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Unread 09-06-2011, 10:14 PM   #1
KidLoco747
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1984 CJ7 
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Wichita, Kansas
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Engine Swap

I'm planning on swapping the 258 6 cylinder out of my 1984 CJ-7 for a 1999 and up, V8 GM motor. I was just wondering what would be the best bang for my buck? I don't plan on any rock crawling or anything like that, but I plan on more trail running and camping trips. Something reliable that I can take on a road trip and to drive around, year around. What have been your experiences with swapping for a V8 GM motor? I've heard good things about the LM7 5.3L. Anything better I should consider? I'm trying to stay under $700. Thanks for the feedback!

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Unread 09-06-2011, 11:05 PM   #2
Big_Pete1999
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I did an older 350 Chevy just a few months ago...
$700 for everything? You're dreaming. There is just too many things that need to get done to come in at/under $700, not including price of engine/transmission.
Off the top of my head, and with extreme sleep deprivation, you have...
Engine
Transmission
Transmission to Transfer Case adapter
Engine Mounts
Transmission Mounts
Custom Front and Rear driveshafts
New Radiator
New Radiator Hoses
Vacuum Lines
Fuel hookups
Power Steering Pump w/hookups
Alternator w/hookups
New ECU (computer)
New wiring harness
New Transfer Case Stick Shift cause it is in new position
New Transmission/T-Case floor cover cause you'll have a different Tranny and Different location for T-case stick, so the factory one won't work because the positioning is different.
LABOR COSTS
LABOR COSTS
MORE LABOR COSTS
A BIT MORE LABOR COSTS
AND THEN LABOR COSTS
Not to mention making sure your axles and rest of suspension can handle what you're putting in.
Did I mention LABOR COSTS?
Replacement Gauges if needed
Odds and ends for hoses/wire/fittings/busted stuff that will happen/rust you didn't see until you got engine out/ rust you didn't notice till after you put new engine in/ things not working as they should even though you triple checked them/ random electrical issues/ random fitting issues, Random grounding issues, etc...

I'm not trying to discourage the swap, I'm just saying that it's impossible to do it for/under $700, regardless of what your "friend's friend" might have done.
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Unread 09-06-2011, 11:38 PM   #3
TxJeeper20
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I was lucky and bought a 1991 chevy 2500 with a tbi 350 from my mother for blue book value but since I new the owner and I been driving the truck for years I know its solid and that engine , fuel sys , computer will be findin a home in my jeep Mabye not go for the brand new engines you will have to baffle your tank for the hi-pressure fuel pump TBI doesnt pump that hard and baffles arent needed Im looking bout 2000k for a tranny and all the swapping parts not incluing labor( a reputable shop is hooking me up with deal on labor while im deployed )
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Unread 09-07-2011, 12:49 AM   #4
NewdRiver_
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Best bang for the buck is going to be carbureted/HEI. You avoid most of the wiring fiasco and don't need an electric fuel pump or a return line.

The inlet on the stock radiator can be cut off and brazed onto the other side of the top tank.

Motor mounts can be home fabricated, like mine. Just need some poly isolator mounts and some DOM thickwall tubing. Unbolt the stock mounts and weld the new mounts to the frame with the entire driveline hoisted inside and squared away.

If you're lucky enough to have a TH400, it will bolt right in. Otherwise, a transmission adapter will knock out your $700 budget with one shot.

Then, its a nickle and dime war to get everything else set up and looking pretty.

$700 is about right if you do all the work and fab yourself and get the engine for free.
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Unread 09-07-2011, 07:05 AM   #5
Carmell CJ
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First place I would start is here.

http://www.novak-adapt.com/

They have a great knowledge center that will shed a lot of light on the conversion process and the immense expense involved.

I'm in the middle of a 5.3 conversion myself. I bought my LM7 on CL for $700.00, this has been one of the cheapest parts so far.

To be safe with budget planning, add 2500 - 3000 to your 700, this will get you a nice start. I have a grand alone just in my SM465 to D20 conversion, another grand in the clutch/flywheel assembly, radiator, and motor mounts, 500 into the wire harness mods and ECM re-program, 300 into the fuel pump, and I haven't started the exhaust yet. Then you have all the nickles and dimes mentioned, thats the part that will add up quickly as well.

