Jeep TJ 2.5L vs. 2.4L - Opinions Please - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:09 PM
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Jeep TJ 2.5L vs. 2.4L - Opinions Please

I often read comments from folks, on this site as well as others, extolling the virtues of the old tried and true 4.0L straight six, with only a handful of folks speaking up occasionally on the side of the 2.5L four cylinder. The straight six is a reliable workhouse, but notoriously lousy on fuel economy, if that's important to you. The 2.5, of which most comments are referenced, is criticized for being under powered. As I understand it, the 2.5 was available through 2002, at which time Daimler Chrysler switched to the 2.4, with the latter providing about 27 more horsepower than the 2.5 (120 vs. 147 HP). So I would like to hear some comments about the 2.4. I'm the second owner of a 2003 TJ 2.4L, 5 speed, having it for about 12 years now. When I purchased it, the odometer was at about 30K miles, and now it's up to 112K. I've averaged a little over 20MPG. The only out of character repair I've experienced in that time was to replace an exhaust manifold gasket, and then of course doing the regular maintenance items one would expect. And to the comments that say the 2.5 is lousy on the freeway because anything above 60 MPH is a struggle, my experience with the 2.4 is much different. In my case, I've used my Jeep to travel all over the east coast from here in NC to Myrtle Beach, Florida, etc. I can drive 70 MPH or more all day with the air full blast in fifth with no problem whatsoever. And as far as being under powered, I live up in the mountains of Western NC, and find this vehicle to be a joy on these winding, mountainous roads, with lots of hills, tight corners and switchbacks. I can come up in third most of the way, and only have to drop to second on the hairpins. The five speed actually makes it fun to drive on these type roads, and the Jeep really corners marvelously, given that it's a Jeep. If I tried these corners in a CJ, as I do in my TJ, I'd have flown over a cliff long ago. So, my bottom line question is whether or not my positive experience with the 2.4 is an anomaly, or are others as equally pleased with this little power plant? I should have made mention of my driving characteristics, that I'm not one for rock climbing or heavy off road, and prefer to travel gravel and dirt forestry roads, which are very prevalent in this region. I'm one who tends to plan ahead, and I take very good care of my vehicles, but the time will come when this little beast will peter out, and my thoughts are, when that time comes, I plan to replace it with a re-manufactured 2.4. Would I be considered crazy to do that? I really am pleased with this little guy. Look forward to comments.

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Old 07-11-2019, 07:28 PM   #2
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My first Jeep with a '99 TJ with the 2.5l 4 banger. I owned it while living in NC and CA. It handled highway speeds and hilly roads just fine in my opinion. I mean, I wasnt breaking any land speed records but it got me where I needed to go. Even took it up and down PCH several times, which was awesome.


If I still had it, I'd probably have replaced the 2.5l with a rebuilt 2.5l when and if needed.

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Old 07-12-2019, 11:03 AM
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Thanks for that input. So, if I'm happy with the 2.4, replacing with a new 2.4 makes sense.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:08 AM
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The last time I was on the Pacific Coast Hwy was a trip from around Santa Barbara all the way to Washington state. I was driving a 66 Porche 912 Targa, another four banger, with the Targa top off the entire way. What a gorgeous trip!
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:13 AM   #5
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Thanks for that input. So, if I'm happy with the 2.4, replacing with a new 2.4 makes sense.
Yep... if you like sirloin, there is no need to buy a fillet....
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:51 PM   #6
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I have a 4.0L Rubicon and love it!

However...
I DO feel bad for people that get crapped on for having and loving their 4 cylinder TJs as much as we love our sixes. None are perfect. Each has flaws, advantages and disadvantages.

The 4 banger is part of our Jeep family and deserves respect for its own special qualities that make it a extremely capable vehicle on or off road. Besides, 20 MPG? Nothing to sneeze at there, especially for a daily driver.

I am glad you were able to find a solution that will work for you. Enjoy it on the road and on the trails with your family!

Regards,
A TJ brother
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:14 PM   #7
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I too drives 97 2.5 and love it. But I noticed nobody has really addressed the 2.4. Seems to me I had heard they had issues but I could be mistaken.


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Old 07-12-2019, 02:13 PM   #8
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I had a '97 2.5l and loved it. Didn't win any drag races, but it was plenty fast enough to keep up with traffic.

If I'm not mistaken, the 2.4l was sourced from the Neon. I honestly don't know much about that engine, but from a purely egotistical standpoint, I have a hard time respecting that. Call me what you will, just being real.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:45 PM   #9
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With as many complaints as I've always heard about it I've never actually seen anybody ever get crapped on for liking or owning a 4-cylinder Jeep. Regularly people complain about 4.0 snobs and cry about how they're abused. The truth is 4.0's make more power than 2.5's or 2.4's..... personally I consider 4.0 Jeep to be underpowered but I have several of them and have a 2.5 Jeep also. I love Jeeps as long as they're 2006 or older.

4-cylinder Jeeps are considerably slower than 6 cylinder Jeeps big whoop if you're satisfied run it if you're not don't but try not to get all upset when somebody else states that the 6 cylinders are faster.

Joe says "no way I would on a 4-cylinder Jeep"
Bill in the 4-cylinder Wrangler gets offended.

