1997 Wrangler - 5.3 LS swap TJWhite

TJWhite

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Jun 6, 2024
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Ohio
Hello, I’m a new member but I was viewing a thread on this forum about another LS swap and found some good information but was sadden by the abrupt end of any updates. There’s some information that I still need and was hoping I can find it here. I plan on keeping up to date on this thread, and asking questions.
So far I’ve been making a spreadsheet trying to get a price area and a plan. This project is between me and my stepdad and well we haven’t started anything yet (We need to fix the daily driver first) but as I mentioned I want to get a pre-game plan done so we aren’t bats in the day going into this.

Linked below is the spreadsheet that I have been adding stuff to.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-eFmzRoHYvkF_MriYCy8zIkBrRKJQqgPvMy9tFKdqSg/edit

So far, my idea is Novak engine mounts, we have the 5.3 already, we are unsure of what transmission is in the donor truck, if it’s a 4l80 we’re going to use it (and throw a manual valve body on it) but if it’s a 4l60 we’ve decided to not use it, and have no plan for if it is a 4l60 yet.

Suspension wise, I’m looking at a jks 2in lift with fox shocks. The kit is linked on the spreadsheet, what else do I need involving this? I’m unsure if I am missing something like control arms etc. and a 1.25in savvy body lift.

I have headers on there that I believe is needed to fit. And axle wise, we want to do a Dana 60 front and a 14 bolt rear end. I have no clue what’s needed to mount these and make it work and that’s what sparked me mainly to make an account and ask.
I believe stock the Jeep had a 4cyl (engine isn’t in it) and it has an ax15 still with it. Everything else also seems to be there, just the engine isn’t.

I apologize for a long intro post. Any and all help is much appreciated. Thank you.
 
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Hello, I’m a new member but I was viewing a thread on this forum about another LS swap and found some good information but was sadden by the abrupt end of any updates. There’s some information that I still need and was hoping I can find it here. I plan on keeping up to date on this thread, and asking questions.
So far I’ve been making a spreadsheet trying to get a price area and a plan. This project is between me and my stepdad and well we haven’t started anything yet (We need to fix the daily driver first) but as I mentioned I want to get a pre-game plan done so we aren’t bats in the day going into this.

Linked below is the spreadsheet that I have been adding stuff to.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-eFmzRoHYvkF_MriYCy8zIkBrRKJQqgPvMy9tFKdqSg/edit

So far, my idea is Novak engine mounts, we have the 5.3 already, we are unsure of what transmission is in the donor truck, if it’s a 4l80 we’re going to use it (and throw a manual valve body on it) but if it’s a 4l60 we’ve decided to not use it, and have no plan for if it is a 4l60 yet.

Suspension wise, I’m looking at a jks 2in lift with fox shocks. The kit is linked on the spreadsheet, what else do I need involving this? I’m unsure if I am missing something like control arms etc. and a 1.25in savvy body lift.

I have headers on there that I believe is needed to fit. And axle wise, we want to do a Dana 60 front and a 14 bolt rear end. I have no clue what’s needed to mount these and make it work and that’s what sparked me mainly to make an account and ask.
I believe stock the Jeep had a 4cyl (engine isn’t in it) and it has an ax15 still with it. Everything else also seems to be there, just the engine isn’t.

I apologize for a long intro post. Any and all help is much appreciated. Thank you.

Welcome to the forum. There are a few LS swap threads so I'm not sure which one you're talking about so a bit more info might help in identifying it.

If your TJ had a 4 cylinder engine then it would have had a AX-5 not AX15 transmission in it unless someone did a swap. There are some transmission ID threads and might help.

If you're trying to run a Dana 60 front & 14B rear IMO you'll need a lot more than 2" of lift. You'll need brackets for whatever suspension you decide to run that will need to be welded onto the axles. Also when running axles as large as those most people are running 40" or larger tires so I'd ask what your plans are for your Jeep first off. If you are planning on making this a daily driver then I'd suggest different axles. If you're going to make this a trail rig then those axles will be fine but to run 40" tires you'll need a LOT more than 2" of lift.

