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  #1  
Old September 24th, 2021, 19:47
jj1031 jj1031 is offline
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Where do I start - 1989 Cherokee

Here's my story. Found a 1989 Jeep Cherokee and paid $300 for it. The valve cover was already removed and a couple of valves too. A single pushrod was just sitting in place and nicely bent. That's it. I don't know anything about the jeep. I've had it for about 2 years now and I haven't done anything to it. How can I find out whether or not the rest of the engine is good? Can I, in theory, slap on a new head and get it running? I have no clue where to start. Everything is exactly as I bought it.

I don't know anything because it was traded in to a small dealership and they didn't want to invest in fixing it so they literally delivered it to me for $300.

Looking for some guidance. Where do I start and what are the things I should be thinking about?

Thanks everyone.
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Old September 24th, 2021, 20:36
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Anak Anak is offline
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Re: Where do I start - 1989 Cherokee

I wouldn't hold out too much optimism for that motor. Valves cannot be removed without removing the head. If the valves have been removed that means the head has been removed before. If someone put the head back on and left a bent pushrod then I would interpret that as meaning it is highly likely they found damage to at least a piston and wrote off the motor.

Maybe you could get lucky. Maybe someone simply didn't have the funds for a new head, but everything else was fine. Maybe. But I wouldn't count on it.

The thing to do is open it up and find out what damage is actually there. Then you can make better decisions about what to do.

As you try to decide what to do, you need to assess the rest of the vehicle. How many miles are on it? What is the condition of the body? Rust? What is the condition of the interior? There are details which can push a decision one way or the other.
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Old September 25th, 2021, 07:05
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Saudade Saudade is offline
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Re: Where do I start - 1989 Cherokee

Anak's reasoning sounds logical.

Pull the head off, and the oil pan.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
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Old September 25th, 2021, 12:45
lawsoncl lawsoncl is offline
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Re: Where do I start - 1989 Cherokee

Welcome to .

I would guess someone traded it in, the dealership realized that "just knocks a little" was a blown engine, and pawned it off to you for $300. Pull the head off (again?) and the pan and see what parts fall out. I'm guessing an engine swap or partial rebuild is in your future.
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Old September 25th, 2021, 14:01
tech1001 tech1001 is offline
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Re: Where do I start - 1989 Cherokee

I would remove the Head and take it to a shop and have it checked , with the head off you can look at the cylinders and see what they look like , if you remove the oil pan you can check all the bearings and maybe install new ones and a new oil pump . for the price you got it for you will still have a good deal .
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Old September 27th, 2021, 13:18
jj1031 jj1031 is offline
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Re: Where do I start - 1989 Cherokee

Thanks everyone. That gives me a starting point.

Sorry, I misspoke - the valves aren't removed, a couple of rocker arms were removed. It almost gives the impression that they removed the first and the pushrod was ok, then they went to a second rocker arm and that pushrod was bent and they stopped. Everything else appears to be untampered with.

I'll probably take the head and pan off as suggested.

To answer the question about the rest of the car, it has about 145k on the dash, the undercarriage looks rust free, the interior is immaculate, however, it does need a paint job since the clearcoat is peeling and i want to get it fixed and running before any rust starts to appear.
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Old September 27th, 2021, 21:25
89Mock 89Mock is online now
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Where do I start - 1989 Cherokee

Remove the engine and do a complete rebuild, or sell the Jeep and move on. Itís not a priority when youíve let it sit for two years.
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Old October 2nd, 2021, 21:34
Evan03 Evan03 is offline
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Where do I start - 1989 Cherokee

I agree with 89

Remove it continue to take your time. Take the block to a machinist have it touched up minimum as possible. 020 bore. Have machinist install new cam bears.
Axle have crank measured and order appropriate engine bearing set.
Order a cam, cheap piston and rings

Have machinist also surface head, you can hand lap the valves yourself.

Im dping a similar build on a 300 ford motor im hoping to have it done insidev2 years but im not sure ill make it since its not priority.
Im also doing head porting and decking the block to up compression currently in cam research. Etc yada.

Just take your time research who knows a 300 dollar xj may pop with a good motor and bad transmission

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