Looking for advice on engine swaps


Crazychase03Tj

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I could use some help, I want to do a engine swap in my 2003 tj and I was thinking of going with a 5.7 sbc or a 6.0 engine. If anyone has done a swap can you give me a few pointers before I Jump right into it.
 

Wildman

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There are a lot of write-ups and build threads of people who have done a LS swap into a TJ. The other option to look at with your year of TJ is a Hemi swap. None of these are cheap to do if you want it done right.




You can also use a Dodge magnum 5.2/5.9 engine as 03 was the last year they were offered in the truck line but they are very hard to find and to be honest they do not make the same power as a LS or Hemi and are known to be a little more thirsty. If you look at other forums and do a search online you will find answers and tips on doing your swap.
 

Chris

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Yep, X2 to what he said. There's so many possibilities, you just have to decide how much you have to spend, because to think you can do this for under 10k and do it right is a huge mistake. Prepare to spend 15k plus I would say if you want to do it right.

Many here have done V8 swaps from @RangerRick to @pcoplin and @Wildman.

Swapping in an engine from a Dodge or Mopar is likely going to be a bit easier, but the LS swaps will of course have way more aftermarket support / tuning options.

Both are very well documented.
 
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Apparition

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Yep, X2 to what he said. There's so many possibilities, you just have to decide how much you have to spend, because to think you can do this for under 10k and do it right is a huge mistake. Prepare to spend 15k plus I would say if you want to do it right.

Many here have done V8 swaps from @RangerRick to @pcoplin and @Wildman.

Swapping in an engine from a Dodge or Mopar is likely going to be a bit easier, but the LS swaps will of course have way more aftermarket support / tuning options.

Both are very well documented.
If anybody watches Bullshitkorner on YouTube he’s just finishing up an LS swap.

He claims it cost him about $7500 Canadian, IIRC

It’s worth a watch because he highlights all the issues with parts he’s purchased that are made poorly or just plain don’t work. Seems he’s had to correct parts at about every step.
 

TimboSlice

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If anybody watches Bullshitkorner on YouTube he’s just finishing up an LS swap.

He claims it cost him about $7500 Canadian, IIRC

It’s worth a watch because he highlights all the issues with parts he’s purchased that are made poorly or just plain don’t work. Seems he’s had to correct parts at about every step.

He convinced me not to do it!!!!!!! Great channel to watch if you are considering.
 
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Chris

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If anybody watches Bullshitkorner on YouTube he’s just finishing up an LS swap.

He claims it cost him about $7500 Canadian, IIRC

It’s worth a watch because he highlights all the issues with parts he’s purchased that are made poorly or just plain don’t work. Seems he’s had to correct parts at about every step.

There's a way to do it cheaper. For instance, if you source everything from a wrecked vehicle and don't rebuild any of it. However, after speaking with Novak in depth when I considered my 5.3 swap, they highly advised me that I could get away with no rebuilding the engine, but I'd be foolish to put a used auto transmission in and not refresh it first.

I agree with that as well, as transmissions can always be iffy when they are used.

Another expense is the conversion parts. If you want all the parts to make it a plug-and-play swap, that adds to the cost considerably. Novak makes all the parts that allow you to just plug things in, but they aren't cheap, that's for sure.
 

Apparition

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There's a way to do it cheaper. For instance, if you source everything from a wrecked vehicle and don't rebuild any of it. However, after speaking with Novak in depth when I considered my 5.3 swap, they highly advised me that I could get away with no rebuilding the engine, but I'd be foolish to put a used auto transmission in and not refresh it first.

I agree with that as well, as transmissions can always be iffy when they are used.

Another expense is the conversion parts. If you want all the parts to make it a plug-and-play swap, that adds to the cost considerably. Novak makes all the parts that allow you to just plug things in, but they aren't cheap, that's for sure.
I’m in agreement with that, howeverBSK bought his engine from a builder and had many issues from it.

He also has sourced most of the Novak conversions and run into issues.

My opinion if I were to do it I’d probably get a crate engine and freshly rebuilt tranny.
 
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Wildman

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I’m in agreement with that, howeverBSK bought his engine from a builder and had many issues from it.

He also has sourced most of the Novak conversions and run into issues.

My opinion if I were to do it I’d probably get a crate engine and freshly rebuilt tranny.

While not a LS engine I can attest to the pitfalls of using a used engine and transmission. Within the first year I had to have my used transmission rebuilt and then 4 years after the swap my engine needed to be worked on. These swaps are fun and make out TJ's even better but if you want a trouble free rig it isn't cheap.
 

Chris

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I’m in agreement with that, howeverBSK bought his engine from a builder and had many issues from it.

He also has sourced most of the Novak conversions and run into issues.

My opinion if I were to do it I’d probably get a crate engine and freshly rebuilt tranny.

I agree. When I was going to do it, I had planned on paying for a crate engine and rebuilt transmission, then having Novak ship it to me on a palette with all of their conversion parts so that all I had to do was swap it in. Everything was going to be assembled and put together already, taking almost all the guess work out.

This was going to cost me 18k, so not cheap by any means.

Of course I didn't go through with it, but that's about as far as I got.
 
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someguysjeep

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a big V8 sounds appealing.
but in reality my TJ has enough power for what i need.

now the torque is another tangent and i'd rather shell out 2k for a rubicrawler than 15k to rev a big 8 and beat on my ring gears.
 
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Wildman

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a big V8 sounds appealing.
but in reality my TJ has enough power for what i need.

now the torque is another tangent and i'd rather shell out 2k for a rubicrawler than 15k to rev a big 8 and beat on my ring gears.

Well I had the 4 little squirrels in mine and with what I wanted to do with it I know the 2.5 wasn't going to be enough. I could have sold my TJ and found a 4.0 TJ or LJ but mine was paid for so to me it made more sense to do a engine swap.
Since you have a 04 TJ you are limited to either a Hemi or a LS pretty much. And neither one of them are cheap but I do think if you were fugal you could do it for a lot less than $15K. Maybe 2/3 of that? But that is if you can do wiring and other stuff yourself.
 
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Longhorn84

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I could use some help, I want to do a engine swap in my 2003 tj and I was thinking of going with a 5.7 sbc or a 6.0 engine. If anyone has done a swap can you give me a few pointers before I Jump right into it.
Just got mine on the road after a 5.3 swap, Wildman linked to my post above. Happy to share thoughts and lessons learned. I have also watched BSKGarage and he's an awesome resource. However, he ran into many issues I didn't have at all, it was pretty interesting to see the differences. Novak is an incredible resource but they can't solve all of your problems, each situation is unique. Having gone through the pain, I can say it has been worth it for sure.
 

Wildman

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Even with all the trouble I have had with my swap I'm glad that I did it. While the magnum V-8 isn't the same as the LS back when I did my swap they were just hitting the market. And I liked the ease of using a Dodge engine but I also understand the reasons for doing a LS swap.
 
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Longhorn84

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And I just posted 5 videos on my swap to where I am current day. Hope to clean up a few odds and ends and get it inspected this weekend, I suspect I'll add a 6th video over the next week or so.