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Old 01-22-2014, 10:22 AM   #1
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4 Cylinder Opinions

I'm thinking about buying a 1991 Wrangler. It only has 160,000 on it and has been well kept. The only thing that is leaving me debating is the fact that it is a 4 banger. Any opinions on these motors? Thanks for the input!

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Old 01-22-2014, 10:45 AM   #2
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Well. You can choose to look at the positives or negatives.

The 2.5 is a great motor. If I would have found the right Jeep I would have gotten a 2.5. Condition/Price had to be right though. The gearing makes up for a bit of the loss of power off road. Specially when in 4lo.

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Old 01-22-2014, 12:12 PM   #3
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Well. You can choose to look at the positives or negatives.

The 2.5 is a great motor. If I would have found the right Jeep I would have gotten a 2.5. Condition/Price had to be right though. The gearing makes up for a bit of the loss of power off road. Specially when in 4lo.
X-2 The 4 cylinder will go just about anywhere just not as fast.
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:17 PM   #4
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I wanted to clarify something.

Most of the down falls of the 2.5 come to play on the highway, uphill, and passing situations. Off road, in 4lo, it can do anything the 4.0 can.

One downside is the AX5 trans. One condition I had if it was a 4cyl was nothing over 31 inch tires. I see to many lifted 4 cyl with 35s for sale with trans problems...well..duh...
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:28 PM   #5
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My 91 has a 2.5. When I got it I thought was a real dog. However, with a solid exhaust and a good tune up the performance is much better. It's still not a speed demon, but it was never meant to be.
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Old 01-22-2014, 01:26 PM   #6
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Thanks, guys!
He wants about 3 grand for it and says he has a lot of extras that he'll throw in.

Here are some pics he sent me.

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Old 01-22-2014, 01:36 PM   #7
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I have a 4 banger and like others said the highway and passing abilities are laughable. With that said though, I have pulled out bushes/trees in the lawn, as well as other cars that were stuck in the snow. Def. do a tune up and run some seafoam through it. When I first got mine it was running like crap, did the tune up it sounded and responded better as well as gave me some more power.
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Old 01-22-2014, 01:41 PM   #8
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How well does it get up to speed (even if it's just 65 mph) when getting onto the highway? Is merging with traffic an issue?
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:31 PM   #9
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The 2.5 is a fine motor. They'll run forever. A power house they are not.

A 5 speed 2.5 will respond far beter than an automatic equipped 2.5. I can get up to highway speeds just fine. in 4 low the difference between a 4.0 & 2.5 is almost nothing. Unless you have some monster axles & tires.
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Old 01-22-2014, 06:25 PM   #10
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I have a 95 2.5l 5 speed with 32x11.50 tires. It does ok taking off. The problem is you have to down shift a lot from 5 the to 4 the going up hills. 5 gear is 60 mph and over on flat ground. The other day it was very windy everytime I hit 60 to 65 and shifted to 5 th I would lose speed. But that's only happened twice in 5 months with extreme wind. I have the stock 410 gears. So with stock tires it would be a lot better or get a set of 488 gears with 33in tires.
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Old 01-22-2014, 06:37 PM   #11
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I keep mine in 4th gear until I hit about 60-65mph then shift into 5th (and honestly I rarley shift into 5th). Like MudLife said 5th gear is for flat ground (or down hill). I've had mine up to 80mph before. 70mph it gets very shaky, once you hit 75 it smooths out, but make sure you do it on a clear day, Jeeps don't handle wind too well as they get thrown side to side easily. Also if you are tempting a hill make sure you lay into the throttle approaching the hill because you will lose momentum depending on the hill size. There's a hill by me that I hit the base at about 50-60mph at the bottom and I downshift to 3rd pedal to the metal and am going about 35 with traffic on my butt by the time I hit the peak lol. I have a warning sticker on my Jeep though, it says "2.5L Low Output". 4 banger shouldn't be a make it or break it. If mine was a 6 banger it would be better, but 4 works just fine you just have to figure out how to drive it to keep up w/ traffic.

