Ugly Betty - TJ Magnum V8 Conversion and more
Ugly Betty - TJ Magnum V8 conversion, Auto transmission swap and more, if I survive this.
I have a 2005 TJ with the I6 that I built running 35s. When I bought it, I was looking for a super clean, low mile, unmolested Jeep to build on. It has D44 / HPD30 / Tummy Tucked / 4.56s and a bunch of other goodies. It functions really well for the kind of stuff we do around here, but is still comfortable enough to drive daily if necessary.
^^ As dirty as it ever gets. ^^
The problem is it's too nice for me to damage or drill a bunch of holes in. It gets stored in the winter because of the destructive salt used on the road 6 months out of the year. The 05 has some pinstripes and nicks from the trails, but I want to get on some harder trails and really push what I can build. I'm going to continue to "build" it, but the upgrades will be fairly minor at this point. Brakes, steering and the like.
So I set out to buy a cheap TJ. I want something that I don't feel bad about cutting holes in or generally abusing. Around here, it's next to impossible to find a running TJ of any year that isn't falling apart for under $5K. Most times cheap TJs in my area were plagued with cancerous rust. I researched insurance auctions, but found that to be very difficult without an inside man, public auctions had pretty big fees, and even wrecked Wranglers can go for close to retail cost. I checked out Davey's Jeeps, and the one that I found with potential sold the day after I called about it. I even found a few folks with bare frames and bodies, but once you add up the odds and ends, it gets just as expensive as buying a complete TJ. Needless to say, I spent much time searching.
I finally happened across a fairly solid 97 TJ with a 4 cylinder. It had a new factory style top, new tires, and the frame and body were mostly rust free. The carpet was long gone and interior was lined with the spray in liner. It was about 2.5 hours away. I took an afternoon off work and drove out to see it, pocket full of cash and trailer in tow.
It was located just north of Detroit. I met the guy at his shop near the corner of a busy intersection. I ended up parking in the lot next door to his place because it looked easier to get the truck + trailer in and out. The Jeep started, and drove around the parking lot without much fuss, so I handed the guy some money. I didn't want to try to turn left into the traffic, then left again to get into the parking lot where my truck and trailer were parked, and I don't know the area, so I did what any good Jeeper would do and just drove it over the curb through the grass. (It wasn't that big, but I still thought it was funny.) On to the trailer and home we went.
The paint scheme was unique, and certainly not what I would have chosen. She's got a few other minor bumps and bruises too. Since I am now a two-Jeep household again, I couldn't simply refer to either as "the Jeep" anymore. I started calling it Ugly Betty, and the name kind of stuck.
^^ Beauty, in the eye of the beholder. I guess. ^^
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
There are a lot of cool builds out there, but the good stuff gets buried in the chit chat BS. The discussion can be constructive, and the knowledge from the collective can be priceless, but the really cool stuff sometimes gets buried. As developments warrant, I'll update this post with a link to the post where it occurs to keep things organized. A few other builds have an index (like Sundownwer's awesome thread) or first few posts dedicated to uninterrupted progress (like Hendrix's truck build), and I feel that is helpful, so I will try to emulate that with mine. Hopefully this will be a cool project and a fun read.
= 1 = Prologue
= 2 = Table of Contents
= 3 = Current Status
= 4 = Plan, Purpose and Disclaimer
Phase 1: Engine/transmission swap and related issues/repairs
= 5 = List of engine/transmission swap issues
= 7 = Little stuff
= 8 = Engine swap begins
= 29 = Ram V8 is removed
= 32 = Transfer case options; using the Dodge and/or Jeep case
= 69 = Jeep four cylinder is removed
= 88 = Write-up: Transfer case input shaft and Dodge wide chain swap into the Jeep case
= 131 = Issues with the shifter cable and bracket
= 132 = Differences in the stop lamp switch
= 154 = Engine is supported by the mounts for the first time
= 177 = Write-up: Adding the 46RE transmission control relay to the Jeep PDC
= 187 = Turned the key on for the first time with the V8 installed
= 190 = Ran the transmission cooler lines to new radiator and installed auxiliary transmission cooler from the Ram inside the Jeep grille.
= 194 = Jeep started for the first time after the swap
= 202 = Poor quality video of the Jeep starting
= 269 = Write-up: Fixing the broken nuts for the front bumper better than new
= 283 = Parts list for fabricating the exhaust
= 290 = Dodge Dakota V6 air intake
= 291 = Exhaust downpipe fabrication
= 299 = Transmission shift cable issues resolved
= 344 = Short video of the Jeep in the snowy backyard
= 456 = Write-up: Replacing the 46RE shift shaft seal without removing the valve body or pan
Phase 2: Body/Axle/Suspension Modifications
= 530 = Initial cut on the hood for the highline, and figuring out the tube fender construction
= 546 = Front LED turnsignals; 3 wire signal to 2 wire lights temporarily installed in the bumper
= 575 = Finally got the tube fenders put together
= 590 = Windshield and frame replaced
= 592 = Inner fenders done and flush mount taillights installed
= 595 = Body work complete and in primer
= 597 = Color is sprayed
Like the weather, sometimes you just want a brief description, or perhaps a picture of what's going on. Well, if that sounds like you, this post is for you.
...May not be so ugly anymore?
