4.8l LS Swap into 1988 Jeep Wrangler (YJ) - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 27 Old 07-25-2021, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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4.8l LS Swap into 1988 Jeep Wrangler (YJ)

Hello all, I plan to use this thread to chronicle my LS Swap into my Jeep.

I really had no intention of doing the LS Swap until around the 4th of July this year when I thought it would give some added power and an automatic transmission to make riding the trails a bit easier.

In December of last year when I got the Jeep my son was pushing me to use the 4.8l LS from his wrecked 1999 Chevy 1500 2wd. I'm assuming the transmission is a 4L60E. I little research shows the 8th digit of the VIN to be a "v" indicating the 4.8l LS motor with a cast iron block and aluminum heads, if I have read everything correctly. Continuing my research I find that Novak Adapters has a kit to adapt the NP231J transfer case to the 4L60E transmission, though I'd need to have a 4x4 output shift put into the transmission. All this sound s great and as I have the mechanics skills to do the work I thought it would be a great Fall/Winter Project.

Last week my wife and I went to Ouray, CO on vacation and ran a few of the mountain passes. We Drove the Jeep out from Tulsa, OK as I felt confident that the engine and Jeep could handle the trip. during the trip out it was painfully obvious that the Jeep was underpowered with the 4.2l inline 6 cyl. Top speed was 70-75mph and that was pushing it. The Jeep is geared higher and I know that contributed to the issue the most. Running the Mountain Passes for the next 2 days was great, 4 low and First thru Third gears and the Jeep had plenty of power for the passes and pulling the hills and switchbacks. After 2 days of mountain passes we decided to take another little road trip to the nearest WalMart, 28 miles away, and pick up a few things. On the return trip and 2.5 miles from our cabin the Jeep transmission hung up in 1st gear. Two to three miles back to the cabin in 1st gear was painfully slow, but we made it. Long story short I bought a 1994 GMC Suburban K1500 and towed the Jeep home.

I guess really I said all that simple to say my LS Swap has been moved up and will likely start in the next couple weeks.

Currently I plan to use the Novak kit for the transfer case and Holley makes a set of motor mounts that work well with a set of Holley headers. I'm leaning towards a Holley engine harness and ECM that will also control the transmission, I can't remember the model. But I also have the complete donor truck that just has the front crashed in and frame bent. Holley also makes a "front plate" assembly that replaces the water pump and pulls all the accessories in tight to the engine which may be required for everything to fit under the hood of the Jeep.

Any suggestions or tips on what may have failed in your LS Swap would be most helpful and appreciated.


John
1988 Jeep Wrangler Sport “Red Leader”
4.2l I6, BA10-5
A work in progress!
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post #2 of 27 Old 07-25-2021, 03:02 PM
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I'm the local "LS Nazi."

Anyway, the 4.8 (not LS) Chevy is going to be more expensive to swap in than building a 4.6 or 4.7 stroker, and make a lot less power. You already have the 4.2 that you need for the stroker. Why not rebuild the transmission (not as difficult as an engine swap) and put the rest of the money you're planning on spending into the stroker?

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post #3 of 27 Old 07-25-2021, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Awesome View Post
I'm the local "LS Nazi."

Anyway, the 4.8 (not LS) Chevy is going to be more expensive to swap in than building a 4.6 or 4.7 stroker, and make a lot less power. You already have the 4.2 that you need for the stroker. Why not rebuild the transmission (not as difficult as an engine swap) and put the rest of the money you're planning on spending into the stroker?
fair question!

I have the 4.8l LS motor already and would only need the adapters and mounts really.

As for building a Stroker Motor I don't really know much about doing that with a 4.2l motor. I've bone it with a 302 Ford motor though.
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post #4 of 27 Old 07-25-2021, 05:46 PM
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I suspect you have the Peugeot BA10/5 transmission and if so, you'll need a different transmission as well if you decide to do the 4.6/4.7 stroker option. IMO, the stroker option is a solid plan if you have the AX-15 because it's fairly straight forward. The Peugot transmission is marginal with stock power so adding more is not going to make things better.

That said, there are a lot of LS haters out there on the internet but I doubt you'll ever hear anyone who has done the LS swap say that they wish they had stayed with the Jeep engine unless they're purposely trying to be a Jeep purist. I've also never met anyone in person that didn't love the LS engines or thought my Jeep would be cooler if it still had the Jeep engine. I do know 2 people who did the 4.7 stroker and wished they had gone LS though. I absolutely love my LS swap and if I ever built another Jeep, it'll be the first mod I do. It's great everywhere...it works great on the trails, highways, and rock crawling. It's lighter, more reliable, has more power, sounds amazing, runs cooler, and the aftermarket support is truly mind blowing. With my quick praise out of the way, thousands of people have done it but that doesn't mean it's simple or straight forward. You could read 100 different LS writeups and you'll find 100 different ways to do it. There is quite a bit involved and a lot of different decisions/directions you can go. Meanwhile all of those little things start to add up quickly.

