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Thread: Rural Mail Jeep Project

  1. #1
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    Default Rural Mail Jeep Project

    soooo, i'm a glutton for punishment i guess. i found an old 1990 cherokee on craigslist for $650. it was 4x4 with all of the parts there. wasn't wrecked that i can tell so the body looks good. annnnd, that was about it for the plus sides.

    the down sides were:

    it had been converted to a rural mail delivery vehicle so it had a pully/belt right hand drive put in it. no driver side seat (since that's where the mail goes ya know).
    the front windshield had a branch put a huge hole in it that had bee letting it get rained on for who knows how long.
    squirrels had camped out in the engine bay eating up most of the vacuum lines and half the wiring harness
    all that rain rusted out the entire passenger side floor pan and about 1/3 of the driver side.

    so that's what i knew on day 1.

    after taking all the carpet out, and removing the right hand drive crap. we pilfered a wiring harness from the junk yard. replaced what needed to be replaced on the ignition wiring. boom, the thing fired up and ran! great huh? NOPE.

    now the head gasket is obviously blown as it's blowing exhaust into the coolant reservoir and blowing steam out of the exhaust.

    get the head gasket. it takes one whole day to get the head off. checking the head surface, it's not flat enough. so i sand the head and get it so that a .002 feeler won't pass under the flat bar anywhere side to side or length wise (proud of myself there). takes another whole day to get the head back on (had to remove a broken header bolt as well). there was a LOT of cussing getting the bottom header bolts back in.

    so, head gasket in... fires right up. now i get to actually test drive it. it's running and driving BUT, the 4x4 is not clicking in.

    upon further research, i find that these transfer cases and front axles are operated by the vacuum lines the squirrels have eaten up. well, i get the vacuum restored and PRESTO, the 4x is working. at this point i'm pretty pleased with my cheap purchase.

    oh wait, it seems the power steering pump is bad. and the rear main engine seal appears to be leaking.

    so, the next shop day is replacing the power steering pump. not bad. fires right up. well, with that new strong pump, it makes it ABUNDANTLY clear why is had gone bad in the first place... the steering gear was blowing fluid out as fast as i could pour it in. sweet. no next on my agenda is rebuilding the steering box gear. ($25 to rebuild, $250 to replace).

    the rear main also appears to be mostly labor, the part is only like $12 but you have to take the oil pan out to get to the seal.





    but really, this is what my project is all about.



  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    did i mention this is my 1st Jeep? i can take any old toyota apart in the dark with a pair of pliers and a screw driver. i don't know JACK about Jeep systems, but i'm getting there (by force)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    so the FUN future plans are:

    3" suspension lift
    32-33 in tires
    rear locker, then a front locker

    but off course, it all has to be running strong to do the fun stuff.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    That generation of cherokee was rock solid. Inefficient, noisy, didn't drive very well and not very comfortable, but dammit they just kept going.
    How in the hell do you actually blow a head gasket on that motor? Those things are as close to bulletproof as anything made after '75.

    How many times do we think the odometer's rolled over?
    whoa, camel. WHOA CAMEL!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    great project, alan.

    and you can't go wrong modeling strong diy behavior for the kids. that's how they grow up to handle their business.

    there was a minute or two when i regretted all my hours of boat building while mine were young, when i could have/should have been "working on" the kids. but they don't see it that way at all, quite the opposite. which is nice.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Mail service is really tough on a rig - stop & start, lots of short acceleration/deceleration. Other than frame damage, it's right up there with snowplowing.

    Glad you have help on the project!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Nice Alan! I look forward to future updates!


    I worked for a Jeep dealership back in the early 90's when those were selling new! I can remember delivering several postal jeeps.

    I owned an 87 Comanche for many years. I bought it well used (worn out) . It was a lot of fun rebuilding it.
    Skip

    ---This post is delivered with righteous passion and with a solemn southern directness --
    ...........fighting against the deliberate polarization of politics...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    That generation of cherokee was rock solid. Inefficient, noisy, didn't drive very well and not very comfortable, but dammit they just kept going.
    How in the hell do you actually blow a head gasket on that motor? Those things are as close to bulletproof as anything made after '75.

