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Old 04-22-2012, 11:10 AM   #1
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Easiest 8 cylinder engine to swap into a 2003 TJ 2.5L ?

I just cam into my dads 2003 TJ with the 2.5 L I4 and about 75k miles on it

I'm going to replace the tranny and the suspension, so ignore those variables;

What is the easiest V8 to swap into it? Not just "small block" or "Gen III GM" I'm confused as **** trying to figure out what engines fall in those model categories.

What do I need to consider for such a swap? The one thing I'm having trouble with is how the computer wiring works... The mechanical stuff, the mounts, the powertrain, makes sense to me

Thanks in advance guys!

EDIT: Also what would labor cost on an engine swap? I have mechanical aptitude but not the tools or car knowledge and don't want to really frack anything up

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Old 04-22-2012, 11:38 AM   #2
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Trade it in and get a 4.0 unless you have deep pockets to have someone else do it. just my 2 cents. There is no such thing as an easy V-8 swap. that being said I have read a 360 Dodge with matching tranny and transfer case is the very easiest there is and it's still a very big project (read labor intensive big dollars at a shop) If I were rich I'd have a 6.0 LS from a late model escapade but I'm not.

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Old 04-22-2012, 11:41 AM   #3
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A MOPAR 318 or 360, is the easiest and cheapest swap
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:55 AM   #4
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The reason why the MOPAR 318 or 360, more commonly referred to as the 5.2L and 5.9L Magnums found in the Dodge SRT and R/T series respectively (with some cross-over), is so easy to swap is because the gauges and possibly the computer should match right up. The problem is finding a good working order 318 or 360. The other thing is that even the 360 isn't exactly a robust engine. It's pushing about 230hp and 330ft/lb. torque. I would say hardly worth the $3k you're spending on the swap.

The better swap, and typically more common, is a 350 (carb) or looking into a GM series. I know you're saying you don't know about the engine, but find out - Novak Adapters has an EXCELLENT resource and it's where I picked up my knowledge about the generations. Keep in mind, depending on where you live, your state might have strict rules about what engines you're permitted to swap in.

And if you're going to factor in a shop's labor for an engine swap, it's going to be more than just buying a 4.0L. You're easily looking well over $7k with everything factored in. The truth is there are enough resources on the internet to do a swap. You said you know the powertrain and really you're halfway there. I'd recommend an LS1 just because there are enough extensive guides and the engines can be found decently priced with a good aftermarket support. The second half is figuring out the wiring. Plan on building your own gauge cluster (not that bad), but other than that, Novak has a ton of information about wiring and LS1Tech can help you get the rest complete.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:07 PM   #5
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Yeah I was looking at the GM series info on Novak. Great stuff. Any advice on a good place for it to come from?
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:09 PM   #6
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The ford swap is cheaper than the GM if your going fuel injection,,,and IMO runs better and fits alot nicer
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:13 PM   #7
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The ford swap is cheaper than the GM if your going fuel injection,,,and IMO runs better and fits alot nicer
What Ford engines would you recommend? Not starting a flame war, because that's an honest question. The 5.0 Magnum that's in the Explorer just isn't reliable enough for me and doesn't have the same aftermarket support (as far as I know).

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Yeah I was looking at the GM series info on Novak. Great stuff. Any advice on a good place for it to come from?
If you're willing to go used, car-part.com can point you to the local yards. I've looked at a few Ebay suppliers. I don't have a problem trusting someone through Ebay or Craigslist but YMMV and everyone will have a different opinion.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:17 PM   #8
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They way I understand it you can't swap a older engine into a newer vehclile and it still be street legal. Almost positive the Engine going in has to be of the same year of the vehcile getting it or newer.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:17 PM   #9
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5.0 magnum? Wut? lol

Actually its an awesome swap motor. We have done lots of them in the past few years. We put one with 175K into a 79 F150 and she gets 17mpg on 33's. What most people dont know is the explorer motors have GT40 heads on them which are the same as on a lightning and a intake to match. Other than the lighting motor, they are the neatest 302s ever made with injection. I have seen them with over 300K on them in the junkyards with the motors gone out of them.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:30 PM   #10
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They way I understand it you can't swap a older engine into a newer vehclile and it still be street legal. Almost positive the Engine going in has to be of the same year of the vehcile getting it or newer.
Only in the states that check these things.. for example, here in Oregon, I can run a 69 blown 454 as far as the state goes, no smog no inspection, pay your $75 every 2 years for tags and roll on!!
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:32 PM   #11
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What Ford engines would you recommend? Not starting a flame war, because that's an honest question. The 5.0 Magnum that's in the Explorer just isn't reliable enough for me and doesn't have the same aftermarket support (as far as I know).



If you're willing to go used, car-part.com can point you to the local yards. I've looked at a few Ebay suppliers. I don't have a problem trusting someone through Ebay or Craigslist but YMMV and everyone will have a different opinion.
Your thinking of the boat anchor 4.0 V6 some Exploders were blessed with....
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:38 PM   #12
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I can run a 69 blown 454
That would be a trick since I don't think it was made till 1970

Im not a chevy guy but my dad is lol
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:39 PM   #13
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Nah, it's definitely the 5.0 V8, had two and both with terrible knocks by 160k. Again, I'm not an engine expert, it's the project I'm currently working on. And I apologize, not Magnum - Windsor. Anyways, I'd check it out definitely if you're saying it's a simpler swap than a LS1 (which has been my original plan).

