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Old 07-06-2014, 01:29 PM   #1
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Is the 4 cyl that bad?

I could get a sweet deal on a 4 banger but everyone seems to go for the 6 cyl on here. Just need some advice because I've never driven the 4 cyl only the 6. Trying to get my first jeep soon so this would be a big help to me

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Old 07-06-2014, 01:33 PM   #2
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6 i hear alot of guys wishing they waited for a 6 when the bought a 4 banger

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Old 07-06-2014, 01:44 PM   #3
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I love my 4...that being said, i also dont do a lot of highway driving which is where the 4 will really struggle.

Does great in town and also fantastic offroad...just struggles on the highway if you're heading uphill or into some high winds.
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Old 07-06-2014, 01:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Owen_TJ View Post
I love my 4...that being said, i also dont do a lot of highway driving which is where the 4 will really struggle.

Does great in town and also fantastic offroad...just struggles on the highway if you're heading uphill or into some high winds.
What he said!!! I think the 4 banger is really a better jeep for off road due to balance. Properly built with the right gears, it can do anything a 6 can do on the trails and maybe do it better.

How ever, trying to drive it 40 miles to work and 40 miles back home on the highway at 70 MPH will wear you out trying to keep it at speed. Even with 4.10 gears.

So..... what do you want to do in your Wrangler? Do you have a daily driver besides the Wrangler or are you going to have to drive it everywhere you go?
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Old 07-06-2014, 01:54 PM   #5
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It's not that good...

Like Owen said, keep it off the highway and it does fine. Gas mileage-wise, there is almost no difference. We got the 4cyl thinking gas mileage would be better but it sooo isn't
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Old 07-06-2014, 01:58 PM   #6
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i dont think i've ever heard someone say "damn, i wish i got a 4cyl"
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:01 PM   #7
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i dont think i've ever heard someone say "damn, i wish i got a 4cyl"


No, I don't think I ever have too. That being said, the only time I ever had a problem with my 2002 4 banger was trying to keep it at 70MPH headed to Memphis to play a gig. Other than that, she was AWESOME!!!!
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:02 PM   #8
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I've only owned 4 cylinder wranglers. But I've had 2, an 89 yj and my 97 tj. Both were OK. I drove them both back and forth to my parents house 500 miles away twice a year. Neither was bad. I tow my ATV with my tj now, and unless I'm driving up hill on the passes, I can maintain 55-60 on the highway pretty easy. No its not 75 like the speed limit says, but its fast enough to be comfortable with little to no wind or tire noise. Typically without the trailer I don't go much over 60-65 anyway. Because of the wind noise around the soft top. That being said I do sometimes wish I had a 6 cylinder. I've never known anyone with a 6 cylinder and wished for a 4. But I know guys with 4 cylinders that wish they had a 6.
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:37 PM   #9
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Hi i have a 97tj 4cyl, i have stock suspension and 235 on 15inch rims, its not bad on the highway unless you are going up steep hills then you have to use 3rd gear.

if you are planing big wheels and lifts in the future then get a 6cyl.

On the positive side if you buy a 4cyl you will save alot of money which you can use for something else.

My 2.5 has got 257,000 km and still going strong, btw thats about 160,000 miles

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Old 07-06-2014, 03:01 PM   #10
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also...if you're going to get a 4cyl, only look at a manual...i personally wouldnt get an auto 4.
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Old 07-06-2014, 03:19 PM   #11
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I've had both, and I agree with the general consensus here.
They're both great, tough, and capable engines, but if you're going to use it as a daily driver, I'd hold out for a 6.
In my experience, the 4 cruised along happily at highway speeds even up to 75mph... But if I hit any kind of grade or headwind, I'd lose speed and have to work it to keep going. In traffic under any conditions, it was a slug. It barely kept up with a lot of work.
And if you want to do a lift or just go with slightly larger tires, it will make the 4 nearly useless on public roads. At least it did for me. I could never climb a hill very well and top speed on the highway was not much over 60mph under the best conditions. I ended up switching to stock sized passenger car tires to make it useable as a daily driver.
I've also noticed little to no difference in gas mileage between the two engines. I guess because the 4 cylinder has to work so much harder.
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Old 07-06-2014, 04:42 PM   #12
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If you've never heard 'I wish I got a 4-cylinder', you've also never heard 'I wish my jeep cost more'.
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Old 07-06-2014, 05:22 PM   #13
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If you've never heard 'I wish I got a 4-cylinder', you've also never heard 'I wish my jeep cost more'.
true, but i have seen a couple hundred threads on how to get more power out of my 4 cyl. regular answer is engine swap, those are cheap

