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New Jeep...new problems!


NAXJA Forum User
Hello everyone. This is my first post and first time owning a Jeep or anything four wheel drive. Scratch that, my Cherokee is only RWD...for now:D.

1997 Cherokee Sport two door RWD

So, I went to look at the Jeep from the person I bought it from. The person was 25 years old. I had brought with me a new oil pan gasket because the previous owner told me that it was leaking really bad. I asked where and he said, "the oil pan seal". I was worried he meant the rear main seal but he kept saying the oil pan seal. I asked to clarify if he said the oil pan gasket or not and I didn't really get anything satisfactory. My friend and I were looking it over and it had a lot of new parts on it, including a/c parts as well as power steering pump, water, pump and lines so I thought maybe it might still be a good deal for $1,500.00

Having said all that, the Jeep had multiple misfires. If I recall correctly, it was showing 4 codes including the po300, po302, po303, and po305. We ran that while we were there and looked as best as we could at the rear main seal. It looked like it was possible that the rear main seal was fine but the previous owner recently changed hte oil and had spilled oil that had probably ran down the motor and perhaps hit the exhaust.

The passenger door is not in good shape. The previous owner told me it needed to be rehanged (is that proper grammar?) the passenger door is able to open but closing it is another story. It needs to be lifted like an inch or so.

The interior is...well let's just say it has seen better days. The kid was a smoker and the goo covering everything that is vinyl or plastic - like the center console etc. is out of this world. It does NOT want to come off. It even laughs at Goo Gone.

Test drive while with the seller: I have never driven a Cherokee before but it wanders ever so slightly. The steering wheel is not straight when going straight. It probably needs an alignment we thought. My friend told me there was a dip coming up so I hit the brakes. The rear brakes almost immediately locked up. Yay! We tested the a/c. It worked on full blast. I don't remember trying any other setting. So, we drove around a little more and then returned to the place of the previous owner.

So, we popped the hood again and I looked at the master cylinder and discovered that it looked like molasses. Perfect!



Long story short, after the previous owner asked me how the ride was, I responded with a little nerve racking because of the brakes. After negotiations I drove the new Jeep about 30 miles to my house.

It drove okay despite the misfires. I kept my foot out of it and stayed to the right on the freeway and drove it as gently as possible. I'm glad we made it safely because the brakes really worried me.

After a wash here is what we are left with




Right Front

Ok. So, there was the day I bought it. That was day one.

Day 2:
I knew I needed to fix the brakes so I bought some cheap DOT 3 fluid from Autozone. I bought two of their big bottles. Turns out that wasn't enough. Here is a pic after Round 1 with the right rear


Actually, it was hard to push the pedal to the floor and there was a weird, hard-to-describe sound coming from the rear. I think the sound was somewhat similar to something being forced through something a little too small. I think there was gunk partially clogging the lines.

Long story short, I went through 3 big bottles of cheap DOT 3. I then went to the Bosch stuff. I actually prefer ATE Blue but I guess we're not allowed to have that anymore :nono:

So, after the equivalent of about three and a half big bottles of brake fluid, I test drove and what do you know!? No more locking up the rear. I can stomp on the pedal now.

I also bought new brake light bulbs and replaced the two brake light bulbs. I didn't know there was also a third. :huh:

So, now i had two working brake lights. Turn signals work two.

Day 3: I wanted to change the oil and get the Jeep ready to start being worked on. I figured I would want to change the oil pump (just in case). So, I changed the oil but had some problems with the filter. I went to WallyWorld (Wal-Mart) and got two cheap filters because I was only going to be using them with cheap oil and for short bursts to help clean out the crank case. Well, the filters I got from them were way too big. Here is a pic of the oil filter that was on there.


So, for now, I put the new oil in and put back on that pos filter. It was only going to be for a day.

Day 4: I hooked up the scanner to the Jeep and scanned again. I now have 7 codes: po300, po302, po303, po305, po118, po171, and po133. Only 7 codes! :hang:

I put some Seafoam in the crankcase and in the gas tank and drove it around for about 25 miles. I looked at the gas gauge and I was shocked. I was almost out of gas. I did the math and I must have been averaging around 10 mpg.

Now, I know that Seafoam is a solvent and therefore, it smells like a solvent. However, when I started to change the oil it really smelled like gasoline. This time, I took the filter off, took a picture and got a similar filter but a Mobil one. It was a M109A if I recall correctly.

Here are some pics of the drain pan though.



I cleaned out the oil pan before I drained any oil so I could see what, if anything, would be left behind. This wasn't too reassuring.

For the first oil change, I used 5-30 oil but for the last one I threw in 10-30 and even some lucas stabilizer. I'm guessing that I broke either the oil sender or oil pressure sensor (i'm not sure if those are different pieces or). The oil pressure gauge was at 0 and the "check gauges" light came on.

I'm unfamiliar with these motors, or Jeeps for that matter. What are oil pressures supposed to be? On the way home from buying the Jeep it seemed like the oil pressure at idle was around 9 and when on the freeway it went anywhere from 22-33ish psi. However, it vary rarely was in the 30's. I wasn't sure if that was normal, the pump needed to be replaced or the sending unit was bad.

When trying to take a picture of oil filter mounting bracket thingy I noticed that I caught a good glimpse of coppery, shiny bits on one of the plug wires.


Here's a better pic below.


I believe that plug wire goes to cylinder number 2. Cylinder number 2 is one of the cylinders that is misfiring. So, that might be the reason for the misfire for that particular cylinder.

After assessing all this, including the fact that I broke the sender or the oil pressure sensor itself, I put-putted the Cherokee outside my apartment complex and turned her off.

To rule out ignition, and for good measure (due to the previous owner), I am replacing the distributor, coil, spark plugs, and spark plug wires. The a/c, upon further analysis while driving, only works on the 4th setting. That's probably the blower motor resistor. So that is on its way. Both o2 sensors came up with the codes so those parts are on their way. All in all, i also have a new oil pump and gasket coming as well. There is also a chunk missing out of the belt so a new belt is coming too.

Wow, well I just wrote a book. I know nothing of Jeeps, except that my Dad has had a 1970 Toyota Landcruiser since before I was born and I hope I can get this thing back on the road with the parts that I bought and some time and ingenuity. Unfortunately, my best friend who has a wrangler and roped me into this buy, has said that I made a terrible mistake and that Jeep stands for Just Empty Every Pocket. :tears:

Any help getting this thing back on the road is appreciated. :D