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Unread 08-21-2015, 01:12 PM   #1
andrewhuff
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Xj What areas should i focus my attention on before I purchase a cherokee privately?

So I'm looking to purchase my first jeep, and maintenance isn't necessarily my forte, but I can watch a youtube video and do whatever they suggest given I have the right tools. Anyways When I go to look at a jeep prior to purchase what should I be looking for? I know I need to test drive it and get a good feel for the steering and see if it has the death wobble, and check the undercarriage for significant rust, but other than that what should I be checking for?

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Unread 08-21-2015, 01:20 PM   #2
Irongrave
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make sure the jeep dose not have ABS brakes. in XJs ABS=Dana 35 and you don't want that axle.
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Unread 08-21-2015, 01:27 PM   #3
bluejunior
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The exact things to look out for depend on the year. Rust is the #1 killer of XJ's and unibodies are a ***** to restore from it so that's your biggest key.

When you test drive it feel for: Lag in throttle response, lag in or rough downshifts when you floor it and upshifts as you accelerate, bumpsteer or death wobble after you drive through a rough patch. You should also cycle it through all 4x4 modes to make sure it shifts between them pretty smoothly.

If it's a '00-'01 you should take a good hard look at the coolant in the overflow tank AFTER the test drive. A slight brownish tinge isn't unusual for a cast block, but if it's sludgy or you can't see through it at all that's a sign of a bad head or another major issue. Put a flashlight against the side of the tank while you look through the top to test transparency.

If you're starting a project that you plan to lift and wheel, you should also check the rear axle. A d35 is rounded all the way around, has a flat edge on the diff cover and usually has a steel plug for adding fluid and may or may not have ABS. The MUCH stronger and vastly preferable Chrysler 8.25 axle has a flat bottom to the housing, but the cover is round. So you can see little corner "wings" on the bottom. It also has a rolled lip on the diff cover, usually has a rubber plug, and will never come with ABS.

With XJ's, pay much less attention to mileage than maintenance and rust. XJ's will go a LONG, LONG time with good care, and can get beat up in a number of ways without that maintenance.


The generally accepted "best" years are 98-99.5, which have the best engine that doesn't have the 0331 head (which can crack if it gets overheated) like the 00-01's and also still come with a high pinion front axle.

Check for oil leaks at the rear main seal (between engine and tranny) and the back of the valve cover. A little is okay but not a lot. Also pull the tranny dipstick and see if they'll let you stick a finger in the transfer case to look for any burned fluid.



There's a billion little things really. The summary is: good operation in the test drive, acceptable fluid leaks, check coolant carefully on 00-01's and looks like it's been well cared for. On that last part look at the condition and age of things like steering linkages and other wear parts, fullness of grease points and fluid resevoirs, little hints like that. Not how well they've detailed it for sale.
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Unread 08-21-2015, 04:53 PM   #4
Motorcharge
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Daily driver? Off road use? Both?

Dana 35 makes zero difference for a daily driver.

It all really depends what you're using the Jeep for as to what you need to look for.

Generally speaking though rust/rot at the rockers, floorpans, and cargo floor are the worst things. Other than that it's really just the same stuff as looking at any other used vehicle. Is anything leaking? Is stuff worn out? Does it idle well? Does it overheat? Does it drive right?

Cooling systems can be temperamental on 87-90s. 00-01 have head cracking issues, but they're blown way out of proportion on the internet and being a cast iron head you've got to overheat them pretty badly to crack them.

96/97 are prone to weird electrical issues due to going over to ODBII and the newer body style.

Imo 95 is ideal for the older body style if that's what you prefer. Last ODBI year, doesn't have 96s electrical issues, and it's a more solid unibody. Plus the seat brackets are the same mounting style as ZJs, WJs, and TJs so their seats are a direct swap.

Personally I've never looked over any of my XJs to the extent people will tell you here. If they run stop and drive and the owner isn't asking something ridiculous they're worth the money.
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Unread 08-21-2015, 08:31 PM   #5
nolanbalzarini
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http://www.fourwheeler.com/project-v...-buyers-guide/
this is a good read.
"Really, these last four years are good years and while there might be problems, they are associated with specific vehicles, not specific years."
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Unread 08-22-2015, 10:35 AM   #6
FairlanePhil
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Skip 00-01s

Look for signs of over heating and general neglect
Broken things like locks and window switches
Drive it and listen for driveline vibes or growl
Make sure it shifts properly
smell for coolant with the heat running. Pass if you smell it
leaky radiators, T stat housing, waterpump weep hole.
Airbag light and busted horn means a bad clockspring
hit bumps and see what rattles
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Unread 08-22-2015, 03:54 PM   #7
Thejarhead
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I never buy new, and rarely from a dealer of any kind. Invest $25 thousand today and it's worth how much less in a years time? You've got to be joking!

