My venture into the unknown...

AZBaobab

Observer
My venture into the unknown with a Cherokee...

Well, I did it.
After years of kicking myself for selling off our '92 Land Cruiser, I just couldn't be without my 4wd any more. (Don't ask why I sold it, that's still a rather painful subject. :oops:)
So... I've jumped into the deep end of the pool, and bought myself a '94 Cherokee with 148,000 miles on the clock

It's got the 4.0L (the only reason I didn't mind the miles), an auto trans.... and that's about all I can tell you at the moment. Pretty much everything is bone stock; even down to the fading paint and peeling clear coat. The PO had replaced the alternator and serpentine belt a few months prior to my buying it, and the engine is looking good, with a nice dry (if dirty) oil pan; no leaks that I could see.

The engine runs cleanly and started right up, with no knocking, and the transmission seems to shift smooth and strong. The 4X4 engages as well as could be tested in an empty lot, and it seems to be an overall solid vehicle with next to no rust visible on the body or underneath.

Now the down side...
The driver side seat belt doesn't work (it just kind of flops there), and the passenger side headlight needs a new mounting. There's a bit of body damage just in front of the driver's door, but it doesn't effect function.
Other than that, it's merely the worn cosmetics of a 15 year old Cherokee.

Correct me if I'm way out to lunch here, but I though $900 was a good price.

So now what?
As I'm only 1 person, and this is a second vehicle, I need to wait till Wed to get some transit tags and pick it up. In the mean while, I'm trying to plan out how I can turn this into a capable, and (more importantly) a solidly reliable rig. I have plenty of experience with my good old LC, and I rebuilt a '75 K-10 from the ground up (cost me $15 at Checkers, and a screw driver :sombrero:), but this is my first time with a Jeep.

Aside from the usual hoses, wiring, fluid flushes, etc, where's the best place to start with improving the overall reliability of these things?


Of course mods are in the works , but first thing's first: Reliability.

And here's the sellers pics: no the Wrangler and (gasp) Bug aren't mine. :p
 

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4Rescue

Expedition Leader
Ummm... You'll miss your Cruiser.

I've owned more then a few Cherokee's and while fun they're nowhere near the rigs that Cruisers are. the rattles alone will drive you nuts in a year or two. Plus the milage with the 4.0L is horrible for such a light truck. For $900, it's hard to go wrong, but you'll spend at least 3 times that much making it reliable and trail worthy.

Why didn't you just buy another Cruiser??? Buy in might be higher, but you get so much more. Sorry if that sounds harsh but this type of desicision just doesn't make sence to me. Sell a 92 Cruiser and buy a Cherokee??? Huh. Well to each their own I guess but...

Good Luck

Dave
 
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BIGdaddy

Expedition Leader
I drive a 92 xj as a daily driver (40 miles a day).

Here's what you have:

-One of the best engines ever made(4.0L inline six)
-add vents in the hood from a junkyard for cooling

-One of the most reliable/bombproof auto's ever made (AW4)
-add a cooler if you don't find one in front of the radiator, but
it should have one there.


-One of the best transfer cases(np231/np242)
-both are chain driven,alum-cased
-np231 = 2hi-4hi-n-4lo(just check your shift indicator)
-np242 = 2hi-AWD-4hi-n-4lo(" " " " ")

-High pinion dana 30 front axle, strong enough-can be made stronger with tons of aftermarket support.

dana 35 rear axle...problematic, considered a weak point...here's a great discussion for expo use:

http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=28648



the unibody has time and again proven to be a non-issue, and very safe in crashes.

mine has 160,000 miles and has been completely reliable so far.

VERY large following and a huge aftermarket.http://www.naxja.org/forum/

:)
 

BIGdaddy

Expedition Leader
Ummm... You'll miss your Cruiser.

I've owned more then a few Cherokee's and while fun they're nowhere near the rigs that Cruisers are. the rattles alone will drive you nuts in a year or two. Plus the milage with the 4.0L is horrible for such a light truck. For $900, it's hard to go wrong, but you'll spend at least 3 times that much making it reliable and trail worthy.

Why didn't you just buy another Cruiser??? Buy in might be higher, but you get so much more. Sorry if that sounds harsh but this type of desicision just doesn't make sence to me. Sell a 92 Cruiser and buy a Cherokee??? Huh. Well to each their own I guess but...

Good Luck

Dave
mine gets 20mpg mixed highway and city. a landcruiser gets 10-12, usually. (fj60-fj80...fl100 gets a bit better)

thats a huge difference, and a great mpg rating for a pinnacle expedition vehicle. http://www.xxxpedition.com/

p.s. I love fj80's, but man, with the cost of gas, and my inability to keep a "toy" car around like some people do, my needs dictate mpgs in the 20's. Landcruisers may be able to go around the world, but so can xj's, tacoma's and other "light" vehicles...:)

p.s. only a girly man worries about rattles..haha..j/k dude. :D
 
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Root Moose

Expedition Leader
Don't mind Dave. For some reason he needs to put down everything out there that is not Toyota. He even trolls the non-Toyota sections to do it.
:elkgrin:

You've bought into what could be one of the most reliable Jeeps ever made. Don't worry about much. If it has ben cared for it'll have a long life. Engine and the AW4 (transmission) have good reputations for being long lived.

