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Old 08-13-2011, 06:16 PM
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4 banger question

I've had three Wranglers but they were all 4.0 Now that I'm looking around again it seems the best deals I'm finding are 4 cyl. I know the 4.0 goes on and on and on but what about the 2.5? Other than the obvious lack of power, which I could somewhat overcome with deeper gearing, what are other things about it I will hate...or like? should I be that picky about wanting a 4.0?

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Old 08-13-2011, 06:24 PM   #2
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I hated my 2.5L even with stock tires. It was pathetic on the highway. It got worse mileage that my 4.0L. I will never go back. I would maybe take. 2.5L if I had a trailer to tow it on. I will say it is okay around town and on the trail though.

As someone who used to have a 4.0L, I don't think you'll really like the 2.5L.

Also, glad to see you're looking at wranglers again Gus . I knew you wouldn't be able to stay away. I saw an LJ almost exactly like yours a week ago.

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Old 08-13-2011, 06:30 PM   #3
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Oh and another note. I've seen how you drive your jeep. You don't abuse it, but you sure use it. You're going to end up with a D35 with a 2.5L. Even if you say you won't wheel it, we both know you will.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:32 PM
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Well it won't be a daily driver, just for off road and a little topless fun on nice days. With 33s and a 5 speed I could gear it to 4.88 to make up some power but I'm mostly concerned with the longevity and reliability of the 2.5.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:36 PM
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Oh and another note. I've seen how you drive your jeep. You don't abuse it, but you sure use it. You're going to end up with a D35 with a 2.5L. Even if you say you won't wheel it, we both know you will.
Haha..yep..but it won't stay stock. I will put in a G2 D44 with chromolys and a Detroit before I do any serious wheeling. Front 30 will get a TruTrac and I'll install the DPG Super Ultimate suspension kit and 33" BFG KM2s.
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:39 PM   #6
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I went with a 2.5l since they were much more affordable and the 4.11 gearing is nice! There is not a huge difference in overall power output between the 2.5 and 4.0. I have nothing bad to say about my 4 banger and it's really easy to work on. Also, based on a statistical observation, the 2.5l appears to have less mechanical issues since there is less torque strain on suspension and driveline components. Bigger isn't always better
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Old 08-13-2011, 06:41 PM
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I went with a 2.5l since they were much more affordable and the 4.11 gearing is nice! There is not a huge difference in overall power output between the 2.5 and 4.0. I have nothing bad to say about my 4 banger and it's really easy to work on. Also, based on a statistical observation, the 2.5l appears to have less mechanical issues since there is less torque strain on suspension and driveline components. Bigger isn't always better
Good points! How many miles have you got on it?
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:28 PM   #8
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97 5sp manual with 103,000 miles. No mechanical issues besides replacing bushings that are wearing out because its older, but honestly I enjoy replacing these bushings, its easy, affordable and lets me learn knew things about the Jeep. Plus it makes my Jeep happy!
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Old 08-13-2011, 07:39 PM   #9
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Ive had my 2000 2.5l for 2 years now, and I love it.