My rule of thumb is if you buy something from somebody's yard, figure on whatever you paid for it plus $1000 in parts, and that's if you buy the parts and install them yourself.

You know how people think because we all tend to think in the same manner. You decide to sell a vehicle you've been driving, " I really should put new brakes, tires, bearings, valve cover gasket, whatever but I really don't want to put any more money into this truck/car, I think I'll let the next guy worry about it" There are of course those rare indiviguals who keep every thing in tip top condition. They're about as rare as a blue moon.

I just use $1000 as a round figure when negotiating a price, my one daughter bought a 94 Toyota trecel almost four years ago and I don't think she's put $700 into it in four years. My other daughter just bought a 97 jeep TJ and we're closing in on that $1 thousand mark.

If you miss something major like a rusted out frame or a toasted engine then $1 thousand won't be anywhere near enough, especially if you have someone else do the work. Do your due diligence and good luck with the purchase, you can find great deals sitting in someone's yard.
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Unread 08-22-2015, 04:39 PM   #8
cbenez1
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Everyone has covered the general stuff. I do agree with Motorcharge on the dana 35 rear. It's such an easy and inexpensive upgrade that you needn't worry about it. Case in point, my current XJ was parked by the owner because the d35 was blown. I simply used it as a bargaining tool.
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Unread 08-22-2015, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FairlanePhil View Post
Skip 00-01s


If anything, for a DD, 00-01 is ideal to look for. The 0331 is a bargaining chip and I've flipped many great 00-01 XJs that were immaculate outside the heads needing to be replaced. You can pick one up for well under blue book, put $400 and an afternoon into one and end up with a great vehicle for cheap.

Regardless, the whole defect is VERY overrated and a swap can be done with basic hand tools and a rental torque wrench. Hell, the hardest part is physically lifting the cast iron head off the block.

The first one I did took me 8 hours really taking my time and being meticulous about everything. The second took about 5. I can do them now in about 3-4 hours they're so straightforward.
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Originally Posted by Ron Swanson
There is no such thing as bad weather. Only inadequate clothing and transportation.
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Unread 08-22-2015, 07:02 PM   #10
Motorcharge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbenez1 View Post
Everyone has covered the general stuff. I do agree with Motorcharge on the dana 35 rear. It's such an easy and inexpensive upgrade that you needn't worry about it. Case in point, my current XJ was parked by the owner because the d35 was blown. I simply used it as a bargaining tool.
Exactly, $100 and you can get an 8.25 in there in an hour and it's a significant upgrade.
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Originally Posted by Ron Swanson
There is no such thing as bad weather. Only inadequate clothing and transportation.
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Unread 08-23-2015, 06:07 AM   #11
FairlanePhil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorcharge View Post


If anything, for a DD, 00-01 is ideal to look for. The 0331 is a bargaining chip and I've flipped many great 00-01 XJs that were immaculate outside the heads needing to be replaced. You can pick one up for well under blue book, put $400 and an afternoon into one and end up with a great vehicle for cheap.

Regardless, the whole defect is VERY overrated and a swap can be done with basic hand tools and a rental torque wrench. Hell, the hardest part is physically lifting the cast iron head off the block.

The first one I did took me 8 hours really taking my time and being meticulous about everything. The second took about 5. I can do them now in about 3-4 hours they're so straightforward.


Assuming the coolant and overheat that resulted in the owner selling the Jeep didn't waste the bearings like 0331 head failure I had. Then your cheap-flip $400 gamble becomes a lot more labor and expense. I'm sure the OP who says "maintenance isn't my forte'" wants a new vehicle that immediately needs a head or engine.
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Unread 08-23-2015, 01:08 PM   #12
cbenez1
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Both good points. The 0331 isn't the death sentence most make it out to be, but in this particular instance I don't think the op would want to undertake one.
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01 XJ 'Up Country' 3.5 on 29's former fire vehicle. Bright red. "Fire Wagon"
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