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-   -   Thinking about buying a Jeep. Input needed. (http://www.wranglerforum.com/f282/thinking-about-buying-a-jeep-input-needed-16452.html)

sailsurf7713 03-10-2008 03:53 PM

Thinking about buying a Jeep. Input needed.
 
Hey,

New here, but not necessarily to Mopar. Right now I own a 1998 Dodge Dakota with a 3.9 liter. I'm looking for something smaller, a bit more efficient, reliable, easy to wrench on and more offroad capable. The conclusion that I have come to is a Wrangler SE.

I was planning on saving for one, however I have come across a 1999 at a local Jeep Dealership. It has 100,000 miles on it. It is very clean outside, a bit beat up inside (Driver's seat torn), and the undercarriage hints that it may have been garaged (most cars rust like crazy in New England). They are asking 5,988 for it. I'm a DIY mechanic myself, and my friend whom owned a 94 with about 10,000 invested (sadly totaled) have both driven it and agree that it runs very well.

Any other input on the subject would be much appreciated. Comments on the 2.5 and the tranny which backs it. Reliability in general, and gas mileage expected at stock height, stock tires with a good tune and exhaust upgrades would be fantastic, however any input is accepted graciously. Should I go for it?

Thank You,

Tim

parrot head 03-10-2008 04:03 PM

My own personal opinion is tha 4 banger is gutless and does not get much better mileage than the 4.0 I6. Neither one gets good gas mileage. I have had both, and would not get the 4 banger again unless I was planning on using it mainly for crawling. I am sure that everyone that has the 4 and reads this will disagree with me. I am not dogging the 4 on reliability, just a lack of low end torque. Just my $.02:D

Levinoss 03-10-2008 04:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by parrot head (Post 204195)
My own personal opinion is tha 4 banger is gutless and does not get much better mileage than the 4.0 I6. Neither one gets good gas mileage. I have had both, and would not get the 4 banger again unless I was planning on using it mainly for crawling. I am sure that everyone that has the 4 and reads this will disagree with me. I am not dogging the 4 on reliability, just a lack of low end torque. Just my $.02:D

Actually I think more 4 banger owners tend to agree. If you can hold out for a I6 it is worth it in my opinion.



~Lev

Jonny15 03-10-2008 04:42 PM

I am going to have to disagree with you somewhat parrot :D. Although the 2.5 does lack a bit on top, it deffinitely does not lack down low. Offroad you will not be able to tell the difference between a 4 and a 6 as long as you're not doing any mud bogging.

Reliability has been great for me, both the engine and the 5 speed manual ax-5 thats behind it. I have a 99 with the 2.5 and it has 155,000 miles on it and its strong as ever. Gas mileage, as always, depends how you drive it. I have stock size wheels and tires and I drive mine pretty hard and accellerate hard and i almost always get about 18 mpg. If i drove economically i'd get about 20.

I find that even though the 2.5 has a bit of a hard time getting up to highway speed, you can make up for a lot of the power it lacks up top by shifting at higher rpm's. When im trying to get my 2.5 up to highway speed i'll let it rev up to 4500 rpm's before i shift and it usually moves the little engine fairly quickly.

All in all, if you dont mind adjusting your driving habits to accomodate for the 2.5's relative lack of acceleration of the highway i'd say definitely go for it. I'd say definitely go for the manual tranny with the 2.5 though, cause this will allow you to shift at higher rpms and make better power. The 3 speed auto isn't a very good choice for the 2.5.

In town and offroad you really wont be able to tell much difference between the 2.5 and the 4.0. The only real difference between the two comes in on the highway.

Don't be scared of the 2.5!! You can pick up a nice tj with the 2.5 in it for much less than one with a 4.0. Go for it!!

