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Old 03-24-2016, 02:34 PM
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Looking to get first jeep. A 1998 but ehe seller says the 4wd is sticking

First off howdy guys, this is my first post/thread.

I'm in the market to get a new ride for the ranch/occasional weekend cruiser.

I found a 1998 4.0l 6 cyl Sahara that seems to be for a solid price.

Though once I started asking questions the owner said upon his drive today the 4wd was sticking and he would either get it fixed for me if I wanted to purchase it or he would knock off 1000$ off the asking price.

With the research Ive managed to do online and on here I've come to the conclusion it could be as simple as the transfer case linkage is sticking to as difficult as the entire transfer case is shot.

After talking to a friend thats somewhat of a jeep guy with about 25 years of jeep experience, he said to not even bother looking at the jeep anymore because it could turn into a money pit.

So my question is how can I grade how bad of a situation I'm dealing with once I look at the jeep?
Can it turn into a 2-3k fix like I've been told? I would really want to avoid that possible scenario

Thanks ahead of time guys.


Also the transmission, alternator, and starter have been rebuilt/replaced according to the owner if that helps yall's diagnosis.

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Old 03-24-2016, 02:40 PM   #2
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231 transfer cases are a dime a dozen. If its not the linkage, or the shift forks, just replace it with a used one. Mine sticks in 4wd sometimes, but if I put it in reverse and go back about a foot it goes into 2wd no problem. I know its my linkage.

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Old 03-24-2016, 02:46 PM   #3
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That transfer case sticking issue could be major or it could be nothing. Many who buy Wranglers don't really use them in their 4x4 modes enough to learn how to properly shift into or out of 4x4. It could be nothing more than that, or it could just be a shifter mechanism that is out of adjustment. I'd bet on either of those two possibilities before I'd bet on the transfer case itself being bad.

Do you know any experienced Wrangler owners that could go with you to check out the shifter and get their opinion? If you do, that's what I'd do.
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:04 PM
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231 transfer cases are a dime a dozen. If its not the linkage, or the shift forks, just replace it with a used one. Mine sticks in 4wd sometimes, but if I put it in reverse and go back about a foot it goes into 2wd no problem. I know its my linkage.
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That transfer case sticking issue could be major or it could be nothing. Many who buy Wranglers don't really use them in their 4x4 modes enough to learn how to properly shift into or out of 4x4. It could be nothing more than that, or it could just be a shifter mechanism that is out of adjustment. I'd bet on either of those two possibilities before I'd bet on the transfer case itself being bad.

Do you know any experienced Wrangler owners that could go with you to check out the shifter and get their opinion? If you do, that's what I'd do.
Just got back from test driving it and was thrown a curveball

The 4wd isn't sticking. It just wont engage.

When we went to put it in 4WD it made a nasty grinding noise and never engaged. He tried putting it into 4wd while slowly rolling forward.

He mentioned it worked the last time he had to use it about 2-3 years ago but since then has put new and bigger 33" tires on it ad now it wont engage.
That was the only difference b/w now and the last time he used 4x4.

I don't know if theres any correlation there but figured since its a difference it might be noteworthy

New thoughts?

Google is once again giving me a wide variety of possible issues. Some cheap and some expensive

Loved the jeep for the price and it was in solid shape besides the 4wd issue
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:48 PM   #5
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Is the front driveshaft present? The transfer case will grind and not shift into 4Hi if the front driveshaft is not there.
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Old 03-24-2016, 11:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mrb1010 View Post
Just got back from test driving it and was thrown a curveball

The 4wd isn't sticking. It just wont engage.

When we went to put it in 4WD it made a nasty grinding noise and never engaged. He tried putting it into 4wd while slowly rolling forward.

He mentioned it worked the last time he had to use it about 2-3 years ago but since then has put new and bigger 33" tires on it ad now it wont engage.
That was the only difference b/w now and the last time he used 4x4.

I don't know if theres any correlation there but figured since its a difference it might be noteworthy

New thoughts?

Google is once again giving me a wide variety of possible issues. Some cheap and some expensive

Loved the jeep for the price and it was in solid shape besides the 4wd issue
mrb1010,
This is one of those things that, some people may, or may not be "clueless" about their own vehicle. I was going to ask you, "just what does "sticking" mean? I've never heard of any "sticking" in any portion of a four wheel drive system. But, you've since answered my question in the fact that there is NO STICKING.

The 231 Aluminum, Chain drive transfer case is actually a very simple case to take apart and diagnose. There's kits for rebuilding it all over the planet. Now, here's another potential issue the present owner may or may not know, based on his knowledge of 4x issues. Low range, is NOT TO BE ENGAGED at anything over about 1-2 mph. High range can be engaged at higher speeds but, it not recommended.

This is one of those things that, the more you protect that transfer case, by engaging and disengaging at proper speeds and with no load on them, the longer they will serve you.

Now, if that one is not engaging at all, then yes, it's quite possible that there's internal hemorrhaging due to broken parts, damaged or, severely stretched chain. It always cracks me up when someone says to walk away from a nice clean ride, be it a Jeep, VW, truck, any car etc. just because it's got maybe a $300-$400 part problem. Get some second opinions if you're not sure.

The TJ transfer case shifting mechanism, right from the git go, when they were first designed, were not very good at best. So, sometimes they get out of adjustment or, tweaked in such a fashion that they cause real havoc when attempting to shift into 4L or 4H. I'd get under it and see if there's anything obvious on the outside, before getting out the scalpel and forceps. Good luck
Scott
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Old 03-25-2016, 12:14 AM   #7
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So what's he asking? If he's willing to drop $1k I'd take the chance, depending on the starting price and condition....
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Old 03-25-2016, 12:30 AM
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So what's he asking? If he's willing to drop $1k I'd take the chance, depending on the starting price and condition....
I'm thinking I can get it for about 3.6-3.8k
Everything else works great. 4.0L 6cyl with 33" bfg's.

