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1998 Jeep Wrangler - Nuts & Bolts

David Kennedy
| Contributor
Posted October 1, 2003

Four-, Six-, or Eight-Cylinder?
I own a '98 Jeep Wrangler with 6 inches of lift and 33-inch tires. It is an automatic but has a 2.5L engine (120 hp and 140 lb-ft). I am ready for more horsepower because poking along on the highway just isn't working for me anymore. I am looking to swap my 2.5L for a 4.0L (181 hp, 222 lb-ft). Is this a good idea? Or should I go to a V-8? I can't afford to sell it to get a Jeep with a six-cylinder, so I have to do the swap and I would really appreciate the advice.Kurt RichardsonCleburne, TX

The 4.0L engine swap will be much easier than any V-8 swap because the TJ was available from Chrysler with this package. But the costs involved with getting the 4.0L engine, transmission, engine mounts, and accessories for the swap could run you about the same amount of money as a small-block Chevy swap. That is, unless you have access to a donor Jeep. Remember there are people out there that swap the 4.0L out for V-8s. If it was us, and state emissions laws allowed it, we'd go with the V-8 swap and a TH700R4 that we could mate to the Jeep's NP231. Advance Adapters (800/350-2223, offers bolt-in mounts for 350s (PN 713090), weld-in mounts for LT1s (PN 713005), and plate adapters (PN 713088-P) that can be used with PN 713090 to help you swap in an LS1 engine

Thought He Had a Locker
I have a '98 Toyota Tacoma SR5 without the TRD package, with the 2.7L four-banger that's in stock configuration. From what I have heard all Tacomas came from the factory with a selectable locker that engages when in four-wheel drive. I can put it in 4-Lo and get out in an open field or a parking lot and turn and the inner rear wheel will spin the same speed as the outer wheel (as a locked rear will), but sometimes when I get on a steep incline or get into another off-camber area, the rear locker will quit working. My friend also has a Tacoma and it does the same thing; the rear locker cuts out in the same places as mine. What could be causing this, and what will it take to fix it without taking it back to the Toyota place?Jacob Bartonby e-mail

Sorry, Jason, but what you are describing are the habits of an open differential. You guys can't fix it because neither of your Tacomas has the optional rear locker. Not even all TRD package trucks come with it, and we don't think that it was ever available with the four-cylinder engines you have. Your first clue should have been that your truck doesn't have an On/Off switch for the locker on the dash. The TRD locker is not something that engages automatically.

Keep Your NP208
I own an '80 Ford F-150 4x4 with a 351 engine, a Dana 44 TTB frontend, and a Ford 9-inch rearend. It also has an NP208 transfer case. Is this a good transfer case? I know that all New Process transfer cases are good, but I would like to know how it stacks up against the other transfer cases. I have only owned this truck about a year, and I am only 15 years old, but I have never gotten stuck, even though I only do small-time four-wheeling. Also, I just bought a set of used 29/10.50-15 Super Swamper TSL SX tires. They are in good shape. How long will they last if I go four-wheeling with them and drive them on the highway?Jim VanLeeuwenWalnut, KS

At your stage of the game the NP208 transfer case is fine. Don't waste any time worrying about upgrading to an NP205 or Atlas-that can come much later. You're lucky because your 208 should be one of the desirable bolt-on rear yoke versions that both Ford and Dodge used. While not as strong as a 205, it has a better low range (2.61 versus 1.96). New Venture Gear ditched the NP208 in GM and Dodge trucks by 1988, when it was replaced by the NP241, which offered an even better low range (2.72) and increased strength. Ford never used the NP241 in its trucks, instead opting to use Borg-Warner transfer cases. The Borg-Warner cases used an internal pump for better lubrication than the 205 or 208, but had durability issues because these pumps often failed.

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