Looking for a new engine for my CJ. 4.0? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
MattersNot
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Looking for a new engine for my CJ. 4.0?

My goal of having a adequately powered turbo diesel engine in my CJ is starting to fade. I currently have an 85 Mercedes Benz OM617 (3.0L TD) installed and I'm just about to the end of my quest for more power, without satisfactory results. I was overly confident that I could "tune her up a little" and have decent power while retaining 18+ MPG. Well, I put $3,500+ into the engine swap and common power mods without getting what I was looking for. I'm now debating my re-power options (with an overdrive transmission) and need a little advice from the other gearheads out there. Here's my current set up:

1986 CJ-7 Laredo
Engine as stated above
T-5 Trans (I know it's subpar, will replace)
Dana 300 T-Case
Dana 44 rear, Dana 30 front w\ 4.88 gears
35x12.50 R15 BF Mud Terrain
4in Lift with Shackle reversal
20gal fuel tank

What I'm looking for:
15+ MPG, reliability, fuel injected (if gas), enough torque to play in the woods, Enough HP to sling a little mud without destroying my trans/axles, Overdrive manual shift trans. I'd like to use this jeep out west as a overlandish type of vehicle in 4,000ft plus elevation. Huge emphasis on reliability, fuel economy, adequate power and not overheating.

What I have on hand to use/sell/trade:
Running 360 AMC
T-176 That has worn out shifter tower
Engine and trans currently in my CJ

My thoughts:
Buy an old Cherokee with a fuel injected 4.0 and a 5-speed trans then figure out how to adapt the Dana 300. Not sure if the 4.0 has enough power, but I'm hesitant to put another V-8 in it.

My target budget: $5,000 may push to $6,000 if I'm absolutely certain that I'm getting exactly what I'm looking for.

Any ideas out there?

Thanks,

Matt

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post #2 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 11:52 AM
Axhammer
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Put a 258 crankshaft in the fuel injected 4.0 is something I am considering for my 1985 CJ-7. I want to go to 33s and the lift required to make the 33s work under my CJ-7. Im not sure where Ill go with this, Im considering everything.

1985 CJ-7 Red with white hardtop, 258 auto
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post #3 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 12:01 PM
CJ7-Tim
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Wondering what is wrong with a basic GM 350 swap, either a stand alone fuel injection or use the original ECM ? Are you trying to be unique, or as you say just have HP and decent mpg's ? An LS-1 V8 is actually lighter than a 4.0L and likely gets the same or better mpg's.

If you go with a 4.0L, build it as stroker motor.

Sticking with commonly done conversions will be fewer headaches and cost less. The adapters you might need are probably already figured out and available.

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post #4 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
MattersNot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axhammer View Post
Put a 258 crankshaft in the fuel injected 4.0 is something I am considering for my 1985 CJ-7. I want to go to 33’s and the lift required to make the 33’s work under my CJ-7. I’m not sure where I’ll go with this, I’m considering everything.
258 crank in a 4.0? What is the advantage of that... stroker?

When you do the lift on your CJ, I highly recommend a shackle reversal. Got my kit from M.O.R.E, huge difference in ride quality and handling, I'd avoid lift shackles like the flu, been there.

Thx
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post #5 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 01:41 PM
Spieg8
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I'd look at a Vortec 4.3 swap.
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post #6 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
MattersNot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
Wondering what is wrong with a basic GM 350 swap, either a stand alone fuel injection or use the original ECM ? Are you trying to be unique, or as you say just have HP and decent mpg's ? An LS-1 V8 is actually lighter than a 4.0L and likely gets the same or better mpg's.

If you go with a 4.0L, build it as stroker motor.

Sticking with commonly done conversions will be fewer headaches and cost less. The adapters you might need are probably already figured out and available.
Thanks for the reply!

Unique isn't a goal, functional and efficient is. Looked at LS swaps, 5.3 specifically (great motors). Having a hard time sourcing an engine and trans while staying within my budget. Not trying to be too cheap, but when I could buy a running Cherokee for $2-3k. I figured having the complete donor vehicle available with an extra 2k to finish the swap would keep me pretty close to what I'm planning to spend. I've worked on enough older 5.7's to know that wouldn't be the best engine for me. I don't have a lot of experience with the 4.0, and was entertaining the thought of using one.

Perfect world, I'd drop about $10k and give Novak a call to knock out an LS swap with a transmission. The wife would skin me alive! She's almost there now.
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post #7 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spieg8 View Post
I'd look at a Vortec 4.3 swap.
Hmmmm, I've been sneaking a peek at those. Seems like the S-10/Jimmy/Blazer donor vehicles are affordable too.

Thanks
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post #8 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 02:58 PM
Axhammer
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4.6 liter inline six with fuel injection sounds like an improvement over the 258 carburetor engine.