^^^ But no promises. ^^^
Plan, Purpose and Disclaimer
The plan, very loosely, is to build a Jeep that can hit the trails and rocks and be as reliable as possible, without mortgaging the house. Since the subject is a 4 cylinder, a repower is in order as well. I'm staying away from specifying "3 inch lift" or "LCOG" and such intentionally, mostly because I haven't made those decisions yet. I want to take my fab, design and driving skills to the next level. That means modifications I'm not going to do to the 2005. I'd like to keep the lift relatively low, and I only have a 7 foot garage door to work with which dictates my total height. Iíd also like to highline the hood and fenders. This does not have to be a daily driver because I have other means of daily transportation. I can also take it down for days or weeks and loose nothing but garage space. It does have to be street legal enough to have a license plate and driven down a road at 60 MPH. Some of the campsites I stay at require a drive to get to the trails. Luckily, in Michigan, there aren't many restrictions on what's streetable, and even fewer that are actually enforced. As with many projects, money and time are limitations as well. I probably won't work on this every day, but hope to keep some level of continual progress.
I also want to document modifications and challenges thoroughly. This will help me organize my thoughts and I hope this can be helpful for others in the future who embark on similar endeavors. I'm by no means a professional or expert in many areas. I am not responsible for damage or injury to you or others by following my actions or suggestions. If you don't like to read, this probably isn't the thread for you. (Instead, just see the post above.) :D
I hope others will discuss, participate and ask questions.
List of engine/transmission swap issues
This is the exhaustive list of issues related to the engine and transmission swap only. I will keep this up to date as things change or solutions evolve:
For later use.
As I got to know Ugly Betty more, I noticed the little stuff that needed to be fixed. The drain plugs in the floor were missing. The center HVAC vents were also missing. The wipers weren't attached and the wiper motor was out (PO told me the motor was shot). It idles like crap because the rear O2 sensor is missing. (No idea where it’s at.) Fan shroud is long gone, but no temperature issues. If there ever was an interior light, it's long gone. The front sway bar is completely missing. (I notice immediately when my 2005 is disconnected. I didn't even notice it missing on the 97.)
And it reeks of cigarette smoke.
I smoked for years, but have long since quit, so I try not to get all high-and-mighty about it, but this effer stunk. I left the windows unzipped in my garage overnight, and the whole thing smelled of it. Eventually I found the ashtray full of butts. I proceeded to disassemble most of the dashboard and clean it thoroughly.
I replaced the wiper motor and replaced the million little missing screws when I put the dash back together.
This is why you should pull the cowl cover and clean out the drains. I pulled out several fistfuls of this junk:
^^ Unknown substance in cowl. Not quite solid, not quite liquid, fully disgusting. ^^
Despite these flaws, it does drive ok for an old Jeep, although severely underpowered.
Engine Swap Begins
Engine Swap begins:
I've wanted to get more power for a long time; however, it didn't make sense to rip the I6 out of the 05 with only 50K miles on it to stroke or replace it. I toyed with the idea of a supercharger, but I have some concerns about reliability on the stock I6 internals. A V8 powered Wrangler has always been a dream of mine.
A good friend of mine wrecked his 2000 Dodge Ram with a 360 under the hood. I actually bought this a few weeks before I bought Ugly Betty thinking I could fix it enough to be drivable and just offroad it, and if not I had a good running 360 for a future project.
So I began doing my homework on what would be involved in swapping the engine out. I've never swapped a motor before, so it's uncharted territory for me. I've been reading all that I can absorb and taking notes.
^^ Normal wear and tear? ^^
The engine is a 5.9L Magnum (360ci) mated to a 46RE auto and a Dodge NP231 t-case. My buddy had this truck for a long time and it was always a strong runner. The only issues that I know of are a leaking freeze plug on the rear of the motor, and the tranny pan is damp, but doesn't seem to drip. Axles are Dana 44 front and C9.25 in the rear. Rust has obviously taken hold of the panels not damaged in the accident. After I've taken what I need, I'm going to sell what useful parts I can and scrap the rest.
Edited, moved to post #5
Begin ripping out the Magnum
So, for better or worse, I got going on removing the Ram engine. I figured it would probably be easiest to get the Ram engine out first. I pulled most of the wiring off the top side of the engine. I did this on a Sunday, so football interrupted some progress. I labeled each wire with some masking tape so I'll later know where everything went. Most of the wires on the top of the engine have been removed.
Once I get both engines removed, Iím going to compare the wiring harnesses and see what itís going to take to marry the two together.
Purchases for swap:
I called Oconee Offroad, a vendor here, for a radiator. I had one picked out, but the guy on the phone wanted to check on the fitment and make sure I get the right thing. He talked to the radiator shop and called me a few hours later. We had the right size and configuration, but the radiator guys suggested and upgraded radiator for the 360. I don't want to take any chances in the cooling department since I can't just walk into AutoZone and buy a replacement. The cost difference was minimal, about $40, so I figured it's cheap insurance to get the thicker cored radiator. I picked up some trans fluid and a filter kit for the transmission. No luck on the freeze plugs yet. I didnít have the size on hand when I went to the auto parts store and the parts jockey couldnít find the right one.
Chris, I don't remember if you bought the plastic fuel line disconnect tools or not, but I remember talking about it. My plastic "size E" one was pretty torn up and wouldn't break one of these lines on the Dodge. I fiddled with it for a little while Sunday night and just gave up. I bought a metal one yesterday that works much better. About 6 seconds and I had that stubborn line free. So, skip the plastic set if you havent bought one yet. I've yet to use any size other than the two included on the metal tool.
^^ Steel > Plastic ^^
I bought the plastic deal. The metal look like its about 50x easier to use though.
So I know you have this week off, what have you got done so far today?
Radiator, tranny cooler, upper rad support all removed. Fussing with the condenser right now. Basically clearing a path for the engine to come out.
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