2000 Jeep TJ 318 5.2 Magnum Swap Build

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
***I'll try to keep this as updated as possible between work and my little girl***
I've never really given much thought into making a build thread, but after looking at some of the other builds, I figured since I take so many pictures while I'm doing things to various Jeep's I've owned, I might as well! This is the 1st TJ I have owned that wasn't my only vehicle. I've owned 3 TJ's and 1 XJ. All were fun, but I was limited on what I could do with having a daughter and needing to get to work or school when I was in college. Keeping in mind that I have so far taken 1,000+ photos, ill try to be as accurate as possible as far as a timeline is concerned.
Enough talk, now to the pics and info...

Several months ago, this sad little 2000 Jeep Wrangler SE (2.5 Manual) was owned by my old boss. He had let it sit for several years in this field due to having a broken piston skirt in cylinder 3. He mentioned one day he was going to take it to the junkyard, so I told him NO, and I would give him $400 for it, so he said deal. To ME, that is a deal of a lifetime!
first.jpg

IMG_0040.jpg

Of course the day I brought it home, I stripped all the old nasty carpet and seats out of it, along with the ripped top, and I pulled the doors off. This gave me a better insight into what I was looking at.
first day.jpg

Sold the top for $50, door surrounds for $100, and the full doors for $300. (I really am not a fan of full doors, had them on my other TJs, I would prefer the half doors if I have to have doors on at the time.
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
When I pulled up the carpet, I realized that the floors were soft as baby shiznit...You could almost put your finger through some of the soft areas.
floor1.jpg

floor2.jpg

I decided I would replace those first. I broke out the trusty angle grinder, and took all the rust down with a flap disc to see where the "bad" areas were. Then threw on a cutoff wheel, and cut all the rotted parts out. I used Rust Bullet (my favorite product to stop rust here in the Salt Belt) on the areas surrounding the floor, then used body sealer and rivets to install the floor pan.
floor installed.jpg

floor cut.jpg
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
This part is out of order, but before I even worked on the floors, I pulled the front end off of the Jeep and yanked the junk 4 cyl out (Don't get me wrong, I think the 2.5 is a great engine, but this one was toast).
pulling engine.jpg

engine pulled.jpg

Ended up selling the complete engine for $200, the AX-5 for $150 and the 21 spline 231 transfer case for $100.
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
Noticed that the "torque box" mounts in the center were rusted away, like they are on so many jeeps that deal with salt crap, so I ordered a set of patch panels from RustReparPatch. They fit perfectly! I highly recommend them. I cut out all the really rotted area, coated everything in Rust Bullet as a preventative measure, and then welded them in.
body mount channel.jpg

body mount channel1.jpg

welded in.jpg

Once everything was welded in, I finished sanding and prepping the entire underbody of the tub, and painted it all. While I was at it, I installed a 1" RC body lift, since Advance Adapters recommends a 1" BL for the 318 swap in these Jeeps. Plus the old body mounts were trash anywho.
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
Next, while I was searching for the perfect donor vehicle, I decided to finish up the interior. Typically in a TJ I would be a fan of having no carpet. But keeping in mind that my daughter likes the Jeep, I put carpet in it that can quickly be pulled out. I used "Seatz" indoor/outdoor carpet kit from Quadratec. Color was dang near a perfect match, and it went in great. I also replaced every drain plug in the interior with new easy pull out rubber ones.
Lastly, the seats were in rough shape. Most people would've just looked into seat covers, but I like an original look for the interior. I bought a cheap steam carpet cleaner from Target, and steam cleaned them. They came out looking like they had never really been sat in! The water in the tank of the carpet cleaner was horrific looking, but now thanks to simple green and steam, these smell and feel new!
interior1.JPG