Biggest piece of advice I could offer, do lots of research and ask questions to guys that have completed their conversion.
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Unread 09-07-2011, 07:18 AM   #6
kickingprop
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I bought my LM7/4L60E for $1100 with all accessories and the ECU and harness with low mileage. I ended up spending almost $7 total when it was all said and done... There are a lot of little things that will nickle and dime you to death.

But on the other hand...i love that motor and wouldnt change a thing!
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Unread 09-07-2011, 07:46 AM   #7
Big_Pete1999
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewdRiver_ View Post
Best bang for the buck is going to be carbureted/HEI. You avoid most of the wiring fiasco and don't need an electric fuel pump or a return line.

The inlet on the stock radiator can be cut off and brazed onto the other side of the top tank.

Motor mounts can be home fabricated, like mine. Just need some poly isolator mounts and some DOM thickwall tubing. Unbolt the stock mounts and weld the new mounts to the frame with the entire driveline hoisted inside and squared away.

If you're lucky enough to have a TH400, it will bolt right in. Otherwise, a transmission adapter will knock out your $700 budget with one shot.

Then, its a nickle and dime war to get everything else set up and looking pretty.

$700 is about right if you do all the work and fab yourself and get the engine for free.
I'm sorry, but I just have to disagree. I did a carbureted 350 swap 2 months ago, so trust me, this is FRESH in my mind for how much it cost. It cost me $750 for the engine alone! I know you said "free engine", but lets be real here, you can't plan a budget for a build by banking on having a free engine. I almost made that mistake by putting in my dad's old dodge 360 work truck engine/tranny, but that engine, even though "free", would have needed rebuilt soon enough, plus the added expense of mopar vs chevy for price of parts/adapters (chevy being cheaper).

Next, the Transmission. Again, you can't bank on a free transmission. You can't bank on having a transmission that your transfer case bolts right up to that also bolts up to the chevy engine. Adapters are needed (it's hundreds of dollars for the transfer case to transmission adapter alone).
Next the motor mounts. You can custom fab your own out of a block of steel or iron I guess, but that's iffy cause you need the engine to be in a very specific place under your hood (left/right positioning, front/back positioning, and on a slight angle), not to mention that it needs to be strong enough to support the engine/transmission/transfer case without blinking.

Next, you'll need custom driveshafts. You'll also want a new radiator to keep the new v8 from overheating (yes, you can use stock and have new ports welded, but the stock radiator will always keep the engine on the warmer side of things, which isn't something I want stuck in the back of my head as I'm offroad). You'll also need the "nickel and dime" stuff, which believe it or not, will add up to hundreds of dollars.
You'll also need things like water pump, brackets for alternator and power steering, hoses, etc... that if your engine doesn't come with, will add up to the total cost.
Like my law teacher says "If you find yourself in trouble and you hire a lawyer, if that lawyer says 'don't worry, you'll be found not guilty.', hire a different lawyer, because that lawyer doesn't know what he's talking about. A good lawyer will say 'you SHOULD be found not guilty, but it all depends on the evidence against/for you.'" See the difference?

Anyways, if I were you, I'd give myself a $2000+ budget for a carbureted swap, and $3000 for a Fuel Injected swap. Take it from me, who did this a few months ago, so I'm not talking "10-15 years ago when stuff was cheaper" money. I spent $3000 from the time I ripped the engine out to the time I turned the key and fired it up, and that was a carbureted swap. Plan accordingly and don't be surprised when stuff doesn't go exactly as planned.
Good luck my man. If you want cheap, just rebuild your engine and get a better transmission. You'll probably come in at right around $700-800 if you do that.
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Unread 09-07-2011, 06:17 PM   #8
KidLoco747
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Clarification

Sorry guys, I wasn't clear when I said $700 as my limit. I meant $700 for the engine alone. A buddy of mine is a certified GM master tech mechanic who will be helping out. He used to have his own shop, but now just does work for friends and family from his home, so labor won't be as bad as you might think.
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Unread 09-07-2011, 06:37 PM   #9
CJ7ROB
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Its not even so much the labor since Im assuming you and your buddy will be doing most of the work yourselves but the parts alone like stated above will get you. I know b/c Im swapping in a EFI 302.
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Unread 09-08-2011, 01:08 AM   #10
BagusJeep
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A better bang for the buck may be to modify the existing 258ci if it is in reasonable shape. Changing to the 4.0 head and upgrading the ignition etc. will release a fair bit more power and if you hunt the scrapyards for the base parts may not be very expensive. Other mods such as junk yard fuel injection are more tricky but again can be performed at a reasonable cost and if you have a 4.0 head is technically not that tricky.

