1988 Jeep Cherokee XJ 4.0 from Estonia


A powerful and versatile all-round vehicle that is a joy to drive anywhere


Apart from normal wear and tear, such as brake pads, drums, spark plugs, gaskets here and there, my major repairs include replacement of body sill channels (the roads here are heavily salted in winter causing rust damage), replacement of engine water pump, and a new crankshaft sensor (the only thing that ever left me stranded).

Paint quality is poor. The top coat is damaged in many parts; not chipping or peeling, it just disappears in patches, mostly on the bonnet and roof most exposed to sun.

Because of the monocoque structure, the body bends if off-roading, potentially causing the windscreen to crack.

General Comments:

The XJ must be one of the most versatile vehicles ever built. Even in stock configuration, it goes everywhere I dare to take it. After off-roading, you only need to drive through a car wash and you're ready to go to the theatre. Thanks to the engine's enormous torque, 126 kW power, light overall weight and snappy transmission, overtaking on the highway is child's play.

Now in its 27th year, the truck is like an old leather jacket — a bit worn, but a joy to wear (drive). It will never be for sale.

(BTW, the reason I answer 'no' to the question 'Would you buy another car from this manufacturer?' is that after the XJ, Jeep quality has gone down. But another XJ — any time.)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th April, 2015

1988 Jeep Cherokee Pioneer 4.0L from North America


I absolutely love my Jeep, and will keep it forever!


I've replaced the water pump 4 or 5 times since 1988.

The heater fan has been replaced twice.

One window handle broke off.

The thermostat has been replaced twice.

The vinyl part of the drivers seat is worn, torn & scratchy.

The lock on the glove box is broken.

The rear windshield wiper has been "fixed" and now makes a screaming noise when it's turned on.

When I lived in a rainy area of Oregon, the Jeep was not in a garage and did not start many times due to moisture in the? Can't remember what the problem was.

General Comments:

When I bought this Jeep in October 1988, it had only 7 miles on it and I paid a total of $19,000 (with the finance charge etc.). It now has 367000 miles and still runs like a champ! I sure did get my money's worth from this vehicle!

I have not had the engine overhauled, and it runs beautifully!

I have never had transmission problems in 23 years -- and it's an automatic!

My Jeep and I are on the Daimler-Chrysler Wall of Fame in their main headquarters for reaching close to 200,000 miles. The Vice President called me and asked me for a photo & brief story and sent me gifts! Soon I will be contacting Chrysler Corp. to tell them about my Jeep reaching 400,000 miles!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th April, 2011

1988 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4.0 straight 6 from North America


My truck's bigger than your truck


The starter/ignition pulley has broken.

Minor coolant system problems.

The headlamp switch has shorted out.

General Comments:

The '88 model Cherokee is rock solid.

It has the advantages of being a dependable work horse for any on-site contractor (plus it can tote your toys).

Yet it also serves well to make any teenage girl confident behind the wheel.

If you're an off road junkie, lookin' for kicks, or a concerned parent browsing for your child's first car, an 88' Jeep Cherokee won't let you down.

NOTE: 1988 was the last year GM owned Jeep.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th October, 2010

1988 Jeep Cherokee Chief 4.0L from North America


Not worth the money, find a newer or older year!!!


First the ignition coil gave up; it had a crack in its rubber epoxy coating on the underside that allowed moisture to penetrate the internal parts, thus causing it to malfunction.

Then the master cylinder for the clutch gave up, leaking on top of the fuse box! This was great, it fried all my fuses! Then the power booster for the braking gave out!

I replaced the booster & promptly replaced all brake lines, cylinders, & calipers.

Next was my left rear internal seal; I had both sides replaced.

The header gasket gave up, & the exhaust was shot; over $500 to fix that!

The biggest of all was the problem with the coolant overflow bottle, it kept exploding, I went through 4 bottles before I reverse engineered the problem! I had to get rid of it altogether! The closed coolant system was a complete failure, a very bad design indeed!

However, the hardest & most common problem, & the worst design Jeep had ever chose, had to be the 5 speed transmission they chose for the 1988, the slave cylinder gave up! All the u-joints shot! The clutch was very worn indeed!

Not to mention after all this, the under side of the body is rusting so badly it's no longer worth any money!

General Comments:

I love my Jeeps, but it takes one to know one! They both handled & drove great for years, but I think it's time for an upgrade! Though my 1988 Jeep truck is getting a complete rebuild with all newer equipment!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th September, 2010

21st Sep 2010, 17:18

Let's see, you buy a vehicle with 190K on it and then put another 90K on it, and you complain about having to do some maintenance?

11th Jan 2013, 01:35

I have two 1988 Cherokee's, one base trim, and the other a Laredo. Both have the 5-speed manual, and inline 6 4.0L engines, and both are incredibly reliable. They sit at 336,000 miles, and 113,000 miles. All you have to do is maintain them, and they go forever, and anywhere.

8th May 2014, 10:09

To avoid the bottle exploding, install a radiator from a 91 model and it has the tank to put coolant/water right into it. My 88 Cherokee has 243000 miles on it and still going strong.

22nd Feb 2015, 09:47

Just got my 88 Cherokee last month and it has a new water pump and new high temp thermostat, but the radiator overflow sometimes likes to spew coolant all over my bay. You say replacing the radiator with one from a 91 will fix this? Are there any modifications that will need to be done to accommodate this change?