Jeep Wrangler Forum

Jeep Wrangler Forum (
-   YJ Tech Forum (
-   -   YJ V6 Conversion Swap (

1SAS 11-05-2011 05:32 PM

YJ V6 Conversion Swap
4 Attachment(s)
My first jeep was a 1942 Willy's MB which I loved to go out in the field with. When my little brother was selling his jeep, my awesome wife really encouraged me to buy his jeep. Why? Because she knew I really liked it. He had the Low Gloss Sage finish on it with a Spice interior. It reminded me of my old Willy's...

We were broke and this purchase would cut into any extra cash we had... my wife knew that and loved me enough to push for the purchase anyhow. (I truly wasn't going to get it, because we were that broke.) Anyway, my rich little brother took ownership of his brand new TJ and sold me his YJ, really cheap. The jeep had no rust on the frame or body. The front driver's seat was eaten away with rust (the internal frame) and he propped up the seat into an upright position by placing his spare tire behind the seat and wedging it between the rear bench seat. The engine was a 2.5 and it had the AX5 transmission with the NP231 transfer case. The four cylinder was leaking oil everywhere and so was the transmission and transfer case. Danny wasn't mechanically inclined so I kind of knew what I was getting into. The electrical system was a "problem about to be" with wires that would "arc" at night...

Eventually, I replaced the engine, transmission and put in a SYE on the transfer case. The jeep worked great for what I used it for... but was lacking in the horsepower area. For around town, it was great! But highway driving sucked terribly.

Here are some photos of the jeep after I had some parts sandblasted and galvanized. The parts galvanized were the front bumper, the battery tray, the fender braces, the fuel pump shield/cover, and the transmission crossmember. This money was well worth it because the hot dip galvanization has stopped all rusting whatsoever, especially on the tranny crossmember.

I began to have problems with the computer and fuel injection and got rid of it. I opted for the carburetor and a simpler vehicle. I also had an interesting problem with my voltmeter. It wasn't registering so I called up Chrysler (who now owned Jeep) and they wanted $150 PLUS tax for a new one. That was insane, so I opened it up and I found three transistors in the back, soldered in. I removed them and drove to Radio Shack. I bought 15 transistors for $5.00 and soldered them back into the unit. The unit worked fine, until the internal shaft which holds the indicator needle/pointer broke inside... try to guess how that happened... I then said, "To hell with it." I have never liked the YJ dash. So I bought a custom fabbed one made out of stainless. It worked well, and I never really finished it until I dropped in the 4.3. Anyway, there's the photo...

1SAS 11-05-2011 05:40 PM

The Second Installment...
5 Attachment(s)
What I mainly use my jeep for is cruising the highway or backroads. You see, I have six children who I dearly love. Four of them are teenage girls, and for you dads out there, YOU DAMN WELL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!!! Teenage girls have a way of neutering their fathers... so I take a break and get away in my jeep. I remove the sides, light up a HUGE, GREAT TASTING CIGAR and drive. It reminds me that I am still a man...

Anyway, the four cylinder now had 100,000 miles on it and it had no passing power, whatsoever. Old VW beetles were passing me up on the highway! I started to consider increasing the horsepower in this four cylinder with real, dependable, useable horsepower. I did a lot of research over a period of months. I contacted many people and got opinions and prices. I was looking for 250-300 REAL horsepower. I found a company that could do it, but with a lot of custom parts. The price was $5,000 PLUS a new transmission because the AX5 wasn't going to hold up. And the design of the Jeep four cylinder really isn't strong enough for that kind of horsepower, not for the long run. I looked into turbo chargers, but it was the same issue. I looked into putting a stronger, more dependable four cylinder in it, the FORD 2300cc and the parts were more prevalent and cheaper than the Jeep BUT you still needed to replace the transmission. I began looking at putting in a Jeep 4.0. I looked into going the V8 option and then I remembered my 4.3 sitting in my garage. The Chevy 4.3 V6 in my garage was out of my old Astro van. It had 10,000+ miles on it and ran great!

Going with any option was going to literally costs about the same. If you go with used parts, then there is a big difference in price... but if you went with new parts, it was very close. So close, it came down to personal preference. Since I had the V6, I was going to go with that. This particular V6 had 180 horsepower from the factory. I built the engine a little better, so I should be around 250-300 horsepower...

My wife (inadvertently) helped out the situation by getting run off the road, by some crazy woman driver. She went into a 360˚ spin on the highway, flew over the ditch and hit a tree. It was because of my wife's great defensive driving that a bigger wreck didn't happen. My wife was fine, no injury at all... Thank you, God! The jeep was now totaled, as far as the insurance company was concerned. The woman who caused the wreck even got out to see if she was OK. Then she took off. We were able to track down the woman and when the police went to interview her, she lied and denied everything. Amazing. In Tennessee, the law is unless there is "body to body" contact, NO MATTER WHAT, the person who caused the accident isn't responsible. (That is pretty much how the law is interpreted in the court system today. You have to prove "criminal intent" and that wasn't going to happen.)

I was able to drive the jeep home, but it was a mess. The frame was really bent and the tail gate and spare tire were pushed in. (My wife actually hit a tree with the rear of the vehicle at over 60mph!) At home, my wife and I talked. We decided (after a careful inspection) to fix the jeep and not scrap it. We really liked the jeep and even had some great dates in it. We had our tax return money so I began with the basics. The frame was straightened but I could not afford the body work. The leaf springs were snapped, split and gone... they needed to be replaced. At that time, factory leaf springs were $700+. I went aftermarket and could only find 2" lift springs, so that is what I used. I also replaced all bushings with polyurethane ones with greaseable bolts. I had replaced all (or most) of the rubber bushings with poly by now. Now that the basic suspension was useable, it was time to organize THE REBUILD...

