Picked up a "cute 'ute"

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REDONE
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Picked up a "cute 'ute"

Postby REDONE » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:28 pm

Hey all!
After several really good years with my 93 ZJ it was time to let it go. It carried me all the way from Denver to Eugene and back twice and was pretty good around town. Took it to Ouray last year and stretched it's legs a bit. I really enjoyed that Jeep, but the last 6 months or so it made itself hard to stay in love with. First time it "crank-but-no-start-no-code"ed, it was easily identified as the crank position sensor after a cursory google search. Man, is that thing a PITA to replace. Few months later, it did it again. Started in the driveway, backed out into the street then died. Crank/no start/no code. That one hurt. Replaced the CPS again, no change. Started replacing all the sensors one by one, then used the warranty to change them all out again. Also did the fuel pump twice, first with an airtex and then with a Bosch. Also tried a new computer, but took it right back out when it wouldn't talk to the code reader at all. Nothing worked. I was quadruple checking voltages so often I knew what I was going to see before I stuck the probes on. Wound up spending $400~ in parts just to pay $80 for a 5-block tow, to pay a mechanic $400 to beat his head against it for a week. He doesn't know what got it running again either, but after a week it fired up and passed his test drive. $400 might seem like a lot for not finding the problem, but all those hours of beating his head against the same problem I gave up on, it's worth compensating.

Needless to say, that steals confidence in a vehicles reliability. Coming home from the zoo with my daughter two weeks ago, I hit a pothole on I-70 that sent it into the worst death wobble I've experienced. I've had some little shimmies before, but this one just about jerked the wheel out of my hands. Tried slowing out of it (I was in the fast lane headed west right by the Purina plant, for those that know the area), then tried to power out of it and neither worked. With a semi right on my butt I had to brake all the way down past 30mph before it stopped.

The cause of death wobble can be a real bear to identify. Sometimes it just takes a damper, sometimes ball joints, sometimes you have to replace every bushing in the links. I'm at a point in my life where I just don't have the time to deal with all that, and if I did, you can bet your butt I'd spend it on Money Badger! It was time to say goodbye. :(

At first I was torn about what to get as a replacement. I've been pining for an Excursion for a while, because I don't commute often, I mainly either run errands or take long trips. I got a train pass and use public transportation to get where I need to be most of the time. With an Excursion, I can either haul anything or carry a freekin' basketball team, depending on the need at the time. But in practicality, I can rent a van or pickup to do either of those things too, and with as rarely as either of those situations are, an Excursion would just be another monument to American Excess, which is the opposite direction I'm trying to live my life these days.

So then I thought in the other direction, and when my wife and I first met she had a Honda Fit. We LOVED that car! It lives up to it's name, too. Parking spots? it Fits! IKEA trip? It Fits! We only traded it in because Colorado roads were just beating the living snot out of the poor little thing. So I got to thinking, what's the closest thing to a Honda Fit that Jeep ever made? The Patriot!
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I'll admit, I liked them when they first came out so I was excited to go look at a couple, and I was not disappointed. I don't believe Jeep should have ever made a vehicle without 4x4 so I was only looking at the "trail rated" versions, and they were last updated in 2011 and stayed the same until the end of production last year.

First thing I really liked is that the Freedom Drive II is a real deal. You turn on 4x4 and shift into "Low" and it crawls. The term "simulated" gets tossed in front of "low range" when talking about the patriot, but the end result is the same and that's what matters. Besides, the Trailhawk is and will remain the family adventure-mobile, this is just daddies run-around car...that might go sightseeing down some dirt roads from time to time.
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It's obvious in hindsight, but there really is no good time to say to your wife "Look how much bigger your butt is than mine".

Following up with "I mean curvy!" does not absolve the offense. :oops:

The second thing I really likes is that the front passenger seat folds down so you can stick an 8-foot ladder or 2x4s in it, matching the Fit-iness of the Honda Fit, haha!

Somethings take some getting used to though, and that's mainly because I'm switching from a luxury car that's twice the weight. I miss my leather seats, but like the fact that the Patriot seats are heated. The suspension doesn't float over all the bumps like the ZJ, and I'm wholly un-used to torque-steer. All-in-all, these are normal things for a car of this size and price range, so I'll suck it up, haha!

I researched the common problems and looks like I dodged the bullet. Carfax shows complete maintenance (12 services in 6 years) and with 100k on the ticker, if it had a problem with the CVT, it should have puked by now. Fluid is worn but not worn out (still slightly green) so I'll change that and the filters here soon. Fresh fluid would have worried me that the dealership changed it to hide a problem.

Been driving it like crazy since I picked it up a week ago and really like it! I've started joking that I got it because I wanted a street legal UTV, and that I'll start modding it with Polaris parts once it's half paid for. :D
79 J-10 (The Money Badger) KE0LSU
304/Performance Fuel Injection TBI/MTA1/SP2P/Magnum rockers
T18/D20/D44s/33" Mud Claws
Grizzly Locker Rear
4" front spring drop, 5" rear shackle flip
Chevy style HEI (ECM controlled)
Dolphin "Shark" gauges in a fancy homemade oak bezel
3/4 resto, rotting faster than I've been fixing it.

