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Bucking & no power in low gears

Discussion in 'Wrangler TJ (1996-2006)' started by gakaley18, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. Aug 6, 2019 at 5:13 AM
    #1
    gakaley18

    gakaley18 [OP] Member

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    Hi. I am considering purchasing a 97 4L TJ. Went on pre-purchase joy ride. After about 15 miles, I stopped at home and left the Jeep running for 5 mins. When I tried to leave, it started bucking and monetarily stalling in 2nd gear. There were a couple knocking sounds. Once in 3rd gear I was fine. But then after about another 5 miles it got worse to the point it was doing it in all lower gears and barely moved until I would find a gear to at least drive it off the side of the road. Dealer retrieved the car says it was a busted Cap & Rotor and that they’ve fixed it. On one hand, the incident makes me nervous. On the other hand, it’s a Jeep with 125k miles on it and if the issue truly is fixed then maybe it works to my benefit since I already negotiated a fair price.

    So my only question is whether the symptoms sound like any known pervasive Jeep issues that can’t be fixed? Any glaring reasons why I should run away? Does the diagnosis/fix sound reasonable?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Aug 6, 2019 at 6:11 AM
    #2
    aggrex

    aggrex Well-Known Member

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    Welcome @gakaley18 ...if its running good after the "fix", make the best deal then insist on some warranty. Symptoms are not necessarily jeep exclusive.
     
    gakaley18 [OP] likes this.
  3. Aug 6, 2019 at 6:18 AM
    #3
    Awrench

    Awrench Well-Known Member

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    have an shop of your choosing do a pre purchase inspection, reasonable priced AND a great idea to have a technician with a lift, scanners and a professional eye look things over. If the seller balks - that is reason enough to walk.

    I am guessing this is a used car dealer and NOT a authorized jeep dealer.
     
    JKBob 25 likes this.
  4. Aug 6, 2019 at 9:21 AM
    #4
    gakaley18

    gakaley18 [OP] Member

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    thanks for the responses already! super appreciative. correct - it is a used care dealer and NOT an authorized jeep dealer. its good to hear symptoms don't sound like a known Jeep problem. and for sure, i have an appointment to bring it to my mechanic for a second set of eyes. the dealer said they will add a warranty which was the only reason that i stayed in this transaction from the beginning.
     
    JKBob 25 likes this.
  5. Aug 6, 2019 at 5:33 PM
    #5
    Jim Beam

    Jim Beam Well-Known Member

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    I had a '96 4.0 in a Grand Cherokee and it was a fantastic engine although it did have its issues. A busted distributor cap and rotor was an issue that is uncommon for that vehicle, so no worries there. A problem with that engine was the ignition control module which can go bad at anywhere around 100k. Hopefully, yours has already been changed. this would create a misfire and get worse as the engine warms up and eventually the engine will not run at all. A fairly easy repair though, unless you have the dealer do it! Then it is expensive. Another thing the 4.0 is known for is a cracked exhaust manifold, most guys replace them with a header. Although by '97 that could have been resolved. The TJ is probably the best of all the Jeeps in my opinion.
     
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  6. Aug 6, 2019 at 7:02 PM
    #6
    aggrex

    aggrex Well-Known Member

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    Guess my '94 GC did me a big favor....ignition control module failed on my then new GC 10 minutes from home after a 2500 mile round trip to Florida. Then a final big favor was a dead transmission in the driveway. Wise choice for selecting 7yr/70,000 power train warranty over 3yr/36,000 back then.
     
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  7. Aug 7, 2019 at 4:17 AM
    #7
    gakaley18

    gakaley18 [OP] Member

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    Thanks Jim Beam... That's why I'm buying this particular Jeep. I didn't want to spend more than $9k, didn't want to travel outside the area to purchase. I was dead set on a manual 4.0TJ with a decent undercarriage. But of course, it would be good for it to go from point a to point b. not easy to find and therefore most offers are way overpriced - I don't do that. I have been in the market since April, so i think this is the right one. guardedly optimistic and excited about getting this particular jeep, making it mine with a few tweaks, and taking care of it for another 100k miles (god willing).

    dealer has been texting me for the last couple of days. i have had family in town so that's made it easier for me to play it cool (distracted). plan to head over today at 3pm EST with my mechanic lined up for 3:30pm for a general once-over, and have them validate the cap & rotor. i will mention the ignition control module and exhaust manifold too. wish me luck that i'll be back with a jeep talking about other things. :fingerscrossed:
     
  8. Aug 7, 2019 at 5:13 AM
    #8
    Awrench

    Awrench Well-Known Member

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    good luck - I hope the inspection reveals nothing significant. Let us know - a sounding board and a wealth of info here.

    A quick question - when the jeep acted up did the CEL come on?
    Today do a quick look when starting jeep (every start) the CEL should come on for @ 3 seconds then go off- keep that in mind.:jeepwave:
     
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  9. Aug 7, 2019 at 5:17 AM
    #9
    gakaley18

    gakaley18 [OP] Member

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    thanks Awrench! yea, no.... no check engine light came on. they plugged in the computer and started to run a diagnostic, but then the computer ran out of juice about half way through. we shall see how today goes. (i hope the fact that i already put through a quadretec order doesn't jinx me!).
     
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  10. Aug 7, 2019 at 5:29 AM
    #10
    Awrench

    Awrench Well-Known Member

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    keep an eye on the CEL - should come on at every start for a system check.

    I am sure the rest of the gang is following along - keep us posted.
     
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  11. Aug 7, 2019 at 4:25 PM
    #11
    gakaley18

    gakaley18 [OP] Member

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    Well team? I did it. Took it into my shop... sure enough whole distributor was replaced (as reported) and they did a full tune up. dealer also went ahead and fixed a small hole in the driver side floor that I was going to take care of myself, but who am I to argue? Got a warranty for the work. mechanic did say there are a few things we will be working on over the next few years (axel seal, etc), but nothing imminent and no safety hazards. I'm a jeep owner once again (its been since 1993 when I was a youngin'). Pumped.
     
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  12. Aug 7, 2019 at 5:18 PM
    #12
    aggrex

    aggrex Well-Known Member

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    Thats great news on the TJ...like this part the best :)
     
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  13. Aug 7, 2019 at 6:06 PM
    #13
    gakaley18

    gakaley18 [OP] Member

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    yeah, the next 2 weeks will be about audio upgrades. a must have.
     
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  14. Aug 7, 2019 at 6:13 PM
    #14
    JKBob 25

    JKBob 25 Well-Known Member

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    Sweet....welcome back. :redjeep:.
     
  15. Aug 7, 2019 at 6:23 PM
    #15
    aggrex

    aggrex Well-Known Member

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    Tuffy>AEV>TTO>JW>STech>EVOcage>MagnaFlow>SpiderTrax>RockHard>TF>SpringTail>67design>Bolt>GPCA>Curt>
    Seems to be the jeep story around here LOL
     
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