302 carb or fuel injected conversion? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 23 Old 07-12-2019, 06:26 AM Thread Starter
bpantherone
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302 carb or fuel injected conversion?

Ok everyone..wanting some opinions/information please. I've had my 80 CJ5 for 7 years now. The current engine (304 V8) was put in by the previous owner and I've had to constantly work on it every year, or take it to someone to fix it. In my opinion the engine that's in it is weak and I've always wanted to drastically improve the entire Jeep. So with that being said, I've considered several different options of building what it there, installing a Chevy 350, or install a Ford 302 HO engine. I was told that my current T4 transmission will bolt directly to a Ford 302 with minimal modifications or problems. I'm afraid that if i go with a Chevy 350 then i also have to consider a new transmission and how it will link up to the transfer case etc etc. I know there have been several post about the 350 conversion and only seen a few post for a 302 conversion. Since I'm leaning towards a 302, does anyone have an opinion on whether i should go with a carb or fuel injected? Honestly i enjoy the old school carb set up because of ease, but like the reliability of the fuel injected system, but also have to consider the computer from the donor car/truck i get a 302 from. Can anyone offer any suggestions of previous post, will a 302 actually bolt directly to the T4 tranny, opinions of the conversions, companies to contact, etc etc? Trust me any information i could get would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!

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post #2 of 23 Old 07-12-2019, 07:46 AM
Matt1981CJ7
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Have you considered finding a healthy AMC 360 or 401? It would be a direct bolt in replacement to your 304 and give you the extra ponies you desire.

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post #3 of 23 Old 07-12-2019, 09:35 AM
StoneTower
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I have a Mustang 5.0 EFI swap in my Jeep. It is a great engine, fits well and I am very happy with it. 15 years ago, the 5.0 motors were common, could be had with low mileage and were cheap to purchase. Today they are much harder to find, have high mileage and a good one can be expensive.

If I was going down that road today I would look at a Chevy motor. I am in California and today it would be much easier to get a first generation Chevy 350 paired with a MSD Atomic Throttle body injection system through the initial motor swap inspection as the MSD Atomic had a CARB exemption for 87 and older Chevy 350 motors. This is most important in states that have SMOG checks like California. The parts are cheap for Chevy motors, they are common and many hot rod guys are removing perfectly good first generation 350 Chevy motors and moving to Chevy LS based motors for the cool factor. The LS motors can be had for reasonable prices too in some of the rust states. I have heard of some guys getting a whole truck for free where the frame is rusted to the point of failure but the motor has less than 100K on it.

By the time you get a 360 or 401 in good shape that is ready to bolt in and give you years of service, you could probably buy a Chevy 350 that someone removed to do an upgraded and the adapters to make it work with what you have. The 350 will be cheaper to keep running and if something happens to it, there are millions of 350s waiting to be dropped in. Now if you want an all AMC Jeep, the you will either need a 304, 360 or a 401 but be prepared to pay for it. YMMV
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post #4 of 23 Old 07-12-2019, 10:57 AM
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Intended use? Experience with carbs? Experience with EFI? Whether carb or efi, it can be made to perform any way you want on or off road, but EFI requires no constant tinkering to keep running right. People often say carbs are easier, but that's not really true. It takes a ton of knowledge/experience/tuning to get a carb dialed in correctly. Do it wrong, your engine is toast in a short while. EFI is literally bolt on, route some wires, hook em up and done. Find an experienced vendor to tune the ECU for you and forget about it for the next decade or longer, other than routine maintenance and oil changes.

Ford stuff, harder to find experienced vendors to help you out, answer questions. LS stuff, they're everywhere.

LS has become as easy and affordable as the old school sbc swap. A little reading gets you there. Plenty of vendors out there selling all the parts needed to make it happen with little effort, including ECU's, software tunes, wire harnesses, ect. It's a jeep so it's gonna drain funds you no matter which direction you go.
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post #5 of 23 Old 07-12-2019, 11:23 AM
Spieg8
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I would NOT put a T4 behind a V8 (not even a weak 304).
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post #6 of 23 Old 07-12-2019, 09:19 PM
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AS Spieg8 mentioned, the T4 is a poor transmission choice behind V8 power. Even the Jeep 258 is more than capable of shredding either a T4 or a T5.

https://www.novak-adapt.com/knowledg.../manual/t4-t5/

With either the Ford or Chevy engine, you will need a new bell housing to adapt to the T4.

The Iron duke 4 cylinder bell housing will adapt the T4/T5 to any standard small block engine, the only downside is you have to use a 10" clutch. On the upside, it is compatible with the Jeep clutch linkage. I have one in the shed I need to sell as I don't need it anymore.

Ford also used the T4/T5 in Mustangs I think, so that bell housing would let you install the 302. The Mustang T5 (called World Class for some odd reason) is internally different from the Jeep T5, it is stronger, but still not strong enough for V8 power in a Jeep, IMO. No idea what you would have to do to adapt the clutch linkage on that one.

As for carb vs. fuel injection, my opinion is that carbs are the missing link between walking and fuel injection. Now that we have fuel injection, there is nothing more for carburetors to do but to go extinct.