You are better off to make plans now before you start purchasing too many parts and then once you have a plan in place then buy your needed parts.
 
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Welcome to the forum. There are a few LS swap threads so I'm not sure which one you're talking about so a bit more info might help in identifying it.

If your TJ had a 4 cylinder engine then it would have had a AX-5 not AX15 transmission in it unless someone did a swap. There are some transmission ID threads and might help.

If you're trying to run a Dana 60 front & 14B rear IMO you'll need a lot more than 2" of lift. You'll need brackets for whatever suspension you decide to run that will need to be welded onto the axles. Also when running axles as large as those most people are running 40" or larger tires so I'd ask what your plans are for your Jeep first off. If you are planning on making this a daily driver then I'd suggest different axles. If you're going to make this a trail rig then those axles will be fine but to run 40" tires you'll need a LOT more than 2" of lift.

You are better off to make plans now before you start purchasing too many parts and then once you have a plan in place then buy your needed parts.

Welcome to the forum. There are a few LS swap threads so I'm not sure which one you're talking about so a bit more info might help in identifying it.

If your TJ had a 4 cylinder engine then it would have had a AX-5 not AX15 transmission in it unless someone did a swap. There are some transmission ID threads and might help.

If you're trying to run a Dana 60 front & 14B rear IMO you'll need a lot more than 2" of lift. You'll need brackets for whatever suspension you decide to run that will need to be welded onto the axles. Also when running axles as large as those most people are running 40" or larger tires so I'd ask what your plans are for your Jeep first off. If you are planning on making this a daily driver then I'd suggest different axles. If you're going to make this a trail rig then those axles will be fine but to run 40" tires you'll need a LOT more than 2" of lift.

You are better off to make plans now before you start purchasing too many parts and then once you have a plan in place then buy your needed parts.

Here’s the thread: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/5-3-ls-swapped-tj.63375/

Okay thank you, I’m very unfamiliar with Jeeps. There was a 4.0 that was ready to be swapped into the jeep and I’m honestly unsure of what was in it before it was taken out so I’m going off of what I believe it could’ve been.

My idea was daily/fun driving with a little bit of trails but nothing crazy (my dad has a trail rig built jeep with a 5.3 that he dailies but I’m not looking to do the same stuff as him. It’s on 40’s with big axles) and I don’t think my stepdad plans on going the trail rig route either. I’ll have to discuss it with him because 40’s, a 5.3 LS, trail built jeep is not going to be pretty on the wallet or the mpg. He mentioned he didn’t want it lifted too much because it’s unstable.

and that was my thought with the spreadsheet and this thread.

Thank you!
 
What size tire are you wanting to run?

Haven’t really thought about it yet. But I think 34-36 is what I would think is reasonable for what I’d want out of the build. 40 is awfully large for daily use.
 
Haven’t really thought about it yet. But I think 34-36 is what I would think is reasonable for what I’d want out of the build. 40 is awfully large for daily use.

Your current Dana 30 & Dana 35 can handle 33" tires with just up grading the Dana 35 axles or if you want to run 35" tires then doing a Super 35 kit on it will allow them & the Dana 30 doesn't need anything other than regearing it for 35" tires. But you'll need a 4" suspension & 1.25" body lift to run 35" tires.
 
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Your current Dana 30 & Dana 35 can handle 33" tires with just up grading the Dana 35 axles or if you want to run 35" tires then doing a Super 35 kit on it will allow them & the Dana 30 doesn't need anything other than regearing it for 35" tires. But you'll need a 4" suspension & 1.25" body lift to run 35" tires.

I’ve read and heard that 6in is too high so most people do 5.25 (4in suspension 1.25 body) so should I just go ahead and do that and not waste time on a lesser height?
 
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I’ve read and heard that 6in is too high so most people do 5.25 (4in suspension 1.25 body) so should I just go ahead and do that and not waste time on a lesser height?

If your end goal is 35" tires then yes.
 
If your end goal is 35" tires then yes.

