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Unread 10-12-2013, 08:45 AM   #1
warthog312
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YJ guy looking at getting a FSJ tow rig. Advice.

Hey everyone,

I'm over here in FSJ territory from my usual YJ/CJ hangouts to ask a few questions. My YJ isn't so much a street vechicle these days. It's still laid up in the garage as I'm wrapping up a delightful small block Ford V8 swap in the old girl. Anyway, it isn't going to be the most street firendly vehicle anymore, with lockers, a v8, and 4.88 gears in the axles, mated to a 4 speed non-overdrive manual trans.

I live in Chicago, and the two closest offraod parks are in Marsielles, IL (The Cliffs Insane Terrain) which is about 1.5 hours away, and Attica, IN (The Badlands) which is 2-3 hours away. Even before the motor/axle/everything swap, the old girl wasn't so great to drive on-road, so I always rented a U-haul and borrowed a buddies truck and we hauled it to the offroad parks. My daily driver Chevy Sonic isn;t exactly up to the task


I digress. Allow me to get to the point of this post.


My girlfriend's old man has an 85 (I think) Grand Wagoneer that he might allow me to purchase from him. I know it has a V8, so I'm guessing the tride and true 360? I've had 2 of those motors in my day and aside from fuel economy they are wonderful

How do you suppose that old girl (or any GW) would fair as a tow rig on extended 2-3 hour tows of my YJ on a full car hauler, filled with maybe one or two of my buddies, camping gear, lots of tools, and lots of beers? Would the FSJ platform be up to the task?

Second question: I have this inherent problem (as many of us Jeepers do) where I cannot leave well enough alone and leave any of my vehicles in stock form. Modifications call to me in the night So what I was thinking as perhaps my next project, would be to find a totaled out 05-09 Dodge Ram truck, and buy the whole thing (I think you know where I'm going with this), pull the 5.7, 545RFE, and 241 tcase, along with all necessary computers, wiring, and sensors, and slide it into the GW chassis.

The idea of a turn key fuel injected tow rig with slightly better fuel economy in a retro bada*s package makes me downright giddy

What ye say, is this plan even slightly feasible? Or am I dreaming of things never to be here?

Regardless of wether or not I buy my GF's pop's GW, I have always wanted one. Specifically, white with wood trim. Now I may actually have the means of making this happen, so I'm excited as can be. So let me know of what all you guys think of everything I've written here today. Be honest, I need to know as much as possible before I dive in and wind up crying myself to sleep months later at what I've done


Cheers everyone. Thanks in advance for all the help, and Jeep on Jeepin' on.


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Unread 10-12-2013, 08:56 AM   #2
question4u92
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Why not stick a 5.9 12 valve in her
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Unread 10-12-2013, 10:26 AM   #3
warthog312
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Why not stick a 5.9 12 valve in her
As awesome as diesel is, it can more often than not be more work and trouble than its worth. That, and, well, I'm not winning the Powerball any time soon
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Unread 10-12-2013, 11:41 PM   #4
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Getting ready to drive 2 days with a 17ish ft travel trailer and everything I own. Will let you know.

If it's a 80's fsj with a v8, it's the 360.

I like your plan of the modern drivetrain. But why go dodge? 05-09 dodge rams are the worst driving of any vehicle I've driven. They have lots of power, and tow good, but what is up with that tranny? And did dodge steal cadillac's suspension design from the 60's?
MY dream swap would be a 350/700r4 combo.
Your call, do whatever you want. Just about any new drivetrain will boost your mpg.

But really, what's up with the new dodge's tranny's? Just pick a gear. Or don't take 10 seconds to decide.
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Unread 10-13-2013, 10:09 AM   #5
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I used to tow with my CJ with my 1979 Cherokee. It towed OK but for that long of a trip, trailer brakes are a must and I would recommend weight distribution on the trailer. The wheelbase isn't the greatest for towing but it does work and with the weight distribution it should be just fine.
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Unread 10-14-2013, 10:42 AM   #6
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Getting ready to drive 2 days with a 17ish ft travel trailer and everything I own. Will let you know.
Cool. Absolutely let me know how it goes.



