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Discussion Starter #1
New to the forum and wanted to start a build thread to not only introduce myself, but also share my project with others who might gain from my experiences.

I live in Colorado Springs, CO and have 3 girls and an awesome wife of 19 years.

I have had many jeeps from stock to massively over build crawlers on Tons and 42's. I have built and raced a 4400 Ultra4 car that was very successful with multiple top 5 dirt riot finishes. I have also built a very unique S10 SAS truck that was featured in multiple magazines.

Here are few of my former rides.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Now on to the new project.

As stated above, I have a family with 3 girls and my wife. We needed a vehicle that could haul us all to the mountains, Moab, or where ever we wanted to go. In addition to that, I wanted to be able to daily drive this vehicle as much as possible. I have a 2012 F350 6.7 that I love, but hate using it for in-town driving and can't stand trying to park in parking lots with it.

We decided to buy a JK! However, my budget for this vehicle was $35k. I though, great, that should get me a very nice 2-3 year old nicely built JK that would have all the goodies that I wanted already on it. After looking around at most of the $30-$35K jeeps in my area I came to the conclusion that I was going to need a bigger budget if I was going to get a jeep that was perfectly fitted with what I wanted and had low miles.

I decided to go a different route. I have had many LS vehicles in the past and love the sound, power, simplicity and adaptability. After watching some of Motech's videos on the LS swap, I was hooked.

My new plan was to find a high milage JKUR that I could LS swap. Since I was now looking for an older 07 or 08 JK I figured I could find one that did have a few goodies and still be relatively cheap. Not so fast, JK's just hold their value! I looked for 6 months and couldn't find anything under $20k that was in good shape and fit my wish list. Finally I found one 1200 miles away in Memphis that was perfect.

Introducing project "Second Chance".

2008 JKUR
$16,000
179,000 miles
Auto transmission
3.8 that didn't burn oil
3.5" lift
Brand new 37's
Winch, bumpers, lights.

I jumped on a plan and flew to Memphis and drove it home to Colorado.

This is how it sat before the drive home to Colorado.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Putting a plan together

Now that I had a jeep in my garage, I needed a plan.

Phase I: Daily driver prep.
Radio w/ bluetooth
Window tint
Clean mud from previous owner
Add phone mount
Inspect jeep inside and out

I wanted to make this jeep mine. It needed to have a bluetooth radio so I could talk on the phone and drive. It also needed to have the windows tinted to keep the heat out in the summer. I installed an Alpine head unit with Apple CarPlay and a Hertz powered sub in the back. Tinted windows made all the difference!

Next step was to clean the Tennessee mud out from the frame and all underneath the the jeep. I hate mud and the thought of it packed up under every little nook and cranny was making me cringe. After Hours of cleaning it was apparent that I was going to have to live with some of the mud. It just wasn't going to come out without some major work. I kicked that can down the road for a later day. :puke:

Phase II: Locate and purchase LS engine and 6L80 transmission
Find 6.2 LS3 under 70k miles
Find 6L80 transmission under 70K miles
Find 241J from JKU

More to come....

Pics..... Windows tinted, First wheeling trip.
 

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Now that I had a jeep in my garage, I needed a plan.

Phase I: Daily driver prep.
Radio w/ bluetooth
Window tint
Clean mud from previous owner
Add phone mount
Inspect jeep inside and out

I wanted to make this jeep mine. It needed to have a bluetooth radio so I could talk on the phone and drive. It also needed to have the windows tinted to keep the heat out in the summer. I installed an Alpine head unit with Apple CarPlay and a Hertz powered sub in the back. Tinted windows made all the difference!

Next step was to clean the Tennessee mud out from the frame and all underneath the the jeep. I hate mud and the thought of it packed up under every little nook and cranny was making me cringe. After Hours of cleaning it was apparent that I was going to have to live with some of the mud. It just wasn't going to come out without some major work. I kicked that can down the road for a later day. :puke:

Phase II: Locate and purchase LS engine and 6L80 transmission
Find 6.2 LS3 under 70k miles
Find 6L80 transmission under 70K miles
Find 241J from JKU

More to come....

Pics..... Windows tinted, First wheeling trip.
Welcome Tim! This will be a fun project to watch come together. I'll be following along.

