Yes the tensioners, I heard so much talk about it. Well that's a plus for the 97 then to not worry about that.
3.0L is fine, truck ('99) goes, but the hp/torque in the 4.0L even though the numbers aren't all that different, I think, you really notice it. At low rpm a little throttle brings on the power no problem, it almost seems to growl, and I'm maybe not describing that right, but the point is you feel it's got guts.
I usually drive pretty easy on it, no reason not to and logic says if you are easy on things they last longer. Correct me if I'm wrong here but I'm pretty sure it'll be in 3rd before 30mph in a gentle acceleration.
Diff question Is my tranny different than my '99 3.0L? I understand about the splitting of first gear to 2 vs actually another gear, not sure if mine is like that. Just curious.
So far anything different I see on the 97 is better or ruggeder compared to the 99. For example the 99 has a steering knuckle boot that's rubber, the 97 has more of a solid shield looks like it would not be so prone to tearing. Just stuff like that. I guess what I'm saying is I don't see where the newer ones were really improved, seems the opposite. I'm sure I'll get push back about that. True the newer engines are yet more powerful but the 97's 4.0L is a beast compared to the 3.0L. I haven't compared torque old 4.0L to new 4.0L, but I'd rather have something more reliable and a bit less powerful than the opposite.