1988 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 4.0 from North America


Rugged, reliable, indestructible, bullet proof


I currently own a 1988, 1991 and 1998 Jeep Cherokee, and can honestly say I haven't been able to kill any of them.

I also use to own a 1987 that actually had 247,000 miles on it. I donated it to the special Olympics, just because I figured something has to wrong sooner or later. It flew through the state inspection just a couple months before I donated it.

Repairs have all been routine and expected for the miles on them i.e. brake jobs, tune ups, etc. The worst being a water pump at approx. 100,000 miles on the 1991, which now has 178,000 mile on it. But that one does have the notorious leak at the top of the windshield somewhere.

But all and all, I don't even want to begin to think what I'll buy next that will even come close to the reliability and ruggedness of any of any of the Jeeps I've owned.

General Comments:

Most reliable, easy to work on vehicle I've ever owned. When you do need to make repairs, the parts are very affordable. I just did my front brakes yesterday; $53 including new rotors.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th November, 2006

1988 Jeep Cherokee Pioneer 4.0 litre from North America


The Cherokee is a practical, versatile, durable all-round vehicle


During the warranty period, several defects were repaired, including the water pump and the stereo.

The shift knob has been replaced five times. It's a common defect, and a "cash cow" for Chrysler!

The ignition has been replaced twice. The ignition key tends to file itself down over time, with associated wear on the ignition.

The driver's side window cannot be fully rolled down without jamming part way down. It's still operable, but requires a two-handed tug-of-war, something that's undesirable while driving.

The door locks are notoriously ineffective, and fall apart easily. I've had to replace the driver's side lock twice. I've given up on the passenger side lock.

After a couple of years, the clearcoat started turning milky white in ever-growing patches, and has been gradually flaking off ever since. This is a common problem with Cherokees from about 1987-90.

The stereo, which was an expensive option, self-destructed completely after a couple of years of erratic performance.

The driver's seat belt latch became inoperable, requiring replacement.

The crankshaft position sensor stopped working correctly, making it difficult to start the vehicle. Interestingly, it finally failed completely while I was in the parking lot of a Canadian Tire store, so I was able to get it fixed on the spot.

The heater motor wore out, causing a fuse in the resistor pack to blow, necessitating replacement of both. If a Cherokee will only blow air on the "high" setting, the resistor pack fuse is probably blown. It's a common problem, and an easy forty dollar repair.

One of the fuel injectors started leaking gasoline, requiring replacement of the injector and new "O" rings for all the injectors.

About ten years ago, the engine block heater blew right out of the block, causing the coolant to leak out and the engine to overheat. There was no serious damage, however. The engine has been fine ever since.

The rear bumper had to be replaced due to corrosion of the mounting brackets.

The power-steering pump required rebuilding.

Routine maintenance has required regular replacement of tires (on fourth set), brakes (on third set), exhaust (on third exhaust system), catalytic converter (replaced once), oxygen sensor (replaced once),spark plugs (replaced twice), hatch struts (replaced once), water pump (replaced once), the clutch (replaced once due to the throwout bearing wearing out), the clutch master cylinder (replaced once), headlights and other assorted bulbs (including instrument lights), shock absorbers (replaced once), front wheel bearings (replaced once), rear axle seals (replaced once), serpentine belt (replaced twice).

This may seem like a lot of repairs, but I've had the vehicle for almost eighteen years, and subjected it to hard use on a daily basis as my main vehicle.

General Comments:

My 1988 Jeep Cherokee Pioneer is a two-wheel drive model with the 4.0 litre inline six engine, trak-loc differential and five speed manual transmission. It's simple, nimble, quick, durable, and versatile.

I bought the vehicle new in October, 1988, and I've driven it year-round ever since. It has been a faithful, reliable vehicle that has performed a variety of functions, including hauling a lightweight travel trailer and various utility trailers. I've carried a refrigerator in the back with the hatch closed, and a full-sized couch on the roof. It's carried everything from roofing shingles to lumber to bags of cement. I've slept in the back on camping trips, and on many occasions driven it over 1200 kilometers non-stop. It's been down highways, up mountain trails, into the forests, and through the endless monotonous labyrinth of suburban streets and avenues. Always, it does the job without complaint, and begs for more.

The big six is a wonderful engine. I've replaced the oil fanatically (every 2,000 kilometers, on average) and the oil pressure is better than when the engine was new. It has a huge oil reservoir (five and a half litres) and lots of low-end torque (it can dawdle along in fifth gear at 60 k.p.h., or 36 m.p.h., without lugging).

The combination of power and torque makes the engine extremely forgiving, and the vehicle weighs under 3,000 lbs., so the power-to-weight ratio is excellent. The engine gets about 20 miles to the gallon in town, and about 30 m.p.g. on the highway (Canadian gallons, which are larger than American).

The five-speed manual transmission is the notorious Peugeot BA10, which has a reputation for weakness. However, I've had no problems with it. I changed the gear oil twice, so as to eliminate any metal filings, and it has performed flawlessly.

I find the Cherokee to be very comfortable, with excellent outward vision all around. Many of the older Cherokees like mine have front seats adopted from the Renault Alliance, and they "rock" on a curved railing, allowing the seat angle to be adjusted. This is very helpful on long trips, as it redistributes the driver's weight, shifting the pressure points and relieving aches and pains.

The steering wheel is close to the driver's chest, resulting in the classic "sit up and beg" driving position, which is surprisingly comfortable and relaxed on long trips.

Head room is excellent, and passengers like the front and back seats and the feeling of roominess.

The Cherokee is very compact, and handles well in urban environments as well as off the beaten path.

I like the simplicity of the two-wheel drive version. It's easy to work on the vehicle myself, and there are far fewer mechanical parts to break or wear out. The limited slip rear differential was great in the Cherokee's younger days, but I suspect the clutch packs have long since worn out.

In conclusion, I have found the Cherokee to be an amazingly practical vehicle that combines a host of desirable characteristics in one durable machine. It can do a little bit of everything, and do it well!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th June, 2006

23rd Nov 2007, 14:53

I have a 1988 jeep Cherokee Pioneer with a 4.0L straight 6. Its 4X4 and I love it. its got to be one of my favorite vehicles ever made. Everyone around where I live has a cherokee.. but mine is different.

It quits sometimes when a I make a turn or get back on the gas- so to speak- after slowing down and no one can figure out what it is.

Any ideas?

1st Apr 2009, 20:21

OK here's the thing, about 6 months ago I traded an older Oldsmobile for a 1988 Jeep Cherokee Chief 4x4. When the trade was made I had no problems with it running or driving. There was one day that I went without driving it. When I had gotten home that day I was going to take it for a drive, but it wouldn't start. Now I checked all the fuses first. Then checked the battery and terminals they were fine. Battery was fully charged so I turned on my lights and they came on. The next thing I did was trace all my wires to see if any were bad or broke. I started at the steering column and found that the plug-ins looked like they have been burnt. (I replaced plug-ins) I also replace the steering column just to be on the safe side. I don't know where or what to do next. I'm not a mechanic but this is my project and I'm bound and determined to get it figured out. PLEASE CAN SOMEONE HELP ME!? THANK YOU. I have power to everything but my ignition why?

25th Jul 2009, 20:43

Another thing you might want to check is the hose inside the fuel tank that connects the pump to the fuel line. I had the same problem and they used a mesh hose when the Jeeps were made. So it was rotted away and no longer worked.