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Old 12-20-2019, 08:56 AM
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TIHIDI (yet onother GM engine swap)

TIHIDI (This is how I did it.)


My old daily driver was a 2000 Wrangler sport. It developed an engine noise pretty much overnight. One morning when I started it to go to work I heard what sounded like a lifter tick. It seemed to lessen after the engine warmed up. I stopped that evening on my way home and bought everything to change the oil. I figured I'd change the oil even though it didn't look bad and only had a around 3 thousand or so miles and it was synthetic oil. I'll usually go 5000 miles on synthetic oil.



Something happened when I got home and I didn't end up changing the oil that evening so I drove it again the next day. The tick was still there and didn't seem to go away that day after the engine warmed up. I was getting low on fuel so on the way home from work I filled up with fuel. When I left the gas station I was pulling into traffic and I got on the accelerator a bit and the tick turned into a knock instantly.


I still had good oil pressure so I was fairly confident what I thought was a lifter tick was actually a cracked piston and not a spun bearing. I have personally experienced cracked pistons in three separate 4.0 coil pack engines now. I am not a fan of them. It seems that when Chrysler made the change to a coil pack engine design they also made other changes to the engine that makes them less reliable. Maybe I am just biased but so far I'm at 100% failure rate of the coil pack 4.0's that I've owned. I never had a failure on the earlier distributor style engine.



Anyway I decided I would swap a GM 5.3 V8 into the Wrangler and eventually probably sell it when my other project is finished.


I thought I'd document how I did this swap in case it may help someone considering swapping a GM V8 into their Jeep.



I know it's been covered many times but I think there is room on the internet for another version.

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Old 12-20-2019, 09:27 AM
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And of course no thread is good without pictures. Here are a couple to get this started.





The empty engine bay after the messy removal of the old six cylinder.





And the bell housing I plan to use. I picked it up from craigslist over a year ago along with an AX15 transmission. I don't know yet if it will work. It needs modification to work with the NV3550 that was in the 2000.

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Old 12-20-2019, 12:33 PM
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Another update to try to bring this up to current state.


Here it is when I got it home this summer. I got it cheap because the frame was shot.



I needed to modify the bell housing because the NV3550 isn't exactly the same as an AX15 that the bell housing was made for.



It's crude but should work to get the transmission connected to the engine. I'm not concerned that I weakened it a bit. If it breaks I won't be too concerned. I think it will hold up to stock power as well as the transmission will.




I already repaired the back of the frame before I put it on the road this summer and was planning to do the center section this winter anyway.


And as it is now waiting to get welded which will likely happen today.


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Old 12-22-2019, 06:54 PM
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Here is the repair picture of the rear trailing arm section I did this summer. This was also the worst side of the center section. In fact the other side seems pretty solid still. I will still be replacing that steel with the repair panels while I have it all apart.


I used repair pieces from Pocono Metal Craft. I have no affiliation with them I just like their product and this is the second TJ I've used them on.


I'm still trying to decide if I will be replacing the entire torque tube of just patching the existing body mounts. It's probably a wash on time but will cost more to buy new tubes. Since I'm not planning to keep this Jeep forever I may just keep it cheap but make it solid with patches.
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Old 12-23-2019, 10:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jee_per View Post
TIHIDI (This is how I did it.)
I have personally experienced cracked pistons in three separate 4.0 coil pack engines now. I am not a fan of them. It seems that when Chrysler made the change to a coil pack engine design they also made other changes to the engine that makes them less reliable.

Chrysler lightened the rotating assembly in 1996-1997 so the pistons are not as thick as the old 4.0 and they crack skirts. I had a 1997 XJ crack the skirt on the #1 piston and after coming to find out the problem was wide spread on 1997+ engines i left the jeep brand for good.
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Old 12-25-2019, 10:33 PM
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That's what I thought I'd read somewhere as well but I thought it was 99 when they started making the pistons thinner.




It was beautiful weather here today so I got out and tried to make a little progress.


I learned a little trick a long time ago and got to use it today. There were 4 broken exhaust bolts on the 5.3 going into this project. I removed them today. It went quite well.




I welded a nut onto the broken bolt. Even though the bolt was recessed into the head by around 1/8" the bolt comes out pretty easily because the weld doesn't stick to the aluminum and the heat of the weld helps free the broken bolt.







And here is an example of what it looks like after the broken bolt has been removed by the welding method.






And here I have the bell housing attached.






And I will be deleting the EGR from the intake manifold. I will end up cleaning this up a bit but it probably will work as it is.


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Old 12-26-2019, 05:37 PM
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Another beautiful day here for this time of year. I was outside in a t-shirt this afternoon. Unseasonally warm...


I decided to finish the frame reairs. At least the cutting and welding portion. It still needs paint.


The passenger side frame was actually still pretty solid and didn't really need to be repaired yet but I decided I would anyway.






I didn't actually take any pics of the repair fully welded but it is actually welded all the way across both sides. The welds don't look good but I am confident I got good penetration anyway. I think I need a new welding helmet. I'll probably be picking one up soon.





