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Unread 07-08-2013, 10:03 AM   #1
andymikem97
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1996 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Etters, PA
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FRAME RUST!!! Fix or not?? Advice needed

I recently purchased a 96 Cherokee Sport. Runs good, looks decent...just needed front brakes and inspected. At least thats what I thought until.... Took it to a buddy of mine for the inspection and he gave me the bad news. The frame is rotted out on both sides above the rear body mounts, about 6" on either side. With the plates, and welding required, I'm looking at roughly $500 or thereabouts to make it right and get it inspected.

This thing has 152K on it (4.0L), runs nice, trans shifts fine, etc. It has a dent on the drivers side rear from an accident but not horrible looking. The interior is decent for the age (headliner tears, etc), and it has good tread left on the tires. The heat works, the A/C works, and it fires right up at the first tap of the switch.

My question is: Is this vehicle worth fixing? If I factor in the purchase price (not counting tags, taxes or notary fees), the price of all the parts I got for it, and the labor price to repair the frame, I will have $2,000 in the vehicle. Is it worth repairing, or should I just sell it for what I can get out of it and return all the pieces I bought for it?

I originally bought this for a simple winter 4X4 beater to get back and forth to work in, so I didnt want to spend alot of cash on it. Please chime in with questions, comments, etc. Thanks.

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Unread 07-08-2013, 02:10 PM   #2
sAe23
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1995 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles / SFV, California
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So, AFTER this repair you'll be into it for $2000?
For a 17 year old vehicle with only 152K miles?
FIX IT!
By the way, there are no "body mounts" on an XJ. Can you post a picture of the rust?
While you are at the repairs, you might want to incorporate frame stiffeners: http://www.ruffstuffspecialties.com/catalog/XJRAIL.html (There are several companies that make these...)
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Unread 07-08-2013, 02:18 PM   #3
ksander
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It also depends on how long you want it to last, because if the frame rails are rotted through in places, there has to be a lot more rust all over. Even if you can't see it, floors, rockers, wheel wells, etc.
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Unread 07-08-2013, 02:32 PM   #4
andymikem97
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1996 XJ Cherokee 
 
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I originally bought the Cherokee as a cheap mode of transportation for the snowy days, but I do like driving it. My plan is to get 2 years out of it, maybe 8K miles overall and then sell it or use it for trade in money for a newer all wheel drive. I do not rock crawl or go mudding with it. The rear brake lines are rusty, no big deal to replace those. The passenger side floorboard has a rust hole in it, a piece of tin fixes that. Other than the front brakes, headliner, and an elusive antifreeze odor (does not have a blown gasket or cracked head from the testing I've done), it seems like a decent vehicle.
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Unread 07-08-2013, 03:18 PM   #5
dmill89
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1995 XJ Cherokee 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sAe23 View Post
By the way, there are no "body mounts" on an XJ. Can you post a picture of the rust?
X2, we can get a lot better idea of the damage with pics.

If $500 is good enough to make it pass inspection I'd say go for it, since you only plan to keep it for a couple years. Have the rusted out areas patched and throw some good rust inhibitor paint (POR15, RustBullet, or ChassisSaver) on it (any rust, and the entire floor/underside if you can) and you should be good for a few years.
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Unread 07-08-2013, 06:11 PM   #6
grandkj
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For 500 bucks, fix it up for sure! If you can get it - the rust, under control, it will last a long time!
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Unread 07-08-2013, 06:52 PM   #7
andymikem97
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I'll have to see if I can get a decent pic of the area. The best way to describe it is: as the rear tire spins, it throws water, etc up into the wheel well. The frame right in front of the rear tire is where a lot of that slop gets thrown. That is the area that's rusted through on both sides. There's a guy I work with who has a 98 wrangler, his is rusted in the exact same place. He says he found a patch kit for his, but I can't find anything for the xj.
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Unread 07-08-2013, 07:01 PM   #8
Motorcharge
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Pictures? XJs are a unibody, there are no body mounts.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 05:09 AM   #9
andymikem97
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Here's a pic of the area. I misunderstood where it was when my buddy with the inspection station told me about this. You can see the blurry leaf spring to the side. the rusty area is towards the rear spring shackle. Its like this on both sides, this is the passengers side, the drivers is worse. Still keep it and get it fixed, or unload it for what I can get out of it??
rust2.jpg  
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Unread 07-10-2013, 03:17 PM   #10
dmill89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andymikem97 View Post
Here's a pic of the area. I misunderstood where it was when my buddy with the inspection station told me about this. You can see the blurry leaf spring to the side. the rusty area is towards the rear spring shackle. Its like this on both sides, this is the passengers side, the drivers is worse. Still keep it and get it fixed, or unload it for what I can get out of it??
Looks like that will be a pretty easy fix, just a few pieces of plate and some welds should do the trick, then some good rust inhibitor paint on the new metal and any other rusted areas to keep things under control.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 03:58 PM   #11
andymikem97
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On this side, yes. The drivers side is much worse, but still fixable. Again, my plan is to replace the vehicle in 2 years anyway. 3 years tops. If I didn't like the way it drives so much, i would just unload it and be done with it. That and the fact everyone tells me how great they are in snow. If its worth the extra $500 I mite fix it.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 04:48 PM   #12
dmill89
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I would definitely fix it, especially if you can get it done for $500, it isn't worth much above scrap with a rusted frame as far as re-sale goes so you will likely be in a much better position either way if it is fixed. If you can weld or have a friend who can it is less than $50 in materials. Once it is fixed treat the new metal and any other rusted areas (including surface rust) and wash it every month or so in winter and you should be able to keep the rust under control.
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Unread 07-10-2013, 06:44 PM   #13
xjpete
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Ah the rust issue-on my 97 Sport its not much better,Rust on the back quarter panels,rust by the area going up the fender area.I cut the area out and sprayed the areas until i can do more.The major areas i consider is the steering box area as it got rusty years back and tore through that pretty good.I had to get that welded with a big piece of thick metal for support.One thing you can do as the salt they put on the road during wintertime doesn't help.Wash the vehicle after every season as the salt will just eat away at everything.
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