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Unread 07-11-2010, 09:13 AM   #1
Silmar
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2002 TJ Wrangler with 97/98 engine

Good morning everybody,

This is my first post on this forum. If my question has already been answered, please redirect me to the thread. I just spent 15 minutes searching and cannot find anything related to my problem...

I bought my first Jeep ('02 TJ Wrangler Sahara) a month and a half ago with 78,300 miles on it. I already have to fix minor issue: A/C leak on passenger side, alternator which needs to be replaced and I already took care of it. Also fluids have been changed (oil, trans, rear axle, coolant...).

Anyway, yesterday I discovered a "big" issue. First, let me tell you that I noticed several times during a long trip from FL to NC and back, mainly on interstates, when reaching 4000 rpm, the Jeep seems to loose power and is not accelerating anymore. Everything is back to normal as long as I'm going back under 4,000 rpm.

Two days ago, my wife came back home with the Jeep and the car was running with no accelerating power, very rough idle, knocking noises, check engine light on... I stopped the car, turn it on again and problems seems to be fixed.
Next morning, when driving the car, I noticed the rpm was not going down when clutching (I clutch and release gas pedal to change gear and the engine stays at a steady 2,000 rpm for example). This problem disappeared after few miles and the check engine light came off later that day.

Yesterday, I tried to reach 4,000 rpm again and the same problem came out. No acceleration power and all the symptoms described above.

Checking under the hood with my fellow club member (I was going home after a meeting), we discovered that my Jeep has a 97/98 engine in it
I was able to compare a 2002 and 1998 engine on site, last night, and I'm sure I have a 97/98 in the car. But Title, Carfax and Door Sticker say it a '02 (built in 5/02).

The car dealer (in Tampa) never mentioned this information to us when he sold us the car. Somebody mentioned yesterday it is a Federal offense and he could loose his license for it (Does anybody have any input on this part?).
We didn't even have a good deal on it (which may have caught my attention) since we paid $12,000 for it.
Therefore, I was advised to "build my case" first and go back to him to have this issue fixed.

I already requested my Built Sheet from Chrysler and I'm waiting for it.

In between, I'm trying to make a list of what needs to be checked/replaced to have my Jeep running smoothly with the current engine (replacing the engine seems to me a little bit unrealistic).

My fellow club members mentioned O2 sensors, CPU unit, Emissions (BTW, my Jeep is a CA model)... Anything else you will think about?

Thanks in advance for your input.

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Unread 07-11-2010, 10:17 AM   #2
jmpowie
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I would check your cat it could be broke up and choking the exhaust when you go to 4000rpms. if you have a 97-98 motor is that a problem? someone blow the old motor and it was replaced, I would think it happens all the time. A blown motor would not show up on the title and maybe the dealer did not know about the engine.
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Unread 07-11-2010, 10:49 AM   #3
extsp2
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true, the engine replacement would not necessarily show up on a title or even a carfax unless it was reported. would you not have bought it if you were told it had a different engine in it?
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Unread 07-11-2010, 11:07 AM   #4
heslep1
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Unread 07-11-2010, 08:35 PM   #5
Silmar
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The dealer is specialized in Jeep Wrangler (that's the only car he is selling: Wrangler) and claim he is in the Jeep business for 16 years.

He claims that he fully inspected the Jeep before selling it. When we saw this Jeep first, the carpets were missing. But I discovered later than the floor plugs where missing. Then I realize later than the spare tire he put on the car, after he replaced the tires (with good ones, not news) has a steel rim, when the car originally has an alloy rim (I have a picture of it).
Then I discovered the A/C compressor has been replaced by an aftermarket one. Then one ignition coil has to be replaced since it was generating an error code and was already "fixed" with electrical tape...

Then the alternator died (and I have hard time to find the matching part since I was asking for a '02 part). Then this 4,000 rpm problem came which may bring more potential problems: CAT, O2 sensors, CPU...

If this dealer is a "specialist" as he claims, he couldn't have miss the fact that the engine was not the original one (but maybe he is the one who changed it after all).

