The Jeep Cherokee is one of the world’s most iconic SUVs, and perhaps most symbolic of the entire Jeep brand and range.
It has been a mainstay for decades, and has grown into other models such as the Grand Cherokee, and inspired others like the Compass and Patriot.
It remains popular even well into the 21st century.
This article answers the question “How Much Is A Jeep Cherokee Engine?”…
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How Much Is A Jeep Cherokee Engine?
You can expect to pay $5,000 for a replacement engine in your Cherokee. The main factor that prevents it from going too far above that is the relatively common nature of the engine and the resulting availability of parts for many different model years. The cost could rise to $6,000 with labor costs.
Pros & Cons Of Replacing The Engine
The Jeep Cherokee is an SUV with a considerable length of history.
It is therefore a good candidate for the process of “retro-modding” which refers to rebuilding an old-look Jeep Cherokee with new components.
This being the case, the first advantage of replacing the engine is that you could enjoy a more retro-look Jeep Cherokee but with the power and reliability of the modern engine under the hood.
In a similar vein, another advantage of replacing the engine is simply the restoration of full horsepower and fuel efficiency.
A replacement helps to maximize your gas mileage and bring your Cherokee back to its original power level.
Of course, with replacement, you can also have a choice of the type of engine you replace it with, which is another advantage.
Some assume that engine replacement is going to be prohibitively expensive, but if you go down the route of buying a rebuilt or refurbished engine, then it can make a huge difference.
The most obvious disadvantage to replacing the engine is in the cost.
It’s an expensive process with labor, and the engine itself can be very costly depending on how rare the one you want is.
Labor costs can also spiral above estimates if an engine replacement job turns out to be more complex or difficult than you first anticipated.
That’s further adding to the burden of the overall cost.
Another disadvantage of engine replacement is how time-consuming it is, especially if anything goes wrong that forces the job to be backtracked and re-done.
If you are indeed putting a newer engine into an older Cherokee model, then while it gives you greater efficiency, power, and reliability, it also detracts from the authenticity of the model.
It will then be more like a “vanity Cherokee.”
How Much Is A Rebuilt Engine?
First, let’s be clear on what we mean by a “rebuilt” engine. This concept is one where old disused engines are taken, disassembled, and inspected by engineers.
The usable parts are machined and/or cleaned, restoring them to their original state. The unusable parts are discarded and replaced with new parts.
The idea is to recreate the engine as close as possible to its OEM specification but also accepting that some parts are broken and in need of replacement.
Many are discovering the benefits of a rebuilt engine because of the lower price tag but also the high order of quality.
The closer they are to OEM specifications, the more likely they are to come with an added warranty. Most likely you can get 3-12 months depending on the supplier.
As for cost, a rebuilt engine, despite needing a lot of work to get it prepared, will invariably be much cheaper than a brand-new OEM engine off the production line.
You can expect to pay about $2,500 for a Jeep Cherokee rebuild, for example, including labor.
What Parts Are Needed For A Rebuilt Engine And What Is The Process?
The unique thing about the engine rebuilding process is that the rebuilders don’t know exactly which components they’ll definitely need to replace. Every engine is a bit different.
The general rule of thumb, however, is to replace smaller, more minor components that are more easily subject to wear and tear and attempt to restore larger components that are often intact but just in need of some professional care.
Components To Rebuilt An Engine
- Gaskets and O-rings
- Timing belt or chain
- Valve springs
- Oil pump
Three items in that list, the pistons, camshaft, and crankshaft, are the ones least likely to actually need replacing.
In most cases, these components can be machined and cleaned up, restoring them to their original health.
This is useful because then it means all the parts being replaced are quite small and inexpensive, which helps keep the cost down.
The cost of machining/cleaning a component is much lower than replacing it with a new one.
5 Main Steps To Rebuild An Engine
The first step is where the engine is removed, taken apart, and inspected.
The rebuilders have to get a grip on the condition of the engine. The only way to do that thoroughly is to take the engine apart and inspect each component individually.
Those components that can be kept are cleaned and restored (see below). Those that are no good are discarded.
