Indy's 5.3 TJ

Indy

TJ Enthusiast
Original poster
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Joined
Apr 15, 2019
Messages
522
Location
Sacramento Area
Starting my own build thread to keep everything related to my Jeep at one place.

I bought this Jeep in 2010. At that point, I had no idea what to look for ... it was completely stock and I got lucky since it came with Dana 44. It had a 4.0, AX15 and LP30 up front. Both axles were geared at 3.73 without any lockers or limited slip.

Soon after it got a 4 inch lift with 33s. Axles were still open and geared at 3.73. Ran it like that for about a year.

Then came 35's, 4.56s, detroit locker in the rear, HP30 open front and 4.7 stroker motor that I put together. Did Rubicon, Moab and a bunch of other trails with this setup for few years.

As any other Jeeper, there's always this itch of upgrading stuff. So I decided to do a V8 swap with auto transmission. I did months of research since I wanted to do it right and keep it smog legal so I can enjoy it on the road as well. Finally bought a running 03 Tahoe and the swap began. Completely rebuilt the 4L60E transmission in the garage and replaced all hard to get seals on the engine while it was on the stand. Swap took about 2 months. Did all the work myself including ECU tuning, wiring, welding, cutting, exhaust, fuel lines etc. Went through the State Referee to make it street legal swap.

V8 with auto tranny is WHOLE different Jeep in the rocks and on the road. Makes life much easier.

All the work that I did to it (and will continue to do so) is for my whole family (wife and 2 daughters). We go together on almost all of the runs. Kids love off roading and camping on the trails.

Enjoy the pictures and let me know if you have any questions about the swap or anything else.

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How did you tip it over in that photo?

It looks great by the way. I've always wanted to do a 5.3 swap into my TJ. Maybe one of these days I'll actually get around to it!
 
How did you tip it over in that photo?

It looks great by the way. I've always wanted to do a 5.3 swap into my TJ. Maybe one of these days I'll actually get around to it!
Thanks Chris!

That was few years ago at a local off road park (Hollister - Truck Hill) going up a very steep hill. I was about mid way when the transfer case went to neutral (stock linkage). Lost power to the wheels, hit the brakes and Jeep starts to slide sideways. Looked back so I can steer it back down in a controlled way but it was a dust bowl behind me. Couldn't see anything and the rear passenger tire got caught in the brush that moved the Jeep sideways. Did a complete roll and luckily it stopped on it's side before the second one began.

Me and my buddy were wearing seat belts and came out without a single scratch. We rolled the Jeep on it's feet with help from other people and did the rest of the Hollister. It was a fun day for sure!
 
Thanks Chris!

That was few years ago at a local off road park (Hollister - Truck Hill) going up a very steep hill. I was about mid way when the transfer case went to neutral (stock linkage). Lost power to the wheels, hit the brakes and Jeep starts to slide sideways. Looked back so I can steer it back down in a controlled way but it was a dust bowl behind me. Couldn't see anything and the rear passenger tire got caught in the brush that moved the Jeep sideways. Did a complete roll and luckily it stopped on it's side before the second one began.

Me and my buddy were wearing seat belts and came out without a single scratch. We rolled the Jeep on it's feet with help from other people and did the rest of the Hollister. It was a fun day for sure!

Wow! Any damage from that roll, or was it mostly untouched?

That could have been far worse, you could have rolled multiple times down that hill!
 
Wow! Any damage from that roll, or was it mostly untouched?

That could have been far worse, you could have rolled multiple times down that hill!
That was absolutely the best case scenario roll for sure. Very minor (next to nothing) body damage. Ohh .. another good thing out of it was that now I know about which angle the Jeep will roll at.
 
Thanks Chris!

That was few years ago at a local off road park (Hollister - Truck Hill) going up a very steep hill. I was about mid way when the transfer case went to neutral (stock linkage). Lost power to the wheels, hit the brakes and Jeep starts to slide sideways. Looked back so I can steer it back down in a controlled way but it was a dust bowl behind me. Couldn't see anything and the rear passenger tire got caught in the brush that moved the Jeep sideways. Did a complete roll and luckily it stopped on it's side before the second one began.

Me and my buddy were wearing seat belts and came out without a single scratch. We rolled the Jeep on it's feet with help from other people and did the rest of the Hollister. It was a fun day for sure!
Did you ever get that new windshield from on it?
 
Yup.. still sitting in the backyard.
It would probably look alot better on your Jeep. It's really not that hard to put on. You did a major engine, transmission swap, all new gauges, reroute the exhaust, not to mention the wiring and the windshield frame still sits in the back yard. :-)
 
It would probably look alot better on your Jeep. It's really not that hard to put on. You did a major engine, transmission swap, all new gauges, reroute the exhaust, not to mention the wiring and the windshield frame still sits in the back yard. :-)
Hahaha .. true .. just been lazy and been putting it off by saying it's just cosmetic.
 
Thanks Chris!

That was few years ago at a local off road park (Hollister - Truck Hill) going up a very steep hill. I was about mid way when the transfer case went to neutral (stock linkage). Lost power to the wheels, hit the brakes and Jeep starts to slide sideways. Looked back so I can steer it back down in a controlled way but it was a dust bowl behind me. Couldn't see anything and the rear passenger tire got caught in the brush that moved the Jeep sideways. Did a complete roll and luckily it stopped on it's side before the second one began.

Me and my buddy were wearing seat belts and came out without a single scratch. We rolled the Jeep on it's feet with help from other people and did the rest of the Hollister. It was a fun day for sure!


I know that hill and almost rolled my YJ there.

Nice looking swap and TJ. Like your gauges and dash a lot.
 
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So, what's next on the build list? Wontons? I know you've been talking about it. Sounds like maybe a Currie front track bar maybe on the short list?
 
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So, what's next on the build list? Wontons? I know you've been talking about it. Sounds like maybe a Currie front track bar maybe on the short list?
MC track bar has no other issues other than keeping it lubricated which is easy to do. So going to keep it as is till I do wontons.

Wontons won't be untill at least next year. Gotta buy a house before that.

No other major plans for the Jeep for now. Maybe work on the cosmetic stuff like @lowranger mentioned.