Jeep Cherokee XJ
|Also called||Jeep Wagoneer (1984-1990) Beijing-Jeep BJ 2021 (4WD)Beijing-Jeep BJ 7250 (2WD)|
|Production||1984–2001 (USA) 1984–2005 (China) 1987–2001 (Venezuela) 1996–2000 (Argentina) 1992–1997 (Egypt)|
|Body and chassis|
|Layout||Front-engine, rear-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive|
|Wheelbase||101.4 in (2,576 mm)|
|Length||1987-1990: 165.3 in (4,199 mm) 1991-93: 168.8 in (4,288 mm) 1994-96: 166.9 in (4,239 mm) 1997-2001: 167.5 in (4,255 mm)|
|Width||1987-1993: 70.5 in (1,791 mm) 1994-96: 67.7 in (1,720 mm) 1997-99: 67.9 in (1,725 mm) 2000-01: 69.4 in (1,763 mm)|
|Height||1987-88 2WD: 63.4 in (1,610 mm) 1987–1993: 63.3 in (1,608 mm) 1994–99 2WD: 63.9 in (1,623 mm) 1994-2001 4WD: 64.0 in (1,626 mm) 2000–01 2WD: 63.8 in (1,621 mm)|
|Curb weight||3,357 lb (1,523 kg) (approx.)|
The Jeep Cherokee (XJ) is a unibody (monocoque) compact SUV that was developed and produced by the Jeep division of American Motors, and continued to be built and marketed by Chrysler after 1987. It shared the name of the original full-size SJ model, but without a body-on-frame chassis, and set the stage for the modern sport utility vehicle (SUV). The XJ's innovative appearance and sales popularity spawned important imitators as other automakers began to notice that this model began replacing regular cars. It was built in Toledo, Ohio, in Beijing, China, in Ferreyra, Argentina, and in Valencia, Venezuela. The XJ provided the mechanical basis for the MJ-series Jeep Comanche pickup truck.
The XJ Jeep has been described as one of the 20 greatest cars of all time, and "possibly the best SUV shape of all time, it is the paradigmatic model to which other designers have since aspired".
Due to its toughness and reliability, the XJ was also selected in 2011 as one of "10 cars that refuse to die" by Kiplinger.
Designs of the compact-size XJ Cherokee date back to 1978 when a team of American Motors (AMC) and Renault engineers drew several sketches. Clay models were based on the then current full-size SJ Cherokee. Early sketches of the XJ Cherokee had a European influence, and most of the styling cues were done by AMC engineers under the direction of Richard A. Teague, Vice President of Design.
Noticing that General Motors was developing a new two-door S-10-based Blazer, AMC decided to develop an entirely new four-door model in addition to a two-door version. American Motors' Vice President of Engineering, Roy Lunn, designed what is known as the Quadra-Link suspension that limited rollovers. Renault's François Castaing developed the drivetrain using a much smaller engine than normally found in 4WD vehicles and reduced the weight of the new model. It is described "as the first small crossover SUV in the U.S.," with "plenty of the Jeep toughness (and a straight-6 engine) built in."
Although the XJ models were just introduced, AMC quickly began development its successor. To compete against its much larger rivals, the smallest U.S. automaker created a business process that is now known as product lifecycle management (PLM) to speed up its product development process.By 1985, development and engineering was based on computer-aided design (CAD) software systems while new systems stored all drawings and documents in a central database.The pioneering PLM was so effective that after Chrysler purchased AMC in 1987, it expanded the system throughout its own enterprise.
The compact Jeep was selected by Robert Cumberford of Automobile magazine as a "masterpiece" design and a paradigmatic model that was copied by other automakers. It became "a perfect blend of sport and utility in a four-wheel-drive vehicle."
The XJ Cherokee introduced for the 1984 model year was the first Jeep with a ladder-boxed chassis integrated into a single monocoque unit rather than the traditional separate body-on-frame construction. The design was rigid and sturdy, "yet wonderfully lightweight, [the] Uniframe permitted outstanding performance even with AMC's new 2.5-liter/150-cubic-inch four-cylinder engine."
Both two- and four-door versions of the XJ Cherokee were offered throughout its lifetime, each having exactly the same track and wheelbase measurements. Two-door models, however, received longer doors and front seats that could fold forward to assist in rear passenger entry and exit. This was in addition to extended-length rear windows that did not open, although an optional rear vent window was available on some models.
A variation on the Cherokee from 1984 through 1990 was the Jeep Wagoneer. These were unrelated to the similarly named full-sized Grand Wagoneer models that had carried the Wagoneer name before this point. The compact XJ Wagoneer was available in two trim levels: the "Wagoneer" and the "Wagoneer Limited". Both Wagoneers were distinguished from the Cherokee models by their two vertically stacked low and high beam headights with front turn signals moved behind the grille. The Wagoneer Limited came with vinyl wood trim on the sides and leather seats embossed with "Limited."
