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Detail Oriented
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I have become sort of fixated on having a Chevy 350 engine in my TJ. I would use the Novak stuff to make it easier.

I am not interested in going above 300 HP at all. I want more pick-up on the highway and somewhat better mileage. I think my 4.0L has enough grunt for what I do in the dirt, but even properly re-geared it is only so-so on the road — at best.

In favor of a carbed system: I only very rarely have been caught in a situation where a carb would give me hell by being unable to get fuel into the engine, so fuel injection is not really something I am all that worried about. I also want to use my stock NV3550 and the NP231 transfer case, so lots of HP would break stuff and I don't want that; both are rated pretty well when mated with a 350.

I am trying to make this as simple a build as possible, and possibly as CHEAP as I can.

So, tell me why I am a dumbass for not caring about EFI and a generally more modern setup?

I have heard it all; sometimes you just need to hear it again.

And then, anyone who has a carbed SBC 350 in a TJ tell me what has proven to be good and bad about it and whether you would do it again or would move to an LS or Vortec?

An LS swap for me is a non-starter; I just don't have that sort of cash or time for a "fun" vehicle. This TJ was my daily driver for about a decade. (It is a 2003.) I have wanted a SBC 350 in it since day one, but decided to run the 4.0L until it needed a full rebuild and then decide which way to go at that point. Now that it is like my third vehicle I think a 350 would be a hoot to have under the hood.

I want this to be a fun-as-hell ride that won't bankrupt me, and where I wheel super steep inclines are just about impossible. I want simplicity, too.

I have let this issue set since about 2015 and am now ready to think about it again. We finally have a parts yard near us with these engines available, so I could get one cheap to rebuild on my stand. Once it is a runner I could then pull the 4.0L and do the needed frame hacking and welding to get the new motor mounts in. Once it was running I could then rebuild the 4.0L and sell it cheap so it is not wasted. (Or just keep it around. Everyone needs to have a pet engine in the carport, heh, heh…)

If you've ever stuck a 350 with a carb into your TJ please share your thoughts and experiences.

:worthy:
 

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Pro's Chevy small block V8 and V6 engine's are inexpensive and plentiful. IF you arent looking for big horse power you might even consider a V6. The after mkt parts and accs. is just about endless. With the right kit it is just about as painless swap as you can make. there are off road carburetor's available or self learning TBI systems.
Con's Depending on location, model year and engine choice you might run into emission and registration problems. I say go for it.
 

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mpg, reliability, performance all go to the aluminum vortec 5300 over an old school 350.

now that they are getting to the junkyards the price and availability have come down so there arent too many pros for the 350 over a 5300.

I'm done messing with a choke, timing, points, fuel ratio, jets, etc, etc
 

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Efi yes swap from4.0 a big money pit and devalues your Jeep

If you just gotta have more go better and cheaper to supercharge the 4.0

A straight six is a stronger more reliable engine then any v8 and especially one from government motors

Swap will be three times as involved and cost 3 to 4 times what you estimate and only work half as well as you think and devalue your wrangler significantly

It is a rookie dumb moveunless you just have money to burn


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4.2 or 4.6 stroker isn't a bad option either. Plug n play and only a small fortune.
 

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I respectfully disagree. If you want more power in a weekend of work, a supercharger will get you there. But nothing quite beats a v8 swap. A cheap moderately built 350 will easily get you more hp than a supercharged or stroked 4.0 with about the same money, with plenty of options for even more upgrades in the future.

Personally, I started with a Chrysler 360 block, and have so much power it’s nearly hard to drive. I say that if your dream is to build a 350, then go for it.

In my area, it does not lower resale value, only the opposite. But then again, that hasn’t been a concern of mine. It’s your jeep, have fun with it!
 

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Detail Oriented
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Discussion Starter #8
Pro's Chevy small block V8 and V6 engine's are inexpensive and plentiful. IF you arent looking for big horse power you might even consider a V6. The after mkt parts and accs. is just about endless. With the right kit it is just about as painless swap as you can make. there are off road carburetor's available or self learning TBI systems.
Con's Depending on location, model year and engine choice you might run into emission and registration problems. I say go for it.
HA! YES! I am in Mississippi. I could slap an aviation engine in my vehicle and it would not really be considered to be illegal, at least not for emissions. We don't even have an annual vehicle inspection. Now, if I put in an older 350 with emissions prior to my 2003 VIN and then went home to Texas to visit mama I could get into some trouble, but if I stick to mostly around here I should be fine regarding the fumes my vehicle might spew and belch into the atmosphere.