The answer to your question, no, I would probably not have bought this Jeep if I new it was not the original engine. This is our leisure/second car and I need it to go to work. I cannot afford to have it broken every other day and will not be able to buy another one before the credit on this one is fully paid. So I need a car which is fully running, the right way.

I bought a '02 with 78,300 miles on it, I'm expecting to have a '02 with 78,300 miles on it. Not a '02 with a 97/98 engine which may have 100,000 miles on it or even 200,000 miles.

On top of that, I paid full price for a '02 with an '02 engine. If the dealer told me about the engine and offered a good price on it, why not. But right now, I feel I have been fooled.

The problem is now I see everything wrong... Originally, I thought small details were just a "Jeep things" (since this is my first one, there is nothing to compare to). It doesn't accelerate very well, when down shifting it gives us a "kick in the butt"... And other little details... Is it normal or is it something related to the fact it is not the original engine?

Even more, since the replacement is untraceable, was the replacement done by a Jeep dealer or by somebody in his garage on week ends. Was it done properly? With all the needed part? Somebody from the club mentioned yesterday that I may have to change the CPU since the engine is different. Was it change when they replaced the engine? Or is it still the '02 one?

That's a lot of question I don't have the time, the money or the envy to deal with and yes, I think the dealer is the one to blame, especially as a "Jeep Specialist".

Anyway, anything else I should look for, except the CAT?

Let me know... Thanks in advance!
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Unread 07-11-2010, 08:45 PM   #6
extsp2
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have you gone back and talked to the dealer and asked for your money back? if he's a good businessman he might just reneg on the deal. it does sound like you'll be chasing some gremlins. but it also sounds like you were not completely impressed with the jeep before you bought it. did you have another shop check it out before you bought it? we do used car checks for our customers all the time and come across bad deals every once in a while.
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Unread 07-11-2010, 08:52 PM   #7
Silmar
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@extsp2

The discovery of the old engine is from yesterday so, no, I haven't talked to him yet.

The dealer is 130 miles away from my home/work so I cannot afford to go back and forth every day.

I tried the Jeep and liked it but... I couldn't compare to anything else since we never had one before.

I have it checked by a mechanics after we bought it (since I had the CEL on several times) and rear axle seals were changed (leak), all fluids, belt...
I considered it as normal since it was a used car but the mechanic didn't detected anything else wrong.
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Unread 07-11-2010, 10:31 PM   #8
jmpowie
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Dont be mad at the dealer because you paid to much. If you had driven a few jeeps before you bought you would have felt a diffence in them. If the dealer takes your jeep back your still going to be out money for the tune up and stuff you put in it. If you learned something maybe the jeep was a deal!

The more research you do the better price and the happier you will be.
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Unread 07-11-2010, 10:50 PM   #9
Dmcastino
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpowie View Post
I would check your cat it could be broke up and choking the exhaust when you go to 4000rpms. if you have a 97-98 motor is that a problem? someone blow the old motor and it was replaced, I would think it happens all the time. A blown motor would not show up on the title and maybe the dealer did not know about the engine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by extsp2 View Post
true, the engine replacement would not necessarily show up on a title or even a carfax unless it was reported. would you not have bought it if you were told it had a different engine in it?
The motor from the early TJs is different than the one he should have in his 02, Distributor vs. Distributorless. I'd be pissed if I was him too, he has no way of knowing how many miles are on that motor, not to mention the newer motor is a more desirable motor. You can get a distributor motor like he has in there now for a few hundred bucks, but the coil pack motor that he should have is a lot more expensive, I bought a 302 from a salvage yard yesterday and we were talking Jeep motors and they said they won't sell the coil pack 4.0s for any less than $1000
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Unread 07-12-2010, 11:34 AM   #10
Knuckelhead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silmar View Post
Then one ignition coil has to be replaced since it was generating an error code and was already "fixed" with electrical tape...

Anyway, anything else I should look for, except the CAT?

