Log In | Join Now
Home > Jeep > Grand Cherokee > 1994 > RedRocket377's Jeep Grand Cherokee
Want to become a Fan?
Login or Register
Login to Message
View the Ride
Forward to a Friend
Updated on May 25, 2012
RedRocket377's 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Disclaimer: I like to type... alot. So if you don't like to read, move on. I'm explaining everything I do to this Jeep as much for my own record as for anyone else's benefit. Also, I'll give my opinions and reviews on aftermarket parts, and I'll explain common fixes to hopefully help others with their Jeeps. Also, my pics aren't the greatest because I don't own a digital camera, just a cell phone. Better pics will hopefully replace these soon...
This is my 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. Built in December 1993, it was originally ordered as a dealer demo model. As the story goes, the salesman wanted an appropriate vehicle to show people the features and benefits of the relatively new Grand Cherokee, but the General Manager of the dealership told him he could not order a "Limited" model. So the salesman filled out a custom build sheet and ordered this truck directly from the Jefferson North factory. Yes there are Laredos out there with the same options as my Jeep, but I just think that it is a cool story.
I bought this vehicle from my father for $1, when it had 110,000 miles on it. This vehicle now has just over 200,000 miles on the clock. Everything is original (except the mods I have done to it). The engine has never been opened up, the trans shifts like the day it was built, and the Jeep has only had standard maintenance done to it to keep it running. My father owns a repair shop here in town, and I work as a counterman at Advance Auto Parts, so the vehicle has been well cared for.
Here is the 5.2L (318ci) Magnum V8 engine. I love this 318, and it seems that 318s like me, because I've had great luck with the older 318 in my Ramchargers (same block, diff head/intake/fuel), and this 318 Magnum in the Jeep. If they are taken care of properly, they will give you 1,000,000 miles. I'll put money on it. Yes, more reliable than your Chevy 350. Even with 200,000 on the clock, there is no ticking or oil consumption (I always use 4qts of Castrol GTX 10w40 & one qt of Lucas, with a few ounces of Marvel Mystery oil thrown in for good measure). The ONLY leak is at the rear main seal, and even that isn't bad. It idles and revs perfectly, and stays at the same operating temp: no variations. And lets just say I have put it through its paces more than a time or two. Just an awesome engine, and fairly powerful, too. No, not as powerful as your Chevy 350 (in stock form), but it holds it's own. I have blown the doors off many a 5.0L Explorer.
The interior is the two-tone light tan/Driftwood. It's in good shape, but it's always been taken good care of. Even with all the adventures, etc, the leather seats have held up perfectly. Compare that to the leather seats in a 1994 Explorer, and you'll see why I love this interior. Built to last. I have pretty much every option except for the sunroof (just one more thing to leak/break). Yes, I know the seat covers are cheesy, but I got them on clearance from work for $0.95 each, and they protect my seats from mud, sand, lunch and other stuff.
The mods completed as of my creating this page include:
1: Energy Suspension 2 1/2-Inch Budget Boost
2: 31x10.50/R15 Cooper Tires
3: MSD Blaster Coil & Super-Conductor 8.5mm Wires
4: K&N FIPK GenII Intake Kit
5: Optima Yellow-Top 34/78 Deep-Cycle AGM Battery
6: Mopar Performance ECM (Engine Computer)
7: Rancho RS-9000XL adjustable shocks
8: 2 1/2" mandrel-bent exhaust with Magnaflow hi-flo catalytic converter & Flowmaster Series 40 muffler.
9: A nifty underhood light that is actually functional!!
I have a garage full of parts & upgrades waiting to be installed. With the vehicle being 17+ years old and having all that mileage, some things on it need some TLC. My VIC (Vehicle Information Center, in the center of the dash) is not recognizing the doors being open, and it reads "Washer Sensor Bad". My driver door pins are shot and the interior needs some resto work. My suspension is fully worn, and I don't like the handling & steering with the budget boost (no track bar or other adjustments made when I installed it). So stay tuned to see me fix some common issues found on these vehicles. Keep in mind, this vehicle has not been worked on by anyone other than myself since I bought it. BUILT NOT BOUGHT BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So the standard battery I had was from Walmart (before I worked for Advance in 2008), and it was still strong. But a customer brought his Yellow-Top Optima in to my store because he said it was defective. Well either he was ignorant or his car had other problems, because I trickle-charged it and it has been great for the past year. I paid $35 for it as part of our Used Battery program; it retails for like $230!!! I put on new brass terminals, silicone boots to protect the contacts from mud and water, and removed and cleaned my battery tray and hold-down. It's the details that count. It is so nice to have enough deep-cycle power to work on the Jeep and have the lights on, or listen to the music without starting the vehicle for hours. It has NEVER died on me, or even gone low on power. Plus, my audio system and other accessories will be hooked up to the side posts, while the Jeep's main cables are on the top posts. Overall, I'm very impressed.