As daily driver, maybe consider adding Mopar headliner kit for the hardtop(if not already installed). It will make the interior more comfortable in hot/cold, take the echo out, and the stereo sounds better.

Keep the posts coming:thumb:


-Steven
 

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:welcome: to the forum Tim. I am ALSO doing a LS swap in my JK.. In all fairness I was supposed to do it last winter and was so busy with work and some other upgrades that I could wedge into my free time I pushed it off to this winter. But Finally the project has started and the JK will be rolling out of the garage this spring under LS power.

I look forward to seeing your build come together and with your prior builds and experience what you do with this JKUR. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sounds like a great project, and a good looking Jeep to start with :thumb:

Thanks, I was really happy with the quality of the jeep I was able to start with. Its not perfect, but its not bad.


Welcome Tim! This will be a fun project to watch come together. I'll be following along.

As daily driver, maybe consider adding Mopar headliner kit for the hardtop(if not already installed). It will make the interior more comfortable in hot/cold, take the echo out, and the stereo sounds better.

-Steven
I have seen that product before and I really like it. I am almost a year behind on this thread so I have some changes to the jeep that will address this issue. Stay tuned.....haha..


Welcome! The future looks bright for this ride, I'm in!
That was almost my name for the build...."Bright Future". Funny you said that.

:welcome: to the forum Tim. I am ALSO doing a LS swap in my JK.. In all fairness I was supposed to do it last winter and was so busy with work and some other upgrades that I could wedge into my free time I pushed it off to this winter. But Finally the project has started and the JK will be rolling out of the garage this spring under LS power.

I look forward to seeing your build come together and with your prior builds and experience what you do with this JKUR. :thumb:
Thanks, Its been one of my favorite builds to date. Its also been one of the easiest builds. JK's are soooo supported from the aftermarket it makes this a very simple process. All my other builds were mostly custom and required hundreds of hours, this has been super fast.

Stay tuned. Ill have some more info on the LS swap up on the thread today.

Here are a few of the my other rigs over the years..... Fun to look back.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
3.8, auto, 4:10's and 37's

Before I get into the LS swap portion of this build, there are some things that need to be explained.

First off, I contacted Robbie at Motech about parts for my swap and got the order made. I was off to the races.......well sort of. The parts from Motech took a few months to get soooooo.......I was forced to drive the 3.8, auto, 4:10's and 37's for a few months more then I had planned too.

With this new time table for parts I spent many weeks driving the jeep around town getting to know the grossly under powered 3.8 and thinking about the conclusions that many have come to with 4:10 gears and 37 inch tires. I am also living and driving at 6300 feet above sea level and my little 3.8 was starving for air on a daily basis. With all those things working against it, I have to say It was not that bad. I read tons of threads about this set up and most if not all point out that you have to re-gear if you plan to keep the setup. I will agree that its not the ideal combination but its a far cry from "you have to re-gear." If you are comfortable living around the 5000 rpm range and you don't mind the sound of your motor screaming all day, its just not that bad. I even drove it up to the mountains a few times and going up the passes is not terrible. I kept it light and didn't overload with gear if I could help it. That surely helped but at the end of the day I was impressed how strong the little 3.8 was. I hope that helps some of you that are thinking about this combination.
 

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My first JK was an 07 with 4:10s, 35s and a manual in the Denver metro area with regular trips to the mountains. Once i did some Superchips adjusting it really was not bad at all. Even towed a PuP to Yellowstone and back with no major issues.

The current 17 JKUR is running 3.73s on an AT and I and 34s at a touch lower base elevation. Again with some tuning it feels just fine. Gonna push my tow rating in a couple of months and might need gears then for sure, but for now it is decent.

Thanks for some reasonable reflection on gearing.


Before I get into the LS swap portion of this build, there are some things that need to be explained.

First off, I contacted Robbie at Motech about parts for my swap and got the order made. I was off to the races.......well sort of. The parts from Motech took a few months to get soooooo.......I was forced to drive the 3.8, auto, 4:10's and 37's for a few months more then I had planned too.