Give it the once over and check the maintenance schedule for any major service items. If the serpentine assembly has been serviced I'd be inclined to service the EFI system and change all the fluids and plugs and go from there.

In stock form you should get ~18-22 mpg at highway cruise on level ground between 55-60 mi/h. If you aren't getting that kind of mileage there is probably other problems to be addressed. Dirty injectors, non-functioning catalytic converter and worn out (dragging) wheel bearings come to mind.

There's been a number of discussions on lifts and such here the last several months. Troll the search with the terms "lift", "suspension", "long arm", "drop bracket" and some other stuff and you should find enough to read for a few days. :)
 
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Root Moose

Expedition Leader
And for seats, consider swapping the seats from a ZJ or WJ from a junk yard. They are not bolt in (at least not the WJ) but it gives you more options if you aren't afraid to cut/bend/weld some metal. IIRC some ZJ seats are almost bolt in. Might need to drill a hole or two. Search NAXJA for the definitive answer on that.
 

luk4mud

Explorer
Great find! I like all of BigDaddy's ideas. I don't think that the hood vents will actually make your engine run cooler (not in my experience on a TJ anyway), but they will keep the engine compartment cooler and lengthen the life of belts and hoses.
 

bat

Explorer
For $900 I think you will get your money's worth out of the jeep. I have a 94 with 164000 and runs like a top. These are so much fun offroad if you set them up right and will go anywhere. The last cruiser I was in the dash board made so much noise I thought I was going to kill myself :)
 

BIGdaddy

Expedition Leader
Great find! I like all of BigDaddy's ideas. I don't think that the hood vents will actually make your engine run cooler (not in my experience on a TJ anyway), but they will keep the engine compartment cooler and lengthen the life of belts and hoses.
yeah, sorry bad wording, thats what i meant:snorkel:
 

winkosmosis

Explorer
Fix your seat belt!! XJs are awesome. Light, compact, and capable. The profile is more like a small wagon than an SUV.

In case you want a front skid plate, today I found the only source of OEM front skids (well I asked on NAXJA and someone posted it). $52

http://www.moparpartsamerica.com

Part # 82202851
 

BKCowGod

Automotive ADHD is fun!
Looks good. I'm borrowing my pa's '90 XJ for the next few days. And while I am surprised by how small it is, I do enjoy driving it.

I still can't wait to go back to the real thing tho.
 

AZBaobab

Observer
Wow! Thanks for all the great replies and tips! :victory:

The fj80 was sold a couple years ago (for reasons I still kick myself for), so it's not exactly a case of loosing the lc for the xj. I'd have loved to have gone back for one, but they're just not to be had around here for anything resembling a reasonable price. :(
So, despite a desire to go back, it was more a matter of availablility at this point.
And for the price... Well, I just couldn't pass it up.

Thanks for the info BigDaddy! That's the impression I got from reading up on xj's, but it's always nice to hear it from someone who knows!

I'll be hitting up a local salvage yard for those replacement parts here soon. Hopefully they're open on Fri. I don't get off work till 6, and most everything is closed around here by then. The seat belt is definately top of the list.
I didn't hear any rattles but then again, we didn't go off the tarmac either. If something does creep up, any suggested fixes? Or is that just life with a jeep?

Yup, I've read about the D35 and from what I understand, the general concensus is that they're certainly not the best thing out there, but I'm also getting the impression that they hold up well enough if not over stressed. So that'll be staying for the time being.

Thanks for the link winkosmosis! I'll look into that. I'm still trying to track down good/reliable/cheap sources for support. And you're all right: there's GOBs of them!

I did what I could to check up on the history, and Carfax turned up a clean record. Also, checking under the oil-filler cap, there was no guncky build up, the metal was clean, and the dipstick showed a recent oil change (of course, they all say it's been changed regularly :rolleyes:)

It also behaved well at highway speed, with no "death wobble", and the turning radius is indeed phenominal! :Wow1:

I was checking up on recalls, and other potential manufacturer problems: seems there was recall #97V069000: something about the steering gearbox attaching bolts or attaching point cracking. Sounds like the same story as happened with the older Chevy trucks.
I should have though to look at that when checking it out but forgot.
Has anyone had any problems with that? Or is it kind of a dead point?

I'll look into the seats as well, Moose. But without a welder or much in the way of metal working equipment, it might be tricky.

So...
First up: new plugs, wiring, hoses, misc parts as mentioned, and it sounds like a good cleaning out of the EFI system is in order. Well, I'll certainly be having my fun when I do pick it up!
 
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