After disassembly and inspection, the next stage is machining/cleaning.
The parts have to be smoothed out, cleaned, and restored so that they will work in optimum condition inside the engine.
An engine is a precise piece of equipment, so ensuring all components will work in sync is crucial.
Next, the engine is reassembled.
All cleaned, restored, and replaced parts are put back together into their coherent whole.
The fourth step is testing.
The engine has to be thoroughly tested with the target vehicle to ensure that it will operate safely.
Even small mistakes or inaccuracies can lead to an engine that is unsafe for use on public roads.
The final step is reinstallation.
Once the new engine is properly tested and confirmed, it can be restored into a vehicle.
How Much Is A Refurbished Engine?
First of all, we need to be clear again about the term “refurbished” and how it’s different from “rebuilt.”
There are many people who use these terms almost interchangeably, but they are actually different.
As we mentioned above, “rebuilt” engines are disassembled, cleaned, restored, and old parts replaced. “Refurbished” engines don’t go through that same level of disassembly.
Compared to rebuilding, the refurbishing process is relatively simple, but it still contains the first critical element: inspection.
It’s normally carried out in OEM dealerships and auto shops.
Let’s say one Jeep Cherokee owner upgraded to a new engine and the old one, still in perfect working condition, comes back to the OEM.
Jeep will clean it up, repair any superficial damage, and then repackage it for sale as a budget-friendly refurbished model.
This happens quite a lot with consumer electronics like smartphones and laptops.
You might go into a store and purchase a 5-year-old laptop that has been cleaned up, reset, received some software updates, and it’s much cheaper.
The same can be done with engines, and OEMs do it because these engines are popular for older-model cars where engine replacement can seem like a waste of money.
Because the work is normally carried out in OEM shops, the work often carries a pleasing 12-month (or possibly longer) warranty.
The price is also much lower, sometimes well under $2,000 including labor. The cost of labor is reduced because there’s no disassembly involved.
How Do Specialized Factories Refurbish An Engine?
OEMs often run these restoration shops because they are the primary suppliers of this type of engine. The factory operation is relatively simple, certainly simpler than rebuilding.
The first critical step they take is to bring in the engine and inspect it.
If the engine is deemed to be fully working, then it is cleaned up and any superficial or minor damage is repaired.
If the engine is deemed unsalvageable because of broken components, then it is discarded for scrap, or possibly sold to rebuilders.
OEMs don’t typically do rebuilds because for them it is not so economical.
Once cleaned and repaired, the factory will repackage it and make it ready for sale as a repurposed item.
How Long Do Cherokee Engines Last?
The longest-lasting Jeep Cherokee belonged to one Jan Richey who racked up an incredible 612,000 miles on her 1988 Jeep Cherokee while keeping a huge number of the original features.
That is hardly typical, though. The typical Jeep Cherokee will last up to about 200,000 miles with some major mechanical attention like a new transmission along the way, new brake rotors, and some other parts.
With proper care and sticking to the service schedule, however, you shouldn’t have any trouble making it to around 200,000 if you kept the Jeep that long.
Is It Worth it To Replace The Engine?
Whether or not it’s worth it to replace the engine depends largely on the vehicle’s residual value.
If the cost of the engine exceeds the residual value, then it’s not a worthwhile cause because you could use that cost equivalent and the vehicle itself as a down payment on a new model.
How Much Can I Get For A Cherokee With Dead Engine From A Scrapyard?
The scrap price on a fully intact Jeep Cherokee would be about $500, so with a dead engine, you might only be looking at $150-200.
The engine is the most critical part and houses many valuable components.
If the engine were dead and broken, full of unusable parts, then you would get less.
If there are any salvageable parts in the engine even though it’s currently dead, then you could do better.
How Much Is A Good Used Cherokee?
The following are low-end estimates on what you could expect to pay for a Jeep Cherokee used from each model year.
How Much Is A New Cherokee?
In 2021, the new Jeep Cherokee starts at $27,210, ranging up to about $38,975 with upgrades and higher trim levels.