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Just purchased '86 Jeep Cherokee Diesel...need advice...
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So, after all was said and done, I ended up getting an '86 Jeep Cherokee Diesel for my SVO/WVO project. I'm also considering adding a propane conversion, as well, to run in tandem with the veggie...but we'll wait and see about that one.

I'm heading up to Oregon to pick it up tomorrow and will be driving it back down to SoCal over the next few days. If any of you have any experience with the Renault engines used in these vehicles, I'd love to get your advice on any peculiarities to watch out for as I rack up the miles.

Also, it would be great if any of you could recommend a trusted mechanic who might have experience with this engine/vehicle (both near Eugene, Oregon and in Southern California). I'd like to get it looked over before I do my drive down the coast.

Anyway, I'm very excited about this project and can't wait to get it started.

Thanks, in advance, for all of your help.

Cheers,

Trip
 
Location: Pasadena, CA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not sure on the engine you have in your Jeep but would like to know more about the engine type and make as didn't know Renault made an engine for the Jeep. Can you check and see if it is not a VM instead and post a message back Please?

Would aslo like to know more about the transmission.
 
Registered: May 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It is definitely a Renault.

Renault 2.1L 4cyl. Turbo Diesel - 85 hp @ 3750 rpm, 132 ft lb @ 2750 rpm - used in 85-87

I'll try to get you some info on the transmission. What other info are you looking for?
 
Location: Pasadena, CA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I didn't know that these were ever available in the US.
 
Registered: June 01, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I just found an `86 Cherokee turbo diesel 4x4 five speed for sale. It is the Renault 2.1 engine just like the gentleman told us about above. It has 200K on it. Back then it was AMC/Jeep/Renault for a time. These were only sold in US for about two years, but they were sold a lot more in Europe according to the guy who is selling it. I am going to look at it this weekend. I think it might be a cool biodiesel project vehicle!

Mark

Imagecherokee_diesel.jpg (12 Kb, 78 downloads) Diesel Cherokee
 
Location: Delaware and Southeastern PA | Registered: March 30, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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By reputation the Renault-powered Cherokees were troublesome. Very few are still running, and not many of them without major effort. Parts are now very difficult to find, at least among the few owners I've talked with. The engine seems to be overstressed for the application (US freeway use, and occasional heavy hauling), suffering blown head gaskets, cracked heads and failed turbos before reachign 100,000 miles, reputedly. Attempts to get more power from the engine reduce it's reliability (85 hp from 2.1 liters is impressive by US standards, but it's about 100 hp less than US drivers expect). There's one in a nearby wrecking yard, with no timing belt and probably bent valves, if you're interested.
I've looked into them just enough to decide to avoid them. I might be completely wrong about them too, but haven't found an owner who can report good success with one.
It's quite possible that a cautious driver, keeping revs down and loads light, doing regular maintenance, could get good service from one.
 
Location: Moses Lake, WA, USA | Registered: August 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Howdy Folks:

Just dropped the sump pan on 85 Cherokee turbo diesel
will be in need of some parts - as some shavings - HUGE TOE NAIL like - bearings went off
am pretty savvy with the diesel - this will be my first sleeved - say -Johno- where is that one you speak of in the yard - I might be able to get some parts off it I need

here is what I think I know about these - typical french machine - you have to think like a french mechanic to understand it - and make it work - Personally I prefer a french made diesel -- Smooth , sophisticated , streamlined driving habits matter much - if you notice the turbo is rather tiny on these - and a sleeved block can be a blessing or a curse - parts can be expensive this side of the pond - right now only only some Winnebago dealers can get you parts - and they cost $$$- dont be crawling in 5th at 30 mph - too much stress on the engine - i speak with some guys in Italy that have these cherokees and love them - do not have the problems we did here - could be due to the lack of training on this engine - does require regular scheduled maintenance - valve adjust - regular oil changes - etc of the like ... i believe the issue with this one I have is the guy I bought it from switched to synthetic - after over 150,000 miles on dino oil - the rings were used to dino and burned lots of oil and blow by - stressed out the engine trying to adjust to synth- factor in trying to squeeze as much power and economy outta this

Hope to hear from you mates - I have plenty of repair manuals and a good start of networking to locate parts and such

Enjoy weeks end
Cheers
 
Location: desert s.w. | Registered: November 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The one I mentioned is at DJ's Auto Wrecking, Ephrata Washington. 509-754-4641
 
Location: Moses Lake, WA, USA | Registered: August 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hey all. Just thought I would update you on my status with the Jeep. It is now up and running, after much effort and time. Still not home free. After just having the fuel injector/pump rebuilt (and the engine, as well), I have driven it about 15-20 miles and am getting white smoke off the engine. I think there might be a coolant leak, but have not yet located the source. I'll be taking it to a mechanic tomorrow for diagnosis. Unless the mechanic who rebuilt the engine lied to me, the head was tested and in good order and, seeing as it has barely been driven and never over 35mph, I'm hoping it is not a head problem.

Oh, well...the saga continues.
 