Take a look at my signature for my 5.3 swap. I tried to outline what I did and why I made the decisions I made. I spent probably a month getting everything together and installing adapters prior to pulling my old running engine. I had a friend come over for an hour or so while we positioned the engine in the Jeep and I welded the motor mounts where I wanted them. That was the only part of the entire process that I didn't do by myself so it's not like you can't do the work piece by piece by yourself in your spare time. It was then another 2-3 weeks to get the exhaust, wiring, and everything else working properly to drive it. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.
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post #5 of 27 Old 07-26-2021, 01:15 PM
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Welcome brother!! I too am in the midst of swapping my 88 with a 4.8/NV3500. One of the driving factors in my decision was the blown BA10 my YJ came with. PO rebuilt the 4.2, but the BA10 suffered a catastrophic failure not long before she sold it to me. I just could not justify the cost of an AX15 swap and would have still had an old, carbed 4.2. I'm up and running, just have to finish driveshafts, exhaust, and come up with a 4x4 shifter solution to get it moving.....but I can go out to my driveway right now and she'll fire up immediately. I made a few mistakes along the way, but solved them and moved forward. Biggest issue was the lack of a welder....and my eventual workaround was unconventional at best. I have a build thread here if you want to check it out. Had a lot of fun along the way, learned a lot......and I can't wait to drive this thing

Holler if you need anything.
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post #6 of 27 Old 07-27-2021, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Waternut, I do have the BA10/5 and it is part of what encouraged my decision to do the LS Swap. That along with getting older and not wanting to continually be on the clutch and shifting on the trails. Having just come back from running the trails in the San Juan’s it farther supported this decision.

Cobra, I may have questions in the future. Starting this week in pulling the LS from my sons crashed truck.

John
1988 Jeep Wrangler Sport “Red Leader”
4.2l I6, BA10-5
A work in progress!
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post #7 of 27 Old 07-27-2021, 02:28 PM
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@Awesome must be squeezing the crap out of one of those plush stress balls with all the "LS" going on up in here.
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post #8 of 27 Old 07-27-2021, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by bruinjeeper View Post
@Awesome must be squeezing the crap out of one of those plush stress balls with all the "LS" going on up in here.
My mouse has a crack in it now.
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post #9 of 27 Old 07-27-2021, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by K5TBL View Post
Waternut, I do have the BA10/5 and it is part of what encouraged my decision to do the LS Swap. That along with getting older and not wanting to continually be on the clutch and shifting on the trails. Having just come back from running the trails in the San Juan’s it farther supported this decision.

Cobra, I may have questions in the future. Starting this week in pulling the LS from my sons crashed truck.
I chose the 4L60E for a few reasons. First and most important was adaptability to the engine. The 4L60E is a direct bolt on, it's run by the same computer that runs the engine, it doesn't require an adapter for the engine, and you can run the stock headers as well without fitment issues. I chose an automatic for a few reasons as well. The AX-15 is a popular transmission and as such has a huge price tag around here of $1000-$2000 with a $600-$800 core charge which I don't have and all of that for a used/reman transmission of questionable integrity!!!! Then you inevitably need roughly another $1000 or more in custom parts to adapt that transmission to the LS. So pricewise, it was a no brainer to go with the automatic but there are other major benefits. The auto is so nice to drive smoothly when you're crawling in large boulders and teetering on the edge of flipping over. The auto is also much nicer on the driveline components because the torque converter acts like a minor cushion in a violent tire grabbing moment helping to save the rest of the drivetrain. As for engine braking with a manual, that's all well and good except when someone else in the group is doing the same thing and they're doing a speed between your gears which was like 99.9% of the time for me.

@Awesome I'm a little scared to ask but I'm also curious. Do you have a problem with the LS terminology or just the LS engines as a whole?


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post #10 of 27 Old 07-27-2021, 07:02 PM
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@Awesome I'm a little scared to ask but I'm also curious. Do you have a problem with the LS terminology or just the LS engines as a whole?
Bruin was just teasing me because me and Shaggy got into it last time there was a thread like this. Or was it NHfire?

Anyway, an "LS Swap" has always referred to pulling an engine out of an "LS-series" car. So an Impala SS, Camaro SS, Corvette, et. al. Now people call every Chevy small-block an "LS" because Chevy started designating the engine series as "LS-7, LS-10" or whatever. It's an SBC, not an LS. "LS swap" has much bigger performance implications. Old school hot-rod guys go nuts. (Except Boojo because I think he strongly disagrees with me)

It's like saying "Hemi swap" when you're putting a Magnum V8 from the late 90's in your Jeep. Still a Mopar engine, but different performance implications to most people.