    How many times do we think the odometer's rolled over?

    we think someone else put a head gasket on there at some point. with the head not being resurfaced and the ease of the head bolts coming off, it was probably just a bad job of putting it in. didn't see anywhere on the actual gasket where it was blown through. i did find a few coolant passages that were blocked with rust, maybe that had something to do with it?

    don't know if the odometer has rolled over or not. it's on 300k i think. and we have no idea how long it sat. what's funny is, the brake fluid is clean, the trans fluid is clean, the motor oil was clean.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    rusty coolant passages yeah that'll do it. I forget that vehicles rust inside-out down there in the land of antifreeze-not-required.
    whoa, camel. WHOA CAMEL!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    great project, alan.

    and you can't go wrong modeling strong diy behavior for the kids. that's how they grow up to handle their business.

    there was a minute or two when i regretted all my hours of boat building while mine were young, when i could have/should have been "working on" the kids. but they don't see it that way at all, quite the opposite. which is nice.

    1000000% agreed there LW. the boy is extremely interested in anything he gets to use tools on. he asks all the right questions when we're working on things. "so that thing pumps fluid to there?" "so that lever moves that which turns that thing?" "what's that part called?" i love it.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    rusty coolant passages yeah that'll do it. I forget that vehicles rust inside-out down there in the land of antifreeze-not-required.


    hahaha, it has a fresh gallon in it NOW. and it'll get a flush done soon

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Quote Originally Posted by L.W. Baxter View Post
    great project, alan.

    and you can't go wrong modeling strong diy behavior for the kids. that's how they grow up to handle their business.

    there was a minute or two when i regretted all my hours of boat building while mine were young, when i could have/should have been "working on" the kids. but they don't see it that way at all, quite the opposite. which is nice.
    As someone who started learning about tools by handing 'em to dad I can agree with this a zillion percent.

    I have 2 S-I-Ls who never got that. One I had to explain a ratchet to @ age 30... Kinda different from my world.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Nice Jeep!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    I donít know if you can search the jalopnik.com website, but one of the writers did a series about buying a crapped out Cherokee like yours.
    The Algorithm Is Watching

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Well, I'm impressed.
    How many times did you go 'postal' so far?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    I asked my daughter why she broke up with a boyfriend. She responded, "Dad, I had to show him how to change the oil on his car!"

  18. #18
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    Default

    Cool project. Have fun!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Tom

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    I'm driving my 4th consecutive Jeep and being a tractor fan I've since wanted a Roof Palomino
    First thing I'd do is change that grille from 5 slots to 7. Conversion complete



    513a989f0fc217e5531146a7a7c6a6a2.jpg

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    That generation of cherokee was rock solid. Inefficient, noisy, didn't drive very well and not very comfortable, but dammit they just kept going.
    How in the hell do you actually blow a head gasket on that motor? Those things are as close to bulletproof as anything made after '75.

    How many times do we think the odometer's rolled over?
    We had three of them in succession (the first two bought from new) and would concur with all of the above - until the last one ....... which blew a head gasket. The 4WD drive was OK (these all had the Command Trak manual gearbox/transfer box system) but the fact that the steering became quite severely restricted when in 4WD used to hack me off somewhat. A move to a Land Rover 110 solved all that and the LR is still with us (now 37 years old).

    You still see a few of those Cherokees around on the roads in the UK.
    Nick

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Well, I see your problem. Second picture - there’s an incredibly cute little boy under the hood! Now how did he manage to monkey with the engine to screw up the head gasket? Diabolical, especially the smart good looking ones.

    Great project, great way to raise a kid.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ross View Post
    Well, I see your problem. Second picture - thereís an incredibly cute little boy under the hood! Now how did he manage to monkey with the engine to screw up the head gasket? Diabolical, especially the smart good looking ones.

    Great project, great way to raise a kid.

    ahahahahaha. despite his overwhelming cuteness, he is surprisingly helpful around the shop. any nut or bolt that doesn't need a lot of muscle is put under his purview and he really enjoys it. the main goal of the project isn't having a working jeep. it's having him talking about that time him and his dad rebuilt an old jeep to his friends long after i'm gone.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    IMG_8128.JPG

    When I saw the title I thought the subject would be one of these.

    Jeff C

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    it's having him talking about that time him and his dad rebuilt an old jeep to his friends long after i'm gone.
    between that and learning to have fun with tools, the jeep is cheap. (sorry/not sorry (-: )

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Quote Originally Posted by leikec View Post
    IMG_8128.JPG

    When I saw the title I thought the subject would be one of these.

    Jeff C

    Jeff, I'd really like one of those when I retire (again)



    Rick

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeye54 View Post
    Jeff, I'd really like one of those when I retire (again)



    Rick
    Me too! They used to be everywhere.

    Jeff C
    Last edited by leikec; 11-26-2020 at 10:37 AM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Rural Mail Jeep Project

    Hmmm...

    Jeff C

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