For starters, I am not new to engine swaps. I am not a mechanic (was a nuke mechanic in the Navy) by trade but have rebuilt several engines during my tenure of working around vehicles since I got my license in the late 80’s. This is my first 4x4 as I have always had performance cars. I bought my 1995 Wrangler as an extra vehicle to have around and it was a good deal for the seller and I. The problem is that it is the slowest vehicle that I have owned. I have had a 77 Pinto SW but it was getting a 2.3Turbo from a Merkur. My wife has even said it is slow. It has grown on me though as I have had the top off all summer!
My dilemma is that I want a Mustang that is a Jeep. I know it is a brick and will not do good in the ¼ mile, but it could do well at an 1/8 mile track and light to light. Also, I live near Central Ohio and there are really not too many trails, so I see it being a 95% on the street vehicle. I have a 1” body lift on it as the originals were shot and will probably put 31” tires on it. The great thing about it would be much better winter capabilities. But I still want something that is the equivalent to a low 13sec vehicle. I also have a daughter that will be going to college soon, so I want to try and do this cheap. I know many will say buy this and that and it will happen. I don’t want to go that way. I swapped a 351W (69 original 4bbl with quench heads) into my 82GT back in 1991 with junkyard parts. For that swap I could buy a $100 oil pan or I found out I could get one off a police cruiser or SW for $5… I have done much research but am looking for advice. Looks like the options are a 5.0, 350, or 5.3LS. I have noticed that the Ford does not have much for OD auto trannies that work in these apps (I can see this turn into my DD if I get it right, so OD is a must with 4.10’s) so it seems an AX-15 is my only choice here. Also, it looks like the Cherokee AX-15 with the NP231 clocked is the best route because a Wrangler in junkyards are like finding unicorns! Too bad because it looks like a 4r70w with the bauman controller is more rugged than the 700r4/4l60/4l60e. The 5.3 is the best chevy motor because happiness is only a cam away as the heads flow well, but the FI looks like a pain compared to the 5.0 and the carb version for it is $700 just for the intake and ignition controller. The 350 looks like the easiest with the auto and the np231c/j conversion. The downside here is the heads are not near as good and finding a vortec 350 is harder than the unicorn! Have I missed something? I have even thought about the 2.3T from a Merkur into a Wrangler as the wiring harness is completely separate, but T-5s are not supported for cheap transfer case options.
350, 700R4, 231c/j hybrid is your answer. When the budget allows, swap heads and intake. It be left carb'ed and your rolling in a weekend (plus drive shafts, unless you manage to line it up to stock shaft lengths). Also remember your rear axle will not hold to significant power increases. While a 4 bolt is best, 2 bolts are still available cheaply.
If you have more time to invest, and since you seem pretty handy, the 5.3 will get you there faster and be more efficient too. Once the wiring is sorted (I believe painless can make a harness for you, but you're also doing this as a budget build), as you said your a cam away from a go-fast jeep with manners.
Ok this is just theory, and yes it is my theory. Jeep wranglers are not safe fast and here is why I think this.
First I will go back to when I was a kid. I remember my Dad having this station wagon in the 50s when fins were the bomb. Any way his station wagon fins went out to the side. My Dad sold that wagon soon after he bought it because he said that he could not drive it over 50 MPH. The air went under the fins and picked up the rear end, at 65 the car would start to fish tail. Back then testing was second to looks.
The Jeep Yj and other Wranglers have a open front end. I and here comes my theory, believe that at higher speeds the front end may float upward due to the air pushing under our fender. A little different than the fins, but I do not want to test it.
It's no barn burner, but it *does* have a lot more oomph than stock. The Chevy 4.3 V-6 with the factory 4L60 (700R4) and a NP231 (jeep) transfer case is a very popular swap for good reason. You can pick almost everything you need out of a late-model Silverado - look for the W/T 1500 4x4. Or a Blazer. There's tons of aftermarket support for performance on these also. There's lots of threads here on guys doing just this. Goes in pretty easy too, with tons of room to spare under the hood. Side benefit is better MPG's. And possibly less mechanical hassle later on down the road.
Last edited by oldtime_ironman; 08-12-2011 at 07:49 PM..
