is constantly wet because of a design flaw with the ac condenser drain tube. All 5 of the door lock actuators (rear lift gate too) stopped working/disintegrated because they are cheaply made. ...I'm sure I've missed something... there has been so much I've been through with this Jeep... never again will I own a Chrysler product. My Ford Expedition - same year (97) with 250k+ miles... I've owned it for 13 years and I'VE REPLACED THE SPARK PLUGS AND WIRES!!! PERIOD!!!
I bought this drift-wood colored V8 Orvis at 55000mi, and have put 113000 more on it. Brakes are a bit weak. Careful driving helps a lot. I occasionally haul light utility trailer-loads and have replaced rear differential at 75 and 160 miles. A/C controller went at 150 miles. Lift gate sprung leaks, causing light/alarm problems. E-Brake very weak. Can drive easily with it engaged. Engine still strong. Tranny original. Body very good. Some interior screws work loose. One and 1/2 speakers blown. Rear wiper frozen forever. Good truck to 140,000. Fuel mileage 13 US city, 19 at 75 mph, measured. Paint/exterior holding up really well. exhaust and entire front- end original (one link replaced at 94)
Bought in 98 to replace small pick-up, smart buy; still primary vehicle. Have 240K and it literally runs like it did, with little effort. Inline 6 is awesome engine. Around 225K gas mileage began to fall, didn't run smooth. Changed idle air control valve sensor and throttle body sensor (both less than $80) and got back its original mileage & performance. Had trans rebuilt @162K, changed radiator, water pump, some other minor I did myself. The inline 6 is a good buy. Friend has 96 with 483K still running & driving.