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Old 11-13-2018, 01:05 AM
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95 YJ 5.3L LS build

So I picked up a pretty worn out 95 Wrangler with a blown up 2.5L with a plan to do a 5.3L LS swap. The wife has been wanting a Jeep for a while and I finally talked her into picking this one up. After tearing the thing apart I quickly learned that this was gonna have to be a complete rebuild/restore and not just a motor and trans swap.

So overall the build consisted of these major pieces:

-2004 Yukon Denali 5.3L motor
--Used Pontiac G8 manifolds that I had in the shop from a previous car build (truck manifolds would clear)
-2001 4L65E trans w/B&M trans cooler
-Novak transfer case adapter kit and motor mounts
-Stock YJ NP231 Transfer case (rebuilt)
-Ford 8.8 Rear w/disk brakes and 4.10 gears
-DIY standalone engine wiring harness
-Autometer Phantom gauges
-B&M shifter
-Stock TJ seats with Bestop seat covers
-Grant steering wheel
-New 2" body lift to replace the half assed home built body lift from previous owner
-New front and Rear bumpers
-New front and rear fenders
-Rhino lined interior
-OME 2.5" lift leaf springs
-BFG KO2 33X12.5X15 tires

Things still in the works:
-Rock sliders/side steps
-Rear seat
-Front winch
-Trail recovery gear
-A softtop
-Center console
-Sound bar
-Rear corner guards
-Radio and CB


Now onto the pictures!!



Here she is the day we picked her up, in all her glory...






First started by tearing everything out of it. Gutted the interior, pulled the engine wiring out, and started stripping and coating the frame and firewall.

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4916/...760833_z_d.jpg





Then started stripping the floor and rhino lining the interior.







Then came the main objective... test fitting the 5.3L LS motor. First I got the new radiator bolted up to the core support and then the motor hoisted in.






Then once I got the motor and trans positioned where I wanted them, the motor mounts got welded in and the motor was finally officially sitting in the Jeep.



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Old 11-13-2018, 01:05 AM
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So after this, I decided to switch gears and focus on the interior. I picked up some TJ seats, I rewired the lower seats support wires, and got some seat covers for them. I also took out the stock gauges and replaced them with Autometer Phantom gauges.






Then after this was accomplished, the part that I was dreading the most... the LS engine harness. I tore it apart and started depinning the wires that were no longer needed.







Once I got the main harness done, I went ahead and put the new front fenders on.




Now that the fenders were on, I started routing the engine harness to see how everything was gonna fit and get placed.



I ended up using a 13 circuit Painless fuse box to power the engine harness and gauges. Then I had to rewire the stock power distribution center for the starter relay, dual fans, and fuel pump.






Then I cut off the angle iron front and rear bumpers and put on the new front and rear bumpers. I also had to reweld on a new rear bumper crossmember and bumper brace kit.






Picked up a Ford Explorer 8.8 rear (4.10 geas and stock LSD) and got it under the jeep, then welded up the spring perches and shock mount tabs. Then reworked the brake lines to tie everything together. Also, took the stock rear fenders off to prep for the new rear fenders.



So after many hours of trial and error, the motor is fully assembled with everything connected up and almost ready for a test run.



Got the gauges completed wired up, the Aeroforce scan gauge in place and connected, and the LED indicator lights (turn signals, high beam indicator, check engine light, and parking brake indicator) in place of the stock indicators.



Got the new rear fenders on, the new rear tires mounted, and the locking glove box installed.




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Old 11-13-2018, 01:06 AM
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All the fluids are now changed and it's ready for a test run...







After a successful test run and quick trip around the back of the property, the old girl got her first bath in 4 - 5 years.









Still gotta get the transfer case shifter bent to even it out and then get the shifter boot on it, but over all the interior is pretty much done.

MannyN and James15 like this.
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Old 11-13-2018, 07:56 AM   #4
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Great build
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Old 11-13-2018, 09:26 AM
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Great build
Thanks!!! It's been a fun (and tiring) process.
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Old 11-13-2018, 11:22 AM
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So got it back from the exhaust shop today and did some tuning with HPTuners. This thing is running better than I could have ever expected. After some tuning tweaks this this is really responsive now and will take off if you give it a decent amount of throttle. The 2 speed fans (new 94 Taurus fan) are coming on like they should now and keeping it right between 180 and 200 degrees. The new trans tune has the shifts crisp and quick and this Ford 8.8 w/4.10 gears and the factory LSD is working really well. I did find that the rear transfer case seal is leaking pretty good, so off to to parts store to pick up a new and swap it out quick.

