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97 sport


NAXJA Forum User
Charlotte NC
i am looking into buying a 97xj 4.0l 5 speed with 51000 miles. is there anything in particular i need to check for, where there any particular problems or recalls with 97s. i am also planning on puttins a 3-4 inch lift and run 31s - will there be any problems doing this, will i need a sye or will t-case lowering kit work

any input would be helpful and appericated
Not much to watch out for. '97's a good year (I may be biased... I own one as well). A lot of the choice parts come on them: high-pinion d30, Chrystler 8.25 rear, and of course the HO 4.0L. I also like the styling a bit better.
One thing about the later models though, they do tend to be susceptible to driveline vibes. Some get 'em with lift, some don't. It's generally considered the "right" thing to do to install an SYE to take pressure off the output bearings, though lots of folks do fine without 'em. I plan on putting one in when I lift mine.

thanks for the advise, if i decide to install sye what do i need to buy besides a new output shaft and drive shaft, are there other speciality parts. also is that something i can do my self without any speciality tools. i have lifted cherokees in the past by myself , but never messed with the driveshafts, t-cases, pinion angles, etc.
also appox. what is the cost

thanks for the help
On a '97......

Try lifting it without the SYE and see how it does. I have installed UC springs and air shocks on the rear of my '98, and unloaded and aired, it comes to a full 3" lift. NO vibes. So, this tells me that if you are careful (and not use shackles) if you duplicate the same pinion angle after lift as before lift you 'should' not create driveline vibes.

If you want the better 8.25 make sure the XJ you are looking at does not have ABS. If it does then it will have the D35.

Really make sure the Cherokee has not had severe accident damage. I played hell finding one with all original paint.

'97 is new enough to where you could swap intakes to the '99+ style that does flow better without all the power str pump mounting problems of earlier years.
FJH97XJ said:
I really don't think the intake is that much better flowing in the '97 than the '99+. If you put an air tube & after market exhaust you will be fine as far as HP & torque.
My theory is if you're going to swap the exhaust for a equal length header system, why not swap the intake manifold to one with equal length runners at the same time?

Well, i keep hearing this from some. All i know, it helped to turn my '98 into a rev-monster after complimented with a very good exh system. However, i also got to use it after just that change- was for sure waaaay more responsive 2000 rpm and up, and smoother too. I would say for sure if going to open the exhaust as i did and other mods, the added benefits of that amazingly better intake manifold will only become more obvious. As a matter of fact, i almost cannot floor the accelerator in first gear anymore- it just revs too fast...cannot effectively control it. If you want to consider another aspect of that intake, look at the seriously generous plenum below the T/B- it has got to be better at allowing the turn of airflow. Don't see any reason for a T/B spacer on this.
Judd, was it a direct swap? I'm considering this upgrade to my 97 when I do the exhuast also. Are all the sensor and whatever else in the same locations? Anything else I should know about?