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Rough Country Lift Kits and Parts!XJ Rail Sale!The Ruffstuff NOT Universal 4 Link Kit!

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Unread 01-23-2013, 10:36 PM   #1
Jeepfordan
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Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
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Getting back to the XJ life

I'm looking for an XJ to use as a work vehicle while I am in grad school. This will be my get muddy, bang around, jump curbs and run over rocks vehicle. So far my altima hasn't performed that well at any of those duties. This will be my 6th jeep, second XJ. I have looked around for awhile, and have always liked the look of the 2 door models. There is a 2 door 4wd 5 speed 4cly in town for sale right now. It has rust on both front floorboards and a few dents but other than that looks pretty solid. Odometer reads 250xxx, and the guy who owns it thinks it is all original equipment. He's asking 1400 for it but I don't think it's worth that. What's the JF opinion? Ill try to area pic later

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Unread 01-24-2013, 07:19 AM   #2
erobinson923
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overpriced IMO. i think you could find one in better shape with less miles for around the same price, and a 4.0. good luck in your search though!
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Unread 01-24-2013, 07:45 AM   #3
mschi772
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Manual 250k mile 4 cyl with rust, dents, and the owner is out of touch with it to the point that he/she only THINKS it's all original? Pfff, walk away. I guess you could offer a few hundred dollars, but I doubt that someone asking that much will be that reasonable.

The plus side to those manual 4-cyls is that if you drive "nicely" they can get some pretty good gas mileage for a 4x4 XJ. Terrible power, and if you're at all heavy on the gas, they can get the same if not worse mpg due to having to work so hard. The 2.5L 4-cyl is just as long-lived as the 4.0 since it's essentially the same engine--just 2 fewer cylinders.
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Unread 01-24-2013, 08:27 AM   #4
xj59
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IMO I would try and ind a 4.0 with less miles sure you can find one similar in price
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Unread 01-24-2013, 09:00 AM   #5
Jeepfordan
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I appreciate the replies. I think I was letting my desire for a 5 speed XJ interfere with common sense for a few hours. The sensible part of me says walk away, but the jeep side of me says offer $500, use logic and persuasion to get the owner to accept the offer, take the extra money, buy a 4.0, turn it into a 4.5, find a decent ax15 and swap stuff over when the 2.5 goes out.
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Unread 01-24-2013, 09:03 AM   #6
xj59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepfordan
I appreciate the replies. I think I was letting my desire for a 5 speed XJ interfere with common sense for a few hours. The sensible part of me says walk away, but the jeep side of me says offer $500, use logic and persuasion to get the owner to accept the offer, take the extra money, buy a 4.0, turn it into a 4.5, find a decent ax15 and swap stuff over when the 2.5 goes out.
Great plan !
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Unread 01-24-2013, 09:37 AM   #7
mschi772
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Heck, if you're going to go through all the effort of swapping engines and trannies, why not drop in a diesel? I know the 4.0 is great, but a diesel is just as reliable, just as much of a torque machine, and a diesel isn't a gas-guzzler like the 4.0. Yeah, it'd be a bit more work but, in my opinion, would be quite worth it assuming you're already planning all that kind of work. My 4.0 hopefully has many many more miles left in it, but the day it dies there's a good chance I'll be going diesel instead of just replacing it.

Your plan sounds pretty good regardless of the details, but I still vote no on this particular XJ because it's rusting out. You're in TN--it shouldn't be that hard to find an XJ with little to no rust. I managed to find a few in WI.
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Unread 01-24-2013, 11:36 AM   #8
Kevin108
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I'll bite. What's an easy, affordable diesel swap that everything still works with?
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Unread 01-24-2013, 12:19 PM   #9
mschi772
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Easy and affordable? None. I don't consider having a 4.0 and AX15 on standby to swap into an XJ easy or even very affordable, but that's certainly easiER and cheapER than a diesel conversion, yes. FYI, as I understand it, a 2.5 4 cyl to 4.0 swap isn't drop-in--there may some fab work to be done with the mounts and you'll need to swap over a whole new harness and PCM. I'd still sooner consider something more as long as I'm ripping the engine and tranny out which is why I mentioned it. That or, ya know, just buying an XJ with a 4.0 instead. That's super duper easier.