I removed the front grill and fenders first. This makes it so much more easier to pull the drivetrain... I removed the transfer case and then removed the entire drivetrain from the front of the YJ. Then I removed the tub. All I needed was a nice size crowbar to help "nudge" the tub a little. If I had it to do over again, I would have removed all seats... they did affect the balance of the tub during the lift.

1SAS 11-05-2011 05:45 PM

The Third Installment...
5 Attachment(s)
After I had everything apart and the drivetrain in the garage, I began to inspect the jeep unlike ever before. I don't know about you guys, but the welds on these jeeps suck!! But I guess that is typical for today's standards. I realized I wanted to sandblast the frame and paint it, BUT the guy wanted $500. I also had things to "cut off" the frame, such as the four cylinder motor mounts. I had my father's old circular saw and put a cutting wheel/disc on it. (I used this for cutting steel tubing and such.) I was trying to make a cut with it in a place where I couldn't really control the saw and I almost cut my hand off! (All because I didn't want to spend the money on a new tool, if I didn't have to.) Screw that! I immediately went to Lowe's and bought a DeWalt angle grinder, some cutting wheels and a bunch of sanding "flapper" discs. It was all about $150. It sure beats losing your hand. Anyway, I cut the engine mounts off and looked at the frame. I saw welds that needed to be ground smooth, especially the weld splatter. I wanted the frame to look sharp, so I began with the flappers.

I have never used them before and I was so impressed with the ease and control of the grinder that I actually enjoyed what I was doing. In three hours, I had the frame smooth and sanded. I used some etching primer that I picked up from WalMart and there it is. A lot cheaper than $500 AND no sand inside my frame.

I then used Eastwood's Chassis black and their Internal Frame antirust coating. I just brushed on the paint... I wanted a few good coats that were thick. I used the Internal Frame paint and I was impressed. It pretty much sprayed as advertised, and it went into places that you weren't going to get to any other way UNLESS you dipped the entire frame.

The YJ frame was starting to take shape. I also put the Advanced Adapters motor mounts on the frame. I had used large "C" clamps to hold them in place while I piddled with the engine hoist and floor jack to get the correct placement. Once the drivetrain was where I thought it should be, I clamped it and removed the drivetrain. I then drilled through the two holes in the mounts and threaded the frame for the bolts I was using. (I only did this to keep them in place until they were welded up.)

1SAS 11-05-2011 05:49 PM

The Fourth Installment...
4 Attachment(s)
This is the the frame pretty much done. I haven't installed the new brake lines or anything... but it is coming along. I found out my wife's Grand Cherokee had the same rear axle as my YJ so I found the parts and put on rear disc brakes. I went with those because the parts are plentiful at the local auto parts dealer.

I looked hard at Advanced Adapters and Novak and what they both offered. I talked to both many times before I started to buy parts. My original drivetrain from my Astro van was a 4.3 V6 and a 700R4 automatic transmission. I didn't want to have the automatic because I like to drive the stick. So I purchased a new AX15 transmission from Advanced (Novak didn't offer it at that time.) I bought the Advanced Adapters V6 conversion kit and planned on using that. That is until I got it in. The engine mounts were awesome and I truly liked them better than Novak's. Advanced used a modified bellhousing to mount the AX15 to the Chevy 4.3. My bell housing wasn't machined correctly. I was stupid and impatient and tried to fix it myself (I really didn't want the downtime of shipping it off and waiting for it to come back.) WORD TO THE WISE...DON"T!! Send it back and let them do it for you. In essence, I couldn't send it back in because I worked on it. I had to eat the cost of that. Lesson learned.

I also didn't like Advanced Adapters' hydraulic clutch kit which used a Toyota slave cylinder. They went with the Toyota because parts are readily available, however, when I bolted that thing on, the actuating rod was hitting the throwout arm at a 45˚ angle. I tried three different length release bearing arms to see make it work. That was the best. To hell with that...

I then checked out Novak and I truly liked their hydraulic clutch. It was built in-house (so I bought some replacement parts, since the local auto parts dealer wouldn't be selling these...) but it is a well thought out system and the actuator rod is truly straight and meets the throwout arm square.

I even looked at Powertrain Technologies and their Street Max hydraulic throwout release bearing. This unit is an internal hydraulic release bearing, much like the original Jeep one for the AX5 transmission. This unit was super engineered and really looked great. The only problem was they are actually too long for the AX15 transmission. They are almost twice the length of the normal throwout bearing, so in a neutral state (when the clutch pedal is released) the bearing would still be pressing into the clutch fingers by well over an inch, almost two inches. It would be robbing horsepower from the engine all the time.

I also looked at Novak's conversion system and went with that. I kept the Advanced Adapters engine mounts because they look so much better than Novak's BUT I liked everything else Novak had. For there kit, Novak uses a normal Chevy bellhousing which bolts right up to the engine. Then an adapter plate is put behind the bellhousing to mount the AX15. In all fairness to Advanced Adapters, my Novak adapter plate wasn't machined correctly and I had to send it back to get fixed. And Novak did this promptly with great customer service. I did have one problem with the Chevy bellhousing... it came from Novak with the bolts but the bolt wouldn't fit the casting. (Novak uses four bolts to mount the bellhousing to the adapter plate which mounts to the transmission.) The hex head bolts were too wide for this bellhousing. Anyway, I used allen head bolts for it and these worked well.

