Saturday, June 23, 2012

SUV Of The Day: June 23, 2012



Today's car of the day comes from Dean-O-mite's collection and is Matchbox Collectibles' 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited.



The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a mid-size SUV produced by the Jeep division of Chrysler. While some other SUVs were manufactured with body on frame construction, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has always used a unibody chassis.



For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Jeep Grand Cherokee



From the Matchbox Collectibles line, this is a very different casting from the basic Matchbox Grand Cherokee (the one with or without the raft on the roof). The Collectibles version sports a much higher level of detailing, and opening doors. Original retail for these was a staggering $10, and this Grand Cherokee was one of the slowest sellers at the time. As a result it could later be found, clearance priced to a fraction of the original cost. There is also a silver version, which was only produced in small numbers before the series was killed off, and that elusive silver version has become a holy-grail for me. Someday, maybe....



The redesigned WJ 1999 Grand Cherokee shared just 127 parts with its predecessor (mostly fasteners). The spare tire was relocated from the side of the cargo compartment to under the floor. The two heavy pushrod V8 engines were replaced by Chrysler's then-new PowerTech. New V8 engine produced less torque than the old pushrods, but was lighter, offered better fuel economy, and provided similar on road performance figures (the 23-gallon fuel tank was replaced with one of a 20.5-gallon capacity). The Inline 6 engine was also updated in 1999.

A notable feature available in this generation was the automatic four wheel drive option called Quadra-Drive, which employed the New Venture Gear NV247 transfer case. This two-speed chain-driven transfer case uses a gerotor, a clutch pack coupled to a hydraulic pump, to transfer torque between the front and rear axles. The transfer case contains three modes, 4-All Time, Neutral, and 4-Lo. In 4-All Time, 100% of torque is sent to the rear axle in normal conditions. If the rear axle starts spinning at a higher rate than the front axle, hydraulic pressure builds up in the gerotor and causes the clutch pack to progressively transfer torque to the front axle until both axles return to the same speed. Neutral mode is intended for towing the vehicle. In 4-Lo, the front and rear axles are locked together through a 2.72 reduction gear ratio. The NV247 transfer case is mated to front and rear axles containing Jeep's Vari-Lok differentials. Vari-Lok differentials also use a gerotor to transfer torque between the wheels on either side of the axle. The major advantage of Quadra-Drive was that the combined transfer case and progressive locking differentials in each axle could automatically control traction between all four wheels. However, only the center differential could be permanently locked, and only in 4Lo. The Quadra-Trac II system included the NV247 transfer case with the standard open front and rear differentials.



The interior was also completely redesigned in 1999. The redesign allowed for larger rear doors, and more space for rear passengers. Controls for various items like headlights, heated seats, and rear wiper were moved to more convenient locations. The electronic Vehicle Information center was moved from below the radio to above the windshield, and was standard on all 2000 and up models. Limited models included automatic dual-zone climate control.

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