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Unread 01-24-2014, 08:47 PM   #1
Dave804
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Chesterfield, Va
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ZJ Shopping- Couple Test Drive Questions

Evening all, want to start out by saying thanks for all the info on this site, I learned a ton for car shopping so far. I'm in the market for a new DD beater and I've settled on a ZJ. For some reason the prices seem hilariously low. ~1500 can get you a decent condition with 160-180k miles in my area.

I test drove one today and wanted to ask about a couple things I noticed:

'98 Limited 5.2, full time 4hi. Selec Trac?

It was about 15* today, and the car had been sitting for a few days. Circling the block there was a delayed shift at ~15-20 mph. It wasn't hard, and the engine didn't rev freely. If you got in to the throttle it would shift right away. I've owned a few cars like this, where the first shift was delayed until the fluids warmed up, is the Jeep designed the same way?

Secondly, it felt like quite a bit of resistance driving at low speeds. I was still able to un and re- parallel park it and she cornered fine. There was no grinding sound, it just felt like you were trying to accelerate while holding the brake pedal. The car also tipped away from whichever direction you were turning. I'm hoping that was just stock domestic suspension plus heavy vehicle

I did noticed that the front tires were about 10% more worn than the rears, but they had different date codes. I was unable to engage 4lo, but neutral and back to 4hi worked. I know now I need to be rolling a bit to get it lined up.

Thanks in advance
-Dave

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Unread 01-24-2014, 08:59 PM   #2
xcaliber81
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1994 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Prince George, B.C
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Mine revs a tiny bit more when its cold.
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Unread 01-24-2014, 09:18 PM   #3
Gearhead31
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1995 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: St Pete, Florida
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fwiw, you technically are supposed to be rolling a few miles an hr when trying to engage 4-lo but I've never had to do it.. Most people do though, it seems(I have the 249 tc so that has a bit to do with it also). NP242(selectrac)has 2wd, 4-full time, 4-hi, 4-lo & neutral as the options for the transfer case. The factory OEM transfer case is the quadratrac(NP249), which has 4-hi, N and 4-low on the selector level. All three options of transfer cases are great, each has positives and negatives. There's some extra reading for you

Back on topic..
the selectrac(NP242) transfer case likes to stick in part time 4wd quite often. It's one of the biggest glitches on that transfer case. This problem can usually be solved by slight adjustments to the shifter linkage(the link between the shifter handle and the transfer case, underneath the vehicle). I'm thinking that is why it was acting sluggish, like applying the brakes and gas. Was it acting like it was binding up, hopping around, tires catching then breaking free kind of a feeling? If so, that's definitely the likely problem.

the delayed shift could be several things.. Most jeeps don't like the cold and being driven in the cold before they warm up. They are also EXTREMELY picky about the transmission having a very proper amount of fluid. Too low or overfull and they will start throwing fits. The fluid must be checked with the vehicle and transmission warmed up, on level ground, and with the transmission in neutral(chock the tires or use the e-brake for this please!). it's also possible it needs a fluid change along with a clean filter, the sensor and/or pressor governor could be going bad, or the TV cable/kickdown cable might need adjusting. most of these are fairly easy but pulling the pan for the sensors can be a bit of a royal pain if it's your first time doing it, and it's rather messy.

as for the tire wear, it's very common for full time 4wd vehicles to wear the front tires on the outer edges a little bit more rapidly than most other vehicles. Extreme and uneven wear is what you should be worried about. Different aged tires with close to the same wear is fine. Since they are worn a bit, it gives you an excuse to get some new, better tires put on it lol
I hope that answered all of your questions!

Welcome to the forum! If you get it, don't expect to have prius kind of gas mileage but you will have fun with her anyways. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!
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Unread 01-24-2014, 09:47 PM   #4
Dave804
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Thanks x and gearhead!

Warmed up, level, in N the trans fluid had a good color and smell to it. Once I see records and take ownership I'll be going through all the fluids. The car is a wealthy va suburb survivor, so I doubt it's ever seen dirt, but preventative maintenance was probably nil lol.

And quadra- I misspoke. This Jeep had 4HI-N-4LO. That's what had me worried. From what I've read it's a 70/30 VC in the NP/NV249. It seems that people agree that they're suitable for a DD, and reliable- just require more adequate fluid changes than the others? I was worried what I felt tonight was a failed VC locked in 50/50. Would that be almost un-driveable, like turning a normal 4x4 system on dry pavement? What I felt tonight was just cranky cold Jeep? It moved smooth and consistent, just felt like I was towing.

