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Old 08-16-2012, 02:02 AM   #1
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Question Buying this 1997 Wrangler TJ Sahara tomorow morning, want some input from TJ owners?

I am about to buy this 1997 Wrangler sahara tomorrow in Arizona from a private party off of Craigslist after I test drive it. I am 90% sure this is the used TJ I should buy in my area after a week of looking over all the other Wrangler TJs around.

They were asking 7200$ originally but we talked them down to 6000$ is this a deal or not? It seemed to be as most of the similar TJs in my area were going for around 6000$-8000$




The main issue it has is a random misfire every once in awhile(not often), it was made clear that it passed a compression test though and runs fine otherwise and is a daily driver and is being sold through a mechanic. Could this be a case of easily replacing spark plugs or something harder like a coil pack?

Also the rear bumper is dented at the edge, not sure if it effected the metal body panels.


Rust is not an issue, because I am in the Sonoran desert in Arizona

This is below is from the ad

1997 jeep wrangler saraha
cold ac
automatic
4.0 strait 6 cylinder
150k miles
4x4
runs great just had a tune up
has a misfire random not sure what it is
clean title good emissions


So what do you guys think about it, should I go for it?

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Old 08-16-2012, 02:53 AM   #2
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One thing that would make me nervous is you say the person is a mechanic yet in his ad he states "has a misfire random not sure what it is". Why wouldn't he find out "what it is" before he sells it?

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Old 08-16-2012, 02:56 AM   #3
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If he dropped from $7200 to $6000 I would wonder why? Is he just tryn' to dump the Jeep because its shit? what is he hiding?
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Old 08-16-2012, 03:04 AM   #4
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I talked and its a younger girl that owns it but her mechanic friend is selling it for her. Im assuming that if I take it for a test drive and it seems in order it would be okay.

The interior seemed in order and it doesn't seem like a crap car, just the random misfire issue is what concerns me, but the price is spot on for me at least.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:16 AM   #5
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I once bought a CJ-5 that"needed a tuneup". After $600 worth of machine and mechanic work it ran like a top. The valves were burnt. Trust no one. At least on your test drive take it to a trusted mechanic and have the misfire checked out. HTH
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:36 AM   #6
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i might keep looking, I have a weird feeling about this one.
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:38 AM   #7
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Random misfire..could be valve springs?
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:52 AM   #8
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I would find out what it is before you buy it. Take it to a garage. It might cost you a couple hundred bucks but thats better then buying a 6000 dollar turd that your stuck with.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:14 AM   #9
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Agree with others. Keep looking. If it was an easy fix, the so-called "mechanic" would have easily fixed it. Thorougly inspect where the rear bumper was hit for frame/tub damage. Check for undercarriage rust and also the paint because the hood paint looks oddly discolored/faded. Check for oil leaks. Small nit-picky things will cost you more in the long run and you could have taken the money and bought a newer, less mileage, better cond. Jeep. That misfire issue would automatically cross that Jeep off my list especially on a 150K engine.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:31 AM   #10
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Take it for a ride. Does it just set the "random missfire" code? My 97 will do that about every 6 months. It will have just a little hiccup and keep going. Usually after long periods of running at speed. Like after 1 hour of 65 MPH. I just clear the code and keep going. Like stated, 97's had weak valve springs and that can cause a slight misfire.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:23 AM   #11
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Question

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Originally Posted by Plowboy1970 View Post
Take it for a ride. Does it just set the "random missfire" code? My 97 will do that about every 6 months. It will have just a little hiccup and keep going. Usually after long periods of running at speed. Like after 1 hour of 65 MPH. I just clear the code and keep going. Like stated, 97's had weak valve springs and that can cause a slight misfire.
What do you mean "set the code"? Im assuming it would be smart totake it to somewhere where they could read the codes before putting money down on it?