Let me know... Thanks in advance!
Does it have the mini cats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmcastino View Post
The motor from the early TJs is different than the one he should have in his 02, Distributor vs. Distributorless.
Sounds like he has the coil on rail (distributorless) to me...
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Unread 07-12-2010, 12:44 PM   #11
Silmar
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@ Dmcastino

Thanks for your support! I was beginning to think I was out of my mind being pissed, seems everybody else seems to find the situation as normal. Probably a "Jeep thing" I cannot understand...
Everybody I talk about the problem in "real life" is telling to take a lawyer ASAP and get after the dealer.

@ Knuckelhead

I'm not that good at mechanic so I'm calling it (Ignition call plug) the way it is called on the mechanic's invoice. But I know (for sure) that I have a distributor under the hood. And 4 other members of my Jeep club agreed on the fact it is not the engine I should have under the hood of my '02 (the distributorless). But I do have the previous generation one (with distributor).

Anyway, I'm kind of feeling lost here since nobody seems to be able to tell me what I should do and look for on the mechanical point of view.
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Unread 07-12-2010, 12:55 PM   #12
Robert J. yates
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What i want to know is how did you identify the engine as a 97/98?

Engines manufactured before 00 are not easily backwards compatible into late model TJ's due to accessory drive reconfiguration, different ignition, different manifolds (exhaust and intake), sensor layout and use of a diffferent computer. If someone put a 97/98 motor into your 02 TJ and got it to run, then they knew what they were doing.

FWIW... I have a 2001 block in my 98 and it took a bit of extra work to make it compatible and the one place that I see a problem with putting a older motor into a new TJ is in the block casting. I had to cut additional casting off the newer block that was not needed and in the way for my older accessory drive to work.

BTW... you will always have a distributor looking type of thing on a late model motor as that drive is needed for the cam position sensor and it is still located in the side of the engine. Also, a distributor based engine will not work with a coil pack computer. [edit]
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Unread 07-12-2010, 01:24 PM   #13
Knuckelhead
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Do you have plug wires?...
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Unread 07-12-2010, 01:26 PM   #14
Silmar
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I don't know if I can post a picture yet (I'm a member only since yesterday) but I will try tonight once back home.

I was able (luckily enough) to compare a 2002 Jeep, stock (owned by a fellow who owned several Jeep already), with mine.

His do not have a distributor, there is no wires going from a distributor to the spark plugs. I do.

All the wires for the spark plugs are "hidden" under a "rail". Mines are not.

His A/C compressor is placed in the "middle" right of the engine. Mine is on the top left.

His alternator is on the top left of the engine. Mine is on the bottom left.

Looking at the shop manual, my belt path is running like for a 97/98 engine when his a running like a '02.

I also compare Saturday night my engine to a friend's Jeep, which is a '98, and we have the exact same identical engine. So, I'm guessing I have a 97/98...

Anything else I should look for?

Also, the fact that I have a 97/98 engine was confirmed by at least 4 other members of my Jeep club on Saturday night, by looking under my hood, since the situation was so unusual. Some of them driving Jeeps forever. None of them has any doubt about the fact that the engine I have under the hood is NOT a '02.
So I guess we can start with the almost absolutely positive assumption that I have a 97/98 engine under the hood. Shall we?


@ Knuckelhead
Yes, I do (see above).
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Unread 07-12-2010, 01:44 PM   #15
Silmar
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To be honest, and I know it may seems coming from an a.....e as a newbie, but I'm feeling strangely about this forum.

My club members warmly recommended I submit my problem here because Jeepforum.com is one of the best resource on the web that can be find for Jeep.

I'm under the impression that first I'm judged (in a bad way) because I have been screwed by the dealer and I'm pissed off for it.

But also that I need to "prove" every bit of my assumptions that I have been screwed because I'm almost sure I have a 97/98 engine in my car instead of a '02.

I must admit that it makes me very uncomfortable in regards of this community...
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1997 , 1998 , 2002 , coil rail , distributor , engine swap , year

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