I don't win races, nor fly up sand dunes like everyone else but it does everything I need it to and it does it reliably. I think you will enjoy it, just take er slow and enjoy the ride the 2.5 isnt as bad as everyone says, this coming from an owner of a 2.5l and a car with a 4.0. Although my jags 4.0 has 295hp and 330lbs torque Oh its got 150k on the Jeep.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:01 PM
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Thanks for the feedback guys! Maybe I won't be so particular and might be able to find something with a 2.5 for a better price. Sheesh..the late 90s 4.0s are mostly going for around 7K and up around here. I really don't want to go higher than 5K so I have more $ for the upgrades.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:07 PM   #11
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I have over 270k on my 2.5l. With a turbo and it is still running strong. I think its just as or more reliable then the 4.0.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:14 PM
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I have over 270k on my 2.5l. With a turbo and it is still running strong. I think its just as or more reliable then the 4.0.
Wow! That's a lot of miles! Is it a 5 speed or auto?
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:19 PM   #13
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Oh! I forgot you had your subie. I say check em out then. Like I said, the 2.5L is decent around town and on the trail.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:56 PM   #14
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5 speed. It runs great.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:57 PM   #15
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If you have had a 4.0 the 2.5 will piss you off. I would wait for another 4.0 to come along.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:58 PM
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5 speed. It runs great.
Yeah I think if I got a 2.5 the 5 speed would be mandatory. Actually it's mandatory with the 4.0! Not a fan of autos. Even my Legacy has a 6 speed.
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:45 AM   #17
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i have a four banger and other than the gearing i love it. im getting 19 mpg compared to the 14 or 15 my buddy gets with a 6 cyl and im soon to put a lift and 31's on. other than the obvious gearing issue there is nothing wrong with a four banger if you get it regeared right away. ive seen plenty of jeeps on trails with friends that have four bangers in them and with the right gears and a couple mods can do the same thing a 6 cyl can.
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:12 AM   #18
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Around town, I almost like driving the 2.5 better. It really likes the higher rpms, and you have to watch what gear you are in. The 4.0 seems to like the lower rpms, and it doesn't seem to care what gear it is in, you can almost drive around all day in 4th.
but on the highway with a headwind the 2.5 is a drag to drive.
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Old 08-14-2011, 01:18 PM
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Might go take a look at this one. It's very close to where I work too. If it looks good I could offer him 4K.

97 Jeep Wrangler
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:06 PM   #20
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I'm in the same boat as you, Gus... torn between a 4.0 and 2.5. The main issue with me is, as it's for my girlfriend, it has to be auto. (She doesn't want to learn manual).

So, all the automatic TJ's are all 7k+, and most are beat up. I've found quite a few 2.5L Manuals down here for 3-5k.

I say: Go to a dealership that has one and test drive a 2.5, and see if you like it. The second you get behind the wheel you'll know your decision.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:49 PM   #21
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Honestly I didn't think I would care about how "fast" a jeep was, until I drove two bone stock tj's back to back. the 2.5 was a joke to me. I guess since you took a little break from the 4.0, going to a 2.5 wouldn't be too bad. Still, I don't think I could EVER go to a 2.5, unless it was an AMAZING deal. Remember, just about everyone wants the 4.0 so even if you pay 2 or 3 thousand more now, you will get it back when you go to sell it!
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:44 PM   #22
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got my 4 cyl 5 spd 100% stock about a yr now and love it(around 140K on it now). min problems(cam sensor and wheel cyls) but i get 17-21 mpg with it. not the fastest off the line but not a slug either-it is what it is. have had it up to 70+ mph(had pedal left-just as fast as i felt comfey going) and will cruze 60-65 no problem. may take a little more 'stick play' depending on your terrian where you live(dn shift up hills-have a few around here) but that's the fun of it-it ain't an auto. if i want speed, power and no shifting i got my 2500HD, 8.1L, allison for that-but rather drv the wrangler 1st, wife's compass 2nd and the pickup 3rd. love my jeeps
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:05 AM   #23
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got my 4 cyl 5 spd 100% stock about a yr now and love it(around 140K on it now). min problems(cam sensor and wheel cyls) but i get 17-21 mpg with it. not the fastest off the line but not a slug either-it is what it is. have had it up to 70+ mph(had pedal left-just as fast as i felt comfey going) and will cruze 60-65 no problem. may take a little more 'stick play' depending on your terrian where you live(dn shift up hills-have a few around here) but that's the fun of it-it ain't an auto. if i want speed, power and no shifting i got my 2500HD, 8.1L, allison for that-but rather drv the wrangler 1st, wife's compass 2nd and the pickup 3rd. love my jeeps

