Jeep bases its pedigree on building 4×4 machines. But since Chrysler bought the company in 1987, Jeeps have been lucky with reliable engines.
The Jeep Liberty was the first Jeep since the 1960s to adopt an independent front suspension (IFS). This shocked the Jeep community, as the IFS is weaker overall in extreme environments. Additionally, the chassis is better protected by a solid axle. Despite this perceived flaw, the Liberty is still capable of off-road driving, although perhaps not on par with other off-road Jeeps like the Wrangler.
The Liberty was part of the Jeep lineup from 2002 to 2012. The vehicles were rear- or four-wheel drive, had automatic or manual transmissions, and could tow up to 5,000 pounds. Jeep wanted it to replace the Cherokee, but due to consistently strong sales, the Cherokee continued in Jeep’s lineup alongside the new Liberty.
Enthusiasts consider the 2004–2007 lead of the first generation Liberty to be greater than previous years due to a more powerful V6 option. But the 2002-2003 Jeep Liberty models have greater reliability with their 2.4-liter inline four cylinders.
Jeep Cherokees and Liberty were the world introduction of Chrysler’s “Uniframe.” The Liberty used steel in its A-pillars, rails, roof and feet for greater structural rigidity and safety.
How much does a Jeep Liberty engine cost?
The 2002 Jeep Liberty had two different engine options. A Liberty Sport came with a 2.4-liter Powertech inline-four, while the Limited and Renegade trim levels came with the 3.7-liter Powertech V6.
Any Liberty owner looking to replace their engine will come across 3.7-liter engines, but 2.4-liter engines are harder to find. EBay Motors may have engines from time to time, and auction sites may have complete Jeep Liberty vehicles for sale at low prices.
Several sources sell the 3.7-liter V6, while Quadratec sells fully built replacement 3.7-liter V6 engines for $3,959. S&J Engines I’m selling a 2004 Jeep Liberty 2.4 liter for $2,887, which will fit a 2002 model. The same 2.4 liter came in the Chrysler PT Cruiser, which is another way to get the engine.
Jeep specialty parts websites sell enough parts to build an engine from scratch, but unfortunately, they don’t sell 2.4 crate engines.
Does the 2002 Jeep Liberty have a good engine?
One of the reasons the 3.7L is so easy to find might have something to do with its failure rate. Over 50 Liberty owners Complaints recorded for engine failures, all with the 3.7 liters. Other owners reported a number of engine problems, including faulty valves and oil sludge.
A common problem with some Chrysler engines is insufficient oil capacity. Because it has nowhere to go, engine oil can get hot enough to become dirty.
Chrysler fixed the overheating problem in 2005, but by then a series of other engine problems arose. The 2005 model year 3.7 liter Jeep Liberty suffered falling rocker arms, broken head gaskets, and died in use.
The 3.7L never got rid of its various problems during its tenure. Valve seat failure, stuck tappets, piston ring bearings, and PCV valves are all common problems with the 3.7L. If you are buying an older model Jeep Liberty and want it to be reliable, it is best to avoid the 3.7 liter.
The 2.4-liter engines don’t receive many customer complaints.
According to Liberty owners, the 2.4L is one of the most reliable engines in the brand’s history.
The power of the 2002 Jeep Liberty
The Liberty’s 2.4-liter engine has two overhead camshafts and uses dual balance shafts to limit vibration at high rpm. It produces 150 horsepower and 167 pound-feet. of torque, but it is only sold with the five-speed manual transmission.
The 3.7-liter V6 uses a single overhead camshaft and produces 210 horsepower. This engine came with either transmission.
What engine upgrades are available?
Allowing the engine to take in more air and fuel increases power. Aftermarket intakes make this possible but offer minimal gains over Liberty’s 3.7L. Adopting a smoother exhaust system is another option.
However, depending on where the Liberty is registered, this type of modification could violate emissions laws. When modifying a car’s exhaust system, it is important to meet emissions standards.
Exhausts that meet emissions standards can cost exorbitant amounts.
Unfortunately, Liberty’s 3.7L sees negligible power increases from the modified exhausts, making this modification far from cost-effective.
Owners said they experienced power gains by revising the 3.7L, and fitting it with larger pistons. Jet Performance sells a performance module that promises “huge power gains.” But according to the Liberty community, the engine is already maxed out, so mods won’t make any difference.
The consensus is that changing the differential gear to 3.73 is the best way to make the Liberty faster. Smaller gears will make the tires spin faster. Beyond that, replacing the steel wheels with aluminum reduces the Liberty’s curb weight, making the car faster.
Is the 2002 Jeep Liberty a good vehicle?
The 2.4-liter equipped 2002 Jeep Liberty is a reliable vehicle, but not particularly powerful. motor trend gears while the V6 has plenty of torque, it’s not terribly inspiring.
Jeep clutches are easier to use than some manual transmission cars, with a wide, forgiving clutch point. Its solid rear axle gives the car severe body roll symptoms and can’t compete with sports cars in corners.
However, its focus lies on family and off-road transportation.
The Liberty’s independent front suspension shakes your confidence on aggressive terrain. The car isn’t good against Wranglers in the dirt, but it holds its own around town.