Buy a 2001 Cherokee Sport? -
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Unread 07-08-2013, 01:33 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Columbia, SC
Posts: 3
Buy a 2001 Cherokee Sport?

Hey all,

I came across a craigslist ad for a 2001 Cherokee Sport. 4 door 4.0 with 190k miles. Now this won't be my daily driver. I plan to use it for hunting camping fishing and just weekend fun. I don't mind tinkering at all, but I would like it to be as reliable as possible. I took it for a test drive and was pretty impressed other than a slight grinding/whining noise. I couldn't tell if it was coming from the wheels or drive line. He took me to a pretty steep hill off the side of the road (as in I couldn't see anything but sky and trees on the way up and the 4x4 crawled right up without even spinning a tire.

He was originally asking $3300 but I'm pretty sure I've got him talked down to the $2500 cash in my pocket if I whipped it out. I just wanted to do some research first and ask you guys what you think.

Here's the ad. And thanks in advance for your replies.


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Unread 07-10-2013, 10:10 AM   #2
Jeepin for days
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2000 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Storrs, CT
Posts: 80
The grinding noise could be anything from driveshaft u-joints to front hub bearings. Either could need replacement at 190k miles. The MOST important thing on any Cherokee but especially a 2000-2001 is how it was maintained.

The 2000 and 2001 Cherokees have a slightly weaker cylinder head that can crack. The crack can happen randomly but most often occurs on engines that have been neglected and overheated. What temperature does it run at? How is the oil pressure? The spec is 13 PSI minimum at hot idle and 37-75 PSI above 1600 RPM. If the head cracks, coolant can mix in the oil and cause milky oil and a milky substance under the oil cap. This coolant/oil mix can destroy the bearings if not caught soon enough and lead to low oil pressure. One tell tale sign that a head is cracked is mysterious coolant loss.

At 190k, if it seems to run great and has been maintained well, I would go for it. The body on that Jeep seems pretty clean. Rust is the #1 killer of Cherokees. They are easy to maintain and work on, and cheap to repair. A new cylinder head costs about $400 and can be swapped in a weekend with basic hand tools if needed.

Just check the oil pressure, and look for milky oil on the dipstick and under the oil cap. If all checks out then you should be good to go.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 10:17 AM   #3
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2001 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 64
I recently bought a 2001 XJ that now has 210,xxx miles....and I drive it daily 40 miles round trip for work.

Check under the oil fill cap for evidence of coolant intrusion. Be sure to check the fluids for condition. If everything checks out buy it...The head cracking itself is not that big of a deal as a new one can be had for ~$400. The issue is if the coolant stays in the oil pan for too long, it leads to crank bearing wear which is more timely and expensive to repair.

But not all 0331 heads crack. so check it out and looks good, buy it.

2001 XJ
200k+ miles.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 09:51 AM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Columbia, SC
Posts: 3
I'm actually thinking the sound seemed to be wheel related so maybe the hub bearings. Checked the oil, nice and transparent brown so um sure it was recently changed. The tranny fluid was perfect too so I'm sure it was changed recently. Forgot to check the rad fluid before the rest drive and didn't want to open it hot (had a bad experience with that once. A/c worked (at least for the time being. No telling if they recharged that recently). Heat worked. Overall seems like a good jeep. Just worried about what I'm getting into with 190k miles... even at the $3000 mark.
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Unread 07-11-2013, 03:22 PM   #5
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1997 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: langley, bc
Posts: 82
I can't think of a vehicle that would suit your needs better than this without spending significantly more $. Look at it as a $5k purchase and you very well may end up under budget
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