Question on engine swaps - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-24-2013, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Question on engine swaps

So Im in the market for a JKU but Im hoping to keep cost low for now so I can pay off my student loans too. Ive seen several high milage JKUs in the $15k range which is a great price for me. That being said, a lot of them are over 100-150k miles so I wouldnt expect it to be trouble free for years to come.
Im considering buying something like this with the intent to swap the engine down the road but I have a few questions.

What, if any, kits are available besides the AEV Hemi kit and the 3.9 Cummins?

How expensive would each of the swaps be if I did the work myself?

How much would a new OEM engine and/or transmission cost? And can the 07-11s be upgraded to the 3.6?

Does this seem like a terrible idea? I could afford a new wrangler but I would be better off financially if I could buying something cheaper until I get my loans paid off. I make enough now to where I can handle both a new car payment and my loan but I wouldnt have all that much to spare which I dislike (no mod money!)

Any advice? Im dying to get a JKU!
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-24-2013, 08:44 PM
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It took me 15 years to pay off my student loans, so I can relate. If you are looking for a replacement engine with a modest increase in power I would suggest a GM 5.3 V8 from Motech. Your Jeep will cost $15K, and a 5.3 swap cost just under $14K, so that gets you into a V8 JKU for under $30K. If you are looking for a big increase in power then you'll need to consider a GM 6.2, or even a 6.4 Hemi, which is what I have. The price goes up considerably with the power increase, but the fun factor of driving that Jeep goes through the roof.
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 04:54 AM
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Search for MoTech if you would consider a Chevy V8 swap (they tend to be cheaper and arguably better). They have a ton of knowledge in the threads they have posted. They would also be a good source for a cheap 3.8 if your high mileage one would crap out before you want to spend the funds on a V8 swap.

Come to terms with this now: No V8 swap is going to be cheap.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 05:25 AM
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the big factor of engine swap cost is how much you can get the motor/tranny for deals can be found. i think i saw in motechs post they charge around 5k for labor. but its alot of work. is it doeable in a home garage? yes. theres also a thead of one guys swap in his home garage.

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post #5 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Fortunately it wont be my only vehicle so I can afford to spend a couple weekends doing the swap without it being a big setback. Ive never swapped an engine before but I am fairly mechanically inclined and my dad is a mechanic (airline).

I guess my main question is if I can do all of the work myself and source decent prices on parts, whats the lowest cost I could do a V8 or diesel swap? My dad has a miata and they make several V8 kits for them but the cost varies a lot depending on if you do it and what kits you use. It can cost over $10k easily to pay someone but some guys have managed the same thing for well under $5k doing it themselves (they also made their own fixtures/brackets though so it wasnt much of a kit build)
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 12:31 PM
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Honestly man, it sounds like you are way too impatient to get a JK. I would suggest take a step back and ask if you really need one. Since you already have a primary vehicle, what is the love affair with a JK? If you just want a monster, weekend warrior rig then why not consider an XJ or TJ/LJ? IMO, it doesn’t make sense to shell out $15K for a high mileage JK and to turn around and spend another $15K in an engine swap. If you are trying to avoid the money pit, that doesn’t sound like the solution. You can get into a 2014 JK Unlimited Sport for around $27K loaded.

-Dan

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post #7 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel_M View Post
Honestly man, it sounds like you are way too impatient to get a JK. I would suggest take a step back and ask if you really need one. Since you already have a primary vehicle, what is the love affair with a JK? If you just want a monster, weekend warrior rig then why not consider an XJ or TJ/LJ? IMO, it doesn’t make sense to shell out $15K for a high mileage JK and to turn around and spend another $15K in an engine swap. If you are trying to avoid the money pit, that doesn’t sound like the solution. You can get into a 2014 JK Unlimited Sport for around $27K loaded.

-Dan
I recently moved to a very mountainous area and expect a decent bit of snow. I currently drive a RWD 300+ RWHP mustang on summer tires. I need something 4x4 just for daily driving but also because there are a lot of rough, back country roads and trails around here that I would like to check out. I also need something that can tow my jet skis.
The idea behind the 15k now and motor swap later is that I can get the vehicle I need soon, start upgrading it slowly while saving and paying off my loan, then when/if it comes time to replace the motor I can build it to something with real power.

