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Old 04-05-2012, 10:32 PM   #1
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3.8 swap into TJ?

Ok, I am a complete noob when it comes to Jeeps, but not so noobish when it comes to general hot rodding abilities.

I have just aquired a 97 TJ with a 4 cylinder. I am in the process of coming up with a game plan to do some modifications. The one thing I hate about it is the lack of power.

I am interested in doing an engine swap and am exploring my options. I am not looking for a beast, and am not interested in a V8. I also would prefer an engine that is from the same family as the Jeep, which means no Chevys or Fords. At least not this time. I say that I do not want a beast, but I do have a serious hot rod habit. Just for once in my life, I would like to not get too carried away. So, to the question at hand.

A friend of mine is parting out a Jeep Liberty which has a 3.8. I was wondering if this is a swap that has been done on a somewhat regular basis. I am looking for a straight forward swap, but want to have a motor that has lots of aftermarket support.

Is this the worlds worst idea?

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Old 04-05-2012, 10:49 PM   #2
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To be honest....yes it is the worlds worst idea. You have a tj. They were designed for a 2.5/2.4 or a 4.0.....A 4.0!!!!!!!!!! I can not emphasize that enough. The 4.0's design hasa been around since I believe WW2 (I could be wrong). But its known to outlast the best of them. Your jeep is designed for that motor and theres still a awesome aftermarket for that design. So some of your hot rod habits can come out to that motor. As mild or as extreme as you please.
All I am saying is please do not swap a 3.8 in there. 4.0 or go home dog! I am sorry a little bit of my gangsterness came out when I said dog but you know what I mean.

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Old 04-05-2012, 11:36 PM   #3
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If not a 4.0, I suggest a vortec4.3. A 3.8 could be doable, but why? Can you get it at a good deal? Can you get everything else you will need for the swap? Pros and cons, weigh them well. Keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yjkid95
To be honest....yes it is the worlds worst idea. You have a tj. They were designed for a 2.5/2.4 or a 4.0.....A 4.0!!!!!!!!!! I can not emphasize that enough. The 4.0's design hasa been around since I believe WW2 (I could be wrong). But its known to outlast the best of them. Your jeep is designed for that motor and theres still a awesome aftermarket for that design. So some of your hot rod habits can come out to that motor. As mild or as extreme as you please.
All I am saying is please do not swap a 3.8 in there. 4.0 or go home dog! I am sorry a little bit of my gangsterness came out when I said dog but you know what I mean.
You spelt dog wrong...
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Old 04-06-2012, 01:58 PM   #5
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From the little traffic I have gotten on this thread along with the comments I have gotten so far, it is pretty obvious this is not a common swap.
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Old 04-06-2012, 04:55 PM   #6
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Not common or suggestable. I can understand wanting more but a 3.8 is not the way to go. Espescially if your thinking is Chrysler / jeep comparability. Dodge / Chrysler and Jeep engines are not really related. Personaly, if I were toning to swap for more power or torque I would look more towards the more common and simple Chevy small block build. Check out novak conversions' website. There's a lot of great information.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:32 PM   #7
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You spelt dog wrong...
Dangit I DPed again. (drunk posted)
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:12 AM   #8
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I am not really looking for a giant killer. I just want more than the 4 cyl I have now. It looks like I will go with the straight 6.

I appreciate the input.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:37 AM   #9
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I considered the 6cyl swap also but the more I looked into it the numbers just didn't add up. I would have spent just as much money making it into a 6cyl as it would have cost to just sell the 4cyl jeep and put the money into buying a 6cyl jeep..

You cant just bolt in a 6cyl. The engine mounts are different the manual ax5 tranny is too weak. I'm not sure if you would have to swap or modify the wiring harness plus the computer. Not to mention the amount of effort it would have all taken...

It just didn't add up to me but thats just my opinion. I lived with the 4cyl until I killed it. Now I'm swapping in a chevy v8.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:41 AM   #10
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Why don't you put a 4.6 stroker in? There are write ups for a budget stroker too