With this new time table for parts I spent many weeks driving the jeep around town getting to know the grossly under powered 3.8 and thinking about the conclusions that many have come to with 4:10 gears and 37 inch tires. I am also living and driving at 6300 feet above sea level and my little 3.8 was starving for air on a daily basis. With all those things working against it, I have to say It was not that bad. I read tons of threads about this set up and most if not all point out that you have to re-gear if you plan to keep the setup. I will agree that its not the ideal combination but its a far cry from "you have to re-gear." If you are comfortable living around the 5000 rpm range and you don't mind the sound of your motor screaming all day, its just not that bad. I even drove it up to the mountains a few times and going up the passes is not terrible. I kept it light and didn't overload with gear if I could help it. That surely helped but at the end of the day I was impressed how strong the little 3.8 was. I hope that helps some of you that are thinking about this combination.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sometime around November of 2017 my Motech parts started to arrive. It was about this time that I had found my motor and transmission. This was an amazing day of energy and excitement. There is nothing like the collection of really cool parts and spending a ton of money to make us all act like little kids at Christmas! I was so excited to get into the project.

I chose a 6.2 L99 with a 6L80 from a 2012 Camaro SS. The car had 88k on it. I know, my goal was to find a 70k or less motor but these are getting hard to find and they are worth gold. I just couldnt bring myself to spend the money on a lower millage setup when a crate motor was only a little more. So I found this setup for $5500 shipped to my door. I was happy with that.

About that time my buddy Josh's parts for his LS swap started to show up as well. Oh yeah, did I mention that my friend was embarking on the same project with the same budget at the same time? However he was traveling over seas for the next two months and wouldn't have time to do the work so I offered to help out. That was when my entire project got a little off track. I decided to do his swap first since he was installing a Gen V 5.3 LT from a 2016 GMC truck and Robbie was sending us Beta products to install. It seamed like the thing to do was to get it done asap so Robbie could have some feed back on his Beta kit.

So the delay on my jeep just got pushed and I was about to begin a crazy install of a motor that very few had installed outside of Motech's shop.

More on this awesome 5.3 LT install in the next post.

Parts for my jeep.....
 

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Parts came in for the LT swap so we jumped in head first. No instructions, no threads about LT swaps, No pictures, we were on our own.

This was such a PITA install. Nothing fit right, nothing was labeled, nothing was going right from day one.

That LT 5.3 is one gigantic motor! Its so much larger then the LS3 its not even close. I understand that my motor is a 6.2 and this one is a 5.3. Im not talking about cubic inches, Im just talking about the overall size of the motor. LT is massive.

On to some pictures. Again, this is not my jeep, but thought you all would like to see a JK with an LT. Box of parts from Motech, always exciting. Last trip out before the swaps start. You can see in the pictures how tight the fit is. After I show you how small and tight the LS3 is in comparison you will get it. We couldn't get the hood to fit so he had to buy a hood that would allow some extra room for the intake. Crazy.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
December 29th, 2017 I pulled the jeep into the shop to begin the LS swap on my jeep. Parts were in the shop and ready to go. I found a buyer for the old 3.8, transmission and T-case. Time to get to work.

The LT swap took 4.5 months of ridiculous issues, fitment problems and mind blowing poor communications with Motech. Never want to do another one of those.

My LS swap will prove to be a very simple and straight forward process. I would do another one without hesitation.
 

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Since the motor I chose had a little higher miles then I wanted, I decided to invest a little into maintenance and make sure this was a solid transplant for years to come. I installed a new timing chain, plugs, wires and sealed everything up nice and clean. Everything looked great and the 88k did not appear to show its self in odd wear or any thing that made me uneasy. The motor looked great.

I also had to convert the 6L80 from a 2x transmission to a 4x4 so the AA adaptor would fit. This required taking off the tail housing, cutting the shaft and installing a new seal. Had to plug a small hole and then install the adaptor. Overall, this was a very easy process.

With this swap you need to buy a new water pump. In the pump housing you have to drill and tap a hole for the temp sensor. this was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. There is very little room in the vain that you have to tap into. I actually screwed up the first try and had to buy a new one. :( That was a painful lesson.

Next step was to pull the old motor and get everything out of the way.

Seeing the old 3.8 out of the jeep you realize that the LS is truly not that much bigger. Its crazy how big the 3.8 is.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
did you buy the whole install kit? ( not the engine/trans) or did you buy from different vendors?
I bought the kit and added the HD radiator and Camaro SS Fan. I am a big believer in the radiator, but the fan is almost annoying its so loud and constant. However, they work really well together. I just wonder sometimes if the 3.6 fan would be quieter.
 
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