Used WJ troubles and fixes
It's no secret that some of our favorite daily drivers are the '99-'04 WJ Grand Cherokees. And now with prices on decent used vehicles dipping below $5,000, it's almost criminal how inexpensive it is to roll in all-wheel-drive comfort.
So when this author's brother wanted a vehicle to augment his family's fleet, a 4.0L-equipped WJ seemed to fit the bill. While a 4.7L is nice and a Limited gets you the leather and options, the 4.0L Laredo can scrape at 20 mpg on the highway and still offers acceptable performance. However, no model is without its weaknesses and problem areas as the miles pass. And whether Limited or Laredo, the WJ is no exception.
We enlisted the help of John Rindone of Meineke Car Care Center in Webster, Massachusetts, to diagnose, repair, and upgrade some of these deficiencies inherent in most WJs. Rindone is a veteran ASE tech with a passion for off-roading and heads a very competent crew. Spinning wrenches and dealing with our WJ's rusted bolts didn't phase them at all. And if we decide to add a lift or some other off-road gear down the road, Rindone's Meineke is also a full-on Performance Center that can handle the install-no sweat.
For our replacement parts, we visited Crown Automotive in Marshfield, Massachusetts. Crown's catalog of replacements parts is just plain massive. While they don't sell direct, the company's Web site lists dozens of distributors. Its top-shelf stuff is built to last longer than the OE parts. Finally, because we were committed to diving into each problem area, we opted for a major upgrade to the brake system, shocks, and air intake with parts from EBC Brakes, Edelbrock, and K&N Performance. So check out how we turned a stock WJ into a boulevard bomber that stops, handles, and rides better than a new Jeep at a fraction of the cost.