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Old 01-05-2013, 02:34 PM   #1
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Newbs SO has some questions already!!! ;)

Hello gang,
New to the jeep family via my SO and we have some questions already
I'm not Jeep savvy and my SO just bought a 97 Wrangler 2.5 auto. It's physically in great shape with little to no rust, hard top, a few bits need to be addressed but the 1st and foremost is going to be milking what ever we can out of this platform on a budget. She currently commutes 40+ miles 1 way 3 times a week (mostly highway) but is going to be making a change and taking a job locally. She is very letdown by the "lack" (to be kind) of power/zip it has. We are looking into options and trying to way them out. We are looking into Internet available threads on different options. Seeing this is a "budget" project (I will be doing most of the work as I am fairly mechanically inclined).
My quick questions looking for simple opinions and will pursue more info when we pick our avenue so thanks to all for input!

Is upgrading items on a 2.5 (cai, header, chip, TBS, and whatever else helps) more productive then a 4 litter swap??

Is a 98 Cherokee 4.0 liter and auto trans a better option??

Is ^^ a direct and easy swap? (We found a complete 98 Cherokee 160k mile 4.0 litter auto with bad fuel pump for $700. Good body, good 4x4, fairly new tires.)

Thanks again for any input. We've been looking through different threads and finding varying opinions. This will not be anything more then a daily. May never see "off road" use or anything more then a trip to the fishing hole to wet a line.
I hope this is enough info....

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Old 01-05-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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Stock tires?

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Old 01-05-2013, 03:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Datguy510
Hello gang,
New to the jeep family via my SO and we have some questions already
I'm not Jeep savvy and my SO just bought a 97 Wrangler 2.5 auto. It's physically in great shape with little to no rust, hard top, a few bits need to be addressed but the 1st and foremost is going to be milking what ever we can out of this platform on a budget. She currently commutes 40+ miles 1 way 3 times a week (mostly highway) but is going to be making a change and taking a job locally. She is very letdown by the "lack" (to be kind) of power/zip it has. We are looking into options and trying to way them out. We are looking into Internet available threads on different options. Seeing this is a "budget" project (I will be doing most of the work as I am fairly mechanically inclined).
My quick questions looking for simple opinions and will pursue more info when we pick our avenue so thanks to all for input!

Is upgrading items on a 2.5 (cai, header, chip, TBS, and whatever else helps) more productive then a 4 litter swap??

Is a 98 Cherokee 4.0 liter and auto trans a better option??

Is ^^ a direct and easy swap? (We found a complete 98 Cherokee 160k mile 4.0 litter auto with bad fuel pump for $700. Good body, good 4x4, fairly new tires.)

Thanks again for any input. We've been looking through different threads and finding varying opinions. This will not be anything more then a daily. May never see "off road" use or anything more then a trip to the fishing hole to wet a line.
I hope this is enough info....
Engine swap from a tj would be your best bet. and are you sure your ready for the headache that comes with a engine swap?
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:34 PM   #4
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Stock tires now. She would like a lil bigger tire but nothing crazy. I can handle a swap but would like to go the most straight forward rout as possible. So the Same year Cherokee to Wrangler swap is not a direct one??
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:37 PM   #5
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First, welcome to the forum, and welcome to the world of Jeeps! Before you swap engine & transmission, maybe look into trading for a TJ with a 4.0. My guess would be it would be cheaper and less headache's in the long run. Just a thought, do what works for you guys.

For some quick and easy changes that may help with the mileage; change the motor oil and differential oils to full synthetic. These will make a difference, especially in the winter, with start-up and rolling. Also change the spark plugs, rotor, cap and spark plug wires.

Also consider changing the coolant and flushing the cooling system, including the heater core. This is more of "just because" project because it's a new to you vehicle. Use distilled water when mixing your coolant.

As far as bigger tires, 31's won't make that much difference in your Jeeps proformance, but will make a huge difference in the looks. I run Goodyear Wrangler Authorty's on my Jeep. I think they are the best all around tire I have ever ran, plus they are reasonably priced. They are only available at Walmart.

