Buyers guide for what to look for in a ZJ? -
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Unread 10-11-2008, 08:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: NJ
Posts: 12
Buyers guide for what to look for in a ZJ?

Hey guys,

1st time posting here and I am new to the Jeep world.
I am currently searching for an inexpensive winter mobile for my wife and I. Based on price and previous driving experience, we chose the ZJ.

Although I've driven them when new, its been 11 years and I do not know what to look out for.

So far I've looked at 2, both 4.0L i6's Laredos and under 100k.

The 1998 Laredo SE we looked at was at a local dealer, has a sunroof, but had a little surface rust under the hood at the lip edge and similar areas on the tailgate. It drove OK but seems like it may needs shocks as it exhibited a little body roll and some noise over bumps. The dealer is including a complimentary 90-day warranty on engine/trans/4wd if we purchase it. They are asking $4900. The Carfax search indicated it had 2 reported accidents but clear title. The interior was a little dirty and the driver side leather seat had a tear in the left bolster.

The 2nd Jeep is a 1997 Laredo but had a really clean interior and no rips in the leather. I also noticed right away that in the ad there were no running boards present, but in person, they seemed to be added on. One of the first things I noticed was I could not open the trunk but later found by opening the glass hatch first, and pushing on the trunk it will open. I also noticed when I popped the hood open there were some drips of coolant around the airbox, but I found no visible signs of leakage otherwise. I also checked the expansion tank and it was nearly empty of coolant. I pointed this out the the salesguy there, it was a used car lot. We took it for a drive and instantly it did drive better than the 98 I drove prior. The shocks were good, the brakes felt more meaty and there was less noise around the center area underneath the car. The carfax also indicated that this car was dealer maintained and actually listed some of the items done (ie: tranny/diff services, serp belt replacement etc..) and 0 reported accidents. This jeep has 96k on it and they were asking $2895. I offered him 1800 first then $2000 cash and they just laughed at me. I did point out that there is a potential coolant leak somewhere but it seems the upper rad hose may have just been replaced as the hose clamps looked new. Since the owner wouldn't even counter me, I walked away.

Please guys tell me what you think of these 2 and if possible point me in the right direction of a checklist of what to look for in buying a ZJ.

Thanks in advance!

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