The body of a jeep is designed for real rough condition. So, when you are buying a used jeep, it is important to check the condition of the body. CJ-series and some older jeep models have C-channel frames that are thin and have their own specific issues. So, when a used jeep model has this strength problem, you should be really careful about it. You should be sure that you go over some potential trouble areas. On the driver side, you should check the frame area, which is located behind the cross member. You should locate the significant stress point, specifically the point where the frame is mounted by the steering box mounts. You should check whether mud, rust and debris seem to get caught inside this cross member. Debris may also get into the frame through the tow hook mounting points or drain holes. If there’s too much debris and salt accumulation at this point, it is likely that the frame will rot from the inside out. Rust can cause failures, because stressed of the steering box will be applied on these points. Add large and heavy off road tires to the mix, you may have a real recipe for disaster.
When choosing used jeeps, you should also consider the body mounts. You should take a real good look at them. It is important to take your time to check the underneath of the body mounts and tap lightly with a hammer. If they seem solid, then it should be a good sign. You should look for trouble spots that may indicate poor maintenance. Body mounts could also catch many things and debris; you should check whether excessive amount of mud and crud has accumulated. There should be about 11 mounts on a jeep. Prominent ones should be found on the side of the frame, a few more can be found at the rear cross member and under the grill. You should pay close attention to the rear cross member, especially on the rear mounts. They can really be susceptible to rot. Skid plates could also become a catch all component for crud and mud. If the skid is structurally strong and doesn’t have rot out problem, then this is a good indication that the jeep has been maintained properly.
The skid plate is an essential support mechanism for the transfer case mounts, transmission and drive train. Another potential problem is the frame mounting points. After repeated mud-covered journeys, it is quite likely that the frame hasn’t been cleaned out yet. Caked mud will be a bad thing for this situation and when the rust is severe enough, these mounts can be snapped by the excessive stressing force. One more catch all component is the rear cross member and it’s located just before the gas tank. It is essential the mount for the skid plate of the gas tank. If there’s too much accumulated dry mud, it is likely that the rear cross member will rot out. As a result, the structural strength of this component can be significantly reduced.
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