TJ 5.3 Frame off Resto - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 282 Old 06-23-2017, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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2000 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 234
TJ 5.3 Frame off Resto

I will be doing a detailed build/how to thread on an LS swapped/frame off restoration TJ project that I'm now beginning. I'm starting with a bare frame and a bare tub and essentially building a brand new Jeep. I'm starting this with the hopes of helping others doing/thinking about doing the same project, giving others ideas for their own Jeeps and how to save money on their build, asking for help/opinions when needed, and simply to have something to look back on when the project is finished. The goal is to have this completed in around a year or less and to have a great daily driver, off-road capable Jeep that I can say I built myself.

Short List of Plans for the Jeep:
5.3L Chevy V8 with 4L60E, HP30/Ford 8.8 axles, 4" long arm suspension lift + 1" body lift with 35's, new paint, new interior, and the typical custom bumpers, lighting, audio upgrades, winch, etc...

Reason for starting this specific project now:
In the past year, I believe I have owned 7 TJ Wranglers and 5 gen 3 GM pickup trucks either with 5.3L or 6.0L Vortec motors. For many reasons, TJ's have by far been my favorite vehicle to drive and modify, and the gen 3 GM pickup trucks have always been extremely reliable and make plenty of power. While I have always admired the 4.0L in the TJ, I have blown too many head gaskets, cracked one too many heads/blocks, and simply want to experience more power in a Jeep. I know a fair amount about both already, there is so much info about the 5.3 swap online, and I have plenty of TJ parts to get a start on this build.


Resources-
https://www.facebook.com/groups/LSWranglers/ (General questions/advice)
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/jeep-...5-3-jeeps.html (Various FAQ)
www.lt1swap.com (Harness modification, ECM tuning)
https://www.novak-adapt.com/ (Recommended- Motor mounts. Will not recommend anything else for the build at this time)
http://www.wwwsuperiorradiator.com/jeeps_and_wranglers (Radiator with electric fan)

Craigslist/Facebook Marketplace/Junkyards- great for finding donor vehicles (Engine, trans, transfer case, wiring harness/ECM, stronger axles, etc.)

Google is also a great resource There are plenty of informative threads on this forum and over on Wrangler Forum. Ebay is a great place to buy misc. parts such as hoses, lines, tools, fittings, and parts for the engine and transmission. Fastenal, Rural King, and other hardware stores are great for finding new nuts, washers, and bolts.


Last edited by draked97; 08-03-2017 at 10:44 PM. Reason: updates
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post #2 of 282 Old 06-27-2017, 05:29 AM
DirectMatrix
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Subscribed and good luck...now take your budget and triple it!

~DM

92 YJ, Delilah

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post #3 of 282 Old 06-28-2017, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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I have the tub fully stripped out and all of the wiring harness and heater core out now. (Drove this into the garage as a complete running Jeep last Sunday) My driver side torque box came in the mail yesterday, I will be taking the tub, frame, and 8.8 over to a friend's shop who will be doing all the welding/torching for me. (All at the cost of a spare set of full doors I had laying around and of course some beer) Tub will be rust free after the new torque box is installed, frame is in great shape, will just be having the control arm mounts and motor mounts cut off and a very small section on each side underneath the front control arm mounts replaced with new metal.
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post #4 of 282 Old 06-28-2017, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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Pretty slow and rainy day the other day, so I did some work inside on parts I had ordered online. Cleaned up the 2 tone leather/vinyl seats and console that were in one of my parts Jeeps and installed the arm rest pad. I took a factory sound bar and made the 5.25 cutouts larger to fit my 6.75" speakers. I drilled a 1" hole to flush mount the tweeters, installed the crossovers inside the sound bar, ran new wiring to go to an amp, and installed an LED dome light and sprayed the padding with black vinyl paint. Wired up the new stereo and adapter kit so it was ready to put into the dash and called it a day. Ordered a front bumper, winch, Bedrug carpet kit, and Rugged Ridge floor liners. I've already got everything else for the interior and roll bar.
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post #5 of 282 Old 06-28-2017, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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Got the factory brake lines removed today, I am going to make new lines that follow the factory routing. I am also heading to look at a 1999 Silverado LT tonight, it runs and drives and has 170k miles but the frame is cracked. Little higher mileage than I'd like, but for $700 (that's the asking price) I can probably get a free engine/tranny/wiring harness and a few odds and ends for my other Silverado after I part the rest out. I figure I will be getting a rebuild tranny from a shop and using the old one for a core, and overhauling the engine anyways.

Last edited by draked97; 01-25-2018 at 11:18 PM. Reason: updates
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post #6 of 282 Old 06-29-2017, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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Well I bought the parts truck today for $550, that includes them towing it to my house. The alternator was toast, battery was weak, and the fuel lines were rusted in half so I didn't get to hear it run, but it did turn over fine and she assured me it did run. She told me it was a 5.0 v8 and it would run if you dumped fuel in the carburetor, needless to say she was pretty clueless After I bought it I went back to the ad and saw she changed it to 4.8 v8, so I was a little disappointed since it was an LT model and should have had all the options. After doing some online research, I verified through the title that it did indeed have the 5.3 LM7. (The 8th digit of the VIN will tell you the engine displacement/model) Those are:

