1995 Jeep Wrangler - partial rebuild vs. engine swap

I have a 1995 YJ 2.4 liter engine that my son and I have owned for 2 years. 2 of the cylinders are reading at 30 PSI :frowning: Do I have my mechanic go in and figure out the cause and rebuild where needed $1500 to 3K or just buy a brand new engine and out it in with my son? I think the cost will be similar. We are both novices, but there is a lot of information on YouTube about how to do this). The Jeep has about 130 K miles on it and we would like to have for many more years. Is that wishful thinking?

In most areas of the US ( if that is where you are ) even Jeeps as old as yours bring ridiculous prices . Ask the mechanic what he thinks about a complete rebuild . The chance that you can sell later and break even is good. I would not do a halfway fix.

I don’t think you can get a “brand new” engine for this Jeep. Chrysler long ago stopped making them.

That said, a remanufactured engine, if available, would be a very good choice. The sellers take rebuildable engines and return all the parts to the same tolerances as the factory. The engines should last as long as the original.

If you were having the work done, this would be the fastest, and best path with similar costs to having your engine rebuilt. If you and your son are doing the engine removal and reinstall, it clearly would be the way to go.

Doing your own rebuild can be fun and rewarding, but requires quite a few special tools depending on how much work you’ll do yourselves, a relationship with a machine shop, and more time.


not sure. i heard that you can ask Chrysler to make a brand new engine for you. However, only the engine alone would cost you twice the price of the car. not sure how true is that

I would very much doubt that for an engine they don’t currently supply as rebuilds. Do you have a link/source for that?

To the OP - I agree with the others, you’ll have a much better chance of a good-running Jeep if you find a high-quality rebuilt engine. There will be plenty of learning going on doing an engine swap.


And where did you hear that ?

Sharing an experience like this with your son will likely give you priceless memories for years to come.

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Which two? A big part of that decision for me would be the likelyhood of a coolant breach polluting the oil versus just a combustion leak between adjacent cylinders. Also, if the engine was allowed to overheat. Barring those two, changing a head gasket might be as fun a learning experience for you two and much less expensive/involved than an entire engine swap…

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I am not a mechanic, but I would think a shop could diagnose if you need valve work, rings are coked and miracle in a bottle could work, or a rebuild is needed. I love not to waste money.

Getting tangled up in a committee of opinions over an engine scattered on a table is a time/money losing proposition @Barkydog.

Mechanics can stay home and go broke clipping their grass with pinking shears and save the time and gas spent getting to the shop. Once an engine is out and torn down it must have everything corrected to bring it into spec and anything that is borderline will be corrected. Bickering and indecision are a terrible waste of money for a shop.

Just to be clear I was proposing a proper diagnosis for the 30 psi readings. It should be a possibility without tearing the engine apart.

Well yes. If adjacent cylinders are weak and a head gasket breach is suspected the valves on the 2 cylinders can be released at the rocker arms or camshaft/s and air pressure forced into the spark plug holes. If pressure in one plug hole escapes out the other cylinder plug hole and then with the open plug reinstalled the pressure loss is minor it is likely that only the gasket has failed.

Is the engine a push rod or OHC? The push rod 4 cylinder from the 90s that I am familiar with was about as bullet proof as the 4.0 I-6.

OP said early on that it’s a 2.5L, but I think he means the 2.4L that was the only 4-Cyl used in the YJ.

The 2.5 L AMC engine was used in the YJ series Wrangler. The original post shows 2.4 L engine, that was first used in the 2003 Wrangler.

I wrote it backwards. He said he had a 2.4L in a YJ, and it had to be the 2.5L.

I had that engine in an '84 Cherokee XJ, worked great for 12 years. Wish I had the fuel injected one, though, the carb was a bit troublesome after 10 years.

Aftermarket rebuilt engine. Rebuilding too time consuming for novice unless you just want to see if you can do it. Or just install a used engine from a wreck and cross fingers might work.

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