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Old 09-11-2008, 01:33 PM   #1
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Question might be looking at a jeep soon... what should i look out for?

hey guys, i might be going to look at a few '01 wranglers (i-6, 5sp) in the coming weekends. this will be my first jeep so i'm not really sure what i should be looking out for. i've been poking around on here trying to find common issues for some model years, but i haven't been able to see much of a trend (and maybe that's a good thing!). this is basically what i have so far:

-look for dana 44 rear axle
-make sure it doesn't have the "death wobble"

i'm from the northeast so i'm familiar with the toll the new england winters take on cars. the jeeps i'm looking at all have ~110-120k miles on them (i know it's a little high but that's ok)...

-are there any specific areas that are notorious for rusting out?
-are there any major components that may need replacement soon if they have not been already?
-anything else not mentioned above??

i'm pretty excited about this so i want to make sure i don't get burned. any advice is appreciated.

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Old 09-11-2008, 02:17 PM   #2
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-are there any specific areas that are notorious for rusting out?
-are there any major components that may need replacement soon if they have not been already?
-anything else not mentioned above??

i'm pretty excited about this so i want to make sure i don't get burned. any advice is appreciated.

Anything coming out of NY, state or city, they use special winter salt supplied by the dealers to get them to rust faster. I've seen pristine TJ's up top, they look 40 years old underneath.
Do your complete fluid changes as soon as you get it, ALL the fluids and do a back flush on the cooling system.
If maintained properly they are about the lowest maintenance vehicles out there. The I6 and I4 are both half million mile engines if maintained.
Make sure the gear box shifts smoothly, if the trans fluid in the 5 speed was replaced with a GL5/6 by the previous owner or the used car dealer and you catch it soon enough you can put the correct stuff in, GL3/4 Redline MT-90.
Get under it with a flashlight, look for major dents and dings to see if it was offroaded, the belly pan is usually a good indicator.
If it has air make sure it works, with it running on high fan cold all the way up if the compressor cycles more than 5 times in a minute the R134 is low and could indicate a leak in the system.
After you buy it order a factory service manual set from the dealer or the 800 number in the owners manual, back two pages as I remember. Maintenance is fairly easy and you don't even need to jack it up to perform most fluid change in the engine/tranny/transfercase/coolant, for diffs its good to have it off the ground so the suspension droops, makes it easier to do.
Check the top for rips and tears if it's a soft top.
Take it to a mechanic if you can and have it checked out. I'd check the front track bar and the ball joints too.

I've had a few 'sellers' get a bit apprehensive when I pull out my flashlight and snap-on creeper, floor jack and 4ft pry bar

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Old 09-11-2008, 04:03 PM   #3
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also if you can jack up the front end and make sure the ball joints are tight, if the seller lets you. you might also want to lift up the carpet behind the driver and paasenger seat to check for rust or water. i have an 04 and everytime i wash it there is water in that area
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:12 PM   #4
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thanks for the advice... some good points in there. those NY jeeps sound like a lot of older corvettes. when i picked up my 72 the body was in great shape, paint was a bit worn (35 yrs old, go figure) but no rust... fiberglass body. the frame looked ok but not great. figured we could drive it for a few years before doing any major repairs. when we actually got it home and got it on the ramps we noticed the rear part of the frame was like swiss cheese. time for a frame swap.

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Make sure the gear box shifts smoothly, if the trans fluid in the 5 speed was replaced with a GL5/6 by the previous owner or the used car dealer and you catch it soon enough you can put the correct stuff in, GL3/4 Redline MT-90.
is there any way to tell this beforehand, or would i just end up eliminating the [potential] issue when changing all the fluids at home?

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If it has air make sure it works, with it running on high fan cold all the way up if the compressor cycles more than 5 times in a minute the R134 is low and could indicate a leak in the system.
ok this is kind of a noob question, but what do you mean if the compressor cycles more than 5 times?

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Maintenance is fairly easy and you don't even need to jack it up to perform most fluid change in the engine/tranny/transfercase/coolant, for diffs its good to have it off the ground so the suspension droops, makes it easier to do.
that's what i figured. most of my cars have been nissans, and while the engines on those are notorious for being long lasting, they manage to cram a large engine in a small engine bay and make it unnecessarily difficult to do routine maintenance.

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I've had a few 'sellers' get a bit apprehensive when I pull out my flashlight and snap-on creeper, floor jack and 4ft pry bar
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Old 09-11-2008, 04:31 PM   #5
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you might also want to lift up the carpet behind the driver and paasenger seat to check for rust or water. i have an 04 and everytime i wash it there is water in that area
good to know. how do you get water in that area? is it only when you wash the car with the top off or does it get in there even with it on?
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Old 09-11-2008, 05:16 PM   #6
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Just feel the tranny, it not going to shift like a sports car but all shifts should be smooth with no grinding or forcing. Chances are the tranny oil has not been changed by the owner, people think that stuff lasts forever and it will last a long time.
As for the compressor, the A/C compressor runs in two instances, first instance it when the ac is on, the compressor will cycle, you can watch the electric clutch on the fan belt cycle on and off. The second time it runs is when you have the defrosters on, the compressor is used to remove moisture from the air to clear the windows faster. Oh, make sure the air moves to the correct outlet when you put the air or heat from floor to floor dash dash and defroster, do this with the fan on HIGH SPEED. Sometimes the flapper doors in the heater box break and that is a pretty expensive repair mostly because of the time involved in removing the dashboard to get at the heater box.
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Old 09-11-2008, 06:42 PM   #7
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good to know. how do you get water in that area? is it only when you wash the car with the top off or does it get in there even with it on?
im not sure exactly, but i like to pressure wash it occasionally and even with the top on and doors closed, i still find water there and sprinkles on my seats and on the rear fender wells (inside)
no cause for concern, but make sure if there is water there it is removed before too long
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:21 PM   #8
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im not sure exactly, but i like to pressure wash it occasionally and even with the top on and doors closed, i still find water there and sprinkles on my seats and on the rear fender wells (inside)
no cause for concern, but make sure if there is water there it is removed before too long
Pull the carpet, herculine it, put wet okole seat covers on. problem solved.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:36 PM   #9
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Pull the carpet, herculine it, put wet okole seat covers on. problem solved.
i will! i will! i already bought the stuff i just need to find the time!
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:40 PM   #10
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rear seal leak.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:53 PM   #11
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rear seal leak.
i assume you're talking about the rear main engine seal? if i get another car that has a rear main leak i'm gonna drive it off a cliff. i had an older 300zx that leaked and i fixed it, but my maxima (current car) still leaks slowly.


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Oh, make sure the air moves to the correct outlet when you put the air or heat from floor to floor dash dash and defroster, do this with the fan on HIGH SPEED. Sometimes the flapper doors in the heater box break and that is a pretty expensive repair mostly because of the time involved in removing the dashboard to get at the heater box.
ok, NEVER would have thought to check that.
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:11 PM   #12
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yeah, mine went at 21,000 then again at 24,000 and at 43,000 its weaping again.
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:50 PM   #13
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i will! i will! i already bought the stuff i just need to find the time!
OH yea, if I had a nickel .... Also quit using the pressure washer to get between the top and body or the top and the doors. Jeeps are made with bigger tolerances so they flex the body better. Those big gaps between metal fitment are not by accident or sloppy assembly, they are built that way on purpose.
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:46 PM   #14
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dont look for rear main seal leak... most jeeps get that when the miles add up.. so its something that you will have to deal with. its not something that your going to get stuck on side of highway with. and its certaintly not a reason not to buy a jeep

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