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post #11 of 27 Old 07-27-2021, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awesome View Post
Bruin was just teasing me because me and Shaggy got into it last time there was a thread like this. Or was it NHfire?

Anyway, an "LS Swap" has always referred to pulling an engine out of an "LS-series" car. So an Impala SS, Camaro SS, Corvette, et. al. Now people call every Chevy small-block an "LS" because Chevy started designating the engine series as "LS-7, LS-10" or whatever. It's an SBC, not an LS. "LS swap" has much bigger performance implications. Old school hot-rod guys go nuts. (Except Boojo because I think he strongly disagrees with me)

It's like saying "Hemi swap" when you're putting a Magnum V8 from the late 90's in your Jeep. Still a Mopar engine, but different performance implications to most people.
Yeah I'm rather against that logic as well especially since the non car based iron block engines have been proven to support more power but I'm not here to fight about it or argue semantics because we all have some of those things. First I've really heard that stance though. I will continue to call it an LS though because 99.99% of the world uses that term....haha.

That said, if anyone tells me they have a small block chevy, I'm going to assume it's an older Gen 1 or maybe a Gen 2. I know the Gen 3,4,5 are still technically a SBC but my mentality still falls back to the old 305/350 when talking SBC. Granted if someone says they put a Hemi in a JK, I'm assuming it's a newer one but an old truck or hot rod and I assume it's the old school Hemi. I guess as long as everyone in the conversation is on the same page, it's all good.


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post #12 of 27 Old 07-27-2021, 09:06 PM
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You will no doubt love the SBC 4.8 when you are done. There are plenty of V8 YJ guys here on the forum that can help you when you run into a sticking spot. I put a 2005 5.3L Vortec into my 89 and I would rather drive it than anything else I have. It took me a lot longer than I had hoped it would but my problem was I am a perfectionist and can't put anything back together unless it is rebuilt and painted. Plus over time it just kept snow balling on me. Ultimately it took me 6 years to finish my build.
Good luck with your build and keep us informed on your progress.
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post #13 of 27 Old 07-27-2021, 09:28 PM
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Bruin was just teasing me because me and Shaggy got into it last time there was a thread like this. Or was it NHfire?
I don't think it was me. I don't remember ever caring enough to argue one way or another on it. I think I mostly call it by displacement or engine code so it must have been fire.
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post #14 of 27 Old 07-29-2021, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awesome View Post
Bruin was just teasing me because me and Shaggy got into it last time there was a thread like this. Or was it NHfire?

Anyway, an "LS Swap" has always referred to pulling an engine out of an "LS-series" car. So an Impala SS, Camaro SS, Corvette, et. al. Now people call every Chevy small-block an "LS" because Chevy started designating the engine series as "LS-7, LS-10" or whatever. It's an SBC, not an LS. "LS swap" has much bigger performance implications. Old school hot-rod guys go nuts. (Except Boojo because I think he strongly disagrees with me)

It's like saying "Hemi swap" when you're putting a Magnum V8 from the late 90's in your Jeep. Still a Mopar engine, but different performance implications to most people.
I really dont think you like me. It does not matter. I do not disagree with you because you are you..

A very simple way to define an LS motor vs a SBC is did it have a distributor from the factory or did it have individual coil over plug setup from the factory?

The first generation of the LS motor was the 4.8L, 5.3L and the 6.0L. It was offered in trucks, suburbans, etc.

LS motors are often still referred to at time as SBC motors because of the displacement???? There are more displacements of the LS motor since its first inception. There are many many versions dependent on performance.

An LS swap does not mean from a certain series of car... The SBC was seriously redesigned and became the LS motor. Parts are not interchangeable at all between the two.

I really question if you understand what a LS motor is.

I get it dude. You do not like me.

If you cannot fix it with a hammer then it has to be an electrical problem.
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post #15 of 27 Old 07-29-2021, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Boojo35 View Post
A very simple way to define an LS motor vs a SBC is did it have a distributor from the factory or did it have individual coil over plug setup from the factory?

The first generation of the LS motor was the 4.8L, 5.3L and the 6.0L. It was offered in trucks, suburbans, etc.

LS motors are often still referred to at time as SBC motors because of the displacement???? There are more displacements of the LS motor since its first inception. There are many many versions dependent on performance.

An LS swap does not mean from a certain series of car... The SBC was seriously redesigned and became the LS motor. Parts are not interchangeable at all between the two.

I really question if you understand what a LS motor is.
I predicted your answer! Hey Boojo, you ever seen those LS-swapped mail trucks? Might be right up your alley.

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