As a devout Jeep Cherokee XJ lover, this video of The Greatest SUV Of All Time splitting apart while off-roading has kept me up in a sweat for the past three nights, but now I’ve gathered the strength to write a blog to share this tragedy with you, my dear readers. Proceed at your own risk.
Pour out some 80W-90 gear oil for a fallen XJ, which busted its ass on Oct. 28, 2018 in Marseilles, Illinois, according to ViralHog, who uploaded this rated R video to YouTube:
The YouTube page quotes someone who was at the scene, writing in the clip’s description:
“We had just gotten stuck in a mud hole and needed to be pulled out. The hole was deeper than expected and the rusty frame on the Jeep snapped into two. The rear wheels were basically trying to drive away from the Jeep. We were able to be pulled out then drive under its own power back to the parking lot.”
The Jeep Cherokee XJ was built with something called a “UniFrame,” which basically meant that a “cab” was welded directly to two U-Channel unibody rails spanning the length of the vehicle.
As I showed with my $600 Jeep Cherokee XJ, these vehicles have a tendency to rust out pretty badly, compromising the floors, rocker panels, and eventually, the thicker unibody rails themselves.
What appears to have happened here, is that one or both unibody rails broke just in front of the rear leaf spring shackles. You can see that as the driver accelerates, torque generated by the tire and ground sends the broken part of the rail—to which the shackle is mounted—down. This also takes the rear bumper and and the crossmember to which the bumper mounts with it. Since the rear hatch latches to that crossmember, the bottom half of that rear fiberglass door comes along for the ride, as well.
The welds attaching the entire rear part of the unibody to the floor appear to be toast, and—if I had to hazard a guess—so is this Jeep’s chances of driving another day. The four-liter engine under the hood, though? Pop that into another Jeep, and let it live on into infinity.