A good fuel injection system is not affected by engine angle, can readily adapt to any reasonable altitude, and as already mentioned requires little if any input from the operator. Basically, everything a carb can do, fuel injection can do better.
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post #7 of 23 Old 07-12-2019, 10:52 PM
BrutusBlue
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A 302 would not be an improvement over a good running 304. Get your 304 fixed right and you won’t need to swap motors. 302 is a waste of time, money and power sacrifice.
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post #8 of 23 Old 07-13-2019, 06:41 AM
Spieg8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrutusBlue View Post
Get your 304 fixed right and you won’t need to swap motors.
The OP states they have plenty of experience getting the 304 "fixed". If they want to get a more reliable setup, EFI is the way to go. As someone said above, should not have to touch anything for a decade or more. I have a 91 5.0 in my Jeep and have done nothing beside routine maintenance since it was installed in 1992... the carburetor on my Siverado's 350 has been rebuilt/replaced/adjusted multiple times in roughly the same period of time (and is always a PITA to start in cold weather).
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post #9 of 23 Old 07-13-2019, 06:57 AM
Matt1981CJ7
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I haven't touched my carb since setting it up in 2012 (about 8000 miles ago) It fires up reliably in hot or cold weather. I'm not really looking for a carb-vs-FI debate, just pointing out that not all carbs need constant attention.

Matt


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post #10 of 23 Old 07-13-2019, 07:21 AM
Spieg8
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8,000 whole miles? Report back in another 200,000.

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post #11 of 23 Old 07-13-2019, 07:36 AM
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My CJ will never see 200K in my lifetime.

For me, the whole point of owning a CJ is simplicity and nostalgia. A carb fits that criteria, for me, but I realize others have different priorities.

I still maintain the OP should al least consider a AMC 360 or 401. I picked up my 360 for $250 off of Craigslist. Upon inspection, it had very low mileage. I could have swapped it in as it was, and it would have been a huge performance improvement over the original 258. Instead, I decided to turn it into a pretty center piece for my CJ, so I rebuilt it.

I'd also consider how original the rest of the OP's CJ is. If it's mostly stock and in good shape, I'd stick with an AMC engine to retain some value. If it's a frankin-jeep already, then it really doesn't matter.

Matt


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post #12 of 23 Old 07-13-2019, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrutusBlue View Post
A 302 would not be an improvement over a good running 304. Get your 304 fixed right and you won’t need to swap motors. 302 is a waste of time, money and power sacrifice.
A stock 5.0 with EFI will run circles around stock 304.

The easiest and least money route would be to rebuild the 304. If you plan to keep your CJ for a long time and have something you can drive every day the 304 could fill that bill but you'll need to do some research and spend some money, wisely. There's something to be said for not having to change so many things with a swap.

The Ford 5.0 is a good swap. In stock form with a GT40 intake and heads you're pushing 300 HP. Add a more racy cam and it's over that. If you use it or a GM engine you really should go with a more substantial transmission. The NV 3550 is an excellent choice since it has an overdrive and will hold up well. If you want a cheaper transmission a T-18 or NP 435 are good choices as is the SM 465. These will require an adapter to bolt them to the transfer case.

In most cases you'll have to add a fuel pump either in the tank or right close to it with EFI as they operate at more psi than the mechanical pump on the 304 engine uses.

Any time you take on a project of swapping engines there will be things to do that you did not think about every one of them cost money. Lots of questions you'll need to answer too, such as.
Do you have access to the place and tools to do this?
Do you have the skills?
Do you want to buy a crate engine, rebuild a core or buy a low mileage engine from a salvage yard or individual?
Can you afford it?

Don't underestimate any of the AMC engines. They made several for the CJ line and all were good. Your 304 could be tuned to run as good as new if you chose that route and it would likely be the cheapest and quickest way. You could even add an aftermarket EFI system to it. The swap route sometimes is a good idea but don't let anyone tell you it's easy or cheap. It's far easier to take an engine out that the rig came with and take it to an excellent machine shop for a rebuilt than it is to change engines to something that is not factory. Swapping a 360 or 401 does not fall into the category since Jeeps did come out with them.

Tough choice since there are so many good options!
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post #13 of 23 Old 07-13-2019, 11:45 AM
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Actually, Jim, at one time, I think a CJ *could* be special ordered with a 360 or 401 from the factory thru a dealership. I think only a handful were made that way, though. Since both the 360 and 401 have the exact same exterior block design and dimensions as the 304, they would be a direct bolt-in replacement. If the OP could find one in good used shape, it would be the cheapest and easiest route, by far.

According to this chart, a stock 5.0 with GT40 heads was rated at 235 HP, not 300. But that's still considerably more than the 304, however.

Matt


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post #14 of 23 Old 07-13-2019, 12:36 PM
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Carbs are fine three seasons out of the year, especially on a nostalgic vehicle.

I don't remember starting an carbed V8 in the winter with a crankcase full of frozen dino being fun at all back in the 70's.

I call it a distributor, not a dizzy.
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post #15 of 23 Old 07-13-2019, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Mortgage-payer View Post
Carbs are fine three seasons out of the year, especially on a nostalgic vehicle.

I don't remember starting an carbed V8 in the winter with a crankcase full of frozen dino being fun at all back in the 70's.
The "dino" gets just as cold in a FI vehicle. A carbed engine should start just as easy as a FI engine in the winter, if the carb is spraying fuel like it should.

There are advantages to FI, no doubt, but carbs did serve the purpose for many decades. I think the corn-squeeze fuels we have today have given carbs a bad rap more than anything. I know my Q-jet is much more reliable, and requires less maintenance, with non-E fuel.

Matt


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