richp 03-10-2008 05:04 PM

The 2.5 w/5 speed is a good combo, granted it won't have the fast acceleration of the 4.0 and on the hiway it has it's limitations but for day to day driving it's a good setup. I would not go bigger than 30x9.50's for tires, it will have 4:10 gears. I use and have used mine for commuting from Pa to NJ, it gets a steady 20mpg either on the hiway or around town as long I don't try to get peak power out of it in the higher RPM's. Keep in mind that the 4 cylinder engine was used for many years in the military line up including the ford build mutts or M151 quarter tons. For many years I dragged a 1/4 ton trailer behind my M151's with all my fire support gear including radios, laser designators, antennas, weapons, ammo, field gear for my two man teams, rations for a week to two weeks, couple of extra 5 gallon gas cans all between resupply in the field on deployments lasting well over a month or longer, you just have to learn how to pack well :D :D :D I also like the ability to work on the 2.5L, plenty of room compared to the 4.0. I have an XJ with the 4.0 also so I know the power difference is there but it's mostly there on top end, I've had the XJ over 120mph, thats just a dream in the TJ.
We've also taken ours on more than a few vacations with my son driving his, my daughter driving her's, usually up to cape cod. Worn seats are easy, just get new seats or new covers.

bpowa 03-10-2008 06:08 PM

get it and supercharge it..

http://www.kennebell.net/supercharge...wrangler40.htm

parrot head 03-10-2008 06:31 PM

All I can say is numbers don't lie: 4.0 I6 181hp@ 4600rpm 222 ftlb @ 2800 rpm VS. 2.5 I4 120 hp@5400 rpm 140 ftlb @ 3500. These figures are for 1997TJs. Please dont get me wrong, not trying to put down the 4bangers but there is a difference, especially when you consider the torque is 80 ftlbs more and peaks at a lower rpm. :rolleyes:

sailsurf7713 03-10-2008 06:57 PM

Thanks for all the quick input and anymore is more than welcome. The jeep I'm referring to in a 2.5 5 speed. I wouldn't consider the automatic with a 2.5. The jeep has a relatively new soft top.

I understand that the 2.5 doesn't put up amazing numbers, however I've driven it on back roads and on the highway because they're both very close to the dealership. Although I couldn't imagine my 4200 lb truck with it (which was an engine option haha), I have to say its probably quicker than my truck with 175 horses and 225 ft. lbs. of torque up to highway speed.

The truck has enough power for me. I'm a conservative driver and do most of my driving on back roads. I do plan on wheeling it, of course, but don't plan on tires larger than 30 inches. I'm more concerned about reliability, as it will be a daily driver, granted I only drive 10,000 miles a year.

simpsonsdotcom 03-10-2008 08:38 PM

I have a 2.5 with an auto engine. I drive as economical and I can and still get an average of 15MPG. the 2.5 with auto is a terrible setup. This is why over the summer I am replacing it with a V8. My father has the 6 with manual, the power is like night and day and he gets about the same MPG as I do

Scoob 03-10-2008 08:49 PM

I have had both. Traded a 98SE in on a 06 Rubi. The 4 banger is a turd on the highway. You could not give me another one. I would not minded it so much if it would have gotten great fuel mileage (for a Jeep). My 4 banger on 31's got .3 miles per gallon better then my Rubi on 33's. I will gladly trade that .3 mpg for the ability to pass grandpa when I want. Instead of having to wait for a downhill or a 3 mile stretch of open road with no traffic.

parrot head 03-10-2008 08:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailsurf7713 (Post 204274)
Thanks for all the quick input and anymore is more than welcome. The jeep I'm referring to in a 2.5 5 speed. I wouldn't consider the automatic with a 2.5. The jeep has a relatively new soft top.

I understand that the 2.5 doesn't put up amazing numbers, however I've driven it on back roads and on the highway because they're both very close to the dealership. Although I couldn't imagine my 4200 lb truck with it (which was an engine option haha), I have to say its probably quicker than my truck with 175 horses and 225 ft. lbs. of torque up to highway speed.

The truck has enough power for me. I'm a conservative driver and do most of my driving on back roads. I do plan on wheeling it, of course, but don't plan on tires larger than 30 inches. I'm more concerned about reliability, as it will be a daily driver, granted I only drive 10,000 miles a year.

