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  1. #1

    Default Packing a Jeep Cherokee

    Anybody have any experience with packing up a Jeep Cherokee for a few weeks/ months on the road? I need to fit everything to live off of, including car repairs as needed, and still have room to sleep on a nice Thermarest mattress.

    Any thoughts??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    The gear you would need could be found in one of the links here, and here. I doubt there's enough room to have everything you need for months on the road and to fit you in the back sleeping on a mattress.

    What kind of car repairs are you expecting to have to do? Anything other than basic repairs, which can be accomplished with a small toolkit, would require specialty tools that would just get in the way.

  3. Default

    for car repairs you wouldn't really need much. For oil changes I'm sure there is enough ground clearance to not need a jack. Same if you want to change the transmission fluid. If you want to rotate your tires then sure bring a jack and some stands.

    You'll want to have a bottle of washer fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and manual transmission fluid if it's manual. It all depends how many miles you plan to drive really...

    You can replace these fluids before you go to prevent the need for these services on the road. Maybe do a tune up. I don't know, it really depends how many miles you have and how many miles you plan on driving and how car savvy you are.

  4. #4

    Default Inside/Outside

    Hello W-T,

    I take it you plan to sleep inside of the Jeep rather than tenting or otherwise camping outside of the vehicle. If that's correct, here are some thoughts:

    A car-top carrier of some sort will place gear outside of the vehicle and it's simple enough to find one which is lockable. The significant downside to a cartop carrier is the effect it will have on your Jeep's fuel consumption. Particularly if you tend to drive at or slightly in excess of the posted speed limit, a big cartop carrier can drop your fuel mileage by 10-15% or more.

    Also placing gear on the outside, but out of the wind, is the "hitch-hauler" a shelf-like device which "plugs" into your Jeep's receiver hitch. I've seen items such as a locable cartop carrier attached to a hitch-hauler.

    A third alternative is to just give in to getting a small tent. You'll probably find they're not too expensive and many of the 2 man tents can be set up in mere minutes. It should be easy to find one to accomodate your air mattress, which for extended trip plans I would consider a must.

    As to maintenance issues, having owned a 1996 Cherokee for 10 years, I can tell you the biggest issue is the cooling system. If yours has the original water pump, old upper or lower hoses, and/or an old radiator, I'd give serious consideration to a full change-out of all of the above, particularly if you're in position to do the work yourself. Cherokees tend to run hot and the piston walls are paper-thin. It's not beyond imagination to envision a hot day's climb up a long Interstate grade, overheating the old girl, and burning a piston. I'd put a new thermostat in there, too. On mine, the plastic OEM radiator split wide open while under a Road Trip strain, and more recently the 3rd water pump gave it up (albeit with 180,000 miles on the vehicle and about 75,000 on that particular water pump). The other longer-term items I'd do before embarking on a long, heavily-laden trip would be to change the rear axle fluid and change the automatic transmission fluid and put a fresh filter into it (if it's an auto). Heat buildup is the primary enemy of automatic transmissions. Since the auto trannnies route fluid through the cooling system in order to cool the ATF, doing the right thing with the cooling system and the ATF change represents a "two-fer". I'd change the trans gear oil on a manual, also. And of course all of this presumes you'll start with a fresh oil change, good tires, and good brakes.

    Have fun planning and taking your trip!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    It's not worth the hassle doing routine maintenance yourself on a road trip - just hit a quick lube joint or Walmart, etc. for oil changes and related service. The only things you should do yourself on the road are emergency repairs to get you to a shop.

  6. #6

    Default Thank you for the help!

    Thanks everyone for the thoughts about packing my Jeep!

    I, of course, wasn't hoping for any car repairs, but I just thought I should anticipate things that may come up. From what everyone has said, I suppose the best thing I could carry, other than fluids, is my AAA card. I don't intend on ever being too too far from services, and I will be bringing a bicycle in case I get stuck without cell phone reception or assistance. I will definately bring an empty gas can and all possible fluids just to be safe.

    Thank you, Foy, for your thoughts about the Jeep Cherokee. I was hoping someone out there with some Cherokee experience would respond. I have already changed out my radiator and water pump at least once in the four years I have had the truck, and I think the radiator may be going again. I will definately consider a nice upgrading of the entire system before I leave.
    Also, good call on the Thule box for the roof. I already have racks, so I will look around for a box.
    Have you compelted any long road trips in your Jeep?

    Thank you again,

  7. #7

    Default No lengthy trips in the old Jeep

    I haven't traveled more than 300 miles one-way in the Jeep during the 10 years I've had it. I was planning to take it from NC to MT and back about 6 years ago but a couple of months prior to scheduled departure my son's newer and larger pickup became available so I took it instead.

    I essentially "traded" my son the Jeep for the pickup. I owned each but had had him using the pickup and self using the Jeep. Alas, since he "took over" the Jeep, it's been "drove hard and put up wet" so is no longer suitable for Road Trips outside our home county.

    It's a shame about the plastic radiators and their "temporary" nature in the Jeeps. But, even the high-luxe manufacturers are using them: witness 3 of my close relatives with BMW X-5s, each with plastic radiators, expansion tanks, and fittings. A buddy of mine who works on them says they pop like popcorn after 80-100,000 miles. If I were you and had a moment's doubt about the cooling system, I'd sure deal with it at home rather than the Road. Particularly if you're planning to keep the Jeep long after the Road Trip has been completed.

    I suppose a Thule box, of the long and narrow variety, will "catch the wind" and thereby lower your fuel economy somewhat less than the more boxy types. If you've already got the racks and can find a box on the cheap, the fuel issue may take a back to efficiency and ease of acquisition and installation. Plus, you can probably get your bike up there in addition to the box.

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