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Old 05-25-2007, 08:01 AM   #1
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thoughts and opinions on buying a 4cyl TJ?

hey, new guy here, looking to hopefully get a nice TJ for the old lady for a winter/extra vehicle. my buddy has an 01 with the 4.0 and it drives nice, by no means a race car but seems to have enough power but most of the TJ's that are in the price range im looking at (6-8K at most) are 4cyl's. so what im wondering is what do you guys think about the 2.5's? are they as reliable and do they have enough power to handle a little larger than stock tire? ive heard they come with 4.11's unlike the 4.0's is this true? probably would put 31's on it, maybe 33's eventually if we lifted it (most likely would regear for 33's). also, what is the gas milage like with the 4 banger? and are there any common problems with them or anything i should look for when shopping around? gonna try to go look at a couple this weekend so i can drive it and get a feel for it myself but if anybodys got advice or opinions on them id very much appreciate it, thanks guys!

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Old 05-25-2007, 08:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foreman00081 View Post
hey, new guy here, looking to hopefully get a nice TJ for the old lady for a winter/extra vehicle. my buddy has an 01 with the 4.0 and it drives nice, by no means a race car but seems to have enough power but most of the TJ's that are in the price range im looking at (6-8K at most) are 4cyl's. so what im wondering is what do you guys think about the 2.5's? are they as reliable and do they have enough power to handle a little larger than stock tire? ive heard they come with 4.11's unlike the 4.0's is this true? probably would put 31's on it, maybe 33's eventually if we lifted it (most likely would regear for 33's). also, what is the gas milage like with the 4 banger? and are there any common problems with them or anything i should look for when shopping around? gonna try to go look at a couple this weekend so i can drive it and get a feel for it myself but if anybodys got advice or opinions on them id very much appreciate it, thanks guys!

2.5L/4 banger mileage is comparable to the 4.0 litre, give or take a MPG or 2. While it should be a more 'efficient' engine, it takes more effort to push the brick that we love to call a Jeep around.

The older 2.5L's came with 4.10 standard gearing. I think the 2.4L newer TJ's have different gearing but am not certain on that one. 31's would be 'okay' on the 2.5L with the 4.10's, esp around town. If it will be driven on the highway, the performance is gonna suck, regardless of tire size. If you are going to put on 33's, I'd recommend 4.88 gearing. If you plan to spin 33's and go offroad, I'd SERIOUSLY consider upgrading the rear axle to at least a Super 35 setup with stronger shafts (and a rear locker). If you can afford it, a D44 or 8.8 would be a good swap, but for the 4 cyl, the Super 35 seems like a good match, to me anyway.

As far as reliability, it is a very solid engine and easy to work on.

When I got my 97 TJ, I got the 2.5L. I would ONLY consider a manual with that engine. It will be very spartan inside.

This is what mine looked like the day I bought it:



Here it is today...





So you CAN do quite a bit to it.

BTW, the 33's with 4.88 gearing is a decent enough combo on the highway. It is about stock, and I find myself downshifting on the uphills about the same as stock, or perhaps even a bit less, but still, don't expect any speed records with that setup.

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Old 05-25-2007, 08:23 AM   #3
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Just a side note... I usually stay away from the first couple of years after a redesign to let them "work out the bugs". I would recommend you go a 99 or newer. You will get used to the amount of power, or lack thereof with a 4 banger. It's really not that bad.
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:21 AM   #4
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Dare, I normally agree with that, but my 97 has been damn near problem free (other than the manifold and cat). It really had no electronic options to screw up.
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:29 AM   #5
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Well, that was meant as a general rule. Everyone knows jeeps are awesome.
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Old 05-25-2007, 05:08 PM   #6
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I got mine a little over a month ago. the only problems I have noticed that have warrented an upgrade so far is the following:

1. the manifold- upgrade to a exaust system, full header back.
2. the radiator- jerry stated that radiatorbarn.com has some decent upgraded 2row for about $150 shipped. the stock one has a plastic top piece that sorta clamps on to the body of it.
3. the axle tube seals are garbage broke on the third wheelin' trip, put in some better onew with a zert fitting for grease.

