Engine swap - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 27 Old 10-07-2020, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
CalebJns
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Engine swap

I have a ‘97 TJ
Stock 2.5 engine with an automatic trans, 4wd, with AC. 160,xxx miles, no leaks, no major issues. Running 31’s wrapped around weld rims

Been wanting to put a “new” engine/trans set up into it...it’s a “toy” not a mud buggy or woods runner.

Looking at a couple options:
1. 4.0 swap, stay auto (wife likes to drive and isn’t fond of the manual)
2. 3.7 out of a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Auto, 4wd
3. 5.2 Hemi out of Durango, Auto, 4wd

Thoughts and opinions? Looking at the “easiest” route, and less fabrication. As well as the best bang for overall enjoyment.

I know the 4.0 would be almost a direct swap, but would there be any advantage to going with the 3.7?


1997 Jeep Wrangler
4cyl, 4wd, Soft Top & Hard Top
155,xxx original miles
33's
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post #2 of 27 Old 10-07-2020, 07:26 PM
Mousejockey
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The best / easiest / cheapest 4.0 swap is to sell it and buy one with a 4.0 in it.
The other 2 you list involve wire harness fab, motor mount fab, everything else fab.

The 4.0L in stock/rebuilt form has all the power/torque you will need
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post #3 of 27 Old 10-07-2020, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
CalebJns
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mousejockey View Post
The best / easiest / cheapest 4.0 swap is to sell it and buy one with a 4.0 in it.
The other 2 you list involve wire harness fab, motor mount fab, everything else fab.

The 4.0L in stock/rebuilt form has all the power/torque you will need
My hesitation in selling is, I had it painted last year, frame off...the 4.0 would be easiest...it’s not a “have to do” project...just a want to do...so I can find me a donor vehicle, I can do it as time allows...again, not a have to, but a would like to...

1997 Jeep Wrangler
4cyl, 4wd, Soft Top & Hard Top
155,xxx original miles
33's
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post #4 of 27 Old 10-07-2020, 10:07 PM
CoachDad
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I would add to the list of benefits for the 4.0, in addition to ease, power, antorgue... Reliability! The 4.0 is regarded as one of the most robust engines ever produced.
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post #5 of 27 Old 10-08-2020, 07:12 AM
Wheelin98TJ
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The 3.7 is a huge no. Way too much work for that motor.

4.0 swap is slightly easier than a V8 swap because sourcing parts is easy. You will still have a lot of work though.

Cut off motor mounts, weld on 4.0 motor mounts
Radiator, fan, and hoses
Cooling for auto trans
Exhaust
Transmission from donor and shifter for auto
Transfer case or t-case input from donor
Driveshafts
Wiring

And whatever else I'm forgetting.

Might as well do a V8 once you get to that level of work.
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post #6 of 27 Old 10-08-2020, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
CalebJns
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelin98TJ View Post
The 3.7 is a huge no. Way too much work for that motor.

4.0 swap is slightly easier than a V8 swap because sourcing parts is easy. You will still have a lot of work though.

Cut off motor mounts, weld on 4.0 motor mounts
Radiator, fan, and hoses
Cooling for auto trans
Exhaust
Transmission from donor and shifter for auto
Transfer case or t-case input from donor
Driveshafts
Wiring

And whatever else I'm forgetting.

Might as well do a V8 once you get to that level of work.
Well the Jeep currently has the auto in it...I would probably just stay with the Auto...

I have found a donor...it's out of a 2003 Cherokee...less than 85,000 miles, auto, transfer case, wiring harness...for less than $600...Like I said, I'm not in a "Have To Do It" position...so I would probably get the engine and trans, clean them up good, go through the engine and make sure it is in good shape, have the trans inspected as well...clean them up, paint them...add some goodies to the engine, new gaskets, seals, plugs, wires, etc...then take a weekend and pull out the old, put in the new...(and have everything in place and everything needed to do the swap) Just put up a new shop, so space isn't a huge issue, plus it would give me a good reason to play in the new shop!

1997 Jeep Wrangler
4cyl, 4wd, Soft Top & Hard Top
155,xxx original miles
33's
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post #7 of 27 Old 10-09-2020, 07:53 AM
Wheelin98TJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebJns View Post
Well the Jeep currently has the auto in it...I would probably just stay with the Auto...

I have found a donor...it's out of a 2003 Cherokee...less than 85,000 miles, auto, transfer case, wiring harness...for less than $600...Like I said, I'm not in a "Have To Do It" position...so I would probably get the engine and trans, clean them up good, go through the engine and make sure it is in good shape, have the trans inspected as well...clean them up, paint them...add some goodies to the engine, new gaskets, seals, plugs, wires, etc...then take a weekend and pull out the old, put in the new...(and have everything in place and everything needed to do the swap) Just put up a new shop, so space isn't a huge issue, plus it would give me a good reason to play in the new shop!
Whoops, sorry, I missed where you said you have an auto.

Is the 2003 a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee?
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post #8 of 27 Old 10-09-2020, 04:09 PM
wildman4x4nut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalebJns View Post
Well the Jeep currently has the auto in it...I would probably just stay with the Auto...

I have found a donor...it's out of a 2003 Cherokee...less than 85,000 miles, auto, transfer case, wiring harness...for less than $600...Like I said, I'm not in a "Have To Do It" position...so I would probably get the engine and trans, clean them up good, go through the engine and make sure it is in good shape, have the trans inspected as well...clean them up, paint them...add some goodies to the engine, new gaskets, seals, plugs, wires, etc...then take a weekend and pull out the old, put in the new...(and have everything in place and everything needed to do the swap) Just put up a new shop, so space isn't a huge issue, plus it would give me a good reason to play in the new shop!
I'm not sure what the differences are but it is my understanding that the 4.0 in a Cherokee/Grand Cherokee are different than what's in our TJ's.

