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New to Jeeps: Looking for opinion on 4 cylinder models

JEEPCJTJ

TJ Expert
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Joined
Aug 11, 2018
Messages
4,894
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Half way between Pittsburgh and Cleveland
$500 or $1000 won't make anyone rich, but I'd rather have $1000 than $500.

I'd rather have the 4.0 than the 2.4 or 2.5, and just like the above money example, no one would rather have less. One can make do with less, but they don't prefer it.


Having the $1000 over the $500 has never happened by buying a TJ with a 4.0.
 

Sj's TJ

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2018
Messages
765
Location
Vienna, VA
I have 2000 SE and it’s all out gearing. I’m running 33s with the 5 speed. The 4.10s weren’t the best. Constantly in 4th on the highway. When I went to 4.88s, it was absolutely amazing. I’m in 5th almost the whole way averaging over 70mph.
 
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il buono

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2019
Messages
442
Location
Tucson
We love pics ..but getting feedback from is can be too slow if the TJ is a steal...they sell fast.

I know this all too well. I've been keeping my eye out on craigslist for a TJ and most of the good ones get snatched the same day. If you're in the market for one, you pretty much need to have the money ready and be ready to pause whatever it is you're doing at the time.
 

AndyG

TJ Guru
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Jul 30, 2018
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13,064
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Alabama
I know this all too well. I've been keeping my eye out on craigslist for a TJ and most of the good ones get snatched the same day. If you're in the market for one, you pretty much need to have the money ready and be ready to pause whatever it is you're doing at the time.
The catch is you have to know what you are looking for , you have to know what is ok , and what is going to bite you . You need to be able to drive it and tell if it's geared correctly. You need to be able to evaluate a lift, steering , bushings , rust , and so forth . And don't overlook the obvious...tires, shocks , and general wear and tear .

It's a game of moving fast, but not recklessly.
 
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ranwilrw

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
301
Location
Georgia
I was driving one to the bank once to get it financed and turned on the a/c, dropped 10mph, turned around and took it back
 

il buono

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2019
Messages
442
Location
Tucson
The catch is you have to know what you are looking for , you have to know what is ok , and what is going to bite you . You need to be able to drive it and tell if it's geared correctly. You need to be able to evaluate a lift, steering , bushings , rust , and so forth . And don't overlook the obvious...tires, shocks , and general wear and tear .

It's a game of moving fast, but not recklessly.

This is advice I need to follow. I want to get my first Wrangler (TJ or LJ) as soon as possible, but I also have to recognize when it's better to just let something pass.
 
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AndyG

TJ Guru
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Jul 30, 2018
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13,064
Location
Alabama
People do the same thing with Jeeps they do with dirt bikes ...they see knobby tires , envision themselves conquering every imaginable terrain , get excited and pull the trigger ..normally on the first one they see.

the first thing to do is figure out what a nice tj is ...and isn’t .

A stock 4.0 sport or x , non rusted and with 75,000 miles and not really wheeled, is usually a very nice one .

One with 35’s, 3:07 gears , cut up , scratched up , wheeled to death , crappy parts and drives sloppy isn’t. It looks great ,but it isn’t .

Think of women....the girl next door is a keeper . The cocktail waitress in the Dolly Parton wig is probably a great house keeper ...she will end up keeping the house.

My second TJ purchase was fun..I drove it , no differential noises , pulled good..,I’m , yep, this has got 4:88 or 5:13 ( because I know exactly what 4:56 feel like) , good tires . Drove a little loose...had 2 stabilizers and a history of death wobble , so I did a dry test . We negotiated a little....

And I said I’ll take it ....took it home , tightened the track bar and removed the extra stabilizer , tightened up odds and ends and new fluids ..Drove like a champ. But before I said yes, I knew the Jeep was ok for a Rubicon for 9300.00 with under 100k. Wasn’t perfect ...but I saw a fresh zone lift , straight body , no drive train issues or vibes , and a loose track bar bolt .

More than anything , look for one that has really been kept up ....for the most part , don’t buy one from anyone under 30 years old . I know I’m categorizing, and some of you are good kids ...but I’m just giving you the “ what I do “ version.
 

Five

Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
42
Location
North Carolina
I love/hate my ‘97 2.5. I love driving it. I knew it was underpowered going in and accept that. I hate that it’s a 22 year old shit box. You’re buying a Jeep, not a Ferrari. Decide what you expect and buy what you think you need.
 

rasband

Logistics Specialist
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Joined
Sep 11, 2018
Messages
8,385
Location
Highlands Ranch, CO
I personally wouldn’t buy one unless I had a plan to swap the motor, in which case you get a great deal on the bones of a TJ.

that’s not to say they’re bad, it’s just not something that would meet my expectations or needs. A few guy’s on here run them and are very happy with the motor.
 

Willys LJ

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
468
Location
Dyer TN
I'm pretty sure the term "Iron Duke" refers to the GM (Pontiac) 2.5L 4 cylinder.

