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Discussion Starter #1
It is a bit of a long story. My number 2 daughter bought a 1992 YJ as here first car and decided she does not like it. I decided to trade a 2006 Subaru Forrester to her for it. Now I have a 1992 YJ as my daily driver.

I want to keep the car as my daily driver and a father son build with my number 3 child (almost 13 year old boy)

I have an issue though. Last week the 2.5L spun a bearing, I think. It had a catastrophic loss of power with a serious rattling. Now it won't start but it will turn over. I have not spent much time diagnosing the issue.

My question is this. If the 2.5L needs a rebuild what is the best option for getting the YJ back on the road? I have done a frame off restoration on a 1967 Corvair. I have a shop and every tool one could need, including a MIG welder.

I also have a 1998 Ford Explorer with a 4.0L V6 that could be a donor engine. Should I swap with a 4.0L Jeep engine, use the Ford V6 I have, hunt for a donor V8? I can garage the Jeep and let this be a long term build with my son, so I have time but would like to keep the budget reasonable. The boy has to match all of the money spent into a mutual fund, so we are not rolling in money.

What are your thoughts on ease, practicality, ROI, etc.
 

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It is a bit of a long story. My number 2 daughter bought a 1992 YJ as here first car and decided she does not like it. I decided to trade a 2006 Subaru Forrester to her for it. Now I have a 1992 YJ as my daily driver.

I want to keep the car as my daily driver and a father son build with my number 3 child (almost 13 year old boy)

I have an issue though. Last week the 2.5L spun a bearing, I think. It had a catastrophic loss of power with a serious rattling. Now it won't start but it will turn over. I have not spent much time diagnosing the issue.

My question is this. If the 2.5L needs a rebuild what is the best option for getting the YJ back on the road? I have done a frame off restoration on a 1967 Corvair. I have a shop and every tool one could need, including a MIG welder.

I also have a 1998 Ford Explorer with a 4.0L V6 that could be a donor engine. Should I swap with a 4.0L Jeep engine, use the Ford V6 I have, hunt for a donor V8? I can garage the Jeep and let this be a long term build with my son, so I have time but would like to keep the budget reasonable. The boy has to match all of the money spent into a mutual fund, so we are not rolling in money.

What are your thoughts on ease, practicality, ROI, etc.
Before you toss your old 2.5l in the trash double check nothing went astray with the timing chain. Loss of power and rattling are two very indicative symptoms of a timing chain that’s gone bad. Throw a stethoscope on the timing chain cover and listen to see if it comes from there. If not, then yes your motor is toast.

I would say stray away from the V6 from the Ford, that’s way too much work. Go ahead and sell the explorer with the engine and use that to buy yourself a 4.0 Jeep motor and AX-15. I’m sure you can sell your AX-5 from the Jeep for a little extra cash too. My recommendation would be to buy a used Cherokee with the 4.0 so you have the wiring harness and everything you’ll need. Then sell the Cherokee off when you’re done for more cash!

That’s the route I would go, and I think it’d be a relatively inexpensive way to get a 4.0.

Keep us posted, I love father and son projects.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the replies. I'm leaning towards the jeep 4.0. Even though a 4BT would be off the charts, but don't have the cash for that.

What are thoughts on, buying a used engine and trans over finding a donor car/Cherokee. If I go donor Cherokee should I hold out for a 4x4 for the transfer case? Should i stock with the same model year range?
 

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A donor vehicle really helps because then you get all of the related parts like ECM, wiring harness, etc. that help make the swap easier.

None of the swaps are easy so be sure you know what you are getting into before you decide. Novak has a lot of technical information about various engines, transmissions, etc. on their website. https://www.novak-adapt.com/knowledge/
 

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Agreed. A swap is a swap. Although a 4.0 swap seems like it should just drop in there, there is a lot of stuff that needs to be changed. There is tons of info on here about swaps of all kinds. Read as many threads as you can. If it were me, and it has been, I would just go straight for the V8 swap. It is hard to beat an LS swap. They are readily available, done by everyone so the information is out there, and pretty inexpensive if you plan it right. Even the little 4.8 is great in a Jeep.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the input. I have much to think about as we build this jeep together. I am currently working to just get the thing running again. Which is turning out to be a bigger challenge then hoped. Ill update this build as things progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Still working on the 2.5L. It is not a spun bearing. I have replaced the timing chain but do not have it running yet. I have a thread, about this repair. Ill update when I have an solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The 2.5 is running again!!!!
Ended up being the distributor was misaligned. Likely a combination of timing chain and distributor. you can read the saga on the thread "HELP! 92 2.5L Cranks but won't start"
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Now that the jeep is running again. We can start on the build. Since this will be my daily driver for the next two years or so I need to do some maintenance. Up next is suspension. I would like to work out some of the radical bounce and oversteer when going over bumps. I do not expect to get it all out but changing lanes when hitting a bridge transition is a bit much.

What would you all suggest as a basic suspension upgrade to give better daily performance and a slight off road improvement. Not looking to rock crawl yet, that will come when we do the full restoration.
 

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Glad to hear you got the 2.5 running.

If you are getting a lot of bounce steer your shocks may be toast but also need to check the steering linkage including the column bearing in the engine compartment.

A compromise suspension upgrade would involve a 2" lift that would require new springs and shocks. You probably get a lot more than 2" of actual lift because the original springs are probably pretty flat by now. Many have been able to install the 2" lift without needing to deal with the drive shaft angle issue but if you end up with a vibration issue a transfer case drop is a cost effective short term solution for many.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The YJ build is off to a start.
We have all the parts together for a suspension and steering upgrade. Starting this afternoon we will be installing a Rubicon Express 2.5in lift kit, 1" shackles, ball joints, tie rods and drag links, and removing the track bars.

I was sold on a BDS lift until I discovered the local 4 Wheel Parts store. RE has the same warranty and I have a local source of I have problems. Plus I saved several hundred dollars for all the parts.

I am excited to see how this goes, as the son (12 year old) will be doing the work since he bought the parts.

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Discussion Starter #14
He did the timing chain replacement a few weeks ago.

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Discussion Starter #15
As I prep for todays Lift Kit install. I have printed all the instructions, torque specs, etc. I figured I would update the thread with the parts the Boy will be installing on Tim. Tim is what was decided for the name of the YJ.

Rubicon Express 2.5in Lift kit. RE5505
1" Greasable Shackles, Greasable Bushings
Tie Rod and Drag link and Ball Joints
Sway Bar bushings
We will be removing the front and rear track bar with this install.

Following are pictures of the parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Got the RE lift mostly stalled. Still need to install front brake line extensions, sway bar disconnect tabs on the axle tube, and the tcase drop.


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Discussion Starter #20
I have a few new projects as a result of this lift install. I have to add new upper rear shock mounts, a section of frame, and replace the tcase skid plate and some of the frame at the skid plate.

I have question about the skid plate. There are supposed to be 6 bolts but mine has two pins. Any ideas?

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