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Old 07-02-2015, 08:05 AM
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2.5L vs 4.0 question (drag out the horse & club)

I've owned 3 Jeeps in my time thus far, 2 XJs and one TJ. I'm going to pick up a YJ with the intent to keep it pretty much forever, so I'm looking for as rust free and low miles as possible. It'll pretty much be a town runabout / snowy weather (when I don't want to take out my VW) / vacation car, but we are also planning a few distance vacations. We want to drive out to and up to the top of Pikes Peak, out to the Grand Canyon, up to the Maine coast, etc.

I've only ever owned or driven the 4.0. So the question: With the above in mind, and no intent to modify/lift the truck, is the 2.5 going to be enough? I'm not worried about going fast, really, but all I ever hear about is horror stories of "I'm trying to go up this hill, floored, getting passed by toddlers on tricycles" about the 2.5, and I don't know how much is hyperbole. So, not towing, not lifting / gearing / wedging tires under the truck, will I care?

I've found a 2.5 local-ish (but far enough away that if I go there I want to be pretty sure that I'm buying it, not just a joyride run) that is absolutely GORGEOUS underneath, but I'm just not sure. I'd hate to buy it, get home and think I've made a mistake. And rust-free (or even lightly rusted) 4.0/5spd YJs are flipping rare around here.
Thanks!

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Old 07-02-2015, 08:08 AM   #2
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I made the mistake of buying a 2.5, and would never again.

Now all the 2.5 fan boys will be posting telling you how much they love theirs :-)

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Old 07-02-2015, 08:12 AM   #3
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you told me to do it.

but seriously. even on stock tires the 2.5 is terrible. its like an overweight golf cart
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Old 07-02-2015, 08:16 AM   #4
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I just bought a 95 YJ with the 2.5 and I would be scared to take this thing on any highway with a limit higher than 55mph. It will do 60-65 but I struggle to keep it there.

It does have a few inches of lift and 18" rims from a JK. The tires are 31 inches tall, which from what I've read, is the biggest you wanna go on the 2.5. Maybe with stock wheels mine would do a little better.
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Old 07-02-2015, 10:01 AM   #5
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I have a 2.5, ill be the first one to tell you it is underpowered, however it is not a bad engine by any means. it is easy to work on and reliable. will it ever win any races? hell no. will it get you where you need to go? yes. i ran mine on 31's with the 4.10 gear for many years. i drove it back and forth to college, an almost 1000 mile one way trip, multiple times. i could do highway speeds just fine, yes hills are a pain but its doable. id say the rust free frame and body for a decent price is much more important than the engine especially if you are just planning on running around town and use it as a weekend vehicle. if the frame and body are clean the engine is in good shape and the price is right id say buy it. worse case you can always do an engine swap later if your unhappy or sell it.
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Old 07-02-2015, 10:08 AM
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How would it handle driving up Pikes Peak? I know slow, but will it at least keep up with traffic?
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Old 07-02-2015, 10:11 AM   #7
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geared correctly it can do anything but interstate speed
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Old 07-02-2015, 10:53 AM   #8
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They are under-powered... but the thing will run forever... extremely durable and they can go 200K or more if you take care of them.
Look for a fuel injected one... I know my 95 on 31's won't win any races but it is a very solid Jeep.
Good luck on the search
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Old 07-02-2015, 08:11 PM   #9
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Well.....

I guess it really depends on how far away you are from Pikes Peak, and how many days you've allocated to get to the top. I live in the rolling Hill Country part of Texas. I can attest for how underpowered the 2.5L feels. I took off the nearly new 31's that were on the YJ when I bought it and put on a set of 29" 235's that I salvaged from my wrecked Geo Tracker. That helped some, but I am still at the head of the pack in the really hilly section of road between my house and where I work. Today there was a brisk headwind to slow me down even more. Oh, and I wasn't at the head of the pack because I was passing everyone either. I shift a lot, and spend time near 3K rpm in the hills.
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Old 07-02-2015, 08:26 PM   #10
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I guess it's just because I live in Michigan and only have rolling hills at most but mine does fine on 33's at 70 mph, mountains I could imagine it would be not so fun. For what you want I would recommend a I6
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:05 AM   #11
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How would it handle driving up Pikes Peak? I know slow, but will it at least keep up with traffic?
No, won't keep up with traffic. I have 33s on my 2.5 and love it. I had a 2000 TJ with 2.5 and a 1997 with 4.0. The 4.0 was good on power, but it isn't important to me. In low range on the trails I liked the 2.5 crawl ratio. Given a choice between similar Jeeps I'd opt for the 4.0, but more for the AX15 tranny mated to it. The AX5 mated to the 2.5 is said to be weak.
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:11 AM   #12
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we are also planning a few distance vacations. We want to drive out to and up to the top of Pikes Peak, out to the Grand Canyon, up to the Maine coast, etc.......................