Jeep 4.6 Stroker | Golen Engine
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:46 AM   #11
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If you're gonna go through the trouble (And expense) of a 3.8, might as well go for a SBC or SBF. Lots of those around, conversions are common and lots of support.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:23 AM   #12
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You know a 2.4l neon SRT4 turbo will fit in there right, that'd be a good swap.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:27 AM   #13
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You know a 2.4l neon SRT4 turbo will fit in there right, that'd be a good swap.
Isn't that motor know for high revs and high spooled power? i.e. over 3k RPMs? Seems impractical for a Jeep where torque and crawling power would be better than high winding power.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:31 AM   #14
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Isn't that motor know for high revs and high spooled power? i.e. over 3k RPMs? Seems impractical for a Jeep where torque and crawling power would be better than high winding power.
^^this. To add to it, the internals are completely different. Different compression ratio's, rods, bearings, head yada yada.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:36 AM   #15
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It's much the same issue I have with picking a tranny for my SBC install. Sure, a T56 (with 6 speeds) with be awesome out of a Corvette. However, the thing is geared so high (or is it low?) that it wouldn't be optimal for a jeep. Thus, going back to a Muncie SM420 or SM456 which I know will work, are geared right. etc. even if they don't have the sexy 6th gear.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:14 PM   #16
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A Jeep Liberty has a 3.7 V6...The newer Wrangler JK has a 3.8.

Anything can be done, as long as you smack $$$ at it. Quick&easy..4.0 I6.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:52 PM   #17
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A Jeep Liberty has a 3.7 V6...The newer Wrangler JK has a 3.8.
^
5 days and 16 posts later, somebody finally caught that!

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Originally Posted by Tonycrd View Post
Anything can be done, as long as you smack $$$ at it. Quick&easy..4.0 I6.
however, as other posters have pointed out, an I-6 swap into an I-4 frame is NOT quick and easy. There's several threads on here that demonstrate the cost does not justify the modest gains in off-road performance. I've seen some 4 bangers rip it up on the trails. Dude was right - run that 4 banger till she pukes, then swap in a small block chevy, or a stroker, or even a diesel.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denisbaldwin View Post
Isn't that motor know for high revs and high spooled power? i.e. over 3k RPMs? Seems impractical for a Jeep where torque and crawling power would be better than high winding power.
Quote:
Originally Posted by yjkid95 View Post
^^this. To add to it, the internals are completely different. Different compression ratio's, rods, bearings, head yada yada.
If you know competitive rock crawling, then you've heard of Chris Durham. Check the engine specs on his Jeep.
Goodyear Tires: 2004 Jeep Wrangler TJ - 4-Wheel & Off-Road Magazine

From another article:
Straddling big V-notches is a fun challenge when an inch left or right will drop you in the notch, and Chris Durham shows us how in his new LO-LITL Jeep. Outfitted with a supercharged four-cylinder from an SRT4 Dodge Neon, lightweight Ford 9-inch axles, no suspension lift, and 37-inch Goodyears, this Jeep exemplifies "light is might.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:13 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEZ

5 days and 16 posts later, somebody finally caught that!
I caught that on day 1 but didn't feel the need to correct anyone
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:23 AM   #20
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:34 AM   #21
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If you are gonna put a JK engine into your Jeep you might as well skip the iron block 3.8 Liter 202 horsepower engine used in the 2007-2011 JK's and try to hustle a new 3.6 Litre Penastar 285 horsepower engine, well worth the extra money paid and would be quite a project, newer technology is nice too
Good luck, the 3.7 litre engine is 210 hp, not much of an increase, my sister has a 2003 Jeep Liberty with the 3.7 and she gets around 13-14 mpg, wow, lol, then again her Liberty weighs 4100Lbs.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:24 PM   #22
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out of curiosity; anyone heard of swapping in a v6 4.0 HO like they used in Nitros (and currently put in some Caravans) ? I only ask b/c I test drove one a few years back (they were offering ridiculous trades and interest rates) and it did haul ass compared to the Liberty's 3.7 - it's rated @ 260 HP, 265 lb-ft of torque.

Or even that 3.5 HO that they were putting into the Magnums was a pretty hot V6, even hauling that beast around. I think it was 250 HP.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:21 AM   #23
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The Liberty has a 3.7. The JK Wrangler came in a 3.8.

On the subject... Yes, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS EVERYTHING put a 3.8 in a TJ so the 3.8 haters can finally shut up when they see how much better the 3.8 performs in the TJ than the 4.0. Anytime ANYONE were to make a comment about the 3.8 being gutless I would point them to this project.
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Old 04-14-2012, 07:16 AM   #24
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I'd almost pay to see either a 3.8 or a 3.7 in a TJ. It would be interesting to say the least. Personally I'd like to see a 3.0l Toyota diesel in a TJ but i guess I'd have to call up Dieseltoyz for that.

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