1985 CJ-7 Red with white hardtop, 258 auto
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post #9 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Too bad this engine is a turd, fits nice.20190504_180751_1557007906312.jpg
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post #10 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 05:14 PM
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I drove my 83 Cj7 with the 258 for 3 years, then over 16 years with the 4.0HO, then did a 5.3 LS swap completed in 2017.

I really like the 4.0HO. Reliable, cheap and easy to work on. Will go 300k with general maintenance. But they are not powerhouses. Best suited for 33" and smaller tires in my opinion.

The 5.3 was a game changer. I got my engine from Brian Dacus at BD Turnkey. http://bdturnkeyengines.com/available-engines/
don't be afraid to give him a call and pick his brain. He patiently answered all my questions (several times) before my purchase.

The 4.0 averaged 14.8 mpg with NV3550/4.56/35s.

The 5.3 averages 14.5 mpg with over 100 more HP and 100% more fun to drive. BD Turnkey offers cam swaps and dyno tunes, I have his regular basic tune and my Jeep runs flawlessly.

1983 CJ7, 5.3, NV3550, D300 4:1, Fr D44 Detroit, Rr D44 OX, 4.56, 35" Falken A/T3W on beadlocks
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post #11 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 05:21 PM
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LS/Vortec motors fit pretty good.
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5.3 Vortec 20190306.jpg  

1983 CJ7, 5.3, NV3550, D300 4:1, Fr D44 Detroit, Rr D44 OX, 4.56, 35" Falken A/T3W on beadlocks
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post #12 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
MattersNot
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Originally Posted by schardein View Post
I drove my 83 Cj7 with the 258 for 3 years, then over 16 years with the 4.0HO, then did a 5.3 LS swap completed in 2017.

I really like the 4.0HO. Reliable, cheap and easy to work on. Will go 300k with general maintenance. But they are not powerhouses. Best suited for 33" and smaller tires in my opinion.

The 5.3 was a game changer. I got my engine from Brian Dacus at BD Turnkey. http://bdturnkeyengines.com/available-engines/
don't be afraid to give him a call and pick his brain. He patiently answered all my questions (several times) before my purchase.

The 4.0 averaged 14.8 mpg with NV3550/4.56/35s.

The 5.3 averages 14.5 mpg with over 100 more HP and 100% more fun to drive. BD Turnkey offers cam swaps and dyno tunes, I have his regular basic tune and my Jeep runs flawlessly.
Sweet! Solid info, thanks. I didn't see any 2019 updates from that link, I'll try to get in contact with him. If I can keep a LS swap to around $6k I'll bite, please keep the links coming. Craigslist is a little sketchy around here. Won't buy a motor but maybe a trans from CL.
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post #13 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 06:04 PM
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Despite living in a pretty big city, I had a somewhat difficult time finding a good 5.3. I found one with 99k at a junkyard that seemed to specialize in picking them for jeep builds. Cost: $2k, plus another $500-1000 when you consider ecm programming, harness rebuilding, etc. Plus all the adapters of course.

All in I'm roughly $5000, install, adapters, engine mods, headers, etc.
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post #14 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattersNot View Post
Sweet! Solid info, thanks. I didn't see any 2019 updates from that link, I'll try to get in contact with him. If I can keep a LS swap to around $6k I'll bite, please keep the links coming. Craigslist is a little sketchy around here. Won't buy a motor but maybe a trans from CL.
If you are afraid of local sales try these guys lsx4u.com I have not bought from them but I have talked to them about a few. 5.3 is great, but don't under estimate the 4.8 either if you are on a budget. Dime a dozen and cheaper, if you are geared right then it will help.
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post #15 of 58 Old 05-04-2019, 06:19 PM
schardein
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Originally Posted by MattersNot View Post
Sweet! Solid info, thanks. I didn't see any 2019 updates from that link, I'll try to get in contact with him. If I can keep a LS swap to around $6k I'll bite, please keep the links coming. Craigslist is a little sketchy around here. Won't buy a motor but maybe a trans from CL.
In my last conversation with Brian, I got the impression that he sells some motors by customers calling in, rather than off the website. The last two years or so, it seems like he lists 4 or 5 engines at a time, 3 or 4 times a year. And they sell fast.

I bought a 5.3 complete with harness, ecm, and all acc for $500 back in 2012 (this isn't the BD engine). I Just picked up another one. Heard it run, helped pull, ecm, harness, and acc for $650. The deals are out there but you have to look and be prepared to pick them up. I have stands that bolt to the block (came with my BD engine) and a small trailer, perfect for getting an engine/trans/pr axles.

As long as you can hear the motor run, I wouldn't be to worried about mileage. My 2001 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 6.0 has 310,000 miles and still runs strong. Peak inside the valve covers, everything should be clean. Lots of carbon/gunk build up may mean they never changed the oil.
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_4050.jpg  

1983 CJ7, 5.3, NV3550, D300 4:1, Fr D44 Detroit, Rr D44 OX, 4.56, 35" Falken A/T3W on beadlocks
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