interior2.jpg

interior 3.jpg

interior4 .jpg
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
One day while I was leaving my place to go run some errands, I saw this ZJ sitting on the side of the road with a for sale sign. I stopped to take a look at it, and it was a 5.2 model, which is exactly what I was looking for! The for sale sign said "needs front end work," so I called the owner and he said it needed a new front axle. Obviously I didn't care about that, so I bought it from him and drove it home with the axle roaring like an angry animal and a busted brake line. The interior and body were almost perfect because it had spent the last 5 years in a barn, before sitting on the side of the road with a for sale sign in it. Ended up selling the mint condition interior out of it for $200, the 44re/249 combo for $200, and the shell for $150. Realistically, after paying $750 for the ZJ, and getting $550 in parts sold, the engine and all the parts I needed for the swap cost me next to nothing. If I had land where I could've let it sit, I probably could've almost doubled my money by selling doors, the rear axle, the wheels, etc...but I just didn't have the space for that.
ZJ1.jpg

ZJ2.jpg
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
In the meantime I also dropped the gas tank to replace all the rusty junk related to it. Just look at this....what is sad is that there are people driving around like this...like the gas tank could come crashing down at any minute. A new mopar gas tank skid is only $150 brand new...
gastank3.jpg

Replaced the skid plate, straps, filler neck and filler hoses, everything. Even the evap line, since it happened to fall apart in my hand when I was disconnecting the evap line from the hose that comes from the tank. The previous owner had replaced the main fuel line and all the brake lines somewhat recently, not sure why they didn't do the evap line as well.
gastank1.jpg

gastank2.jpg
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
Now the 318 was on the engine stand, so I could start tearing it apart and giving it a good refresh. Plenum plate since its an extremely common issue for the plenum gasket to fail, oil pan gasket, oil pump, water pump, timing chain, etc etc.
engine1.jpg


Knowing I was going to cut the fenders up, I wanted to install some JK turn signals into the Grille. Looks MUCH better in my opinion than the fender mounted turn signals.
smile.gif
jklights1.jpg

jklights2.jpg


I also decided I would make my own stubby bumper, by cutting off 10" from each side, and then lining it in truck bedliner. I've never been a huge fan of the expensive winch bumpers or stinger bumpers, etc. This stubby bumper will do the job just fine, looks good in my opinion, and I can mount a winch plate right on it and it will look simple. Perfect to me!
bumper.jpg
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
Knowing that this thing had sat for several years, the entire front end suspension and brakes I had to assume were junk. Upon removal, I confirmed it was all junk.
rusty junk.jpg


I got Vatozones highest quality brakes they had (which I might add are actually really nice), Spicer upper and lower ball joints, axle shaft u joints, an wheel hubs. I also decided to ditch the factory steering and do the ZJ steering upgrade since in my opinion, it is the best bang for the buck option. The size difference is insane between the ZJ and TJ steering. Lastly, just bought a RC 2.5 lift and a JKS adjustable heavy duty track bar and sway bar disconnects.
jks.jpg

parts.jpg

RC lift.jpg
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
Here is how everything looked before hand, junk.
old front end.jpg


With everything removed, I gave the axle a nice refresh, and got all the rust crap off and gave it a new coat of paint. Here's a little before and after shot.
front end done.JPG


The new brakes, ball joints, etc etc installed.
new parts.jpg


Front end finished. Much better!

front end1.jpg
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
When I was on vacation I found a set of 35's on craigslist from another TJ for $150. The tires are in rough shape, but I mainly got them for the wheels. In the meantime it will be something to roll on.
wheels.jpg


Got home and threw them on
lift installed.jpg


Sold the stock wheels and tires for $100 locally, so that basically paid for the 35s!
smile.gif
There had been some other things I had done, like cut the front fenders in preparation for some MCE 3" flat fenders, which can be seen in this picture:
random.jpg

