The AMC 360 in my Cherokee hasn't been too happy lately. Today I dug in and found out why. I've been using my '78 Cherokee Chief as a daily driver now for a couple of months. It's been doing fine on short hops and even the occasional 250-mile round trip commute up to the office. But last month while about 80 miles into my 120-mile ride home from the office I noticed the temp gauge quickly shooting up. The Jeep was leaking more oil than usual and the coolant was low. I had found a bunch of receipts in the Jeep for one valve job and another head gasket replacement, so I pretty much knew what was up. Then, when I discovered oil seeping out from between the cylinder head and engine block my suspicions were validated, but not confirmed. I'm the type who throws caution to the wind, so I just kept driving it and made sure to top off the oil and coolant at every fuel stop. Now, however it's getting worse. It's running hot all the time and vapor locking when I shut it down. Most times it doesn't want to restart until I've thoroughly doused the intake, carb, and fuel lines with water to cool it down. Takes about 10-15 minutes each time I shut it down to get it to fire up again. Today I stopped being so lazy and pulled the #7 and #8 plugs. The #8 plug is on the left. Yup, that's coolant fouling all over the plug. And even though the #7 plug on the right is clean, the cylinder is down around 95 psi on the 'ol compression test. So I need a new engine. Not sure if I'll stab in another AMC from the junkyard, if I'll rebuild a proper 360, or just try to find a 4WD 5.7L Hemi, tranny, and T-case from a wrecked pickup and swap out the axles while I'm at it. Looks like my Wrangler just became my daily driver 'till I figure it out.
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