This version was the first to be sold in Europe; it was launched in 1992 in some markets, 1993 for the United Kingdom. Early versions had the 4.0 L (242 CID) inline six-cylinder engine only; the 2.5 L (150 CID) engine did not arrive in Europe until 1995. The XJ firewall was notched to accommodate the longer 4.0L engine.
In mid-1985, a two-wheel-drive version of the Cherokee was added to the lineup. This marked the first time any Jeep product was offered with two-wheel drive since 1967, and was done in the hopes of attracting a few more buyers who did not need (or want to pay for) four-wheel drive. When the XJ Cherokee-based Comanche (MJ) truck was introduced, it was also available in two- and four-wheel drive. The new two-wheel-drive models shared the front suspension with four-wheel-drive models. Jeep simply used a single axle tube from hub to hub with no differential between, resulting in an inexpensive front suspension.
For 1996, partially to comply with new U.S. OBD-II exhaust and evaporative emissions regulations, the engine management system was upgraded to Chrysler's then-new "JTEC" PCM. This added the side benefits of improving reliability and easing diagnostics.
American Motors's compact XJ Cherokee was to be replaced by a new and larger model known as the ZJ (later named the Jeep Grand Cherokee when introduced in 1993) that was under development by AMC. However, the smaller model's continuing popularity caused Chrysler executives to rethink this decision, and while the ZJ models were introduced in 1993, the XJ models were retained until 2001. The Jeep XJ has remained a popular choice by off-roading enthusiasts due to its potent off-roading capability in stock form. Its popularity has resulted in strong ongoing aftermarket support in the form of a wide variety of products.
After 13 years of production, 1997 saw the Cherokee receive updated exterior and interior styling. Both the two- and four-door bodies remained in production, receiving a steel liftgate (replacing the fiberglass one used previously), restyled taillights, additional plastic molding along the doors, as well as a new front header panel that featured more aerodynamic styling.
The interior was similarly updated with an all-new design and instruments, and a stiffer unibody frame brought improvements to noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) measurements. Also contributing to NVH improvements were new door seals that reduced wind noise at higher speeds.
In the middle of the 1999 model year, vehicles with the 4.0 liter (242 CID) engine received a revised intake manifold. This was done to help counteract smaller exhaust porting on the latest casting of cylinder heads, which was done to meet more stringent emissions control laws. Both the four- and six-cylinder engines were offered through the 2000 model year, though only the straight-six was available in 2001. For the 2000 and 2001 model years, all six-cylinder XJs received a distributorless ignition system using coil-on-plug ignition replacing the 'traditional' system previously used; coupled with better exhaust porting and the newer intake manifolds, this gave a minor increase in power over the previous models. Transmission, axle, and transfer case choices were carried over from the previous models.
However, major changes were underway with a new executive, Wolfgang Bernhard, who was known as a "cost-slasher" nicknamed "whirlwind", came from Mercedes-Benz to turn around Chrysler. "One of the first moves Bernhard made when he came to Chrysler in 2000 was to help kill the Jeep Cherokee, an aging, somewhat bland SUV." Thus, the (XJ) Cherokee line was replaced in 2002 by the Jeep Liberty (KJ), although it is called the "Cherokee" in most foreign markets. The Cherokee (XJ) remains a popular vehicle among off-roading enthusiasts.
When (XJ) Cherokee production ended in mid-2001, the portion of the Toledo South Assembly Plant devoted to its production was torn down.
All the transfer cases used on the Cherokee were chain driven with aluminium housings. Command-Trac was standard on XJ models built with 4WD.
The Jeep XJ utilizes front and rear solid (live) axles as opposed to independent front and/or rear axles. This configuration allows the XJ to have superior off-road capability and performance at the expense of some on-road comfort and driveability. Mid-1985 and later two-wheel drive models used the same basic suspension with a single tube connecting axle ends with no differential.
The Jeep XJ utilizes a coil spring front suspension with a leaf spring rear suspension.
The Quadra-Link front suspension design locates the axle with four leading control arms to control longitudinal movement and rotation about the lateral axis (drive and braking reaction), two above the axle and two below it. A panhard rod, also referred to as a track bar, is used to locate the axle laterally. Two coil springs are seated on top of the axle housing as well as two gas-charged shock absorbers. The suspension used on vehicles with the optional UpCountry Package provided one inch of lift over the standard suspension. A sway bar is utilized to reduce body roll in turns.
The XJ uses a leaf spring rear suspension. Each leaf pack contains four leaf springs with a fixed eye at the front of the spring and a compression-style shackle at the rear of the spring. Two gas-charged shock absorbers are also used, along with a mild anti-sway/anti-roll bar. The suspension used on vehicles with the optional UpCountry Package did not employ the rear anti-sway/anti-roll bar and provided one inch of lift over the standard suspension.