I'd take the truck over the Compass. Any Jeep other than the Wranglers are just glorified Mall Crawling SUVs. Except the Cherokee: The Poor Man's Wrangler.
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:21 AM   #24
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I'd take the truck over the Compass. Any Jeep other than the Wranglers are just glorified Mall Crawling SUVs. Except the Cherokee: The Poor Man's Wrangler.
reason i got the wrangler-used to have a 3 hr commute and feeding the 2500 was killing me. wifes compass (07) was a good deal w/low miles and the best deal we could find at the time(replaced a sonata w100K+ miles on it and starting to nickle/dime us) it's a stripped down version(no power anything) but she loves it and actually drives good and pretty comfey to drive-plus has the room she needs for work. i like that it's 4x4-especially in n Il. you wouldn't beleive the POS we found in the same price range w/hi miles. normally a chevy guy-test drove a cobolt-what an uncomfey POS-5 min and i couldn't get out of it fast enuf. have had some several hr trips w/compass and no aches/pains-really do miss cruise though.
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:28 AM   #25
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My jeep has 142k on a 2.5, I had to replace the head but that was due to the PO driving it after the head gasket blew.

I had a 96 cherokee previous to this with 211,000 on a 2.5. It had the basics like water pump and starter replaced, but the engine itself was never touched. Would still be driving it except dodge rams are much stronger in a wreck...
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Old 08-15-2011, 03:19 PM   #26
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I love my 97 2.5 5 Speed, Only 70,000 on it however... Great for around town driving, good for trails... Highway Driving is OK, but I can still pass people - however my jeep becomes less gas conscious... MHO
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:40 PM   #27
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reason i got the wrangler-used to have a 3 hr commute and feeding the 2500 was killing me. wifes compass (07) was a good deal w/low miles and the best deal we could find at the time(replaced a sonata w100K+ miles on it and starting to nickle/dime us) it's a stripped down version(no power anything) but she loves it and actually drives good and pretty comfey to drive-plus has the room she needs for work. i like that it's 4x4-especially in n Il. you wouldn't beleive the POS we found in the same price range w/hi miles. normally a chevy guy-test drove a cobolt-what an uncomfey POS-5 min and i couldn't get out of it fast enuf. have had some several hr trips w/compass and no aches/pains-really do miss cruise though.
The thing about non-wrangler Jeeps is that, yes, they're great SUVs... but they should be under a different name. At least, in my opinion. A Jeep, to me, is something that you can take off road, get water inside, and be like, "Oh well, let me pull this plug. It'll be fine!"

However, they started producing Mall-Crawling Mom-Driving SUVs, which is fine. But I don't think just because it has 4x4 it should be considered a Jeep and not a Chrysler or something.


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My jeep has 142k on a 2.5, I had to replace the head but that was due to the PO driving it after the head gasket blew.

I had a 96 cherokee previous to this with 211,000 on a 2.5. It had the basics like water pump and starter replaced, but the engine itself was never touched. Would still be driving it except dodge rams are much stronger in a wreck...


I had a chance to buy a '97 or '98 Cherokee with a 4.0 in it, and 130k miles for $750 bucks. But I didn't have the money at the time. My teacher was moving to Thailand and was willing to sell it to one of his old students for cheap.
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Old 08-16-2011, 02:05 PM   #28
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Haters gonna hate.

I have the 2.5 and while it won't win any speed contests, it does fine both on and off-road. I get about 20mpg with 31s and the stock 4.10 gears. I'm sure the 4.0 would be fine, it depends on what you want to do. I don't do any of the hardcore rock crawling, but I do a lot of 4 wheel lo trails that can get very interesting. Buy what you can afford.

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Oh and another note. I've seen how you drive your jeep. You don't abuse it, but you sure use it. You're going to end up with a D35 with a 2.5L. Even if you say you won't wheel it, we both know you will.
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Old 08-16-2011, 02:34 PM   #29
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How do y'all get 20 mpg out of a 2.5 wrangler? My 98 2.5 5 speed on 31's with 4:10's is lucky to see 16 mpg.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:11 PM   #30
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How do y'all get 20 mpg out of a 2.5 wrangler? My 98 2.5 5 speed on 31's with 4:10's is lucky to see 16 mpg.
stock or lifted?
alot of it has to do with 'stick & foot' play. may sound great at 50 mph in 3rd gear but it's hell on mpg. accelerating i shift usually between 2.5 and 3K-if i'm playing 'speed racer' (yea-right) and run it up to 3.5-4K my mileage definatly does vary. this is with a 100% stock jeep.
think you'll also see a difference between summer/winter fuel mixtures

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