1997 Jeep Cherokee (general QUESTIONS...prob not what you think...)
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Thread: 1997 Jeep Cherokee (general QUESTIONS...prob not what you think...)

  1. #1
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Question 1997 Jeep Cherokee (general QUESTIONS...prob not what you think...)

    Alright, so I'm looking at a 1997 Jeep Cherokee 4.0.

    First, the guy says that, for years, it has had a bad oil pressure sending unit, causing the oil pressure gauge to not tick on "until you get moving". I looked this up and it does seem to be a somewhat common problem on the 97 to 01 four liter engines (issues with the sending units and/or oil pressure indicators in the instrument clusters). I am wondering if there's any good/quick/easy way to tell if the actual mechanical oil pressure is good, during an inspection and test drive, other than monitoring how the engine idles, drives, and sounds. I know these motors, and I don't know of any common issue with oil pressure, so I assume that he is probably telling the truth, but would ideally like to verify somehow, if possible. Any thoughts/suggestions??

    Second, he says that he just purchased the Jeep from the original owner and is waiting on the new title from the DMV. I don't think I've ever been in that situation before when looking at a used car. I can try to call the DMV tomorrow, but could anyone educate me on how a transaction might be processed, given this circumstance? Can it/should it be processed (me purchasing the Jeep) without the title? Should I/do I need to wait until he gets the title in his name? It seems like I must have to wait until he gets the title before I could complete a purchase (in the event that I check it out and decide to buy), right?
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


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    Senior Member scotti158's Avatar
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    If there isn't a clear title in hand, DON'T give him any $ until there is!
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    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    +1
    Possibly make an appointment for the two of you at the DMV for confirmation of pending title transfer to him if you make the decision to go forward with purchase negotiations.
    Certainly no tickee no laundry.
    Internet jeepers should know a lot more than I r.e. oil pressure senders, etc.
    Paper troubles and oil pressure issues are negotiating points to lower price. Just be careful that solving issues doesn't raise your effective cost well beyond the price.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred View Post
    +1
    Possibly make an appointment for the two of you at the DMV for confirmation of pending title transfer to him if you make the decision to go forward with purchase negotiations.
    Certainly no tickee no laundry.
    Internet jeepers should know a lot more than I r.e. oil pressure senders, etc.
    Paper troubles and oil pressure issues are negotiating points to lower price. Just be careful that solving issues doesn't raise your effective cost well beyond the price.
    I realize you do not represent the DMV, but do you think the DMV would be willing and able to provide such a confirmation service and enable us to complete the transfer through them? I will call tomorrow, but just seeing what I can find out today.


    Scotti: I make it sound sketchy, and unless I find a secure, certain, official, and verifiable way to do the transfer without the title, I would not proceed. That said, I actually don't think that the title thing is a scam or anything like that, as he didn't say anything about it until I asked if he had the clean title in his name; that was when he said it should come in from the DMV "any day now".
    Last edited by kj7687; 06-26-2018 at 07:40 PM.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  6. #5
    Super Moderator JerseyJeeper's Avatar
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    The world is full of used jeeps with good oil pressure and good titles. Walk away, don't look back.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyJeeper View Post
    The world is full of used jeeps with good oil pressure and good titles. Walk away, don't look back.

    I appreciate the input, and if the title thing doesn't get sorted, I may well do that, although likely I will just end up waiting until he has the title on hand, IF I do decide I want to buy it. Unfortunately, I would have to respectfully disagree about there being lots of good Jeeps out there. I have been looking for over three months, every single day, and this is the first one I've found that I am seriously considering. As far as I'm concerned, if the owner does not have record of maintenance services, they were not done, and anything that's never been serviced in 20 years is junk. This Jeep has ALL service records from the Jeep dealer: oil changes, trans fluid, t-case fluid, coolant, etc. To me, that represents an EXTREME increase in value over something with no service records (or very poor/incomplete records).

    Don't get me wrong, though. I am not getting starry-eyed or anything. I always remain extremely skeptical and devoid of any associated positive emotion until well after I complete a purchase. You may have a point about the oil pressure, possibly.

    Of course I am not naive enough to believe that all of my efforts create any sort of guarantee, but I do think that they vastly improve the odds of my having good purchase/ownership experiences. No matter what, in every case, there is the possibility of incurring heavy losses
    Last edited by kj7687; 06-26-2018 at 07:54 PM.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

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    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Please keep the comments coming. I am definitely taking everything into consideration.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  9. #8
    Senior Member CJ7Pilot's Avatar
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    If it's a legitimate sale, he'll be willing to wait until the title shows up. Clear title and fresh smog cert are a must!

