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Thread: Longevity Questions. 4.0 WJ owners, how many miles?

  1. #1

    Default Longevity Questions. 4.0 WJ owners, how many miles?

    Curious to see how many miles are on your 4.0's and at what point if any have you became worried about Engine/Transmission/Transfer Case problems? Im just wondering what or where you guys are at mileage wise, I've put up the idea of getting a WK for a few months now. Seeing some pretty clean low mileage (50-70k miles) WKs going for 15-16k (06-07s).

    I just love my WJ, but this is the most miles I have ever had on a vehicle of any kind and im just worried about it I guess. I recently had a 99 Firebird and the motor went and basically left me stranded for the last 2 months of college and made my life a living hell. Now that im working again I just want something that I can depend on.

    Anyone have any tips for longevity? I've seen ZJs go well over 200k miles with no issues on 4.0s and had a friend who put 240k. I have no prior service records (bought my WJ with 126k) im now sitting pretty at 137k about a year later, thinking about having the trans serviced just for giggles.

    I don't wheel much, I do a few old mining roads in the mountains when I visit family / friends but thats it. Im mostly doing a lot of stop and go traffic driving every morning to work coming home is a smooth sail interstate driving. Ive held off on modding the jeep with a lift and tires because of this reason I don't wanna spend 1500+ on tires and a small lift and have the trans go out on me or the motor go.
    2003 WJ - 4.0 and Selec-Trac

  2. #2
    Registered 1999WJ I6's Avatar
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    I purchased my 99 WJ in October 2007 with 29,000 miles. If I remember correctly it was one owner, elderly couple that apparently only drive it in the winter. Now, I am just shy of 60k miles. I've never had a problem with anything except the fan relay, which did result in a blown head gasket from an overheat, but aside from that no problems whatsoever. I will admit, I went through a period of moderate wheeling every weekend and problems began to arise. However, those can really only be attributed to wheeling. I also debated trading in for a WK about a 1 year ago. I couldn't bring myself to do it because I felt the majority of the WK's I was finding were over priced, and at the time I had just put so much money (lift+tires) and sweat into my WJ I really couldn't handle parting with it.
    1999 WJ I6/56,000/ 4" Tera Flex / 265/70/16 AT2's/ IRO X Sway bar links/
    Bilstein 5100's / Tenneco Dual Stabilizer Kit / IRO Ad Track Bar/ Thrush Glass Pack / Air Raid Short Ram / Addco Rear /Kenwood Speakers / Alpine Head Unit /

  3. #3

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    Thanks.. I've experienced a few issues while it was nothing serious I just see a lot of threads that have me worried with 242s needing repaired/fixed, heard a lot of people experience transmission issues and then theres the piston skirt issues but I think thats only 99-01 exclusive right?

    In February of this year almost 4 months after I bought it I had noises coming from the 242. Took it to a few different places and no one could fully determine what was up. Transmission service center wanted to fully rebuild for 1000 dollars. We finally decided to just check the fluid. Drained to find the fluid was brown, replaced with new and its been good as new since with no more sounds.
    2003 WJ - 4.0 and Selec-Trac

  4. #4

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    My ex's second GC, a '98 with the 4.0 I6 I still keep tabs on. We gave it to my mom in '02 when the wife bought another GC (Sport 4.0 I6 4x4) and took mom's old '93 mini van in exchange and used it as a trade.
    My mom drove it until '06 when my step dad had a stroke and became wheel chair bound and she needed a van for his access. She sold it to a family friend who was looking for an inexpensive, larger, safe vehicle for her daughter who was going away to college.
    The girl has since graduated and got married. She's driving a Camry now, but her husband still drives the ZJ. Last I saw it was in July, 230k miles on it and the only non-regular maintenance issue it's had was the A/C compressor burnt up and had to be replaced. Only other complaint they've had is it's going thru rotors at a pretty quick clip. Even the tranny is original...

