This thread is for all us Jeepers who want a powerful torque monster (2009-2011 Ram Truck Hemi, 5.7 vvt) to install at home. After 6 months of research, I used Jeep Speed Shop’s (JSS) kit and I will highlight the pros and cons with both JSS and their kit. I started with a 2007 JK 2dr Rubicon 6-Speed with the following major upgrades that in one way or another affected the swap. Dynatrac Dana 60s, PSC Extreme Hydro Assist Steering, High Steer Conversion, ARB Lockers with Compressor mounted under hood, sPod, and Tom Woods Driveshafts.
Everything contained here is based on my experience. I am not a salesman, I am a 30 year old shade tree mechanic who has rebuilt a few engines and swapped in a few engines the past 13 years, but none as complicated, expensive, and technical as this (although this swap is still not that bad). I have an average set of hand and air tools, a MIG welder, a Plasma Cutter, an engine hoist with leveler, a grinder, and a Sawzall all of which I used on the swap. I did not take a picture of every step as I was usually dirty and if you need pics of how to remove your old engine, you are in over your head. I will at times in this post reuse JSS pics and also add my own. I was able to do almost the entire install myself except for the following: pulling out and putting in with the engine hoist and lifting the T-case back up to the trans.
TIP = Buy this tool to pull the ton of trim and harness plugs off of the various parts of the JK. It will save you hours over a flathead… You’ll thank me!
Here is how I decided on the engine and trans. I was not going to spend the money on a new one, so used was my only option.
- 2005-2008 Jeep 5.7 = 330hp, 375 tq… Not enough HP for the $$$ and time involved.
- 2009-2011 Jeep 5.7vvt = 357hp, 389 tq… Hard to find used as everyone is using these.
- 2003-2008 Ram 5.7 = 345hp, 375 tq… Also low on power.
- 2009-2011 Ram 5.7vvt = 390hp, 407tq… Just right, built for low RPM torque, cheap & plentiful.
- 2006-2010 SRT8 6.1 = 420hp, 425tq… Complaints of poor performance with 545RFE trans, HP is too high in RPM range.
- New 6.4vvt = 470hp, 470tq… Too expensive and the intake is on the wrong side. What are you going to do with 470hp in a JK?
I chose auto over manual because I am tired of shifting and enjoy autos while rock crawling for days in the mountains (I’m moving to Colorado).
Here is how I decided on JSS.
- AEV has an excellent reputation but their offerings are limited (no truck Hemi kits). JSS’s kit is very similar to AEV’s kit.
- BOR makes you bash in the firewall. If no one else requires this, why does BOR? I didn’t want to bash my firewall.
- JSS has been in the TJ & JK Hemi swap business for 10 years. At first I discounted them due to their poor website, short email responses to my detailed questions during my research, and crude spelling in their posts. Once I gave them a call, my thoughts changed completely. Todd, the owner, will usually answer his phone or call you right back if he is talking to another customer. He stayed on the phone for 30 mins. during my first call. He was able to answer every question and was straight up about the pros AND CONS of his kit. If we had emailed back and forth, it would have taken a week to talk about everything we did in those 30 min. Also, he lets you decide what pieces of the kit you want to buy, swap, or pass on rather than sell you one kit that you may not want/need. I needed to call Todd about 10 times during my swap about a tech. question. He always had the answer and provided me with other things to watch out for as well. I’ve tried to explain everything in the steps further on in the post. Todd did say that the traction control and roll control BS does not work and neither does the MDS with his kit. That was great news for me as I hate the nannies and the Ram guys are complaining about the MDS.
So now that I have installed the kit what do I think of Todd and JSS. The pros are monster torque, customer support, and only buy what you want/need. Also his swaps pass California emissions which means they’ll pass Colorado emissions as well. The cons are poor marketing (Todd, if you are reading this, hire someone to post all of your craftsmanship on the website. You’ll save a lot of time on the phone, even though you enjoy talking Jeep, and guys can see what they are buying and why is it quality) and their lack of instructions. The 2009-2011 truck Hemi kit is a newer one for JSS and they did not have detailed instructions. I did get a lot of pics as a guide. For me these cons would be over as soon as I was done with the engine, but if I went with a Jeep 5.7 engine and AEV or BOR kit, the install may have been slightly smoother, but I would be stuck with less HP and TQ for many years to come. Because I felt this engine and kit should be on every JKers RADAR, I am hoping this thread will help with the lack of instructions.
