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ManFromDet 08-18-2010 01:56 AM

Experienced Shop Wanted for Engine Swap
I'm new to the forum, and I'm looking for an experienced mechanic / shop to perform an engine swap on a Wrangler (YJ or TJ). I'm in the Detroit area and I'd like to find a shop that has expererince with swaps. Any recommendations? Thanks.

PS: Looking to add a chevy v8, with updated trans, grears, etc. This will be a daily driver, no off road use.

rcharlier 09-08-2010 04:17 PM

I don't know if you've already chosen a place, I hope this isn't too late. I just went through something like this a few months ago.

I checked in to some of the bigger shops in the area and considered doing it with my buddies. I ultimately decided that having some type of shop warranty and having the work performed by people that do engine replacements every day was probably the best way to go.

Of the shops in the area, I saw a few recent Better Business Bureau complaints again Michigan Motor Exchange (8 Mile and a few other locations). I ended up going with Fairway Engine Exchange in Sterling Heights.

In my experience, the guy that I had to talk to on the phone every time was very gruff and unfriendly. They let me bring any new parts that I wanted that they were going to reuse from the old engine. They said that it would take one week, it took two.

Warranty is 3 years, unlimited miles.

I got the Jeep back on June 1st. I was very proud of the work that they did. The engine compartment was cleaned, the new engine was painted. Everything looked great and I showed it off to everybody that asked or didn't ask.

Two months later (first week of August), I started having some problems with oil pressure dropping to zero, which ultimately led to a really bad ticking sound.

I called and about their warranty, explained that this needed to be looked at. They said they'd look at it, but only on certain days: Tuesday's and Thursday's; this was on a Monday. Also, towing in to the shop for warranty service was not covered. All of this is inconvenient because it is my daily driver.

Cautious, I had my Jeep towed in that Monday. They never called me. I let it go for a while, and called late Tuesday evening, before they closed. The usual phone guy told me that there was a problem with the cam shaft and lifters, and the whole engine needed to come out to have the parts replaced. He said this is the second engine they got back that had a cam shaft from one certain supplier, and they suspect that supplier was putting out bad parts. Was promised that it would be done by the end of the week, and it was ready Friday.

When I picked it up late Friday evening, it didn't run right. I had some weird vibration/shudder if I shifed a certain way (normal shift, instead of a soft baby shift).

My wife said I should have left it there, and I probably should have.

I had a feeling I knew what the problem was, so I took it to a local muffler shop on Saturday morning. The muffler guys said that when they put the engine back in, they jammed something in the exhaust back together, and my exhaust was pushed back and the hangers weren't straight and level. My shuddering was the exhaust system. They charged me an hour of time and fixed it up.

It hasn't run right since. I get this weird vibration/shudder that fades in and out while I am driving above 55, that didn't happen before both the engine was taken out for the camshaft replacement and the exhaust was rehung.

Not sure if this helps. There are a lot of different choices to make when you are at this juncture.

ManFromDet 09-09-2010 07:32 AM

Your reply is definitely not too late, thank you for taking the time, it’s greatly appreciated.

I have a buddy who has an old Jeep Wrangler YJ (1993 or 1994) sitting in his back yard. He hasn’t started the vehicle in over 3 years, but it ran and was drivable prior to that. I’ve spoken to him, and I’m looking forward to buying the vehicle, tearing it down, and restoring it with some upgrades.

I found a shop (online) in Ferndale, MI that performs engine of swaps and does 4x4 work, although I haven’t spoken to them yet: Obrian’s Garage - If they can do the work, then my next step would be to purchase a good crate engine, a rebuilt Chevy trans, and new (or rebuilt) gearbox. I would work with them as far as preferred parts – either from Novak or Advanced Adapters.

I understand your dilemma with regards to finding a good engine remanufacturer. I’ve looked at Michigan Engine Exchange, Jasper Engines, etc., and wasn’t too impressed with their record; just too many complaints about poor quality work. Maybe someone can chime in on this thread with a recommendation. Based on your experience, I’d never do business with Fairway Engine. Restricting service to Tuesdays and Thursday’s only just doesn’t sound right to me, not to mention poor parts selection and workmanship.

I hadn’t considered purchasing the engine and having the work done at the same place. I know there are a number of places that just & rebuild sell engines, but leave it up to the customer to put it in themselves.

If you decide to take your jeep to Obrien’s and have them check out your Jeep’s issues, let me know how things work out.

ManFromDet 09-09-2010 12:08 PM

Follow-up: Good News... I contacted Obrian's garage, they not only do engine sways, they've completed several Jeep / GM powertrain swaps. They also gave me suggestions for parts, crate engines, etc.

alf 09-09-2010 12:22 PM

Contact Dave at (616)949-3630 its worth the drive if you want it done right.

ManFromDet 09-10-2010 06:32 PM


Originally Posted by alf (Post 764929)
Contact Dave at (616)949-3630 its worth the drive if you want it done right.

Cascade 4WD - Your Four Wheel Drive Specialty Shop <---- I googled the number and this is what came up. Looks good, but the drive is just too far. I think Obrian's is more than capable to perform the upgrades I want. Thx.

rcharlier 09-14-2010 03:11 PM

I'll try and swing by OBrians the next time I am in the area with some free time. Please keep us posted with your selections and your progress, so that everybody can learn from your experience.

Johnny HotFoot 09-16-2010 05:34 PM

Just a thought but what about a wrecked R/T or SRT8 Buy salvage title for cheap and canabolize the motor/trans and harness/computers

ManFromDet 09-17-2010 07:31 AM


Originally Posted by Johnny HotFoot (Post 775302)
Just a thought but what about a wrecked R/T or SRT8 Buy salvage title for cheap and canabolize the motor/trans and harness/computers

Itís about what your comfortable with. If a reclaimed Chrysler works for someone, thatís cool.

GM engines are accessible and plentiful, and seem to be most common as far as swaps go, or at least very popular. The mechanic / shop I found is familiar with this type of swap.

In addition, I wanted a crate engine vs. a rebuild, and Iím willing to pay a little extra for it.

rcharlier 10-08-2010 12:32 PM

Just an update about a previous point we discussed here:

I just had my Jeep in and out of O'Briens for the first time.

I've had a vibration that was driving me nuts for a few months. A friend suggested that it was a driveshaft out of balance. I took it to one place, they test drove, and told me it was the clutch or the flywheel, nothing in the driveline.

I went to O'Briens, and they listened to everything I had to say, but were too busy to start working on it for a few days. I made an appointment for the following week. When I dropped it off, they remembered everything we talked about the week before. I thought that was great!

It turns out it was that the rear driveshaft was out of balance. They sent it out, had it redone, reinstalled, and back on the road (in three days - one to diagnose, one day for the driveshaft place, and the last day to reassemble).

I also had them fix my blower speed selector switch/wiring (for the nth time!)

They said that they do ANY kind of service on anything mechanical.

I think using that place to do a crate engine swap would be a good idea. They are really enthusiastic, helpful, and willing to discuss the repair with you in detail.

ManFromDet 10-09-2010 09:04 AM

This is absolutely excellent - thank you! I'm glad things worked out for you, and I'm looking forward to using them on my project. Thank you again for the feedback, this is very encouraging.

jsawduste 12-13-2010 09:04 PM

Unlimited offroad. They do this stuff everyday

Jared or Jason

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