i had a 4 cyl YJ, the only 4 banger out of the 5 that i have owned. didnt think it would be that bad, but even a decent wind on the highway would slow it down to under the speed limit. i can cruise all day long at 80 and have more throttle to give in a 6cyl that still needs to be regeared cause i cant use my o/d
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Old 07-06-2014, 05:39 PM   #14
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I like my 4, gets me where I want to go, decent on the trails, extras space under the hood to work and I consistently get 20 to 21 MPG.
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:28 PM   #15
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I own a 4banger and got a very sweet deal. Sure I would love to have a 6 as you always want more power, but I couldn't be happier with what I paid and the fact that I own a F'ing Jeep!! I know a lot of guys with a 6 and they do what they can to get more power as well. You are just never satisfied!
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:41 PM   #16
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This jeep will be my only vehicle so the 6 sounds better to me. Even though I could get a sweet deal on a 4 banger!
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Old 07-06-2014, 08:44 PM   #17
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i dont think i've ever heard someone say "damn, i wish i got a 4cyl"
I did.

My 4.0 in my xj has been an asshole since I bought it and I wish I had the 4 cyl or any other engine. That stupid dreaded misfire......

My TJ has the 2.5 and I love it. It's fine with 31x10.5's and 4.10 gears. I have no problems using 5th. It's also very easy to work on and provides alot more light underneath the jeep when you open the hood.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
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I've never known anyone with a 6 cylinder and wished for a 4. But I know guys with 4 cylinders that wish they had a 6.

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Old 07-07-2014, 09:55 AM   #19
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I ordered my TJ in 2004 purposely with a 4 banger. My YJ had one and I grew out of the the need for power and speed a long time ago and have not received a speeding ticket in over 15 years. I commuted 50 miles each way in the interstates and to conserve fuel I just drove the posted speed limit. On long upgrades I just went into the truck lanes and let everyone pass. I realized many many years ago I was killing myself trying to keep up with traffic to get to work on time. But I started to leave early and over 21 years in that commute was rarely late and they still laid me off in 2012 as a cost cutting measure.

Plus 4 bangers come with 4:10 gears and upgrading to 31.10.5 tires did not kill the little power I had. I can still do 65 and over on a flat interstate.

Plus when I see all those TJ's in the fast lane going 70-80 MPH I winder if they complain about MPG?
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:19 AM   #20
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I had the 2.4L and it wasn't bad. It kept me satisfied until I could get the Pentastar. In the TJ, I kinda liked the 4-cyl. It sounded cool, and it was a good engine until you hit a headwind or long hill.

In a TJ with a minimal build, 31" tires or less, the newer 4-cyl was decent with the 6-speed trans. For bigger tires, you really need the torque of the 4.0.

when the 285hp 3.6L came out, it was enough to get me to abandon my 2.4L.
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Old 07-07-2014, 10:51 AM   #21
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I have both a 1997 4 cylinder (stick) and a 2003 6 cylinder (auto). I like them both. I do like the power of the 6 but I drive the 4 most of the time. I even have a JKU with the pentastar. I only use the JKU for long trips or when my wife is coming along for the ride. My 4 banger is my go to Jeep. It is lifted with 33's with the stock gearing and as long as I don't hit to steep of a hill on the highway it does just fine. In the city and off road the 4 cylinder is great. I think the 2.5 is a great little engine and it just gets a bad rap.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:02 AM   #22
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R-e-s-a-l-e value. As you know, I4 Wranglers are out there and are cheaper than those with the I6.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:00 PM   #23
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They are not "bad" at all. They are, however, very different.

The 2.5L (in TJs from 1997-2002) is a rugged, strong little block. It is like a miniature 4.0L. It is not good on the highway, especially up hills at speed, or headed into wind unless you are headed downhill. It is just not powerful enough for a TJ for these uses.

The 2.4L (on TJs from 2003-2006) is a bit better in all regards, but is still not powerful enough for a DD that sees a lot of Interstate highway use. You *will* get frustrated with it when you are late for something and cannot get it go go above 60 due to winds or long hills.

The 4.0L is so legendary in our world because it mates with the TJ perfectly. It is powerful, smooth, and torquey when your differentials are geared correctly for your tire size. It is nearly bombproof, too. And, most importantly, it is easy to work on. In fact, it if actually fun to work on. My old 2.4L was not fun to work on at all. (I have not owned a 2.5L, but am assuming that since is is laid out just like the 4.0L that it too is easy and fun to work on.)

The 2.4L is an interference design that uses a timing belt. The 2.5L and 4.0L use very stout timing chains. (I do not know whether the 4.0l or 2.5L are interference or non-interference, however. I need to look this up.)

