\"New\" jeep in the family
I'm not a car guy. Never have been, so my personal vehicular collection consists of 1 F-250 Super Duty 4-door Lariat, 1 F-150 4-door King Ranch, 1 SOA CJ-7 on 37's, 1 Scrambler, and 1 '79 Quadratrac CJ-7.
For some reason my new wife doesn't see the attraction of the CJ's or the Scrambler, and has deemed the trucks are inconvenient considering our new dog, and baby on the way. Go figure.
But inspiration struck! "Say honey, those Jeep Cherokees seem pretty handy for a budding family. Four doors, a back area for the mutt, 4-wheel drive, and much easier on gas than the trucks. Whadaya think?" Whatever you think sweetheart. Gold!
Of course the first thing I did was fire up ebay and start snooping. Never one to pass up a "deal" I noticed a 94 I6 with auto that appeared to be in decent shape, but was listed as "for parts or rebuild" with 150K on it, that no one was bidding on. I asked the seller why it was listed as non running and was told it had a cracked head. Okay, no biggee, so I bid, won, then arranged to go take a look.
I get there and get greeted by a college girl which was a surprise since I had just "assumed" the person online was a guy. Okay hon, who told you it had a cracked head? "Well, this friend of mine. I pulled in to work one day, and noticed water leaking so my friend came out and said water in the oil (not that I could tell) so...cracked head". Okey dokey. It had been sitting about a month or so but fired right up and ran pretty smooth. After a bit of haggling I bought it for $450.00. The haggling was due to some issues that hadn't been disclosed in the ebay ad, such as two rotted floor boards. Hell, I figured worse case scenario is the head is indeed cracked, but I'd have a complete 4.0 base to work with if I wanted to put together a stroker or something.
It was a little low on water, but not drastically so. I can't see any leaks, there is no water in the exhaust, nothing in the oil that I can tell. Granted at this point it's only been run around the block a bit as I've yet to get tags on it, but so far so good. I've started to do the routine maintenace bit that you usually do with a used ride, new cap, rotor, plugs etc. One screw on the cap was major fubar and required vice grips to remove. The head was stripped so I know someone tried and failed, which meant it was probably in serious need of replacement. Turns out I was right. The terminals were a wreck, as was the rotor. Just out of curiousity I pulled a plug (too late to do it all tonight), and it looks to have a gap of about .180. Freakin HUGE! The electrode is pretty much melted away. I would imagine the rest are in similar condition.
My thoughts are that the ignition system was in such pi$$ poor shape it was causing the motor to run hot, and finally got to the point it started to boil over. Girl freaks, asks clueless but determined to not look clueless male friend to diagnose, and gets the cracked head story.
If the rest of the plugs are in similar condition it would be a testament to the ruggedness of the I-6 that it functioned at all, and actually was running pretty decent.
Anyway, to make a short story long, it appears I've bought a decent running cherokee, in decent shape (needs floor boards) for a whopping $450 and with the wifeys approval. Woo hoo! The best part is that in a couple months I bet I can convince her that this $450 beater just isn't up to par for her, the mutt, and the kid and that she needs something a bit newer and in better shape. Trail machine! Double woo hoo!