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86 MJ 2.5L 5spd What to beware of?


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Hi all,

Didn't see a place for introductions so I guess I'll start here.

 

Have always been a Jeep guy. Learned to drive in a CJ5 and drove a CJ7 through high school. Have a 46 CJ2A toy and a Liberty DD.

 

Have to look for another car for the family due to daughter #2 getting license this summer so I'm looking for something for me to drive and will let her drive the Liberty.

 

Don't know much about MJ's but am going to look at a 86 with the 2.5L, 5 speed and 157k miles, what should I look for and be aware of? Guy says that it tough to get in to first gear at times. Thanks,

 

Jack

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If it's hard to get into 1st sometimes, chances are pretty good its a clutch problem. Most likely hydraulic, but could be the throwout.

 

Luckily for you, 86 was still an external slave.

 

Basics for your truck though:

 

LWB(no shortbeds until 87)

2.5L 4 cylinder Throttle Body Injected.

AX-5 5 speed transmission.

Most likely a Dana 35 non- C clip rear axle.

 

If 4wd:

Dana 30 CAD front axle.

NP207 T-case

 

I would check for rust, specifically the floor pans and above the fender flares. Floor rust is one of the worst, and most common problems with the XJ/MJ.

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and floor rust starts under the carpet, not under the truck. If you can see rust under the truck, chances are good that it's much much worse under the carpet. :( Gotta pull back the edges of the carpet and check for moisture and/or a bad smell.

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Rust, yea that's a given on any Ohio vehicle.

External slave cylinder is a good thing, thanks.

Only LWB, didn't know that, and the owner couldn't email pictures.

 

With 157k miles on the clock (and assuming I throw in a new master/slave cylinder on the clutch), is there a reason to doubt this vehicle won't do another 50k without major problems assuming it had some kind of reasonable maintenance?

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My 2.5 has almost 344,000 on the clock, the original owner says that the motor and trans were repalced with Jasper units at 140,000... so that makes around 200,000 on the current strong running motor. This same guy recently asked me if he should replace the 4.0 in his current Cherokee because hes up to 150,000.... just because! There probably wasnt anything wrong with the original 2.5, so other than tune ups, and maybe a sensor here and there, you should be fine! Welome to the club!

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check to see if the clutch reservoir of the firewall has been leaking. It's common for the leak to run inside the cab, and onto the main fuse panel above the driver's feet. If fluid has been leaking behind the panel unchecked, it can cause a whole mess of electrical gremlins down the road. Best to get it sealed and cleaned up ASAP before you have a re-wiring headache.

 

I have about +200K (known) miles on my '86 2.5. It sat abandoned in a field for a couple years before I wound up with it, and had not had the easiest of lives up to that point. After some basic maintenance like replacing belts, houses, and a few sensors, it's been running trouble free as my DD for the past 2 years - barely even burns a little oil. The 2.5 gets dogged at times, simply because it's not the 4.0. But for what it is, it's a great little engine. It's basically a 4.0 with two cylinders deleted, and is just as tough and reliable as it's big brother, IMO.

 

The 2.5 can feel a little underpowered in our trucks, especially if you're used to driving something with more ci's. But a couple of simple mods like replacing the mechanical fan with an electric and opening up the exhaust & intake can free some wasted horses and make it a better driver. While MJ's are getting harder to find, the general rule is that anything from the dash forward is a direct swap with a similar year XJ, of which plenty are still floating around for cheap parts. The '86-'89 2.5's are TBI and use the "Renix" engine management system - so a few of the downsides are that you can't hook a scan tool up to them, and parts availability for some items (like the coil, ICU, injector, etc) can be a challenge at times. But the upside is that it's a fairly basic and straight forward system - as long as you know how to use a multimeter and read through the tech articles on this site, it can be simple to diagnose & troubleshoot yourself.

 

Good luck! :cheers:

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Well, I didn't buy it... at least not yet.

 

I'm a little pissed off about this guy's description of the truck and what I saw when I got there. He is asking $1200 and said the only rust through was above the rear fender wells but there was some other surface rust. Got there, front floors are shot, drivers side cab corner is gone, there are holes I can put four fingers through on the bed and I can't tell what's holding the rear bumper together. Add that to the mechanical work I have to do to get this up to my reliabiltiy standards and there is no way I can go $1200 on this one. I explained all that to the guy when he asked what I'd pay and told him $500 at best. He said he had two people coming to look at it today and I said if they will pay $1200 take it and run, I'll keep looking since I have time.

 

Figure I'll check back with him this weekend and see if he still has it and re-offer the $500. We'll see...

 

Thanks for all the info guys...

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Right in the middle of Ohio, thanks for the offer. Let me know if you know of any.

 

What I'm looking for:

2wd or 4wd is OK.

Has to be a manual, no autos.

Short bed prefered but LWB OK

2.5L or 4.0L

Has to be a drivable project, already have three non running projects.

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Right in the middle of Ohio, thanks for the offer. Let me know if you know of any.

 

What I'm looking for:

2wd or 4wd is OK.

Has to be a manual, no autos.

Short bed prefered but LWB OK

2.5L or 4.0L

Has to be a drivable project, already have three non running projects.

 

Central Ohio? OHHHH thats a bad place to be looking for an MJ project..... they don't last too long after being exposed to road salt over the years, as I'm sure you know. If you have any connections in the south, you may be better off to find a southern project truck..... I have 2 right now, the first one even runs, and for the two theres a grand total of $375 in purchase price! Then theres the free XJ i got recently. I'm just saying if youre willing to travel, you can have a rust free truck for as much or less than what you would pay up north. Good luck though. You anywhere near Canton? My wifes family is up that way!

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Yea, I know about rust...

 

Willing to travel and drive back a rust free truck for the right deal. Driving across country doesn't bother me if the logistics can be worked out.

 

Canton is about 2.5 hours from me. I'm in the Columbus area which is pretty much dead center of Ohio.

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you should be aware of rust as everyone said before, and if you take care of a 2.5 engine it will last for a very long time or miles,

mine died at 378,000 original miles on the clock and i used it as my dune jeep so you can tell it had fun all these years

now I threw a 2000 model 2.5 engine and I'm having a blast driving this truck again

 

Welcome to CC jamminz.gif

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