Not sure what engine you are running. (fill out your profile)
If you are running the 4.0L you could always stroke it. http://www.ajeepthing.com/stroker-motor.html
As others have pointed out you may want to change out your rear end.
93 YJ SOA 2" springs front, XJ springs rear w/main leaf added, High pinon 9 inch rear detroit locker front Dana 44 ARB 4.56 Gears, 36 inch Irok tires too much to list. www.mijc.org
I have thought about the lack of control, but I think 80mph is manageable and that is prob close to the max at the end of the 8th. I have seen enough old short wheel base cars at the track not to think about control!
You may be right about the whole 350/700/231. Does anyone know if the bolt in cradles line it up for stock driveshafts? I am not opposed to some driveshaft work but again, if it is easier another way; why not...
I also know about the axle. I plan on a 8.8 as I know a little about them from my 5.0 Mustang Days.
On the 700/231 combo, it is my understanding that it needs to be pre 94 ish?? as the later tranny/transfer case combo are both electronic. I don't think it would be bad to wire in a transfer case selector vice a shifter, anyone with info on these? Do the late model Silverados have the electronics?
I wonder how a 4.3 would hold up to a 100hp shot of nitrous or a home-built turbo...
Vortec 350's are a dime a dozen, they're every where. The official 350 version didn't hit the market until 96, but the castings for the block were being used way before that. So if you pop the manifold off a 94 block, there's a good chance you'll find the provisions to drop in the roller cam, but the block was marketed as a TBI block. They began using the block design in 1987 for Corvettes and some Camaro's and the blocks filtered their way into a lot of other vehicles.
So once you find the roller cam block, you have the makings of of vortec 350. Also, the TPI used for the mid 80's Corvettes and later Camaro's and Firebirds produce a very strong torque curve, long narrow intake runners. They should have used it in trucks just for that reason, but they kept them as TBI instead. All the TBI and TPI were batch fired and not MPI and the computer from a 6 cylinder will work on a V8 and many of the aftermarket ECU's slated for these years was also batch fire, so it's an easy swap and an easy program.
The difference in the TBI vs the TPI was the injector resistance TBI used a lower resistance value in the injector, the TPI was higher as they were fired in parallel so the value came out to be very close to a single injector.
The difference in performance between the MPI and TPI are very small and not enough to sipport the additional cost of the MPI. So find a roller block, then the bracket to hold the lifters in place and you have the makings of a vortec. The rest is easy to find.
Just get you a good rollor motor from a GT and slam it in there with the AX-15, or check with novak or advanced adapters to see if they have anything for the T-5. The 5.0's are not expensive and are as plentifull as chevy's now as well as parts. They even have the 347 stroker kits now at a reasonable price. Go carbed and do away with the computer and all that crap. The hipo market is loaded with 5.0 parts. I've allways had fords and jeeps, so a ford V-8 would be my 1st choice. The stuff they have for the 5.0 now is off the hook, these motors will scream. Wranglers being light, even with a stock 5.0 and holley 4 barrel with 4:56 gears would be a rocket.
1987 wrangler, 258 I-6, 5-speed.
2007 liberty sport 4X4, automatic
2009 ford ranger 4x4 FX4 OFF/ROAD, 5-speed
I'm slightly suprised nobody mentioned it already but how bout a Wagoneer 360?? They can be got cheap and built for serious power and most are backed by the th400 one of the best autos gm built. very easy to put in a jeep to and parts are available everywhere.. Plus you're keeping it jeep powered.
Also for a little more money you can get a amc 401 and then it starts to get crazy.. Mine will pull the front wheels off the ground and take most 5.0 stangs between lights..
That rocks! I don't think I will get it that fast any time soon. With autos,anyone run a smaller stall for the converter but bigger than stock? Was thinking around 2000rpm if I run an auto vs manual.
Before you can even think about a stall convertor you have to pick a engine and cam because the cam will be a huge factor in deciding what you stall need to be. I'm running a 3spd in my cj5 but if I had a auto I would need a 2500 convertor. That's with a 287 cam. The 360 in my brothers cj7 has a 270 cam with a th400 and a 2000 stall convertor would work perfect. His 400 has a shifting in it but no stall convertor yet so it bogs a little on takeoff since the factory convertor is to low but after that it pulls and shifts hard.