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Old 05-21-2011, 08:12 AM   #1
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4 cyl 5 spd "03" TJ Bonestock

How are the "03" 4 cyl as far as power, mileage, etc. I have heard that the newer 4 cyl aren't as bad as they used to be. I have the op to purchase one w/99000 for a very good price and didn't want to make a bad decision without consulting the experts first. Thanks in advance, Hutch

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Old 05-21-2011, 09:47 AM   #2
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i have a 1997 4cyl 5 speed and its great.. never had a problem as of for the engine. it has just enough power for what i need it for.. on the road its fine. i have not yet been able to go off road with it yet,,, but one day i will

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Old 05-21-2011, 10:49 AM   #3
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I like my 4 cyl as well...i've got a 99

The manual has 4.10 gears which is great and you wont have a problem with getup/go. The only time i wish i had a 6 is on the highway going up a hill or if i were towing something (which i dont).

Other than that, the 4 cyl does everything i ask it to. I average 19 miles a gallon and run a 3" suspension lift with 32x11.5x15 tires.

I will say if i had found an equivalent low mileage (had 61k on it when i bought it 6 months ago), zero rust, manual, red, hardtop 6 cyl...i would have gone that route.

But a clean low mileage 6 cyl pretty much didnt exist where i used to live so finding this one was luck all in itself haha.

All in all i have zero regrets getting a 2.5L

If its clean and what you want...go for it
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Old 05-21-2011, 11:34 AM   #4
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I have an 02 Tj with the 4 banger. Ive never had any problems out of it and there supposed to last far longer than the majority of any car out on the market so its a very good investment.

As far as power goes it'll get you where your going but don't be expecting to blow anybody's door off. I also average about 20-21 mpg's

I have absolutely no regrets getting the 4 banger
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Old 05-21-2011, 11:51 AM   #5
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I have a 97 2.5l manual and I love it. Before the 2.5 I had a 4.0 cherokee. The only difference I noticed with the hp is the top end speed is about 10mph less and with the 2.5 I have to drop it into 4th going up a hill. If you plan on towing anything, the 2.5 will struggle more, but I didn't buy the Wrangler to tow things. Also the 2.5 is easier to work on because there is more room in the engine compartment . If you want to add decent sized off road tires, the 2.5 manual is ready to go geared 4.11. With the 4.0 if you don't spend the $1900 regearing for 33" tires, you will find yourself getting passed by us 4 bangers on the highway. The final thing that I noticed, most of the "HELP ME! Something is wrong!" posts in the forum are from the 4.0s
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:05 PM   #6
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A few months ago I looked at an 03 with the 2.4L 4cyl. Overall I was very impressed with it. What sticks out most in my mind it how quiet the engine was. The salesman thought he had me, and wouldn't budge on the price ($12k). I almost bought it, but then decided to wait a few months and finance a 2012.
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input guys! It has some surface rust under the windsheild, seems to have a exhaust leak (motor side), and has a burnt oil smell which I couldn't seem to locate the source. It's at a dealer (small lot) and he wants $7900.00 for it. I'm just on the fence as to why a 2003 Ga Jeep would have rust! Thanks again, Hutch
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:10 PM   #8
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Hmm...the rust and the exhaust leak don't really concern me (you can fix those and start earning the in's and outs of your jeep in the process. Although the burnt oil smell isnt good those can be an absolute pain from my experiences. I would have a mechanic of your choice check it out to be on the safe side.

I bought my 2002 with 87,000 miles for 9,300 so your well with in the ball park of a good deal!
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:29 PM   #9
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I just bought my 2003 4 cyl 5 speed almost 2 months and it is awesome. It has plenty of power. I drive up a pretty good grade at 65. I used to have a V6 ford ranger that couldnt even do that. I paid $9200 for it with 71000 miles so it seems like you are getting a pretty good deal. And have a mechanic take a look at it, you can never be too safe about spending a good amount of cash
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:33 PM   #10
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Check the rear main seal...

If you see it dripping at the oil pan, its almost for sure the RMS. I've got an RMS leak on mine at the moment but as a temporary fix, i just run 5w30 Mobil 1 synthetic and it doesnt leak. Also check to see if its overfilled which most people tend to do.

The exhaust wouldnt concern me either, nor would the surface rust under the windshield.

thats not a bad price though, definitely a good deal. I bought my 99 for 9K out the door with 61k on it. For those wondering why i'd spend that kind of money on a 2.5L 99...its because in Iowa where i used to live, you basically couldnt find a clean wrangler within 500 miles. They had it listed at 13,499 and a comparable 4.0 is in the area of around 18 which is ridiculous haha. I could drive around for a week where i used to live and maybe see 2 wranglers within the week...thats how rare they were

but yeah man, sounds like a good deal so if it drives nice and you feel good about it...do it
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:36 PM   #11
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4cyl

Ive got no complaints with my 4 banger...223,000 on the clock with 20,000 a rebuild ....with my 33's on 10 inch wide rims I just rarely use 5th gear....
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Old 05-21-2011, 12:41 PM   #12
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I just switched from a 2.5L to a 4.0L, and I'll never look back.
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:19 PM   #13
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Thanks for all of the info! Hutch
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:44 PM   #14
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since it hasnt been mentioned, i feel some one should...

in 2003, jeep ditched the 2.5 4 cylinder and replaced it with a 2.4 that can also be found in the dodge neon, pt cruiser, etc. they are 2 very different motors, and the 2.4 is a good improvement over the 2.5
the move to the 2.4 also came with different transmissions, the NVG 1500 for 03-04 and the NSG370 for stick shift, and the 42LRE for automatic.
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:36 PM   #15
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I have an 05 that I bought 6 months ago with the 2.4 and 6 speed. 68,000 miles and just a couple minor issues. $8000. I felt like I stole it!
As for power, it gets me where I want to go. I never get here first, and my wife points at every other Jeep that passes us and says "there goes a fast one". With the aerodynamics of a bread box, a tail wind helps. Mleage is about 17 with 31 inch tires. I call it my little John Deere...Oh yea, I love it...

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