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Discussion Starter #1
If anyone was following my build thread or happened to catch the post, I've decided to go the V8 route with my YJ. There are a few reasons that pushed me over to the V8 side, vs. the 4.6/4.7 stroker I was planning on.

First, I just couldn't find a good spare 4.0L block at a reasonable price. Some people are getting $500+ for a solid running 4.0L! Second, I couldn't find a good 4.2L crank or block either. Prices would make one believe that there is a abundantly high level of precious metal in the blocks. With the shortage of 4.0/4.2 parts at honest prices, I began to turn towards other options. A local guy was selling a supercharger kit from a 96' TJ and there are alway a few turbo kits available. But, at the end of the day was hearing a V8 TJ again that made me go - yeah, I need one of those :drool:

This naturally leads to "what engine"? The various generations of GM engines are common, almost too common IMO. As a result, even mid-90's TBI engines are going for $600-800 with 150k+ miles. With the popularity of LS conversions, LS 5.3's are also inching toward the $1000 mark for an engine that's been heavily used as well. Although rebuilding any GM is relatively cheap, then I have to figure out what to do in regards to transmissions. Do I switch to a 700R4 or newer model? The 700R4 has a terrible OD and robs gobs of HP compared to later options. The 4L80E is stronger and with a more desirable ratio set, but is bigger and I'd have to plan on making that work with my NP231J (such as a C/J hybrid case) or go full nuts and go Atlas.

Some people opt for a Ford V8, especially those from the Explorers. They are cheap (I can get a 90's Explorer for $800-900 for the whole truck and can part out everything, plus the F8.8 rear too!) and abundant, plus they work well with the Jeep fuel system. However, the Ford transmissions are even more clunky and less desirable than any GM transmission and mating them with a Jeep transmission requires some work...

So I decided to look at a Mopar engine. Although they have their quirks and aren't known for making anything near LS-power, they have a lot of advantages for a Jeep swap. They're cheap, generally reliable, readily available, have ECU's that literally bolt into place of a YJ ECU, and can be made reasonably powerful with some basic upgrades. With that in mind, I kept my eye out for one. Enter my favorite search engine - Craiglist - and before I knew it, I was making arrangements to pick up a 1995 5.2L Dodge Magnum from a Ram 1500.

Photo Jun 24, 5 10 43 PM.jpg

The gentleman selling the engine offered to sell me the entire front clip - and I mean entire front clip, sans the body panels! He simply cut the frame horns off just behind the firewall and as a result, had everything I needed for the swap - harness, ECU, all accessories, etc. Originally he was asking $150 just for the engine itself, but we worked out a deal and for $200, I walked out with everything, including a spare PDC and harness from another 95 Ram and even the airbox and related parts...

Photo Jun 24, 6 38 40 PM.jpg

Before heading home, we burned up a large bottle of Super Clean and hit the power washer. Once we got it home, I unbolted the engine from the crossmembers and picked it out of the trailer.

Photo Jun 24, 6 38 31 PM.jpg

My son (Leo) and I got to work securing the engine to the stand (another $35 Craigslist score!) with new Grade 8 hardware.

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After a few hours of labeling and unclipping harness connectors, the engine is stripped and ready for mechanical tear down...

Photo Jun 29, 9 36 37 PM.jpg
 

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I don't know if I agree that the Magnum doesn't produce a lot of power. A stock Magnum compared to a built LS maybe, but how much power do you need for four wheeling over a 4.2 or a 4.0 six cylinder?

I was in upstate New York last week and my rental was a 2018 Hemi Charger. I could have got into a lot of trouble if my wife wasn't with me. As it was, I was only in trouble with Mrs. Lucky. (Couple power slides and an unintentional drift)
I told Mrs. Lucky that I'm going to start looking for a rollover at the salvage distribution pool. She didn't say HELL NO or even plain NO. I could take that as a yes, but I already have a 4.2 under construction. Unless I get a smoking deal on a complete wreck, I expect I'll continue with rebuilding the 4.2.

Make sure that you and Leo keep posting progress pics. What a great father & son project!

I bet pc1p is gonna really enjoy building and driving a Hemi Jeep.

Good Luck, L.M.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Well just to be clear, this is a pre-Hemi Magnum engine, so no slouch especially with a good cam and tune/PCM, but certainly not pushing factory Hemi numbers...

I’m looking for a solid ~320-hp/365-ft-lb, which should be easily obtainable and more than enough for a ~3200 lb YJ!
 

