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  1. just bought a 88 cherokee

    Hi everybody. My names Andy I just bought an 88 cherokee pioneer for my girlfriend for her first car. I'm 18 and I'm learning my way around cars and going for an automotive program. I'm looking forward to fixing it up :)

    its 4x4, auto, the interior is pretty comfy, and the engine runs pretty good considering 200+K miles. The guy selling it told me the radiator was going to need replacing so I found one at a junkyard for 40 bucks which was in really good shape. We drove it for about 10-15 mins to get dinner and the overflow started smoking. When we pulled the radiator its easy to see the fins were swollen in a few places. Took a few trips to advanced auto but got it running great . The only question I have about that is the sensor that was in the old radiator. The new one was from a 91 and didn't have a spot for the sensor to plug into. The water temp gauge was still reading, so I'm not sure why there was another sensor.

    Also was wondering what sort of guage this is? I have a new gauge cluster because the odometer and fuel gauge dont work on the old one. I can't link pictures yet but its a rectangle, then a triangle next to it. Its on the lower left gauge on the 88 cluster

    The steering seemed to have some play in it. It would tilt a few degrees in either direction before any response was given but once it was past that point it would turn perfectly. Could this be fluid or worn parts?

    This is my first 4x4, what does trans power/comfort mean?

    The oil (pressure?) gauge was hanging around right at 60 at 65mph, is this normal?

    Other than those things it just needs some new weather stripping and some other small parts and it'll be in great shape.

    I'm going to be doing seafoam (gas, oil, crankcase) and then giving it new plugs and oil. Also going to change out the brake fluid and power steering if you guys think the steering is from that.

    Sorry for all the questions just want to make sure everythings good. When I get 5 posts I'll post some pictures up :). Thanks for all the help

  2. #2

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    Welcome to the Z.

    I would recommend a radiator from a '87-'90 as they changed significantly in '91.

    The 4.0L uses two temp sensors, one for the gauge and one for the 'puter.

    As for the steering, likely worn tierod ends and/or a loose/worn front trackbar. Have your OG turn the steering wheel back and forth quickly against full lock while you watch the steering linkage and front trackbar for worn ends.

    trans power/comfort is simply shift points for the transmission. Power setting shifts at a higher rpm, comfort setting will get better mileage.

    oil pressure sounds fine. Keep us updated on how it goes.

  3. #3

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    Thanks for the reply :)

    I replaced the radiator the day I got it, and it was from a '91. Just had to get a new pipe for the trans cooler line (other one was stuck).

    Will keeping one gauge undone harm anything? Since my gauge still works the computer doesn't have one, will this have any negative effects?

    I'm doing seafoam and a tune up today so I'll check the steering as well. Thanks for all the help!

  4. #4

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    We haven't been driving the car much, mostly around the neighborhood while my girlfriend gets used to driving. We took it to get a tag today and it was a 20 min drive in city traffic some stop and go. The needle hit around 210 and when we got there I popped the hood to check it out, the overflow was shaking some and you could hear it bubbling some. Was I supposed to let air out of the system when I filled it? That was my first time doing anything with the cooling system so I'm not sure how to do it. thanks in advance.

  5. #5

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    We just took it for a 5-10 min drive around the neighborhood and by the time we got back the thing was bubbling and overflowing. I'm beginning to wonder if theres something clogged elsewhere besides the engine, unless bleeding the air out of the system really helps that much. I'm going to have my friend bring some ramps over tomorrow or friday to put the rear up to bleed the air. I'm also going to get a fan shroud for the fan and try water wetter, anything to keep the temps lower. Is there something like seafoam for the cooling system? that would be perfect. The hose coming off the block to the radiator had some crust all over and looked like it had it inside as well, I'm worried if thats blocking the way partially...

  6. #6

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    210ยบ is about normal. If you hear hissing from the overflow I'd get a new overflow bottle and cap. It should hold pressure to keep you cool.

    Burping the system will help a lot if it's running hot.

  7. #7

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    just to bump my post count for pictures

  8. #8

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    Thansk for the reply. The reason it might have pushed it over the edge to overheating was I had the car on to check why the steering was off. I told my girlfriend to move it from the point where it engages to the other side before it engages. This part:

    was moving around and not catching, is this just a bushing or something?

    btw, heres more pics:

  9. Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    Is it normal for that to look like it's desintegrating, its my jeep and it has a lot of issues i was also wondering if there were any suggestions for rust under the carpet in the very back because i think the gas tank is connected to it but it feels like enough weight could make the floor in the back crumble to bits.

