The Jeep Cherokee was introduced in 1984 as a lighter, shorter and narrower version of the older Full Size Cherokee SJ. It was first available with the 2.5L Inline-4 engine and the 2.8L V6 engine, and soon received the legendary 4.0L Inline-6 in 1987. In 1997 the XJ received a facelift and we saw the exterior and interior styling slightly updated. The Cherokee was retired in 2001 and Jeep introduced the Liberty as a replacement for it in 2002.
The Jeep Cherokee came with a total of 5 different engines through it’s years of productions – the AMC 4.0L I6, AMC 2.5L I6, GM 2.8L V6, Renault 2.1L TurboDiesel, and VM Motori 2.5L TurboDiesel. The Cherokee came in 2-door and 4-door versions, with the 2-door version being the more rare option.
This Jeep came with a wide range of transmissions as well. The table below lists the 10 transmissions that were used throughout the Cherokee’s production, 3 being automatic and the rest manual transmissions.
|Chrysler A904 3-Speed||1984-1986||AMC 2.5L I4|
GM 2.8L V6
|Aisin-Warner AW-4 4-Speed||1987-2001||AMC 4.0L V6|
|Chrysler 30RH 3-Speed||1994-2000||AMC 2.5L I4|
|Borg-Warner T-4 4-Speed||1984||AMC 2.5L I4|
|Aisin-Warner AX4 4-Speed||1984-1987||AMC 2.5L I4|
|Borg-Warner T-5 5-Speed||1984||AMC 2.5L I4|
GM 2.8L V6
|Aisin-Warner AX5 5-Speed||1984-2000||AMC 2.5L I4|
GM 2.8L V6
|Peugeot BA-10/5 5-Speed||1987-1989.5||AMC 4.0L V6|
|Aisin-Warner AX15 5-Speed||1989.5-1999||AMC 4.0L V6|
|New Venture Gear NV3550 5-Speed||2000-2001||AMC 2.5L I4|
AMC 4.0L V6
It is understood that the best transmission and engine combination would either be the AW4 and AMC 4.0L or the AX15 and AMC 4.0L. Both transmissions were extremely reliable.
The most common transfer case options were the NP231 and NP242, both available from 1987. The NP231 is a part time 4WD only transfer case with low range, while the NP242 has full time and part time 4WD.
The NP 207 was found in the XJ between 1984 and 1987, typically pair with the AX5, AX4, or BA10/5 manual transmission, or the 30RH automatic. It was offered as the “Command Trac” option.
The NP228/229 transfer case was an optional upgrade to the NP207 between 1984 and 1986, referred to as the Select Trac option.
|Height||1987-88 2WD: 63.4in|
1994-99 2WD: 63.9in
1994-2001 4WD: 64.0in
2000-01 2WD: 63.8in
|AMC 2.5L I4||1984-2000|
|GM 2.8L V6||1984-1986|
|AMC 4.0L V6||1987-2001|
|Renault 2.1L TurboDiesel||1985-1994|
|VM Motori 2.5L TurboDiesel||1994-2001|
|Transfer Case||Years Available|
The Comanche MJ
In response to the growing small truck market and to compete with Japanese competitors, the Jeep Comanche MJ was introduced in the 1986 model year, and was in production until 1992. The Comanche was based heavily on the Cherokee, to the point that most parts are interchangeable, especially engine, transmission, and suspension related parts. It was offered with the same engines and transmissions as the Cherokee.
The Comanche only lasted 6 years before it was phased out as a result of low sales. As such, the Comanche is slightly more desirable and can be found at higher prices than the Cherokee, since there was only 190k Comanches built compared to over 3 million Cherokees sold during it’s production years.
The majority of Cherokee and Comanche parts are interchangeable, as the Comanche is basically a chopped Cherokee with a truck bed. As such, the majority of write-ups and information about Cherokee XJs will also apply to Comanche MJs.