WJ vs ZJ - North American Grand Cherokee Association
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Old 02-16-2005, 12:45 PM   #1
RJP
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Default WJ vs ZJ

I've had two GCs, a 1993 Limited and a 1998 Laredo with Up Country. Both were V8s. I loved them both but I was able to use the '98 much more and I have no complaints. I got into some places I thought I'd have to stay forever but the Jeep got me out. Unbelievable, I actually got cheered by some bystanders. Unfortunately I sold it a few years ago and now I'm looking to get another GC, but...
I've never driven a WJ. How do they compare to ZJs? Is there a difference in off road capability? How about available uprades? If given a choice, which generation is the preferred model?

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Rick
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:26 PM   #2
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It depends on what you want to do and the amount of $$$ you want to put into doing it. The WJ is a bit longer and heavier than the ZJ, but that hasn't stopped them from being great wheelers either.

Decide on what your vision is for the vehicle in the next year or two, then price out the components and go from there. There are more spare parts available in the bone yards from ZJs if you like to shop the strip club for treasures. Maybe take a look at the pictures from the past Grand Slam events and see what people have done to theirs.

I solved the problem by getting the wife a WJ in August, thus giving me more freedom to improve the ZJ; someday the ZJ will wear out or go away and I'll build the WJ after getting the wife a WK (If the aftermarket people come up with good components for lifts and such).
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:05 PM   #3
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Actually I'm pretty set on another ZJ, I'm just curious if people think enough of the WJ to talk me out of it. I had such a good experience with the '98 that I can't see myself in anything else. My daily driver '01 Durango just isn't cutting it anymore.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:52 PM   #4
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98 5.9 all the way. If I had to do it over again that is what I would do.
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Old 02-16-2005, 05:17 PM   #5
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The WJ is easier to drive to me. It feels tighter than my ZJ. The WJ isn't that much bigger but in someways, it feels bigger than it really is. I prefer the WJ for its nice interior and ride over my ZJ but I am more comfortable with the ZJ because I have been driving one for a while. If you do get a WJ, the 4.7L is a nice powerplant. It can really get you moving with no effort at all.
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Old 02-17-2005, 02:12 PM   #6
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Jeep ZJ4.0,

How do they compare off road? Is there a considerable difference in their abilities? One of the things I loved about the ZJ was the confidence I had in seeing a trail on the side of the road and just diving right in, sure that I'd get out, and sure that I'd have clearance, etc. Do you feel that good about going off road in the WJ (I'm assuming little or no mods).
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:18 PM   #7
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Part for part I don't think there is much difference in off-roadability of ZJ vs WJ. Pretty much the same level. In the end it would come down to a personal preference. I've seen many ZJ's and WJ together in the trail and can't recal an instance when 1 rig would appear to have a serious advantage over another of course given that they're built or not built similarly. Availability of upgrades would probably tip the scale in ZJ's favor. Get one that appeals to you, you won't go wrong whatever the choice.
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:18 PM   #8
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I do.....but thats just me. Most people think I am crazy for wheeling my WJ. But I love it! I have not owned a ZJ so I have nothing to compare it to other that the CJ's I have owned and various trucks etc. I would not trade my WJ for anything. It has continued to amaze me everytime I wheel it. Thats all I use it for is wheeling trips. I can do 130 down the highway to the trail then wheel the hell out of it. The 4.7 is a very peppy engine. I have pictures of my Jeep flying up sand hills. People call it a sand rail. But when it comes to the trail, its still very capable. Ask the guys in the Tacos that were trying to follow me the other day!
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Old 02-17-2005, 06:29 PM   #9
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I am the opposite of Taz, I have never had a WJ but I would not trade the ZJ for any other 4x4. Sure you could build a buggy that would be more capable etc. but like he said there is just something nice about being able to drive to the trail, wheel, and drive home. As far as engines get a v8, you won't regret it. From the other comments it seems like the 4.7 is nice but the 5.2 and 5.9 magnums are both plenty powerful and give you the ability of putting off regearing if you run out of funds.
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Old 02-18-2005, 06:58 AM   #10
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If I'm reading these messages right, everyone in here feels that the GC, whether its the ZJ or the WJ, is great for a nice ride on the road, comfortable and high speed cruise-worthy, but when the notion to hit the backcountry comes along, the GC is up to the challenge. I already knew this to be the case for the ZJ and I think I'm learning that it's true for the WJ, too. Good to know.
Now I have decision to make: do I go with tried and true ZJ or venture into unknown territory and try a WJ...hmm...

Maybe I should just shut up and get my '79 J10 finished. One money pit at a time.

Hey, TAZ,
I live in NM when I'm not travelling. I'll check out that NMVJC site. Are you in ABQ?
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