XJ's actually had diesel engine options from the factory (Renault 2.1 in the 80s to 90s and VM Motori 2.5 from then til death). They're just rarer and especially so in the US because Americans in particular have a lot of misconceptions and crummy regulations regarding diesel. Those weren't the greatest diesels ever, and depending on who you ask, there are a number of other options.

Other options require extra fabrication, adapting, etc which is why I said it would be more work. My research periodically continues on the subject, so I'm no expert yet, but given what I know so far, I'd try to find a Merc OM617 diesel. Though I'm still torn between replacing/stroking the 4.0, diesel, and electric (*see below) for the day my 4.0 starts to die...and I've been leaning away from diesel more and more despite the low maintenance and great mileage. Maybe if I owned a restaurant so I could convert my fry oil to biodiesel...hmmm....

Some guys go for a Cummins 4BT while others say that's too much engine for an XJ. The 4BT has been done a lot regardless. I know the VW 1.9 TDI has been done in Jeeps, but I'm not sure if its been done in an XJ.


*I figure I have quite a long time before my 4.0 dies, and after seeing http://driveev.com/jeepev/home.php I'm quite interested. Battery range and charge times are all that stop me from using electric, but maybe in the distant future when my 4.0 dies that will have been improved.
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Unread 01-24-2013, 03:26 PM   #10
Kevin108
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It's an interesting subject to me. I don't really know anything about the various diesel choices myself but I understand the benefits of such engines. Swapping out a bad 4.0 and in a good 4.0 on my XJ overall was fairly easy but again I know nothing about swapping anything different in. I kinda come from the truck world where Advance Adapters has the solutions for virtually every combination.

With my XJ I've been a lot more likely to throw used parts in it than other vehicles I've owned. This has worked out well. When my original engine ate the cam, I scored a 4.0/AW4/242 off CL for $500. I installed the engine, sold the head, exhaust manifold, and t-case and broke even on the engine. Out of pocket was fluids and gaskets but I'm sill sitting on a good AW4, starter, AC compressor and collection of sensors.

What sort of displacement do we need in a diesel to give us similar torque to the 4.0?
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Unread 01-24-2013, 06:43 PM   #11
mschi772
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It all depends on the engine. The 4BT borders on too powerful for a stock XJ--upgraded driveline and frame/suspension reinforcement is wise. The Renault 2.1 is a little weaker than the HO 4.0. The VMM 2.5 is similar. Displacement varies quite a bit bascially, but a good diesel will do the same or more torque-wise than a 4.0 with less displacement.

Yeah, I hear ya about not shying away from used parts as much with a Jeep. As great as my small block Chevy was in my El Camino, buying used wasn't something I was comfortable with, but I'm a lot more comfortable with it now. I think it's just the general durability and simplicity of Jeep and its parts that does it. A small block Chevy is a legendary engine, but I'm expecting to exceed 200k miles with my 4.0. I did not expect that with a sb Chevy.
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Unread 01-25-2013, 06:54 AM   #12
Kevin108
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The 4.0 swap I did on my XJ came from a single-owner stock 99 XJ DD that had always been filled with Mobil 1. It had 167,000 miles on it but no slack in the timing chain and no wear on the cam. It's been a great engine.

As for GM SB, in 02 I bought and 87 Silverado with nearly 200,000 on a 350. I used to grind the starter all the time. It ran so smooth, you couldn't tell it was running. If you idled for a minute or two, you'd forget it was on. It also gave me 14 mpg with 33s and 3.42s. The downside was that it burned a half quart of oil for every tank of gas. I hydrolocked it playing around in flood waters from Hurricane Isabel. The Jasper replacement I put in has never idled well or given me better than 8 mpg and the first-year fuel injection system doesn't really give me a whole lot of diagnostic help. I still have the truck but that 8 mpg was why I went small and bought an XJ.
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Unread 01-27-2013, 08:57 PM   #13
Jeepfordan
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Just a little update.... I walked away from the 1990, straight into a 1998 4.0/AX-15/231 with 180000 on the clock for $1500. Drove it home today, 90 miles of interstate with zero problems. Not 100% my favorite color, but for the price and the set up I couldn't pass it up.
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