Buying a TJ

Feb 17, 2017
39
18
US
#1
Good morning gentlemen,
Looking for some advice on buying a TJ.
My buddy has a 01 TJ 2.5l 5 speed very clean and well maintained only rust is top of fenders. Its bone stock never off road only thing is it has 185k he will sell it to me for 3k should I jump on that? I've been looking on Craigslist alot had a 6cyl in mind but it's gone my budget is 4k. I don't care about the power difference in the 4 and 6. Will this motor last me past 200k or am I going to be replacing it is the question everything on the forums is 4.0 this and that. So if any 2.5l guys could help me out it'd be much appreciated.

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JP98

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2016
1,479
1,266
GA, United States
#2
Good morning gentlemen,
Looking for some advice on buying a TJ.
My buddy has a 01 TJ 2.5l 5 speed very clean and well maintained only rust is top of fenders. Its bone stock never off road only thing is it has 185k he will sell it to me for 3k should I jump on that? I've been looking on Craigslist alot had a 6cyl in mind but it's gone my budget is 4k. I don't care about the power difference in the 4 and 6. Will this motor last me past 200k or am I going to be replacing it is the question everything on the forums is 4.0 this and that. So if any 2.5l guys could help me out it'd be much appreciated.

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The 4 cylinder is good past 200k if it has been well maintained. You will enjoy the Jeep as long as you know you will not get the same performance as the 6. It is still an excellent machine.
 
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OP
OP
S
Feb 17, 2017
39
18
US
#3
Thank you I'm not worried about the power it's just going to be my weekend warrior for trails here in MI and to and from work which is less than 5 miles round trip

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Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
33,308
20,481
Salem, Oregon
#4
Yes, that engine will last you easily to 300k IMHO. Of course, the catch there is that that's only going to happen if you maintain it properly. With 185k, there is no doubt in my mind you're going to need to overhaul the entire cooling system (if it hasn't already been done) since it will be on it's way out.

Check these threads out:
Jeep Wrangler TJ Cooling System Overhaul FAQ
Jeep Wrangler TJ Radiator Replacement

A cooling system overhaul wouldn't set you back that much, but would be highly advisable at that kind of mileage. You'll also want to replace all the fluids and potentially be prepared to replace little things like u-joints and bushings.

Of course, I'm assuming that no maintenance was ever done to it.
 
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JP98

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2016
1,479
1,266
GA, United States
#6
Thank you I'm not worried about the power it's just going to be my weekend warrior for trails here in MI and to and from work which is less than 5 miles round trip

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The 4 banger is a great trail rig when properly set up and geared correctly. You will love it.
 
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RaymondT

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Aug 13, 2016
480
478
Summerland, B.C.
#7
My 2.5 has about 126000mi (203,000km) on it and most of that are hard city miles. 3 months after an oil change, it still looks like new on the dipstick and I'm putting lots of miles on it. Sturdy little engine!

Bearings and wear items might need a little looking at but nothing major. As long as the transmission isn't doing anything weird. I've got a lot of bearing growl in mine (new tranny on the way!)
 
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OP
OP
S
Feb 17, 2017
39
18
US
#11
I'll check it for sure. I know it just had a oil change prolly getting rid of the d35 for a d44 on the near future. It has novak stickers in it from previous owners so idk what all the did to it other than undercoat the frame and tub my buddy has only had it a little over a year. The previous owners were elderly so I'm gonna assume the took care of it based on the condition I did notice the u joint straps look new and beefier

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JP98

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Nov 3, 2016
1,479
1,266
GA, United States
#13
I'll check it for sure. I know it just had a oil change prolly getting rid of the d35 for a d44 on the near future. It has novak stickers in it from previous owners so idk what all the did to it other than undercoat the frame and tub my buddy has only had it a little over a year. The previous owners were elderly so I'm gonna assume the took care of it based on the condition I did notice the u joint straps look new and beefier

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You may want to ask a few of the guys on here with 2.5's about the Dana swap. You may be better off sticking with the 35 and installing a Super35 kit. That would beef your current axle at a better price unless you get a banging deal on a 44. You wouldn't want to run anything bigger than a 33" tire anyway with the 2.5.
 

JWjeepSask

TJ Enthusiast
Dec 14, 2016
170
98
Canada
#14
That is a damn good deal just don't drive it on the highway long distances if you don't figure out why other people driving will let you know haha


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Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
33,308
20,481
Salem, Oregon
#15
You may want to ask a few of the guys on here with 2.5's about the Dana swap. You may be better off sticking with the 35 and installing a Super35 kit. That would beef your current axle at a better price unless you get a banging deal on a 44. You wouldn't want to run anything bigger than a 33" tire anyway with the 2.5.
X2
 

Rob5589

Certified video trained differential rebuilder
Supporting Member
Aug 29, 2016
5,890
5,433
W Sacramento, Kalifornia
#16
You may want to ask a few of the guys on here with 2.5's about the Dana swap. You may be better off sticking with the 35 and installing a Super35 kit. That would beef your current axle at a better price unless you get a banging deal on a 44. You wouldn't want to run anything bigger than a 33" tire anyway with the 2.5.
x3
 
OP
OP
S
Feb 17, 2017
39
18
US
#17
I was gonna get a 44 outta a tj with rear disc already for 450 33s is all I plan on and 4.56 gears maybe a front lunchbox

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OP
OP
S
Feb 17, 2017
39
18
US
#19
Yes, that engine will last you easily to 300k IMHO. Of course, the catch there is that that's only going to happen if you maintain it properly. With 185k, there is no doubt in my mind you're going to need to overhaul the entire cooling system (if it hasn't already been done) since it will be on it's way out.

Check these threads out:
Jeep Wrangler TJ Cooling System Overhaul FAQ
Jeep Wrangler TJ Radiator Replacement

A cooling system overhaul wouldn't set you back that much, but would be highly advisable at that kind of mileage. You'll also want to replace all the fluids and potentially be prepared to replace little things like u-joints and bushings.

Of course, I'm assuming that no maintenance was ever done to it.
What all should I replace on the motor beside water pump? Should I be looking into a full rebuild kit? They're fairly cheap like 350 for a full kit. Of course I don't wanna do it if it's not needed but also don't wanna get stranded somewhere.

So far my build list is:

2.5" RC lift with adj trackbars and sway bar quick discos
New front and rear bumpers
New tube fenders to get rid of rust holes all together
Radiator and water pump
Tune up and all new fluids
4.0 throttle body and spacer
This will all be done within the first month

Later mods are
Winch
4.56 gears
33s
New top

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Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
33,308
20,481
Salem, Oregon
#20
What all should I replace on the motor beside water pump? Should I be looking into a full rebuild kit? They're fairly cheap like 350 for a full kit. Of course I don't wanna do it if it's not needed but also don't wanna get stranded somewhere.

So far my build list is:

2.5" RC lift with adj trackbars and sway bar quick discos
New front and rear bumpers
New tube fenders to get rid of rust holes all together
Radiator and water pump
Tune up and all new fluids
4.0 throttle body and spacer
This will all be done within the first month

Later mods are
Winch
4.56 gears
33s
New top

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I wouldn't be worrying about anything on the engine other than the cooling system. It isn't close to needing a rebuild yet, that's for sure.

If you have the money, I'd get the 2.5" OME lift. It's the best 2.5" lift on the market. Rough Country is cheap, but there's a reason for that... They're considered bottom of the barrel garbage in terms of lifts. They ride so bad it's not even funny.