1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4.0 Inline 6 cylinder from North America


1997: The year of the sporty, rugged Jeep Lemon


A transmission seal was not installed causing a leak 2 days after I took delivery.

Less than a year after delivery the 19 gallon gas tank was replaced due to it leaking.

Water dripped into the passenger compartment when the air conditioning was used. The dealer had no explanation for it and 3 years later I figured out it was the A/C evaporator and fixed the problem myself.

The manifold broke... after warranty of course.

The catalytic converter broke... after warranty of course.

Half the lights on the radio and the climate control panel have gone out.

The transmission rattles in the 3rd gear. Dealer unable to locate problem.

The steering gearbox (located under the front bumper on the driver's side) seeps grease.

The plastic fender flares have faded horribly taking them from black to an ugly bluish-grey. Nothing I tried could save them. And nothing I've tried can restore them.

The radiator has leaked for over a year (again warranty gone). It appeared to be the seal around the top of it so I tried a simple fix, but to no avail. It leaks worse and I'm in the process of hunting a new radiator.

The driver's seat tilt mechanism no longer works.

Soft window zippers separate.

Rear frame of back window continually falls apart and a few pieces have broken.

A seal broke on the right rear wheel causing the brake to lock up when ever I came to a sudden stop.

Hmmm... that should about do it so far.

General Comments:

I bought a 1997 Jeep for the same reason everyone does: it's a cool vehicle with a tough reputation. In other words, I bit into the hype.

It is tough as nails on and off the road. But sadly, it isn't reliable. I'm afraid to go too far into the backwoods because who knows what could break next?

I have a theory. The 1997 Jeep seems to have a lot of problems. I chalk this up to the fact that 97 was a transition year for the Wrangler. In 1995 they stopped making the YJ Wrangler and reintroduced the Wrangler as the TJ in 1997. The TJ was moderately redesigned inside and out.

Well, my Wrangler happened to be one during the first year. Like any new product, it has a ton of bugs. As to whether or not Jeep has addressed these issues and the 2002 Wranglers are "perfect" is yet to be seen.

I am hesitant to give up on Jeep though. As mad as I have gotten, I still have a place in my heart for the Wrangler. And it is the perfect vehicle for my life and my line of work. Small, tough, "go anywhere", and powerful.

So who knows if another Wrangler is in my future?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 27th February, 2002

27th Nov 2002, 13:08

I am the owner of a 1999 Jeep Wrangler. I am currently experiencing separation of both driver and passenger side window zippers.

Is this a common occurrence? What can be done to fix it, aside from replacement?


14th Jun 2004, 09:33

I have a 98 jeep wrangler. This is my 2nd 98 jeep wrangler. Besides from the zipper windows, being a peace, and the power steering going out, on the first one (it was a four cylinder) I loved it. But it got stolen, when this happened I was so mad, I lost all, my corm that was on it. (head light covers, bumpers,mirrors, door hinges). But, the insurance paid for most. Now I have a 98 jeep wrangler with roll up windows and a hard top (yes I learned my lesson no more zippers) this one has the 4.0 in it. An, it has gave me no problems (thank god) I flew to Miami from Atlanta to get it. The only thing I hate about jeeps is the fact that if you don't keep the hoods locked with an after market lock then someone may steal it or strip it. Besides this I love them.

1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4.0 from North America


The most fun you can have on 4 wheels


I have not experienced any major problems. The zipper on the driver side soft window separates in several places. The steering wheel squeaks in cold weather, even after several greasings by the dealer. I had to get the passenger seat repaired as the "eject" mechanism broke. The vinyl seats have begun to crack, but should be covered anyway for the sake of comfort.

General Comments:

I love this vehicle. It is very "sure footed" in any weather. I have heard complaints that the stock tires yield poor 4WD performance, but I have experienced the opposite with installing the largest tires I could install without a lift kit. It runs well and has plenty of power. I expected it to run and handle like a jeep when I bought it - and that's what I got. If I wanted a more refined vehicle, I would have gone elsewhere.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th February, 2002