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tripster_sta 09-12-2013 07:57 PM

4.0L HO head swap w/ MPFI
I'm looking to do this to my 79 258 after I get back from deployment. I am only in the research phase right now, and I am reading everything this forum has to offer but.....

There are so many threads to go over and it just confuses me more.
So if anyone can help me out I'm looking for a thread that goes through the complete setup. From what parts to pull from a junkyard or buy new, what to look for, and of course the installation. Basically breaking it down barney style for this not so skilled, beer driven, at home, auto mechanic.

I apologize if you came here for a build thread, but give me about 7 months and it will be. :)

Sent from toilet at work

gmakra 09-13-2013 06:40 AM

Here is my thoughts on this. If you have the money get the Hesco kit it has everything you need to do the install. Its very simple and it can be done in a weekend.

If you go the junkyard route you can get the stuff cheaper however the parts are becoming harder to find and it takes time and patience since you need to make different parts to work.

Matt1981CJ7 09-13-2013 07:38 AM


Originally Posted by gmakra (Post 15965177)
Here is my thoughts on this. If you have the money get the Hesco kit it has everything you need to do the install. Its very simple and it can be done in a weekend.

$2450!?!? Holy bend over Batman!!


tripster_sta 09-13-2013 07:48 AM

$2450??? Wow. The only reason for this is because the wif won't let me drop in a 350 SBC so this is the next best/cheaper* thing.

Sent from toilet at work

titomars 09-13-2013 08:41 AM


Originally Posted by Matt1981CJ7 (Post 15966409)
$2450!?!? Holy bend over Batman!!


Yeah really. If you notice it is not CARB compliant. so most of us Californians can't use it. For 2,500.00 bucks I'd expect a CARB sticker.

Matt1981CJ7 09-13-2013 08:43 AM


Originally Posted by titomars (Post 15967969)
Yeah really. If you notice it is not CARB compliant. so most of us Californians can't use it. For 2,500.00 bucks I'd expect a CARB sticker.

Me too.

That price makes the Howell kit seem almost reasonable by comparison.


gmakra 09-13-2013 09:10 AM

While the price is high it does have several advantages over the Howell kit. 1 it is multi port fuel injection and it controls timing and is programmable. This is huge in starting, HP, mileage!
Hesco has trouble finding computers for thier kits so they went with the Acell programmable computer.

The Howell kit is a glorified carb and dose not control timing it also has to have a problematic adapter that is prone to leaks and that drives alot of people nuts. My personal experience with the Howell kit is a carb is actually better.

You can go junkyard but you will spend a lot of time figuring out how to make it work. Different model years require different wiring and thats why use see so much variation in write ups.

aggiejon 09-13-2013 09:17 AM

Can't help you on carb nonsense for Kommifornia, but from someone who performed the junkyard version of the swap for around $500, I can help you with what I did.

Search the yj forum for a user named cevans. He is whose swap I used. My swap took about six months as time and lunch money allowed. I bought some stuff and swapped old stuff and parted stuff. So the cost was very reasonable, but not fast.

Personally, I am not a fan of the hesco kit.and before I get lambasted, allow me to explain need a part. Our jeeps are stepchild produced enough from the factory - amc this, Chevy and ford that. I carry a parts cheat sheet with me because I have parts from various years and manufacturers of components on my swap. My parts guy rolls his eyes when I walk in.

But you are likely to be able to find on the shelf or get quickly any of those parts at a parts house in your town 7 days a week. There is only one hesco. And as I learned with a cnc machine that I own, which has proprietary developed systems, if they go under, good luck finding parts!

If you go the junkyard route, I can help you out. It was scary, especially hooking up all the sensors and clipping wires off the engine harness. But I did it, and it was surprisingly easy and straightforward. I downloaded off google the wiring diagrams and bulkhead connector pinouts, put them on 11x17 paper, and just sat down with a beer and good light, and wire clippers.

I also did not use the CPS relocation kit. I drilled my bell housing, and built a bracket, thanks to a diagram provided by Marty86CJ. Could have pooped my britches when the thing cranked and ran like a top the first time I hit the key.

Best mod I've ever did!

Now if you are planning to stay in Cali, well, all bets are off on that!

Matt1981CJ7 09-13-2013 09:30 AM

I follow these threads only because I worry that emissions will eventually hit my county, and I'll be forced to use the Howell kit to comply.

That said, the whole FI thing goes against the reason I love my CJ. To me, a CJ represents the ultimate utility vehicle that the average joe mechanic can fix with a simple set of tools. Plugging a CJ into a computer to diagnose a problem just rubs me the wrong way.

