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Discussion Starter #1
Let me preface this by saying that I have not personally looked at this vehicle yet. I have a friend who's trying to get rid of said vehicle, and another who really needs transportation. As such, I agreed to go over it and get it in running condition so it can last the winter. I'm just trying to get an idea of what to look at to see what kind of parts, and how many beers of labor, I'm getting myself in to.

It's a 1995 Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x4 with the 4.0 straight six (yay!), part time 4wd, and 216,000 miles. Currently the Jeep over heats on the highway. It hasn't been pushed to the red, but it has gotten warm. Where in Heck do I start with diagnosing this?

Also at this time the brakes have taken a dump. The peddle goes 3/4 of the way to the floor before there's any feel, and even fully depressed they're weak. I've been told that the brakes worked perfectly fine that day until they just gave up. The fluid is full and there's no obvious leaks so I'm figuring the master cylinder wore out. How do I test this so I don't go buying unnecessary parts? And if it is the master, how much Heck will I go through trying to change it?

And help you guys and gals can offer would be great. I can turn a mean wrench but when it comes to actually hunting down problems like this I'm about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Regarding the cooling system, if it gets "warm" at highway speeds, but the temp seems somewhat normal at low speeds or idle, I'd lean towards replacing the radiator. Inspect the fins on the radiator - if they look old or corroded or there is any missing, that's a sign it is time to replace. It could also have scaling in the interior which is inhibiting good flow and subsequently good heat transfer. Since you'll be draining all the coolant, now would be a good time to inspect the radiator hoses (upper and lower) and the heater hoses - replace if necessary. Flush the system thoroughly - Prestone SuperFlush works well for this - just follow the directions. Refill with 50/50 mix of antifreeze/distilled water. As much as rerodding a radiator costs, it's just better to purchase a new radiator.

On the brakes, I'm not sure if it's the M/C- I'd check the condition of the pads and rotors first. If the wear seems good, then inspect the rest of the system. Replacing the M/C will require bench bleeding the M/C, then once installed, bleeding the entire braking system to get all the air out of the lines.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's not that it gets warm on the highway, it will overheat. Thankfully my friend keeps an eye on his guages and caught it before it could. Given the age of the Jeep and the fact that we live in the north east where they love to use salt, a bad radiator is probably what I'm looking at. Heck, it might just be clogged up with dirt and not flowing air properly.

I understand how to properly bleed a M/C as I've had to replace one on my '84 Dodge truck. I'm more wondering if it's as simple as the old truck's or if there's a bunch of bits I'll have to remove first to get it out. The truck's was a simple two bolts, two brakes lines, and it was in my hand. Is it this simple on the Jeep?

Either way, thank you for the responce and insight. This should be an interesting Sunday. At least the parts store is only a 5 minute walk up the street.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So I finally got a chance to look at the Jeep and all in all it's not that bad. The radiator is shot, whole thing's green and scummy. Checked the brakes and other than some worn rear shoes, it all looks good. Also, the brakes are completely gone now, no peddle at all. Looks like I've got a rad and a m/c to replace.
 
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