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But really, what's up with the new dodge's tranny's? Just pick a gear. Or don't take 10 seconds to decide.
Ideally I'd find a 5 speed ram to pick apart, but those chances are slim to none. I've had a few Dodge trucks and I know how awful those automatics are. Fortunately, a relatively simple remedy for a majority of those problems is just a shift kit.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 05:37 PM   #7
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Sorry, i have no experience. But i too am ready to make a move like this. Not as a tow rig, i use my rv for that, but as an everyday driver. im thinking this time next year to be into one. ill be getting rid of my f150, and only go 6 miles to work. but thinking of an engine swap too. either a 5.7 or a 6.0 and 4l60e. so please everyone help with info on this topic, and on engine swap info.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 09:04 PM   #8
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The internet is full of engine swap info, so I'm not going there other than stating that the late model Chevy V8s are probably the best choices out there if gas is the desired fuel of choice. They are reliable, powerful, easily found at reasonable prices and very fuel efficient if you can keep your foot out of the skinny pedal. There's a metric crap ton of aftermarket support for swaps and tons of info on the web for these engines and their specifics when swapping.

A FSJ wouldn't be my choice for a tow rig. Sure you can swap in more power, but brakes and beefy axles and framerails are just as iimportant, if not moreso. I have an F250 that's been upgraded to F350 suspension pieces and an F450. I've towed with 1/2 tons many times and there is no comparison to a truck that's built for the job.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 10:58 AM   #9
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A FSJ wouldn't be my choice for a tow rig. Sure you can swap in more power, but brakes and beefy axles and framerails are just as iimportant, if not moreso. I have an F250 that's been upgraded to F350 suspension pieces and an F450. I've towed with 1/2 tons many times and there is no comparison to a truck that's built for the job.
I think the factort tow rating on a GW was something like 5k, which is plenty of pull for my YJ and an aluminim car hauler. I've towed before with 80's tech brakes and such, so I know while it can get hairy from time to time, it's totally managable. Shoot, it's all they had for a long time and people got along just fine. Would axles really be a stretch? Or frame? I've towed with smaller trucks before like my old Dodge Dakota and while slow and laboring, I never really worried about frame strength or axle problems.

Ideall we'd all have F650 tow rigs with heated leather seats, but until I hit the powerball that's not a reality




EDIT: on the GM powertrain note - I like being different haha. Everyone and their sister does a SBC swap, hence why my YJ got the blue oval treatment. Also, while I know it's a far cry from AMC to Dodge, I feel as though the Hemi is the most 'lineage correct' engine choice. Time will tell, this is all just dreaming big for the moment.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 11:46 AM   #10
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The late model Chevy V8s are not the same as a SBC, not even close.

I think you're a little light on your weight estimate too. My CJ weighs 4500 lbs by itself.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 12:12 PM   #11
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The late model Chevy V8s are not the same as a SBC, not even close.

I think you're a little light on your weight estimate too. My CJ weighs 4500 lbs by itself.
Agreed about the SBC/LS comparisons. I'm just not a fan of GM swaps because they're a dime a dozen, hence the SBF in my YJ.

No top no doors no windshield (offroad park form) she's in at about 3000lbs.
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Unread 10-22-2013, 12:17 AM   #12
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Just needs a 401 (like the one I'm selling in Seattle)
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Unread 10-22-2013, 11:53 AM   #13
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Just needs a 401 (like the one I'm selling in Seattle)
Haha, thank you for your clearly unbiased opinion


I know that the 401 (and more than likely the 360) are apt to tow the ~5k lbs of hauler and rig, but there's two reasons I'm interested in a swap:

  1. I love the idea of having a turn key, fuel injected, slightly more efficient tow rig.
  2. I love projects, especially motor swaps and this one registers huge on the coolness scale. Seriously, a turn key FI Hemi in an FSJ.


Also, a huge part of this is the 'why not?' and 'look what I can do!' factors. I'm always down to bite off more than I can chew haha.
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