YJ advice needed - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-18-2019, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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YJ advice needed


This is my first post on this forum. I am kind of new into the world of Jeeps . I recently bought a pretty much bone stock (but mostly rust-free) 1988 YJ with the 4.2 AMC and a 5 speed manual. It's been a good little jeep so far, but it did not have a hard top or doors (I live in Michigan).

I tried finding a good set of doors and a hard top but they were running $700+ for all of them. Then I came across an facebook ad for two 1994 YJs that have rusted out frames and were in unknown running condition. They had doors and hard tops so I ended up buying them both for $650 total. The cool thing is they are both lifted jeeps (one with 33's and one with 37's). The one with 33's has the 4.0 w/ 5 speed manual and the one with 37's has a Chevy 350 with a 700r4 transmission.

My son and I started poking around on them and had both of them running and driving within a few hours. The 350 engine runs great on the one with the 37's but the frame is completely toast. The steering box ripped right off the frame rail and there are holes all throughout the frame rails. The YJ with the 4.0 runs really well and the frame, while mostly solid does have some rust that would need to be repaired. More importantly, the jeep must have clipped something with the driver's side front tire because the leaf spring is bent in the rear of it and the transfer case is literally broken in half from the force of the axle/drive shaft being thrust backwards. It can be driven in 2wd.

The two jeeps with a 4.0 and 4.2 have stock dana 30/35 setups. The jeep with the 350 has what I think is a Chrysler 8.25 in the rear and a Dana 30 in front.

So needless to say, I do have some options on what to do with these 3 jeeps. I am kind of wanting to pull the 350 out of the rusted jeep and put it in the nicer 1988 YJ. Does it seem worth the effort to try to pull used lift kits parts off too or is it usually just better to get a lift kit new? Is it crazy to pull a perfectly good 4.2l out and throw in the 350? I don't plan on doing any rock crawling or anything so that seems like a lot of power for such a small vehicle.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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post #2 of 8 Old 09-18-2019, 01:33 PM
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1988 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Whittier
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Well, you're YJ rich!

As far as the 350, you obviously have the skills to do that swap. I guess it just comes down to what you want. Personal preference. Just consider that if you swap to the 350, you'll be swapping the rear diff too. At least with the 8.25, and maybe even something beefier than that. Also don't expect gas mileage to be great with the 350, so that isn't a pro or con. The fun factor will be there for sure. A good running 4.2 can be sold easily. Maybe sell it before you pull it, so it's condition can be proven.

Springs are pretty cheap. I'm not sure it is worth pulling springs of unknown quality or brand. And you need new U-bolts and probably bushings anyway. Plus you need something to roll the old YJ around on. Probably would not be worth it to me to save springs. But it is definitely doable. Guys are pulling springs and swapping in/out leaves all the time to get the ride and lift they want.

Welcome to the site.

Recently discovered I am bi-flexual.
1988 Wrangler,4.2L I-6, Howell EFI JP-1,CRT HEI Ign,AX15 ext slave conversion, Zone 2" lift + 1" BL + 1/2" booms, BFG 31 x 10.5, Bestop.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-18-2019, 02:09 PM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
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Location: Spring Creek
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And people ask us,”How do you have so many Jeeps???”

So, I’ve put a 350/sm420/230sye in a YJ and I’m wrapping up the suspension with D60 axles, links, and coil overs. It’s going to be a rockcrawling beast. Lot of work.

This summer I pulled a tired, but running 258 (4.2) out of a CJ8 and put in a running 4.0HO from a 97 Cherokee and have nearly got that running. Not as much work.

If it were my pile of YJs, I’d unload the 350 drivetrain. Guys are always looking to do V8 swaps. Put the 4.0/Ax-15/230 into the best frame over the Ford 8.8 axle and matching front axle with new springs, shackles, bolts, and shocks. Use the fuel tank, pump, lines, filters from the 350 install on the 4.0 build. Get the fuel injection with the 4.0 working and have fun.

Keep the 258 inside and all orifices covered. Save your money. When you’ve got $2500 put together pull the 4.0 back out, take it and the 258 to a machine shop and get a 4.6 stroker (4.0 block/head and 258 rotating assembly) back. Rebuild the AX-15 and 230 (not hard) and slide in a nice set up.

Likely the 4.6 will have the power or more than your 350 has now, it’s lighter, and better on fuel.

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'95 YJ
GM 350, SM420, NP231 SYE, Fnt. D60 SOA 4.10, Rr. D60 SOA 4.10 Detroit Locker, Fnt.Sus. N/A. Rr.Sus. XJ Springs, RuffStuff Wayback.
YJ Build: https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/my-girlfriend-1327158/
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-18-2019, 02:42 PM
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I vote for the 350..
pull and sell off all the parts you can and scrap the rest. More than your money back on just the parts.

Far as the lift goes, if its not all rusted and a pain to pull and reuse. But then you need new U bolts and other parts..
BUT selling the lift off is good,. Someone may need just a leaf or two to fix a broken lift they have. I know I bought a used lift just for the main leaf of one spring. Then sold the rest to another guy needing the same from the rear pieces..
I love to buy and part off. ANd keep what I need. Tops being one of those things.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-18-2019, 02:53 PM
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1988 YJ Wrangler 
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Sell me the 4.0 Jeep and recoup some money for the other projects...

1988 Jeep Wrangler Laredo
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-18-2019, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Wow thanks for all of the replies guys. I really appreciate the ideas. If I were to switch the 4.2 for the 4.0 I know I would get better power/reliability. Would it make much difference on MPG? I am getting around 11-12 mostly country/freeway driving. Also, I am a little unsure about part prices in my area. There are not a ton of YJs left around here for comparison (stupid rust). Any idea where to start? I was thinking about calling junkyards and selling parts for like 60 - 80% of the average junkyard cost. I have a very patient wife but I don't know how she will feel about a jeep fleet in the yard lol.
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-18-2019, 05:42 PM
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1992 YJ Wrangler 
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Location: Nevada Territory
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NOTHING is more reliable than a 4.2 inline 6.
Inline 6's are some of the most reliable engines on the planet. Over the road truck? Inline 6.
It's inherently Smooth by it's nature. It's a heavy duty industrial engine.

MPG? With the aerodynamics of a cinder block? If you were looking for economy, you chose poorly, grasshopper.

Depending on your driving and fuel system and tuning, you should be able to get mid to upper teens.

Take the parts you want from the other Jeeps, part out the rest unless one or the other are saveable without too much $$$$

"Alferd Packer: “Stand up, you voracious, man-eating son of a *****, stand up! There was seven democrats in Hinsdale County and you up and ate five of them."
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-18-2019, 08:00 PM
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1990 YJ Wrangler 
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Don't sell any parts until you are darn sure you don't need them. been there

"The right to be heard does not necessarily include the right to be taken seriously." —Hubert Humphrey

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