A question for you 4 cylinder owners... - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 28 Old 07-14-2013, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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1999 WJ 
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A question for you 4 cylinder owners...

Hey guys, I've been out of the Jeep world for a little while now after I sold my '99 Grand Cherokee, and I'm itching to get back into it. At the moment, I'm without a vehicle (not a big deal because I carpool with the fiance anyways) but I want a fun, reliable, around-town ride. I don't have any highway commute, and when I do, it's only the occasional hour ride to the beach or the casino, so nothing major. I've been thinking about looking for a clean YJ as a daily driver, mostly since it's what fits my budget right now. Today, I stumbled across what I think is a nice find, and have been emailing the owner, but wanted to come here for a few personal opinions first.

So the Jeep is a 1995 Jeep Wrangler Rio Grande, Champagne in color with a super clean tan interior. It of course has the 4 cylinder, automatic, 4wd, and everything is all original with 97k. Comes with a perfect hardtop, and a soft top that is just missing the frame. Has new tires and lots of maintenance receipts. It's quite possibly one of the cleanest YJs I've found in my area, and he's asking $3500 for it. I've already talked to him some, and he's open to taking about $3000, and I'm hoping once I see it in person, maybe even more like $2800 or so.

For what I'm looking for, does this sound like a pretty decent deal? I thought the price seemed pretty killer for the miles, I've yet to find a sub-100k YJ in my area on craigslist before. It's also really clean, just minor bubbling rust on one fender in a pretty hard to see spot, with a little scaliness on the frame, but no rust/rot. Easy enough to sand up and undercoat well.

Now, I know the 4 cylinder is "underpowered" for most, but is it good enough for around town cruising? My commute is only 10mins one way, probably 4-5 miles to get to work, non-highway, so I don't need a racecar. I've heard the 4 cylinders fetch the best mpg, what could I expect out of it?

Probably more importantly, how reliable is the 4 cylinder and the auto? I don't recall ever hearing really great things about the auto, and while I don't mind driving a stick (I'm a UPS driver and drive a Cummins w/Spicer 5spd daily) the auto would be nice after a long day on the road on my knees

Would love to hear anyone & everyone's thoughts and opinions. Hopefully I can get to go see it in person this week, and if all goes well and I feel good about it, pick it up this weekend.


And just a note: I know most always say, "Just look for a 6 cylinder instead." I completely understand that theory, but I really don't need the extra power honestly, and most nice, clean, stock 6 cylinders with fuel injection are much higher priced, often out of my budget. IF I ever wanted to go that route, it would be a fun swap down the road, to just stick a '95 YJ 4.0/aw4 in there, but I really don't see a need for it right now. Thanks again!


'99 WJ Laredo 4.0L, 174K, NP242 (Current)
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post #2 of 28 Old 07-14-2013, 06:38 PM
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I say go for it.
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post #3 of 28 Old 07-14-2013, 06:48 PM
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I have a 4cyl YJ and it is way underpowered. I recently bought a CJ with the 258 and it is a world of difference.

I plan on keeping the 4cyl since it has a lift, hard top and lockers for the winter drives, but I really like the extra power of the 258.

Turn a wrench, save a tree
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post #4 of 28 Old 07-14-2013, 07:10 PM
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Anything you can drive rust free in CT is wort that much. For Vegas that would be a steal.

Me and my 2.5L YJ get along fine we are both slow and old. Buy it and enjoy it.

89YJ 2.5L TBI, AX-5, NP231 SYE, Ford 8.8, Yukon Grizzly, Tom Woods Shaft, 33" BFG T/As, 4" lift, Warn VR10000s.

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post #5 of 28 Old 07-14-2013, 07:12 PM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
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i have a 4 banger in my yj, its getting a 5.3 next week. i hate the 4 cylinder. although if your not ever going far it wouldnt be bad.
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post #6 of 28 Old 07-14-2013, 07:19 PM
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2.5 with a 5speed is barely liveable. Couldnt imagine an auto. It is clean though

Ruined a perfectly good jeep.

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post #7 of 28 Old 07-14-2013, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input so far guys. I have the same concerns too, I know the 5spd ax5 is alright, but the auto is only a 3spd! but it's just so nice and clean, I'm thinking at least test drive it, so I know first-hand what it'll be like. And maybe down the road, if it's that unbearable, with the cleanliness and low miles, I could probably sell the stock drivetrain for some decent money to fund an upgrade of some kind. That would be far future and prior to lots of planning and deliberating, but definitely an option before the mileage climbed too high.

The cleanliness of this thing just keeps distracting me lol, I gotta stay focused.


