There's not really a KJ replacement

Discussion in 'KJ General Discussion' started by Duster, Jan 27, 2021.

  1. Duster

    Duster Full Access Member

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    So recently I got a bad scare on my KJ. As I thought about the worst at the time, I looked around and realized there is not much of a good replacement for the KJ's and I really didn't find many for sale either.

    Am I just being biased here? Or do you guys feel the same way looking around?

    These are decent Jeeps, go pretty good, and so far any shortcomings I have found have been kinda eased due to the simplicity of them. I mean it doesn't get a whole lot better. These are fairly easy to work on in comparison to other vehicles.

    Seems like you gotta go over to a Wrangler (lot more pricey) or step down to a mom SUV that is a lot more complex unless you switch to a much longer crew cab pickup.

    Just wondering what other's thoughts are on this? Wondering also if I am being biased and overlooking some other comparable rides.
     
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  2. LibertyTC

    LibertyTC Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    You don't have to convince me, kj's are good solid jeeps.
    I think everyone should buy Wranglers and leave more kj's for us.
    Off road, & with our comfortable independent front suspension, I like to air down and leave the wrangkers shaking in my dust anyways.
    I so wish we could run 35's though.
     
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  3. Lardog

    Lardog New Member

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    Same thoughts here. These are excellent rides and easy to work on. Plenty of spare parts and loads of coverage here and online all over the place. I even bought the shop manuals for cheap from a going out of business dealer. Anything new costs too much (read:Wrangler) and I do not like working on the tricked out with electronic toys new vehicles. I see a number of KJ's for sale used from time to time. My wife wants one for herself when her current ride goes belly up in the future. Hopefully a '04 like mine. The older Cherokee XJ's seem to have a loyal following, too. Good condition examples seem to fetch a pretty high price.
     
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  4. mercdudecbr600

    mercdudecbr600 Full Access Member

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    IMO, the only other possible replacement would be a 2nd generation GC. Mayyyyybeeee a 3rd generation GC.
     
  5. Jo6pak

    Jo6pak Full Access Member

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    My observations over the past dozen or so years is that the Subarus (Crosstrek, Outback, Forester) are the new go-to "light duty Jeeplike vehicles"

    Years ago when i pulled into Parks, hiking trails, turnouts, etc. it would be XJs, KJs, 4-Runners, Isuzu Troopers, and a Wrangler here and there.
    Now those same places are nearly wall-to-wall Subis with a KL tossed in here and there. Take that is good, bad, or ugly; but it's been my experience.

    Heck, I am even considering a CrossTrek to replace the WK2 when the time comes

    (Yes, I know about the dark side and all that):D
     
  6. JeepJeepster

    JeepJeepster Full Access Member

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    I certainly think the WK is as good as the KJ but they are quite a bit bigger. The WK's are almost as old as the KJ's now though.
     
  7. mercdudecbr600

    mercdudecbr600 Full Access Member

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    I think it depends on which part of the country you're in and what sort of facility you're visiting... there is a distinct cultural difference between the hunter/farmer backcountry folks and the outdoor recreational folks. The former definitely uses and depends on their 4wd vehicle a lot, the latter is more about maintaining access to trails/parks while getting reasonable mileage. So the former will use jeeps and more likely domestic trucks and the later most likely subarus and/or a AWD CUV. The latter group will most likely be the ones packed into the parking lots of parks and trailheads, the former is probably out on a OHV trail or blazing their own trail. I suppose the difference is roughness of access to your interest and the rougher it is, the more you'll see jeeps/trucks. Even subarus can't handle rough roads that a stock KJ would easily traverse.

    The liberty was the true crossover between the two, size of a CUV with the ability of a true 4wd.
     
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  8. Jo6pak

    Jo6pak Full Access Member

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    ^ That is absolutely spot on.

    Although I think you'd be surprised at the capability of those Subarus.

    I think except for a select few (well represented on this particular forum) most KJ buyers got one for snowy winters and an occasional camping trip or two-track trail. And that is where the other contenders have snuck into the mix with better on road handling, comfort and fuel economy

    But to the OPs point again, there isn't really any vehicles that fit the mold anymore, from any manufacturer, in any segment. Technology is quickly leaving the backyard builder and home garage modifiers in the past.
    Fancy 4wd systems are well beyond the lunchbox locker. 4-wheel IFS is difficult to affordably/lift over a mild boost. Small wheels wells preclude the fitting of bigger tires, and fancy aerodynamic bodywork nearly eliminates the possibility of adding recovery gear or winches
     
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  9. profdlp

    profdlp On The Ledge

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    I spend a lot of time on the road looking around wondering what I would go for if I couldn't have my KJ. Anything else I see is a compromise at best.
     