although the 4cyl doesnt have very much power, it will get you around and hold its own on the trail. just make sure that you get the 5 speed.
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Old 05-25-2007, 07:57 PM   #7
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Just a thought but I have never heard anyone with a 6 wish that they had the 4.But several with the 4 wish they had the 6.Bill
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:02 PM   #8
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nicely said bill
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:02 PM   #9
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I agree with BillG, however while your using all that gas in a 6 my wallet stays pretty fluffy for other acessories.
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:49 PM   #10
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fox what kind of mpg are you getting.I get 16-17 mpg with 4.10s,33x12.50s and a 5 speed.I have gotten as good as 20 a couple of times but that is not the norm.After a day on the trail I have gotten as low as 9.I don't think the 4 gets any better mpgs than the 6 when you put bigger tires,a lift,winch,bumpers etc. on them.Bill
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Old 05-25-2007, 10:58 PM   #11
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you know I've been wondering that too latley, and I will have to get back to you on that. with all the fixs I've been doing latley (exhaust leak, axle problems, etc...) I haven't really looked at it since I picked it up. but I just filled up last night and I will let you know again when I have to fill up. I have the stock gears with 31X11.50's and a 5 speed, but keep in mind I have a led foot!
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Old 05-26-2007, 02:34 AM   #12
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i have a 99 with a 2.5 and all around i's say its a pretty damn good engine. I have found only time i wished i had a bit more power and that was when i was carrying 4 passengers and some cargo (doesnt happen often) while trying to accelerate to about 75 or 80 mph on the highway. Besides for that one specific time i have found its very adequite in every other situation. I get about 18 to 19 mpg with mine, but i also drive a bit aggresive. If you like the jeep and the price is right i say go ahead and get the 2.5. Like everyone else said though make sure you get the 5 speed manual!!!
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Old 05-26-2007, 01:15 PM   #13
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Traded my 98 4 Cyl. in on my 06 Rubi (nov. 05) and could not be happier.

Offroad the 4 banger on 31's (4.10 gearing) was just fine. I could go anywhere that people with 31's and a 6 cyl could go.
On Road, the 4 banger on 31's blows chunks. Any kind of strong headwind and your downshifting, any kind of hill your downshifting, wanna TRY and pass somebody your downshifting and you can forget about doing any 2 above at the same time.
I still loved that Jeep, but I dont miss it.

As far as gas mileage. My 6 cylinder Rubi on 33's gets better gas mileage then my 4 cylinder tj got on 31's. Both geared 4.10
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Old 05-29-2007, 08:27 AM   #14
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Scoob, I'd agree with those assessments.

When I bought mine, it was originally for my daughter with zero intention of offroad use. So the budget and needs pointed me to a 4 cyl (6 cyl's in Cali in about the same condition were quite a bit more than I paid for the 4).

That budget savings allowed me to do a few mods right away: new top, seat covers to cover the vinyl, 30" tires, new wheels, and a few other things.

I wish it had more power on the highway, but my wheeling spots are at most 3-4 hours away on the highway, so I can handle the occasional highway jaunt in it.
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:06 AM   #15
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We have a few, three actually, all 2.5L 5 speeds in the family, all rolling on 30's, they all get the same 20-21mpg, do fine on the interstate doing 60-65 in 4th, flats you use 5th. Easy to work on, tons of room in the engine bay. I myself drive a 98XJ and a 97TJ, I alternate every week between the two. Other than the XJ being a bit more comfortable the TJ is preferred. Generally the top comes down on friday and goes up on monday morning when I park it at the train station in NJ. At 180,000mi, radiator, water pump and just put a new starter in last weekend. I'm going to be doing ball joints next weekend, I bought it at around 130,000mi for $2K, put wet okole seat covers and a new soft top on it, ditched the steel wheels with HT tires and put canyons with 30" bfg/at/ko's on it.
It also gets a new stereo system next month, my cassettes are about all dead or dying.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:34 AM   #16
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Once I quit trying to drive my 4 banger like something it is not (it is not a racecar), then I did fine.

I run 33's. It is slow, but I'm not in a hurry, I'm in a Jeep.
Someday I'd like to regear, but the stock gears do just fine. MPG is somewhere between 15 - 19 depending on driving conditions.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:48 AM   #17
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Around town and on the trail, the 2.5L is fine. But on the highway, the 2.5L is just plain lacking and it'll make trying to stay up with traffic doing 70 mph a frustrating thing.

But if you end up with the 2.5L, make sure to avoid the automatic transmission. I am a HUGE fan of automatic transmissions and plan to convert my TJ's 5-speed to an automatic but I have the 4.0L engine. The 2.5L engine, on the other hand, is just a complete dog with an automatic.

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