Thanks for the encouragement, sir!
 

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Detail Oriented
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Discussion Starter #9
mpg, reliability, performance all go to the aluminum vortec 5300 over an old school 350.

now that they are getting to the junkyards the price and availability have come down so there arent too many pros for the 350 over a 5300.

I'm done messing with a choke, timing, points, fuel ratio, jets, etc, etc
Good points, all. However, I can get a 350 in decent shape (meaning not really in need of a rebuild) for like $250. (They have become dirt cheap.) The 5300 here goes for much, much more right now. And our local yard does not have them in there for much more than a few hours when they arrive as they have email and texting lists for people to sign up for, and I am about an hour and a half away and would have to take a day off work. I just don't see that happening.

Besides, I *like* the choke and the points. Takes me back to daddy in the driveway back in the late 1960s...

Regardless, I needed to hear your ideas, and I will take them into consideration.

Thanks for your time.
 

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Detail Oriented
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Digger84 said:
Efi yes swap from4.0 a big money pit and devalues your Jeep
Thanks for the financial advice, Digger.

Digger84 said:
If you just gotta have more go better and cheaper to supercharge the 4.0
Thanks for answering a question that was not asked, Digger.

Digger84 said:
A straight six is a stronger more reliable engine then any v8 and especially one from government motors
Thanks for your political views, Digger.

Digger84 said:
Swap will be three times as involved and cost 3 to 4 times what you estimate and only work half as well as you think and devalue your wrangler significantly
Thanks for the financial advice again, Digger.

Digger84 said:
It is a rookie dumb moveunless you just have money to burn
Thanks for the compliment to my intelligence, Digger.

<sigh>
 

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Detail Oriented
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Discussion Starter #12
4.2 or 4.6 stroker isn't a bad option either. Plug n play and only a small fortune.
The thread is not about either. It is a comparison of EFI or carbed SBC in a TJ. I am looking for people who have done this swap and who owned the jeep for a significant time afterwards.

I am moving on from the 4.0L and will no longer reply to posts about it. This is a thread about what I posted above.

I have spent the last five years considering a simple rebuild of my 4.0, a stroker and a V8. The V8 won. I am moving on from the 4.0L engine.

Thanks for your time, though. And thanks for not referring to my project as a dumb rookie move like the above poster, who shall remain nameless, heh, heh…
 

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Although mine is mopar not chevy, the idea is the same. But chevys are much cheaper with a better variety of aftermarket parts. Looking back, I think I would have been happier with carbed instead of efi, because of more ‘lopey’ cam options. I went with the efi mopar to keep my gauges, but now I realize it would have been no big deal otherwise. By doing a carb setup, you can eliminate the pcm and a ton of wiring also. Much simpler design.

Also, I found it very relaxing to build a motor on a stand, you can go as fast or slow as you like. You will not regret it regardless of the build you decide.
 

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Detail Oriented
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Discussion Starter #14
I respectfully disagree. If you want more power in a weekend of work, a supercharger will get you there. But nothing quite beats a v8 swap. A cheap moderately built 350 will easily get you more hp than a supercharged or stroked 4.0 with about the same money, with plenty of options for even more upgrades in the future.

Personally, I started with a Chrysler 360 block, and have so much power it’s nearly hard to drive. I say that if your dream is to build a 350, then go for it.

In my area, it does not lower resale value, only the opposite. But then again, that hasn’t been a concern of mine. It’s your jeep, have fun with it!
Thanks. I agree with everything you said. I have wanted a 350 since my neighbor did one in his CJ7 in 1978. That thing was a little monster and had glass packs with a sound to die for. I could outperform just about all the other local jeeps in San Antonio and Austin. I loved that thing and have always wanted one. However, I really love my TJ so I want to do the swap to it rather than have a monstrous CJ projects, likely with a rusty, holed tub and such. And I prefer the coil springs over the leaf packs.

