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Well Moses I took your advice. I found a Cherokee Sport. It's a 2001 with little rust and 39,168 original miles on it. The information I have basically points to it last being registered in Vermont in 2007. Of course with every good thing comes a problem. I find a "barn find" in a manner of speaking, but I have yet to get it to start and run. I will post the pictures I took this evening after it got into my driveway. Yes, it was raining here this evening. To tell you what I'm thinking, I think it is a problem with ignition or the NPS. It turns over just fine, but there is no hint of firing. I've tried to start it in Park and Neutral without success. What do you think? $1500.00 was what I paid for it. The rust is at the very rear of the quarter panels and the drivers side rear wheel well, but I don't know just how extensive it is. 

 

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport_001.jpg

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport_003.jpg

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport_004.jpg

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport_002.jpg

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BadDriver4x4...You'll be happy with the XJ Cherokee, parts are plentiful and cheap for restorative work, there should not be much to fret over at 39K miles! 

As for starting, the usual applies:  You need compression, fuel and spark.  Most likely, there's a fuel supply issue, sounds like the vehicle set up for a long period.  Fuel pressure and volume can be checked at the engine's EFI fuel rail with a fuel pressure gauge and a safe container with hose.  Harbor Freight has an inexpensive EFI test kit if you do much of this work...First see whether you're getting fuel to the rail.  I would expect stale fuel if the engine has not run since 2007-2008!

Spark is not as easy to check with a coil-on-plug setup like your "new" Cherokee Sport.  2000 model year was the change to coil-on-plug like your '01 4.0L also has.  Spark can still be tested.  There is an inexpensive induction tool for this purpose.  I can share details.

Check for fuel and spark, we'll go from there...

Moses

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Moses, I'm not sure fuel is the problem as I had the distinct smell of gas after trying to start it for a while without success. I agree that it sat for a while as the information I have seems to indicate its last registration ran out in 2007. So, I will not rule out bad gas. To me it seems very much like there is no spark.I'll start with those two areas and I would certainly appreciate the information on the inexpensive induction tool. I've pretty much got a half stocked auto repair shop, if only most of it wasn't in storage.

Some better pictures from today. If you want to see the rust, I have pictures of that too, and the places without rust where it could have been. I'll have to have a nice day to get pictures of the sub-frame and floors from underneath. 

 

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport_005.jpg

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport_006.jpg

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport_007.jpg

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport_008.jpg

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport_Documents Original Sale Price.jpg

2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport_Documents.jpg

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BadDriver4x4...Some coil-on-plug spark test tools:

1) http://www.amazon.com/Lisle-20700-Coil-Spark-Tester/dp/B00IXMA1RY

2) http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dautomotive&field-keywords=Hickok+(WAE7652WA)+Coil+On+Plug+Quick+Probe+II

I have the Quick Probe II, it's the simplest test (surface contact without removing any parts) but considerably more expensive than the Lisle tool.

Great you have the documentation, including original window stickers!  Amazing what a value these vehicles were when new.  The XJ may have been the best buy ever on a modern Jeep 4x4, surely the least expensive Jeep to maintain.  The YJ and TJ Wranglers rank a close second...  

If you can repair and contain the rust, the XJ Cherokee will be a home run...Our '99 is at 157K miles and ticking right along, the Jeep XJ Cherokee will easily make 200-250K miles without a major axle or powertrain issue; many last over 300K miles.  Rust at your region seems the biggest obstacle...

From your photos, what I like best is the originality and unmodified state of this 2001 model...You can thoughtfully make this the Jeep you want and need.

Moses

Edited by Moses Ludel

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Good News and Bad News.

I got the motor running and the Cherokee drives pretty well, but the brakes are soft and, in all the rain and dark I wasn't able to see all of the rust, so there is a bit more work to be put into the rear end than I had originally thought. I still don't see any cracks in the frame and I think it will be worth the body work and reinforcement.

OK, so how did I get the Cherokee running? We had to charge up the battery, so it sat all day Thursday and yesterday on the charger, and when we put it in I decided to take the hose off of the intake to see if that made any difference. I'm not sure that it did, but the engine started after the third turn and ran great. That is except for the couple of times it just shut off on me, while sitting, without any reason. It started right back up, but I'd like to know why it would just die out without any notice.

There was also a sound of fluid running in the motor compartment, somewhere near the heater core I think, but the heater was working well, and so was the air conditioner.

As a last thought, I think the battery is a little too small for the Jeep. Literally the wrong size.

So, work needed, but overall I think it will be worth it in the end. It was last inspected just over a year or so ago.

We also got the title and found out that the last owner must have only driven it on visits to Vermont. He bought it used with a little over 14,400 miles on it. He is not a full time resident of Vermont.

Now to get to work.

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BadDriver4x4...Some possibilities:  1) Check the battery for a dead cell...Perform a load test on the battery out of the vehicle.  If there's an open in the battery, the PCM will shut down without consistent voltage and continuity through the battery.  2) The sound of fluid running could be the heater in the windshield defrost mode.  This turns on the A/C compressor, which can make air conditioning sounds under the hood.

Otherwise, there could be aeration in the cooling system or an air block in the engine coolant.  Make sure the fluid level is not dropping.  If there is a loss of fluid or air bubbles in the coolant reservoir with the engine running, the cylinder head gasket could be leaking.  Pressure check the cooling system with the engine shut off and cooled down.  See if there is a loss of pressure within the system.