As for things that I need to re-attack:
-Windshield washer pump is not working (gotta check power wires and may have to replace the windshield wiper switch on the steering column)
-Bright headlight indicator is not working
-Warning flashers are not flashing (can hear the relay clicking but the dash indicators and lights are not flashing)
-Gotta replace the hacked up power outlet/ash tray
-Gotta get the tire store to remount the front tires since they mounted them with white letter out instead of in
-Need to replace the lower steering column bearing/retainer
-Horn is not working
-Need to add resister to get Tach working
-After bleeding the brakes for probably the 4th or 5th time, the pedal is firm when the Jeep is not running, but as soon as I start it up, it gets a little mushy. I think I may have to replace the brake booster and maybe the master cylinder.

Really happy with the build so far and will post up more info as it goes. If anyone has any questions or wants pictures of anything specific please let me know. I'll help however I can.
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Old 11-24-2018, 10:13 PM
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So got the steering column tore apart and put in a new turn signal switch, intermittent wiper switch w/intermittent wiper control module, and new ignition key cylinder. What a pain that was!!! Anyway, at least everything is now new in the steering column and working like they are supposed to. Also got the washer pump fixed and spraying like it's supposed to. Got the lower steering column bearing replaced, the ash tray/power port swapped, and the resister added to the tach so it now works. That knocked out most of the little things that weren't working right.

-Still gotta troubleshoot why the horn doesn't work and why the bright light dash indicator isn't working.

So after all that, made a trip to the tire store and they remounted the front tires with white letters in to match the rears. This thing drives great overall!! Anyway here's a few pictures of what it looks after the trip to the tire store and around town today.




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Old 11-24-2018, 11:03 PM   #8
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really nice. What's the gauge on the far right side?
Are you going to regret detailing the engine bay before stuffing all that motor in there?
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Old 11-24-2018, 11:14 PM
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really nice. What's the gauge on the far right side?
Are you going to regret detailing the engine bay before stuffing all that motor in there?
Thanks!! The far right gauge is an Aeroforce Scangauge. It plugs into the OBD2 port of the LS motor and can display something like 50+ parameters. It can display 2 parameters at a time and can be set to scan through as many as you want.

Any build that I do I always clean the engine department and recoat it. I know it's just gonna get dirty again, but there's something about making it look factory again that's fun.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:23 PM
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Well after driving this for the last few weeks it has had a constant vibration that I can't get rid of with axle shims. After some further troubleshooting it look looks like the rear transfer case bearing is going out, so I'm breaking down and going with SYE install. Time to tear it back apart a little bit to make it better again.

I've been told JEEP stands for Just Empty Every Pocket... that sure seems to be true so far!!! HAHA, but it's worth it!!
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:00 PM   #11
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Is your steam port hooked into the radiator overflow? How does that work for you
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:53 PM
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Is your steam port hooked into the radiator overflow? How does that work for you
Good catch... It was at first. It's now T'd into the upper radiator hose. The overflow tank kept puking out fluid until I realized I hooked up the steam port up to the wrong spot.
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Old 12-05-2018, 07:32 AM   #13
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Is your steam port hooked into the radiator overflow? How does that work for you
Good catch... It was at first. It's now T'd into the upper radiator hose. The overflow tank kept puking out fluid until I realized I hooked up the steam port up to the wrong spot.
I did almost exactly the same build in '16, I enjoy studying others to see if I can improve anything.
'95 YJ with a '05 LM7 dbw, 4L60e, 231c/j hybrid, Homebrew output speed sensor, 8.8 w/4.10 open, 2.5" skyjacker soft ride, anti wrap bar and no body lift.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:51 PM   #14
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Great build. I am finally done with my 2005 LM7 5.3L install and am working on the body restoration now. I have a couple questions. I believe your 2004 5.3 is drive by wire. How did you address the throttle pedal install? did you modify the pedal assy to better fit the YJ? Seems to me the pedal assy from the silverado donor vehicle I have is way too big. Also, how did you connect your vacuum line that operates the heater controls? Did you create a port on the intake plenum for it?
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:15 PM   #15
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I cut up the truck pedal and put a few riv nuts in the firewall to mount. Keep it cool, don't want to melt the plastic bushings out of the pivot
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:08 PM   #16
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Thanks Shorthood, Thats exactly what I was thinking I had to do. Always great to see others ideas.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:15 PM
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I cut up the truck pedal and put a few riv nuts in the firewall to mount. Keep it cool, don't want to melt the plastic bushings out of the pivot
I like that!! I mounted mine just as the stock Silverado pedal. I bolted it to the firewall, but it does stuck out a little too far. I may cut and reweld the arm on the pedal to make it more flush with the brake pedal like you did.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:21 PM   #18
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Just shot a slightly better picture.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:25 PM
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Great build. I am finally done with my 2005 LM7 5.3L install and am working on the body restoration now. I have a couple questions. I believe your 2004 5.3 is drive by wire. How did you address the throttle pedal install? did you modify the pedal assy to better fit the YJ? Seems to me the pedal assy from the silverado donor vehicle I have is way too big. Also, how did you connect your vacuum line that operates the heater controls? Did you create a port on the intake plenum for it?
Thanks... this thing is pretty fun to drive!!