    2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
    K&N Drop In - OME HD Coils
    265/65r17 Nitto Terra Grapplers
    Front receiver hitch - Warn M8000 winch - Cepek 130 watt lights
    Home made light bar - Hella 500s
    Plasti-Dip'd grille and rock rails

  5. #5

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    Thanks, I know the ZJ can go for miles and miles.. Just still not too convinced that WJ's can do the same with some of the threads Ive seen on the jeep forums recently.

    Im just starting to get worried about the mileage. Otherwise it runs great.

    I drained the coolant,changed the thermostat and put a new fan relay in after I started overheating this summer.

    Otherwise its been great and I get 20mpg from it just wondering what things I should address and look at now to ensure its going to continue to last.

    I have a mild tap/knock at first startup on cold mornings. I have a rusty rear panel near the driver rear door (im told this is a 3 panel design with the middle rusting so my sand and spray technique that Im about to preform isn't going to work). Seems to shift fine, but I can tell the tranny hates life in the stop and go in the mornings with all the shifting from 1st to 2nd and back to 1st.
    2003 WJ - 4.0 and Selec-Trac

  6. #6

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    4.0 WJ's and 4.0 ZJ's are EXTREMELY similar, powertrain-wise. The main difference is the switch from the distributor-system to COP. Other than that, the innards of the engines are basically the same, aside from small tweaks (ex: piston skirt issue). Transfer cases are easy to fix, as well. Both of our 4.0L WJ's are around 115,000 to 125,000, and we have no doubts that we could at least double their mileage. Realistically, as long as you are up to date on your preventative maintenance, the powertrain should be good to go.

    You neglected to mention how many miles are on your WJ. And remember, a WK is not a fool-proof Jeep. They have as many (if not more) issues. For simplicity's sake, I would stick with the WJ and repair as needed.

  7. #7
    Registered 1999WJ I6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Screamin_99 View Post
    Thanks, I know the ZJ can go for miles and miles.. Just still not too convinced that WJ's can do the same with some of the threads Ive seen on the jeep forums recently.

    Im just starting to get worried about the mileage. Otherwise it runs great.

    I drained the coolant,changed the thermostat and put a new fan relay in after I started overheating this summer.

    Otherwise its been great and I get 20mpg from it just wondering what things I should address and look at now to ensure its going to continue to last.

    I have a mild tap/knock at first startup on cold mornings. I have a rusty rear panel near the driver rear door (im told this is a 3 panel design with the middle rusting so my sand and spray technique that Im about to preform isn't going to work). Seems to shift fine, but I can tell the tranny hates life in the stop and go in the mornings with all the shifting from 1st to 2nd and back to 1st.
    I see what your saying but...

    Would you rather pay $500-$1000, in some cases even less, to maintain and repair an older vehicle, on an annual basis?

    Or pay, likely, at least $200 a month for a new car loan, ( + increased insurance premium) or maybe $100-150 for a used car.

    Unless you are looking for absolute reliability, I would stick with the WJ. Yeah there are going to be some bumps in the road, where you might have to pay for this or that, aside from regular maintenance. In the long run I think your better off with the this WJ.
    1999 WJ I6/56,000/ 4" Tera Flex / 265/70/16 AT2's/ IRO X Sway bar links/
    Bilstein 5100's / Tenneco Dual Stabilizer Kit / IRO Ad Track Bar/ Thrush Glass Pack / Air Raid Short Ram / Addco Rear /Kenwood Speakers / Alpine Head Unit /

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    Another ZJ owner, mine is a 96, driven daily, almost 248000. no major problems ever. I too think the WJ and ZJ 4.0's are too similar to not be included in your survey.
    96 Grand Cherokee, 4.0 4x4 280000 miles daily driver. Looks, runs and drives like a brand new one. Take that Honda and Toyota
    79 L-82 4 spd Corvette. Matching numbers, built 350. Black w/ red interior show car
    70 Chevy C-10, shortbed stepside. Built 6cyl, 3spd, parts chaser. Primer and rust ugly Sanford and Son special.

  9. #9

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    My '02 hit 100k miles about two months ago. Sitting at 102k now. I've had the blend door and window motor issues and it's currently got a coolant leak I've pretty much decided is coming from the thermostat housing (easy enough fix) and I've got OME HD coils on order as the front coils are sagging pretty bad, not to mention my isolators are pancakes (new set sitting in the garage waiting on coils to get here).

