Long-term update: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8

Long-term update: 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8

Chrysler knew that their Jeep Grand Cherokee was a cash cow, and went all-out on its 1999 redesign. A lot of work went into this one, including frame engineering inputs from none other than Porsche. The result was a true off-roader with solid-axle front and rear suspension, with acceleration and handling performance that was surprising for such a “simple” setup. Indeed, barring the Wrangler, it was the last of the real Jeeps. Quality problems made it a headache to own, right up till 2002, when most reliability issues were sorted out. But the stigma of “unreliable American cars” forever haunts the Jeep brand, so after extensive research, I decided to pick one of these up last year, when I finally had money to burn on a second car. It has been a year now, and so far, it has been delightfully manageable to own.

So I bought a black 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee V8 Limited in October 2007. Being a GCC-spec Austrian-built version, my research had shown that these non-American ones were more reliable. It was lady-driven, had a stamped service booklet from the dealer, and had already endured 117,500 km of what I assume was 99% on-road driving. That last bit is rather funny, because being the top version, the V8 Limited had the high-tech Quadradrive all-wheel-drive system with low-range, three auto-locking differentials, and skid plates all over the underbelly.

The Jeep had absolutely no problems when we bought it, other than mushy-feeling brakes, a tiny plastic clip broken off one of the sun-visors, and broken rear-bumper reflectors. Another problem was worn-out hood struts, so the bonnet didn’t stay up by itself any more, and had to be held up. The struts for the rear window glass are also busted, so that window doesn’t stay up either when opened. It was also fully serviced recently, and came with nearly new tyres.

Two months later, one power-window cable snapped, which is apparently a common problem with these Jeeps, and the entire power-window assembly needed to be replaced. The Dubai dealer wanted Dhs 1200 just for parts. I picked up brand-new original parts from a Sharjah shop for only Dhs 770, and paid an electrician Dhs 100 to help me install it. I also picked up two new rear-bumper reflectors for Dhs 110, while the dealer wanted Dhs 240.

Another few months passed, and I finally decided to get those hood struts that held up the bonnet. I picked up the new parts from Sharjah again, for Dhs 160, and installed them myself. This thing is just too easy to work on, especially when various instructions are available online.

The battery finally crapped out in the summer of 2008, and it took the Fastrack garage at an Emarat petrol station five tries before they found a battery that would fit. That cost Dhs 230.

It is now October 2008, and I still haven’t changed the oil, having driven only 7000 km in the past one year. Surprisingly, it hasn’t burned any oil or lost any coolant in this time, which used to be a common problem with my old 1990 Mercedes-Benz. But it will go in for service soon, and I’ll see how the dealer handles it.

Original Mileage When Bought: 117,500 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 124,700 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 17.6 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 1140
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 230

Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought:: Dhs 1370

Read the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited road test

What do you think?



  1. MAsh, is this site compatible with Internet Explorer8? I’m going to download it.

  2. Author

    I dunno. Should be.

  3. ppl in this part of the world still considers american cars as very unreliable piece of machines….in recent past jeeps are much better than those older models….there are very less electronic and mechanical problems compared to german cars…my friends dad was lookin for an SUV and i suggested him to look for toureg, XC90 and Grand cherokee as he wasnt interested in goin for a normal japanese SUV…after lot of comparison he got grand cherokee 5.7ltr V8 full option…he got it for the price of base model toureg and XC 90 6cyl…he very much happy with it and only thing he is not happy with is its fuel consumption…ofcuz its a 5.7lt so its meant to drink petrol…

  4. Author

    Quality among American brands vary wildly. The same brand can have one reliable model and one model that always breaks down. The Grand Cherokee is the most trustworthy in the Jeep range I believe.

  5. I’m glad you put this write up. I’m considering a second hand Grand Cherokee in the near future; have seen a few ’06-’07 models that are going at reasonable prices. My only concerns are the maintenance/running costs. Also, are you aware of how good an all ’round vehicle’ the current Grand Cherokee is? Would you recommend the 3.7ltr V6 or 4.7ltr V8?

  6. Author

    The V8 is basically the same as the one in mine, and once you drive the V8, you’ll never want a V6 4WD again, even when some of today’s V6 4WDs are actually quicker to 100 kph. The natural low-rev torque from having 2 extra cylinders makes it a fun drive on city streets as well as off-road.

  7. that’s right.
    Mash i want to challenge yours by using a tow strap between our SUVs, the winner is who pulls more.
    Would you like doing that?

  8. Author

    I’m not a retard, but you can ask your buddies in this video to give you a hand:

  9. so,that’s all about the terque of the engine? or there is something else?

  10. Sorry but this might be a lil off topic, but was just wondering if the you guys have any information on the new gen Patrol?? Im sure it’ll have a V8 but any idea of the kinda power it’ll have?? Or even when it’ll be out?? Ive been doing some searching but not able to find any information on it..

