Cherokee sbc 350 Conversion -
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post #1 of 38 Old 09-15-2008, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Cherokee sbc 350 Conversion

ok i know that about 5,000,000 guys are probably going to flip on me saying i should look stuff up about it and do some research and dont just come here asking all these ?'s.

but i have done much research about it and i know advanced adapters makes a lot of stuff.

i just wanted to ask who has put a v8 in there cherokee, or wrangler.

so has anyone done this yet, what problems did you run into, and how worth it was it?

pictures of conversions would help a hole lot!

oh yeah i purchased a 96 sbc LT1 350 w/ wiring harness and computer, also a 94 NP 241 transfercase, and i plain to get a 700R4 or 4L60E, which ever i find first. or what do you think would be a better choice?

thanks for any help or input!

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post #2 of 38 Old 09-15-2008, 08:32 PM
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well it sounds like youve done a fair amount of research. its doable..not a very popular mod but can be done. it requires a lot of fabbing your own stuff, and you have to brace the unibody.

[CENTER]1995 fire red XJ, new 4.0, ARB safari snorkel, sye, front DS, aussie locked 8.8 5:13s 38 SXs, trussed/locked 44 front, hydro assist, DOM steering/COLOR]
YJ. 91 body, body off resto, crate chevy 350, 700r tranny, 2 inch springs, SOA, ford 9 rear, dana 44 front, both detroits, cage, 4:88s, and 36X14.50s. strictly street queen
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post #3 of 38 Old 09-15-2008, 09:39 PM
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sounds like a great idea and nice choice in a motor! i dont know why no one likes this mod. i am a chevy guy and i miss the sound and power the 350 in my blazer used to have. when/if i do it i am going to go with the jeep ax15 5 speed and a gm ls1. the nice part about the ls1 is it is very reliable and it weighs almost 100 pounds less than the iron straight 6. i am pretty sure the lt1 weighs close to the same as the 4.0L. i would think the unibody will be fine if you keep it stock and stay away from peformance mods

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post #4 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 12:21 AM
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What's the point?

I love V8 power probably more than anyone else, but....

The beauty of an XJ is the how easy it is to work on, how cheap and EASY it is to maintain, the acceptable MPG it gets, the gazillion miles you will get out of that 6 cylinder, and the EXCELLENT power-to-weight ratio it has for everything from 4 wheeling to picking up the snotgobblers from school.

With that engine (4.0) it is probably one of the best balanced packaged ever available in a Jeep. Or ANY SUV for that matter.

You will lose ALL of the positive aspects of a 6 cylinder XJ with a V8 swap. .....unless this is going to be a weekend toy, I wouldnt bother.

If you need more power, build a stroker and throw in some 4:10s.. In that light Jeep it will feel like 400 horsepower to your butt dyno.

....Of course, a 383 SBC stroker on boost would be interesting, though.
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post #5 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 12:35 AM
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This isn't the forum to learn about a V8 swap.

Anyways, I've never done one on an XJ. I've come close to doing one. And I almost swapped a buick 231 in once (I still like that motor).

AA makes motor mounts, IIRC. But they are not ideal with a LT1, as they are ment for an earlier engine with a HEI. I'd mount it as high and as far back as it'll fit. You'll probably be stuck running some crappy stock manifolds to get the exhaust to work, nothing else will fit between the frame rails. Even shorties don't.

A 4L60E and 700R4 are basically the same, but you need the computer for the 4L60E, which you have provisons for with the LT1's harness. Either way you'll need some programming as some of the stuff needs to go (VATS is on that list).

The NP241 is physically quite large. I'd run a 231 with a HD SYE over a 241. You can bolt a 231 up as easily as a 241. Depending how it clocks you might have to cut the floor a lot - but my feeling is that it'll be clocked down quite a bit and just be an anchor. That's what I seem to recall from my experience with a LT1 in a YJ.

Oh, you'll need a way better radiator.

Should work out well though. I've seen a couple TBIs and LT1s in XJs and they fit mucho better than the older carbed/HEI ones.
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post #6 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 11:57 AM
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LT1 in an XJ sounds like a great upgrade! I'm thinking about doing either an LT1 or LS1 in a 2WD XJ for a DD if I can find a later model 2 door for a good price.

Hell my 93 Z28 (with an LT1) gets a lot better MPG than my 90 XJ does. No lack of power with an LT1 even in stock form. The LT1 is as reliable as the 4.0, they are easy to work on, and you can get any performance parts you want for an LT1, and their cheap too.

I think It's a great idea 2drx4! Keep us posted if you do it, I'd love to see it come together.

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post #7 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 12:59 PM
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Hey guys, while the 4.0 is a great motor, it is not better than a lt1 or a ls1. My ls1 Z28 used to get better highway MPG than my wife's v6 explorer. The ls1 is a breakthrough for gm as far as showing that v8's can be fuel efficient as well as 4-6 cyl motors.. If you as me either are just as easy to work on (other than the fact of lack of space thereof in the XJ engine bay). im not bashing anyone but the guys that would never touch the ls1 or lt1 (being a owner of both) are the ones who are afraid of the computer that goes with it.

