Should I be working on my poor old Jeep?

The poor Jeep hasn’t started in years (it’s a 1994, hasn’t run since '05). That’s just fact. But from what I’ve heard, to get it up and going, I need to replace the rear differential, as well as tinker a bit on the engine, seeing as when it did run, it would over-heat a bit.

I’m a struggling College Student/ Photographer, so I need an actual vehicle to get from site to site, as well as school.
As it stands now, I’m next to broke, and a big job is coming up soon where I might just get enough cash to get those 800-1100 dollar repairs up and going.

Should I? Or should I be looking in a junk yard for differentials and MAYBE, do it right?

I suspect you will spend a bunch more than $1,100 to make the Jeep road worthy. Can you change out a differential yourself? If yes, you might have a shot since labor will be more expensive than a used part.

Getting the motor running is the big issue. If it overheated before the head gasket or worse the head are likely bad and therefore the engine could need lots of work and money. My guess is the Jeep wasn’t prepped for storage so the gas is bad and the fuel system could have lots of problems as a result. Even if you get it running and put in a differential, you still have brakes that likely bad and electrical parts that have spider infestations and how about mice eating any of the wiring?

I think the Jeep is a junker now and might be a good donation to a local high school or Voc Tech school as a project car. Otherwise sell it to a junk yard for a few $$$ and take your money from the job and get another car.

Without knowing a great deal more about the condition of the Jeep when it was parked, it’s impossible to guess. It sounds like it had some serious problems when it last ran.

Your best bet for the rear end is to find a whole rear axle assembly from a boneyard and swap it out that way. But the engine overheating could mean serious problems, and even if the root cause is a simple leak, it could have destroyed the engine.

And the brake system on a '94 should be looked at thoroughly. It’s entirely possible that after having lived so long and then been parked for six years there’ll be a lot of corrosion (discs and drums) as well as stuck calipers and leaks due to old dried up elastomers. Not to mention possible extensive corrosion on the fittings and cracked flexible lines just due to age.

And then there’s frame rot.

There are too many unknowns here to guess. But for perhaps $100 or so (plus a tow charge) a shop should be able to go over it and give you a detailed report that’ll give you actual data with which to make a decision.

Even if you get this rolling relic going its more expensive than a typical vehicle to keep going. Jeeps are also one of the more miserable vehicles out there to simply get around on paved roads.

I would suggest selling for what you can get and looking for something more reliable, new but maybe in poor cosmetic shape.

I was once a Jeep owner in high school inheriting one from my brother. It broke down constantly,ran poorly and drank fuel. At least fuel was only $0.85/gallon. I imagine the fuel MPG is no different from 1986 to 1994. The best part of the vehicle was trading it for more money than I thought possible even with a slight engine knock that mysteriously went away just before trade in.

What kind of Jeep? YJ or a Cherokee? 4 or 6 cyl?

According to the tag line, we are dealing with an XJ. Given the list of rather major problems this vehicle has had, and having sat idle for the past six years, you are probably best off selling it to a Jeep enthusiast to use for parts or a project vehicle. Either the four or six cylinder is a tough engine, but even they will grenade if they have been overheated too badly. I know a guy who had a '99 XJ 2WD with a four cylinder. He had me replace his cylinder head due to him driving it with a blown radiator for several weeks (come to find out later), leaving the original head riddled with cracks (this should have clued me in to the future). Two months later, the bottom end started hammering before finally locking up. If this will be a project vehicle, go for it. If you need reliable transportation, you are better off looking pretty much anywhere else. This Jeep sounds like a money pit to me and would best serve someone as a project or parts vehicle.