The wrangler is no light weight. I don't know the exact weight but I believe it is close to 4000lbs. It may be small but don't forget it has a full frame and two solid axles:punk:

Levinoss 03-10-2008 09:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by parrot head (Post 204354)
The wrangler is no light weight. I don't know the exact weight but I believe it is close to 4000lbs. It may be small but don't forget it has a full frame and two solid axles:punk:

Pretty much my 98 6cyl (pretty much stock) weight is about 3,200k lbs

~Lev

richp 03-10-2008 09:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by parrot head (Post 204354)
The wrangler is no light weight. I don't know the exact weight but I believe it is close to 4000lbs. It may be small but don't forget it has a full frame and two solid axles:punk:

Yup, getting hit by a wrangler in an accident is no picnic, running into one is like running into a large rock, especially if it has real steel bumpers like Warn or other aftermarket bumper makers.
My daughter broke a saturn 4 door in half when it made a oncoming left turn in front of her and she tboned it in the B pillar, bent the warn bumper end, broke the passenger parking light and bent the fender chin where it went thru the passenger front window, pushed that saturn 20 ft sideways into a telephone pole. She was doing 40. A prime example of inertia at work.

richp 03-10-2008 09:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Levinoss (Post 204360)
Pretty much my 98 6cyl (pretty much stock) weight is about 3,200k lbs

~Lev

Sure, but add 30's or 31's, steel bumpers and rocker skids, belly pan and there's an extra 500-600 lbs of mass.

Jonny15 03-10-2008 09:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by parrot head (Post 204263)
All I can say is numbers don't lie: 4.0 I6 181hp@ 4600rpm 222 ftlb @ 2800 rpm VS. 2.5 I4 120 hp@5400 rpm 140 ftlb @ 3500. These figures are for 1997TJs. Please dont get me wrong, not trying to put down the 4bangers but there is a difference, especially when you consider the torque is 80 ftlbs more and peaks at a lower rpm. :rolleyes:


I was never comparing the 4.0 to the 2.5 for low end torque, i just said its not lacking for torque. :D

Levinoss 03-10-2008 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by richp (Post 204368)
Sure, but add 30's or 31's, steel bumpers and rocker skids, belly pan and there's an extra 500-600 lbs of mass.

Yup


~Lev

sailsurf7713 03-10-2008 09:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by parrot head (Post 204354)
The wrangler is no light weight. I don't know the exact weight but I believe it is close to 4000lbs. It may be small but don't forget it has a full frame and two solid axles:punk:

1999 Wrangler SE with Manual Transmission: 120 hp; 3060 lb: 25.5 lb / hp

1998 Dodge Dakota CC with Automatic Transmission: 175 hp; 4077 lb: 23.30 lb/hp + terribly geared 42re tranny + 3.55:1 final drive...I don't feel as if I'll see a big difference.

I've driven the 4.0, I love the 4.0. I wish my truck came with a 4.0 instead of the Magnum 3.9. I feel that at 3060 lb, the 2.5 liter is strong enough with the 4.10:1 final drive to turn 30 inch tires down the highway at 65 mph. I rarely do anymore than that in my truck. I might not get to my destination as fast, but I'm not faced with the possibility of a ticket and I get decent gas mileage.

I'm not talking down about the 4.0 I just feel that the 2.5 is more suited to my driving habits. I just feel that 6000 is a decent price for this vehicle, and I wanted peoples opinions on the reliability of the 2.5 and the wrangler as a whole. I also like the idea of an engine which is much easier to work on, being relatively small.

My ultimate goal is to run a 3.9 liter Cummins 4 cylinder in this thing once out of college or something to that effect and I am also comforted by the great availability of rebuilt 2.5s and 4.0s for under $1500. Right now however I need a good DD and this one's just about spotless underneath (besides the infamous rusting exhaust which will be replaced with a banks header, magnaflow cat, and whatever muffler is the quietest so I don't sound like rice). A little Por 15 here and there and I've got a rig that can last a long time.

I'm talking numbers tomorrow. Thank you very much for the advice. Its much appreciated and hopefully I'll be driving a Wrangler very soon. If this one isn't meant to be, then one of them will.

Appreciate it guys,

-Tim

richp 03-10-2008 09:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailsurf7713 (Post 204389)
1999 Wrangler SE with Manual Transmission: 120 hp; 3060 lb: 25.5 lb / hp

1998 Dodge Dakota CC with Automatic Transmission: 175 hp; 4077 lb: 23.30 lb/hp + terribly geared 42re tranny + 3.55:1 final drive...I don't feel as if I'll see a big difference.

I've driven the 4.0, I love the 4.0. I wish my truck came with a 4.0 instead of the Magnum 3.9. I feel that at 3060 lb, the 2.5 liter is strong enough with the 4.10:1 final drive to turn 30 inch tires down the highway at 65 mph. I rarely do anymore than that in my truck. I might not get to my destination as fast, but I'm not faced with the possibility of a ticket and I get decent gas mileage.

