I have a 2.5, ax4 MJ base model that the previous owner swapped axles and suspension out of an automatic 4x4 cherokee. So my MJ now sits on the chrysler 8.25 in rear with a nonfunctioning d30 in the front and about three inches
Higher than stock 4x2. He never regeared so its running whetever stock gears came from that cherokee. (from my research, i believe 3.55). I drive it 60hwy/40cty. And I get 24mpg average. However, it has stock speedo gear for 4.10. So my 24 is probably not that accurate.
Also, hills suck, and it's not gonna win any races. But I'm a college student and its a much welcome improvement to fill my comanche once a week compared to 3 times in my 4.3 s10. I honestly don't mind the sluggishness.
Also, he used the comanche spring perches under the cherokee rear.
Edit: the comanche originally came in a feul miser package with a 2.5, ax4, and 3.31? gears. So you must be on to something in your reasoning.