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Unread 06-29-2012, 06:10 PM   #1
jstick911
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Buying 96 cherokee what should i look for?

Thinking of buying a 96 Cherokee with 430k on the odometer and the guy says the 4.0 got rebuilt 30k ago but has only the title as far as paperwork goes. Says the clutch feels good and was done when the motor was.

Also a clean interior with radio, ac/heat, lights all working. Sits on a 5" lift with 32" BF Good-wrench A/Ts. Has great paint but the front left quarter panel is dented.

What's a good asking price if it seems mechanically sound, what are some of the things I should look for under the hood?

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Unread 06-29-2012, 06:33 PM   #2
need4speedtonka
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i would look for holes in the floor,saying cuz i didnt ,find out later i got myself Flinstones mobile .lol
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Unread 06-30-2012, 08:27 AM   #3
ironman2427
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstick911 View Post
Thinking of buying a 96 Cherokee with 430k on the odometer and the guy says the 4.0 got rebuilt 30k ago but has only the title as far as paperwork goes. Says the clutch feels good and was done when the motor was.

Also a clean interior with radio, ac/heat, lights all working. Sits on a 5" lift with 32" BF Good-wrench A/Ts. Has great paint but the front left quarter panel is dented.

What's a good asking price if it seems mechanically sound, what are some of the things I should look for under the hood?
Did you ever hear of that saying "pics or it didn't happen"? If he doesn't have the paperwork, I'd ask where it got done. Perhaps I tend to be on the cold side but keep in mind, there's a reason it's for sale. Be careful. You may even want to consider having your mechanic look it over. It's only a few bucks that could save you a ton more in the long run. Good luck!
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Unread 06-30-2012, 08:31 AM   #4
dest
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Rust!
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Unread 06-30-2012, 09:15 PM   #5
jstick911
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So what does a mechanic look at besides rust?
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Unread 07-03-2012, 11:23 PM   #6
jstick911
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Bump
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Unread 07-07-2012, 04:56 PM   #7
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Unread 07-07-2012, 05:53 PM   #8
geeperspeepers
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Chk coolant to see if it's rusty get under and look for damage on everything and I would definitely take it to a mech to look it over. That's a lot o miles
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Unread 07-07-2012, 07:03 PM   #9
n5xl
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You should be doing two things when you buy a used vehicle. You evaluate the vehicle and at the same time, evaluate the trustworthiness and character of the person selling the vehicle. If you find or detect anything that give you pause or makes you uneasy, walk away. Jeeps like this are all over the place and some nice ones can be had.

My favorite place to evaluate a used vehicle is from underneath. You can make a vehicle shine with a wash and wax job but its difficult to hide abusive driving from intense scrutiny by looking at the underside.

Look for deep scratches and gouges in the lower parts of the differentials (both front and back) and look at the crossmembers and skidplates (if it has them). Look for anything bent or torn or looks like its been rewelded. Look specifically at the front axle and the control arms, trackbar mounts and the welds associated with them...particularly where they mount to the unibody and axle tubes. Look at the steeringbox and its mounts. Any abusive offroad behavior will often show up in these places as bent and rewelded areas. Grab the drive shaft and yoke with both hands and hold the yoke while trying to turn the driveshaft backwards and forwards. Look at the u joint while you do this and look for slop. Push the driveshafts up and down and side to side at the exits of the transfer case and at the input to the rear and front diffs and look for slop.

Ask him what kind of axles it has. Do your homework and know what they are supposed to look like so you can verify what you're being told. Ask what kind of oil was used in the front and rear diffs. Who did the service work. Is it regeared and what is the gearing in it now? Does it have lockers?

While you're under there, evaluate the condition of the exhaust system and look for rust at the bottom rear of the muffler and catalytic converter. Also judge the conditon of the pipes. Make sure that the oxygen sensors are installed. Crawl up to the front under the drivers side engine compartment and look at the exhaust pipes as they come together and look for splits or cracks. Use a flashlight and follow each pipe up to the exhaust manifold where it bolts to the engine and look for cracks or splits. If this is a fresh rebuild, the exhaust bolts should still be in very good condition and not a rusted mess. If I were doing a rebuild, I would have put new freeze plugs in it so see if you can verify this and if they dont look new, ask if he knows if they were changed out during the rebuild. Follow the exhaust pipe back down the engine and around and towards the rear, looking for damage or splits.

