Jeep not reliable? - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2002, 09:05 AM
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Jeep not reliable?

I think a lot of people on this board refer to the whole Jeep family as "not reliable", among other negative things (stiff, not very safe, etc.)
After talking to the local DC importer, a good friend of mine, who used to live in the States, he told me that there's a "slight" misunderstanding to that so common oppinion. All the Jeeps are reliable. They'll run and run, and run again. They'll go through water, snow, mud, ice, dirt, over the rocks...(you name it)...and they'll still run. That is, for the factory setup. The stock one. Now, according to his experience, when you start adding things, building it up, it comes to work under conditions that it wasn't exacly ment to. Not that upgrading is a bad thing to do - just it needs to be done with a lot of head. Like, if you put some serious meats, it's not enough just to lift the rig to fit bigger tires - all the joints suffer, the diff, T/C... a lot of parts suffer more 'cos they were created with (for example) 31s in mind, not 36s or bigger. And missing to upgrade ANY of the parts related will result, sooner or later, in a failure.
He said one should upgrade EVERYTHING when switching to something that is not factory default. Even the metal the rig is made of, the frame... they're made with specific forces in mind, and as thin as possible, but operational. Adding additional stress will result in various malfunctions, sooner or later.
And the fact is, that even if we do all the upgrades not changing all that is necessary, those poor Jeeps still work, long after they'd surposed to break. Why? 'Cuz they're so darn tuff. Good. Excellent. Kings. (please add as necessary).

Why I wrote this post, anyway? I guess 'cos I hate seeing some convincing others that "Jeep is all but reliable". It is, more than one could ever immagine. Just stop for a second and give a quick look at all the abuse they're getting... What other vehicle would last? Try putting double-weight tire & rims on any other vehicle-car you see around, and watch for it's axles blow. On the street. And then put it off-road. Run it (locked) over some rocks - nothing serious, some moderate trail (2+)?
No way.

I guess it's not because of good publicity that every off-road vehicle )or SUV, for that matter) around the world is addressed as "Jeep", even if it's a Toy, Mitsubishi, or any other. He!!, the new Porsche (dunno it's code-name) was presented in local newspapers as "ultimate Jeep".
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2002, 09:15 AM
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Re: Jeep not reliable?

Keep in mind also that most of the trucks that give the "JEEP" a bad rap are probably used trucks, that havent been properly cared for and abused!

Most of us dont have the luxury of buying a pristine new TJ just to start modifying it for offroad play.

so we are stuck with 20 year old, barely working features, previous owner "modifications", and back in the AMC days some not so hot initial build quality.


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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2002, 10:03 AM
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Re: Jeep not reliable?

I own a 1995 Ford Ranger 4x4. It's a standard cab with the long bed. It has the 4cyl engine and a manual 5 speed tranny. I bought it in 1996 from the dealer with 46 miles on it. It now has nearly 80,000. I've religiously changed the oil every 3000 miles (using only full synthetic since the break in period) and greasing everything greasable. Until I bought first the high-boy then the jeep, it was my primary wheeling rig for several years. Now it's been a good rig, except for one thing: the front end keeps having problems. It all started when I found water in the front diff. Why was there water in the front diff? Because Ford used a 2" tall vent hose without a check valve in it for both diffs! (Both diffs now have far longer vents with check valves--first thing I did to my jeep when I got it too!) Since then, I've gone through two sets of front wheel bearings, a couple of front end seals, the CV joint on the front driveline and most recently upper and lower ball joints. As I've gone along, I've replaced the factory non-greasable parts with aftermarket greaseable ones (non greasable ball joints was NOT one of Fords better ideas!) The rig still looks brand new and in virtually all other respects been 100% reliable. Starts excellent in cold weather for example, and has--get this--the original headlight bulbs! Does all that front end trouble (since it was two years old, I've been doing SOMETHING to the front end every year) mean it's a bad rig or unreliable? No. It does mean that I've done stuff with it that Ford never intended (water crossings where you are pushing water with the blue oval!) and it didn't like it. I don't think jeeps are any more unreliable than any other rig. We just put them through stuff we'd never dream of doing with another rig!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2002, 10:12 AM
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Re: Jeep not reliable?

You bring up a good point about use of aftermarket parts. As I have gradually added things and built my jeep I've had occasion to use some aftermarket parts. This board has been instrumental in helping me to choose reliable aftermarket parts. Even so, the blending of aftermarket parts with stock jeep parts is an art.

I had an old 69 commando for 10 years. I rebuilt the 225 V6, added a full cage, dana 44 rear from a later commando, and custom 3" lift springs. Other than that it was mostly stock. That jeep always ran (mayby not perfectly, but it always ran). I never got stranded anywhere. I even drove it from San Diego to Philadelphia at 60 mph with no troubles.

My "new" jeep is an 82 CJ. I sold the commando and bought it so I could would have an easier platform to build from.(PS, AC, and more after market part availability).

Now after 3 years of ownership and lots of changes (360v8, gears, AGR box/pump, MSD ignition, Be Cool radiator etc.)

I find that the jeep works pretty well offroad, but it has been a challenge to keep it "reliable" for daily driving. Part of it is due to the harder use, but I've also noticed that often when I add an aftermarket part (recently the AGR box/pump) there are unexpected headaches associated.

For example, when I installed the Be Cool Radiator, I had to re-route the auto trans lines, ditch the shroud, get a new lower radiator hose (the outlet of the radiator was to big). Thankfully the radiator is worked well.

On the other hand, when I did the 360 conversion I used nearly all factory jeep parts (except the MORE mounts) and it went pretty smooth.

It seems like any time I complete a project, it takes some driving in various conditions to see what problems may develop.

Now I do my best to find a factory jeep part that meets my needs before I head to the aftermarket.

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