I say go for it, and fabbing up stuff and making things work is just part of the fun of this whole hobby, and put a 5spd behind it (or even a t-56) to be creative and you'll be getting highway MPG in the upper 20's

good luck, let us know how it goes for you
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post #8 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 01:58 PM
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dont think you'll find much help here bud..try pirate4x4..but search there before you get flamed to hell
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post #9 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 02:47 PM
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It'd be alot better if you did it with a wrangler that has a frame to work with. I wouldnt do it to a XJ.

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post #10 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 02:51 PM
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well the reason why the z28 gets better gas mileage is aerodynamics, btw my buddy has a 4.0 xj and gets 20 in the city. i have 33s and get about 16 in the city with stock gears, i ahve seen more 350s blow up yet to actually see a 4.0 blow. seen 2.5s go
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post #11 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 03:08 PM
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^^^ might could try and contact this guy on youtube. says it's got a 383 stroker in it.
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post #12 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 03:10 PM
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I've personally seen a v8 in a cherokee. thing got 8mpg, carbureted[sp], and there was minimal clearence between the stock exhaust manifolds and the cherokee unibody,... It was kinda hacked in there, the person could of done a better install, but eh,.. i dont know what engine was in it, i assume it was a chevy cause the person put Blazer Extreme badges on the back of it, but think it was a run of the mill 350, not a LS1 or anything,..

Would be cool to drop a mopar engine in there to keep it Chrysler.

Or what about throwing a Cummins B4T[i think it is, 4 cyl, turbo diesel] in it!
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post #13 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 06:45 PM
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I have seen some wranglers and CJs with sbc can be nice. It is easier on them since they have a body on frame construction. An xj will be harder to do...brace the unibody somehow and you will need to be good at design and fabrication.

Owner of a 1 owner 93 XJ county trim, 4.0, AT, 8.25 rear and 3.5 gears. It has goodies like pw/pl, cc, tilt, cd changer, keyless entry, rear wiper and defrost...overall a nice old jeep, my fifth owning previous wanglers and commander
[/COLOR] also own/restored a 1972 Pontiac Lemans GT originally owned by my grandmom....39k original miles.

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post #14 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 06:59 PM
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been done to wranglers many times. there are writeups on here about swapping an LS1 into a TJ. it isnt popular in XJ's because there is less room under the hood when compared to a wrangler, and cooling becomes an issue since radiators in our XJ's are very small im comparison.

Completely stock, and keeping it that way...

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post #15 of 38 Old 09-16-2008, 08:48 PM
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The radiator sized issue can be addressed easily by cutting out the stock rad support and part of the front crossmember, then running a WJ steering box (it mounts above the frame rail). You can then fit a more square shaped radiator in between the frame rails with a much larger area and somewhat importantly it can be mounted a bit farther foreword. A guy can eek by with a 3-core stock replacement rad, but for the money I'd not bother.

I had notes on doing the swap as I researched it intensively. I'm not sure where they are now...? I had a LT1 lined up at one point, but the deal fell through.

And for the guys who argue against the reliability of V8s VS the 4.oh. 4.0s aren't that amazing, but the live in a nice 'derated' world which really helps them. 185 crank horsepower is nothing. All of the components are large for their power level. Chevy V8s? Well, with the prospect of easily producing far more power than a 4L can dream of - stuff breaks. In stock form the LT1 and LS1 are very reliable. And they can be built to produce big power reliably.

In the offroad world you introduce a few more failure points that aren't seen on the street. What I call FOD (Foreign Object Damage, think sucking stuff in the intake), oil contamination, and oil feed issues (off-camber the pumps tend to pull air) are rarely seen on the street. Even cooling issues tend to crop up off-road as often the engine is working hard but the vehicle is not moving fast enough to see any additional airflow to the rad. I've seen these problems kill way more V8s and I6s than actual parts defects or power related problems. The rest of the driveline is a different matter - I have a friend who killed 4 700R4s before he gave up on them, with all of them having upgraded internals.

The big 'if' in my head on the swap being reliabe is how well it is done. The OEMs throw lots of money into R&D and testing. That is simply not possible on the individual scale. So, one must really consider clearance issues, structeral modifications, line routings, etc, if they wish for the swap to be reliable. I advised mounting the engine as high as possible and as far back as possible for a couple reasons 1. Control arm clearance on the oil pan 2. Oil pan clearance in relation to the front axle 3. Oil pan clearance in relation to the ground. Having any one of these not work out will easily make the swap a disaster.

So, that said, it's all about researching and planning at first, then basic understands of how to do an install so it's not hack... I don't want to see dangling fuel lines or bailing wire.

And to clarify to anyone, I have NO intention to do a V8 swap of my own anytime soon. I did at one time, things change.
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