Purchased a 2001 Cherokee 4x4 for 2,100. Before I go on, let me just advise everyone that this was the first car I've ever purchased and I didn't know what to look for really.
This is what was good about the car:
-The engine seems to run fine
-It was 4x4
Cosmetically, there were some rust spots around the car. I've clear enameled it as my friend suggested so the rust would not spread as fast. The rear left panel, under the side bumper, had a basketball-sized dent in it that was bondoed, it appears. The hood lost it's gloss coating. That's all I can really think of.
Here's whats wrong with the car:
-The AC doesn't work.
-I have a very weak start when I start the car.
-I seem to lose battery power sometimes. Happens usually only within 10 minutes of the car being on.
-I have terrible mileage for some reason. Reached half tank, from full, in 2 days. Only drive about 35 or so miles those 2 days.
-Well, I'm not even sure what's wrong with it but when I engage 4x4H, it starts pulling to the right and starts making a loud and deep whirring sound. Also, my car doesn't idle forward when I'm in 4x4H anymore. When I disengage into 2H, it stops once 4x4 disengages. This problem arose when I traversed a pile of dirt and small rocks that was 3 or 4 feet wide and 2 and 1/2 feet tall
So I think I've come to the assumption that I overpaid for this car and there's some work to be done but I have no experience or the money to have someone fix them.
But for some reason, I love this car. I want to get the experience to make it my own and be mechanically self-sufficient.
If anyone can take the time to give me some advice on where to start and if you recognize the problem described with my 4x4H, it would be GREATLY appreciated.
Perform a complete tune-up. Change all the fluids and lubricants. Inspect for failed u-joints. Test the 02 sensors for failure, if failed, they will cut your mpg's by 30-50%.
Perform routine maintenance of the start and charge systems.Remove, clean, and firmly reconnect all the wires and cables to the battery,starter, and alternator. Look for corroded or damaged cables or connectors andreplace as needed. Copper wires should be copper color, not black or green.
Have the battery, starter, and the alternator Load Tested for proper function in a test machine that applies a simulated work load. Handheld testers are inaccurate and will often pass faulty parts.
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AC not working could be a bad compressor or a leak. Leaks at the o-rings and Schrader (service) valves are the most common and a cheap fix, I'd try to find a good AC shop and let them look at it.
The loss of battery power and weak starts are likely related, dirty terminals and bad battery cables are usually the most common cause of this. Start by cleaning the terminals and inspect the cables, if they are corroded or cracked they need to be replaced. If replacement is necessary there are a ton of aftermarket options available on the internet that are far superior to stock, also check all the grounds to make sure they are clean and tight.
The 4WD issue sounds like it is probably a bad U-joint.
Have you confirmed the gas mileage, the gauges are notoriously inaccurate? Assuming it is getting bad mileage it could probably use a tune-up (plugs, O2 sensors).
$2100 doesn't sound like a bad price as long as it doesn't have any major issues (the above are minor issues) or a ton of miles.