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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a new 99 Amigo back in late 1998 and drove it for 7 or 8 years before trading it in for an Accord coupe and always regretted it (though the Accord was far and away the most reliable car I've ever owned). That little Amigo took me cross country and back and lived in Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, and Northern California. It was a great car and the most fun vehicle I've ever driven and I've always had the idea of owning another one someday floating around the back of my mind.

I'm 47 now and just found a very high milage but it really nice condition 99 Amigo up in the Michigan UP (I'm in Tennessee). I just made an agreement to buy it for $2,900. The car has 224,000 miles on it. It is Copper Orange, v6, soft-top, 4wd, automatic transmission and the sales guys says it starts right up and runs great. I saw a quick video of him starting it up and it did indeed start right up and the engine sounds fine from what little I can tell in the short video. There doesn't appear to be a spec of rust on it. The sales guy didn't send me pics of the undercarriage so I could see the rust situation under the vehicle, but he says it is clean, garage kept in the winter, and mostly driven during the summer when the former owners went on hiking trips out west. Based on the great condition of the body I tend to believe that. I guess I'll see for myself when I fly up to take delivery of it the week after this coming.

I wanted to get some feedback from you guys on what I might be looking out for on an Amigo with this many miles on it. My first test in the car is going to be a big one as I've decided to try and drive it the 750 mile trip back from the UP to Clarksville, TN. I thought about shipping it, but figured I would drive it and see what happens. I know there are notorious rust issues with the Amigos suspension brackets and I will look at that myself before embarking on the trip home. I'll also check the oil and change it if necessary before I head home. Based on your experience with the Amigo/ Rodeo of that era, is there anything else I should look out for before driving it that long way home?
 

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At 225k miles you're really pushing your luck with that trans. It seems about every other day we get a new thread on here with someone having 4L30E problems. Is this going to be your daily driver? Weekend car?

Also these things can burn a LOT of oil. If you do buy it, check the dipstick at every gas station fillup on your way home. Our 98 amigo burns nearly a quart every 500 miles for example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow. A quart every 500 miles is a LOT of oil. I'll let you know if/ how much this one burns on my trip back.

No, this isn't going to be a daily driver. Just a fun weekend or drive to town car. We also have a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee and my daily driver is a 2016 Mercedes E350, so this really is just a have fun with the top down in the summer car. I don't actually anticipate driving it a whole lot. Just running my dog to the trail we walk, fun weekend trips about an hour north to Lake Barkley, and the occasional trip to town on the back roads. I go shooting in an area that requires 4-wheel drive to get back to and I don't like taking my wife's Jeep GC back to it because the brush on the sides of the trail roughs up the paint and then I have to listen to her complain about it. :) Stuff like that. Nothing serious and nothing that I am really depending on to get me somewhere important. I'm not much of a mechanic, but I'm also looking for something I can wrench on without getting in completely over my head.

Honestly, I just figured I always liked that Amigo I used to own and for under $3,000 it isn't much of a loss if it turns out to be a piece of junk. My brother has a 2003 Jeep Wrangler that he is always working on in some way or another. That's pretty much what I'm looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Also, make sure that it will move forward from a stop in Winter Mode.
Can you go into a little more detail on this? I remember my old Amigo had a winter mode, but I don't remember what it did. What is Winter Mode and why might it not roll forward from a stop?
 

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Winter mode starts you off in third gear. If you put it into winter mode and can't move forward at all, that's an immediate red flag. Something to do with the solenoids. Sometimes people have a transmission problem and can get around town but can't pinpoint exactly what the issue is. An operational Winter Mode is not a sure sign that everything is fine, but a non-operational winter mode is a sure sign to pass on the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay. Thanks guys. I'll check it out and report back. Sales guys being who they are, I'm not sure what to believe, but the car looks remarkably clean given its age and miles, so I'm hopeful enough to make the flight up there.

At $2,900, though, and assuming the undercarriage is in good shape, I think I would still buy it if the transmission was bad. At 225K miles I'm assuming I'll eventually have to replace both the engine and the transmission anyway. If I notice any of the above, I'd probably still buy the vehicle, I would just arrange to have it shipped back instead of driving it.