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I'll be keeping my eyes on this. I have a high output 5.9 360 on the engine stand in my shop now. I'm still a little iffy on the wiring. So hopefully I can learn from reading your build.
 

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I'll be keeping my eyes on this. I have a high output 5.9 360 on the engine stand in my shop now. I'm still a little iffy on the wiring. So hopefully I can learn from reading your build.
Interesting you say that...

I got the exhaust manifolds pulled off and was able to wire brush and check the numbers. Turns out, this is a 1995 5.9L! :jawdrop:

IMG_0166.jpg

It didn't click as I was tearing the block apart, but the big chunk of scalloped metal on the crank damper is a dead giveaway of an externally balanced engine (and thus a 5.9L)...

I messaged the guy I bought it from and he had two engines for sale. He mixed up which engine came from which truck and thought he was selling me the 5.2L from his other '95 Ram 1500 and neither of us bothered to check the block casting! He was asking a bit more $$ for the 5.9L - it was stripped of accessories and no harness, but had less miles and ran strong (the truck blew the trans). I settled for the 5.2L, or so I thought, because it was complete with harness and ECU.

So, at the end of it all, I have a bigger engine, with less miles, complete with all parts and accessories... I'm not a religious man, but I have to imagine that if there is a god up there, he is a Jeep guy!

9_funny_jesus_thumbs_up.jpg

With that, the plan hasn't changed at all - moderate rebuild with torque and reliability as #1 and #2 priorities.

My tentative build sheet/plan includes:
- Have the block completely cleaned, fluxed and checked out

- Rebuild, pistons bored if needed, near stock compression but possibly slightly higher with decking as needed or able (targeting 9.2:1 or lower as this seems to be the sweet spot for pump-gas friendly 5.9L's)

- Hughes SER9703ALN-14 roller magnum cam and double-roller chain - This cam is referred to as the "steamroller" cam. Real-world dyno #'s show +23hp/35ft-lbs at 2000 RPM and +25hp/40ft-lbs at peak numbers at the wheels, all on factory heads and intake! With about .507"/.517" of lift and a 197º/203º, it should work well for a street and trail Jeep but really open up the lungs of this engine.

- Up in the air on the cylinder heads. The 5.9L heads are known to crack and although this engine reportedly ran well, who knows what I'll find when I get in there. That being said, cleaning the heads, opening up the spring cuts, etc. plus new valve seats, valves, etc will run $500-600. I can buy a set of Hughes EQ heads ready to bolt in for $1200 and if my old heads are in good shape, I can get ~$200 for the set. IMO, the ~$400 difference is worth the ease and convenience of just ordering a set when I get my cam, plus they don't need to be blended and have bronze valve guides already.

- The factory "kegger" intake will be retained as this producing great power under 4500 RPM, though it can be opened up a bit and is generally good for some extra low end grunt. Additionally, I'll take my time to do a proper plenum gasket repair and to prevent future issues.

Some things to figure out...
- My OBD-I engine has EGR. A lot of people suggest OBD-II conversion since it eliminates the EGR, but I have heard that the non-EGR engines suffer from detonation a bit at higher ambient temperatures (I actually had that issue with my 99 Ram 1500 Sport with 5.9L a number of years ago). I'll need to figure out how to make the EGR work with aftermarket headers...

- Speaking of headers, there aren't many options that are EGR/SMOG friendly. There are a handful of shorty SMOG designs for pick-up trucks. The problem then becomes exhaust interference. The truck manifolds put the exhaust out the rear and that tends to hit things on the Jeep, such as the starter (since I'm flipping that over to the other side with my AX15), or the driveshaft/steering shaft. Doug Thorley makes a very nice set of long-tube headers for a 5.2L Jeep Grand Cherokee which "should" work but I'll need to research that some more. They're pricey (around $800) but are ceramic coated and include the y-pipe. If they clear the starter and shafts, this is probably the route I'll go. If not, I'll probably go with a carbon steel set of center dump block huggers and weld in an ERG tube.
 

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Go get the 5.2 also n use the heads from it
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Working on the harness and verifying that the fuse box harness has the correct ends (it came from a different Ram)...

