5.9 Limited Time Machine!! - North American Grand Cherokee Association
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Old 02-20-2017, 05:52 PM   #1
mkm5
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Default 5.9 Limited Time Machine!! Pictures added!

Bought a 65,000 mile 5.9 last month and spent a few weeks fixing up the typical issues; heated seats, memory mirrors, sway bar bushings, antenna, speakers, liftgate props, along with new tires, brakes and rotors, fluid change everything, etc...

We took it on a family road trip this weekend to Traverse City and it felt like 1998 all over again!!

The Jeep runs and drives great! Tune-up is coming this weekend, but it runs strong and pulled 14.5mpg at 80mph over 550 miles, and passing lanes are NO problem! For solid axles, this Jeep soaks up the road as well as any new vehicle I've driven in years!

I've driven a '98 5.9 back in '95 when it was under development, and I remember what a fun project and vehicle it was! Finding a "like new" 5.9 all these years later has really captured my imagination and appreciation for this classic SUV!

I bought this Jeep sight unseen, only knowing it was a low mile ZJ Limited which is hard to find, and the dealership told me there were 4 other people wanting to buy it but they said no deposits, cash only!!

I asked the salesman to send me a few pics since the ad was a new listing with no info other than model and miles. After I saw the pics and asked a few questions we settled the sale over the phone and I went to check it out and pick it up.

Right away, I was a bit confused, and starting to recall the 5.9 development program. This appeared to be a special high performance Jeep with the 5.9L Limited emblems and the rumbly exhaust note and the neck thrashing acceleration! The problem was, this Jeep didn't have the hood vents or mesh grille which would have tipped me off more readily as to what I had just bought.

When I brought it home, I did some searches on the 5.9 and it all came back to me!! Hot rod Jeep formula: Stuff the biggest V8 engine off the shelf in the Jeep, add a low restriction 3" exhaust, advance the timing 15 degrees and casually place a "Premium Fuel Only" sticker in the gas cap opening, ditch the viscous fan for a dual electric fan, throw in a locking 4-wheel low, a standard limited slip rear, 3.73s, trailer tow package with big alternator, skid plates, tow hooks, some hood vents to keep temps down, a distinctive mesh grille, and every luxury option in the book, plus a few added extras, and there was the 5.9 Limited!!

It's been a long day on the road driving home, but I can say this amazing Jeep made the trip fun and memorable!!

If anyone is interested, I'll send more details of the road trip and what it was like to drive this nearly 20 year old Jeep into the great white north of northern Michigan!!

Mike

Last edited by mkm5; 02-23-2017 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 02-20-2017, 06:18 PM   #2
mkm5
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One thing I should add, the driveline was tight when I first bought it, felt more like a "Command Trac 4WD versus a Quadra Trac 4WD. Steering got heavy and hoppy on tight Michigan left turns (U-turn). When I drained the transfer case fluid it looked like the color and consistency of cola which really shocked me!! I've driven 4WDs for 40 years and never changed transfer case fluid and never had any issues!

Anyway, after flushing and replacing the T-case fluid, it handles much better on turns, and I'm hoping the VC is still good to go for many more miles!!

Mike

Last edited by mkm5; 02-20-2017 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 02-21-2017, 10:54 AM   #3
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Jeeps like having all their fluids changed regally if not expensive repair bills appear
Might be worth changing rear axle oil and adding new friction additive to it
Would love to hear more about the road trip
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Old 02-23-2017, 11:30 AM   #4
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Yes, I did change the rear axle fluid and added the friction modifier. The front diff fluid looks good, but I'm changing it this weekend anyway. Transmission and transfer case were drained and refilled and the VC seems to be fine now; no hopping on tight turns.

When I bought the Jeep, it had new 225/75-16 Wrangler STs on it; I just swapped those out today for some 245/75-16 Yokohama Geolandar AT G015s. It looks a lot more like a Jeep now with those street radials gone!

