Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mid Week Match-Up: A Christmas Miracle

It is Wednesday, so that means time for the mid week match-up, a feature so awesome that it has its own cheer squad and band.   Today is Canadian Christmas, so what better than to help out someone in the wild north find a new car.  From reader Christian S:
I have just discovered that I am in need of a new-to-me ride. My current beast is a 1990 Nissan Pathfinder wagon with a rusted out frame that won’t make it through another winter here in Montreal, Canada (salut les amis!) Seeing as it is days before Christmas and I am broke like every other bicycle mechanic I need help finding an un-killable motor and transmission combo with no electrical issues mounted in a Euro/Nippon-aise package for C-H-E-A-P. I have a budget of $3000. Requirements: Fits 4 people, must be 4x4  (no AWD isn’t the same thing). With enough ground clearance to fit my 6’2”, 190lbs body lying down under the lowest part. Reason for that last one is that the “path” to the family “cottage” tears the bottom off of every vehicle because of the granite boulders that the road is made of.  That’ll be the reason for the 4x4 along with the fact that in the spring the road floods with more than 20” of standing water. Can ya help a guy out when he’s down on his luck? Ideally it’ll be somewhere close because I have exactly 14 calendar days before the plates are no good and I get pulled over again.

DT E-i-C Vince: I know that the request was for a Euro-Nippon package, but I think that for once the answer to this question is something 'Murican.  Specifically, this TJ generation 2002 Jeep Wrangler Sport offered for $3,995 CAD from a dealer in Montréal via  It is a few bones above the budget, but with the right attitude and a set of grungy clothes (I always look like a bum when buying cars, CFlo can confirm I've taken off a pressed button down shirt and worn an undershirt when looking at cars in the middle of the work day) you might be able to take this 4X4 5-vitesse equipped beauty home.

What do you recommend for Christian? Comments below.


  1. "Today is Canadian Christmas" on December 30th???
    I've often found that merkins were profoundly ignorant of things non-merkin, but that takes the (Christmas) cake.

    1. I have found non-U.S. citizens quick to jump to the conclusion that we are all a bunch of unsophisticated, ignorant hicks without much thought. Seems to be instinctual. Europeans especially, seem to struggle with sarcasm and satire.

    2. Oops, did I forget the #tongueincheek tag?

    3. As someone did point out, we do call it 'gas.'


    A bit over your budget but it meets your requirements. I'm 6'2" and 193 and I don't have to lift mine to work on it. It helps.

    You'll never go anywhere fast.

    1. This Jeep is screaming deal, unless it's a rotbox; a unit like that would retail for close to $90000 around here in North Fla.

  3. I'm in Winnipeg, Canada and we use 1/10 of the salt on our roads that they use in the east. I owned a protege5 from Montreal; it was rotted out 5 years before every other one in Winnipeg was because of that fact. Stay away from cars in Eastern Canada as they are hiding salt in every tiny crevice and crack (unless you live in Eastern Canada, don't buy anything from anywhere else and bring it there, shame on you if you destroy anything on their terribly salty roads).

  4. Ooh this should be good. I am lazily looking for something similar as a spare 4x4 for my special lady to drive in the snowy winters of high altitude New Mexico.

    As far as I've been able to tell, a mid/late 90's Jeep Cherokee XJ is the best bang for the buck you can buy. This of course, annoys me since I already have one but will contest to its bulletproofness. Keep oil-like substances in most of the oil holding vessels and it'll last a loooong time. Just drove mine across the country through bad weather and rolled over 197,000.

    91 and newer are better with the Mopar fuel injection. 4.0L straight six and a manual (Ax15) is the combo to wait for. Watch for rust in the "frame" sections of the unibody. 97 and up get facelifted with a big reduction in Noise, Vibration, and Harshness.

  5. I've always had a soft spot for XJ Cherokees. Sure, they are pretty tiny inside, but they look (and are) tough.

    Just realized the XJ is sorta the halfway point between my FZJ80 Land Cruiser and Volvo 245 (wagon). Maybe I should get one and compare/contrast. A good friend had a 2001 for many years and I always got a kick out of riding in it.

  6. In agreement with Johnny B... The Wranglers still just hold their value better than the Cherokees, and the Cherokees are identical in the engine/driveline/climate control/electronics. I don't know the areas up there at all, but there's this:
    $600 under the budget to boot.


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.