I was unable to find the correct pilot bushing for this locally today. I refuse to pay $30 to Advance or Novak for a bushing that should cost no more than $10. I ended up drilling out a stock brass/bronze Chevy pilot bushing. It isn't perfect but I'm considering using it anyway. If I can't find the bushing I need on line tonight I will assemble the bell housing to the engine tomorrow. Otherwise I will be painting the frame and starting on a wiring harness while I wait for a new bushing...


From what I can find the bushing I need is 1.094 OD, .748 ID and around .75 wide.
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Old 12-27-2019, 02:30 PM
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I wasn't able to find a pilot bushing with the correct dimensions anywhere but Novak and Advanced Adapters. Just for the fun of it I put one in the shopping cart and got to the place where it gave me a total cost and it was nearly $40 after the cheapest shipping. I can't justify it. I just plain refuse to pay that for it. I bought a stock Chevy bushing and got it turned to the correct size for less than $10.


A small setback today too. The clutch release bearing I bought doesn't work on the NV3550 input sleeve. It fits fine on the AX15 sleeve though. I am tempted to use the AX15 just for that reason. My hesitation is I have not used the AX15 yet so I don't know if it has any issues internally. The seller said it shifted fine but I don't have much faith in craigslist sellers being honest...


I'm looking for the correct bearing and if I find it I will post up the part number for future reference.
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Old 01-01-2020, 07:12 PM
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I am making progress but am only inching along.

More struggles today.

Turns out the bell housing wasn't actually made for a generation iii engine. The flywheel hits the side of the bell and the starter doesn't fit in the opening. I studied my options for a couple hours today. I considered getting a new adapter that would require a Chevy Bell housing. Total cost for the new adapter and the used bell housing I found on Craigslist was pretty close to $400.

Next I considered using a Chevy 5 speed instead of the Jeep transmission/adapter. I found a used working condition NV3500 for $375. That would likely require modifying the drive shafts and also probably custom made mounting brackets. Unsure what the total cost would end up being but I guessed a bit over $500 assuming I have a transfer case to fit.

I went back outside and studied the bell housing again. I figured out I could grind the housing a bit to make it fit around the flywheel. It was only bad in one area at the bottom and I don't think the bottom of the housing is a major strength concern. Then I opened the starter opening so that would fit. After a bit of angle grinding I was able to fit the Advance adapters housing around the gen iii flywheel and starter. I didn't get any pictures because it got dark but I will be getting some tomorrow I hope.

I have also decided to keep this build simple and moving forward I am going to use the AX15 transmission I already have. I checked it out today as well and it seems to shift through the gears fine and the oil in it looked like new so I'm going to chance it.

I hope to get the stock motor mounts out tomorrow and have the engine sitting in the frame with the new weld in mounts welded in.

Pictures will follow when I have some to show.
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Old 01-02-2020, 07:30 PM
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I thought I'd demonstrate my talent for hack jobbery.



Here is my bell housing hackery:




And the start of frame butchering:




And some special "body work" to help the engine fit far enough back:






I haven't finished patching the frame yet. I decided I'd try modifying the frame to fit the AC compressor. I'm sure there are "better" ways but that's why I called this the TIHIDI build.





I am trying to re-use the piece I cut out of the frame. Not sure if that is going to work.


Obviously I didn't meet my goal for today. Seems to be the norm lately...
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Old 01-04-2020, 04:47 PM
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So it doesn't seem to be possible to set the engine far enough back to mount the transfer case bracket in it's original location. At least not without major modifications to the tub. The heads hit the firewall before the engine gets far enough back. At least the passenger side head does. And that is right where the heater core is. In order to modify the firewall I'd need to either remove or relocate the plenum box inside the Jeep. I'm not willing to do that. So it's time for an alternate plan.


It looks like I can get away with the mounting plate from a 1997 Wrangle SE with the 2.5 4cylinder.


The plate on the left is stock 4.0 six cylinder, the right plate is a couple inches longer and from the 97. It looks like it may get the job done with slight modifications.


I did get the frame welded back with the piece I removed and modified slightly. I'm embarrassed to say it may have been for nothing though. I'm not sure I took enough out of the frame to allow the compressor to stay in it's stock location. I'll know that answer when I can finally set the engine in place. That won't likely be until next week.


I did use a new welding helmet this time. It didn't help much. I still can't weld as good as I used to. I just can't see well enough I think. I'll be trying to adjust the amount of shade next time. Maybe I'll just need to face the fact that I'm not a good welder...


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Old 01-05-2020, 06:06 PM
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Another update without pictures. I forgot to get them today...


The mounting plate from the 4 cylinder is just a bit too short. The head still hits the firewall with that plate installed. I ended up welding a 2 inch extension plate to the original six cylinder plate. It seems to be a good length. I haven't checked yet but I'm optimistic the 4 cylinder drive shafts will work now too.


I had previously purchased some Advanced Adapters motor mounts (713088). I'm not sure I'll be able to use them. They may end up interfering with the upper control arms. I have an idea to modify them and use a flat plate to relocate the frame mounting bracket out away from the control arm radius a bit. I'll try to remember to get pictures next time.

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