You NEED the 4.0L

Vacations with gear and long days on the Interstate.... GET THE 4.0L. Pikes Peak NEEDS the 4.0L OR a turbo on the 2.5L.... Actually a turbo on the 4.0L is a good idea around the mile high city.

The 2.5L is a great vehicle if you can avoid the Interstate, carrying a lot of gear and thin air.
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:13 AM   #13
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I have an XJ with the 4.0 and two YJ's with the 2.5. Performance wise I love the 4.0. I think I would get into trouble if my YJ's had a 4.0
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Old 07-05-2015, 07:30 AM   #14
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The 2.5 is FINE! The AX5 is FINE! A Jeep is not meant to be a highway cruiser. In the winter I plow a lot of NorthEast snow with mine & it has plenty of power. In the summer, the roof comes off & stays off. It is a blast to drive.

I am a 50 year old former mechanic, and have had a Corvette, a Porsche 911, many pick-ups large & small, a few BMW's, a few Audi's etc.... The Jeep is the most fun to drive out of all of them. It is also the biggest piece of crap in the bunch. It is going to break down often. It is going to rust. They all will no matter what engine. I have to say, engine wise, my little 2.5 has actually been pretty reliable. Mine will do 60mph with 31's just fine. Is it a dog on hills?.... yes! It is not about speed & power. Look for one with a good frame & body. The engine/trans is secondary. BTW, ones with the 2.5 are cheaper to buy. To me that is a BIG factor.

Oh, and if someone else "built it, not bought it", run away! They will want you to pay for all the crap they installed. Not worth it. A really good YJ can be had for around $3k if you are patient and not a sucker for someone else's aftermarket fluff.

Have fun.
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Old 07-05-2015, 12:40 PM   #15
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Beer belly are you sure the Audi wasn't the biggest piece of crap out of the bunch lol?
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Old 07-05-2015, 02:48 PM   #16
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Beer belly are you sure the Audi wasn't the biggest piece of crap out of the bunch lol?
haha.

Actually, the 3 Audis I had were well maintained, so they were okay. We always used to say, "If you want a REALLY expensive Audi, buy a cheap one that hasn't been maintained." Words to live by, 'cause they will go "south" quick if you let them go!
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Old 07-05-2015, 03:43 PM   #17
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haha.

Actually, the 3 Audis I had were well maintained, so they were okay. We always used to say, "If you want a REALLY expensive Audi, buy a cheap one that hasn't been maintained." Words to live by, 'cause they will go "south" quick if you let them go!
Lol great quote!
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Old 07-05-2015, 05:11 PM   #18
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If it was maintained as it should be, the will be no issues. I have my stock 2.5l on 31" tires and I was able to break 75 today on flat ground coming back from camping. Up hill is kinda a bitch, but you get use to down shifting.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:40 PM
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haha.

Actually, the 3 Audis I had were well maintained, so they were okay. We always used to say, "If you want a REALLY expensive Audi, buy a cheap one that hasn't been maintained." Words to live by, 'cause they will go "south" quick if you let them go!
I own a VW GLI, and the same applies. German cars are brilliant as long as they are maintained and operated EXACTLY as the engineer who figured out the awesome, but fussily intricate, systems intended. Anything else is disaster.