Location: Pasadena, CA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just happened to run across this tonight while looking up diesel stuff on fleabay.


--There is no Magic Bullet.--

If bigger is safer, buses are safest.
Save yourself, use Transit.
 
Location: Clemson, SC | Registered: March 02, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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i can find parts for this 2.1 if needed am in england right now and there are alot of the 2.1 in the junk yard here can get some new ones to
 
Registered: March 16, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by ventureforth:
Hey all. Just thought I would update you on my status with the Jeep. It is now up and running, after much effort and time. Still not home free. After just having the fuel injector/pump rebuilt (and the engine, as well), I have driven it about 15-20 miles and am getting white smoke off the engine. I think there might be a coolant leak, but have not yet located the source. I'll be taking it to a mechanic tomorrow for diagnosis. Unless the mechanic who rebuilt the engine lied to me, the head was tested and in good order and, seeing as it has barely been driven and never over 35mph, I'm hoping it is not a head problem.

Oh, well...the saga continues.


What happened? Any updates?


Truck accessories are for the brave.
 
Registered: March 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I have a Cherokee with the Renault 2.1 L turbo. It is a great motor, phenomenal fuel economy, and I wouldn't hesitate to tow with and work it. (very cool purr too) BUT it is a sophisticated European design (aluminim block and wet cast iron sleeves etc) and in my opinion what kills that motor is improper torquing of the head gasket. The shop manual says torque the head FOUR TIMES if you ever have the head off and they are dead SERIOUS. If you try to get away with 3 torquings (and many North American mechanics will, even professionals), you will have combustion escaping into the coolant and eventually (climbing, etc) overheating. If you EVER notice overheating or high pressure in the expansion bottle, TORQUE THE HEAD BOLTS! Like all old Renaults, you never open the radiator unless broaching the cooling system. Check and add coolant to the expansion bottle only. If you do open the cooling system, this motor is much easier to bleed than the '60s and '70s Renaults, but you have to top up the expansion bottle a couple of times after closing the cooling system (and driving until hot). The pressurized cooling system is what makes Renaults so efficient, but so prone to destruction at the hands of N American care-givers. Keep the cooling system closed and the head bolts torqued and this car will give you astonishing fuel efficiency and adequate power (with standard trans) for many years.
 
Registered: July 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Howdy Mates:

Interesting - and good to know - when I purchased my Cherokee J8S - I had not started it on advice from P.O. - I did however tow it home and dropped the oil pan to look at the piston bearings ( bottom ) all looked good - still trying to find the time to pull and stand the engine for a complete look - A new head gasket set was purchased months ago - In Europe these engines have a very good reputation - and have always felt the French make an incredible Diesel - Cheers ya for sharing your experience

in something like this - a very sophisticated European Market Diesel - I would always replace head gasket when ever I cracked head -

Have worked mainly diesel repair last 8 years - mostly Mercedes, Toyota, and Land Rover - you can never be too clean in your work - Factory service manual is the bible

say 2.1L - which side of the pond are you ?

hope to hear more from you - as once I find the time this fall - i will be sharing my experiences - hoping to find a donor motor for parts somewhere just to be safe - or be able to afford a new set of pistons/sleves from E.U.

cheers:
 
Location: desert s.w. | Registered: November 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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2.1L and All,

Getting further into, I discovered a lot of pressure building in the cooling system...enough to blow a hose at one point. The reason the mechanic never saw it was they never actually drove it hard; they just let it sit running at the shop for hours to see if the problem would present itself. It did not. But as soon as we went out on an actual test drive, we discovered hoses bulging with pressure.

Now, my question is this: Before I go back and get led around by another mechanic, is it possible that the head just needs another torquing? I know for a fact the original mechanic did not torque it 4 times. To help you all assess the problem, here are the details:

-Short drives (15 miles or fewer) don't cause any problems. I spent an entire day driving short trips of 5 - 15 miles and didn't lose any coolant.
-There is no overheating at this point (unless the gauge is broken or malfunctioning and I don't know it)
-I get white smoke pretty bad under hard acceleration, but nothing noticeable at cruising speeds
-On longer drives, however, when I finally come to a stop at the end of the day, coolant pours out from under my Jeep like it's fleeing for its life.

Other than that, oil pressure is perfect and it seems to drive fine (though I have zero power when trying to go up anything more than the most modest incline. I'm not even talking steep hills.)

So, anyone have any sage words of wisdom? Is another torquing a possible option, or am I doomed to do a complete gasket replacement and possibly even need a new head? (Obviously, I realize that this is a hard question to answer not actually seeing the engine for yourself)

Thanks.
 