1SAS 11-05-2011 05:56 PM

The Fifth Installment...
4 Attachment(s)
I decided not to reuse my NP231 transfer case. I had put the SYE in it when I first put in the new four cylinder and AX5. It was leaking oil ( more correctly, transmission fluid) all over my exhaust pipe That had to stop. I went with JB Conversions SYE which worked great! Now for the V6 conversion, the input shaft on the transfer case had to be replaced with one that will match up to the new AX15 transmission. I started pricing the parts and the heavy duty upgrades. After all was added up, I paid the extra $300 to get the updated, heavy duty NP231 from JB Conversions. I told them what input shaft I needed and they cranked it out, all new and all heavy duty.

My rear driveshaft was a few inches shorter than what I needed, so I contacted Tom Woods (who made my other driveshaft after the original SYE conversion) and he said they run a special for past customers who need their driveshaft shaft changed. He was very reasonable. When the driveshaft came in, I mounted it up and cursed those stupid six sided hex head bolts that are the industry standard for CV joints. The hex heads were so close to the castings, that it took forever to get them bolted up. Then it occurred to me, "ARP has 12 sided flange bolts that would probably work here." They use a flange that is round and as wide as the hex head BUT their bolt head is narrower and you can get a wrench on it so much more easier. So I called ARP and they didn't offer any special kits for this but I was able to buy the bolts from them that I needed. They worked perfectly!! And all I can tell you is if your time is valuable to you, pay the price and get them. They make it so much easier to install!!

I also forgot about a small problem I had with motor mounts from Advanced. They offer three different length "arms". I believe they generally send you the medium which works in most YJs. One of my arms was not lining up properly with the bolt hole. I didn't want to drill it out and make an oval so I called Advanced, who were nice enough to send me a longer arm for a small price. It worked great! I have enclosed photos of the engine mounts and the details of them. Some of the photos don't show the engine mount bolts tightened all the way. They were just hand tightened because I didn't have the body on yet.

I should also say that for the most part, I truly got excellent customer service from both Advanced Adapters and Novak. They truly want to help you in anyway they can. It really comes down to personal preference and what you think is the better system for your conversion. Remember, this is "what worked for me" or "what didn't work for me". I tried to give some insight into products I have used so you don't have to make the same mistakes that I did.

1SAS 11-05-2011 06:05 PM

The Sixth Installment...
4 Attachment(s)
One of the things I noticed when working on the front axles... it really wasn't work (more like an inspection) was that Jeep had these white plastic rings/collars around the axles which were designed to keep dirt and grit out of the axle tubes. These collars were a joke. I removed them and found pebbles inside the axle tubes. I searched the internet and found Alloy axle tube seals. I bought them and put them on. Also at this time, I purchased solid axles for the front axle. I was really impressed with Alloy USA's seals. They seemed to have filled a niche that was needed in the Jeep community.

When I put my tub on, I found one problem with my measurements. My transfer case was too close to the bottom of the floor panel. With the AX15, I used the Novak universal (Chevy) bushing. This was a polyurethane mount and was a good piece of kit. The holes didn't match up with the transmission or the crossmember so you have to buy their kit or fabricate another. Novak's kit came with bushings to actually raise the mounting plate off the transmission for clearance. Two transmission bolts got in the way of the plate. I was looking to lower the transmission into the crossmember, so these spacers had to go. I had the metal removed (from the plate) around the two offending horizontal bolts and now the plate mounted flush with the transmission. The polyurethane mount bolted to the studs on the mounting plate. Now it was time to hook up the crossmember to the frame. Once bolted up, the mount was resting on the crossmember... the holes didn't line up, but that was fine. Then I started checking my clearance around the transmission and transfer case. Whoa, was that too close! My transfer case was actually smashing into the bottom of the floor panel. I figured an inch would do it. So I marked the crossmember, removed it and brought it to the fabrication shop. They "boxed in" an one inch drop for the mount, using 1/8" plate. It came out great! I then just had to drill two new holes in the crossmember.

The following photos show the Novak adapter plate which is anodized gold. If you look, you can see where the material was removed to fit over the horizontal tranny bolts.

InvertChaos 11-05-2011 06:11 PM

Wow, saying what you have done ie impressive would be a severe understatement. What you have done to this jeep so far I find absolutely amazing that one can do this in their driveway with just a set of tools. You took DIY to a whole new level! I look forward to more progress!

1SAS 11-05-2011 06:13 PM

Thank you for your kind words... More posts are coming, at least to get me up to date with THE REBUILD. Thanks again.

Take care,

1SAS 11-05-2011 06:20 PM

The Seventh Installment...
1 Attachment(s)
I had purchased a Lincoln Flux-Core welder from Lowe's some time ago. It had the TIG adapter with it. I signed up to go to the Lincoln School specifically for my welder when I lost my sight.

One morning I woke up and I couldn't see out of my right eye. My left eye was weak. My vision used to be 20/10. I even had great night vision... but now, the eyes were going out. I went to the eye doctor who noticed so much blood around my retina. He said, "Without major intervention, you will be blind in four weeks." Well, that was a wake up call! His first objective was to stabilize the good eye, which he did through laser surgery and injections of a drug that would help stop the bleeding. (Yep, you read right. Injections in the eye ball... oh what joy!) Once that was done, my eye sight in my good eye went from 20/100 to 20/40. Now it was time to operate on the bad eye. Once he went into the eye and removed the excess blood, he found out the retina crumbled up like foil and there was much more damage under the blood then he could see before. He stitched the retina back up, but for all practical purposes, I was blind in that eye. It makes it so much more interesting to work on the jeep now. Depth perception has taken on a new light (or a new darkness...) It also ended my welding career...