  10. #10

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    Theres a little rust in the back and shes concerned, if it comes to anything major we have a friend that could weld reinforcements. The gas tank is connected to the frame not the trunk floor correct?

  11. Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    ugh im asking for advice from someone on the site with experience with 1 American cars and 2 jeeps (see irpancake likes german cars) and its different. so if anyone has had this problem or has suggestions on what to do i would appreciate their input.

  12. #12

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    That worn part under the front is the track bar, often called the panhard bar. The entire bar will need to be replaced and your handling will greatly improve.

    That's a clean sharp XJ.

    As for the rust, it's very common in XJ's, especially the front floorboards and in the rear above the exhaust. You'd probably find a lot of metal that needs replaced if you go poking around. I've taken XJ tanks out in the past and I can't remember what they are attached to, but it's not the thin tub floor.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Nags Head, NC

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    To the two of you....that's a nice lookin' XJ (remember, we're talkin' 20 years old!!.....older than YOU!!!) - worth some money to get it right. Sorry I can't be more help to you (agree with Bounty - 210 sounds normal), but from the looks of things (which can be deceiving), you're looking at some minor stuff.

    My $.02,
    Wrangler owner mud
    Just Enjoy Every Possibility!

  14. #14

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    Thanks for the comments. I've heard alot about how great these cars are, and even more about how strong the engine is (cooling seems to be a PITA so far though). This is just my girlfriends first car, so if it even lasts us a few years it'll be well worth it, even if it needs some stuff. Theres alot of little things were gonna run up to the junk yard to get friday. I read on this one site a fan shroud helps the fan pull 30% more air from the radiator, so hopefully that'll help out, and a new overflow and cap. Unfortunately the cherokee at the yard doesn't have tires, so getting under it is impossible.

    Anybody know what year track bar will fit the 88? Theres a few on ebay but they have other years listed.

    Edit: my friend was over and checked the car out a bit. Something I completely missed was the harmonic balancer seemed to be off slightly and have a couple dents or something in it, thats what that squeeking was so I'll be getting one of those as well
    Last edited by IRPancake; 07-10-2008 at 12:21 AM.

  15. #15

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    You found a nice one! 210K isn't so bad and 210 degrees might be a tad high but a shroud would help alot, I have an '89 with 360K and going strong but the body isn't near as nice.......but we don't see too much rust either.....
    Dan Fredrickson
    Products That are Better than "Good Enough"

    Register on out site for Member Specials & Free Stickers

  16. #16

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    thanks :) Thats impressive with that milage I hope we can squeeze a good amount out of ours. If anybody knows if the track bar from newer xj's will fit on the 88 I can get that from ebay for next to nothing. I'm glad to hear the fan shroud will help alot, I never even thought about how it directs how the air is pulled through

    My friend said it was probably a northern car because of the rust in certain places. I flew and got my other car from new york and not a spot of rust on that thing, then again it was probably garaged most of its life (2000 with 42K on the clock) We're going to pull the carpet up one of these days and check it out, if its too bad we have a friend that can weld

  17. #17

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    A newer trackbar will fit, even a TJ trackbar is the same.

    Definitely get a fan shroud, they make a world of difference. You can also rig the aux. fan to come on with a switch instead of just when the AC is on.

    You'll be required to post a pic of your OG and her jeep to get more help

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Virginia, off I-95

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    When you pull up that carpet to check the rust damage, if the metal still feels solid (as in you can't put your hand through it) go ahead and apply an anti-rust coating. Use a wire brush to remove any loose rust particles, and clean the area. I used Eastwood Co.'s Rust Encapsulator on my Wrangler with good results. After it dries you should be able to paint over it if you so desire.

    As far as the engine coolant temperature, do what's already been suggested in prior posts. Here's a website to look at if you're not entirely sure how to burp the system: Jeep Cherokee Engine Cooling System - Burp Air System - Modification It looks like overall you got your girl a well-cared for Jeep. Congrats, and welcome to the Jeep world!

    '93 YJ, 6 cyl., 5 speed brought back to life over a period of a few months.
    Check out the restoration write-up of Project Salt (Pictures for May-August to come!)

  19. #19

    Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    thanks it really is in great shape, especially for 20 years old. she knew what she was talking about when she said jeeps were built to last (an old white jeep cherokee has been her dream car for years) and for 1200 i think it was a steal even with the small projects :)

  20. Re: just bought a 88 cherokee

    it runs great for the most part minus the boiling in the overflow after 10 minutes of driving around the neighborhood (im still learning)
    Last edited by American_girl_728; 07-11-2008 at 04:57 PM.

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