Another Dilemma , What Do You Think?

I have a 2002 Jeep Liberty that needs an engine . I know a man that specializes in Liberty’s . He buys them in all conditions to fix up & for parts . He bought a 2002 Liberty for parts that has 103,000 miles & when he bought it he thought it had a rod knocking but other than that it ran good . He pulled the transmission out & found the torque converter bolts were loose & the heads on them was scuffed . Now he thinks the noise he thought was a rod knock was actually the loose torque converter bolts . With the transmission out he can’t start it to verify the knock is gone . He offered me the engine at a very good price . I have read a lot of jeep threads & loose torque converter bolts aren’t unheard of on the 3.7 & 4.7 engines . Would you chance it ?

You would have to PAY me to take any JEEP product, so I could make a profit when I recycled it!


Jeeps sell really well in my neck of the woods & that’s what’s going to happen to this one when it’s fixed .

In my neck of the woods, people know Jeeps aren’t Jeeps anymore.


It’s been a long , long time since jeeps were jeeps .


Of all people presently populating mother earth, I am that last one whose advice you should heed. IOW, RUN BABY RUN! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED

How much would he need to reinstall the tranny to confirm his theory?

Loose torque converter bolts hitting the block can certainly sound like a bad rod bearing.
Offhand, I’d take a chance on it but you might consider checking the crankshaft end play.
It’s possible that too much end play could allow the converter bolts to contact the block.
Facing the crank pulley, push or pry it towards the back of the engine. Now pry it forward. There should be very little movement. If it’s excessive that could mean a worn out engine.

Jeeps are very popular around here; especially with rural mail carriers. The son of the elderly lady who lives across the street from me is a rural carrier and he’s been driving a Liberty for 6 or 7 years now with very few problems.

The Liberty replaced his Toyota Tacoma which after a couple of years spent more time broken down than hauling mail.

The county assessors here all use Jeeps exclusively and have for about 20 years. Those vehicles also accrue a lot of miles running up and down dirt and gravel roads.

@uncleharry As I said he bought the jeep for parts & needed the transmission for another jeep . I have no idea what all he had removed from the jeep before he discovered the loose torque converter bolts . Anyway , he’s not going to reinstall the transmission .

@ok4450 There’s lots of jeeps in my area also . Used wranglers bring outrageous prices & nice looking , good running Liberty’s also sell for a premium . The 02 I bought has an excellent body & interior & will easily bring 4 - 5 K when running good . I will have between 1,500 & 2,000 in it when fixed .
In my opinion if it wasn’t for the Jeep Brand & possibly Dodge pickups Chrysler wouldn’t exist anymore .

I’d go for it. Bad rod bearings at 103k miles is unlikely.

How much will it cost you to purchase and get this engine into your vehicle?

There’s an element of gamble when investing in an unknown engine for a 14 year old vehicle. You’ll likely be OK, but knowing how much this transaction will cost you will help with a yea/nay response.

It isn’t clear if the engine is IN or OUT of the Liberty.

See if you can pull the oil pan off and check the bearings yourself. Try and move the rod’s big end up and down to see if there is clearance. Or just take off the rod caps of any suspects and look.

Then you would know if it is bad or not. The bearing should be mostly smooth and light to medium gray in color. There will be some scratching on the bearing shell but it shouldn’t be deep. The crank pin should be shiny and smooth with possibly some visible scratching you can barely feel with your fingernails. If any bearing looks hammered or speckled walk away.

@JoeMario I can buy the engine for $400.00 . I would install all new freeze plugs , new rear main oil seal & new oil & filter & coolant . The coolant I could save if the engine still knocked & probably the oil & filter also as I would know as soon as it started . I am retired & do things like this as a hobby because I enjoy mechanic work & stand to make a few dollars in the process . I would install the engine myself .
I haven’t asked yet but I have bought parts from this guy before & he would probably give me my money back if the engine still knocked , then again he may consider this as an as is sale .

@Mustangman I just received a message from him explaining what he had & what he found . He knew I was looking for an engine . I expect he would go ahead & pull the engine if he hasn’t already . I also expect he would let me pull the oil pan & check the bearings if I wanted to . I think the rod bolts are TTY & would need to be replaced if un-torqued .

Salvage yard prices for this engine without really high mileage runs anywhere from 11 or 12 hundred on up to a couple thousand . I’d say the average is 14 - 16 .
Considering the loose bolts he found , I’m really tempted to buy it & install it as is . Sometimes you get the bear & sometimes the bear gets you .

For $400 (engine) + a few hundred for miscellaneous items + you have the time and enjoy doing this kind of work - by all means, go for it. I definitely would in this situation.

Go for it. You can pull the oil pan at his place and see what’s up with rods if you want to, but it sounds like a deal that might work out.

Four hundred dollars is a deal so I’d go for it; assuming the crank is not slopping back and forth.