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Old 08-18-2013, 05:02 PM   #1
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Came across this relatively clean 00 TJ Sahara that was traded in at the dealership I work at. 4.0L, 5-Speed, Soft Top, has 32x11.5/15 BFGoodrich Tires, Hodge podge shocks that o don't recognize the brand but can't vouch for whether it has a lift or not (if it does, it's very minimal because ride height is pretty close to stock height), D30/D44 axles and thanks to Sherpa, it appears that it came with 3.73 gears.

I've owned a KK previously that I built up quite a bit, so I'm familiar with Jeeps and wrenching but this is my first TJ and I'm no mechanic by any means. That said, after reading about the head cracking issues that this model year Jeeps had has got me worried. This Jeep drives great, a/c and heat works fine, 4x4 works fine, no leaks that I can see on the ground, engine does have some oil spots on it and the radiator overflow tank was empty when it was traded in.

I've topped the radiator and filled it up to the full mark and drove it a couple days and it is still at the full mark. The only issue I can really see is that the soft top frame was held down my ratchet straps and has electrical tape around the spot where the soft trip frame bolts into the the roll bar. And the serpentine/fan belt has cracks on it. So maybe time to replace the belt and do a full fluid change - engine oil, diff, tranny fluid, transfer case, etc.

That said, what would the experts recommend? What do I need to check? Obviously I don't want to year down an engine prior to purchase. Are there any tell tale signs that could indicate a cracked head? There's no steam/smoke from the exhaust. It doesn't run rough. Engine hadn't overheated that I can see. The oil pressure light stays in the 40 and occasionally at higher speeds, goes up to around 50 or so on the gauge. Any help is highly appreciated. I don't want to have any "surprises" after buying

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Old 08-18-2013, 07:42 PM   #2
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I've had a 00' for 7 yrs now and the only serious problem I've had was a water pump that went out and took the radiator with it. I have 175k on it too. I've heard more about these motors being bullet proof than head problems. You didn't mention the mileage but if you like it and the price is right grab it.

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Old 08-18-2013, 08:53 PM   #3
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...I've heard more about these motors being bullet proof than head problems. You didn't mention the mileage but if you like it and the price is right grab it.
Very good point. And that's what I'd heard about the 4.0L to was that they were a good, solid motor that outlasted the vehicle. The cracked head issue was just something I recently found out about on one of these forums. And when it was mentioned that 00/01 were the ones most prone to it due to a bad batch of casting or bad materials, it got me spooked a little.

And sorry. I should've mentioned that this has about 119K on the odometer. Decent miles for a 13 year old vehicle and the autocheck report came clean as well. I've driven the Jeep for a few days now and even did a 100 mike round trip for work and it drive great. Do I really need to worry about the cracked head issues or am I worrying about nothing? Thanks for your feedback. Good to know that at 175k you really hadn't had any major issues to worry about.

PS. I do like it so far and just wanted to make sure, it wouldn't be a bad decision. The price seems right - $6,800.00
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:04 PM   #4
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Perhaps cracked exhaust manifold? I'm not familiar with any cracked head issues
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:06 PM   #5
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Could you get a deal on having a mechanic look it over since you work there? That would relax you a bit
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:11 PM   #6
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We currently own two 2000 TJ Sports, great vehicles! That is a great price for a 2000 Sahara with that mileage and a Dana 44. You should buy it, IMHO.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:15 PM   #7
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Checking all the fluids and changing if necessary is a great start. I would go ahead and jump on that. As for the block issue...F it! I have an 01 and have yet to have an issue, and I've put mine through some hell. Plus, what are ya gonna do now, you own it! Put on a new serp belt and keep the old one as a spare. As for the coolant being empty, Keep an eye on your water pump. See if you notice any sweet smell or slight anti freeze spray under the bottom side of your hood and check for cracks in the radiator. Is the radiator OEM plastic top and bottom and metal in the middle? Lastly, I'll tell you what I tell any prospective TJ owner. You'll have mysterious issues that amazingly come and go on their own, random noises, and eventually needed repairs, but NOTHING compares to owning a bad ass Jeep!
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Perhaps cracked exhaust manifold? I'm not familiar with any cracked head issues
Wouldn't a cracked exhaust manifold have some exhaust noise under the hood and possibly exhaust leak? I haven't noticed any of that.

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Could you get a deal on having a mechanic look it over since you work there? That would relax you a bit
I am going to have it looked over just as a precautionary measure but they won't take the valve covers off or anything quite that intensive till I actually buy it due to the cost and labor time involved.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:29 PM   #9
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Perhaps cracked exhaust manifold? I'm not familiar with any cracked head issues
There was/is definitely a head issue with a batch of 2000 vehicles, and as previously stated possibly 2001 as well. Someone posted up a cast mark to look for to eliminate the possibility of a faulty cast head.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:30 PM   #10
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We currently own two 2000 TJ Sports, great vehicles! That is a great price for a 2000 Sahara with that mileage and a Dana 44. You should buy it, IMHO.
Thanks for the input. I felt the price was fair for the age and especially with the low miles and fairly clean condition of the Jeep. Tires are in a great shape and spare hadn't touched ground that I can see (still has the nubs) and it has a near brand new Smittybilt soft top. Just needs some TLC on the soft top frame where it's taped up together. Those are the things that make me want to buy it because TJs like these are getting rare and most that I've seen traded in have seen better days.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:32 PM   #11
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x2 on the price...... Seems to be a great deal. Good luck with her...
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:36 PM   #12
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...Plus, what are ya gonna do now, you own it!...

