1988 Jeep Cherokee Pioneer Junkyard Find


The XJ Jeep Cherokee stayed in production in more or less unchanged form for about 700 years (actually 34 years, including Chinese production), spanning the American Motors, Chrysler, DaimlerChrysler, and Fiat Chrysler eras. These trucks remain incredibly popular in my home state of Colorado, and so I see plenty of used-up examples in my local wrecking yards. This ’88 Cherokee had an interesting color scheme (tan stripes over beige paint) and a 5-speed manual transmission, so I decided to add it to the Junkyard Gem Collection.

There wasn’t much to go wrong with these things and they have a devoted following, so you’ll have no problem finding Cherokees with better than 200,000 miles.

While there was an AMC four-cylinder engine and a GM V6 available— in theory— for the XJ , just about every one I see has AMC straight-six power, either the 258-cubic-inch version of AMC Pacer fame or the later 4.0-liter type. This engine family goes back to 1964 and remains one of the all-time legends of Detroit (well, Kenosha) powerplants. In , the 4.0 was rated at 177 horsepower and 224 lb-ft.

This one has four-wheel-drive and the oddball Peugeot 5-speed manual transmission.

The Cherokee came in a bewildering array of trim levels over the decades. The Pioneer was a slightly upscale version, with plaid upholstery and a standard AM radio (hey, factory AM radios were still quite expensive during the 1980s).

This one has some rust and a beat-up interior; truck shoppers around here can choose from plenty of cleaner Cherokees with three-digit price tags, so the crusher will be its next stop.

More power than the competition. A lot more power!

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