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.
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