I'm not talking down about the 4.0 I just feel that the 2.5 is more suited to my driving habits. I just feel that 6000 is a decent price for this vehicle, and I wanted peoples opinions on the reliability of the 2.5 and the wrangler as a whole. I also like the idea of an engine which is much easier to work on, being relatively small.

My ultimate goal is to run a 3.9 liter Cummins 4 cylinder in this thing once out of college or something to that effect and I am also comforted by the great availability of rebuilt 2.5s and 4.0s for under $1500. Right now however I need a good DD and this one's just about spotless underneath (besides the infamous rusting exhaust which will be replaced with a banks header, magnaflow cat, and whatever muffler is the quietest so I don't sound like rice). A little Por 15 here and there and I've got a rig that can last a long time.

I'm talking numbers tomorrow. Thank you very much for the advice. Its much appreciated and hopefully I'll be driving a Wrangler very soon. If this one isn't meant to be, then one of them will.

Appreciate it guys,

-Tim

You might want to hunt around a little bit, I picked up 2 97's about 5 years ago and did not pay more then $3,500 for either, I did have to replace two tops though. One 97 I picked up in CT for $3k

Poke around craigslist and autotrader, I found both of my TJ's on auto trader, the 97ZJ I just picked up in October cost me $3K also but I had to spend $700 on new rear gears and locker.

Levinoss 03-10-2008 09:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by richp (Post 204395)
You might want to hunt around a little bit, I picked up 2 97's about 5 years ago and did not pay more then $3,500 for either, I did have to replace two tops though. One 97 I picked up in CT for $3k

Poke around craigslist and autotrader, I found both of my TJ's on auto trader, the 97ZJ I just picked up in October cost me $3K also but I had to spend $700 on new rear gears and locker.

3k for a 97?

When I was hunting the only thing I could find for lower then 5k in texas was a cj or a ratted out YJ.

~Lev

jpdocdave 03-10-2008 10:45 PM

i've had both engines, those who have owned both will usually say take the 4.0. it gets up and goes, has great torque, and feels great when you wanna get on it. i wheeled the 4 banger through every inch of attica, it did great. it sucked on the dunes though. gas mileage is same. 4.0 is worth a harder search, or a little more money, especially if you put 33 inch tires under a 4 cyl.

hey, it did give me cruise control though, use 4th gear to hit 60 or 65, and hit 5th and floor it, cruise control.
seriously though, if you're on the hwy, with big tires goin up hill, you'll have your foot to the floor, downshift, and still slow down. that sucks.

the ax5 trans doesn't do well on the hwy with big tires, i have one sitting in my driveway for proof, fifth gear won't hold up.

bpowa 03-10-2008 11:40 PM

sailsurf: I guess you already made up your mind on the 2.5.. if you like it, then get it. you are comparing your dodge to the wrangler in power.. If it is anywhere near the same power, then you would appreciate the wrangler as is..

with my auto 4sp.. It is weak on the freeway, around 40mph.. I floor it and the auto jumps on 3rd.. 2nd would be better for pickup-speeds.. but I am happy with it.. I cant imagine jeeps being fast.






























ps folks sailsurf is 85 years old.. he cant handle the power of an I6:rofl:j/k

Scoob 03-10-2008 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpdocdave (Post 204506)
hey, it did give me cruise control though, use 4th gear to hit 60 or 65, and hit 5th and floor it, cruise control.

I had to put a cruise control in mine.


TJ SE Cruise Control
http://www.awardsandgifts.com.au/use...se%20Brick.jpg

soupy1957 03-11-2008 06:03 AM

I'm gonna go against the grain here, and recommend the 3.5 v6 on the 08, 2 dr; 6-speed manual (Yes, I'm partial). But AVOID THE "FREEDOM TOP" HARD TOP!!

Buy new, sell dead!!

-Soupy1957

richp 03-11-2008 09:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Levinoss (Post 204406)
3k for a 97?

When I was hunting the only thing I could find for lower then 5k in texas was a cj or a ratted out YJ.

