First some background information.
My old man bought me a used 97 TJ about a year ago (only 72,000 miles on it, 4.11 gears, manual transmission, etc), however, at the time he thought the 4.0 was to much of an engine for the light weight of the jeep so he opted for a 2.5. Now, this is not another MPG thread, etc. I know, brick=bad gas mileage=I like driving with the top down anyway.
But I'm getting sick and tired of these A**holes on the highway cutting me off while my poor jeep tries to do 65. I'm not concerned with top speed only acceleration and maintaining my speed on the highway. So my question is, is an engine swap worth it? I've read numerou swaps have been performed from the 318 to the v-10 viper engine. I don't want my jeep to do 0-60 in 4 seconds but some extra horsepower on 31s with my 2.5 inch ome lift would be nice.
Wait...there's more so please be patient. I'm not exactly mechanically compotent like my old man so the engine swap would have to be conducted by a professional shop. With that in mind my parents telling me to just get another car, etc, but the thing is this jeep is paid for and i love it. Now I know a jeep will never be a sports car and frankly that would be scary (in a bad way due to turning conditions) if it were. But I was hoping you guys could recommend a course of action/engine/or even conversion company. My budget is 7000, no more, and I really do not want to get into another jeep because I already 5,000 invested in this jeep (line-x, 2.5 ome lift kit, at radials, arb bumper, custom sound system, bestop sailcloth, new radiator, etc). And, no, I would not pay AEV for a HEMI conversion even if they did suddenly start taking in older jeeps for conversions.
My jeep info:
Old Man EMU 2.5 inch lift kit
31x10.50x15 Radial AT tires
Factory Ravine Alloy Wheels
2.5 Liter Engine with 83,000 miles on it
ARB Winch ready bumper