  11. Thanks for the feedback Mashfique. I did notice, however, that the pre ’07 V8s came with only 235hp whereas the ’08 models have 305hp? That’s quite a difference; it would seem the current model will be quicker to 100kph…i wonder how good/bad the mileage would be…

  12. Author

    Yes, the newer ones are more powerful. Traditionally, fuel economy improves as technology progresses. The 5.7 has the same economy as the 4.7 engine.

  13. Hey guys,

    Very interesting stuff. I’m looking at buying at 2002 Grand Cherokee Overland and am just researching what I can about them. I’m looking at a GCC specs one, it’s in great condition, on 100 000 km and has been offered to me with a full (we’ll fix anything) warranty.

    Can anyone help me get a market value as I’ve seen US spec versions with no warranty going for around 45k. I’ve been told the GCC specs make a big difference. How much should I be looking to pay ?

  14. Author

    Between 35k and 40k would be a good start (if buying from a private owner). It depends on how much you can negotiate. 45k is way too high, but that can be expected from dealers.

  15. Thanks for that. Is this your black one in the review?

    If so what did you pay, if you don’t mind me asking?

  16. Author

    I paid 39k last year. The owner was leaving the country for good.

  17. Thank you, Is your a limited or a Overland model? I’m glad I’ve found this as it was being pimped out to me at 85k! All the others I’ve seen have been American specs around 40-45k so was really trying to educate myself on the intricate differences in US and GGC specs for these to try and work out the 40k void!

  18. Author

    My Limited is a 2002 model, and I quoted the price range for that year. Newer ones will of course be more expensive. I suggest you do a search in the blog for my Jeep as I have written extensively on it, including differences between US and GCC, but I guess all you have to do is look at the speedometer. American ones have it in mph.

  19. Yes I read it all, good stuff thanks. thanks for your help. one more for you

    It’s an Overland version and is definitly GCC specs. It has the 4.7 V8 high output engine, with quadra-drive. Is that all worth an extra Dhs 45k to what you paid for your a year ago?

  20. Author

    A 2002 Overland has nothing beyond *slightly* upgraded suspension and less than a second is cut in the 0-100 kph sprint. It is worth 2k more than my Jeep, at most.

  21. very informative! learnt a lot from all of you guys. 😆 😆

  22. Hi Mashfique, great job my friend. I am planning to buy gulf spec 2003 model Grand Cherokee.
    just want to know

    1. Diff between 4.7 V8 VS 4.7 V8 High Output, apart of an extra HP do we need super insted of special Gas for High Output V8 ?

    2. Is their any diff in Gas mileage?

    3. How much they should cost respectively ?

    Cheers.. 🙄

  23. Author

    1. No American car needs Super. The Overland had optional suspension that was slightly higher, but it is impossible to check if a used one has it.
    2. Hardly any.
    3. I dunno.

  24. Hello Mashfique, thanks for your prompt reply.

    As you mentioned in ur review that, all reliability issues were sorted before 2002 so would it be safe to say that, 2002 onwards there were no major issues with Austrian built Grand Cherokees ?

    Also if you can give some basic tips to buy a used example & whats a good prise range from 2003 – 2005 models than, it would be helpful to all.

    Cheers.. 😆

  25. Mash… Please get another car already.. quit spending money on non-good cars…

  26. :mrgreen: I acquired a company driven Jeep Cherokee Sport 2002 gasoline crd.
    i should appreciate that its a gud machn given that i can do 150kmh on the rough african roads.
    i’ve however hit dead end has it got an engine knock & needs an engine overhaul,problem is i cant source all the parts locally and da ones available a damn expensive.
    i’m considering shipping in a used engine of the same model if i can source it from Dubai;
    what r my chance of securing one?
    what would be the estimate cost?
    mash pliz advise, i’m from Uganda

  27. well done with your jeep, i have also GCC V8 2001 model, and i changed a lot of things recently staring from bushing arms, battery, AC drier,…

    the car is running smoothly now, but the thing is i cannot find a good garage that i can rely on, can you advise with a good one?


  28. Author

    I cannot recommend a garage yet for the Jeep. It hasn’t been worked on mechanically yet, besides the small stuff. And I have not been happy with any previous garage I’ve been to.

  29. Dear Mash,

    Can you please write a separate post on 4WD and off roading….

    And please explain how to use 4wd hi & 4wd low ans what are their functions?

    What are the situations in which these two modes work. I mean more explanation through your experiences….

  30. Author

    Not too complicated. If you have 2HI, use that in the road, but not on sand. If you have 4HI but not 2HI, just leave it in 4HI whether on road or sand. You only use 4LO when you get stuck in sand, or climbing steep rocks.

  31. hi,

    I have just purchased 2004 grand Cherokee v8 but now their is a missing in it 8th cylinder.Can u please tell a good garage in dubai or abudhabi.

  32. Dear Mash,

    Could you please answer below query?

    What is the difference between 2007 and 2008 Grand Cherookee 5.7L Hemi. Can you enlist them.

  33. Author

    None except headlights.

    And I service at dealer and myself.

Browse archives

Share This