Crossroads: Rebuild the toy, or sell it?

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I have a 95 Wrangler that I absolutely enjoy playing with. Once or twice a year, I go on an off-road Jeep ride, but mainly, I use it for running errands and back country drives where I would prefer not to drive my daily driver (gravel).

The body on it is rust free, though my wife calls it golf ball due to some imperfections. The frame is perfect, and I installed new springs in 2020. In fact, I've done a lot to it to get it to the great running condition it is in today.

However, it's getting low on compression and has very low oil pressure. 900 PSI at Idle and a MAX of 25PSI at 65 mph when fully warmed up, which is below 10PSI/Square inch.

As a guy who does all of his own work, including an engine rebuild, I really am not interested in pulling the engine for a rebuild, or installing a different engine. I'm also not interested in rebuilding the transfer case, which is also on the list. In other words, I'm just tired and want to drive it, not do massive work to it.

But I don't want to sell it.

My options are:
1. Drive it until it blows up, then decide (that could be years, as this is year 2 of low oil pressure)
2. Replace/rebuild the existing engine, which will take about a month with my schedule, and need borrowed stuff (engine hoist, stand, etc.)
3. Sit on it, let it take up space until I am motivated
4. Sell it- and find a new hobby, as I won't be able to afford a replacement that won't require some of the same things I don't want to do to this rig.

How many of you have been at this cross roads, and what did you do?

My dad sold his one owner Cuda and now has a new Mustang. He doesn't miss the Cuda, much.
 

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svtrit

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have you tryed any sort of bandaid.. such as 20w50 etc.
I tried 15w-40 and the valves clattered badly at startup. I also tried a quart of Lucas. Both did help.

Last summer I installed .02 undersized rod bearings, which quieted the engine down big time. The mains were right at the replacement spec and not yet showing copper, but do need to be replaced.

I have Valvoline Max Life 10w-40 in it now with a can of Restore.
 
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Either hunker down and get ready to rebuild this and that above and beyond the engine and keep for a few more decades or ditch all the work and start anew!!
 
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What about replacing the oil pump. Sometimes they just get tired. Also the oil gauge could be inaccurate or the sender bad.
 

svtrit

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What about replacing the oil pump. Sometimes they just get tired. Also the oil gauge could be inaccurate or the sender bad.
I should mention I did that too! This is a story of how I should have pulled the engine when I had it cracked open, but decided to just toss parts at it.....
 
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Is it manual or auto? 4 or 6 cylinder? If it is a manual with no rust you would get good money out of it.

I would love to have something like that but can't drive them with the doors on. Need a place for my knee to hang out. The sticks are also in a bad spot in second gear also.
 
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I would keep it and continue to use and nurse it along, but since you're undecided, set a deadline of say one year from now to either sell it or rebuild the engine and keep it. Maybe by then the decision will be easier one way or the other.
 
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Assuming the frame is solid, keep it...I would source rebuilt units, but I do not have the time to do the o/h myself. If you do, have at it.

Two things are certain;
1) replacing with the same is $$
2) that vintage Wrangler is a lot of fun, relatively simple and classic, and hard to replace

Look at my sig and take this advice with caution...then again if we only did things that made sense, we'd all drive Accords:)

Engine issue aside, looks like a nice Jeep!
 
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I tried 15w-40 and the valves clattered badly at startup. I also tried a quart of Lucas. Both did help.

Last summer I installed .02 undersized rod bearings, which quieted the engine down big time. The mains were right at the replacement spec and not yet showing copper, but do need to be replaced.

I have Valvoline Max Life 10w-40 in it now with a can of Restore.
Can you roll in mains on this engine? It’s common on OTR trucks but I’m not sure if you can do it here. Loosen the main caps and remove one at a time and roll the uppers in. Probably wouldn’t be $100 in parts
 
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I tried 15w-40 and the valves clattered badly at startup. I also tried a quart of Lucas. Both did help.

Last summer I installed .02 undersized rod bearings, which quieted the engine down big time. The mains were right at the replacement spec and not yet showing copper, but do need to be replaced.

I have Valvoline Max Life 10w-40 in it now with a can of Restore.
The cam bearings have been known to wear on the 4.0. assuming you have that and not the 2.5.

Put 20w-50 in it and run it.
 
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First, like others have said, I would not sell it if I were you. You also have another option. Take a [email protected]@K at this link.