Moses

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Moses,

Back with some news. Holidays were OK, but no Jeep related goodies. I tested the battery with my old load tester and then took it to Bond Auto to have them check it with their nice new digital unit.Battery test good either way. I was thinking that maybe the fact that I took the hose off of the intake might have made a difference, but today I tried the same thing and no go. Still seems as though there is no spark, I cleaned the firewall end of the ground and still no go. The last time I tried to start the Cherokee before I took the battery out to test and charge it, the engine would not even try to start in neutral. I'll be cleaning the other end of the ground the next nice day we have that I have time and I'll be buying a coil spark tester.

I've been looking at other (older) Cherokees with 4.0L engines to possibly buy cheap as my own build. Is there any way to reinforce the subframe, and is there a book,yours or someone else's, that has good suggestions on building good safe monsters from the Cherokee on the cheap. I want to do it with any metal I can find for free and any some decent parts that don't cost thousands of dollars. It will be a project to do it cheap, but do it well. Take into account that I will probably buy only one more piece of equipment which will be a Lincoln AC\DC 240 stick welder (Probably used) and let's not forget that Air Compressor. I found an old one (1948) a distance way that is an 80 gallon 2 Cylinder with a bad motor for $100.00, but there is a good motor\generator guy here in town who also happens to be a Mennonite who is pretty decent on prices. Parts are available for the model.

OK, I'll be waiting for your next ideas on getting this thing running again. I really don't understand the intermittency of the problem.  :(

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BadDriver4x4...You should confirm spark at the coil-on-plug units.  A tester is practical.  Are you getting any trouble codes?  When you turn on the key (without cranking), do you hear the fuel pump charging the EFI system?

As for the frame, there are many "trail" build XJ Cherokee options around.  Tubular steel exo-skeletons are one extreme, others simply reinforce the rocker panels and skid plate area.  Roll bar and cage kits are available...The OE skid plate is miniscule, and the crossmember is vulnerable to denting and damage when driven in rocky terrain.  Some creative thinking could include a bigger skid plate or even a crossmember/skid plate replacement that would reinforce the chassis pan.

Long-arm lift kits provide some sub-body reinforcement.  The Full-Traction Suspension 6-inch kit beneath my 1999 XJ Cherokee is one example, look it over for ideas:

http://www.4wdmechanix.com/Moses-Ludel-How-to-Installing-a-Jeep-XJ-Cherokee-Long-Arm-Suspension-Lift?r=1

The price is right on the compressor, although I'd be very concerned about tank integrity.  Everything in your area seems to rust, if the older compressor operated in a variety of temperatures and humidity, the tank and other parts could be an issue.  Scale, rust, even rust perforation are concerns.  Purging the tank would be practical, and use of an inline air filter would preserve your air tools.

You might create a cylinder leakdown test for the compressor.  The motor and motor starter can be costly, but the tech sounds good.  Ask him what kind of costs are typical for restoring an older motor.  Is this 230V single phase?  Many compressors were 460V or 3-phase.  Make sure you know what you're getting.  

Moses

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Moses,

A little off topic.

I think I have a bad case of Cherokee fever. I have been looking around Craig's List for a nice OLD CJ-5 or CJ-7 without much luck within a 200 mile radius. I wish I had gotten the one in New York. So, I have also looked at all of the Cherokee Sports listed that would be a good candidate for a project on the cheap. Then I see this. http://burlington.craigslist.org/cto/5408677554.html 

 

1998JeepCherokee-600x450.thumb.jpg.b6f65

I did something I rarely do. I called the owner to get more information, and with only 96,000 miles I figured the L4 would still be a decent engine to play with now that there are so many accessories for the Cherokee. I found out that he has replaced the rockers, put a lot of money into rust issues, and has been trying to get the motor worked out. As you can see in the listing there is a fuel issue. This was before the inspection. He just sent me an email saying he checked the frame and there is a hole in it that can be fixed.

At the $800.00 price is it worth fooling around with, or should I make my wife happy and stay away from it? (I kinda like the color) :)

So I need an emergency intervention and a good source for a EFI(?) Fuel Pressure testing unit.

Thanks for the help.

Edited by BadDriver4x4

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BadDriver4x4...Understand the dilemma.  This is very inexpensive, even for a "parts vehicle" at that mileage.  We bought our '99 with 94K miles, it's at 160K now without removing the valve cover.  

Not sure what's up with the rockers, that's unusual, perhaps telltale poor oil changes?  I'd try to get more history on the vehicle and its service.  $800 is very cheap for a 4x4 XJ Cherokee, but the parts must be worth it. 

As for your wife becoming skeptical, that's to be expected with the recent vehicle purchases.  You're reaching "fleet" stage with the Jeep Thing.  It comes down to whether you "want" the '98 Cherokee or "need" it.  If you're thinking of liquidating the Liberty and possibly the late XJ, 1998 is a very good model year for the Cherokee.  I think of '98-'99 as the pinnacle of XJ Cherokee reliability, although these models have quirks like the gauge cluster connections and the power window lifts and window electrics.  No Jeep is perfect.

Overall, you're on the right track with the XJ Cherokees.  Whether you buy this one or stick with the ultra-low mileage 2001 model, you have the right idea.  Would the '98 be for your daughter?  That was the original impetus for chasing down a Jeep.  Keep peace in the family, regardless...

An inexpensive EFI fuel pressure testing and service kit is available at Harbor Freight.  Summit Racing also has some test kits, perhaps a bit upscale, certainly worth a look.

Moses   

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