Joe says "no way I would own a Lamborghini"
Dave in the Lamborghini couldn't care less...

You don't need Bill's approval to have a good time in your Jeep.
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TJ dash speakers that actually rock! Kicker sub and amp in center console
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Old 07-12-2019, 04:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by talegate View Post
The last time I was on the Pacific Coast Hwy was a trip from around Santa Barbara all the way to Washington state. I was driving a 66 Porche 912 Targa, another four banger, with the Targa top off the entire way. What a gorgeous trip!

That sounds like a blast. I mostly drove the part around Carmel / Monterey.....even got to drive over a famous bridge.


Pretty fun and rather scenic in a Jeep with the doors off
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:10 PM   #11
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The 2.4 was used to a large extent in PT cruiser and neon
Some with turbos some turbos lower boost with regular gas and some more boost premium only

The mild turbo makes a nice engine in the PT cruiser at least nice by buzzy four banger standards

It is a more modern design with a timing belt that should be replaced every 100k miles
The engine is non interference piston to valve but can bend valves with valve to valve interference if cams not timed with timing belt

In the transverse mounting in pt and neon replacing timing belt is a bear
In the TJ pretty easy

Down sides
Almost none of the TJ 2.4 blocks are still available ant the plentiful transverse mounted blocks are different
Tends to leak where spark plugs pass thru cylinder cover
Plastic parts
Water pump is powered by toothed timing belt so if it fails so does timing belt
The non turbo version is underpowered for a vehicle with weight and aerodynamics of the TJ



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Old 07-13-2019, 10:18 AM
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Digger84, are you suggesting that even if I could acquire a TJ 2.4 block, that it would not be the recommended course of action? In saying "the non-turbo version is under powered..............for the Jeep", are you saying that the 27 HP difference between the 2.5 and 2.4 does not make the 2.4 any more desirable, and that both platforms are inadequate? What you said about the scarcity of blocks appears to be true, in that when I asked for a quote from one of the engine providers recently, they submitted a quote for a 2002 2.5L, not the 2.4 I requested.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:27 AM   #13
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No if you like it it is by far the most practical course if you can find one

I hope you have replaced the timing belt and tensioner and water pump as you are over 100k miles

I always prefer a straight six for longevity including over a v8

Also the 2.4 has a more narrow torque band less suitable for a Jeep

I like shifting my mx5 and like to seldom have to shift my 4.0 keeps

I also liked the super hurricane flat head straight six much better then the typhoon 4 in my old Jeep Willis wagons of early 50s


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Old 07-17-2019, 06:35 PM   #14
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I have a 2.4 with 216k miles on it. It does fine. Turns my 31 superswamper iroks just fine. 99% of the people that bag on the 2.4 never drove one

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Old Yesterday, 07:54 AM
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Thanks for all the comments thus far. Park Duck, I'm glad to hear your 2.4 is sitting at 216K; I hope mine will last that long. Although I did not get a whole bunch of comments from 2.4 owners, all the input received from everyone is very helpful. My TJ is still running great and actually looks pretty much brand new inside and out. So, I will keep taking good care of it, and hopefully I'll get another 100K or more out of it. Park Duck, I'm running slightly over the stock tires, but have not considered doing a lift and larger tires because everything I've read has suggested the four cylinder does not do well trying to turn the bigger tires. In hindsight though, I'm wondering if those comments were more directed at the 2.5. I'm assuming you had to do a lift to run the 31's, but does the 2.4 do okay with that size tire? Again, appreciate the input.
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Old Yesterday, 08:50 AM   #16
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I prefer the 2.5L and it's timing chain design. Mine didn't use a drop of oil with 230,000 miles on it. I never spent a dime on repairs and it was great in snow, with it's lack of power. They run fine with small tires. My neighbor had a 2.4 and loved it for in town driving. I sold him my 31" MT tires when I went to 35s.That being said, if I couldn't afford a 4.0 TJ, I'd buy a 4.0 XJ before I'd buy another 4 cylinder Jeep. To each their own.

p.s. If you want to drive a dog of a Jeep, try driving a 4.2L. Your 4 cylinder will seem like a powerhouse!
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Old Yesterday, 01:37 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the comments thus far. Park Duck, I'm glad to hear your 2.4 is sitting at 216K; I hope mine will last that long. Although I did not get a whole bunch of comments from 2.4 owners, all the input received from everyone is very helpful. My TJ is still running great and actually looks pretty much brand new inside and out. So, I will keep taking good care of it, and hopefully I'll get another 100K or more out of it. Park Duck, I'm running slightly over the stock tires, but have not considered doing a lift and larger tires because everything I've read has suggested the four cylinder does not do well trying to turn the bigger tires. In hindsight though, I'm wondering if those comments were more directed at the 2.5. I'm assuming you had to do a lift to run the 31's, but does the 2.4 do okay with that size tire? Again, appreciate the input.
I have what "I think" is the perfect set up for a 2.4. This is my daily driver [36 miles one way]. H&R 1.5 inch lift springs with rancho 5000x shocks, 31x10.50 interco superswamper iroks. I do offroad with it. The only time I've been stuck was because of being high centered in some DEEP ruts which was my fault anyways. It pulls my 16 foot wareagle aluminum boat just fine. I get a constant 17 mpg. Oh mine is a standard with the stock 4.10 gears.

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