Overall, the Jeep runs and drives like it's 1998 all over again! On our road trip up north, it felt strong and secure and hauled myself and 3 of my daughters no problem. The ZJ is a LOT smaller than the XKs I've driven since 2006, and cargo space is a bit snug, but it seems to working out okay so far.

I'm still tracking down the correct spare wheel so I can get a proper full size spare back there. I guess the original owner must have tossed it to free up more space, but I'm not comfortable without one.

The headlights were sub-par, so I put in a set of the bright Wagner halogens and will test those out tonight.

On the road, the Jeep feels more like a 4WD than my Commanders did, not in a bad way, but you know it's a 4WD. The ride is more floaty and feels somewhat like a Wrangler, probably due to the shorter wheelbase and solid axles.

The 5.9L is still running it's original exhaust, which is one of the best sounding single exhausts I've ever heard! It literally sounds just like my '69 Charger 440's stock exhaust, low and rumbly, but quiet inside! The transmission shifts firm but civilized, and reminds me of the 727s from the 60s and 70s.

The suspension is solid and tight after swapping in some Moog polyurethane sway bar bushings up front; the old ones were pretty clunky on our crappy Michigan roads.

Weather has been very strange here, it's been in the 50s and 60s for more than a week now, and hit 70 last Saturday, so there wasn't much snow up north, not that I would have tested those STs off-road; they're a pretty crappy tire and I'm glad to have them gone! I did get $160 trade-in toward the Geolandars.

It's funny how many people have commented on the Jeep; they all say, "Oh I used to have one of those and ran it to 275,000 miles, best vehicle I've ever owned!" So hopefully, it will serve us well for a few years and then I can pass it down to daughter #4!

The Jeep appears to have never been used off-road, and I doubt it's even seen gravel roads by the looks of the exterior and underneath. I tried out the 4WD Low and all seems well. I'm going to go through all the u-joints and driveline this weekend to make sure all is good before trying some light off-roading on the local trails, but I'm not taking this thing in the mud, it's just too clean for that right now!

Thanks for all the info and resources on this board, it's really helped me to fix the variety of annoying ZJ issues that everyone seems to have!

Mike
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Old 02-23-2017, 12:10 PM   #5
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The ZJ originally came with a space saver spare, but due to overheating and fire risk in the 249 transfer box and rear diff when the space saver was fitted a recall/memo was issued to throw away the space saver and fit a full size spare wheel

Most people don't carry a spare as it eats up the load space or they fit it on to a roof rack. The Upper and lower arm bushes front and rear may also be past their best which also give a woolly ride

So far I have now fitted Rough Country single rose joint rear upper and lower arms and RT Off-Road double rose jointed front lower arms and RT Off-Road single rose jointed upper front arms.
I have also fitted 2 inch lift BDS heavy duty springs all round with SkyJacker Nitro 8000 shocks. have had to fit 20mm front spacer's to level up the ride, but need to add another 10mm each side to make front to rear correct

Found I had to increase the front lower arms by a 1/4 inch to 16 inches in length, to stop front prop binding on turns, and had to add 3/8 inch to bring kingpin/castor back to 7.2 degrees (meant to be 7 +/-.5). Now drives perfectly and in a straight line with little steering input, so a great improvement on where it was
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Old 02-23-2017, 02:44 PM   #6
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Trying to add pictures!
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File Type: jpg 5.9 Interior.jpg (185.3 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg 5.9 Exterior.jpg (192.2 KB, 16 views)
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:01 PM   #7
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One more pic
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File Type: jpg 5.9 Interior Dash.jpg (187.4 KB, 11 views)
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:21 PM   #8
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That suspension set-up sounds interesting! What size tire do you run on it?
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:50 PM   #9
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at moment running 245/70R16 BF Goodrich AT
they are worn out so will either fit again (done 60,000 miles on them) or change
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:55 PM   #10
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I was wondering what the rose joint was, and I see you are a neighbor from England! Please describe this in more detail; is it a reference to a cross and roller u-joint?!
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