4.8L LR4- V (99 255 hp/285 lb/ft, 00-04 270 hp/285 lb/ft, 05-06 285 hp/295 lb/ft)
5.3L LM7- T (99 270 hp/310 lb/ft, 00-03 285 hp/325 lb/ft, 04-07 295 hp/335 lb/ft)
5.3L L33 HO (Aluminum Block)- B (05-07, 310 hp/335 lb/ft)
5.3L L59 (Flex Fuel)- Z (02-03 285 hp/325 lb/ft, 04-07 295 hp/335 lb/ft)
5.3L LM4 (Aluminum Block)- P (03-05 290 hp/325 lb/ft)
6.0L LQ4- U (99-00 300 hp/360 lb/ft, 01-07 325 hp/370 lb/ft)
6.0L LQ9- N (02-07 345 hp/380 lb/ft)


*Vehicles with X/W VIN have the 4.3L V6 (180-200 hp, 245-260 lb/ft)*

Last edited by draked97; 01-25-2018 at 11:49 PM. Reason: more info
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post #7 of 282 Old 07-01-2017, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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The new winch and front bumper came in yesterday, purchased both from eBay. $289 for the 9500 lb XRC winch, and $317 for the bumper, the bumper came with bare metal d-rings, I purchased the red d-rings and the license plate winch mount separately. Pleased with the quality of both, especially for the price. I bought a stock JK the other day and have been installing a lift, bumpers, and lights on it, I haven't had time to pull the drivetrain from the donor truck
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post #8 of 282 Old 07-01-2017, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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I got the tub pulled off and took out the front axle and transmission so I could sell them, I still need to pull out the out 4.0L, Dana 44, and the rest of the 2.5" RC lift kit it had on it and sell them so I can restore the frame and buy the new upgraded parts.
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post #9 of 282 Old 07-01-2017, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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They delivered the parts truck for me yesterday, I was going to ask them if they would keep the back half of the frame and sell me the front for half of what they were asking, but I figured for $550 I couldn't go wrong
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post #10 of 282 Old 07-03-2017, 08:55 AM Thread Starter
draked97
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I was getting some interior parts removed from the parts truck today to sell them, and I found a $2,200 receipt in the console for a transmission rebuild with an aftermarket Transgo shift kit from the best transmission shop in town! The transmission was just rebuilt so that will save a lot of money.
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post #11 of 282 Old 07-14-2017, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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Lots of new parts in for the frame, I should have it done in a very reasonable time. It's currently a bare frame, and I bought a small HF sand blaster. Frame parts include-

-1" Daystar replacement poly body lift
-Remanufactured 97-99 Dodge Durango Power steering gear box
-OEM Mopar gas tank skid plate and straps
-Novak 5.3 gen 3 weld in motor mounts
-POR15 metal prep, cleaner/degreaser, 2 quarts of rust inhibiting paint, and 1 quart of top coat.

Will hopefully be ordering the lift kit next week, I have a rear bumper with d-rings, reverse lights, tow package, and tire carrier on the way. I bought a lot of other misc. stuff also, such as a Poison Spyder hood louver, Rugged Ridge windshield light bar, Fox 2.0 steering stabilizer, front speakers with tweeters/crossovers, 2 amplifiers with all the wiring, a 12" sub in a carpeted box, Rugged Ridge aluminum hood latches and black headlight bezels, some decals, a Smittybilt cargo net, some Bartact roll bar accessories, and new roll bar pads.
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post #12 of 282 Old 07-18-2017, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
draked97
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Posts: 234
Frame is off to my friends house. He will be cutting off the old control arm mounts and grinding them smooth along with the 4.0 motor mounts, fixing 1 nutsert on the skid plate, fixing 1 small section on each side where the front control arms sat, welding in new grade 8 studs where the rear upper shock bolts broke in half, and possibly tack welding my 5.3 Novak motor mounts in.
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post #13 of 282 Old 07-18-2017, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
draked97
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rear bumper came in yesterday.
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post #14 of 282 Old 07-18-2017, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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Tonight I worked on getting the wiring harness out of the truck so I could start thinning it down and convert it to a stand alone harness. Definitely wasn't easy, there were a lot of places that were very tight to reach. Start to finish probably took me the best part of 3 hours. Photo 1 shows the location of the PCM, simply pull the plastic cover and release 2 clips. Photo 2 shows the part of the fuse block that needs to be removed with the harness, simply pull the plastic cover off the fuse panel, release the 4 clips, and turn it over so you can see the underside. There should be 3 connectors that need unclipped, and then the portion with all of the pink wires can be removed from the fuse block by taking out the bolt in the center with a 7mm socket. After that simply follow the harness and start removing connectors, the hardest areas were the ones on the trans and the ones that went to the starter. To reach the ones on the starter I used a pry bar to bend the heat shield on the manifold up to get some more clearance.
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post #15 of 282 Old 07-23-2017, 06:58 PM Thread Starter
draked97
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Got my frame back from my friend, he did a great job with it. Started blasting it today, used a $100 HF 40lb pressurized blaster and $30 of blasting sand from a local concrete/coal shop. Make sure to wear a respirator when blasting with silicon sand, it's nasty stuff for your lungs. Notice in the first pic how the frame was shiny immediately after blasting, second photo is after using POR15 Cleaner/degreaser to clean the frame then using POR15 metal prep per the instructions on the jug. (brush on, leave on for 30 minutes then hose off and let frame dry) Very important to do these 2 steps and to get the surface down to bare metal, POR15 will flake off easily if painted over the factory coating or applied to non rusted/non treated metal.
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