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Decision time: New motor or new Jeep?


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#1 Shake Yer Bones

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:08 PM

At 240,000 miles, it happened. Heard some clicking as the engine ran and I just found out it's a busted piston. I'm bummed.

Options include swapping out the motor or buying a new (used) Jeep. Swapping costs about 1/2 of what buying a different rig would be, and really, I absolutely love this Jeep. She's been great to me. I'd like to save it if I can, but I need to think with my head, not my heart.

Any of you ever face this decision? What did you do? Thoughts? Advice?

#2 Julius

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:11 PM

How is the bodywork and the suspension holding up? No rust? Do you plan to drive it until dead or resell it?

#3 Col_Sandoz

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:12 PM

Junk yard low mileage engine and someone to install = success ;)

#4 Shake Yer Bones

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:26 PM

Body and suspension are as good as they can be when you consider 12 New York winters. No rust, at least not in problem spots.

And I do have a mechanic to pull the motor and find a lower mileage one for me .... so that's good. I just don't wanna throw that sort of coin down only to have some wheel bearings go, or something else major.

I have a weekend to think about it. That's good, and that's bad.

#5 gregoir

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:33 PM

get a new (used) jeep

#6 MeOmYo

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:43 PM

are you still driving it or did the piston come apart? Can you just replace the piston or did it screw up the cylinder walls?

#7 TEO

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:46 PM

Will you end up having to get a new transmission as well, within a relatively short time period?

#8 Shake Yer Bones

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 10:42 PM

I haven't driven it since Tuesday. But the mechanic is a fella I trust and he told me it's new motor or new Jeep time. (He actually lent me his Jeep for the weekend so I can get to work). I'm kinda disappointed because 240,000 miles really isn't a lot of miles for a Jeep. But I've been running a 4-inch lift kit on it for the last 4 or 5 years with some bigger tires under it, so the tranny's got to be pretty tired.

I'm starting to lean toward getting a new (used) Jeep. Maybe even kick it old school and find a Cherokee instead of a Grand Cherokee. I just don't know how long I can stand to drive a stock Jeep .... gotta have the toys for it!

#9 TEO

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 10:56 PM

Can you salvage any of the toys from this Jeep?

#10 cjtpaint

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 11:53 PM

Bones, I trust and your Bride are well. My Jeep caught fire at 240. I can advise on paint but, that is about it.
I look forward to you comminig by.

#11 Shake Yer Bones

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:59 AM

I wish I could save the lift kit from the Jeep, but I don't have the stock stuff anymore so there's nothing to replace it with. At the very least, I'd like to save the black wheels I got. But the more I think about it, the more I think it's time to look for a new (used) Jeep. It'll just be less of a headache overall, and I can take it to R.I. to have painter paint it, while he drinks the beer I bring.

I think I'll cry tonight. Fare thee well, sweet Jeep. You served me well.

#12 TEO

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 01:24 PM

(((Shake Yer Bones)))


Sounds like you a making the prudent choice.

#13 moed_over

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 01:55 PM

It really depends on how much other work has been done on it. I'll probably be facing the same decision on my 10 year old Nissan Xterra at some point. I've done a lot of work to keep it up, but I still have a new clutch and tires decision coming up. I think it is still worth it, but it will be hard to say after that. I have avoided replacing the anti-lock brake pump at $3,000, because the regular brake system is independent of it, so the anti-lock feature is more of a luxury than a necessity.

I guess what I am saying is, how much future work are you expecting to have to do after the new engine? If you have done a lot of the other things to it like brakes, tires, transmission, clutch etc, it might still be worth keeping....

#14 Shake Yer Bones

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:00 PM

With great sadness, the 1999 Grand Cherokee has been retired. At least from driving by me. It's funny how attached we can become to vehicles, but there's a lot of sweat and time invested in that rig, along with some bloody knuckles. So she rests, in my driveway, with 240,000 miles. Combine that with the 1995 Grand Cherokee that I gave to my sister, who retired that Jeep last fall with 320,000 miles on it, and we have about 500,000 miles on my last 2 Jeeps.

And so, I now have a 2006 Grand Cherokee. It's difficult to drive a stock vehicle, but it won't be long until this new Jeep has a lift kit on it. And I'm working out a deal with a local mechanic to swap some cash and labor (for help installing my new lift kit on the new Jeep) in exchange for the 1999 ride.

#15 B. Diddy

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:32 PM

Can I ask why it's difficult to drive a stock vehicle? :D

#16 unbroken_chain

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:33 PM

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#17 unbroken_chain

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 01:34 PM

Can I ask why it's difficult to drive a stock vehicle? :D


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#18 Shake Yer Bones

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:12 PM

Very well put, UC. :grin:

I'm just so used to tinkering and monkeying around with my Jeeps. There are so many toys and stuff to add to Jeeps to make them unique, and that's what I like to do. Lots of people had a 1999 Grand Cherokee, but it was cool to have one that no one else had. A quick progression, if you will .....

Pre-lift ...

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Half of the lift installed ....