Some ideas for jeep newbies...

(1) If you are going to do any serious kind of modification on your jeep, you have to be able to weld. It makes your modification so much more versatile and suited to your desires. Other than that, you need to find someone who welds or you just buy what you want off the shelf.

(2) I thought this is obvious but after reading so many threads and newbies questions, I wonder if it is... you also need some mechanical experience. I don't know if a jeep is where I want to start learning to work on vehicles. People ask questions like, "Where do I put in the gas? What oil filter should I use? How much oil does it take?" These questions are all answered in any Jeep mechanics book or owner's manual. Why are these books not bought? I thought that was common sense, but I guess it isn't. It is almost like these newbies would rely on personal opinions in this forum over a Jeep service manual. Now, please don't misunderstand... I generally believe nothing beats experience BUT even experienced mechanics need a manual with specific torque values, now and then. If I am new to a vehicle and know that I am going to be the one working on it, I BUY THE MANUAL!! I have over thirty years experience working on vehicles... BUY THE MANAUL FIRST! ASK QUESTIONS IN THE FORUM SECOND!

The manual doesn't answer everything... but I have read some really whacko opinions about mechanical repairs on this forum. Some very dangerous advice. Opinions are not facts... they are opinions. Buy the book, read the book, if you are still confused, then ask the forum... but compare what you get from the forum to what you read in the book. I have read a lot of great advice on this forum and it reads so much differently than the "opinions of the youth" on this forum. Read carefully and if in doubt, ask... get second opinions if you are not sure.

(3) As I sat and thought about this rebuild, the one thing that I kept coming up with is, "What would I have done differently?" (Believe me when your eyes are bandaged up and all you can do is sit on the sofa or lay in bed, and I hate doing both, you begin to think about many things. Your mind wanders all over, and one of those "wonderings" was the Jeep rebuild.) If I could do it all over again, I would have done it differently.
I would have found a 4WD S10 and kept the entire drivetrain Chevy. Why? No need for adapters plates or anything like that. I really don't think I would notice the difference between a T5 and a AX15. They would both work for my application. If I kept it all Chevy, everything would match up. All I would have to do is to modify the crossmember and the two driveshafts. And if I ever needed a drivetrain part, it would be easy to find at any auto parts place. All the drivetrain would have come from the same vehicle.
I think that would be the easiest way to go about it... of course, at the time, I really didn't have the money to buy a S10 with a great drivetrain. I know this thread looks like there is a lot of money involved, but this is "spread out" over five years. During those years, I just collected the parts and stored them in my garage until the day I could start THE REBUILD. (My garage is MY GARAGE, so my beautiful wife and children stay out of it... so my tools and parts stay "undisturbed" and in "peaceful slumber". Even though I keep a clean garage, my family knows it is still the place to get "dirty and greasy" so they stay out of it...

(4) I also thought about removing the tub... was that necessary? No, it wasn't, but it sure made it a pleasure to work on! For the first time in my life, I was able to work on a vehicle without having crud fall into my eyes or mouth. It was so much easier putting in everything, especially the drivetrain and brake lines. Fabrication was a lot easier. But there was one problem, how to lift it. I used an engine hoist to do it. I was able to do it with the help of my teenage daughters so I am guessing you guys with your buddies can do it a lot easier. It really made it so much easier to work on and it really was fun and simple to do. It really was nice to see the newly painted frame getting more parts put on it everyday. I know it sounds weird, but watching it come together really made this project something! You could see it "grow" from the ground up and it was exciting...

1SAS 11-05-2011 06:35 PM

The Eighth Installment...
4 Attachment(s)
To those who may want to pursue this project... This installment is all about clearance in the engine compartment. I took a bunch of photos showing the clearance you have under the YJ's hood. (Please forgive the tape everywhere... we have "mud diggers" everywhere and if there is an open hole, they like building nests.) Also, these are the new valve covers and I haven't painted the center bolts black yet.

As you can see, there is more than enough clearance for this engine. It is the best of both worlds... you get the horsepower of a V8 in the space of a WIDE four cylinder. The Chevy 4.3 has ample power and is readily supported by all auto parts places nationwide. With this modification, you have tons of room under the hood. You have tons of horsepower and passing power, compared to the four banger.

Just a thought... I really liked my four cylinder! It did a great job mechanically. What killed it for me was the computer. I like tinkering and that computer just wouldn't let me tinker for anything! The four cylinder had plenty of power for "off road" AS LONG AS YOU KEPT THE SUSPENSION STOCK!! If the vehicle was used as it was designed, the four cylinder is plenty.
How do I know? Because my first jeep was a WWII 1942 Willy's and I used it like it was designed to be used. It had a whopping 53 horsepower and I could go anywhere with it. And if I couldn't, I went around it or didn't go there. The four cylinder YJ is the same way. Stock, it is very balanced and has just the right torque for off road. However, if you change the suspension and put huge tires on it, then you need more horsepower, actually more torque. The inline six is great for this, but it was actually included in the YJ offerings to give it more "passing speed". The inline six works great for trail use with larger tires and lifts. Some really like the V8 and it fits like a charm in a YJ compartment.
I, however, went with the V6. Mainly because I had the engine and it is really dependable. In stock form, it puts out 180 horsepower and it doesn't take much to get it up to 250 horses-- dependable horses. For what I use it for, it is perfect.