A vehicle that's had an engine rebuilt 30k miles ago should be oil tight and not leaking everywhere. You should be able to tell the newness of gaskets (oil pan gasket at the front where it meets the timing chain cover) and the engine should have a good general appearance just glancing at it. If its an oily mess and leaking, suspect that you're not being told the truth or he used a mechanic that couldn't be bothered to clean up the engine during a rebuild. Either one I'd not trust. Pull the oil dipstick and smell the engine oil. Look for and smell for burnt oil, it should also be fairly clean. Remove the oil filler cap and look inside the valve cover and inside the oil cap. Look for brown milkshake appearance or white creamy appearance. Either is very bad. Ask questions like what kind of oil has been used. How often was it serviced before the rebuild and what is his viscosity and oil of choice now that its been rebuilt.

Drive it around and listen to the engine and transmission. Listen for rattling and knocking at idle. Evaluate how well it shifts gears. Getting into first gear from a stop on the AX-5 and AX-15 can be difficult if the tranny syncros are starting to show signs of wear. This sometimes shows up in downshifts too. Listen for loud whine or rumbling when shifting and listen for throwout bearing noises (high pitched squeal) when the clutch is pushed in.

On your test drive, go to the end of the street or even better a large empty parking lot. Put the transfer case in 4hi and make a very sharp, very slow turn in the parking lot and listen for the front tires to chirp and you should also feel significant tire jounce and scrubbing It should feel like it doesnt want to turn easily. Listen for abnormal noise in the transfer case while doing this. Straighten up as soon as you confirm tire scrub and put it in 4lo. Slowly take off and you should notice that the engine should sound much more frantic and the rpm should be significantly increased for your forward speed. Repeat the steering wheel lock and listen and feel for the front tires to scrub and jounce around. Straighten up as soon as you confirm this and put it back in 2hi. Make one last steering wheel lock parking lot maneuver and you should be back in normal driving mode with no tire scrub our jounce. If it still scrubs the front tires or jounces around in 2hi, perform a few slow speed steering wheel rockings while traveling forward and this should clear it.

Ask about overheating problems and when was the last time the cooling system was serviced. While you're asking that, look at the coolant overflow bottle and look for oily brown mess inside and note the color of the antifreeze. Ask specifically what brand of antifreeze was used and if he did the service work.

Pop open the PDC and have a look at the fuses there and look for "addons" that would indicate he has added aftermarket electrical accessories. Do the same for the fuse box inside. The quality of electrical wiring as part of an aftermarket addon install will tell you the level of detail the owner exhibits when installing items. Soldered and heatshrink connectors generally indicate very good work, crimp connections the next best, bare wire jammed in fuse holders or gobs of black electrical tape (or worse, paper and scotch tape...yes I've seen them) all over and you've got a "mechanic" that might not be doing the best work you'd like to buy from.

As far as price goes, thats tough. The bluebook values vary depending on where you're located. Here a vehicle like this in very good to excellent condition would have a KBB of about 1800-2000 dollars. You're mileage is a subtractor from this.

Stay focused and dont be "rushed" into getting the first thing you see. This vehicle has a lot of miles on it and it may be a good vehicle, but you've got to stay focused and cut through the crap and evaluate what you see and are being told.

If you dont think you're up to the job of inspecting this on your own, there is nothing better than taking a fellow long term XJ owner with you, particularly one that is an experienced do it yourselfer. Another excellent choice would be a mechanic that speaks Jeep fluently. If you have a local Jeep club or a close-by forum member, they would also be a possible choice to help you look this vehicle over.

Good luck.
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Unread 07-08-2012, 02:12 PM   #10
jstick911
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Wow man thank you so much! I know that took a lot of time but what a huge help! Just looked at a 96 grand Cherokee and used your info to decide not to buy. THANK YOU again!!
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Unread 07-09-2012, 07:00 AM   #11
monkers
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Excellent info, thank you for taking the time to write it up!!
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