The tires were worn even side to side, looked like someones been replacing 2 at a time. And +1 on new tires. I think the current ones are Kumho? I've yet to get in to reading on Jeep tires, but I usually like BFG or Michelin. Then again, I do sort of hate the stock wheels

And I'm not worried about mpg. My daily ride is 13miles. Either all highway or all city blocks. My current choices are an '86 F350 or a 98 740il. Not to mention cheaper parts and insurance, a Jeep would mean no more 20+ gallons of premium a week haha. I may actually come out ahead. I'd been wanting an SUV, capable 4x, and room for 3 or 4 to ride around. The 4runner prices are ridiculous. The exploder (I'm a bit of a ford guy) v8's cost too much, the finicky sensor based full time awd means you have to change tires as often as a subaru. Parts prices, most comfortable seats, and somehow really low prices drove me to the zj.
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Unread 01-24-2014, 10:16 PM   #5
PolkaPower
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1998 ZJ 
 
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Bad viscous coupler in the transfer case. It's a wear item, needs to be replaced every 140k miles or so. Your tippy feeling is probably because the control arm bushings are all original and shot to hell. They need replacing. Single biggest improvement in ride come from the ability for those bushings to hold the axle tight under the Jeep along with the track bar. Shocks and all that other stuff should come after those are replaced or all at the same time. When I replaced my lower arms the bushings just fell out. All torn up at 127k.

Basically everything that is originally probably needs replacing. Like motor mounts, tranny mount, sway bar endlinks, sway bar bushings, shocks, SS, maybe some tie rod ends, ball joints possibly, brakes, rotors, ect.

These arms had me all over the highway if a bird farted. Semi trucks passing was just down right scary. Replaced then and tight like new.
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Unread 01-24-2014, 11:19 PM   #6
Brendan4862
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1998 ZJ 
 
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If you're buying one from a salt area, check for rocker rust. Especially if it has those plastic rocker covers. Best way to tell is take plastic cover off rockers. I found my rust via front splash shield removal. Just food for thought.
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Unread 01-25-2014, 11:25 AM   #7
dusterdude
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1996 ZJ 
 
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Dave,what area are you in?
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Unread 01-25-2014, 01:54 PM   #8
Dave804
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dusterdude View Post
Dave,what area are you in?
I live out at 360/288 in Cfield, the car is over downtown- vcu kid I believe. Comes with a large stash of pot head bumper stickers I'll have to remove hahah.
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Unread 01-25-2014, 05:32 PM   #9
dusterdude
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Cool,im in hopewell,give me a holler when you get it and we'll compare notes
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Unread 01-26-2014, 12:07 PM   #10
BackRoadSeeker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave804 View Post
I live out at 360/288 in Cfield, the car is over downtown- vcu kid I believe. Comes with a large stash of pot head bumper stickers I'll have to remove hahah.
Wait, I think I know the exact ZJ you're looking at...is it parked on Laurel street right before the downtown expressway bridge? I've walked by it dozens of times on the way to class.
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Unread 01-26-2014, 12:25 PM   #11
Dave804
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BackRoadSeeker View Post
Wait, I think I know the exact ZJ you're looking at...is it parked on Laurel street right before the downtown expressway bridge? I've walked by it dozens of times on the way to class.
Yep, that's the exact one. Going to have to check it reeeeally well for baggies before I get pulled over in it. Started and drove fine, was nice inside except for the headliner of course. Have any thoughts on it?
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Unread 01-26-2014, 07:44 PM   #12
BackRoadSeeker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave804 View Post
Yep, that's the exact one. Going to have to check it reeeeally well for baggies before I get pulled over in it. Started and drove fine, was nice inside except for the headliner of course. Have any thoughts on it?
It looked like it would clean up alright, but it didn't look like a very well maintained vehicle... can't say without having driven it. The price was cheap though.

My 2 (general) cents after my experience though....get the nicest vehicle you can for the money, even if that means a few more miles. I bought mine low mileage, single owner, but it sat for a number of years. I'm spending a lot more time/money than I thought I would getting it back up to where I want it.

You're welcome to check out mine sometime if you want, if you're in the area.
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'97 5.2 Limited, just rolled over 80,000 miles!
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Unread 01-26-2014, 07:48 PM   #13
dusterdude
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And mine too
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Unread 01-26-2014, 08:04 PM   #14
Oldfrog
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1997 ZJ 
 
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Call me a jerk if you want, but I wont own one without the tried, true and reliable selec-trac transfer case. YMMV.
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Unread 01-26-2014, 08:43 PM   #15
BackRoadSeeker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfrog View Post
Call me a jerk if you want, but I wont own one without the tried, true and reliable selec-trac transfer case. YMMV.
Which means you're locked stock-wise to the 4.0 engine. The 4.0 is great in an XJ and TJ, but the 5.2 is much more satisfying imo. It's not even a hard swap from what I've read to put the 242 behind the 5.2. I'm planning mine for this spring.
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'97 5.2 Limited, just rolled over 80,000 miles!
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