1SAS 11-05-2011 06:42 PM

The Ninth Installment...
4 Attachment(s)
Here are some more "Clearance photos" for those who want a more detailed view. If you look closely in the last photo, you will see against the jeep fender, a small green metal box. That is a military jeep first aid "tin". It is waterproof and I will put my fuse box in there. I find that so much more convenient than under the dash, especially on those rare occasions when fuses actually blow out

1SAS 11-05-2011 06:47 PM

The Tenth Installment...
3 Attachment(s)
I did some modifications to the engine so I wanted to make sure it "breathed" freely. Headers were definitely the way I was going to go. I tried a few sets from Advanced Adapters, Novak and others... and then the problem began...

Since I was sticking with Advanced Adapters motor mounts AND Novak's external slave cylinder, I had a problem. Headers from Advanced went too far to the rear of the engine compartment for my tastes. I still am not sure about where my exhaust is going to dump out. I am really leaning toward the "side pipe exhaust system." it is the only exhaust system that keeps out of the way, as far as maintenance goes. If I go that route, the Advanced headers would make that a complication. They would also be too close to my hydraulic slave cylinder.

Novak's headers were "block hugging" headers and really interfered with Advanced Adapters motor mounts. I couldn't use them at all.

Then I searched the internet and found a set of stainless headers for an S10 Blazer. I tried those. They worked pretty good BUT they dumped right on top of Novak's slave cylinder. Since I decided to keep that slave cylinder, I will just have to have the headers modified by the muffler shop. Besides I like having stainless headers...

I have enclosed photos. When I get the exhaust system done, I will submit those photos too.

Oh, the first photo shows my custom power steering hose way too close to the front of the header. I will finish bending the steel tubing once the exhaust system is put in and the steering shaft is put on. The other photos show how the driver's side header "dumps" directly onto the Novak hydraulic slave cylinder. The exhaust shop will take care of that...

1SAS 11-05-2011 06:52 PM

The Eleventh Installment...
3 Attachment(s)
Power steering...hmm, and interesting topic. With this particular application, the engine is SAE and the Jeep is mostly METRIC. Therefore, the jeep steering box needed to match with the engines power steering. To further complicate the situation (but not by much) I inadvertently threw out the engine's power steering unit assembly a long time ago. Looking back at it now, that was great but originally, I thought it a huge mistake. I didn't like how the power steering pump was mounted to the motor. It had this long two part mount which supported the rear of the power steering pump and attached by being "sandwhiched" between the engine block and the motor mount. It was long, bulky and it looked like crud. I was looking for something else.

Nostalgic Air came through. They make air conditioning parts for hot rodders who have to fab so much of their gear. They also branched off into making brackets for power steering pumps, alternators, etc. Their brackets were simple and designed to use the common Chevy truck power steering units. What is great about Nostalgic is there kits are based on where you want the power steering to be mounted. It is very flexible. If you wanted to mount all of your accessories on top of the motor (to keep it dry or you have a particularly narrow engine compartment) you can do it. If you wanted it mounted low, you can use that kit. If you wanted close to the factory placement, they have you covered also. They have a bunch of different applications, it is up to your preference. They also carry all of the pulleys you need.

Once the brackets came in, I mounted them up and measured for the new drive belts. The original Astro van had a quasi-serpentine belt system. It used a serpentine belt for everything but the Air Condition compressor. I don't have air conditioning AND the brackets for the serpentine system just cover so much of the engine. (I am of the "old school" and I like to see the engine when I open the hood. I don't want to see plastic covers, hoses and lines going everywhere. I want to see the motor. I want to see the valve covers. I want to see the intake manifold). Because of these preferences, I went with a two drive belt system. One for the power steering pump and the other, for the water pump and alternator. It is simple, effective and looks great! Is the serpentine belt better? Of course, but it isn't that much better and it doesn't even come close to the beauty of a simple drive belt system, mounted correctly.

I still had to fabricate a new power steering line. On this YJ (and just about any other vehicle), there is a high pressure line and a low pressure return line. The high pressure line obviously has steel fittings on both ends. The low pressure return line has fittings on only one end. I had to buy a set of lines from NAPA, cut the steel tubing and fittings off and bend them the way I needed them to go. (You can't use the flexible hose at all.) Then the guys at NAPA made me one, super tough power steering line which ended in compression fittings to fit my bent steel tubing. All in all, the custom line from NAPA was $35. It went great with the new power steering pump and the rebuilt power steering gear box. I don't have it finished all the way because I wasn't sure how it would fit with the new steering shaft. So I reserved final fitting after that installation. (I still have to finish bending the fitting on the power steering high pressure line because it is too close to the exhaust header.)

Oh, speaking of steering shaft... I ordered a Borgenson stainless steering shaft. It is a great unit BUT they don't tell you that you have to drill holes in your steering shaft (in the steering column) nor that you have to file a "flat spot" on your steering shaft that comes out of your gear box. (You can't use the factory "flat spot".) Had they told me that, I would never have ordered that shaft. It is nice, but I am not filing anything nor drilling anything that is going to void the warranties of my brand new, rebuilt gear box AND my rebuilt steering column. They both cost much more that the Borgenson shaft!

I also ordered alternator brackets from Nostalgic. The original alternator bracket for the Astro van mounted the alternator up on top and in front of the passenger side valve cover. It was a great place to mount it because it always kept your alternator dry (unless you were making a river crossing or something.) Anyway, the OEM brackets really covered up so much of the engine that I decided to mount the alternator a little lower, so as not to "obstruct my view"...

