Originally Posted by jeepinjim
Although it'not near as powerful as Chevy 5.7, 5.3 . It's a very good option. The dist. is in the front so there isn't any firewall issues, it's a lot lighter than a 5.7. I have been a mechanic for over 27 yrs. When it comes to making power you can not beat Chevorlet. Chevorlet beats anything dollar for dollar in horsepower. But a Ford 5.0 is powerful enough and will more than likely beat out Chevy on fuel mileage. From my dealings with both of them, I would put a stock 5.0 in my Jeep with no second thoughts. If I were to use a Vortec 5.7 or the 5.3, I would have to beef up the front and rearends. And I wouldn't use the stock transmission. Chevy right now has a 2007-8 5.3 that puts out 300HP.. I want to stress that this is a personnal opinion and is way to be considered fact. I have had race cars, built race and hi-performance engines for customers, I have tried and broken alot of stuff and out of this I give you some food for thought.
For the dollar, Chevy is the way to go. Parts are plentiful, the engines are reliable, and aftermarket support is through the roof. But I would argue that Mopar engines tend to be considerably underrated and quite often are the more powerful of comparable Chevys. I don't know about the new 5.7 Hemi, but remember the original 426? Dayum. Stick one of those in a TJ, and you'll roll the thing by giving it too much gas at a stop light.
I've had a couple of 5.2 (318) V8s and found them to be extraordinarily reliable engines, although not race worthy. I've also had (briefly) a 340 V8 which was a frickin' screamer. The oil galleries had to be bored out, that was it's one weakness for high RPM. I also had a beast of a Fury with a 440... now THAT is torque.
When it comes down to it, a TJ with good electricals will probably find it easier to add a 5.2. They are plentiful, were made through 2001 or so (after a 30 year run!), and the electronics are MUCH easier to hook up.
That being said, I am *not* a mechanic, but I have been a "car guy" my entire life.