New owner of a not so new 1992 Cherokee Laredo
I am the proud owner of a new (new to me anyway) red 1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo 4.0 I purchased on 6/29/12. It had 174,997 miles when I got it and currently has 184,210. I have been pleasantly pleased with this vehicle mechanically and with its performance thus far. The previous owner took pretty good care of it from what I could see under the hood. All the hoses looked practically new and it had no leaks. Plus I got a few nice extras like a Sony CD deck with a USB connector (has some pre-wiring in place if I want to add a rear sub and/or amp), Hella H4 headlights (decent but Iím looking for a brighter option. Any suggestions?), a cool wood grain steering wheel, and it has Michelin LTX M/S P225/75 R15 tires. I added my Yakima Load Warrior cargo basket to it.
I live in Queens, New York and since owning it; I have taken 2 trips to Georgia (1,700 round trip), 1 to Connecticut (300 round trip) and 1 to DC (900 round trip), all with no incident.
So far I have had to replace the rear exhaust/muffler, all four shocks, the alternator, battery, front brake pads and rotors, front wipers, both exterior mirrors (left doesnít adjust from the inside, right one was initially replaced with a junkyard find but got broken from a passing car when I was parked in the Bronx so I ordered a set online). Added some cup holders to the center console. I replaced the oil in the front and rear transfer cases. Just purchased some bump stops from Quadatech and will have them installed this week. I will probably have all the fluids flushed and replaced before it gets cold.
There are a few things I would like to address/get fixed and I was hoping I could find the right answers and guidance here.
Gas gauge doesnít work (or works intermittently). I usually drive until the fuel light comes on. I refill with about 11-12 gallons. Research says that these Jeeps have a 20.2-gallon tank so I am guessing that when the light comes on, I have around 7-8 reserve. Donít want to leave this to chance because my wife drives this Jeep sometimes and I donít want her to be stranded.
My trip odometer is stuck at 000. I was initially using this to gauge my miles for fill-ups until it got stuck. Any advise on how to get it working again?
I noticed a knocking/tapping sound coming from the front (suspension maybe?). I usually hear it when I am slowing down. At first, the tapping is rapid but then it slows down when I am braking. Could it be loose calipers? My mechanic is pretty good about pointing things out when itís on the rack but hasnít seen anything visible. I thought it may be coming from the shocks or possibly warped rotors but I replaced those. I have a Prothane Motion Control Total Kit to replace all the bushings but I havenít gotten it installed yet. Not sure if this would correct the problem or not. I havenít noticed any play in the steering, it brakes fine, no knocking sounds when going over bumps, and I have no vibration or shimmy at high speeds (gotten it up to 90).
I noticed that this Jeep runs pretty hot and from my research, this is common for Cherokees. In traffic with the AC running, the temp gauge needle stays dead center (and Iíve driven it in those conditions on some pretty hot days in Georgia). Are there things I need to look for or pay attention to that will alert me if or when the radiator or other cooling system parts are going bad or failing? I check the coolant level weekly and it goes down very slightly, usually around the time I get an oil change (when I say slightly, I mean it would take a 7 oz. cup to refill it every 3000 miles).
UPDATE: Wife was driving it today and said the gauge was moving slightly past the mid-mark on the gauge and would drop to 0 and then back up to slightly past the mid-mark. Could it be deposits built up in the system that need to be flushed? Thermostat? Coolant Temperature Sensor? Electrical condition causing faulty gauge? Radiator replacement (really hoping I donít have to replace it right now but hey, it is a 20 year old vehicleÖ)
My oil pressure gauge dances around a bit when I accelerate. Iím not sure if this is normal for Jeep Cherokees. It usually sits between the middle mark on the left (20) and 40. Moves a little to the left of 40 when accelerating.
My Anti-lock light comes on intermittently, mostly after Iíve driven over a bumpy surface. The fluid is really dark so I plan on getting the brake system bled and refreshed with new fluid. Could the dirty fluid be contributing to the intermittent anti-lock? Possibly a loose connection somewhere?
There are a few things I would like to improve/upgrade/customize. Hereís my list:
1.5Ē lift (something inexpensive). I may go with slightly larger tires (30s or 31s) but I donít plan to do any heavy off-roading (at the momentÖ). More concerned about snow clearance in the winter, traveling to a few choice mountain biking spots, and the rough roads of the urban jungle. Want to retain good road manners and handling. Any tire recommendations? I thought about going with a larger version of the Michelin LTX M/S tires. These have performed pretty well thus far in the road trips I have taken in both wet and dry conditions and at highway speeds and consumer reviews are very good.
I also saw some performance sway bars in my Quadratech catalog and thought about getting a set but I wasnít sure if putting them on a vehicle thatís lifted is a good idea. Please advise.
Any JeepForum members live in the NY five boroughs? Looking to unload/swap/sell used parts? Any recommendations for mechanics in the New York metro area?
I have a lot more things that I want to do but for now, I am staying on top of the maintenance and replacing the worn items.
Thanking everyone in advance for any helpful information you have to offer.