1SAS 11-05-2011 06:57 PM

The Twelfth Installment...
5 Attachment(s)
When I started THE REBUILD, I wanted to keep the jeep simple... truly simple. Along the lines of the WWII Willy's that I used to have. I wanted to have it simple to work on and simple to maintain. I wanted to be able to pop the hood and see a simple, functioning engine. Granted I did use a little polish, here and there, but for the most part, everything is simple and easy to work on. All "shine" is under the hood... just like the old street muscle cars of yesteryear.

I liked my original, replacement stainless dashboard... but I wanted it to look better... more me. I was toying with idea of putting in a CJ dashboard but I found something that I liked much better. The fabricator is Double D Fabrication. He does the best work I have seen! He custom made a dashboard out of steel that resembled a military Hummer's dash. He was extremely reasonable in price and he went out of his way to make sure it was designed correctly before it was fabbed. (His dash was half the price of the stainless unit.) As a matter of fact, the dash ran about $ 230 with shipping. The dash was packaged perfectly and it arrived in excellent condition. I had the dash powder coated in a textured "sage like" color. Then I put my gauges in. I haven't finished the wiring yet, because I am putting in a new Painless Electrical system in, but I have enclosed photos.

I truly can't tell you how much of a pleasure it was working with Dan at "Double D Fabricators". (His website is DOUBLEDFAB.COM.) We must have gone through ten emails, back and forth. He offered expert advise... but he never "pushed" you into anything. He was extremely professional. He was very patient and polite. One thing that is not clear in the photo is the entire thing is TIG welded and the gauges sit in tubes. The tubes are angled up to face the driver. (The only problem I had with flat dashes is that when the sun is behind you, sometimes you can't see the gauges.)

This dash came out better than I thought it would. Oh, there was one small "glitch" but it is easy to overcome. The Autometer gauges mount using their plastic mounts which sandwich the dash board (or mounting bracket) between the front rim of the gauge and the rear of the mounting surface. These mounts have to be modified to fit the rear of the tubes. But what I like about this is the look and the feel of it. I also like that if you have a problem with a little gauge, you unbolt four screws and the entire gauge cluster comes out... so simple to work on and to replace... Also in the photos, it looks like the gauge cluster is cramping the passenger side's leg room. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am over six foot tall, and my legs don't come near that housing at all! It works!

1SAS 11-06-2011 08:12 AM

The Thirteenth Installment...
4 Attachment(s)
As of November 2011... I have not really worked on the jeep. I am a "homeschool dad" and I have been putting all my time in getting my six children squared away with their school work. When I have done something new, I will "post." If you have any questions or comments, feel free to inquire. I hope this "thread" helps. I took the photos so people could see what goes into this conversion, if they decide to go this route.

I have a new Painless 12 Circuit electrical system for my YJ. Since I was putting the fuse block under the hood, I purchased the system for a "simple Chevy truck with the ignition in the steering column". In that way, I had enough length to put my system where I wanted it to go. The next big project is my exhaust system, then I can get my engine turned over. As you can imagine, I am anxious to hear it run.

Below are recent photos of me at the Houston Air Show. This is my buddy's jeep and it is truly in great shape... a lot better than my old Willy's was! His jeep is a Ford. I can't wait to get another Willy's or a Ford.

Oh, just a "side note," Did you know that WWII olive drab had over nineteen individual pigments in it? Some were pinks and yellows. When they came up with the color, they were looking to match the color of an oak tree leaf. If you look at my buddy's Jeep, do you see how rich and deep that olive drab is compared with today's olive drab? That olive drab costs him $165 a gallon just to get it identical to the military standards of WWII. (He had to do the research to locate the special paint codes from WWII that listed the pigments and in what proportion.) It is pretty awesome. But, of course, there is a downside... WWII paint is a semi porous paint. This is how they got it "flat" back then. Eventually water would go through it and rust the metal is was sprayed on. (Back then, the life expectancy for a WWII jeep was six months... no kidding, six months. So they really weren't worried about rust being a problem in that short time frame.) Also, during WWII, the Marines didn't like the olive drab because they were fighting in the Pacific and there weren't too many oak trees out there. They opted for a green that was based on "pine trees". That is why when you see some WWII jeeps in a darker green than olive drab, they are usually Marine Corps vehicles.

stykthyn 11-06-2011 09:45 AM

Swap looks good

1SAS 11-06-2011 02:21 PM

Thanks for looking over my thread. Thank you.

Take care,

RustedYJ 11-06-2011 04:14 PM

Nice work. I'm always impressed when I see these things. I'm slowly getting mine done. One day it'll be on the road again.

stykthyn 11-06-2011 05:09 PM


Originally Posted by 1SAS (Post 1724127)
Thanks for looking over my thread. Thank you.

Take care,

no prob. It's obvious you went above and beyond. Is this going to be a show rig or do you plan on letting it out to play?
I can agree with all of your points, especially the one about finding a 4wd s10 and just move everything over. Lately I have been toying with the notion of finding an explorer/mountaineer and doing a complete swap(well I would use a t5 or ax15 instead of the eaod) OBDII, 8.8 rear, everything. Taking the tub off seems the natural thing to do in this case given its light weight and small physical envelope. Great job!

1SAS 11-06-2011 06:06 PM


Thanks for the kind words! I mainly use my jeep for riding down the highway. As I mentioned in this forum, I have six children, five are daughters with four daughters being teenagers. If you have teenage daughters, you know what I mean. I had my day driving through the woods with Willy's jeeps... years of it. I loved it, but now, I am very content to take the sides off my jeep, leave the roof up and light up a Rocky Patel cigar. Then I just drive and enjoy the "silence" of the highway...