Edit: My other thing that I'm again noticing. It's not a particularly powerful engine, and horsepower is only around 225? I'm seeing some articles about getting it over 400hp but for a stock install if I'm doing a v8 I'm looking for power.
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:54 PM   #14
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That would be a trick since I don't think it was made till 1970

Im not a chevy guy but my dad is lol
Your a funny guy, pulling a My cousin Vinnie on me....I just pulled that year out of my .... I was actually pretty close!!!
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:03 PM   #15
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I sell complete 5.3 motors for $750.00
This includes motor, wiring harness, ECM and accessories.
Does not include the transmission however.

Not trying to get any free advertising just thought I would throw that out there
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:08 PM   #16
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I sell complete 5.3 motors for $750.00
This includes motor, wiring harness, ECM and accessories.
Does not include the transmission however.

Not trying to get any free advertising just thought I would throw that out there
You can get 4.8's for similar prices, matched with an ECM from Novak, a 4l60e or 80e and youd be set. They have around 300hp stock, my extended cab 1500 with the 4.8 gets 21mpg highway. Plenty of power and isnt heavy (Aluminum)
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:29 PM   #17
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All said and done, now you've got me stuck on researching v8s again. I'm really interested in the LM7s just because of the numbers they're producing and the price. Thanks rykemc but the shipping to NJ would kill the both of us. If I'm down in TX I may take a look. Novak's got a nice package deal too on the 5.3, but for the price of $950 w/ mounts I don't know what's included. I'd have to give them a call. The 302 now has been interested too simply because of how cheap the engines are and how easy it is to pump the HP over 400 for nothing!

Forget it, I'm selling the Wrangler and getting a Civic. JDM power baby!
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:30 PM   #18
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Nah, it's definitely the 5.0 V8, had two and both with terrible knocks by 160k. Again, I'm not an engine expert, it's the project I'm currently working on. And I apologize, not Magnum - Windsor. Anyways, I'd check it out definitely if you're saying it's a simpler swap than a LS1 (which has been my original plan).

Edit: My other thing that I'm again noticing. It's not a particularly powerful engine, and horsepower is only around 225? I'm seeing some articles about getting it over 400hp but for a stock install if I'm doing a v8 I'm looking for power.
Believe it or not, if you put a mustang ECM on it with a regular dizzy they run pretty darn good....to get anything more than 300 your gonna have to spend some cash unfortunatly. I have 2200 in my motor already and it doesnt even run yet lol
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:34 PM   #19
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Your a funny guy, pulling a My cousin Vinnie on me....I just pulled that year out of my .... I was actually pretty close!!!
lol good one.....was it the tempest that has positrack?
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:54 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by rykemc View Post
I sell complete 5.3 motors for $750.00
This includes motor, wiring harness, ECM and accessories.
Does not include the transmission however.

Not trying to get any free advertising just thought I would throw that out there
Mister, you might have a customer. I'm planning a 5.3 swap eventually, but I want the whole rig including 4l60E tranny....Tranny aside, a complete running engine with all the accessories and harness and computer is fersure agreeable with me at your prices....Cable throttle only, tho.

Thanks for advertizing. I ain't offended in the least

For you guys considering old cast iron Ford 302's, I'll tell you from my experience, skip over them if considering a swap. Yeah, they are small and fit in just about anything with a hood, but they cost lots more to build for increased HP and reliability....Stay GM small block for easy cheap reliable power. Been there and done that. Every thing from intake to exhaust manifolds and all between is available in stock or modded form new and used much cheaper and easier to get...Plus everyone associated with making stuff for engine swaps focus mainly on GM small blocks first, so they too have more solutions and tend to run cheaper, plus the knowledge base is totally exhaustive and complete to the smallest detail.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:03 AM   #21
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The better swap, and typically more common, is a 350 (carb) or looking into a GM series.
losing fuel injection is a downgrade, IMO. having owned carb vehicles, you'd have to pay me A LOT to replace EFI w/ carb.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:25 AM   #22
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Mister, you might have a customer. I'm planning a 5.3 swap eventually, but I want the whole rig including 4l60E tranny....Tranny aside, a complete running engine with all the accessories and harness and computer is fersure agreeable with me at your prices....Cable throttle only, tho.

Thanks for advertizing. I ain't offended in the least

For you guys considering old cast iron Ford 302's, I'll tell you from my experience, skip over them if considering a swap. Yeah, they are small and fit in just about anything with a hood, but they cost lots more to build for increased HP and reliability....Stay GM small block for easy cheap reliable power. Been there and done that. Every thing from intake to exhaust manifolds and all between is available in stock or modded form new and used much cheaper and easier to get...Plus everyone associated with making stuff for engine swaps focus mainly on GM small blocks first, so they too have more solutions and tend to run cheaper, plus the knowledge base is totally exhaustive and complete to the smallest detail.
Nah, I'd challenge that in a heartbeat ^^
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:26 AM   #23
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Looks to me like Novak knows a thing or two about swaps. Have fun.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:27 AM   #24
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lol good one.....was it the tempest that has positrack?
I believe so!
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:30 AM   #25
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Now if we are talking about carburated 302's at this point those little motors have a lot going for them, a boss 302 setup right would be a screamer in something as light as a TJ. But carbs can be a pain and I don't know if they would fit in a TJ. But it would be simpler not to deal with all the electronics....
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:40 AM   #26
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actually with the new harness, I can have an EFI one running with 4 wires
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:04 AM   #27
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Nice!
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:09 AM   #28
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, makes it so easy a caveman can do it hehe....only thing easier would be a mechanical cummins with 1 wire
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Old 04-23-2012, 02:40 PM   #29
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4bt would be nice, mechanical motor. Run that dude on fry oil.
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Old 04-23-2012, 02:42 PM   #30
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yup but I figure it has several downsides as well

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