Also, sometimes I did refer to AEVs and BORs instructions, since they are similar, rather than calling Todd.
I bought the engine and trans out of a 2011 Ram 1500 from Greenleafprime on eBay out of Michigan for $4500 shipped. The engine had 3 miles on it and the trans had 7, the engine came with all of the front mounted accessories. I was skeptical, but he has 100% feedback and his answer to these low mileage engines was that when a new vehicle gets damaged in shipping, manufactures can’t sell it as new. He has an agreement with Chrysler to part them out. I can tell you that the parts I got seemed brand new. TIP = Try to also get the following truck parts that you will need for the swap (some of these are not shipped depending on the junkyard), fuel line only (you’ll reuse 3.8 vapor line), heater hoses (3.8’s are too short and curvy), flywheel cover for bottom of engine to trans (with bolts), plate between engine and trans, trans dipstick, starter and heat shield, bolts for engine to trans and converter to flywheel.
UPDATE: Do not use a 2011+ trans. The valvebody and solenoid is different and you will be stuck in limp mode. Use a 2009 trans (I have heard 2010 is OK as well, but you need to confirm this). I found out the hard way and it cost me $650 to change out to a 2009 valvebody, but I upgraded to a performance valvebody, so I am able to enjoy crisper shifts, oh well... live and learn!
Here is the basic kit: Steering relocate, hose clamps, bolts (engine mount to block, one A/C bolt, trans mount, intake), wiring harness, oil filter adapter w/o-ring (so the filter will not hit the JK suspension), exhaust manifolds (needed due to different flange direction for JK), T-case cable mount, trans lines, weld in engine brackets (these have two mounting holes, you can mount the engine 1” higher if you have a body lift which allows the fan to clear the shroud), air intake, air filter, intake mount, giant trans cooler (giant for a trans anyway), rubber engine mounts, trans mount plates, a/c lines, fuel line to tank adapter, P/S high side hose, battery box (single or dual, your choice, no extra cost), metal engine driven fan w/clutch, upper and lower radiator hoses, coolant bottle, and truck computer by Dave at B&G Performance. The metal pieces all come bare metal which allows you the option of paint or powdercoat.
I added: A custom brass radiator (brass cools better than aluminum, and it’s repairable, but is heavier and you can only use basic green coolant), heat exchanger (to use as an under hood shower), dual Aeroforce gauges, and extra wire needed to convert manual to auto.
If you did not get those extra truck parts I mentioned above, you’ll need to order those from Dodge as well as a “capacitor”. The Jeep Hemi used this $8 part as an RFI reducer (radio frequency interference), but the truck Hemi did not. HotwireAuto (the harness maker) adds this plug to the truck wiring harness so you’ll need the capacitor. I also bought a new dryer (small tube on front of condenser) for the A/C since my lines were open for a few weeks.
About the exhaust: The truck Hemi uses 2 cats total, the JK uses 4. You can buy an exhaust from JSS, have a complete one made local, or take the cheap route. I will be reusing my y-pipe (top two cats cut-off) and having a local shop add in the pieces to attach to the manifolds as well as add O2 sensor bungs behind the cats (I ordered 4 truck O2 sensors, but some say you can mix and match with the 3.8 sensors... it seems every swap kit manufacturer has a different method, but I played it safe). They will also be placing a new muffler and exhaust cutout where the Evap used to be. This will allow me to add a storage floor tub in the rear. Also, I can save the other two cats as cheap replacements for when mine die.
For those of you that are converting from a manual to an auto, you’ll need these (part #’s are always changing, so I didn’t bother posting them as I just told my dealer what I needed and they found it): The auto shifter, the shifter cable, the shifter sled (this bolts to the floor and covers your manual hole), bolts for the shifter to sled, auto brake pedal only (reuse same parts off manual brake pedal), the auto trans mount, and the console pieces (I did not need these as I have a Tuffy console).