I have heard that this company does quality work, and my vote would be to buy a rebuilt engine vs doing it yourself. You have already paid your dues so to speak in that department with the work that you have already done. Plus, for this price amortized over the years that you may keep / enjoy the vehicle this cost does not seem unreasonable to me. There are several shops throughout the midwest that can service your transfer case and tranny, so you still have some options to consider on those.

Lastly, I am convinced that many of the new cars today are not made nearly as well as cars from just 10 or 15 years ago. Since the body and frame of your Jeep is still in good shape, it would not take much of an investment to keep it that way. "Sleep on it" for a few weeks before you make your decision. Good Luck, and I wish you the best in whatever you decide.
 
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Ahhhhh. The bigger question here is the crossroads, right? like, “I understand my options, I know the wrench and the labor and the outcome, I just don’t know if I want it?” I’ll go deep for a sec…. does it bring you happiness, and is that your goal? You see its return decreasing over time…
How many of you have been at this cross roads, and what did you do?

ive probably never felt like I’ve gotten that decision right.

1. Don’t spend big $ on it right now until you have got a better idea. having the $ keeps options in your pocket
2. Rushing to make a decision so you feel like you made a decision risks making the wrong decision
3. Don’t be afraid of change. It may have served its purpose and be someone else’s next joy.
4. And if you’re not sure, keep driving it a little longer.

every time she and I are down to 2 vehicles, I want a 3rd. Then I have the third and the extra vehicle to maintain and pay insurance on, and I sell it to restore simplicity. Then I start looking for a 3rd car. We’ve settled on keeping the 3rd around because having a spare has come in handy more often than not. I like having the alter-ego car…. There’s the truck when I am tired and don’t feel like competing in traffic. There’s the little car when I want to knock about a bunch of errands, zip in, zip out. As soon as I’m tired of small, I’m in the truck. As soon as the truck feels like too much, I’m back in the car. It’s almost a disease….
 
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Ahhhhh. The bigger question here is the crossroads, right? like, “I understand my options, I know the wrench and the labor and the outcome, I just don’t know if I want it?” I’ll go deep for a sec…. does it bring you happiness, and is that your goal? You see its return decreasing over time…


ive probably never felt like I’ve gotten that decision right.

1. Don’t spend big $ on it right now until you have got a better idea. having the $ keeps options in your pocket
2. Rushing to make a decision so you feel like you made a decision risks making the wrong decision
3. Don’t be afraid of change. It may have served its purpose and be someone else’s next joy.
4. And if you’re not sure, keep driving it a little longer.

every time she and I are down to 2 vehicles, I want a 3rd. Then I have the third and the extra vehicle to maintain and pay insurance on, and I sell it to restore simplicity. Then I start looking for a 3rd car. We’ve settled on keeping the 3rd around because having a spare has come in handy more often than not. I like having the alter-ego car…. There’s the truck when I am tired and don’t feel like competing in traffic. There’s the little car when I want to knock about a bunch of errands, zip in, zip out. As soon as I’m tired of small, I’m in the truck. As soon as the truck feels like too much, I’m back in the car. It’s almost a disease….
Wowser MEEP, this is exactly why I have my Dart and Durango........so glad that you posted this.....THANK YOU! I would also add (my personal experience only). I love my Durango, but I hate putting gas in it at today's prices. Love my Dart to for many of the same reasons you described, plus I acquired it at a price that was below market. It also gets great mileage which makes me smile when I have to drive it any great distance beyond metropolitan use. Salute to all whom believe in having a third car.
 

svtrit

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Thanks for all the replies!

It’s a 2.5L manual I bought since I am unable to contain myself in an adult like manner behind the wheel of a high horsepower car (hence why I didn’t purchase my dad’s Cuda, among other reasons).

It does make me smile every time I drive it. In fact, I’ve had bad days turn good after an hour cruise in it. The simplicity of the empty garage stall and a lack of desire to do that level of repair is why I’m at the cross roads. Our house also needs some upgrades, so money will be tight for a while. By the Jeep costs nearly nothing if I wait a while.

I’m leaning towards keeping it and driving it sparingly. As suggested, a restoration may be inevitable, and a lot of that can be done through simple repairs ( interior first, etc) until I’m ready to wrench again.

S&J engine is who I am considering if I pull the trigger.

Thanks for the advice! I assumed I would hear a lot of advice to sell it. Glad I didn’t.
 

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