My jeep isn't "show" but it doesn't have any "wear and tear" on it yet either. I am not on the road yet, but hopefully I will be soon.

Stykthyn, I agree with you about the Explorer thing. If I was you, I would buy the drivetrain that you want ALL TOGETHER. Tear that puppy out. See how it matches to your frame and put it in. A five speed is a five speed (as long as it can handle the power) and it isn't anything to fabricate new motor mounts and to modify your transmission crossmember. Drive shafts and axles are simple to modify (or have modified) and install. The only trouble you may have is getting the tub off the frame, but with some good, big and bulky friends (with the right amount of beer) it should be no problem whatsoever.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing your build one day.

Take care,

s_man692000 11-07-2011 07:53 AM

What year 4.3 is that ? My ideal build is also a 4.3 ,I have owned several s-10's over the years and have built up a few of them (got tired of IFS Trucks) .I love what you are doing to your jeep man,its just awesome ,I cant wait to see the finished product........wait....are they ever really finished ?

1SAS 11-07-2011 08:42 AM

OK, s_man692000,

You asked for it!! I forgot all about this story and your question reminded me of it. Your answer is, it is a 1987 4.3 out of a Chevy Astro Van.

Now for the rest of the story... We owned a 1986 Astro for a long time. It was a daily driver. I had just put in a rebuilt engine and transmission, when I decided it was time for a larger van for my larger family. At some point, my daughter and I pulled the drivetrain and put it in the garage. It sat until I "got the bug" to have some "highway passing power" in my YJ. (It is kind of funny that as your daughters develop into teenagers, you just have to leave the house and smoke a few more cigars, just to "mellow out." Broads are something, aren't they?)

1986 was the last year for the normal 4.3 with a very simple computer system... very simple. It was also the last year the Astro didn't get a normal hydraulic camshaft. Being the van's mechanic for at least a decade, I knew what engine it was and ordered a mild roller camshaft kit for it. It was one of those kits that "retrogrades" a stock block to be a "roller camshaft engine." When the kit came in, I took off the intake manifold and low and behold, my engine had "grown" roller lifters!! No kidding...

You see, I didn't do the last engine build on the Astro van... a rebuilding shop did. Apparently he just swapped out engines with one he had in stock and didn't say anything. So I had to return the camshaft kit and get one for an engine that came with the factory roller camshaft. Lesson learned... check before you buy anything.

Take care,

1SAS 11-26-2011 09:06 PM

The Fourteenth Installment...
3 Attachment(s)
Well, guys, I was finally able to "squirrel away" enough money to buy my exhaust. This was entirely due to my beautiful wife who surprised me with it. (One day we were talking and I brought up the need to save any little bit of money so I can get the exhaust system. She asked me, "How much do you need?" I answered, "I need at least $ 700 to get going with it.")

Well, that was that. I didn't know if I would be able to get the exhaust before the cold weather set in or not. Then one day she tells me, "Hey, I have it... the $ 700 for the exhaust." She is so great!! If I do say so myself...

Anyway, the mechanic who did the exhaust really did a great job. He modified the driver's side header to go around the clutch slave cylinder. There was little room but he did a great job. It really leaves more than enough room to work on it or around it.

The first photo shows the finished product. The following photos show the "before" photos. I apologize, but I posted the photos in the wrong order. Also, in the first photo, you see a steel line running along the top of the frame... that is my fuel line but when it's finished, it will not be like that.

Take care,

1SAS 01-01-2012 01:35 PM

The Fifteenth Installment...
1 Attachment(s)
The weather has been nice for the past few days so I was able to work on my jeep. I put in a Mallory “Off Road” coil and a Unilite Distributor. I was more worried about the coil being weatherproof than for any vibration issues. As you can see, I mounted it to the top of the firewall. The only problem was finding out where to drill for bolt holes. I am using “weld nuts” so placement has to be made where you can weld the nuts to the back of the firewall. This is easier said then done, because there is so much crud behind the firewall.

I had to remove the dash just to see what I was working with... The ventialtiion ducts are back there and they take up a lot of room along the firewall. Specifically the ventilation ducts runs the entire length of the passenger side behind the top of the firewall. Then you have three inches of clear space in between the duct and the heater core and fan blower assembly which takes up the entire bottom portion of the firewall on the passenger side.

Before I removed anything, I drilled a hole at the lowest point I wanted to go with my coil. I then mounted a bolt and weld nut in that hole. I pivoted the coil so it was "level" and then drilled the other bottom hole... from the engine bay side. Once that was done, I removed the ventilation duct and heater core/ blower assembly. Now I drilled the upper two bolt holes. I decided to use JB Weld instead of welding the weld nuts. I also used JB Weld to plug up the holes in the firewall I wasn't using. (Of course, before I used JB Weld, I sanded down the paint to bare metal for greater adhesion.)

Hooking up the coil was pretty straight forward. The wires are just hanging there because I haven't finished "final assembly" yet. They will be covered in "wire looms" or something similar when finished. I use a "solder pot" when I do electrical connections because I really like the job it does. (To those who don't know... a solder pot holds solder and keeps it in a liquid state. Once you have your wires twisted together, you dip the twist in some rubbing alcohol and then dip the twist into the solder pot. It coats perfectly!) Then I use a "crimp end connector" and I crimp it to the twist. (I like these because they mechanically attach to the soldered joint AND prevent any rubbing to the joint.) I then seal everything with silicon tape.

As you can tell, two bolts aren't in the top of the coil bracket but they will be.

