I JUST GOT A NEW CHEROKEE!!! Now what? - Jeep Cherokee Forum

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Old 09-26-2017, 07:40 PM
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roninofako's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Apple Valley, CA
Posts: 12,908
Year: 97
Model: Cherokee
Engine: 4.6 stroker
Default I JUST GOT A NEW CHEROKEE!!! Now what?

Okay, so this thread is a continuation of my first thread, looking to buy a Cherokee...it can be found in the stickies on most every sub-forum, or you can view it here:


So, you finally pulled the trigger, and brought home a new member of the family...now what? Like the sister thread above, this is to address all of the common questions we get here on the site. A few things come into play here, such as are you going to have a mechanic do any maintenance and repairs, or are you gonna try and tackle it yourself? On a budget (haha, who isn't?) or sky's the limit (JK owners, LOL)...I kid, I kid...

If you want to do things yourself, I'll make this suggestion first, and many long time members here may know this about me already, and that I always say this, but one of the best things you can buy for your Jeep is a factory service manual (FSM). It has EVERYTHING you will ever need in there, like fluid capacities, type, torque specs, detailed diagrams, schematics, and instructions. Best $8 you will ever spend on your new toy. You can find one here:


Now you have your new toy, and detailed instructions on how to diagnose and fix it...where to start?

Well, with the basics, of course...some of this should have already been done on a limited scale when purchased, but now that you own it, time to delve deeper. Also, take note, not all this needs to happen right away, chip away at it, a little at a time, spread it out. All this stuff does take time, money, and patience.

First thing to check is fluid levels and condition. Make sure to take note of things you do, too...it can make a difference later if something comes up, post-purchase...anyways, I like to do full services of fluids on any car new to me, whether or not the seller said it was just done. If you have recent receipts, you can probably skip this, as there's a documentation trail, but whatever you do, don't just take someone at their word. People lie all the time. The other thing here is, there's more to it, than just oil and window washer fluid...diffs are often overlooked, as well as transmissions, power steering, brake fluid, coolant, transfer cases, you get the idea. I prefer to do a change on all of this stuff...and replace necessary filters at the same time. That's me. You can get by with simple level checks, but pay attention to fluid colors and condition, such as, is the oil milky? Smell like gas? Metal flakes? Smell burnt? Coolant nice and green? Things of that nature...

After fluids, time to check rubber. Serp belt, hoses, rubber boots on ball joints and tie rod ends, bushings in the suspension, soft brake lines, and so on. Look for cracking, dry rot, make sure grease-able components are greased, no tears in boots, and the like.

Then you can start looking at the mechanical stuff, like drive-line u-joints, brake pads and drums/rotors, and so on. On top of anything you've found along the way you never noticed when you bought it, haha!

One last thing I'll mention is this, do all this stuff first BEFORE you decide to toss a lift on it, or start doing mods...ESPECIALLY the visual inspections, if you have mods planned, do the basic stuff first, have a solid foundation to start from, and you'll be way better off, and happier, in the end. Plus, that way, you can buy the stuff you need once, but with that said, know this...mods are a whole different animal...once you change one thing, you need to change 3 other things to compensate for that...but that's another thread...

Anyways, as you can see, there's lots to be done...you gotta remember, you just bought a 20+ year old ride, things will need attention. I hope this post points you in the right direction to start. As always, any questions, search the site, if you can't find an answer, ask, be safe, and most of all, HAVE FUN!

If anyone has any suggestions for this post, feel free to PM me, if it makes sense, I'll add it.


Last edited by roninofako; 10-04-2017 at 11:20 AM.
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