MOPAR PERFORMANCE ECM
Being a 1994 Jeep, original Mopar Performance parts for it aren't exactly falling out of the sky. But the Hi-Performance-Tuned computer from Mopar is available, and for $280, I got one from Monticatti Chrysler online. It showed up in only five days. As my first speed part, I was blown away. Empirical grade is A+. I felt much better throttle response, finer and more crisp shifting, quicker revving, and more low-end torque. 0-60 times are about 20% faster, and 60-100mph highway passing is out of this world. With the OBD-I diagnostic scanner, we found that the injector pulse at WOT went from about 3.2ms to 5.8ms!!! And the fuel and timing curves are changed as well to increase power. Most impressive, though, was the fuel mileage. The vehicle always had an average (as read from overhead console) MPG of 12.5. And it showed in my wallet!!! Now, after the K&N, exhaust, ignition and ECM, it has an average of 17.4 MPG. (Actually, it reads 18.1 MPG, but one has to take the larger tires into account). I know it sounds impossible, but I've reset the mileage calculator about a dozen times, and finally resorted to manually calculating the fuel mileage. It really is 17.4 MPG!!! Although I now have to run 91+ Octane, it's definitely worth it money-wise. Everyone should get this part for their Jeep. I didn't take pics of the computer swap, but I'll try to take some of the new one installed. The job was easy; it only took about an hour. Simply disconnect the battery and swap the unit. No programming, and no "learning period", because the vehicle is pre-OBDII. Just awesome, my best-spent money so far.
BUDGET BOOST, TIRES & SHOCKS
So I wasn't able to afford a real lift kit at the time (Summer 2010), so for $80, I bought the Energy Suspension 2 1/2-inch coil spring spacer kit from Advance Auto. My tires were really shot, so I bought 4 relatively respectable 31x10.50/R15 tires off Craigslist for $200. And to make it all ride better and because I needed taller shocks for the lift, I bought four Rancho RS9000XL shocks from work, too. The budget boost is of good quality for what it is. Don't expect to suddenly have some major trail rig with this mod, but the polyurethane holds up well, and its fairly easy to install. The tires are generic versions of Cooper's Discoverer series, I believe. They're OK, but I plan to get 31 or 32" BFG Mud Terrain KM/2s in the near future, after I install my new lift kit. The tires fit perfectly on the stock 15x7 Jeep alloy wheels, and there was no rubbing at all with the coil boosters installed. (Yes, I now know I stacked the spacers atop my factory isolators, which is a no-no, but nothing exploded, so, live and learn i guess...)
The shocks are a different story. These things are pretty cool. Making adjustments is a pain, because I have to climb underneath and turn the dial, but you can feel the difference each setting makes. The finish has held up pretty well for the past year (just a little rust around the welds, etc), and the ride is awesome. I'm gonna get the Rancho "My-Ride" remote control kit, which replaces the manual dials with an air compressor and push-button controller. Unnecessary and overkill? Maybe, but cool as hell.
Note: For those looking to install these shocks on THIS APPLICATION, keep in mind that the shocks DO NOT come with the correct upper mounting hardware in front. You must reuse your factory washers and rubber bushings, as the poly units that are supplied from Rancho are not correct. I just reused my old stuff, as it was still in good shape, but replacement kits are available. Listed at the parts store as shock mount kit, front upper, available from Monroe, TRW & Moog. Expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $40 per kit.
K&N Fuel-Injection Performance Kit (FIPK), Gen II
So for about 8 years, I had the factory intake with a K&N stock replacement filter. It was great, and I cleaned it every year. But I wanted more, and for $250, I got the whole jammie from work. The install was simple, but the results were awesome. Combined with the Mopar ECM and free-flowing exhaust, the K&N opened up much more potential from the 318 Magnum.
I do have to say, though, that the way the tube mounts to the throttle body is a little awkward. There's so little room under the hood in that spot, so it rubs, and I had to really play with it to get it to sit level on the TB. I ended up slicing a length of vacuum hose lengthwise to act as a better gasket around the bottom lip that mates to the top of the TB, and now it's fine.