I was prepared to pay around $6K for a used Amigo, so this is costing half that. If I spend under $3K on the car, another $900 shipping it home, and then have to replace the transmission I'm still coming out a little ahead and it would be a good project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I was actually searching for transmission information about the Amigo when I bumped into the eBay listing for this same Amigo I am planning to buy. Included in the eBay listing were some pics the sales guy had not previously sent me including a picture of the undercarriage and the engine compartment. The image is attached to this post. Looks like the factory air filter box has been swapped with a K&N air filter. It's a poor image quality, but can anyone see anything in these pictures that alarms them? Any mods in the engine compartment other than the air filter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Also, the Amigo has 245K miles on it. The sales guy told me it was 225K on the phone and he has 225K listed on the eBay page. However, eBay has this "AutoCheck" system similar to CarFax that displays any reported accident history, etc. and this car doesn't seem to have any issues, but reports 245,000 miles, not 225K.

If you look at the odometer history (pic attached) it looks like the previous owner, who has owned it for 5 years and 8 months, has been doing between 13K and 20K miles per year for the past 3 years, so it must be running pretty well do do that many miles per year.

Looks like it was originally sold in Washinton state in 2000 and then was registered in Wisconsin in 2010. I'd be buying it from a dealer in Menominee, MI, which is in the Michigan upper peninsula just over the Wisconsin border, about 60 miles north of Green Bay.

The VIN number is 4S2CM57W2X4380815. The seller has a 92% positive rating on eBay with almost 600 reviews. Nothing alarming in their reviews.
 

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I want to see a video of the salesman after you drive off the lot. For $2,900, we'll see his "happy dance".
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I decided to pass on the Amigo up in Michigan. Just too many miles and too much rust on the frame. I'd rather pay more and get something with fewer miles and less rust on the frame. I'm bummed about it though. I love these stupid Amigos and I'd really like to get one soon.
 

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I just went through Facebook marketplace down here in Florida. There were 5 Amigos listed, with one being a first gen. All were lower mileage, but all were almost double the price. Only one was actually 4 wheel drive. I pretty much scrounge every day, so I will keep my eyes open. You have a much better chance of a clean frame with a Florida car. Dennis
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would appreciate that, Dennis. Thank you. I also check Craigslist nationwide and eBay every day. I have never thought about Facebook. I want to make sure I buy a V6 4WD. Most everything I see is 2WD. I would prefer a soft top, but the hard top will work too as it is easy to swap out. I'd prefer under 150K miles, but anything under 190K will work. I'd prefer as unmodified as possible as I'm not looking to crawl rocks with it, but a project car is okay. If you spot anything please do let me know. You can reach me here or via text at 858.848.4439 or email at [email protected]. --ryan
 

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Be sure to search for "Rodeo Sport" as well, the 2001-2003 "Sport" models were essentially a rebadged Amigo.
 
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I know you're already set on a V6. Just don't change your mind and settle for a 2.2L 4 cylinder that looks like a bargain. The 4-cylinder 2.2L is trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah, definitely looking for a V6. I've never considered a 4-cylinder. I have thought about a 2wd instead of a 4wd, just because they are so much easier to find, but I think I'll hold out and be patient until I find a 4wd. It seems like 80%+ of the cars I see available are 2WD.

I already have another 4WD vehicle, so I don't need the Amigo to have 4WD, but I would prefer it. This isn't a car I "need", so I don't mind being patient.
 

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Yeah, the 4 isn't the greatest. And it's an interference motor, if the timing belt breaks, there go a bunch of valves, up to 16! The later 3.2's with shim-and-bucket valvetrain are much better engines.

Edit: the 3.2 is non-interference, so that's an added benefit over the 4-cyl.
 
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MI is the salt belt so you have to look at the frame esp rear arm linkage .. make sure it hasnt been 'touched' up.. the 4L30 will 'last' if it is (in my opinion not been over serviced/done right ) its also a lighter vehicle. You would expect corrosion being driven in the winter there some ppl rust treat..
 
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