'99 WJ Laredo 4.0L, 174K, NP242 (Current)
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post #8 of 28 Old 07-14-2013, 10:59 PM
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If you keep it stock you will be fine.

F/S Dana 35, 4:10, open make an offer, local pick up only, will not ship. 3-8-13

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post #9 of 28 Old 07-15-2013, 07:18 AM
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When I was shopping for a wrangler I was told the same thing. Hold out for a 6cylinder. The 6cylinder models were all way over priced and no one wanted to bargain. So after 2 years of searching I bought a 94 with the 4 cylinder and 5 spd. It does need some work and 5th gear does not work but I love it. Yea the 6 cylinder has more get up and go but I was not looking for a race car. I say check it out real good and drive it. If you like it go for it.
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post #10 of 28 Old 07-15-2013, 08:06 AM
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I bought a 85 Rio Grande champagne, just like that for $3400. Mine needed some work and was far from that clean. In the Northeast if it is solid take it. If the 4cyl is that bad swap it out at least you have a great start.

For me the 4cyl is livable, the gears are better then other 95 4cyl because it is a Rio Grande. Is it slow, yes. Is it fun as hell to drive, yes.

Do it.
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post #11 of 28 Old 07-15-2013, 09:00 AM
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stock it is fine.

Mines on 35's though, and it is NOT liveable haha

If it's not supposed to move and does use duct tape.
If it's supposed to move and doesn't use WD40
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post #12 of 28 Old 07-15-2013, 09:10 AM
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I run my 4cyl with 36's with stock gears. It's an in town daily driver. It will run 60 in 4th no problem though. It is pretty slow but I don't care. I get about 15mpg still as well. Lol I got 19 with my 32's.

If you need a highway driver then leave it stock or get a 6cyl.

On s funny side note. I ran a 4.o tj auto with 35's when I had my 32s I pulled away from him til 50 mph. It was the slowest drag race you ever saw.

My build: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/95-yam-project-1527472/?highlight=
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post #13 of 28 Old 07-15-2013, 09:11 AM
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I got the opportunity to drive a 4 cylinder auto YJ a while back... My 5 speed 2.5L was a rocketship by comparison, you will hate yourself after a while for buying it. The automatic kills every little bit of power the 2.5L had, forget about getting anywhere ontime without at least a half hour head start. The 3 speed auto even kills the 4.2 and 4.0 engines, though they at least have the muscle to roll up to speed, the 2.5L does not. Any hill is going to kill it big time.

I would say hold out until you either find a 6 cylinder or a 4 cylinder with a 5 speed. At least the 4 cyl 5 speed can get up to the speed limit in a reasonable amount of time. You couldn't pay me enough to DD a 2.5L auto.

All about that unibody life.
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post #14 of 28 Old 07-15-2013, 09:25 AM
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I have a 94 4cyl auto and i love it. Yes it's underpowered with the 3.73 gears and 35's but my commute is identical to yours and i don't mind. everyone is different though. Mine is locked front and rear and, like i said, on 35's but i kind of think the lower power keeps me from breaking things Also, my experience with this one is that it has been VERY dependable. i bought it with 122k miles and it now has 150k. I did a compression test a couple months ago just to see where it was at and the numbers were between 144 and 151 so it's doing well. By the way, if it checks out, that looks like a great deal.

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post #15 of 28 Old 07-15-2013, 10:12 AM
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I cant speak to the automatic but my 4 banger does fine. I am on 33's with stock gears still and I can cruise at 70 - 80 and do 65 up the mountains here. I got 260,000 out of the first engine then an exhaust valve broke and killed it. I have about 150,000 on the replacment engine. I replaced my 4 cylinder with another 4 cylinder if that tells you anything. I can get 18mpgs if I am easy but usually average 13 because I run it hard. I used to DD it but I drive 100 miles each way to work so I bought an old cavaleir beater to save some money and the jeep is now just my toy. That thing looks nice I say jump on it. You can always regear it to get a little more power and with the 95's the swap to the 6 cylinder isnt very hard. You add 2 wires to the harness for the two extra injectors the rest of the sensors and harness is plug and play. Then you need to move the motor mounts to the new position.

1995 YJ. 2 inch BDS Spring lift. 1 inch shackle lift. 1.25 inch JKS Body Lift 33x12.5x15's. Engo 10,000 pound winch.

Originally Posted by Magnum View Post
I gave the Jeep the required offering of $$, sweat, and blood, and everything works fine now. -- Jim
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. It started with a $200 axle, and a few thousand dollars later I was done :)
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diagnose the real issue before you start going all Obama on it - spending mad cash you'll need for other important things.

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this is also my second set of RC springs this year. I'd rather spend the money again and get something that will last.
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