Let me say first, that I've never owned a TJ with the "4 angry squirrels", but my previous Jeep before my LJ was a '80 CJ5 that came new from Toledo with the Pontiac Iron Duke 4 banger and was my daily driver for several years from the day I drove it new off the dealer's lot to the day of infamy that I got stupid and traded it in. Never underestimate the capabilities of a 4 cylinder Jeep. It's not a powerhouse engine, but I drove that CJ5 everywhere and anywhere and did a lot of things in it that in retrospect weren't exactly the smartest thing to do. But it never let me down when I needed it. I couldn't kill that Iron Duke (or the so called "POS" SR4 trans) . The Dana 300 transfer case was another story though.

Now my LJ is a lot more Jeep than "Ol Bessie" ever was. And I sure appreciate the 4.0 under the hood. But you'll never see me doubting a 4 cylinder Jeep.
 

4 banger TJ

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
May 10, 2019
Messages
136
Location
Burnsville, MN
I love mine, but I’ve never driven a 6 cylinder. So I guess that means I don’t know what I’m missing out on. Yes, it is more sluggish than the 6 cylinder. But if you know that, understand that, and accept it, you’ll still enjoy it.
 

BugoutJeep

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2018
Messages
1,889
Location
KY
Keep up the faith and don't get too scared with high mileage. Look for rust. The 4.0 and the AX-15 are under powered but last. I picked up my 97 for $5,500 and it had over 200k mi 4.0L and 5 speed 3.07s and came with 33 x 12.5s. It had been through 2 owners and the second one was very brief but the rest of its life was highway from the south. I got it as a donor. I couldn't get the 4.0 to stop working, but I swapped it out for a 4cyl (with a whistle mind you).

The Jeep 4 cylinders are great if that's all you got or as secondary vehicles. I have a YJ with a 4 banger and a Willy's CJ with a 4 cyl. A ZJ with V8 drives like a normal vehicle compared to any of those Jeeps OEM. The YJ I have is wrecked and I drove it only a few times before I got it (basically all that's good is most of the tub and frame and I want it to convert it to a diesel Jeep truck). It felt way more peppy off-road compared to the 4.0. But it had stock size tires with 4.10s vs 33's with 3.07s and it didn't have AC.

If you really want this to be your last Jeep (yeah right) and you're not as attracted to shiny and new, I would look for a LJ with 6 cylinder, but they're pricey. The LJ is probably perfect for most people. I've gone back and forth on which one I like better and I've heard people say a stretched TJ is perfection, but I've got no idea the difference. But you know what your time and money is worth so ultimately it comes down to how much you like to work for your money and if you like to wrench. For anyone with a 20 year old vehicle I would typically suggest having a spare vehicle anyway.
 

reddvltj

TJ Guru
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Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
6,791
Location
Challis, ID
I've owned 2 SE models, a 1997 with the 2.5 and a 2004 with the 2.4, and now I have a 2000 Sahara with the 4.0 all of them 5 speeds. Does the 6 cyl have more grunt? Yes, unequivocally. The 2.5 is slightly less power than the 2.4 "Slightly". The only place that the 4.0 really shines over the 4 poppers is driving down the highway and long grades. Off road, as long as you're geared correctly for your tire size there's not a HUGE advantage with the 6 cylinder, unless your primary goal is slinging mud.
 
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Skully

Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2017
Messages
84
Location
Huntington Beach, CA, United States
I bought my SE new in 97. At the time I didn't even think about 4 vs 6 cyl (I bought it using a broker - long story). If I had to do it all over again, I would go for the 6. BUT I can't rag on the 4 very much. It's been a good vehicle. Off road it's every bit as capable as the Sport model. It loves dirt hills, but hates paved ones. On flat land I often do 80 on the freeway, but I've accepted the fact I have to drive in the truck lane when going uphill through a pass. But if you can deal with that and don't have dreams of over-building it, you'll still be happy with it.
 
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RaymondT

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2016
Messages
699
Location
Summerland, B.C.
Keep the 2.5 lightweight, stock suspension, stock rubber, and in good tune. Mines quick, light on it's feet, and handles hills quite easily. 6 bangers with lift kits, big rubber, winches, and bolt-on goodies remind me of a 300lb ballerina.
 
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ldeer77

Member
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
57
Location
Tacoma
Yeah definitely drive both, that's the only way to know. I thought the four felt really underpowered and I only tried one bc they're a lot cheaper than the sixes, but I went into it pretty sure that I wanted a six anyway so...
 

Jerry Bransford

TJ Guru Moderator
Staff Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2015
Messages
25,420
Location
Fleming Island Florida
My personal opinion is the four-banger is the equal of the 4.0L when offroad on typical offroad trails, excluding things like steep hill climbs or mud where you need lots of power. Around town they're the equal too. But on the highways, the 2.5 struggles to keep up with traffic, especially when there are grades.

This sums it up on the highway/interstate pretty well. :ROFLMAO:

2.5L on the Interstate.JPG