As Wheelin98TJ said for the amount of work to swap in a 4.0 you are almost at the same amount of work to swap in a V-8.
BTW the 5.2 isn't a Hemi it is a magnum V-8. You can also use the 5.9 version of that V-8.
I'm a 97 TJ with a 4 cylinder owner also and now have a V-8 in my TJ. Also you need to know what the build date on your TJ is as some 97 TJ's were built in 1996 and this matters as the wiring was different on early build models.

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/w...ssion-1365878/

Read this thread and see what it takes to swap in a V-8.

WILDMAN

Cle Elum, WA

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post #9 of 27 Old 10-09-2020, 10:48 PM
CoachDad
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"Also you need to know what the build date on your TJ is as some 97 TJ's were built in 2006 and this matters as the wiring was different on early build models."

I've taken my TJ over some nasty pot holes, and through some treacherous mud holes, but I never knew they could be taken through worm holes.
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post #10 of 27 Old 10-09-2020, 11:04 PM
armyRN
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Have you thought about just swapping out the axle gears? Might give you some of that "pep" back that's missing with the 31" tires. Might be the best bang for your buck.

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post #11 of 27 Old 10-10-2020, 12:31 AM
Tarneg
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just to the other side of the 4.0 which of the 3 options is the only one i know much.
-ehh reliable is iffy to me as it blew up at 20K miles and its not the strongest
- went to a 4.7 stroker and was severely disappointed in the performance so had to cobble on a supercharger to make it passable
-i have not done the dodge v8 swap but i klnow to get a kit to put a chevy LS is about 20 grand starting now ( cant remember if it came with a tranny or not)

but if you have that complete donor for the 4.0 and you swap all the bits it should a relatively easy one to do in terms of engine swaps and if ya like it got for it
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post #12 of 27 Old 10-10-2020, 06:12 AM
Pine_Cat
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Uh oh, Novak used to sell adapters for the 5.2L swap, but at a glance I'm not seeing it in their latest catalog. Maybe call them to see if they still offer it?

http://www.novak-adapt.com/knowledge...ar-small-block
https://www.novak-adapt.com/catalog/engine-mounts

It's only a 210 HP engine, same as the 3.7L (both of which are stronger than an unmodified 4.0L)

It sounds like at least the simplest option for your 2.5L would be a supercharger kit. The benefit of simplicity is not losing the use of your vehicle during the project.

2017 JK
2016 MK- Murchison springs, ~1" BL, skinny 30s
2011 KK- H&R lift springs, OldManEmu shocks/struts, skinny 31s
2009 Sorento- H&R springs, ToyTec strut spacers, OldManEmu shocks/struts, 31s
2006 TJ budget LCG prerunner- see profile
2006 Trailblazer- EXT lift, Nth LJ 4.5" springs + Monroe rear coilovers, skinny 32s
1998 Durango- SuspMax & Roadmaster lifts, rear Truetrac, skinny 32s
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post #13 of 27 Old 10-10-2020, 09:55 AM Thread Starter
CalebJns
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pine_Cat View Post
Uh oh, Novak used to sell adapters for the 5.2L swap, but at a glance I'm not seeing it in their latest catalog. Maybe call them to see if they still offer it?

http://www.novak-adapt.com/knowledge...ar-small-block
http://www.novak-adapt.com/catalog/engine-mounts

It's only a 210 HP engine, same as the 3.7L (both of which are stronger than an unmodified 4.0L)

It sounds like at least the simplest option for your 2.5L would be a supercharger kit. The benefit of simplicity is not losing the use of your vehicle during the project.
It’s a “toy” pull it out on the weekend to ride around once it gets cooler here in Alabama.

Sadly it sat in the garage for almost 8 months up until about a week ago, and I was asked to drive it in a homecoming parade at the school I teach at....so I pulled it out, washed, waxed (ceramic coated) it, and drove it around for a few days...topless.

I pastor and teach HS, as well as own my own exterior cleaning company. So the summer months (while they should be relaxing from school) are busy washing and cleaning. So not a lot of time to drive the Jeep around...not to mention it doesn’t like to even look at my wash trailer...(double axle heavy trailer).

So not having it or driving it around isn’t that big of a deal per-say...but to be able to drive it down to the beach for the weekend would be fun and nice...with the 4cyl it would make it, just would take a few minutes...

1997 Jeep Wrangler
4cyl, 4wd, Soft Top & Hard Top
155,xxx original miles
33's
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post #14 of 27 Old 10-10-2020, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
CalebJns
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Here is the morning I drove it for the parade...
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411257BD-509F-4137-9306-15924523FFCD_1602345366972.jpg  
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1997 Jeep Wrangler
4cyl, 4wd, Soft Top & Hard Top
155,xxx original miles
33's
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post #15 of 27 Old 10-10-2020, 10:18 AM
NashvilleTJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armyRN View Post
Have you thought about just swapping out the axle gears? Might give you some of that "pep" back that's missing with the 31" tires. Might be the best bang for your buck.
Caleb - Given your intended use as described above, this is the best advice in my opinion. If you are still running stock gears with your 31's, a gear change would make a big difference, and is by far the most economical and quickest option for improved performance when compared with any engine swap.

You should listen to ArmyRN, he's been in magazines....

(Just read the article, Army - Nice).
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