1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport lemon-dilemma

ello all out there,

I have a small dilemma with my 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport. Bought it used two months ago for 2800. Its a total lemon. It is now at a (trusted) auto shop needing complete new exhaust (cat. converter, muffler, tailpipe = 850). I was told it also has a weak cylinder. Replacing the motor would cost another 1200, at least. Is it worth it to replace the exhaust only and use or sell the car? Or, would it be a mistake to put any money into the car at this point? Do I have any other options? Any advice is welcome.

I only bought the car because I am pregnant and needed a car to get around the city while I was pregnant and with baby. So, I need the car to be safe and reliable.


I am sorry that you’re having problems. A 14 year-old vehicle that has not been well cared for will be like this. How weak is the cylinder? Is it bad enough that the engine has a ‘miss’ and you can feel it vibrate and/or there is inadequate power for acceleration? If it is barely noticeable, I’d probably fix the exhaust as cheaply as possible and drive it into the ground.

If the vehicle looks good and there is nothing else majorly wrong with it, it might be worth putting the money into it if you like it, because it’s worth very little as is, and you would be hard pressed to find another decent vehicle for the cost of repairs.

Unfortunately this is the chance you take when you buy an old car and don’t have it checked out first. I wish you the best of luck with it

Well one thing it’s not is a Lemon. You bought an aged well-used vehicle apparently without an inspection and the odds of finding a 13 year old used vehicle that needs nothing is about on a par with finding the Holy Grail.

As to what to do that’s impossible to say without knowing a ton of details about the vehicle but a weak cylinder is serious and a 1200 dollar motor sounds like a used engine is being considered. Used engines and transmission are always a coin flip unless you can hear them run and do a few tests on them first.

Thanks for your responses.

Yes, I understand its just a well-used old car and not a lemon.

I forgot to mention that the weak cylinder has about 90% compression, so its still quite drivable- just a little rough.

Do You Live Where Salt Is Applied To Roads ? Do Vehicles Rust Badly There ?
Any Rust On This Jeep, Body Or Underneath ?


The catalytic converter/muffler replacement is normal maintenance on a car this age. If it does not run roughly, I would do nothing about the weak cylinder at this time. You could have your mechanic test the cylinder pressure every 6 to 12 months if you like. It took 14 years to drop to 90%. How long will it take to drop to 80%? You will only know by tracking it. I’d just drive it now that you have it and see if anything really expensive and urgent pops up.

“The catalytic converter/muffler replacement is normal maintenance on a car this age.

Are you sure about that ? I keep my American cars forever (200,000 - 300,000 miles) and live in salt country U.S.A. above the 45th parallel and I’ve not replaced one converter or exhaust system on a car in the last 2 decades.

Besides, I’d be concerned what kind of fuel mix/oil that derelict cylinder is throwing into my new cat.

I would like to know the reason that the converter/exhaust system is being replaced.