    Also, if he just bought it, how does he know what the oil pressure gauge has been doing for years? Maybe he knows the original owner well?

    To check it, bring a mechanical gauge and screw it in where the sender is screwed in.

    I had a '97 Cherokee (XJ, 4-door), and it was one of my favorite vehicles I've ever had... with two exceptions:

    1. I'm 6'4", and I pretty much had to fold myself in half to fit through that tiny driver's door (plenty of room inside, though). If I evr get another XJ, it will be the 2-door version.

    2. It developed an electrical gremlin in the engine, that I was never able to track down. It would just die on me in the most in-opportune moments! I could always get it going again, eventually, but I could never get it fixed. I spent a heck of a lot of time and money trying to diagnose it, to no avail. I ended up selling it at quite a loss, due to that (fully disclosed) problem.

    Note: Mine was a former CA DWR vehicle, with comprehensive maintenance records as well.

    There's a TON of aftermarket support for Cherokees, and they're a lot of fun to build up, and make your own!

    Now my toy is a CJ8 Scrambler. AMC had plenty of faults, but at least they built something I can work on.
    Last edited by CJ7Pilot; 06-26-2018 at 08:03 PM.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ7Pilot View Post
    If it's a legitimate sale, he'll be willing to wait until the title shows up. Clear title and fresh smog cert are a must!

    Also, if he just bought it, how does he know what the oil pressure gauge has been doing for years? Maybe he knows the original owner well?

    To check it, bring a mechanical gauge and screw it in where the sender is screwed in.

    I had a '97 Cherokee (XJ, 4-door), and it was one of my favorite vehicles I've ever had... with two exceptions:

    1. I'm 6'4", and I pretty much had to fold myself in half to fit through that tiny driver's door (plenty of room inside, though).

    2. It developed an electrical gremlin in the engine, that I was never able to track down. It would just die on me in the most in-opportune moments! I could always get it going again, eventually, but I could never get it fixed. I spent a heck of a lot of time and money trying to diagnose it, to no avail. I ended up selling it at quite a loss, due to that (fully disclosed) problem.

    Now my toy is a CJ8 Scrambler. AMC had plenty of faults, but at least they built something I can work on.

    Yea, at this point, I'm really leaning toward just waiting until he has the title (although I may still look at it tomorrow). As for the "for years" thing, he actually quoted that as having been said to him by the original owner, who he says is his good friend. Good catch, though

    I thought of hooking up a mechanical pressure gauge, but was unsure if that would be possible without really getting dirty and spending some time. I guess I should really look into that. I wonder if oil is going to leak out if I were to unscrew the sending unit (I believe this is external and fairly easily accessible? but not sure...) to put in the mechanical gauge? Hmm... It would be nice if it were possible to verify oil pressure in this way.

    Also, on the note about the sending unit: he only mentioned it after I asked if it had ANY problems. I feel that from his perspective, were he not (to the best of his knowledge) telling the truth about that, it would make more sense to just not disclose that issue, as honestly most people would probably not even notice a partially malfunctioning oil pressure gauge. But I could certainly be wrong about this: hence the caution and concern.
    Last edited by kj7687; 06-26-2018 at 08:04 PM.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  11. #10
    Super Moderator JerseyJeeper's Avatar
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    Hey there sorry if I came off dismissive. I'm surprised that there is a shortage there, if so a little more foot work is expected. In that case and considering that there are service records it may well be worth the chance. Did he say why he was selling it before even getting the title? It just seems odd, but maybe there is a good reason. I'd just hate to see you in a corner with it and figurered you were starry eyed to use your words. I've been there done that too many times, I think I was up to 36 Jeeps at one time, oh I knew many were basket cases but I was addicted... and needed parts for other crazy plans, some of which really paid off. True the 4.0 is pretty reliable and if the oil and plugs look good it's probably the sensor. Ask the guy to put a new one in, offer to pay for the part if you buy the Jeep. As far as the title, unless he has a legit title he can transfer you aren't really buying the Jeep (in legal terms).

    I really do wish you luck, and again, no offense just wanted to head if any misery that could from a bad engine in a Jeep with no title.
    kj7687 and Dryden-Tdub like this.
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