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Unread 05-10-2010, 11:45 AM   #1
Fixxxer_ZJ
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Chevy LS 5.3 liter swap in my ZJ

My roommate and I were talking about mods for my ZJ and the Chevy 5.3 came up. I can get a low mile 5.3 with a harness and PCM for $500 at a local JY and put it in my jeep. Mods would be a mild cam (around 230-240 duration and .450-.500 lift) LS6 intake and a tune. So horsepower numbers would be in the 320-340 horsepower and about 330 ft lbs of torque. and since all a 5.3 is an Iron block and head LS1 with lesser displacement, power output and mods are endless. My roomate had a N/A LS1 bored .010 over to a 348 with hogged out heads F.A.S.T. 90/90 intake/throttle body, flat-top pistons and a huge cam (262 duration, .650 lift) and it made a honest, reliable 490 horsepower at the rear wheels (through a TH-400 and a Moser built 9-inch rear) so that's pretty good. I'm not gonna go that wild but chevy engines are cheaper to build and make more power on less money (especially any LS-based V-8's)

Has anyone else done a engine swap in a ZJ that involved anything other than a chrysler engine?

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Unread 05-10-2010, 11:47 AM   #2
JrMechanic
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Yes, this swap has been done before. I'm not a fan of it. The 5.3 is a good engine but it's not quite as reliable as the 5.2 or 5.9, and you can do everything to a 318 that you can to a 5.3.
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Unread 05-10-2010, 12:01 PM   #3
ajmorell
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I'm not sure I agree with any of that, but ok. The 5.3 is much more advanced than the 5.2/5.9 small blocks and every bit as reliable......

This swap has been done by 2 people that I'm aware of:
The Polar Bear - 5.3L Chevy Install - MallCrawlin.com Forums
DaveJeep's 5.3l WJ Engine Swap - MallCrawlin.com Forums
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Unread 05-10-2010, 12:09 PM   #4
JrMechanic
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The 5.3 is far from being unreliable, but it still can't touch the track record of a 318. Very few engines can.

To me it's not worth going through all the trouble of modifying the Jeep to fit an engine that has few advantages over the original. If you had a 4.0 could see the swap being worth while, but with a 318 I'd rather cam it and put a set of heads on it.
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Unread 05-10-2010, 12:39 PM   #5
ArloGuthroJeep
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I see one day swapping a 5.3L into my Jeep...but that is only if I decide not to trailer it at some point. That is really the only time I need extra power. Wheeling it has never been an issue aside from deep deep snow and I hit that so rarely it wouldn't be a worthwhile swap for that one rare scenario.
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Unread 05-10-2010, 12:40 PM   #6
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The 5.2 is fine until you start looking for a transmission,and even for all the searching I have done I am yet to find an adapter plate to allow a more reliable and cheaper built trans to bolt up to it.
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Unread 05-10-2010, 12:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dels383ta View Post
The 5.2 is fine until you start looking for a transmission,and even for all the searching I have done I am yet to find an adapter plate to allow a more reliable and cheaper built trans to bolt up to it.
You can build a 46RE or even a 44RE to hold more power than you'll ever throw at it.
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Unread 05-10-2010, 01:30 PM   #8
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It's a jeep. Keep it mopar. You can build a 318 to get over 400 horsepower and look stock.
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Unread 05-11-2010, 11:01 AM   #9
Fixxxer_ZJ
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Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my 318. It's the best V-8 I've owned in terms of sheer durability. I hate my trans, I've done some work to it make it work the way I want. Either way, a 5-speed swap is in the future, either with the 5.2 or a 5.3. My aspect on it is I can buy a 5.3, mod it and make the power I want for the same price as making my 5.2 put out the same reliable power. I know a cam for an LS-series is $150-300 , a used LS6 intake is about $100 and the heads flow as much as a big block. So I guess my new question is, how much (in a ballpark guess) money would it take to pull 300 horse out of my 318 and what mods are needed.
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1996 ZJ Orvis, 5.2L stock (and not running for now)
Traded: 1980 SJ Cherokee, 304, 727, Edelbrock intake w/ Holley 600 vac. secondary (I will miss her, but on to bigger things)
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Unread 05-11-2010, 11:06 AM   #10
JrMechanic
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300 horsepower is easy. A KRC 210 cam with matching valve springs and retainers would put you at or slightly over that. Add the kegger mod, a little porting on the heads, headers, intake, and a TB you would easily be around the 350hp mark.
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Unread 05-11-2010, 02:52 PM   #11
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swap in the 5.9 like I did and you don't have power issues anymore.

Hunter
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Unread 05-11-2010, 03:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas ZJ1 View Post
...I...have...issues...

Hunter
What I read
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Unread 05-11-2010, 03:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixxxer_ZJ View Post
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my 318. It's the best V-8 I've owned in terms of sheer durability. I hate my trans, I've done some work to it make it work the way I want. Either way, a 5-speed swap is in the future, either with the 5.2 or a 5.3. My aspect on it is I can buy a 5.3, mod it and make the power I want for the same price as making my 5.2 put out the same reliable power. I know a cam for an LS-series is $150-300 , a used LS6 intake is about $100 and the heads flow as much as a big block. So I guess my new question is, how much (in a ballpark guess) money would it take to pull 300 horse out of my 318 and what mods are needed.
LSX cams are $250 used on average for "generic" cams and $300 to $350 used for proven cams. Don't forget the cost of new high performance valve springs and hardened pushrods. Also LS6 instakes are $300-$350 used. I do LSX stuff all day every day. The 5.3 is a great engine, so is the 5.2. A majority of what I do is LSX stuff though so it makes sense for me to convert over to the LS platform. If you don't already have a slew of parts laying around for the LS engines like I do then it is not going to be the cheaper easier route. I guess it would be ok if your 5.2 is already on it's last leg and you need to do a swap anyway and if you already need a transmission.

I mainly jumped in her to let you know you are off on LSX parts pricing so think again if you plan on using cost as an excuse to do the swap. I'm going to do it just because I have the junk laying around and don't feel like building an old 318 since I have nothing laying around for mine performance parts wise.
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Unread 05-11-2010, 03:54 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Texas ZJ1 View Post
swap in the 5.9 like I did and you don't have power issues anymore.

Hunter
5.9 isn't really much of an upgrade to the 5.2, still an under performing turd.
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Unread 05-11-2010, 03:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JrMechanic View Post
300 horsepower is easy. A KRC 210 cam with matching valve springs and retainers would put you at or slightly over that. Add the kegger mod, a little porting on the heads, headers, intake, and a TB you would easily be around the 350hp mark.
This man sounds like he might know a little something. If your engine isn't hurt at all that's the cheaper and best overall route I think and plenty of power for what you need. (Not that it's wrong to want more)
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