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Old 02-17-2008, 05:00 PM   #1
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Is this worth while?

Hey all,
I am kind of new to this board and was looking for a little bit of help. I have loved jeeps since I was little and finally may have a project. My father has a 98 tj 2.5L auto with about 140,000 miles on it. He is looking to get a more practical vehicle and is willing to give to me for nothing. I have wanted a jeep for a while now and i was wondering if you all thought it was worth investing in. I would like to do the occasional offroading (maybe 1-2 times a month) and for hunting and fishing trips as well as daily driving. I currently have a daily driver so I dont need it to be road ready right away. It runs good for the most part(was never offroaded) and has mostly highway miles but I would probably rebuild it or swap in a 4.0 if it wasnt too much money. The transmission is garbage as most of you know and i would be swapping that to either an ax-5 or ax-15 if the 4.0 swap was done. The body is in decent shape, just a little surface rust around the tailgate and the front fender. The interior is in really good shape nothing needs to be replaced. It has both a hard top and soft top both of which are in great shape as well. I guess my question is do you all think given the shape that its in and the possible difficulty and expense of doing a complete mechanical rebuild/transmission swap or a complete driveline swap(4.0L) is it worth it?

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Old 02-17-2008, 05:15 PM   #2
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Well, a Jeep that is free is always the right price!

The rebuild won't be simple or particularly cheap, but if you can find a donor Wrangler or Cherokee of similar year w/ the 4.0 in it, preferably one that has been lightly wrecked or rusty but still low miles, for cheap, it should give you most if not all of the parts you need for the swap.

Since the original Jeep sounds pretty clean, especially for the price, even if you spend a few $$ on the donor, you should come out ok.

Good luck and welcome aboard!

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And the most important safety, I never put my booger hook on the bang switch unless I'm ready to fire.
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:25 PM   #3
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Well, a Jeep that is free is always the right price!

The rebuild won't be simple or particularly cheap, but if you can find a donor Wrangler or Cherokee of similar year w/ the 4.0 in it, preferably one that has been lightly wrecked or rusty but still low miles, for cheap, it should give you most if not all of the parts you need for the swap.

Since the original Jeep sounds pretty clean, especially for the price, even if you spend a few $$ on the donor, you should come out ok.

Good luck and welcome aboard!
So would you say it would be more worth it cost wise and practicality wise to just swap in a 4.0 with an ax-15 than to rebuild the 4cylinder and replace the 3 speed auto with an ax-5?
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:32 PM   #4
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Beast, read over this thread and think why he is doing it, that should answer your question.

http://www.wranglerforum.com/tj-jeep...ect-13282.html
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:33 PM   #5
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i wouldnīt replace the auto tranny. off the road itīs much better with n auto than with a manual tranny.
put in a 4.0L instead of the 4cyl and it will be ok.
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:47 PM   #6
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i wouldnīt replace the auto tranny. off the road itīs much better with n auto than with a manual tranny.
put in a 4.0L instead of the 4cyl and it will be ok.
Correct me if i am wrong but isnt the automatic matted with the 4cyl different from the one matted with the 6 cyl?
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:50 PM   #7
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Correct me if i am wrong but isnt the automatic matted with the 4cyl different from the one matted with the 6 cyl?
good question, i donīt know...
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:15 PM   #8
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geez boys...small block that lit'l sucker !!
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:17 PM   #9
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Beast, read over this thread and think why he is doing it, that should answer your question.

http://www.wranglerforum.com/tj-jeep...ect-13282.html
Great, this is exactly NOT the problem he is dealing with here.

The OP was just wondering if it's worth swapping a 4.0 into a free Jeep, what you posted a link to is a cross generational body swap onto a different rolling chassis, far more complicated than a simple re-power, even if he is talking about going from a 4 cyl to a 4.0 I6.
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And the most important safety, I never put my booger hook on the bang switch unless I'm ready to fire.
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:21 PM   #10
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4.0 swap will probally need all the wiring computer and all. I would swap the trans too.
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:32 PM   #11
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to be honest i think swapping a 4.0 in for the 2.5 is more trouble than its worth. If you're thinking about swapping engines at least drop a v8 in there to make it worth your while.