How would you have had it looked at during the test drive, I obviously cant wait all day at a dealership mechanic to do that, any quick ideas?
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:47 AM   #12
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Be patient and don't fall in love. I bought my first jeep after a week of looking and hated it. So many problems. I sold it and decided to be patient. After a month I found my 98 Sahara w 106k for $7500. Be patient my friend, this might be worth passim up.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jackillac View Post
What do you mean "set the code"? Im assuming it would be smart totake it to somewhere where they could read the codes before putting money down on it? ...
Even if the seller attempted to erase the "code" by pulling the battery cable, then putting it back on, the code would still be there.

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... I obviously cant wait all day at a dealership mechanic to do that, any quick ideas?
Around here, we take our cars to AutoZONE or O'Reilly (formerly Hi-Lo).
They hook up their diagnostic equipment to your vehicle FOR FREE to retreive the error code or codes. Only takes them a minute or two.

Good luck.
Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:06 PM   #14
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Hey ethanol is a big problem for Jeeps with the 4.0 because of the intake sitting right above the exhaust. This causes the ethanol to evap and flow in to the intake before the gasoline and causes a random misfire on start up, my 04 LJ was doing this random but mostly on really hot days I started using stuff called star-tronz in a little blue bottle at autozone it only takes about 3oz per tank which equals about $1.50 it pulls the ethanol out off the gasoline, now mine runs like a champ I haven't had a random misfire in a long time and I thought it was weak valve springs in the begining to....
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:10 PM   #15
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And you can take it by a Autozone and they will read the codes for you IF it pops a check engine light, if there is no light there will be no codes, but if there is the people here and Google will be your best help... Just FYI
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jackillac View Post
What do you mean "set the code"? Im assuming it would be smart totake it to somewhere where they could read the codes before putting money down on it?

How would you have had it looked at during the test drive, I obviously cant wait all day at a dealership mechanic to do that, any quick ideas?

Check engine light will come on. The 97's you can get the codes out of the computer by turning the ignition switch on and off 3 times, ending with it in the on position. Do not start it. The dash will display the codes stored. Ask him how bad the miss is.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:27 PM   #17
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I'm an original owner of a 1997 jeep wrangler SE (Standard Equipment). That means 5 speed 4 cylinder. The sahara has a bigger engine. I've had to replace oxygen sensors, I think there might be 2. When they did that work the authorized chrysler dealer said it was best to go ahead and do some other emission work, I don't want to dig out the paper file, but I think it might have involved replacing the muffler, tail pipe, catalytic converter, or related. Fortunately, the chrysler corp announced about a year after that that they would compensate owners for doing this work under a recall, so I got a free upgrade. That might be the misfire issue you're experiencing...? Also the AC unit failed at about 75,000 miles, and the engine runs on a master serpentine belt, so I was forced to replace the AC unit which cost over $1000, and that's got to be high priority if you're in Arizona. The fuel pump died and had to be replaced at about 110,000 miles, that's around $500, no explanation except it aged out. I'd advise researching the recall history for that vehicle first, and then maybe get an independent inspection. Fiat runs the business now, so you might get better service from an independent shop on a 1997 model.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:35 PM   #18
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yeah like everyone is saying take it to a mechanic other than that good luck i love my tj
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:23 PM   #19
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$6000 Still sounds a little high to me for a stock 97 TJ. I just bought mine about a month ago, same model 97 Sahara same mileage and only paid $4800. If I was you I would keep looking, one thing I noticed was that everyone on craigslist wanted way to much money for their jeeps. I looked for almost 3 months before I found the one I bought, and most of the jeeps that were there 4 months ago are still there today.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:38 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Tonycrd View Post
Random misfire..could be valve springs?
My thought too. Random misfires that aren't cured by replacing the usual parts including new spark plugs, distributor cap, rotor, or ignition wiring are often caused by bad valve springs.

There was a bad batch of valve springs installed into '97 and early '98 Wrangler 4.0L engines that causes this exact problem. Usually, replacing the springs by themselves will cure the misfire. When replacing the springs doesn't do it, that means it went on too long and it needs a valve job.

I'd negotiate the price down enough so you can pay for a valve job which is what I suspect it will end up needing at this point.
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Old 08-21-2012, 01:32 PM   #21
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Offer $6000 with a valve job and new springs thrown in.

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