We bought a 2.5 on Friday. 90% of the time its going to be used on back roads, back and forth to the shops and breweries, etc. The every-now-and-then highway trips will be fine if they are slow. And honestly, driving it back (50 miles) from where we bought it, on the highway it did fine, even hit 76 verified MPH. I'm not too worried.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:43 PM
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Also, that pic was when it got home. It has already been FULL of beer and ice (for a 4th BBQ), been offroad on a fire-lane style trail, and gone for an hour-long doors-off music-blasting joyride through the countryside with my wife.

Brilliant. I missed having a Jeep.
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Old 07-06-2015, 05:21 AM   #21
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I own a VW GLI, and the same applies. German cars are brilliant as long as they are maintained and operated EXACTLY as the engineer who figured out the awesome, but fussily intricate, systems intended. Anything else is disaster.

We bought a 2.5 on Friday. 90% of the time its going to be used on back roads, back and forth to the shops and breweries, etc. The every-now-and-then highway trips will be fine if they are slow. And honestly, driving it back (50 miles) from where we bought it, on the highway it did fine, even hit 76 verified MPH. I'm not too worried.
Nice Jeep.

How was the speed verified....flashing red lights in your rearview mirror?
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Old 07-06-2015, 07:58 AM   #22
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If it were me, I'd be patient and look for the 4.0. The reason I'm saying that is because you said:

"I'd hate to buy it, get home and think I've made a mistake."

With the 2.5, you will be thinking this forever. With the 4.0, you won't.

You'll be too busy fixing all the stuff that will be wrong / broken / wearing out no matter what size the engine is, and that nagging wondering about the size of the engine will go away because you will have a 4.0.
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Old 07-06-2015, 08:22 AM
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Nice Jeep.

How was the speed verified....flashing red lights in your rearview mirror?
Lol. I use Waze for pretty much any and all highway driving these days. I was worried this weekend because the time we were coming home was when there were road re-routes due to Red White and Boom as well as the highway bridge that the semi-truck full of ethanol tried to burn down last week.
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Old 07-07-2015, 01:26 AM   #24
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I know i'll be hated on here but for what you say you want to do, get a TJ with a 4.0 and love life, YJ's are tough, TJ's are a soft ride for a long trip in a Jeep.
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Old 07-13-2015, 12:10 AM   #25
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I have the 2.5 injected and it will do 75 on the flats and 70 on the hills in 4th. Not a dragster but it keeps up with the other 4 bangers on the L.A. freeways.
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Old 07-15-2015, 02:30 PM   #26
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My 2.5l 89

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I made the mistake of buying a 2.5, and would never again.

Now all the 2.5 fan boys will be posting telling you how much they love theirs :-)

I LOVE MINE!! hahaha
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Old 07-16-2015, 09:56 AM   #27
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2.5L highway speed vs. off road ability?

I see this type of conversation time and time again. My 92 YJ isn't the fastest or most economical to drive... But as this photo from my recent trip inot DC clearly demonstrates, it can climb almost any obstacle in low 4WD. I don't need no stinkin' 4.0L.
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Old 07-16-2015, 02:46 PM   #28
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That is the biggest Jeep ever! Awesome!

It's also one of them new fangled self-driving ones.

Personally, I'm looking forward to self-driving cars. Mostly to get me home from the bar.

I digress.

The 4 banger, apparently, can grow to three stories in length and climb the Washington Monument!

Does this mean that the inline 6 can grow large enough to make a pot hole out of the Grand Canyon?

The answer is yes, yes it can. There is a switch near the heater controls for that.
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Old 07-18-2015, 09:59 PM   #29
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Can't speak for all 4 banger owners but i have come to this conclusion No it doesn't have a lot of power or a speed demon but it will get you there just not real fast on a trail the 4.0 and 2.5 are going the same speed for the application you are planning you should be fine but will notice the lack of power vs the 4.0.
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Old 07-18-2015, 11:04 PM   #30
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Lack of power yes, I drive a stock 2.5L '94, the accel is pretty bad but once you get going it's fine, I drive a bit of freeway/expressway sometimes, can easily go 70mph. The problem is aerodynamics, also if the jeep has been modded with bigger tires that will cause a loss of power to. Stock 2.5's are fine though, at least for me, minus the problem with the slow acceleration.

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