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What to look for when buying a used Cherokee?

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What to look for when buying a used Cherokee?

Old 05-05-2010, 08:41 AM
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Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 3
Model: Cherokee
Question What to look for when buying a used Cherokee?

Hi - My name is Bill VS and I am new to this site. My 7 year old son and I have been excited about buying a used Cherokee, to fix up and clean up as a Father & Son project. We'd like to keep things as economical as possible, but would like to build (over time) a cool Weekend Wheeler that we can have fun with. Four Wheeler Magazine suggests an Early 90's Cherokee, 4.0 liter straight six, with an auto tranny. Over time, add a 3" to 4" lift, locking axles, and 33 inch tires. We live in the Northeast US, so the available terrain is limited, and this truck should mostly turn out cool and fun, but will not climb desert rock formations!
What should we look for for with our initial purchase, and what would be bad signs that the 4 wheel may not work or could need repairs? What would make us want to avoid buying and look for a better buy? Craigs List is loaded with Jeeps in our area, so we can probably find a great buy if we know what to look for.
Thanks in advance - Bill VS
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:24 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Gaines, NY
Posts: 263
Year: 1996
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0L HO

look for rust everywhere, especially under the carpet.....u may find a rotbox for real cheap, but u may realize as i did that it would have been worth spending more initially on a more solid vehicle

check for leaks, especially rear main seal

make sure the tranny fluid dont smell burnt

for 4x4 make sure it switches b/t every mode, and test it by putting it in 4x4, turning the wheels all the way to one side and driving slow, u will feel the wheels hopping
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:37 PM
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kenheehn3's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 99
Year: 1990
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0

If you don't want to do an axle swap look for a 1987 XJ with a dana 44 or a later 90's XJ with a 8.25 axle. That will help you out big in the long run because the dana 35 is junk.

And rust is a big thing to look for if you intend on removing bolts because in northern minnesota rust is a bit**.
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:54 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: MA
Posts: 377
Year: 2001
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.0

try to find one like others said above with as least rust as possible.
Also try and get one where the engine and trans are not soaked in there own oil...
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:34 PM
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Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 3
Model: Cherokee

Thank you all for some great advice. These thoughts will be very helpful, and we will use them all. Assuming everthing else is the same, would it be better to look for a Cherokee or a Grand Cherokee? The Grand Cherokees appear to sit higher from the factory, but are they any stronger or better?
Thanks Again - Bill VS
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