  10. JeepJeepster

    JeepJeepster Full Access Member

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    The wants of todays crowd have left the KJ behind, its just not possible to replace it anymore. The only vehicle that compares is the wrangler as far as aftermarket and drivetrain. What else can you buy a good locker or limited slip for? Or new gears? Or a lift? You cant buy those things for any modern SUV. Even a new Grand Cherokee
     
  11. HoosierJeeper

    HoosierJeeper Gold Supporter/Admin Staff Member Administrator

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    I like my Renegade TH as a modern replacement for the KJ. No, it's not as hardcore, but off road mine did everything at the Badlands the KJ does, sure the KJ would do more, but the Rene didn't disappoint at all. Gets almost double the MPG too and rides great on road, faster too. Good aftermarket support as well.
     
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  12. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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    So, nobody has mentioned the KK as a KJ replacement! o_O

    :D Had to throw that in the mix. I know the newest KK is already 9 years old now, and my ‘08 is a teenager! :eek:
     
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  13. mercdudecbr600

    mercdudecbr600 Full Access Member

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    Before I went to the KJ, I had a 'great' 01 Subaru Outback with the tow package and 5speed. It also came factory with a LSD rear diff along with 50/50 true AWD and locking center diff. I fell in love with that vehicle after coming home through Flagstaff during a severe snow storm where semi trucks were literally sliding down the highway and had to be pulled by tow trucks in full chains. With my summer tires I easily plowed through the snow and dodged 4wd trucks spinning. It was awesome. And then I got cocky and found myself one day stuck, nose down, in the snow on a highway shoulder... and my 'unstoppable' subie couldn't reverse out of trouble even with 2 tires on the pavement. I had to dig it out and put debris under the front tires and that's when I realized subie's (even the best like mine) have fairly easy to find off road limits. Another story... I had a great AWD volvo wagon and after driving through Oregon's wintery roads, I got to a parking lot with what seemed like a few inches of snow and got stuck in about 6 inches of snow, tires spinning. Only after a while was I able to get out. Point is, rather easily I found the max an AWD wagon (even with 9" of clearance) will reach, and it wasn't far. Those experiences are what moved me away from another AWD towards a true 4wd. The KJ, even in stock form, dominates the AWD crowd. But for most people, that AWD ability is all they'll ever need and that's what the manufactures are responding-to. For the rest of us, the only surviving true (old school) 4wd is the wrangler. And the resistance to change to something more high tech with that model shouldn't be surprising since Chrysler also has push road V8's roaring around like crazy: that's at least 60 year old tech. But hey, it works! Anyways, yes the KJ/KK (and 1st/2nd gen GC) were special and I'm planning to keep mine awhile. I really enjoy mechanically throwing the 4wd lever into different modes and seeing how my KJ responds. It's still, though, not nearly as hardcore as my father's 4wds even as late as the 80/90's. As a child I would watch him go out and lock the hubs and then throw the transfer case shifter into whatever gear he needed. For us, that happens as easily as a lever pull (at speed even). So convenient!
     
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  14. Duster

    Duster Full Access Member

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    I've only ever looked at one once. Seems like it was bigger in the back like the Nitro. I want to say I popped the hood and lost interest? I don't know if it's really that much harder to work on. But I don't remember it looking old school like the KJ under there.

    I should stop sometime and look at another KK, and make it a point to look at different years of Grand Cherokee I guess. I never really gave those an honest look. I just wrote them off as a mom suv and that might not be fair. I probably should look at some Dakota's too. Might find that some of this stuff shares a lot with the KJ, no idea.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
  15. Duster

    Duster Full Access Member

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    I guess what one person saying about buyers leaving the KJ behind is kinda true. Newer crowd is looking for electronic gadget cars, better ride on road, better gas mileage, or more comfort.

    I don't really care about that gadget stuff. Keyless entry and power windows is enough tech to suit me fine. I care more about form, function and simplicity.
     
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  16. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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    Same 3.7L V6, still easy to change plugs and air filter, still sucks trying to reach the oil filter, LOL. The biggest change under the hood is the washer fluid and coolant bottles are moved to the front over the radiator.
     
  17. sota

    sota Full Access Member

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    Stick, mechancial 4wd, v6 or better, no drive-by-wire, defeatable ABS/TCS/ESP (preferably without pulling fuses, but if I have to that's fine..)

    I almost have that in mine, and if I ever source an 06 for the right price, I think I will.
     
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  18. Duster

    Duster Full Access Member

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    Yeah I am betting that is what I remembered, tanks up front over the radiator.
     
  19. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll just keep picking up extra KJs ( from 02-05 ) , building them ( lifts/gears etc ) and putting them in the garage
    hoping I'll have enough to last me until I die in 20 years
     
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  20. turblediesel

    turblediesel memberable

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    Go for 30, you'll have enough KJs.
     
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