MSD BLASTER COIL & SUPER-CONDUCTOR WIRES
I figured as long as I was waking the old 5.2 up, I might as well add a better primary ignition. So I bought a set of universal MSD Super-Conductor 8.5mm wires ($120), a Blaster coil (part# 8228, $48) and an Accel cap and rotor set (about $25). The cap and rotor are great quality, with brass terminals, which is what I wanted (no aluminum junk). The coil provides 50,000v, up from the stock 34,000. The wires are capable of carrying much more spark, but are also well insulated. The wires were a pain in the a$$, as I had to cut each wire to length and crimp each end on. I included MSD's heat-shrink sleeves to protect where the wire enters the boot. The wire set took a couple hours to install, but I'm very happy with them. And the better materials used in manufacturing the wires means they'll last longer than a $40 set, too (I hope).
Now I try to keep my engine compartment really clean, but it's not a show truck, so I just used some basic Mr Gasket plastic clip-on wire separators on these wires ($5.99). The MSD cylinder markers were a nice touch, though, and they were included with the wire set: Go MSD!!! And that breather is a new Stant, again, from work (Advance Auto). I painted it black because I thought the gold zinc plating was stupid looking on a late model engine.
That wire along the top is the coil wire. The main plug wires are run somewhat neatly along the bottom edge of the valve cover. I'm still trying to figure a better way to run that coil wire, though.
Like I said above, it's the details that count. All vacuum hoses and wire looming has been replaced with new. I made every effort to keep it looking factory original.
UPDATE: I found the Chrysler TSB on routing the spark plug wires, so I re-did the way mine were routed. See:
The coil wire now runs along the inner/upper edge of the valve cover, and #8 wire was re-routed above the PCV.
The exhaust was very important to me. I needed something functional but long-lasting, and of course, I wanted it to sound great. So what's better on an American V8 than Flowmaster's Series 40 muffler. Not the Delta-Flow, but the "Original Flows". I got it from work for $58, along with a Magnaflow high-flow catalytic converter, constructed from stainless steel ($60). Both parts were impressive in quality and craftsmanship. The Flowmaster muffler was really hefty, and all welded. No thin outer skin to rot off in a year. I gave it to Turnpike Auto Repair in Wallingford, CT to do the welding and bending, and they did an AWESOME job. It sounds the way it should now, so alot of the time I turn the radio down to just listen to the Jeep. It's not obnoxious until I floor it. And I've gotten dozens of comments on the sound. This setup was finished about a year ago, and everything still looks great under there, so this was quality stuff. Definitely recommend these to anyone.
The forward exhaust will come when I put my new engine in, since it will be much simpler to locate the headers and crossover with the engine loose. I'm torn between the Edelbrocks ($500, discontinued but still available) and the Doug Thorleys (more money), so if anyone has any feedback on either type, let me know.
Here is the Magnaflow hi-flow catalytic converter. This is found on the sales floor shelf in my store, and retails for about $70. It's got stainless, welded construction and a metallic catalyst core. I went with 2 1/2-inch to match the rest of my exhaust. This photo was taken after the cat was on for about a year, and it's held up very well!!! Great bang for the buck, because I passed emissions with flying colors!!!
The muffler is a Flowmaster Series 40, the "Original Flows" that the company is famous for. It's all welded and weighs alot more than a stock muffler or one of those cheaper knock-offs; I could tell it was quality stuff. I coated it with VHT hi-temp flat black to keep it from rusting. This photo was taken after it had been on for about two years, and again, great for the money (about $80 retail).
I went with the Flowmaster mandrel-bent, 2 1/2-inch tailpipe with a stock type downturn exit (I'm not into big chrome tips, especially on a vehicle like this and with just a single tailpipe). It fit perfectly, and was made from very thick-gauge steel. Most aftermarket tailpipes come somewhat close to fitting, but have to be "played with" to fit. I painted it with the VHT flat black, too. Again, it's been on for about two years, and it's still in great shape.
On the next page, I do some simple restoration and detail work.
Page 1: Intro; You Are Here
Page 2: Resto, Cleanup & Stuff I Did While I Was Bored...
Page 3: Bodywork
Page 4: Lift Kit Intro
Page 5: Lift Kit Install
Page 6: Lift Kit Problems
Page 7: Lift Kit Miscellaneous
Page 8: NP242 Transfer Case Swap
Displaying entries 1-5 of 9
FLIP A PLATE
5★ See our LICENSE FLIP HIDE KIT (car/bike) ★★ 007LicensePlate.com
Really nice looking Jeep man, I really like what you have done with it. 5 stars, keep up the great work.
man thats clean! i love it!
Clean Jeep man, 5 stars all the way. Check out my GN sometime.
Show Older Comments
You must be logged in to post a comment
Copyright © 1998-2013
CarDomain Network, Inc (a Source Interlink Media LLC Company). All rights reserved.
Part of the SIM Automotive Digital Network.
No, please link my existing CarDomain.com account with
for quick, secure access.
Forgot your password?
Yes! I would like to create a CarDomain.com account with my