There are other concerns for both 4 banger engines. They only came on the base model, and that means weaker axles and fewer features. I have seen several 4 bangers around here with no AC. That is insane in Mississippi as well as a lot of other places. If you look at SE model TJs, make sure it has an AC if that is important to you, as some do not have them.

(2004-2006 SE models have more features and options than the earlier ones, such as cruise control. The last year or two even had a 4.0L option, so check any SE out carefully to see what it has on it. The NV1500 5 speed is not as strong as the NV3550 on the 4.0L, but the SE ended up with the 6 speed later when they made that change. It is a good tranny, but many believe it to be less robust than the 5 speed. So the best year for the SE might be the 2004. This is just a WAG, though.)

Upgrading the rear Dana 35 axle (and probably the shafts for the front Dana 30) will be needed if you upgrade to 35" tires. Otherwise you will break the axle shafts at some point.

The 4 bangers use different computers, radiators and lots of other stuff. If you *ever* think of maybe getting a 4 banger and then dropping in the larger Jeep engine keep in mind that it will take all this stuff as well as a new tranny, and the transfer case will have to be redone as they use a different spline count on the 4 bangers, or so I have been told here on several occasions. The motor mount brackets will have to be cut out of the frame and new ones put in. To put a 4.0L in a TJ SE is just as costly and complex as putting in a Chevy V8.

Make sure you want to have and keep an underpowered jeep that you *will* end up running on the Interstate and that *will* at some point frustrate you a lot. It is not worth the effort to swap the engines unless you have a lot of money, time, tools, and a burning desire to keep that particular jeep and put a nicer engine in the bay.\

Back in the day we SE driver would brag about our slightly better MPG versus the 4.0L - but time and experience told me a different story. I got about 20 MPG on slower highways, about 16 in town, and about 15 on the Interstate. Why? Because to keep up with the slow traffic on the hilly, windy Interstate where I live I had to keep the pedal pressed to the floor most of the time, running at WOT, barely getting 68 MPH! That literally sucks gas from your tank - even faster than the piggish 4.0L. So the MPG savings is a lie. It gets the same as the 4.0L overall, over years.

On the other side of things, if you are into rock crawling these do very well. They are not so front heavy and are actually a bit more nimble and agile because of this.

If you save more and get a 4.0L the Sport is quite nice and has a lot of Sahara features as well as some options that make it very capable. My sport has a Dana 44 rear axle, 3.73 gearing (rather than the 3.07 stock gears) and full steel doors. The X could not get a D44 rear end. It was like an SE but with the 4.0L. If you do not intend to wheel much and want it mostly to drive on the road, the X is an excellent choice. If you wheel much you will want a D44. It is not needed but is excellent security. (The Dana 35 shafts are held in place with some C clips inside the pumpkin. That means that if you break one of those weak shafts your entire wheel can come off the jeep! The D30 up front and the optional D44 rear have shafts that are bolted on at the ends, so if you break a shaft you can at least get home.)

The SE is a very capable TJ. Do not let me sway you from purchasing one if it is what you want. But mine frustrated me for a decade. I was excited to finally get a 4.0L Sport when that time finally arrived.

If you plan to wheel lightly and mostly drive on streets, roads and lower speed US highways then the SE will make you as happy as could be. Look for 4.56 gearing as that will give you decent pickup and allow you to drive on the highway under better circumstances. (Mine had the stock 4.11 gearing and with 31" tires it was pretty miserable. It was great with the tiny 27" stock tires, but of course those get tossed out right after you buy one, heh, heh, heh...)

If this is to be your only vehicle I would look for a 4.0L if I could afford one.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:00 PM   #24
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I drove two 4-cylinders last week and am going to look at a Sport with a 6-cyl tomorrow. Would you mind reminding me of the significance of the interference engine?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:09 PM   #25
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With an interference engine the piston will hit the valve if the timing belt or chain brake or skip.
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Old 07-07-2014, 05:36 PM   #26
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With an interference engine the piston will hit the valve if the timing belt or chain brake or skip.
Ouch!

If I understand that correctly from my motorcycling past, in effect the engine eats itself as it grinds to a halt...

I'll ask about the timing chain when I talk to the guy about the TJ.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:31 AM   #27
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George Washington did not use his right of free speech to defeat the British. He shot them!!!!
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:35 AM   #28
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George Washington did not use his right of free speech to defeat the British. He shot them!!!!
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:47 AM   #29
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i dont think i've ever heard someone say "damn, i wish i got a 4cyl"
amen.
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:24 AM   #30
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The 2.5 cyl is not an interference engine. It's has a timing chain that if in an extreme rare case that it would break, the engine would shutdown.

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