Jeep Cherokee (SJ)
- See also Jeep Cherokee for other models using this name
|1974 Jeep Cherokee|
|Body style(s)||2-door wagon|
|Wheelbase||108.7 in (2761 mm)|
|Length||186.4 in (4735 mm)|
|Width||74.8 in (1900 mm)|
|Height||66.4 in (1687 mm)|
|Curb weight||4514 lb (2048 kg)|
The SJ series Jeep Cherokee was a full-size SUV produced from 1974 through 1983 by the Jeep division of the American Motors Corporation. It was similar to the Wagoneer. Other than the base model, the trim levels of the Cherokee included the S (Sport), Chief, Golden Eagle, Limited, Classic, Sport, Pioneer, and Laredo. It was designed by Brooks Stevens.
The Cherokee was a redesigned reintroduction of a two door body style, with a single fixed rear side window with an optional flip-out section. Previously, a two door version had been available in the Jeep Wagoneer line (1963–67), although this had the same window configuration as the four door Wagoneer. Based on the Wagoneer, the Cherokee was marketed as the "sporty" two-door variant of Jeep's station wagon. When it was equipped with the torquey 6.6liter V8, it would out-run just about any other 4x4 in its class, and, with 3.07:1 highway gearing, could reach speeds in excess of 100mph (early models had 120mph speedometers). A four-door was not added to the lineup until 1977. Engine choices consisted of AMC I6 or V8 powerplants. The Cherokee was marketed in left and right hand drive countries (such as the UK and Australia). Main production of the Cherokee was in Toledo, Ohio.
Around the world
Cherokees were briefly assembled in Brisbane, Australia from 1981, although their heavy fuel consumption and high cost in comparison with Japanese four-wheel drive vehicles made them uncompetitive in that market. The Australian arm of Jeep was denied permission to assemble the upcoming XJ model under the Button car plan, and all Cherokee assembly was discontinued in Australia by 1986, two years after the model name had been supplanted in the U.S. by the XJ.
A range of AMC engines were offered: the 258-cubic inch (4.2 L) inline six-cylinder, a two-barrel 360-cubic inch (5.9 L) V8, a four-barrel 360, or the 401-cubic inch (6.6 L) V8. The durable 401 V8 had a forged crankshaft and forged connecting rods, as well as the high nickel content block of the other AMC V8s. The 401 was discontinued at the end of 1978. A T-18/T-18a four speed manual gearbox was standard for all years, while through 1979 the General Motors TH400, more commonly fitted to 3/4- and 1-ton trucks rather than SUVs, was optional. For comparison, the Chevy Blazer used the TH350 lighter duty automatic. After 1979, the TH400 was replaced by the Chrysler 727.
A gear-driven Dana 20 transfer case with 2.03:1 low range was standard with the manual gearbox (which had a much lower first gear of about 6.3:1), while the TH400 automatics received the permanent four-wheel drive QuadraTrac system. The chain-driven, aluminum QuadraTrac was quite advanced at the time. It included a center differential lock, which other full-time four-wheel drive systems at the time lacked (as do many today). The transfer case was offset, allowing it to sit just above the frame to avoid obstacles, and the chain itself is larger than nearly any other. A test by the Four-Wheel Drive Book found that the Cherokee was the only vehicle unable to be dynoed because the transfer case would not allow the rear wheels to spin, unlike the other full-time four-wheel drive vehicles being tested. In the off-road test, the same held true. This transfer case was also employed successfully in Baja races, for example by Roger Mears in the Baja 1000. A 2.57:1 low range was optional on QuadraTrac.
In 1975, the Cherokee Chief package was introduced. Aside from trim changes, this model received larger fenders and wider axles. This allowed 31" tires to be fitted from the factory to further improve off-road ability. Four-door models were not available with "wide-track" axles.
Dana 44 model axles were used both in the front and the rear at least through 1979. Brake hardware was mostly General Motors equipment, with disc brakes up front (optional on earlier models) and drum brakes in the rear.
All Cherokees had semi-elliptical leaf springs in the front and rear.
The Jeep Cherokee was the first vehicle to earn Four Wheeler Magazine's "Achievement Award", which later became the "Four Wheeler of the Year" award.
- 1975: Page 98, The Four-Wheel Drive Book
Jeep, A subsidiary of Chrysler LLC, road vehicle timeline, 1945–present
|Traditional||CJ-2A||CJ-3A||CJ-3B||CJ-7/8||Wrangler YJ||Wrangler TJ||Wrangler JK|
|Compact SUV||VJ||C101||C104||Cherokee/Wagoneer XJ||Liberty KJ||Liberty KK|
|SUV||Willys Jeep Wagon||G.Cherokee ZJ||G.Cherokee WJ||G.Cherokee WK|
|Wagoneer/Cherokee SJ||G.Wagoneer||Commander XK|
|Pickup||Willys Jeep Truck||Comanche MJ|