I mounted my pedal similar to how Shorthood did his in the picture, except I didn't cut and reweld the pedal arm. After looking at his picture I think I am going to cut the pedal arm to pull it back more flush with the brake pedal. Mine sticks out about 2 - 3" past the front of the brake pedal right now. As for the vacuum line... I T'd off a vacuum line that's coming off the intake manifold and connected it to the stock line that goes through the firewall. My motor is an L59 5.3L, so it has a vacuum operated regulator on the fuel rail so it was easy to just put a vacuum T in that line coming from the top of the truck intake.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:21 PM
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The SYE and double cardan driveshaft worked out amazing!! Took every bit of vibration out of the drivetrain. Time to put some more miles on this thing now.

The SYE swap was pretty easy overall. Cutting the leaf spring brackets and shock mount brackets off and rewelding them in the correct angle were the most time consuming part of the whole thing. Kind of kicking myself for not just doing this SYE install during the build. Oh well, ya live and learn.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:47 PM
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I also swapped the side mirrors since the stock ones were getting too loose and the wind was moving them around every time we'd drive around. Got a dome light wired up to a manual switch and stock door switches, the radio and new dash speakers put in, and some LED tail lights wired in. I've finally pretty much knocked out all of the "must do" things for this project.

Still need to put in a double diaphragm brake booster and new master cylinder and do the free 20 gal fillable tank DIY mod.

The near term nice to have wish list includes some rock guards/step rails, a set of rear corner guards, and maybe a sound bar.
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:19 AM   #22
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I bought that bad boy. Works awesome and stops at a dime.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1974-1995-J...item1a654c21b9
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:58 AM   #23
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Still need to put in a double diaphragm brake booster and new master cylinder and do the free 20 gal fillable tank DIY mod.
I thought all '95s had the double diaphragm booster, or is that a late '95 thing. (Noticed you have the earlier style windshield bumpers)

The fuel tank mod is handy, I can usually drive 90-100miles before the gauge moves.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:24 PM
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I bought that bad boy. Works awesome and stops at a dime.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1974-1995-J...item1a654c21b9
Thanks for the info!!! That's half the price of some of the others that I have seen.

Also, that's a damn nice looking build you have there!!
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:43 PM
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I thought all '95s had the double diaphragm booster, or is that a late '95 thing. (Noticed you have the earlier style windshield bumpers)

The fuel tank mod is handy, I can usually drive 90-100miles before the gauge moves.
Mine doesn't have the double diaphragm setup. Maybe it was an option on certain 95's, or maybe it was a later year option like you mentioned. As for the tank mod, it also looks like I may have to replace the tank sender now. While I got the tank back down, I'll probably go ahead and just do the tank mod.
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Old 12-18-2018, 06:52 PM   #26
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Nice job!
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Old 12-19-2018, 10:13 PM
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Nice job!
Thanks!!
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Old 12-28-2018, 08:09 PM
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Did some more work on the old girl over the weekend. Got some wiring cleaned up and the rock sliders/side steps installed. Nothing too special, but just a few more things at a time.

So here's how she looks now.



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Old 05-17-2019, 08:06 PM
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Sorry, been gone for a while. Had a ton of other stuff going on and obviously haven't been on here in a while. So over all this time, i've dropped the trans to change the rear main seal, put a new water pump on, swapped to a muscle car oil pan, and swapped the drivers seat bracket to a flip forward (also cut 2" out of the front of the bracket to level the seat out). Also swapped the front fenders to the same off-road style but with a built in fender lip.

And the biggest pain in the a$$ was installing a new 23 circuit wire harness. The Jeep developed a short somewhere in the stock harness and after a couple days of troubleshooting i threw in the towel and put the new harness in. Even though it was a pain, it actually worked out great overall and i now have plenty of extra circuits for future accessories.

Lastly, I've got a M.O.R.E traction bar, Grand Marquis master cylinder, new hard brake lines, and an XJ prop valve that are still sitting in the shop that I need to install. Just haven't had much time lately to work on the Jeep. So here's a few pics at a short trip to the park with the family a little while ago.







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Old 06-25-2019, 10:24 AM   #30
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Great build! I had my mechanic do the same with my '91. I'm getting to old to do all that work myself. I also use a Aeroforce Scangauge but mine reads a volt low from a reading at the alternator or battery. Have you experience this? My drive train is the same as yours and it was a 2.5L originally. Also what MPG are you getting? I was getting 11mpg then we found a bad coil and replaced it so now get 15.5mpg. Everyone I talk to thinks I should get 18mpg. By the way I also have a OBDLink MX that reads the correct voltage when I plug it in.

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