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Lift, wheels, tires ...

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#19 Deadshow Dan

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:22 PM

Sorry to hear about your loss :(

#20 TEO

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:25 PM

#1s of new Jeep so we can watch the progression.

What are is your initial impressions of the new ride as is?

#21 Shake Yer Bones

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:36 PM

Thanks, Dan.

Pictures have been taken of the new ride and will be posted eventually, TEO. The new Jeep is much different than the Jeeps I'm used to. The independent front suspension makes for a very smooth ride, like a car. So it sucks in that sense because I don't feel like I'm driving a Jeep. But the wife likes it, so that's key. The motor is a 3.7L V6, which is different than the 4.0L straight 6 I'm used to. But everything I've read says it's comparable to the old motor and we'll find out soon after I get a trailer hitch on it and haul some firewood. It's got 46,000 miles on it, so hopefully it's my ride for at least another decade or so.

#22 B. Diddy

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:08 PM

I has a Jeep (2002 Liberty with 125K). This is why I was asking. :D

I'm always interested when I see the lift on a Jeep if the owner is using the Jeep for serious offroading or if they just like the way it looks. Not that there's anything wrong with just liking the look. You don't see many Liberties with lifts.

#23 DF

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:32 PM

Congrats on teh new ride Shake.
On the flip side, my 95 4runner is almost at 200k. It's reliable, but only running on 5 of 6 cylnders..so not much pickup.

Also, the body is getting some rusts spots and windshield seal is falling apart. I am looking into a 2000 or 2001 land cruiser come this winter. The fuckers are pricey though, but the motors can last over 300k mikes.

#24 unbroken_chain

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:52 PM

I has a Jeep (2002 Liberty with 125K). This is why I was asking. :D I'm always interested when I see the lift on a Jeep if the owner is using the Jeep for serious offroading or if they just like the way it looks. Not that there's anything wrong with just liking the look. You don't see many Liberties with lifts.


I used to make fun of my friends that had Jeeps with "brush guards" and all that shit... cuz they wouldn't dare go off road.

A lifted Liberty looks pretty good!
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#25 unbroken_chain

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:01 PM

I'm currently seeking out an older Cherokee Sport, Classic or the like (don't care for the "Grand")

sick of payments, and not being able to satisfy my curiousity when a dirt road to nowhere shows up, or a huge ass mud field.

( I once had a 3 mph "chase" scene after a farmer caught me mudding in his cornfield (no crop) and headed in after me... :lol: it was DEEP and neither of us were going very far or fast... but I eventually made it out and he had to call a wrecker :rolling:

Something like this I seek, yes:

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#26 Shake Yer Bones

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:39 PM

Thanks, DF, and I agree. Most motors today can last twice as long as those when I was a wee bit younger. Just doing proper and basic maintenance adds so much.

The 3.7L in my Grand is the same motor that's in the Libertys and I hear good things about them. But they haven't been around long enough to get the street cred of the straight 6 Jeep used to build. I toyed with the idea of going back a regular Cherokee, but now that I have a family, I have to consider them too. Jeeps are so capable right out of the factory, so I admit I am drawn to the looks of a "tougher" Jeep, but it's functional for me as well. From time to time, I find myself in a situation with a creek or patch of mud to cross. The lifted Jeep last fall came in handy when I had to drive a farmer's field during deer hunting season. Otherwise, I would have had to drag the deer about 300-400 yards.

#27 unbroken_chain

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:31 PM

one of my old jeeps had a serious leak in the brakes... in fact - I had to add juice so often I became addicted to Brake Fluid - but don't worry, I can stop anytime.













:rolling:

#28 DF

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:39 PM

(don't care for the "Grand")


ok dude, what's the deal with the Grand? Harder to beef it up or is it just bells and whistles, but doesn't last/perfom as well as the straight 6?

#29 B. Diddy

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:44 PM

The 3.7L V6 is in my Liberty. I've had it since it had 24K in 2004 when it came off a 3 year lease. Like I said, 125K on it, and I've never had an issue so far. Since I've owned it I've had to replace brakes, brake lines, radiator lines, the water pump, the AC compressor, all the tires, and the battery , but so far no trouble with the engine itself (knock wood).

#30 unbroken_chain

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:45 PM

I prefer the squared corners.

I firmly believe they are not quite as durable or reliable as reg'lar Cherokee.... likely due to the additional bells n whistles :beard:
but still a fine choice provided it sports the inline 6

#31 clouseau

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:46 PM

Have an '06 Commander w. the V-6 3.7L now @ 140 K mi.- only problem was replacement of tranny cooler lines @ 120
+ K mi. - so far, so good ! also have a '97 ZJ (Gr Cher ) TSI w.128k that i bought to replace '97 ZJ that tranny quit on @ 234K -motor still strong - it's yours if you want it - LI area - also have '98 ZJ for my son -(lot's of snowy roads between here and VT, where we spend much of winter, and on the beach here in summer). Have had luck finding on craigs - try to find mileage under 120K for around $2000.