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Shagoneer
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Re: Picked up a "cute 'ute"

Postby Shagoneer » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:42 pm

My dad bought one a few years ago and I have mixed feelings about it. His is 4x4, but not the trail rated so it sucks for amyhin other than bad weather. Also it may be because I'm used to torquier motors, but every time I come up to a hill in it, it either slows down 10 mph before down shifting, or I manually drop two gears on my own to maintain speed. Not a huge deal but not something that bugs me. Also the skid plate on it is made out of this plastic that can shatter if you hit a pothole at the wrong angle (ask me how I know)

For the things I like about it, it's decently roomy for how small it is on the outside. I also loe that it looks a lot like a modern XJ cherokee. If in put them next to each other you'll see what I mean. It's also been pretty reliable for my dad, and he got brand new, with the upgraded engine, a few bells and whistles, and 4x4 out the door for less than 20k. So it's a nice little SUV for how much you pay.
In the market for a new FSJ

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Stuka
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Re: Picked up a "cute 'ute"

Postby Stuka » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:10 pm

They are a good bang for the buck. I really dislike the CVT models, but thats just because I dislike CVTs as a whole :)

From what I know the later ones are all really solid.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

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REDONE
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Re: Picked up a "cute 'ute"

Postby REDONE » Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:47 am

Haha! Your allowed to not like CVTs. I like them though. I used to have a Honda Civic hybrid that had a CVT, and also a Polaris Explorer 400 and Ranger 900. CVTs have lots of advantages over gears both on and off road and I've no doubt we'll be seeing more and more of them and fewer geared transmissions as internal combustion receeds into history. At the present time though, I do recognize that nobody is slapping a CVT into a nitromethane funny car and that's probably for a good reason. :P
79 J-10 (The Money Badger) KE0LSU
304/Performance Fuel Injection TBI/MTA1/SP2P/Magnum rockers
T18/D20/D44s/33" Mud Claws
Grizzly Locker Rear
4" front spring drop, 5" rear shackle flip
Chevy style HEI (ECM controlled)
Dolphin "Shark" gauges in a fancy homemade oak bezel
3/4 resto, rotting faster than I've been fixing it.

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fulsizjeep
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Re: Picked up a "cute 'ute"

Postby fulsizjeep » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:01 am

Hey Matt. I remember giving you scruff about the Cherokee. :D In 2011, the third Subaru we had owned gave us the leaking oil blues and we started shopping for a different DD. I suggested looking at Patriots. It didn't take long for Krista to give me the "oh hell no". The 09 KIA Sorento (body on frame and 2 speed Borg-Warner tcase) we picked up has treated us really good. The tranny was replaced by factory warranty by 60k miles along with the electric shifter for the tcase and two axle seals. It has about 130k on it now.

That said, I still hope you enjoy your cute ute and get to drive the weee out of it for many miles. :)
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Flint Boardman ~ http://jubileejeeps.org
Embracing the Borg Warner QuadraTrac since 1980 http://jubileejeeps.org/quadratrac
88 GW, 401/727/208, 5" lift, D44s/4.10s/locked up, 35s, a few Evil Twin mods, http://eviltwinfab.com and a few TT's Fabworks mods, http://www.ttsfabworks.com
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derf
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Re: Picked up a "cute 'ute"

Postby derf » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:06 pm

How cute. It's like a Jeep only smaller. :P

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Renodemona
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Re: Picked up a "cute 'ute"

Postby Renodemona » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:48 pm

I had a 2015 Pat for about a year and a half. It was a pretty low end model but it was good for what it was. Roomy enough, decent gas mileage, very nimble in parking lots. I threw a slightly oversize set of A/T tires on it and took it everywhere, even places I probably shouldn't have haha
"Wait, what's on fire!?"
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1976 Cherokee w/t 'Susan' 401/TH400/QT(PT)
FiTech Go EFI, Edelbrock Performer intake
3" Rough Country Springs, HEI Dizzy
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1972 Wagoneer 'Meredith' 360/TH400/D20
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2018 Cherokee Trailhawk V6 'Sedna'

ShagWagon
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Re: Picked up a

Postby ShagWagon » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:27 am

I did the same thing a few years ago and decided to buy a more "green" car.Image

They really love "green" cars in Eugene.


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87 Grand Wagoneer Rebuilt 360 by S&J, Fitech GO EFI 600, Fitech FCC, Skyjacker Hydro 4" lift, BFG AT KO2 30", Dynamax Muffler, MSD distributor, MSD 6al box, Blaster2 coil, ACCEL 8mm wires, .045 gap, Edlebrock perf 4bbl intake, Elgin perf cam, Oil tube mod, Roller rockers, chrome molly lifters, HD alum radiator, Powermaster 150/100 alt, Aluminum HD water pump, Serhills tailgate harness, Cowl screen mod, Evil Twin grab handles, Rstep's custom AMC door lock knobs, all electrical works.


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