Have fun! Take all you read here, and see what works for you, and then do what will be best for you.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:50 PM   #6
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It kind of sounds like maybe you should think real hard about using this as a DD. jeeps are not fast and if you are used to a car you will never be happy. In My opinion chips, headers cold air intake and all that stuff are a waste of money. If they could squeeze out more power the factory would have used them. I would not do an engine swap. Too big a hassle. I know there are guys on here who can do them blindfolded but I would suggest looking at something more practical and keep the jeep for fun. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:54 PM   #7
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First.... I love Jeeps.
Second....I really love MY Jeep.
Third....I think Jeeps are awesome General Purpose Vehicles (Yes, I know thats not the origin of the name)

But....I do not think it is the BEST vehicles for every scenario.
For example...lets say you need to tow a pontoon boat....Jeep isnt the best option.
Let say you need to make a 1/4 mile in under 10-seconds...Jeep isnt the best option.
How about you have a family of 8 and one vehicle...Jeep isnt the best option.
But it is still a great vehicle.

With that groundwork being laid....

an 80 mile daily commute in a 2.5L Wrangler...on a tight budget....Jeep is not your best option. You can tinker here and there and drop hundreds of dollars in mods to make it better....but its still not made for your mission. It CAN do it. But neither you nore the jeep will be very happy.

Like my pappy used to tell me (pretend I'm saying this with a Texas Twang) "Boy, you can force you foot into a shoe that too small...but you aint gonna have much fun. Try one that fits." He used to apply that little bit of folksyness on most every lesson he'd teach me. My own little red-neck yoda.

Consider a different vehicle until the budget makes the Jeep more appropiate...and thus more enjoyable. Otherwise you may find that you Wrangler is digging a hole in your pocket that it cant climb out of.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:59 PM   #8
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For me the only thing wrong with the deal is that you said 2.5 and automatic transmission in the same sentence. In my opinion either one is just fine, but only without the other. It'd probably be an easier and cheaper scenario to sell it and either get a manual 2.5, or get an automatic 4.0. I'm sure someone has a better idea than this, but I'm putting it in the hat anyhow.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:49 PM   #9
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The 2.5l is a great around town engine, just not so much on the highway. Since she is going to be working closer soon anyway I would just gut it out until she changes jobs.
Or you could volunteer to swap cars with her until she has a shorter commute!
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoe
The 2.5l is a great around town engine, just not so much on the highway. Since she is going to be working closer soon anyway I would just gut it out until she changes jobs.
Or you could volunteer to swap cars with her until she has a shorter commute!
The volunteering is already being taken care of although my 02 Xterra SE SC is a gas HAWG its a nice comfortable highway ride.

So are there no real gains to be had in adding a Cold air intake, header/exhaust, chip, or the tb spacer?? I have seen the improvements/differences they make on other platforms and engines (4 and 6 cyl). We are not looking for a monster. She just wants more bottom end. She wants to be able to "get out of her own way". It is pretty doggie not to mention she is swapping into her Wrangler from an 07 civic SI 6 speed manual.
I have found a CAI and Header with complete exhaust on CL for $300 and her manifold already has an exhaust leak. (<<Just tossing that in there)
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:37 PM   #11
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I did not see most of the above replies prior to my last post. Let me read through them. Sorry..
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bgtklbx View Post
It kind of sounds like maybe you should think real hard about using this as a DD. jeeps are not fast and if you are used to a car you will never be happy. In My opinion chips, headers cold air intake and all that stuff are a waste of money. If they could squeeze out more power the factory would have used them. I would not do an engine swap. Too big a hassle. I know there are guys on here who can do them blindfolded but I would suggest looking at something more practical and keep the jeep for fun. Just my 2 cents.
This is some real solid advice. As a 20 year mechanic I would say strongly consider this.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:25 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone for their input/opinions!! There are allot of issues that need addressed on the TJ before an engine swap. The muffler was all but gone as well as a exhaust manifold leak. She had a new muffler and tail put on today and said that alone made a huge difference. I'll do a tune up (plugs, wires, cap, rotor, oil change) and see how she likes that. I'll address the mani as soon as I have the time. VC gasket is leaking as well.
Any recommendations on oil, plugs, gap?? These items will be address tonight or tomorrow. Thanks again!!
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:35 PM   #14
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You are not going to realize any noticeable gains installing so called performance upgrades. Either sell the rig and buy a 6 cylinder or live with the 4 cylinders shortcomings.

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