I just picked up a clean 99 cherokee for cheep because it needs a head gasket. It's got a cylinder missfire code for cylinders 2 and 3 so I'm thinking that's where the leak is if that matters and it has 130k miles. The guy I bought it from said his wife was driving it and all of the sudden it got hot and the radiator blew so she pulled over and shut it off.
How do I tell if I have the imfamous 0331 head? Changing the head gasket is no big deal but I'd rather not have to buy another head. Is there a way to check for cracks in the head myself without having to pay a machine shop to magnaflux it?
I think the head with problems started in 99 on the WJ and 00 in the XJ/TJ. You can pull the valve cover and see if the oil is washed away (indicating coolant leakage) right in the middle of the head pretty much under the filler cap.
Since you have the 0331, you want to be absolutely sure it is still good. If I take the time and effort to remove the head to install a head gasket, I want to be sure I don't have to repeat myself in a few weeks or months if the head turns out to be cracked. My time is worth money, and I would rather be on the trails than in the garage, so spending a few dollars on a test is worth it to me.
I have an 0331 head on my 2000 and a spare 1999 head in the garage. If I have any head or gasket issues I am going to do the head and exhaust manifold swap and be done with the potential 0331 problems.
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Thanks for the help. Been doing some reading on this and am going to pull the valve cover tonight or tomorrow night and check for the crack between 3 & 4. Like I said I'd rather not have to buy a head but even if I do I'll still be into this thing for less than $1400 so I guess I can deal with it.