Plus you can't beat getting 22mpg highway, which I have done before
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:44 PM   #12
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I appreciate all the replies, fellas. Looks like I'm leaning more to pulling the trigger, pending a test drive.
How'd you get it up to 22 mpg?
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Old 01-22-2014, 08:55 PM   #13
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Looks good...hard doors and top help sweeten the deal. The 2.5 is what it is...slow but reliable. It does what it needs to do and quite well. However, if you drive it and are unhappy with the lack of power then dont buy it! You will never be happy.
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Old 01-23-2014, 05:36 AM   #14
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I appreciate all the replies, fellas. Looks like I'm leaning more to pulling the trigger, pending a test drive.
How'd you get it up to 22 mpg?
Keep the pedal steady at 60mph and coasting down hills in 5th gear. Note: this was on a highway on a road trip, you will not get that kind of mileage around town.
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:10 PM   #15
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I like my 2.5. It feels very similar to the 76 CJ5 straight 6 that I fell in love with many years ago. I actually prefer its nimbleness around town to the front heavy 79 CJ7 w/304 ci. that I had previously. (Still miss that old beast though).
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Old 01-23-2014, 05:55 PM   #16
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Wow looks like mine! Except I was looking for the 2.5 and ended up with a 4.0. Buy it!
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:35 PM   #17
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I'd buy it for sure if rust isn't an issue and it idles ok and has working 4x4. I've had my 2.5 for years with minimal issues and just drove it 2k miles across country. If it sucks you could always part it out and make your $ back easily.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:55 AM   #18
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I went for the four due to the fact that I feel this is the engine a jeep (CJ,YJ,TJ) was meant to have. The WILLYS had 4's. That is how they were originally designed, and how they should be. If you want speed, power and handling, buy a Porsche. Just my $0.02.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:07 AM   #19
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Thanks again, guys. The whole "4 cylinders don't have enough power" line seems to be an exaggeration based on all the good reviews y'all are giving on the 2.5. God willing, I'll be buying it soon. Just wondering, how difficult would it be to swap out the 2.5 for the 4.0 if I ever decided to?
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:34 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by seandaniel_7 View Post
Thanks again, guys. The whole "4 cylinders don't have enough power" line seems to be an exaggeration based on all the good reviews y'all are giving on the 2.5. God willing, I'll be buying it soon. Just wondering, how difficult would it be to swap out the 2.5 for the 4.0 if I ever decided to?
I'll give you a different opinion...I think the 2.5L is underpowered for a built Jeep. Many, many others think the same way - just look at all the different engine swap threads. Lots of people upgrade from their 2.5L to Ford V8s, Hemis, SBCs or 4.0Ls. No one that I've seen has ever done an engine swap down to a 2.5L.

The 2.5L is mostly acceptable when you have small tires, stock lift, etc. I bought my Jeep like this (all stock, 2.5L)

Larger tires, body lifts, suspension lifts, armor, winches, etc...all increase HP requirements. Either from adding weight, wind resistance or rolling resistance. After several mods, the 2.5L couldn't keep up.

A regear can help, but they are fairly expensive. Rather than regearing, I am going to put my $ into a 4.0L swap.

Again, this is my opinion on my Jeep for the way I like to drive, and for the performance level that I expect. The other posters here that like the 2.5L have different Jeeps and different expectations, and different recommendations - there's no right or wrong.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:36 AM   #21
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Here's a great 2.5 to 4.0L swap thread...

Leans’ 4.0L swap is complete with pics! - JeepForum.com

You have to replace the engine, replace the transmission and replace the input gear on the transfer case. Weld on motor mounts, do some engine wiring, etc.

I should add that all this gets pretty expensive - you will probably be better off financially if you just buy a 4.0L Jeep.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:06 PM   #22
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I have a '91 yj with 2.5 and I'm totally happy. Like it's already been said here, It's not the best highway vehicle around, but I travel almost 400 miles once or twice a month and I can hold 70/75mph most of the way--when the wind is right and of course it's mostly all flat between here and Reno. I go over over Donner summit occasionally (4000ft to over 7000ft)and I can hold 35/40mph in 3rd gear going up the steep Reno side and 45/50 in 4th gear going up the less steep California side. My '91 also had 164,000 miles on it, but a lot of chipped paint on front like it had been towed some of the time. The body and under carriage had no damage at all, none! I paid $3500 for it last year. I'm happy with mine, but of course the decision is all yours.

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