Up from there in IMHO is a 4.0l I6 from an XJ or Wrangler etc. Fits in the engine bay, bolts up to your gearbox and just needs an electric fuel pump and a degree in wiring (plus bits and bobs). With 190hp+ and reasonable fuel consumption it transforms a CJ. A 30 year old 258ci with average maintenance may be pushing out barely 100hp.

if you go bespoke with a lot more power the complexity escalates, hence a Chevy V8 with fuel injection is more difficult and expensive.

Novak are very bullish about engine swaps but they are time consuming and expensive. Not to say that the end product is not desirable but that is a heck of a lot of work to get there. Depends on your wallet and your commitment.
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Unread 09-08-2011, 07:50 AM   #11
79jeepincj7
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Hey there, I just completed this exact swap a couple months ago but used an AX15 for a trany and built my own junkyard tbi system for an older chevy 350. But finding an old tbi chevy is easy and they are cheap. Just pull the whole harness and computer and throw it in and you have FI

Here are the motor mounts for you that worked PERFECT.. You do have to weld them in tho.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/TRD-4100/

Using the chevy belhouing just keep the chevy hydraulic slave cylinder and go to napa and order a master cylinder for a 82 cj with the 4 cylinder. I think it was $12 and the throw matches the chevy slave just fine. I grabbed the clutch pedal from a YJ and just slid the cj pedal off the assembly and slid the yj one on.

https://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/C...+50038+2038003

Chevy bell to ax15

http://www.novak-adapt.com/catalog/kit_gmax15.htm

As for the radiator

http://www.oconeeoffroad.com/servlet...thru-86/Detail

I just used the same flex fan I had on my amc360 and it works great!

I did use their adapter to the ax15 and the dana 300 clocking ring however. And I had an AX15 from an xj already.

http://www.novak-adapt.com/catalog/kit_153.htm

I kept the stock manifolds but for Headers

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/SUM-G9060/
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Unread 09-08-2011, 09:27 AM   #12
mopar346
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Go AMC 304 or 360, plenty of power, more compatible and reasonably priced. I believe you can use your bellhousing, flywheel and clutch assembly, athough you will need to upgrade the trans if it is a T4, your shafts will be usable, fuel system, etc. If you have to build shafts that alone will cost a minimum of $400 and probably more like $600.
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Unread 09-08-2011, 11:20 AM   #13
Max-Q
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidLoco747 View Post
Sorry guys, I wasn't clear when I said $700 as my limit. I meant $700 for the engine alone. A buddy of mine is a certified GM master tech mechanic who will be helping out. He used to have his own shop, but now just does work for friends and family from his home, so labor won't be as bad as you might think.
I just did the swap three weeks ago. I had a 383 built by a race engine shop for free and I bought all of the accessories and I did the complete install at my buddies shop labor free. In the end it still cost me over $5,000 for everything from the aluminum radiator to the nearly $600 carb not to mention the tranny case adapter and the free custom exhaust. Heck I have over $700 invested in Tom Woods driveshafts alone.

It's an expensive project and I don't see you getting it done for $700 or less.

Good luck
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Unread 09-08-2011, 11:42 AM   #14
79jeepincj7
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I got mine done right at the $700 mark BUT I already had the Junkyard TBI setup from a parts truck, AX15, chevy 350 w/ bell, flywheel etc. So that was basically for the adapter, motor mounts, slave cylinder, fuel cell, radiator, tattons driveshaft and all those nickle and dime things such as a $100 fuel pump etc.. I made the rear shaft from a front XJ shaft that is already a double cardon. Just pull the yoke off the xj transfer and it slides right on the dana 300.
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Unread 09-08-2011, 06:55 PM   #15
stevehoj
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x2 on what mopar346 said.

AMC V8, if you stay on the smaller side is cheap & easy. Virtually a bolt in.
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