You have come to the right site for help. First, a general tune up is recommended, plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel filter, air filter (if needed). As far as this many miles, please keep in mind, anything can go bad at any time. I guess when you think about it, that is with new cars too, but 200K is a lot of miles.
When you look at it check the following items, rear shackles for rust (very common problem on these. They rust and then break). Also, check the frame and floor (AND ROCKER PANELS) for rust. The rockers are the small section of steel you see under the doors. If there is plastic mouldings covering them, push on them to make sure they are strong. The rockers rusted bad on these. Do you know if it has ever been repainted? Also, craw on you back and check the trans, transfercase, and engine for oil leaks or evidence of leaks. Is everything clean and dry or saturated with oil?
As far as the engine, when you first start it, make sure it doesn't smoke out the exhaust. Any color smoke can indicate a problem, blue, gray, black, white. Listen to the engine for ticking or knocking and check the trans fluid and oil to make sure it is clean. Also, open the cap where you fill the oil. Does it look clean inside or does is have black sludge baked on to it?
Let me know what you find or if you have other questions. Also, I don't know where you live so rust may not be an issue.
Let me know.
PS: The high mileage should be okay if it was taken care of. I drive a Dakota with 220K on it every day. I plow snow, haul. As long as I maintain it, it seems to be fine. I hope that gives you a little more confidence, but please check at least the things I mentioned, especially the rust if you live in an area tha uses salt on the roads to melt snow.
Friday, February 19th, 2010 AT 1:33 PM