I'm new to the forum and looking to finally take the plunge and get a jeep for a weekend vehicle.
I've been browsing the forums for awhile and decided that the zj would be the perfect candidate.
I've seen a number of jeeps in not such great shape, however I recently test drove a 97 orvis edition with 120,000 miles. Per the current owner it hasn't had any major repairs except for new front suspension components (shocks and Springs). All of the fluids looked clean, everything worked, it drove well. The only issue was a howling noise when coasting on the highway. I've read up a bit and think it might be the front pinion bearings based on what others have said.
The guy is asking 3600 for the jeep. Does this seem reasonable for this year and mileage? Any thoughts or concerns?
It seems a bit high to me, but not ridiculously so. If the interior is nice, that's a big plus, as that's most of the Orvis' charm, IMHO. Since it probably has the 5.2L V8 in it, coupled with the 249 TC, it's probably close to requiring a new viscous coupling in the transfer case. That could run you $300+ for the job. Search the board and you may get closer on the going rate. The pinion bearing can be another pretty expensive fix. If it's very clean, and those are the only two obvious problems, along with the owner having good maintenance records, I'd think that $2800 would be a fair price. I would ask him why he replaced the springs, as I believe the Orvis came with the Up-country suspension (Look for sticker on rear left window), which is a bit higher, and better off-road, than stock. Has it obviously been lifted some?
Oh, and BTW, some people call some ZJ's an Orvis that is not an Orvis. Green/Tan leather interior is big tipoff for legitimate Orvis.
I might offer him $2500, but consider going a bit higher if you really like it, and it's better than most others being sold in your area. Also, if you're not an experienced mechanic, definitely take it to a pro for a pre-purchase inspection, especially to get an opinion on the "howling sound".
BTW: You can test the viscous coupling by driving around in slow, tight figure eights. If it's bad, it should start lurching around a bit when you do. From what I understand, if you do this test, you'll know. Good luck. The Orvis is a cool Jeep.
BTW: You can test the viscous coupling by driving around in slow, tight figure eights. If it's bad, it should start lurching around a bit when you do. From what I understand, if you do this test, you'll know
Just to add, the Jeep should be able keep moving during the tight figure-8s ideally without needing to touch the throttle (just using the natural "creep" of the transmission when in D), or at most with only the barest minimum of throttle.
If the VC is okay, the movement will be smooth with no hopping or tire-related screeching noises (the PS pump can be a bit noisy at full lock, don't confuse that with tire noise).
I bought my Orvis for $6,614.40. Worth every penny. Then again, mine had 2/3 the mileage of that Orvis and was minty.
Like Roundel said, make sure it's a legit Orvis. Some people advertise their ZJ as an Orvis because they don't know what the trim levels are, when it's really just a red 6-cylinder Laredo. If it's green (or driftwood satin because some 1997s were) and has that fun interior, it's an Orvis. Bonus points if the seats are in good shape and it has the Orvis tire cover. Also it should have all 5 Orvis wheels (standard Timberline with green insets instead of gold) and its badging at minimum. UpCountry decals are a plus, as are the sunroof and any of the towing packages. It probably has the 5.2l V8, though the dinky 4.0 was an option. Make sure the tow hooks, skid plates, and fog lights are all in good shape- they were standard equipment on Orvis Edition. It should also stand about an inch taller than a normal ZJ thanks to the UpCountry package, which came standard. If the shocks and springs have been changed out for standard components, the Jeep has lost considerable value as an Orvis.
Front pinion bearing wear is common on NP249-equipped ZJs. A whole axle rebuild kit is only around $100, though the labor to have the work done can set you back. If the noise is heard primarily just above 50mph while coasting, it's front pinion bearing noise. The NP249 also exhibits some level of binding when its viscous coupler wears out around 150,000 miles. If you can do figure 8s without much throttle it's probably fine. (If the Jeep hops or scrubs at all while testing, the coupler is probably dead. It can be replaced cheaply if you follow instructions and have basic tools)
1997 Grand Cherokee Orvis Edition
1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited
Hi, new to the forum as well. Bought a 1996 Orvis a couple of months ago. Was looking for something reasonably reliable but was willing to do some repairs. Wanted to be into a Jeep for no more than $3500.
Found my 96 Orvis. PO asking $2500 and I got it for $2000. Jeep has 127k's or just under 80k miles. New tires.
Had to fix the rear window defroster, fog lights and rear brake lights. Did this myself. Also needed to have the differential rebuilt, air con recharged, tranny gasket replaced. The shop I deal with in Richmond did all of this for $1500.
Small scrape on right rear and someone tried to jimmy the front passenger door lock so it needs some cosmetic work but works fine.
Everything else seems to work fine. Has the 5.2L. Jeep was pretty clean with the Orvis floor mats, Orvis spare tire cover, proper badging and it sits a little higher than a regular GC. Seems to have the HC suspension, tow hooks but no tow hitch, Orvis wheels.
I'm into the Jeep for $3500 and think its fair for the vehicle. When i get a chance I'll post some pics.
These are Canadian prices so I'm happy with the deal.