    Powertrain-wise, it's been solid as a rock so far...

    2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
    K&N Drop In - OME HD Coils
    265/65r17 Nitto Terra Grapplers
    Front receiver hitch - Warn M8000 winch - Cepek 130 watt lights
    Home made light bar - Hella 500s
    Plasti-Dip'd grille and rock rails

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Screamin_99 View Post
    ) im now sitting pretty at 137k about a year later, thinking about having the trans serviced just for giggles.
    Quote Originally Posted by dp91990 View Post
    4.0 WJ's and 4.0 ZJ's are EXTREMELY similar, powertrain-wise. The main difference is the switch from the distributor-system to COP. Other than that, the innards of the engines are basically the same, aside from small tweaks (ex: piston skirt issue). Transfer cases are easy to fix, as well. Both of our 4.0L WJ's are around 115,000 to 125,000, and we have no doubts that we could at least double their mileage. Realistically, as long as you are up to date on your preventative maintenance, the powertrain should be good to go.

    You neglected to mention how many miles are on your WJ. And remember, a WK is not a fool-proof Jeep. They have as many (if not more) issues. For simplicity's sake, I would stick with the WJ and repair as needed.
    I did, just don't think you caught it.. see above.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1999WJ I6 View Post
    I see what your saying but...

    Would you rather pay $500-$1000, in some cases even less, to maintain and repair an older vehicle, on an annual basis?

    Or pay, likely, at least $200 a month for a new car loan, ( + increased insurance premium) or maybe $100-150 for a used car.

    Unless you are looking for absolute reliability, I would stick with the WJ. Yeah there are going to be some bumps in the road, where you might have to pay for this or that, aside from regular maintenance. In the long run I think your better off with the this WJ.
    I don't have a fallback so if this thing goes down, im SOL. IDK, depends on what we are talking about with "maintain" I figure if a motor goes the price to replace would be more than what I even paid for my jeep (5800.00) And then I also have to go back to the fact that the rear door hump is rusting out. (see my thread on that for pics) The under side of my jeep looks great from the T-Case back so its odd to see that this is rusting so bad in this spot.


    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    Another ZJ owner, mine is a 96, driven daily, almost 248000. no major problems ever. I too think the WJ and ZJ 4.0's are too similar to not be included in your survey.
    Thanks, I just never hear of ZJs having piston skirt issues. I seem to remember somewhere someone saying that the WJ models effected were 99-01 but I wasn't sure.
    2003 WJ - 4.0 and Selec-Trac

  11. #11
    4 Litres of Fury trail rated's Avatar
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    I have 240K miles and almost all mechanical parts are original. The only part that I replaced was the transfer case. I had the 247 in there from the factory but the output bearing failed at around 190K miles. I couldn't find a 247 for a 4.0 anywhere so I simply swapped in a 242, which I actually like better.

    IMHO, how you service and drive your vehicle plays a very large part in how long parts will last.

    Piston skirts? I have only heard of them breaking during the winter. I do agree that there is a design flaw, but it seems to me that the problem only occurs to people who do not drive their cars gently until the engine warms up.

    Transmission issues? Use the correct fluid, turn OD off when driving in traffic or mountain ranges, stop before shifting from reverse to drive, and remember to use the parking brake.

    Certainly, there are parts like window regulators and blend doors, which will fail no matter what you do, but most major mechanical issues can be avoided with proper driving practices and maintenance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Screamin_99 View Post
    Thanks, I just never hear of ZJs having piston skirt issues. I seem to remember somewhere someone saying that the WJ models effected were 99-01 but I wasn't sure.
    All 4.0L engines manufactured from 1996-2006 have moly coated pistons. These are the ones that are prone to breakage.
    |2001 WJ|4,0L|42RE|NV 242|380000 km|ECE Compliant|
    Внедорожник для Экспедиций и Приключений

  12. #12

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    The early WJ's had a bad piston skirt set up in the 4.0, your 2003 is past that issue so the last thing to go on that thing will probably be the engine. Lots and lots of WJs are well past the 200k mark if you read some of the longevity threads that have been posted.