I'm thinking of chancing it and in all honestly believe it can get around the hills of the ranch even in 2wd.

Also it would make a fun project changing out parts of the interior, lifting it, and getting the 4wd going smooth over the next year.

Would y'all chance it?

Also I'm very mechanically stupid when it comes to under the hood guys so my apoliguies as a lot of the terms are making me scratch my head. I'm researching as much as I can though
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:45 AM   #9
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as long as its not rusted, i would go
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:52 AM   #10
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Almost surely linkage plus at you pull it a XJ 231 transfer case is $100 and install is a easy afternoon job in your driveway

Only curve is you may need to tear open and put your input gear in XJ transfer case

But given the progression, grinding, and lift with bigger tires probably just linkage needs tweeted or adjusted
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Old 03-25-2016, 08:00 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mrb1010 View Post

I'm thinking I can get it for about 3.6-3.8k
Everything else works great. 4.0L 6cyl with 33" bfg's.

I'm thinking of chancing it and in all honestly believe it can get around the hills of the ranch even in 2wd.

Also it would make a fun project changing out parts of the interior, lifting it, and getting the 4wd going smooth over the next year.

Would y'all chance it?

Also I'm very mechanically stupid when it comes to under the hood guys so my apoliguies as a lot of the terms are making me scratch my head. I'm researching as much as I can though
If the frame is not rusted if definitely do it for that price.
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:23 PM   #12
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You do know what JEEP stands for, don't you?

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Originally Posted by mrb1010 View Post
...

After talking to a friend that's somewhat of a jeep guy with about 25 years of jeep experience, he said to not even bother looking at the jeep anymore because it could turn into a money pit.

...
It's clear your friend does... Just Empty Every Pocket...

Seriously, though... if you're willing to learn how to work on it, this doesn't sound like a show stopper. You will need to accept the fact that you're buying something that requires upkeep, and due to the typical uses, will also break from time to time.

You've been warned...
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Old 03-25-2016, 05:58 PM   #13
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If no frame rot rust and engine runs well you cannot get better than an 98-99 or 03-04 straight six wrangler

There will never be another straight six jeep and above years most reliable

Yes it is only a vehicle for someone willing to get their hands dirty
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:41 PM   #14
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231 transfer cases are a dime a dozen. If its not the linkage, or the shift forks, just replace it with a used one. Mine sticks in 4wd sometimes, but if I put it in reverse and go back about a foot it goes into 2wd no problem. I know its my linkage.

I always thought backing up a few feet was part of taking it out of 4X4.
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Old 03-26-2016, 01:14 AM
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Mechanic came out and said there's no rust and everything is in solid shape.

He even got the 4x4 to engage and thinks it's just a linkage issue.

All in all I think it was a good investment for 3.6k

Going to get the linkage fixed and top of the fluids, snag a 4" lift, and drop 600-700$ redoing some of the interior and I think I'll have a fun little toy for 5k.

Thanks again everyone for the help.

Looks like I'll be asking more questions in the near future!
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Old 03-26-2016, 09:29 AM   #16
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Mechanic came out and said there's no rust and everything is in solid shape.

He even got the 4x4 to engage and thinks it's just a linkage issue.

All in all I think it was a good investment for 3.6k

Going to get the linkage fixed and top of the fluids, snag a 4" lift, and drop 600-700$ redoing some of the interior and I think I'll have a fun little toy for 5k.

Thanks again everyone for the help.

Looks like I'll be asking more questions in the near future!
Now for the most important part - PICTURES!
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Old 03-26-2016, 02:49 PM   #17
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He even got the 4x4 to engage and thinks it's just a linkage issue.

This is specifically why I stated in my post, to get under the jeep and look for issues BEFORE getting crazy with thinking about changing any transfer cases or anything else expensive.
Scott
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Old 03-27-2016, 04:26 PM
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Now for the most important part - PICTURES!

Here's the only picture I currently have

Hopefully in a couple months I can post a new picture when it has a lift and some of the interior redone

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Old 03-27-2016, 06:03 PM   #19
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Looks sharp

The black flares are not stock on a Sahara but they look good same with the red roll bars

What size are those wheels and tires

Nice full doors

I would sort out it out as is and try it for awhile before lifting that way you know where you are and where you want to go better

Did you run vin online for a free build sheet

Is the rear axle d35 or d44

Looks to me like you probably got a really good deal
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:05 PM   #20
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I always thought backing up a few feet was part of taking it out of 4X4.
Nope, not at all where the Wrangler is concerned.
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:14 PM   #21
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That was a procedure to unlock some of the auto licking hubs like I had on my 87 4 runner but not on any jeep I ever owned
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:15 PM
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Looks sharp

The black flares are not stock on a Sahara but they look good same with the red roll bars

What size are those wheels and tires

Nice full doors

I would sort out it out as is and try it for awhile before lifting that way you know where you are and where you want to go better

Did you run vin online for a free build sheet

Is the rear axle d35 or d44

Looks to me like you probably got a really good deal
Tires are 33"
Not sure on the wheels

Didn't run a vin.

You lost me on the rear axle.

I'm new to this as you can tell
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:28 PM   #23
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Put you vin on here to see what it had from the factory

http://m.jeep.com/en/mobile/webselfs...527R%2527%2529
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:29 PM   #24
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Then click your vehicle then equipment listing
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:36 PM   #25
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Old 03-27-2016, 07:56 PM
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D35 rear axle

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