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1997 Cherokee Project

Old 01-27-2017, 04:06 PM
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Default 1997 Cherokee Project

Picked up a 1997 Cherokee with 150k miles for $500 with a suspected head gasket issue from the owner. 2 owner very straight exterior and interior. Never smoked in and never wheeled. One of those “saw it on line for a good deal and raced there to beat the rush” kinda moments. So it was late at night when I saw it and has no means to attempt to turn it over, battery was dead. I paid her for it and took the gamble. Picked it up the next morning and last weekend tore into it. and lost the gamble. #3 piston has a good size chunk missing out of and the cylinder wall is done. Bought a donor motor and the plan is next weekend to have it swapped and on the road. Fingers crossed!

Last edited by 75kona; 03-11-2017 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 01-27-2017, 06:02 PM
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Welcome to the forum. And that is one super clean XJ! Even though it has a blown motor, you scored big time.
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:29 AM
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Thanks! Today I'm going to pull the old motor and prep the new one to go in! Also bought some new wheels and tires last night to replace the old steels and bad tires so those will be going on today as well! I'll make sure to take pictures
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Old 01-30-2017, 11:20 AM
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Worked on getting the old motor out this weekend. Just about another hour or so and it should be out. Spent some time prepping the new motor for install as well. Over the weekend I found a deal on some wheels with BFG all terrains with about 80% tread that I could not pass up on! I think they look better than the stock steels don’t ya think?

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Old 02-02-2017, 12:18 PM
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Tomorrow is the day! I have been dealing with one upper tranny bolt that is stripped but tomorrow I’m taking off work and dedicating the entire day with my Brother in Law to finish pulling the old motor and swap it for the new one. Hoping to have it running by days end tomorrow… fingers crossed!

Any tips or tricks learned along the way anyone would like to share? It been a bit cold here so I’m planning on getting up real early and lighting the wood stove in the shop.

I do really like the jeep in its stock configuration so not sure if a lift is in the plans as of yet. But future plans for the jeep include:

-Refurbish fender flares or replace
-Paint bumpers (scratched)
-Replace/repaint front nose piece (Clear cost pealing)
- Repair the one small door ding it has
-Wax/Buff/Polish
-And then drive the heck out of it!

Last edited by 75kona; 03-11-2017 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 02-04-2017, 12:34 AM
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New motor is sitting happy in its home. Ran out of time today due to the many runs to the part store for things we didn't know we need. Tomorrow I plan on doing the timing and seeing if I can't breath some life into the old jeep!

Last edited by 75kona; 03-11-2017 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:59 PM
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Well today didn't go as planned. Got it all in and attempted to fire it up. It tries to fire and runs briefly at wide open throttle but not long and appears to be run really rich. Any ideas? Most of what I am reading points to crank position sensor. Thinking maybe I bumped it with the flywheel when pulling the old motor or putting in the new one. Any advice would be much appreciated!
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Old 02-05-2017, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by 75kona View Post
Well today didn't go as planned. Got it all in and attempted to fire it up. It tries to fire and runs briefly at wide open throttle but not long and appears to be run really rich. Any ideas? Most of what I am reading points to crank position sensor. Thinking maybe I bumped it with the flywheel when pulling the old motor or putting in the new one. Any advice would be much appreciated!
When I had that problem, it was the IAC on the throttle body. Maybe the sensor or the MAP sensor as well. Best of luck! Really clean and even though it was $500, say you put $1500 into it. That's $2k for a really clean jeep with a used motor in it. Can't beat that price.
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Old 02-06-2017, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by CantDrive55 View Post
When I had that problem, it was the IAC on the throttle body. Maybe the sensor or the MAP sensor as well. Best of luck! Really clean and even though it was $500, say you put $1500 into it. That's $2k for a really clean jeep with a used motor in it. Can't beat that price.
Thanks! Ordered a Crank position sensor and should be here in a couple of days. If that doesn’t solve it next will be the Map and IAC. We got 13” of snow last night and I want to be out driving is so freaking bad!!!
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:06 AM
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She runs! The problem was my fault. When I swapped motors I didn't swap flywheels. And the timing rings on the back were completely different. Slid the tranny back yesterday just enough to swap them out and she fired right up and runs great!
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:09 AM
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Nice Jeep. You really scored a heck of a deal on that thing.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:11 AM
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Thanks! Between having to buy a donor motor and the extra cost of having to take it apart again I'm a more into it price wise than I wanted to be. But I'm still really happy with it!
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by 75kona View Post
Thanks! Between having to buy a donor motor and the extra cost of having to take it apart again I'm a more into it price wise than I wanted to be. But I'm still really happy with it!
Well, to reiterate what someone mentioned a few posts above me...Even as much as you're in it for, you still couldn't get that clean a 97+ XJ near me for that price without major issues.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:04 AM
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nah, what they say, i got my second XJ for a steal and it runs, but its nowhere near as clean or pretty as that one.

I was going to day that dint sound like the Crank sensor going on you, but you already figured it out.

I look forward to seeing how this project goes for you!
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:08 PM
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I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes too! My mind says keep it stock but the 4x4 swap meet is this coming Sunday so we will see what goodies I pick up for it! Stay tuned!
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