Of course, I'm an old fart who doesn't have any problems getting a carb to work for me. I can still do long division without a calculator, too. :p


gmakra 09-13-2013 09:56 AM

Matt I know ya and all your faults such as being a Broncos fan, an architect who still uses a Tee Square and if you had your way instant messaging would involve stone tablets and a trebushet. (look it up if you dont know what it is)
However since you run a 360 a Howell kit would work on an eight much better than it does on an I-6.

Matt1981CJ7 09-13-2013 10:53 AM

Hardy, har, har....

If it weren't for us old farts, you young bucks wouldn't even exist. Remember that. :p

Seriously though, it's odd to me that so many guys Nutter their engines to get rid of the troublesome computer, then turn around and stick another computer on it with FI. :dunno:

Anyway, sorry for the highjack. Carry on.


tripster_sta 09-13-2013 10:57 AM

So what yall are saying is the head swap and mpfi are not CARB compliant?
I'm running the carter bbd I rebuilt. So I'm pretty familiar with that setup, but I have none of the emmisions equip hookuped.
And it's being a PITA to find components ie. smog/air pump and bracketry.
I need the smog cert for a base decal when I get back from the sandbox, so I figured I would go ahead and do the 4.0 swap and mpfi. This way I wouldn't have any problems.

Sent from toilet at work

Matt1981CJ7 09-13-2013 11:03 AM


Originally Posted by tripster_sta (Post 15972017)
So what yall are saying is the head swap and mpfi are not CARB compliant?

Sent from toilet at work

That's correct. You will not pass emissions in Cali with the MPFI.


tripster_sta 09-13-2013 11:10 AM

Well ****, guess I'll do it anyway and drive to MCAS Yuma and get a sticker ;) or convince the wife a SBC is is worth it.

Sent from toilet at work

Matt1981CJ7 09-13-2013 11:26 AM

You probably will not pass with an SBC, either, but others will know more than I do.

Cali has CJ owners by the short hairs....

Engine Change Guidelines

Engine changes continue to present problems and challenges to car owners and technicians. Here are some tips to keep you and your customers on the straight and narrow.

Our recommendation is to rebuild and reinstall the original engine, transmission, and emission control configuration.

When rebuilding an engine, it must be rebuilt to the original equipment specifications. However, if you do decide to change the engine, these guidelines must be observed to ensure that the vehicle will be eligible for smog certification or registration.

Remember, these are guidelines for performing engine changes – not certification procedures. All exhaust emission controlled vehicles with engine changes must be inspected by an official referee station and must have a Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Vehicle Identification Label affixed to the doorpost.

Remember also, state and federal anti–tampering laws generally prohibit any modification to the vehicle's original emission control system configuration as certified by the manufacturer. And, Section 3362.1 of the California Code of Regulations prohibits any engine change that degrades the effectiveness of a vehicle's emission control system.

A federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified (federal or 49–state) engine cannot be used in a vehicle that was originally certified for California.

Make sure the engine and emission control configuration on exhaust – controlled vehicles are certified to the year of the vehicle or newer, and to the same or a more stringent new vehicle certification standard.

Don't mix engine and vehicle classifications which will degrade the emissions certification standards. For example, a heavy–duty engine cannot be installed in a light–duty exhaust–controlled chassis even if they have the same displacement. Non–emissions controlled power plants such as industrial or off–road–use–only engines may not be placed in any exhaust–controlled vehicle.

If a computer–controlled engine is installed in a non–computerized vehicle, the "CHECK ENGINE" light, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) diagnostic link, and all sensors, switches, and wiring harnesses needed to make the system fully functional must also be installed.

Mixing and matching emission control system components could cause problems and is generally not allowed. Engine and emission control systems must be in an engine–chassis configuration certified by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The engine must meet or exceed the requirements for the year and class of vehicle in which it is installed.

Voiding the vehicle manufacturer's emission warranty is not allowed.

No internal or external engine modifications (cams, pistons, intakes, etc.) may be performed unless the parts are ARB–exempted or EPA–certified for use in the installed engine. Use the database on this site to search for aftermarket parts covered by ARB Executive Orders.

The installed engine and host chassis must retain all of their original emission control equipment. Diesel–to–gasoline conversions must have all gasoline engine and chassis emission control systems installed (such as fillpipe restrictor, catalytic converter and evaporative emission system).

These vehicles must pass a complete smog inspection (visual, functional, and tailpipe).

Good luck,


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