Anyway, have you done this yourself or actively participated in a swap into a TJ? I have a VORTEC in my 1990 Volvo 740 and it is a real sleeper. Holy crap! So the old school 350 would make me happy. I am just not sure about the carb. Above was mentioned a learning TBI, which sounds interesting, and I will look at that.

More than anything I want absolute simplicity, I don't consider a weekend putzing around the adjustments to the system as wasted time, but more like quality time with someone/thing I love. :)

I am pretty set on the 350 but want to hear from folks about how hard or easy the Novak way of getting the EFI working along with the jeep's stock gauges. I hear they have this computer module that hooks both the Chevy harness and the Jeep harness to one box that communicates with both systems so that the Chevy systems function properly and you can still use the stock dash cluster.

I know there is a way for the Jeep cluster of instruments to work with a 350, too.

I just don't have any sort of idea about which works better or is more "worth it" in the long run.

Please post up any advice you can give me if you have done this. The process of putting a different brand engine into a vehicle has always fascinated me, but the 2003 is the "newest" vehicle I have had to cope with. The computer, emissions, and EFI are far beyond the old beaters from the 1970s and 1980s that I have swapped or helped to swap.

Thanks for your reply...
 

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Detail Oriented
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Discussion Starter #15
Although mine is mopar not chevy, the idea is the same. But chevys are much cheaper with a better variety of aftermarket parts. Looking back, I think I would have been happier with carbed instead of efi, because of more ‘lopey’ cam options. I went with the efi mopar to keep my gauges, but now I realize it would have been no big deal otherwise. By doing a carb setup, you can eliminate the pcm and a ton of wiring also. Much simpler design.

Also, I found it very relaxing to build a motor on a stand, you can go as fast or slow as you like. You will not regret it regardless of the build you decide.
God that looks sweet! Yes, the sheer simplicity of a carb system (fiddly as it can be) makes the build MORE reliable, IMHO. It does have drawbacks, but seems to be the way I will go due to the cost of all this, which is a ton of burden for me. A nice LS would probably set me back about ten grand once everything had been paid for. I have seen such builds, and it is not hard to get up there. The 350 is so much more freaking inexpensive than an LS build.

Thanks for the encouragement. If you have any more photos of the actual build or have any words of wisdom for me, please respond here or send me a message. I have a lot to learn about this specific build but I like learning, so that is a plus.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have swiped a copy of your engine bay, man. I need to look at it for motivation. HAHAHA!!!
 

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Sorry I don’t know anything about getting a chevy to talk to tj gauges. Since mine was mopar (dodge 5.9 magnum) the sensors ‘spoke’ the same language. But if you go with carbed sbc, no computer is needed, you just replace your gauges. They sell an instrument panel for tjs that standard size gauges fit in.

With a junkyard block, consider getting it magnafluxed, bored, and decked, so you start with a clean slate. It cost a couple hundred, but your motor will be like new. You can still use the crank and rods, just need new bearings and pistons.
 

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I went for a bit more performance, it’s stroked to 408, all forged internals and about 10.5:1 compression. Oversized valves, bigger injectors, bored throttle body, etc, etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Great pics! Yeah, I have both Summit Racing and Jegs in the same pile with Quadratec. I know what you mean!

I have been researching this for the past five years. I have a local guy who does magna fluxing and all the cleaning and the decking and such. He has given me a long list of quotes for each service based in several blocks - like a freaking spreadsheet. So I have a good idea as to the cost if I do the 4.0L or a 350 or a 5300. Plus a few more, including Mopar and Ford examples. Again, the 350 wins for a couple of reasons. However, if I get an old one the chances of the magna fluxing finding cracks or pits or other nastiness increase.

I have a friend who claims to have eked out 300 HP from his 350 in his TJ. I have no idea what he did to it; which head, porting, his cams, all that. I will have to find out, or get him to admit he is lying out his butt. But he lives in Oregon and I am in Mississippi and neither of us have jobs that would allow us to physically visit. So I will have to hope he can produce info for me, or at least some part numbers.

I am hoping for a solid 265 to 275 HP using forged parts, but no drastic cams or anything like that. I want a really decent highway vehicle that can still do the off road stuff well. But a nice, round 300 would be fantastic. I just doubt I can do that with stuff I can afford and that it would net me a good engine for the dirt.

Oh well, so much to learn...

Thanks for the pics. That thing is beautiful!
 
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