1997 Jeep Wrangler SE 2.5 from North America


A huge waste of space in my garage


Radio no longer works.

Rear manifold bolt broken (recall).

Catalytic converter shattered internally (under federally mandated warrant until at least 70,000 miles).

Transmission had to be rebuilt in 2000.

Low acceleration power.

Black plastic trim has faded and turned gray (not good when your car is normally parked in a garage).

One of the bolts that attaches the back seat snapped.

The weather stripping leaks, and the cloth half of the doors pool water where they wrap around the reinforcement bars. This happens anytime it rains.

The metal half of the doors have started to rust from the water retention.

There is a constant squeaking noise that happens any time the jeep is idling.

The transmission is starting to go out again. The Jeep lurches on initial acceleration.

The panel vents no longer work for heat or A/C.

The fuel gauge never reads correctly.

The zippers on the windows regularly become separated.

The radiator had to be replaced due to poor design and leakage.

General Comments:

There seem to be a lot of Jeep owners, especially from the 1997/98 models that have a lot of problems. I would strongly recommend you not buy one of these vehicles, unless you like to spend money, and work on cars. These Wranglers will probably spend more time in for repair then out on the road.

In addition, the fuel consumption on the highway for this vehicle is horrible, even in the city it isn't very good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th January, 2002

25th Jan 2006, 17:13

I owned my 97 jeep for 6 years.. it gets me where I want to go...I'm vary happy with it... on a scale of 1-10...i give the 97 jeep an 11.

7th Oct 2010, 11:03

You do know that there are studies proven that having your car sitting inside an UN-climate controlled garage can be the same or even more damaging to the car as if it were sitting outside.

I don't understand everybody's complaints. I own a 1997 2.5L SE with 187,000 km on it and sure it has its problems, but what car 14 years old wouldn't?

Your comment about how it's underpowered - maybe you should have picked up a book about the 2.5L engine because OBVIOUSLY it's not the quickest when propelling literally a box of a car through the air.

17th Jun 2011, 16:33

The Jeep should not have needed a transmission rebuild when it was only 3-years old. These all should have been recalled. There are a lucky few who have them out on the road that were lucky enough to get this dumpster on wheels to hit over 100,000 miles.

1997 Jeep Wrangler SE 2.5 from North America


Keep the top off and use it for a dumpster


I visit the shop to see my Wrangler. I have alway wanted one and now it's my biggest nightmare.

The fuel gauge doesn't read correctly, had it fixed at 35000 miles.

The exhaust manifold warped and broke a stud off in the head at 35600 miles.

The transmission output seal started to leak at 38000 miles.

The fuel gauge again didn't read correctly at 41000 miles.

The exhaust manifold warped again and broke another stud off in the head at about 47000 miles.

Had a major exhaust rattle from the catalytic converter hitting the frame. That problem is still ongoing. The dealer fixes it and it comes back a week later.

I have for the past 4 month had a major problem with severe power loss and the engine missing so badly that it can't pull the vehicle. The dealer has been unable to find the source of the problem and even had me run a recording unit. To this day they have no idea and my Jeep Wrangler cannot be driven.

Seats are starting to tear through despite proper care and seat covers.

General Comments:

I really wanted this Jeep, now I just really want to get rid of it. It's a fun vehicle on a sunny day when it works, but I don't have room for a $13,000.00 dumpster.

The two best days of a Wrangler owners life is the day he buys it and the day he sells the stupid thing. I too was a sucker for marketing despite warnings.

If Chrysler spent half the time on quality control as they did on marketing they might have a vehicle that could sell itself.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th January, 2002

19th Jun 2002, 13:20

I had basically the same problems with my 1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport. The fuel gauge started reading improperly at 45,000 miles. I never fixed it. I know I'm about to run out when the gauge display reads half full. My exhaust manifold cracked at 60,000. I had it welded at a muffler shop and it's holding up so far. The dealer wanted to charge me $950. Had the fuel injectors replaced at 55,000 miles which cost me another $500. -Marius Anca Houston, TX.

25th Dec 2004, 20:54

The dumpster thing is hilarious! - in a sympathetic way, owned a Jeep too...

16th Apr 2009, 15:10

I also have the same problem with my 06 Wrangler and the dealer is telling me there's nothing wrong with it.

21st May 2009, 23:03

I have had my 97 TJ Sahara since 1998 and have enjoyed each of the 104678 miles. I have only had to replace the water pump once and the starter once. It has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned.

22nd May 2009, 06:24

I've got over 140,000 on my '95 - super reliable, fun vehicle.

I think Chrysler has damaged the Jeep name - later ones seem prone to electrical & tranny problems.