If i was you i'd just rebuild or replace the 2.5 if its in bad shape and hook up an ax-5 to it if you really want the manual tranny. Is the 2.5 really in bad shape and in need of a rebuild? Its only got 140,000 miles on it, most 2.5's if well cared for will last well beyond 140k.

Or you could forget all of this, take the jeep and sell it, then use that money and the money you were gonna buy the 4.0 and ax-15 with and put it towards a wrangler with the 4.0 already in it to save you all the trouble of doing a swap.
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:33 PM   #12
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Depending on where you live I would consider selling the 2.5L and finding a 4.0L TJ, the swap from 2.5 to 4.0 is alot of work and really needs a donor vehicle.
The 2.5 auto is, to me, is not one of my prime choices but then I've never owned an auto until we got the 97ZJ.
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:48 PM   #13
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to be honest i think swapping a 4.0 in for the 2.5 is more trouble than its worth. If you're thinking about swapping engines at least drop a v8 in there to make it worth your while.

If i was you i'd just rebuild or replace the 2.5 if its in bad shape and hook up an ax-5 to it if you really want the manual tranny. Is the 2.5 really in bad shape and in need of a rebuild? Its only got 140,000 miles on it, most 2.5's if well cared for will last well beyond 140k.

Or you could forget all of this, take the jeep and sell it, then use that money and the money you were gonna buy the 4.0 and ax-15 with and put it towards a wrangler with the 4.0 already in it to save you all the trouble of doing a swap.
The motor runs fine, doesnt burn any oil, does have the notorious exhaust manifold leak though. I wouldnt mind keeping the 2.5L in there as it would be less work but my main issue is finding a decent transmission for it. I am not a huge fan of the ax-5 and an automatic really bogs down that motor. Are there any other worthwhile substitutes either manual or automatic to bolt behind the 2.5?
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Old 02-17-2008, 11:57 PM   #14
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Well i would say fix the exhaust manifold leak, keep the 2.5, and find a new tranny for it, or sell it and buy a tj with a 4.0 already in it if you want one.

Whats wrong with the ax-5? It's treated me well after all the abuse i put it through.
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Old 02-18-2008, 12:04 AM   #15
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There is nothing wrong with the AX transmissions, my AX15 in my 98XJ has close to 400,000 mi on it, BUT I also have never put anything but GL3/4 lube in it either. The problems I am convinced started when Chrysler published the wrong lube in the factory service manuals and specified GL5, THAT caused the problems though they would never admit it. I was lucky enough that I put Mobil-1 gear oil in mine in late 98 11 months after I bought it. At that time Mobil-1 gear oil was GL3 rated and I bought 2 cases of it. About 3 months later the stuff hit the fan about the error, I think by then alot of AX's were damaged both by the factory and by dealers/people following the directions in the FSM's and putting in GL5 which ate the synchros.
One of my 97TJ's, 2.5L 5 speed had never had the tranny fluid changed till I got it and even now, 4 years later, the transmission still shifts slick but it's got the old Mobil-1 which out of the two cases is now used up. My AX15 in the XJ is running Redline MT90 and shifts just as well as it did with the Mobil-1. I have a case of MT90 for this spring when I do all the fluids in all the jeeps to get them 'in sync' with each other. Reminds me, gotta go stick those 4 bottles of Kendall friction modifier in an airtight container, they're stinking up the cellar...
The issue you may have with converting over to manual on yours is that you are going to need a new ECU, your auto has a controller that talks to the ECU, the manual tranny does not. If you change the tranny to a manual your check engine light is going to bitch at you and may not even run or start.

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