Location: Pasadena, CA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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howdy Ventureforth:

Glad this is getting some interest in these J8S cherokee on our side of the pond
i would lean towards you needing a new head
in my years of diesel wrenching - overheating is really the big culprit - someone maybe did not change belts when they should have - etc...
these little aluminum head turbo diesels - the heads are suspect after so many miles /km's
I do have some information from another site - i will try to find it - about the big issue with these J8s's is the oil line from turbo will get fowled and suck oil into intake - cause huge issues - sorry - memory does not serve me well enough as I only read this post one

might also be the wrong thickness gasket - if had been changed recently - may be too thin - hard to say - there are 3 size /thickness offered for these - pressure from hard driving and sieve leaking can only mean a few things

good luck and do report back - I will seek all the info I have on these motors and send a notice when I find them

cheers:
 
Location: desert s.w. | Registered: November 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the reply. I'm really hoping it is not the head because it has only been driven about 100 or so miles since the engine was rebuilt and the new (rebuilt) head put on. I also got a brand new oil pump, new pistons, rings, and sleeves, new main and rod bearings, and a complete gasket set direct from Renault. I also had the fuel injection pump rebuilt at a Bosch diesel specialist from new parts, and the radiator re-cored. I have not known it to overheat in the 100 or so miles that I've run it since all of the rebuilds...only smoke a bit and leak coolant. So, either the head was a bum head and I was lied to, or it did overheat and the thermo or temp gauge was not working properly (I had a new thermo put on, too).

I also think the turbo is not working properly, but can't be sure. The turbo gauge is not working, so I have no idea what the boost pressure is like, but I've heard that white smoke can sometimes be a result of a bad turbo.

Thanks for seeking out more info on these motors...I appreciate all of your efforts. I don't know how much longer I can wrestle with this Jeep and I've even put it on Craigslist to see what sort of interest there is. I'm at the point where I'm willing to sell it for less than I've put into it...or even trade for any reliably running vehicle.
 
Location: Pasadena, CA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Howdy ventureforth :

Rebuilds are always expensive - and chances are you will regret selling so early

could be a simple thing - hard to say at this point - turbos should seldom create such a smoking problem - they recycle so by design will burn cleaner - unless there is an oil issue coming from turbo - as you know - these turbos on this J8S are pitifully small - I think they are only rated at maybe 9 Psi - hardly help much more than a slight push up a hill - - you did have injector pump rebuilt - dunno how good the shop is that rebuilt this
I would say have the head checked again - this time from another shop - at least have a leak down test done as well as compression test
both cold and warm
the shoppe who did all this work - should guarantee his work - should stand behind his efforts if he feels confident enough to accept the work - and sounds as if this shoppe did not do such a good job - a turbo boost gauge is a simple item - with simple hookup -a pressure gauge

again I stress these aluminum heads can be an issue - ask your mechanic who certified the head and how - was it magnafluxed as well as scoped - or which /what - shaving these heads to true them is dicy - and should only be done at a shoppe so versed in such- most of the time a new head is procured no matter what the issue

I will peek around and see what all I have and report back as soon as I find something

will be interesting how the response is to your craigslist post

good luck

cheers:
 
Location: desert s.w. | Registered: November 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Hi Guys
I'm in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Ventureforth, Your situation sounds just like my experience. I was ill at the time and had to have a shop (Renault specialists) in Vancouver rebuild the motor. Everything worked great at idle and on flat streets, but climb a big hill and she'd overheat. Honestly can't remember if it had had 3 or 4 torquings by then. The mechanic and I were both hornswoggled. Finally i insisted he retorque again and even helped and lo and behold she was fixed. That was 1997 and I've only tried the head bolts once since then and they were right up to torque. Anyway the motor is great. Only hitch is a small but annoying oil leak where the hose comes from the side of the block and you almost need remote control hands to get in there...
BTW I temporarily had it with an Automatic trans (couldnt find a 5-spd and desperate to drive) - big mistake! I really hate automatics! and they suck way too much power.

So, I strongly recommend another torquing, even if it's the 5th, whats to lose? The end of day coolant shower, I guess would be coming from your expansion bottle cap? Sounds like combustion in the coolant to me. Lack of power, I'm not sure about; it should have enough to merge into freeway traffic not much more, but lots of torque (you do have the 5 spd?) One test of the motor's health which wont cost too much is fuel economy. Anyway I'd definitely try torquing first. Careful not to overheat too much in the meantime -you don't want to warp or crack the head.

Just thinking about power... how's your air breather? Injectors? Might just be a little short of air or fuel?
 
Registered: July 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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morning VentureForth :

looked about yesterday on one computer - NADA
so I suggest NAXJA.ORG - I visited there agian after a 2 year absence - allot of discussion on diesel XJ's from the 80's - best part - lots of guys from Uk and the Continent present
is good of 2.1 Litre to write his experience

a couple of thoughts - check timing again - white smoke usually is water - could be water from the fuel tank ( how was vehicle stored )- also - was new fuel filter put on ?

If white smoke smells sweet - means coolant - - as I have have not really worked on my J8s much - not running anyway - are injectors seated properly ? fuel pipes seated properly - I see you are in Cali - and using ULSD - unless you are adding supplement to your tank - even though the new bosch parts should be Viton - still should be adding a lubricant substitute - Biodiesel 10% mix

good luck
cheers:
 
Location: desert s.w. | Registered: November 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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