Then I realized they were sold out for the time being so I figured I would just leave it like this for a while.
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
Next came the dreaded engine harness, that it seems like people fear. I will admit, in the beginning it was a bit overwhelming having wires all over the place, and 2 completely bare harnesses. but with the FSM's for both the TJ and the ZJ, it was extremely simple. Here is the way I did it:
Knowing that I am keeping the TJ a manual, I decided I would "blend" the wires I needed into the TJ harness. I depinned all 8 injector pins from the ZJ harness and pinned them into the TJ harness. Doing this would give me the correct lengths for the injectors on the engine. Then I went through every connector and cut/spliced what I needed to change from the ZJ harness to the TJ harness. There weren't many changes honestly. I made a small cheat sheet for myself if anyone else is interested in doing their own wiring that will make things simple.
Could look intimidating, but once everything was labeled, it was just more time consuming.
wiring1.jpg

witing2.jpg


After about 12 hours (spread out over a weeks time), it was completed! A few small things to button up, and loom, but for the most part its done! No way in hell I would've paid someone to do something like that.
wiring4.jpg
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
Random shot of the Hughes Engines plenum plate installed on the intake manifold. This was the last step before the engine was back together and completely refreshed.

plenum.jpg


Decided to paint the engine Mopar orange, because I think it looks good. Also replaced the valve covers with some "retro" looking Jeep logo valve covers, since obviously there is no other way to have it in a Jeep!

Here's the engine prepped for paint after a LONG degreasing session with a good friend of mine.
before paint.jpg


Then after the paint job. Didn't care about getting overspray on the valve covers or oil pan since I was going to replace those anyway



painted.jpg


With the valve covers installed (I was waiting on the timing chain/gear set since they were sold out at the parts store):
engine.jpg


And here is the engine all complete!
engine done.jpg

engine done1.jpg


Now really just need to install the injector orings, and give the fuel rails a small coat of paint since they are a little rusty looking. Ripped off the front end of the TJ again, to prepare for the install.

current1.jpg
 
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
And to current day, just need to cut the old engine mounts off and refinish the front frame area, then the new Advance Adapter mounts can be welded in. I'm also still waiting for my block hugger headers to arrive. I've been working on this since June, so I've made decent progress with only having at most, 2 hours to work on it only select nights during the week.
I did have a friend of mine make me some factory looking 5.2L decals:
25E21FBE-8A0A-4146-8C64-2D9D782AA031.jpeg


And here it sits, just awaiting me to have some time to cut the old mounts out. The "higher end" area I live in limits noise (from an angle grinder especially) to daytime hours, which is typically only Saturdays or Sundays for me. Stay tuned for more updates!
41B27181-0A44-442C-B190-6D0A4E7ED4D1.jpeg
 

Nickgsjeep

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2019
Messages
1,505
Location
Southern California
Next, while I was searching for the perfect donor vehicle, I decided to finish up the interior. Typically in a TJ I would be a fan of having no carpet. But keeping in mind that my daughter likes the Jeep, I put carpet in it that can quickly be pulled out. I used "Seatz" indoor/outdoor carpet kit from Quadratec. Color was dang near a perfect match, and it went in great. I also replaced every drain plug in the interior with new easy pull out rubber ones.
Lastly, the seats were in rough shape. Most people would've just looked into seat covers, but I like an original look for the interior. I bought a cheap steam carpet cleaner from Target, and steam cleaned them. They came out looking like they had never really been sat in! The water in the tank of the carpet cleaner was horrific looking, but now thanks to simple green and steam, these smell and feel new!

View attachment 115829
View attachment 115830
View attachment 115831
View attachment 115832
This is unreal!!!! So sick!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Whitetrash
OP
Whitetrash

Whitetrash

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
189
Location
Fairborn, OH
This is unreal!!!! So sick!
Thanks!
As I’ve been waiting on a good time to cut the mounts out, (only certain times of the day I can make that much noise) I modified the alternator/AC bracket since I won’t be running AC on here. Basically just cut it where the AC bracket starts and hit it with a flap disc to make it smooth. I’ll paint it black once the engine is in, which will hopefully be in the next few weeks.
EFF44704-B75D-4C02-A6B4-EED8B8AF3E31.jpeg

5E785483-6329-4138-9E8C-8C19A73338F8.jpeg

DD3010E6-9E77-4E06-9E07-74B9AEEF19FF.jpeg