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BadDriver4x4

Is there an engine problem with the Liberty?

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I don't really like new Jeeps, but I'm considering a Liberty to have a more reliable car for winter and sports driving. I have seen a lot of locals for sale cheap with bad engines. I'm talking $300.00 - $400.00 cheap. Is the 3.7L a dud or are we looking at something else, like poor maintenance? Also, is there any lift for these little girls?

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BadDriver4x4...The aftermarket did mild lift kits, a search would turn one up.  Fixed and lightly lifted, they look cool!  The 3.7L engine is proven, not a dud, though not fun to service, either.  Spark plug changes are difficult.  This is not a "utility truck" Jeep, more a modern iteration like cars and AWDs.  Front axles with aluminum center section have been troublesome when pushed...This is IFS, too.

Moses

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Mr Ludel,

I wonder why the engines in this area seem to be an issue? Right now I have two minivans, so talk about hard to change spark plugs. I would probably be driving to lakes and in fields to hunt, so hard driving isn't an issue. The winters would probably the biggest test. Getting in and out of the yard before I can move the 2 to 3 feet of snow with my Kubota is probably the bigger issue. that's where a modest lift would work out well.

Thanks for the information.

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The Liberty is not bad, though we're talking unitized body and IFS.  That's not a deal breaker, the unitized body has more than proven itself in the XJ, ZJ and WJ Jeep models.  Within reason, the Liberty could do off-road chores, it is a 4x4 after all.  Many KJs with lifts and more robust, oversize tires have done surprising things.  If the price of admission were low enough, the Liberty could be a consideration...

Moses

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I'm actually thinking of replacing my second mini-van with a 2005 Jeep Liberty as the van is starting to wear on my nerves with it's little problems. The Jeep also has 70,000 less miles on it. At least it did until the dealer loaned it out to fix a customer's Liberty, and we haven't seen it since. The price is around $5000.00. I'm thinking a 2.5 inch lift and maybe a brush bar for a start.

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I agree with Moses that the 3.7 is a pretty good motor.  I have heard of a few of them dropping valve seats at higher miles, but I don't think it's a common problem by any means.  What exactly is wrong with the bad engines in the Libertys you have looked at?

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Well, we'll find out tomorrow what's up with the Liberty because it should be coming home with me tomorrow afternoon, once the paperwork is done.

From what I gather engines in this area have become seized, had the head gaskets changed only to find that the milling of the heads ruined the engines, and that the head gaskets are a problem, eventually tracked down from the radiator being diagnosed as the culprit for poor performance. I guess oil pans are pretty fragile too.

Those are the examples of running and non-running Libertys I've found in my area Craig's List.

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Good research, BadDriver4x4!  Sounds like you need to watch the cooling system.  We bought a Liberty KJ 4WD new in 2002 and had no trouble with it.  Sold to a family member, they also got great service from this primarily highway use 4WD vehicle.  Many report reasonable reliability with light off-road use.

I did all of the routine maintenance on the KJ, and here are my pointers on changing the 3.7L V-6 spark plugs...To prevent debris damage, clean around the plugs with your shop vacuum before removing each plug.  The aluminum threads are vulnerable in these heads!  Use a piece of fuel hose to carefully hold the spark plug's cable end when starting these awkwardly accessed spark plugs.  

The OE spark plugs are platinum type with sensitive electrodes...Aligning and turning the hose with your fingertips, you'll be able to "feel" the threads start without applying force.  Once you have started and threaded the spark plug to finger tight, you can apply your spark plug socket and torque the plug to spec without putting stress on the porcelain.

This approach has worked for me over a half-century of starting tough to reach spark plugs.  Be sure to begin the first threads lightly and with the plug aligned.  

Moses

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Thanks Moses,

I was looking for a good book that includes the upgrades for the Liberty, but your book "Jeep Owners Bible" doesn't cover the Liberty. There are a couple of questions I have about this vehicle, but I'll post a picture so you have an idea of what it is first then I'll come back with the questions in another post.

I'll post better pictures when I can take them. This was at the end of a long day that wanted to go all kinds of wrong. We had to travel to get the bank loan check and that took 2 hours there and back. If people want to hear more of the story I'll post it with the questions. The first I guess I can post now. Why is this called a "Limited"? It really has few features compared to the "Luxury" mini-van we traded for it.

 

JeepLiberty_002.jpg

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BadDriver4x4...Looks intact from this photo...History good?  CARFAX?  How's it looking in your driveway?  We had the "Limited" 4WD model, it seemed well appointed.

Get a good night's rest and revisit the Liberty in the morning...

Moses

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My wife looked at the CARFAX and there didn't seem to be any unusual things in it. Typical repairs and the like. Today I noticed a little more rust and a small dent in the passenger's door. I really need to get some good rubber on it for the winter. The tires on it now have very little rubber in the middle and better tread on the outside like they've been overinflated since new. The check engine light has been on since we test drove it. One is a small gas leak, one is an O2 sensor, and the third we didn't hear what the dealer said. He said the small gas leak could be the gas cap. Does that sound reasonable? I will hook up my own diagnostic tester as soon as I have the chance and get the codes for myself, but they were going to take care of the faults before we got the Liberty, unfortunately he loaned it out to another customer the day before we picked it up, and he was at the auctions when we came to get it.

Here's the better pictures.

It's a little tight compared to my F-250 and my wife's Freestar. The car we traded in was a Freestar as well. It was kind of confusing when we called to make an appointment to have work done. LOL 

Now we'll have less confusion.

2005JeepLiberty_001A.jpg

2005JeepLiberty_002.jpg

 

2005JeepLiberty_004B.jpg

2005JeepLiberty_003B.jpg

Edited by BadDriver4x4
Better picture available

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What I really like about your Liberty is the apparent "originality".  That's always the best place to begin, you can more readily restore the vehicle to OEM condition.  Also, if you do any modifications, like a mild suspension lift, you're fully aware of the installation and will not be inheriting someone else's approach.

So far, so good...You'll retrieve the actual codes thrown, and if you need any details, post as new topics...I'll follow up!

Moses

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