Photo Jul 01, 3 29 18 PM.jpg

Photo Jul 01, 3 28 30 PM.jpg

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I have been toying with the idea of converting to a 46RH transmission. The 0.69 overdrive ratio isn't the best for the 4.88 gears I have now, but would allow deeper axle gearing (5.38's perhaps). There are some advantages to the 46RH/A518 - It will work with the current harness and PCM I have, I won't have to find a Dakota bellhousing (which are pricier than expected!), I won't have to deal with mixing and matching clutches and flywheels, and it can handle good horsepower with upgrades.

Nothing set in stone as of right now, but I'm exploring the option :)
 

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W a v8 your 4.88's would be more than enough w the steeper od....
 

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W a v8 your 4.88's would be more than enough w the steeper od....
Steeper would be great but the 46RH has a higher OD (lower numerically, 0.69 vs 0.789 of the AX15)... the 10% increase in OD, plus a modest 2.45:1 first gear ratio and heavy tires often lead to issues with the 46RH/518’s. I’ll up the governor pressure a bit if I decide to go that route (actually did a 518 swap on a 440 big block some years ago) but I’d like to keep the crawl ratio as high as possible to keep the pump flowing enough to keep it cool.

Choices, choices! :)
 

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Steeper Higher Numerically lower...... all the same....

You hadn't mentioned crawl ratio or 1st gear and neither did I.... we were just talking OD.....
I'm saying the V8 will have no problem w OD turning lower rpm's.....

Crawl ratio is a whole other can o worms tho
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm saying the V8 will have no problem w OD turning lower rpm's.....
Let's hope so!

I went digging through my external HDD for a trip down memory lane...
28344770072_large (1).jpg

A518.jpg

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With ~32" tires, 4.10 gears, a +400hp big block, and a beefy A518, my old D200 felt like it could have used a bit more gearing! Perhaps the lower weight and modern engine will help...
 

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Wow.... yep.... I did a swap for a buddy 20 yrs ago.... took the 440 out of my 78 dodge champion motorhome n put it and a 727 in the frame from my 78 ramcharger frame... then swapped on his 84 ramcharger body.... iirc I only charged him $1000 for the frame engine and my labor #charity job
The thing was a beast.... he was a dope tho... I shoulda built it for myself instead.
 

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Oooh pc1p I'll be watching this one! Maybe when it's all done I'll make a trip up to Phoenix and check it all out. I've got a buddy of mine with a 95 YJ that's been wanting to do this swap with the AX15, which I would keep if you could.

Just my .02!
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Oooh pc1p I'll be watching this one! Maybe when it's all done I'll make a trip up to Phoenix and check it all out. I've got a buddy of mine with a 95 YJ that's been wanting to do this swap with the AX15, which I would keep if you could.

Just my .02!
Maybe we can plan a drive down to Tucson when I get her done :)

I'd like to keep the AX15 and if I had to say I'm leaning one way, that would be where I'm leaning. The AX has some advantages - I already have one and it seems to handle 300-350 ft lbs well. I wish there were OEM quality slave cylinders (my LUK is working well, but even then I hear they're good for 3 years) but generally I think it will be a reliable setup behind a modest V8.

And the simplest reason to leave the AX... I just like having a manual trans! I suppose there is the option of the NV4500, but it's heavy, clunky and has an almost unusable first gear (on the street at least). The YJ isn't a dedicated rock rig and the manual certainly makes sense on long drive at grade in the western Rockies!
 

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My autozone slave cylinder is over 10 years old now
 

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Mopar slave is still available here

Funny how the prices are always changing on Mopar parts, a couple years ago when I purchased it was $25 less.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Having looked for an original NOS slave from Mopar when mine started to leak, I found that they are non-existent. The current ones offered by Mopar are LUK, in Mopar packaging, with LUK tags. It’s what I got and generally most people say they are happy with them and they last sufficiently long...
 

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Well pc, I am not sure if you are aware, but running s cooler set of plugs can fix the detonation issue. The recommend set are autolite 3923's. They resolved the pinging on my 01 Ram with the 5.9
 

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Well pc, I am not sure if you are aware, but running s cooler set of plugs can fix the detonation issue. The recommend set are autolite 3923's. They resolved the pinging on my 01 Ram with the 5.9
I tried cooler plugs in my 99 5.9L and it helped a bit (though I went with Champions I think). Mopar also offered a spark wire relocation TSB part that helped a bit too (and the local dealer gave it to me for free!). I could still get a bit of ping when getting into the engine a bit uphill, but without causing it to downshift. I tried higher octane gas and that helped some more, but thicker spark wires (8.5mm IIRC) was what did the trick for mine...
 
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