Friday, April 15, 2011

Why I am not considering a Jeep.

When I was working for the Grain company, I and another fellow were in charge of ordering company cars.  And one of the favorite cars was the Jeep Grand Cherokee.  The farther up the corporate ladder you were, the more options you could order.  But many folks wrote a check for the options that they wanted, when they didn't otherwise qualify because of their corporate position.

Mostly they ended up purchasing the cars at the end of the lease life anyway.  Usually two years.  They ordered another new what ever they always got, and bought the two year old one for mom at home.  So adding options and paying for them was no biggie as they would end up having the car for 4 years or sometimes 6 or more as the kids would be in line to get mom's at the end of her 2 years.

Now the reason I am telling you all of this is that we routinely replaced transmissions in a lot of these Jeeps.  They would begin to leave spots on the garage floor and then one day the oil would gush over and  that was the day the tow truck had to be ordered.  It seemed to happen right about 50 or 60,000 miles.  The company might own 20 or 30 of these SUV's at a time, so that gave us some extra experience that the average guy didn't get.  Of course we bought the cars at a couple of hundred under invoice too, and they were all leased thru a leasing company.

My CEO had one of the nicest Grand Grand Super Deluxe or what ever they called it.   And one year in the fall, it was right at freezing outside in Des Moines, and raining like cats and dogs.  An ice storm where the trees become so laden that they break down to the ground.  His Jeep became moisture soaked, where the inside of the vehicle was just dripping wet.  The heater didn't overcome the wet for some reason, and then the electrical system began to short out.  He had smoke and it quit running.

Some of us loyal employees had to go after him at one of the clients offices.  It was after dark and the rain kept coming.  We were using 4 wheel drive in the glaze.  The Jeep would start, but wouldn't run well enough to pull the car along.  Then it would buck and spit back into the intake manifold and then die.  He never got out of the parking lot.  It went to the local Jeep dealer on a tow truck hook.

It was at the dealer's garage for three days, before it would start again.  They never did understand what was wrong with the car.  But the CEO would not take the car back.  He switched to a Ford SUV after that.  We ended up selling the 6 month old car on the auction and took quite a loss on the cash out of the lease.

So it is from this experience that I have decided that a Jeep Grand whatever is not in the cards for us here in Kansas City.  I'm sure he must have had a bad engine controller or bad wiring or something, but the transmission problems seemed to be on every other car.

I just wanted to explain that my Jeep experience was founded on real vehicles and how we did with them, not just some attitude that I have decided to express out of the blue.

With that said, I would get a wrangler in a heart beat, especially if it had biiiiig tires and a stick shift.  But I would be ridding in it by myself!!! LOL.

I spent the day with the insurance adjuster looking at all of our damage on vehicles around here.  Then late in the afternoon, I was copying the tax returns to be filed.  I started to write the checks, but somehow got sidetracked.  Uggg.

Retired Rod


  1. In 2003 I bought a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd and it turned out to be the best vehicle I ever owned. I sold it when it had about 134k miles on it and I bought the truck & 5th wheel. I never had a transmission problem until I hit about 120,000 miles. I had to add transmission fluid every couple of months. My mechanic told me that since a rebuilt transmission for that model would be pricey, and I could buy a lot of transmission fluid in the meantime and still save money. It never got to where I had that much of a problem - I just had to add fluid more often. I'd love to have another Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd but the cost is a little more than what I want to pay right now, and the mpg is a little less than what I'd like, although certainly better than my diesel engine.

    BTW, it was also the most comfortable vehicle I've ever ridden in. I made numerous trips from NC to CA and from NC to NY and back, and I never felt tired from sitting too long, nor did I get a backache from sitting. I've never had a car like that!

  2. No brand loyalty at our house. My Honda Motorcycle comes from Japan & our Hyundai Santa Fe was made in Korea. Motor Home & Jeep were made in America. No complaints with any of them. Every manufacturer has their good & bad model years, recalls, etc. Who ever thought Toyota would have taken such a fall a couple years ago. Their reputation was number 1 for years. I've never bought into that Chevy's better than Ford or Dodge is better than Chevy mind set. They all have their good & bad years, their faults & their pluses. Overall though I am happy to see automotive 'quality control' has improved greatly over the years compared to what it used to be. Will probably never be perfect, but it's better now than what it was!!

  3. Donna had the small Jeep Cherokkee a 1999 with the straight six and stick shift, no power windows or anything fancy just an air conditioner, she put 200.00 miles on it and swears it was the best car she ever owned, when it came time to replace it they did make it antmore and she did't like the looks of the Liberty so she bought a ford Escape, to insult to injury, Ford didn't put a stick shift in their cars anymore so she had to go with an automatic, the escape has been a good car, but Donna will tell you she still lomngs for her jeep.Since we don't need a towable vehivle, Unless we go to a MH someday that will be the day we buy another jeep. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna...

  4. I understand your hesitation with Jeeps but as you know Brenda has an 07 with the Mercedes Diesel that has been a great vehicle. What you don't know is that in my family we are like honey bees and appear to cluster on vehicles that serve us well. For years we had Diesel Jetta's but once we ventured off to the Jeep world others followed. My brother and my son both acquired 08's with the Diesel and just recently my daughter and her husband acquired a 2011. No reported issues with any of them as yet, but as a life long Ford guy driving a Chrysler(Jeep) and a Chevy I will be sure to notice if I see any in the future.

    I am betting the Lincoln version of the Ford Edge will tow though.

  5. Interesting perspective on the Jeep. I do know that the Dodge Minivans have a very bad reputation for transmission failures. That's one of the main reasons we bought a Honda Odyssey.

  6. So I must add this as a comment, but probably no one will come back to see it. We had a number of the straight Cherokees with the inline 6 engines and never...Never had a moments problems with them!!!! Many of our people had very tearful moments when they learned that Chrysler had cancelled production of their beloved Cherokee. So I agree that if you could get one of those now it would go forever.

    And JB, I know you have the diesel in your Jeep, but we can't buy a diesel down here in the US. They aren't clean enough to pass the rules from our EPA. Its the same deal with the diesel BMW, they sell like hotcakes over in Europe, but can't be sold in the US because of the EPA.

    Doesn't it just figure?

  7. No matter what anyone says, you have to go with your gut feelings. After all it is you that will be buying it and driving it.

  8. I loved my black Wrangler, but its transmission went out. I also documented 15 visits to the dealer for other issues related to the emission control system, and we gave up on it after only 4 years. I've been driving a Liberty since then - and at 50,000 miles have had ZERO problems. I hope it lasts for many years, but I do miss my Wrangler.


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