...Keep an eye on your water pump. See if you notice any sweet smell or slight anti freeze spray under the bottom side of your hood and check for cracks in the radiator. Is the radiator OEM plastic top and bottom and metal in the middle? Lastly, I'll tell you what I tell any prospective TJ owner. You'll have mysterious issues that amazingly come and go on their own, random noises, and eventually needed repairs, but NOTHING compares to owning a bad ass Jeep!
Thanks for the input. I did check the radiator to make sure there weren't any leaks or unusual drippings/spraying from the radiator or hoses and all that checks out. Not a drop leaking anywhere that I see. After topping off the radiator fluid tank it's been at full and hasn't gone down any but I'll still keep an eye on it. I'd like to drive it for some time before buying it just to monitor that but worried about taking it any distance because of the serp belt needing replaced.

That said, I don't own it yet (well, mentally maybe, but the deal hadn't been finalized yet). So, if its something that I need to walk away from, I do have that option much as I'd hate to.

And trust me, owning a JK for almost 4 years and building it up, I know those random noises and electronic gremlins that come and go all to well . But thanks for the heads up.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:38 PM   #13
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...Someone posted up a cast mark to look for to eliminate the possibility of a faulty cast head.
If you could point me to that link, that'd be awesome! That would definitely help in the decision process.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:41 PM   #14
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x2 on the price...... Seems to be a great deal. Good luck with her...
Thanks. If posted a pic of it in the new member check in section but here it is again. Has a few spots where the paint had chipped off and has some rock chips from being driven on unpaved roads (or Oklahoma roads in general aren't the best of shape) but otherwise in decent shape except for some TLC on the soft top frame (or to replace it).

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Old 08-18-2013, 09:43 PM   #15
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The casting number for the troublesome heads is "0331", but ours have almost 160k on them with no head problems.
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:45 PM   #16
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Thanks for that info. Where would you look to find said casting number?
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Old 08-18-2013, 09:54 PM   #17
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It is stamped on the top of the head. It seems like I have read on this Forum that you can sometimes see it through the oil filler cap hole on the valve cover, but I am not certain of that.
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:07 PM   #18
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That's what I was worried about. So quite possibly, it could require taking the valve covers off if it isn't visible through the oil filler opening. Well I guess if I open the valve cover up and there isn't any green stuff or crusting in there, I should be relativity safe . Thanks for that info.
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:26 PM   #19
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https://www.google.com/search?q=2000...&client=safari

At the price you listed if there's no major issues a head replacement (or a used motor) would bring you right up to the average going price of decent TJ's around here. It wouldn't be a major deterrent for me anyhow. Good luck with whichever way you go.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:03 PM   #20
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The Jeepsunlimited link that comes up is the one I'd read on about the head cracking issues. I think that's the same link that someone here had posted. These are the times where I wish I was more mechanically inclined to do a compression test myself. I may drive it for a few more days as I check other components and it'll give me more time to see if that coolant level drops any or I notice any temperature rise.

For the most part, I think I'd probably go ahead and do it. The more I drive it, the more attached I get to it.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:14 PM   #21
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Yeah apparently these things get in your blood. I can't imagine not owning one anymore.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:19 PM   #22
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This 0331 head issue peaked up my curiosity as I own a 2001 TJ owner(60th edition), tho I have about 118K Miles or 190K KM running a-ok and no issues. Leave it to my luck, I prolly do have it. :/

Was this a design flaw or did they go cheapy on materials? Just curious if anyone has the answer to that.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:24 PM   #23
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Yeah apparently these things get in your blood. I can't imagine not owning one anymore.
That they most certainly do. Just Empty Every Pocket

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...Was this a design flaw or did they go cheapy on materials? Just curious if anyone has the answer to that.
From what I read up, it appears to have been quite possibly from a bad batch of casting. Of course, I just found out about this yesterday.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:29 PM   #24
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Well I'm gonna check tomorrow if I can locate the tag/stamp. Personally sometimes its just best not to know these things lol
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:44 PM   #25
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…Personally sometimes its just best not to know these things lol
Lol. You're telling me. I was thinking the same thing earlier. Was doing just fine till I came across that article and started wondering if that's why the radiator fill tank was empty when the guy traded it in. For all I know, he just never filled it up or check.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:56 AM   #26
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Lol. You're telling me. I was thinking the same thing earlier. Was doing just fine till I came across that article and started wondering if that's why the radiator fill tank was empty when the guy traded it in. For all I know, he just never filled it up or check.
Im not showing any signs or symptoms so maybe the production line I have may be my salvation... Just guessing :/
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:21 AM   #27
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We got some time yesterday to inspect the underside of the Jeep after washing it down. The oil pan seems to be crunched up, though not leaking, and more importantly, we noticed the passenger side lower control arm mount bent/tweaked. I've taken a couple of pics of the passenger and driver side lower control arm mounts. Since I don't have another TJ here to compare it to, would someone be able to take a look and confirm if that is indeed bent or if that's just the way the factory bent it? If you need better pics or a different angle, let me know and I could retake the pic.

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Old 08-20-2013, 09:46 AM   #28
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yes, that is damage...repairable for sure....but also with a damaged oil pan? I do not like the sounds of that. Be careful.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:09 AM   #29
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yes, that is damage...repairable for sure....but also with a damaged oil pan? I do not like the sounds of that. Be careful.
OK. That's what we thought as well. Here is a picture of the oil pan. It's too bright outside so the underside pic got a little dark but hopefully it shows it. I don't mind a little repairable damage but if there are too many little things to fix, they start adding up over time. Here are the things I have found that would need fixed/replaced thus far:

Soft top frame, radio, serpentine belt, plugs, oil pan, control arm mount, rear door, windshield (not right away). And this is not counting the fact that I haven't been able to confirm/check on the head yet to make sure it doesn't have the 0331 head or running compression tests. I'm starting to wonder if I need to continue pursuing this Jeep or pass and look for another one?

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