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Old 11-27-2011, 02:17 PM   #1
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My 1980 CJ5 AMC 304 is old and tired.....

.... and needs replacing/rebuilding. It is mated to a T18A tranny. I am considering 3 options for a new powerplant. I'm curious what the members of this board would do if they were in my shoes. Advantages/disadvantages? I would hire most of work out. Here are the options I'm currently considering, in order of preference so far:

1) Drop in an AMC 360 longblock, possibly adding a CARB-legal Howell TBI kit.

2) Same as above, except an AMC 304 longblock with TBI.

3) Completely changing engine type to a later-model injected Ford 5.0L.

Your thoughts? TIA

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Old 11-27-2011, 04:06 PM   #2
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I'm a big fan of keeping a amc v8 in the jeep versus another make. I also believe it adds value.

I have a 304 in my cj and it will run faster than I want to drive it. But it is not stock. I have several upgrades.

If you weigh your options you will need to factor in conversion parts, driveshafts, etc if you install a different make engine.

A rebuilt long block from 4wd.com for both a 304 and 360 is about $2k. That is close to what it cost me to rebuild mine 6 or so years ago. But I used some hi-po parts.

My recommendation is to keep the 304 size. I'd buy another block to build or use as a core if you buy a rebuilt one to retain your original engine....assuming it is.

As far as the build I'd remove all the smog, good flowing exhaust with headers if you choose. Hei dizzy, I recommend a DUI. Small cam, aluminum 4 barrel intake and a Holley carb. Truck avenger if you plan to wheel on hills. But the tbi is great way...probably the best.

My 76 came with 135hp/260 tq. I'm 100+ on those numbers now or so...or fresh it was anyway. I ran the crap out of mine for a year or 2.

A 360 just adds more power and let's you run a bigger cam but behave better. What kind of jeep you building? Street or trail?

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Old 11-27-2011, 04:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dempsey View Post
As far as the build I'd remove all the smog, good flowing exhaust with headers if you choose. Hei dizzy, I recommend a DUI. Small cam, aluminum 4 barrel intake and a Holley carb. Truck avenger if you plan to wheel on hills. But the tbi is great way...probably the best.

A 360 just adds more power and let's you run a bigger cam but behave better. What kind of jeep you building? Street or trail?
The CJ once "wore" a Holley 4bbl with Edelbrock intake, with headers and glass paks, etc. etc. It was real screamer back in those days. Unfortunately, I'm in "The People's Republic of California" and I'm trying to increase torque and HP while keeping it street legal here. I still have all the perf. bolt-ons, but I'm trying to avoid them. That's one reason I'm considering a 360 with a TBI. (BTW, the 304 is the original motor).

I'm gonna build this Jeep for my wife. It will be primarily a street rig, but will see some light-duty offroad use. Mostly trails, some mud and snow and stream-fording and modest hills, but minimal rock crawling.
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:02 PM   #4
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If your CJ is mainly for the street with your wife driving, why not keep it stock? A freshly rebuilt 304 will provide plenty of power for your needs and it most assuredly is a lot cheaper than changing your drivetrain. Whenever you change your drivetrain, almost without exception, there are ALWAYS things that you have to do extra. If you have to hire someone to do it, it will costs a lot more than you think. By keeping it stock, you can save money and rebuild the transmission and transfer case too, if it needs it.

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Old 11-27-2011, 06:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renaissance_Redneck

The CJ once "wore" a Holley 4bbl with Edelbrock intake, with headers and glass paks, etc. etc. It was real screamer back in those days. Unfortunately, I'm in "The People's Republic of California" and I'm trying to increase torque and HP while keeping it street legal here. I still have all the perf. bolt-ons, but I'm trying to avoid them. That's one reason I'm considering a 360 with a TBI. (BTW, the 304 is the original motor).

I'm gonna build this Jeep for my wife. It will be primarily a street rig, but will see some light-duty offroad use. Mostly trails, some mud and snow and stream-fording and modest hills, but minimal rock crawling.
Well crap. That does limit things a bit being in Cali.

I'd say the tbi is your answer for fuel delivery. I still recommend a modern distributor. Burning fuel better is good for performance and smog too.

Now deciding between the 304 and 360 will come down to your personal preference. I think the 304 will be plenty for your application but it was fine for me too but I went a lil overboard. Sounds good and runs good but did take some tuning to run at low rpm and not load up. Still not perfect but does awesome IMO.
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 1SAS View Post
If your CJ is mainly for the street with your wife driving, why not keep it stock?
Yeah, points taken. I'm still considering the 360 for a couple of reasons. First, I've found them real cheap, and they're arguably more plentiful and probably with easier to locate parts than the 304. Also, since the 360 and 304 share blocks, it should be a pretty straightforward swap. That said, this Jeep has been used hard over the years, and the 304 has served us real well.

This project is a labor of love for me. My dad bought this rig brand new when I had just gotten my driver's license at 16. I learned offroad driving in it. I've 'wheeled that Jeep all over as both a driver and passenger. It's main non-stock attributes include a little lift, larger tires, and the Ford T18, all added by my dad. That little 304 in stock trim has taken it over the Rubicon and the Dusy-Ershim trails with only barely-noticable dings. With the aftermarket speed components it tore up the Pismo Dunes. Now it's mine, and I'm gonna resurrect it!

And Dempsey, I know what you mean by "I went a lil overboard". I have a habit of doing that too, which is the reason I'm considering upgrading the engine in the first place. I'll probably still go with fuel injection (for a variety of reasons), though I hear those units are not without their own problems.

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