When i am finished "final assembly" I will take better photos of the completed installation.

Take care and have a great New Years

1SAS 01-01-2012 01:40 PM

The Sixteenth Installment...
5 Attachment(s)
Began Installation of my electrical system...

I have decided to install a Painless Wiring system. I used one that was designed for a Chevy truck because I wanted it to have enough length to install the fuse box somewhere else besides under the dash. (You don’t go under the dash too often to replace fuses, but I really am tired of wedging my big frame under there... or having to remove the driver’s seat to get to the fuses.)

I decided to mount the fuse box under the hood in a very conventient place. I have mounted the fuse box in an Army First Aid kit that is totally waterproof. I am not using my air filter box so I mounted it with rivets onto the shelf that the air filter box sits on. Of course, the rivets will be "siliconed" once installation is complete to prevent any water intrusion.

I originally thought I could just drill a hole in the bottom of the first aid box and run the wires through there. No way. The hole would have to be so big that it defeats the purpose. (Unfortunately, I drilled the hole BEFORE I really looked at the complete wiring system laid out on the floor. Once you do that, you can see no hole is going to be big enough to feed everything through. To make matters even worse, I cut the wires from the fuse box figuring I would feed those wires through and then reconnect them outside the box... then I decided to do it another way.)

The "other way" was to order another Painless wiring kit and to cut out a “notch” in the side of the box. Now the wire harness just lays on top of the notch and you don’t have to worry about feeding all the wiring, the connections or anything else through a little hole. With the notch cut into the side, you just lay the wiring harness on top and the lid closes This notch will be totally sealed when I am ready for final assembly. I did cut and slit some vacuum line to “line” the cut sheet metal so none of the wires will rub on bare metal. And I attached the box to the shelf with rivets so it isn’t going anywhere.

As you can see, the first aid box is out of the way, yet totally accessible. If a fuse blows, pop the hood and there it is.

Take care and have a great New Years!

1SAS 01-01-2012 01:45 PM

The Seventeenth Installment...
4 Attachment(s)
Here are some more photos of the electrical fuse box... As you can tell, the notch cut out is A LOT SIMPLER TO DO. (referring to the previous post.) Boy, I don't think I will make that mistake again. Anyway, when it is finished, it will be powder coated and the notch will be lined with rubber hose and covered in a piece of rubber sheet, all siliconed nicely. Now when a fuse blows, open up the hood and there she is. It sure beats removing the driver's seat every time that happens.

I have enclosed a photo of my first mess up with the Painless Electrical system. You will note the cut wiring, correctly labeled and the rest of the wiring harness. It really is a great system and the wire is a lot better than OEM... plus it is brand new, not 19 years old. When I first purchased the jeep from my brother (who bought a TJ. He decided to offer it to me first, rather than trade it in. Thank you Danny.) the electrical system was sparking, arcing and smoking. He didn't realize it because he isn't mechanically inclined. I patched everything to make it safe but I wanted a new electrical system TO TRULY MAKE IT SAFE. I just had to save up and buy it. It did take a while, but it was worth it UNTIL I CUT IT. Lesson learned...

In a later post, I will show the completed assembly, but for now, you get the idea.

Take care,

1SAS 01-01-2012 01:52 PM

The Eighteenth Installment...
1 Attachment(s)
I have temporarily installed my fuel filter and ran a temporary fuel line to the carburetor. I have used the factory fuel line and kept it intact up to the end of the steel line. It is super tough, for my purposes, so it will suffice. The factory steel line connected to the end of the "plastic" fuel line that goes to the tank is tough to bend with a hand bender. I decided to leave it intact and work around it. I do have to bend a better connector.

I mounted it on the firewall and I have not completed the tubing bends yet. This is just a "will it function here" check. Now I have to bring it up to "specs."

I chose this filter because it is a heavy duty unit used by many off road racers and track runners. It is a solid metal unit and the filters are dependable, inexpensive and large. And again, when I am finished the complete assembly, I will post more photos. I plan on a better fuel line to my carburetor and a fuel pressure regulator and gauge. Why? Because I love to "tinker" and its what I want. The fuel pump is one for a carburetor engine but I like to fine tune by fuel pressure... I just like to tinker until it performs its best.

Take care,

denisbaldwin 01-01-2012 03:55 PM

I can't even tell you how much I love the clean looks of the dash. Very nice!

OklaTJ 01-01-2012 04:24 PM

I have a 350 In a 85 swb that i dont use and I have thought I might do a swap with that. The only problem I can think of is the wiring and gauge cluster. That is what holds me back

1SAS 01-01-2012 07:02 PM


Thanks for the kind words. Have a great year!


The V8 swap is just as easy and the wiring isn't really a problem. I was tired of the computer control crud so I went with new wiring and a new, simple jeep. Many of the jeepers on this forum and on splice in the engine wiring harness with their jeep's harness. I am sure they can help you.

Since I wasn't going with fuel injection, I could keep it really simple. I went with the Painless system because I wanted to upgrade the 19 year old OEM electrical system that was already "patched" and I was going with Autometer gauges which work so much better than the OEM YJ gauges.

Electrical issues used to scare the crud out of me and I wouldn't do projects because of them. Somebody then taught me how to read a "schematic diagram" and reminded me that "Electricity flows like water. It always goes to ground." It is simple advice but it works. My advice... don't be intimidated by it. Get a good manual, a good 12 volt test light with a probe, a multimeter and a lot of patience AND GET TO IT. Once you start accomplishing it, you build your confidence and then you are good to go. You can do it.

Take care and have a great new year.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:59 AM.

User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.