35+ = 4” suspension and 1.25” body to my understanding

What would you recommendation for suspension be? Trying to keep it $1400 or less but quality.

Much appreciated
 
I’m unsure. I personally wanted to run a ford 8.8 rear and a Dana 44 front and not have it lifted so much so that it’s not uncomfortable to drive.

Yeah, you don't need those axles for 35's. when you put one tons under a rig, I'm expecting 40's at a minimum, so I was confused about your lift height.
 
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Yeah, you don't need those axles for 35's. when you put one tons under a rig, I'm expecting 40's at a minimum, so I was confused about your lift height.
Well I guess I have no clue what we’re even doing with this built atp. I was trying to keep it not an expensive pita. But if we’re doing one tons that require a lot of lift and big tires that’s probably like $3500-&5000 right there
 
Well I guess I have no clue what we’re even doing with this built atp. I was trying to keep it not an expensive pita. But if we’re doing one tons that require a lot of lift and big tires that’s probably like $3500-&5000 right there

It's $5K + for 35" tires if you do it properly. That's why I suggested you read that thread and look up some of the kits & parts listed.

Savvy or Rockjock 4" suspension lift & Savvy or BMB 1.25" body lift.
Rockjock front & rear track bars
BMB big brake kit

This is just the start of it.
 
It's $5K + for 35" tires if you do it properly. That's why I suggested you read that thread and look up some of the kits & parts listed.

Savvy or Rockjock 4" suspension lift & Savvy or BMB 1.25" body lift.
Rockjock front & rear track bars
BMB big brake kit

This is just the start of it.
I’m back with an update.

Well, negative is it’s lead to an argument.

The positive is I slightly understand what we’re building now (it’s dumb) he wants to do one tons so that we can “handle the power” of a 200,000k mile truck ls with a mild cam. He claims Dana 44’s are just 10 bolts are they’re horrible and ford 8.8’s are supposedly bad as well. He doesn’t want to lift it beyond my original lift, and he doesn’t want to run big tires. So I literally don’t understand his logic behind running such big axles but not running all the other proper stuff. There’s no clear answer on the build but he claims that he knows what he’s doing because he’s built mud trucks before. We aren’t building this to go mudding but supposedly we aren’t building it for trails either.

Now this was an over the phone conversation and it will be a lot easier to clear things up in person (tomorrow night hopefully) so I will get back with more information as I get it.

But I can find no justification of one tons instead of the 44 and 8.8 other than “they’re bad” (I can’t find anything claiming their bad, they aren’t one tons obviously, but they seem solid and perfect for the build)

Thank you all
 
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I’m back with an update.

Well, negative is it’s lead to an argument.

The positive is I slightly understand what we’re building now (it’s dumb) he wants to do one tons so that we can “handle the power” of a 200,000k mile truck ls with a mild cam. He claims Dana 44’s are just 10 bolts are they’re horrible and ford 8.8’s are supposedly bad as well. He doesn’t want to lift it beyond my original lift, and he doesn’t want to run big tires. So I literally don’t understand his logic behind running such big axles but not running all the other proper stuff. There’s no clear answer on the build but he claims that he knows what he’s doing because he’s built mud trucks before. We aren’t building this to go mudding but supposedly we aren’t building it for trails either.

Now this was an over the phone conversation and it will be a lot easier to clear things up in person (tomorrow night hopefully) so I will get back with more information as I get it.

But I can find no justification of one tons instead of the 44 and 8.8 other than “they’re bad” (I can’t find anything claiming their bad, they aren’t one tons obviously, but they seem solid and perfect for the build)

Thank you all

I think I'd let my stepdad build that one himself. I don't predict a good ending.
 
If it were me, I'd probably do the engine swap first with the lift/tires, etc as is to get that out of the way and then sort out the axles, lift, etc when he knows what he wants to build for. But one ton axles with 35" tires doesn't make sense to me at all. They will stick out proudly from the sides and look goofy AF, cost quite a large sum to install and in the end you will drag the diff on everything even on mild trails.
 
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