Since I'm new around here, first time venturing away from the MJ/FSJ clubs, just some background first. If I get this ZJ it'll be my 7th Jeep that I've personally owned, everything before it was MJs and a Gladiator. My dad owned a '00 XJ for awhile and now owns a '05 WK, and my uncle owned a '95 ZJ for awhile but that was when I was too young to care and he lived out of state so didn't get to experience it anyways.
I've been looking for a vehicle and I was going to buy my dad's old '00 Explorer since I wasn't finding anything and he has maintained it consistently since he got it in '04 as the second owner. The SOHC V6 makes me nervous though since I know timing chains going are the main problem with them (it has 167k miles). A ZJ popped up down the road from me just the other day though, and I stopped to take a look at it quickly today. Like I said, this'll be my first Grand so I'm hoping some of the gurus around here can help me decide if it's worth buying or not. Was mainly looking for a WJ just because of age/mileage, but this ZJ doesn't have high miles so might be worth it.
Here is what I know:
'98 5.2 Laredo 4x4 Quadra-trac with around 165k miles
Leather seats, towing package, sunroof, typical falling down headliner...
Very clean as far as rust goes around here, only bad stuff I could find was at the front of the rockers on both sides it was rusted through
Underside of the engine and all that was dry, didn't look leaky at all
Now for the bad:
Transmission slips going from 2-3. They said it only happens when cold. I've read plenty of stuff around the web about what it could be, seems to vary quite a bit so looking for input. Said it started last week and they parked it and decided to sell.
Rear driver door doesn't like to open from the outside. It will, but you have to fuss with the button.
Bad pulley squeal, sounded like the A/C. This was at idle with A/C off.
Front drive shaft is off, said it was hopping or whatever when turning. Sounds like the VC if my research has been accurate? They said something about sensors in the rear wheels, but that sounds like VC from what I've found unless I've just not stumbled across other answers.
Otherwise the engine sounded really good. Steady idle, good oil pressure, fired right up without any strange noises (other than that pulley of course), didn't notice any smoke. I didn't have time to take it for a spin, but will go back and do so if y'all think it sounds like it's worth making an offer on.
They are asking $1300, obviously would offer less because of the tranny and VC issue. What do you all think? Grab it for cheap if I can and save up for a rebuilt tranny while I drive it until it gives it up? Think it would at least make it until late summer? Thanks
Offer them 500 bucks. You are in the hole potentially 2000 right from the start with that thing if the trans is indeed bad. The VC is about 300-400 for the part and it will also need the plenum gasket repair which is about 130 for parts. I just estimated the transmission rebuild at 1300-1500.
Of course you could get lucky and all it is are the gov trans sensors. You could also swap a different t case in for less but I wouldn't tell them that.
The only sensors in the rear tire area are the ABS.
I wouldn't worry paying that much for a tranny rebuild, just grab another one for $200-300 from a junkyard, and rebuild yours yourself in the meantime in case if the JY unit dies. Regarding the tcase, just grab a 242 or 231 case off any junkyard XJ or ZJ for $150-200, they are mostly direct fit and last forever, unlike 249. A bit worse snow performance but cheaper and not gonna fail again.
Rust is the only thing that cant be fixed cheaply.
Front drive shaft off, there is a reason. Sloppy shift 2-3 MIGHT be adjustment but don't count on it.
On the good side it's a relatively modest mileage and clean body. But assume you're going to need a trans rebuild 1100-1500 if you have it done, and possibly TCase repairs. (maybe you'll be lucky and not spend that money, but don't count on it) Does he have the front drive shaft? that's another expense.
If the price is cheap enough it's an ok deal if you go in with the right expectations.
'89 Wrangler YJ
97 Grand Cherokee (ZJ)
87 MB 560SL roadster
Like polka said, VC is bad. Trans could need a band adjustment/new sensors but it's a gamble. I have a perfectly fine 44re/NP249 in my shop. Probably needs motor mounts as well. Plenum is def bad, take the airhat off and look down the TB with a bright flashlight, with the throttle wide open (motor off), you'll probably see a layer of oil in the intake. Check valve cover gaskets.
94 ZJ Laredo. 5.2 Crate engine. 6in JKS SA Lift. 33in Destination MTs. ARB Front Bumper.
Thanks for all the replies so far. I think I'll give them a call and get them to toss the front drive shaft back in so I can take it for a spin. I'll be sure to take a look in the TB and everything else mentioned so far and see what happens.
The update is I missed out, someone else must have scooped it up. I was looking at a few other vehicles as well, including a 5.9, so by the time I had called to check it out a second time it was already gone. It was parked in a great spot along the side of a state route, someone not knowing about the problems with these probably thought it was too good of a deal to pass up.