Spending $25k on a car isnt a huge issue, its spending it all right now when I have a loan I would like to focus on. I could afford both but I wouldnt have nearly as much "extra" money.
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-26-2013, 10:11 AM
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I just finished a Motech v8 swap into my 2007 and I've had just a couple of little test drives so far but I think it's gonna be great. The engine and tranny cost me $3000 for a 2012 LC9 with 18k Kim's on it. I think the kit with the adapters and such is around $6000 and I sold my old engine for $2000. Add another $1000 or so in extras so about $8000 to do it yourself. It's not hard but takes time waiting for parts and programming. The actual engine swap is quite easy.

A new Jk here is getting closer to $42000 so I had a lot left over to build what I wanted and its way better than stock. I'm probably close to $40000 into it now but it's built up now.

I'd say a lift kit and tires first then go from there. I towed a 2200 lb tent trailer 17 hours to Moab and back a couple of times, once with 32's and once with 35's. once I got the 35's I needed more power on the highway but basic off road was okay. I should have my new gears in next week and ill be able to post if it was worth all the work.

Sean
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-26-2013, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AXIS View Post
Fortunately it wont be my only vehicle so I can afford to spend a couple weekends doing the swap without it being a big setback. Ive never swapped an engine before but I am fairly mechanically inclined and my dad is a mechanic (airline).

I guess my main question is if I can do all of the work myself and source decent prices on parts, whats the lowest cost I could do a V8 or diesel swap? My dad has a miata and they make several V8 kits for them but the cost varies a lot depending on if you do it and what kits you use. It can cost over $10k easily to pay someone but some guys have managed the same thing for well under $5k doing it themselves (they also made their own fixtures/brackets though so it wasnt much of a kit build)
I'm not well versed in this but I think your only economical swap is to a V8. From what I understand with the diesel, you are going to pay more for the engine as well as everything related to the swap is more because you have to swap out more(ie:fuel system). I also believe that it weights more so you will need to address your suspension.

Like I said, I'm not well versed in this so hopefully others will chime in with more info for you.

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post #10 of 12 Old 10-26-2013, 02:54 PM
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I have looked into buying a high mileage JKU that's been taken care of just to do an LS swap. It made sense to me until I realized I'd lose quite a bit in the mods I've already done to my current one, some permanent and some not but I ain't taking all that shit off. So in the mean time I'm just waiting and saving


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post #11 of 12 Old 10-26-2013, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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I guess what thing that will help sway me one way or the other is whats the life expectancy for a fairly well maintained 3.8 and automatic tranny?

I could easily justify buying 100k+ miles if many of them are lasting well above that. I went by a dealership today and they were asking $35k-$50k for all of their JKUs (they were almost all lifted with tires and a few add ons. Not nearly enough to justify their markup though).

Spending $15k on a used one that I can build up over time would be great by me as long as I can expect the motor to last a good while. I love DIY mods so building one isnt a problem. My mustang has been modded a lot over the years and it much nicer than it was stock (leather interior, audio, exterior, suspension, etc.)
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post #12 of 12 Old 10-26-2013, 10:46 PM
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^^^ This changes the question ^^^

JK's are amazing, IMO. So much so that many of us buy older vehicles to DD and drive while our newer model JK's eclipse the point of "toy" status.

Anyway- low mile motors from the likes of Motech go for 1,200-1,500 minus shipping... and that is for motors with sometimes as little as 80 miles. So the myth that you can replace the v6 for the cost of a swap is "forum fodder".

I know this because I have tried to do the swap with the same budget that a shop done 3.8 replacement would cost- and ended up with another 3.8L. Now I am getting into a 5.3L swap, and even with trying to cut corners with a carb'd setup (dont) you still are not going to get under $5k going with a reputable and established (MoTech) conversion shop for a DYI kit centered around the LS.

An 80 to 80k mile motor, with accessories, for $1,500 is a solid option IMO.

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