    That said, it's an aging Jeep it's going to break once in a while. It's the 42re tranny that's most likely to crap out on you (for high dollar items) but there's nothing on the Jeep that can't be fixed. You just need to decide how you want to play it out. I wouldn't mind a WK either but love my WJ so I'm holding.

  13. #13

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    170k on my 93 4.0

  14. #14
    Oh she's a gold digger. PAFirefighter11's Avatar
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    I have a ZJ currently, but I currently have 211k on my 4.0L. Slight knock and very minor trans slip from 1-2, but no big deal *knock on wood*. Had another 4.0L (XJ) with 232k when I sold it. Ran great. All four 4.0L's I've had were over 135,000 miles when I purchased 'em.
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    -98 ZJ Limited - 5.9L, MH1 Projector HID retrofit
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    My 2000 I6 has 133000 and I love it more the longer I have it. The only thing that annoys me sometimes is that dieselly noise. Otherwise just maintain it as best I can and generally just try to make it better. Actually ran like crap when I first bought it compared to how shes purring now. As far as piston skirt, if something goes then time to upgrade that component. Would love to try a stroker engine, if the opprotunity arose. Just enjoy it and don't worry so much. My fiance has a 07 Laredo and even though its newer and tighter, no way would I trade hers for mine. J.

  16. #16
    4 Litres of Fury trail rated's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KayCeeJeep View Post
    The early WJ's had a bad piston skirt set up in the 4.0, your 2003 is past that issue so the last thing to go on that thing will probably be the engine.
    You must be thinking about the cylinder head issues that some 1999-2000 4.0L engines had. Chrysler did absolutely nothing about the piston skirts.
    |2001 WJ|4,0L|42RE|NV 242|380000 km|ECE Compliant|
    Внедорожник для Экспедиций и Приключений

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    I'll let my signature speak for itself..but I do need to update one of them, as it just turned 250,000 miles and that's about it.

    The second one just hit 114,000 but I got it recently at 108,000 and have all the service records, so far, the tranny is fine, all systems are a go on it, fingers crossed.
    ** 1999 GCL, 4.0, automatic transmission, RWD, purchased at 42,000, now at original 281,100 miles (08-2014), overall runs good. Original tranny rebuilt at 231K, still on original alternator and starter and engine (fingers crossed).

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by trail rated View Post
    You must be thinking about the cylinder head issues that some 1999-2000 4.0L engines had. Chrysler did absolutely nothing about the piston skirts.
    I forgot about the head issue (mine's an 04 so not really pertinent to me) but I was thinking of the skirts. I had read somewhere they changed those after the 01 models. Now I don't know where I saw that, apparently it wasn't good information anyway.

  19. #19
    the logical one fixer5000's Avatar
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    i had a 99 that ate a skirt at 163000 and then had a 2000 motor installed that ate one at approx 100000. i traded the beast for a 4.0 toyota truck. i was done after two engine failures. still have a 98 with 160000 and its all good . just stay away from the 99 and 2000 yr 4.0s and youll be not worrying when itll happen to you too
    99 grand cherokee...mine...gone... now its a 2011 toyota tacoma sport... double cab longbed 4.0 and the are cap to match... im loving it !

    98 grand cherokee...wifes
    nothing special just jeeps.....

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    my jeeps gone. two engines were just too much to handle. now i got me a toyota lets see how long that lasts

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    I bought my plain jane '04 Laredo 4.0 in April of 2008 with 51k on it. Paid $12,800. Traded it last month with 95k on the clock for a new Subaru Legacy.

    I had only minor problems but they were adding up to a point where I couldn't trust it anymore. Everytime I'd fix something, another thing would go wrong - and they were getting more and more serious. I also had a bad gut feeling about the transmission. I have no regrets.
    2004 WJ Laredo 4.0 - 1996 ZJ Laredo 5.2 - 1967 VW Karmann Ghia

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