~Lev

Yea, I got lucky, the sellers had no idea what it was worth, they were on vacation when I left them email and voice mail so they called me first 2 weeks later. I had first dibs, showed up with cash the day they got back and the wife was pissed, deal was done while she was still going thru vmail and email. I think she had an inkling of what it was worth :D :D :D Too late mama, I already done bought it....
The second one had a broken sway bar disconnect, it was at a tuner used car dealer, knew what it was right away, they had it for $5500, I made a bunch of left turns so it would make a really bad sound and started talking about new gears, $200 hubs, etc with my son in the back seat, got em down to $3500 :D I consider that one a rescue, it coulda been turned into a dub..

Rickster49426 03-17-2008 04:16 PM

Only A Six Cylinder
 
Anything less than a six cylinder & you will eventually regret your purchase...

richp 03-17-2008 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rickster49426 (Post 207935)
Anything less than a six cylinder & you will eventually regret your purchase...

I have two 4 bangers, my kids have one each, nobody regrets any of them and we've had them for going on 5 years now. I have a 4.0 also and the 2.5 is for sure much better on gas.

dvdlpzus 03-22-2011 12:44 AM

I've never owned the 2.5 but I can tell you why I decided for the 4.0. I was between the 99 4.0 5-speed Sahara I bought or a 00 2.5 5-speed. The 4.0 is much faster to take off and to pass other cars. I will mostly use it for work and back but will take it off-roading a few times and I am sure that the extra power will gratifying. I could not compare the 4.0 vs 2.5 in gas mileage since I've only owned the 4.0 but all reviews I've read seem to get very similar mpgs. To each their own but for me the 4.0 is just what I wanted and see more pros for it than the 2.5.

TJeep98 03-22-2011 01:40 AM

I have a 98TJ SE with the 2.5L It's at about 156k and still running like a top. I get about 18-20mpg depending on how Im driving it.. Very easy to wrench on and everything is so simple and cheap to replace. I plan on driving it til it dies (which I dont for see happening anytime soon) then put a 4bt I4 diesel in it, thats what my plan is ;) I say go for it man, the price seems right.

Sherpa 03-22-2011 03:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailsurf7713 (Post 204389)
I feel that at 3060 lb, the 2.5 liter is strong enough with the 4.10:1 final drive to turn 30 inch tires down the highway at 65 mph.

It is certainly sufficient to do that. I have owned two SE 5-speeds, and I installed 31" MT/Rs on both of them. They drove down the highway just fine (though steep hills sometimes required a downshift, especially if there was a serious headwind at the same time). No big deal--you'll get there.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailsurf7713 (Post 204389)
I just feel that 6000 is a decent price for this vehicle, and I wanted peoples opinions on the reliability of the 2.5 and the wrangler as a whole. I also like the idea of an engine which is much easier to work on, being relatively small.

For a clean, serviced, smog tested and ready to go vehicle at a dealer, it sounds like a fine price. The Wranglers certainly are durable vehicles, and they are easy to work on. Your plan is well thought-out.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailsurf7713 (Post 204389)
(besides the infamous rusting exhaust which will be replaced with a banks header, magnaflow cat, and whatever muffler is the quietest so I don't sound like rice)

The header will essentially be a waste of money, so don't replace yours unless it has a genuine problem (cracked, etc). As for a high flow cat and muffler, well, it's your vehicle so do what you want. I wanted my current Wrangler to be louder, so just last week I had my exhaust man cut out the stock muffler and graft in a Magnaflow straight-through replacement (the rest of the exhaust system was left untouched). I was let down, as I think the result is still too quiet! Even funnier, my wife also thinks it is still too quiet. So don't worry about sounding ricey with a muffler upgrade--you won't.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailsurf7713 (Post 204389)
hopefully I'll be driving a Wrangler very soon.

I wish you the best in your hunt, Tim. Life with no Wrangler is no life at all.

Unico 03-22-2011 08:04 AM

I too am currently Jeep-less and looking. :(

I must admit that the SE are quite seductive. They are generally a bit more plentiful around ion my area, last longer at dealers, and best of all, FAR CHEAPER!

However.....

I have owned an I6. I have driven the 4. I know for a fact if I was to buy the 4 I would always be annoyed at myself. For my tastes it really, really, really lacks power.

I would highly suggest going out and test driving both the 4 and the 6 to make sure you would be happy. Once you buy one it'll be with you for some time.

((As a final note, I am still looking for a 6. Been months now. =( Rainy season is coming too!))


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