If you buy an LS with the factory ECU and wiring, you are essentially turning it into a stand alone. Everything motor wise will still function.
There are certain systems like ESP, HVAC (air conditioning), smart charging, DIC and more that depend on proper powertrain integration. Sure you could put a donor engine in and lose that level of functionality; install some aftermarket gauges and be happy with essentially a 2009 CJ if that's what your after.
Our efforts to seemlessly integrate the LS with the JK(and keep proper emissions) is going the next level. Just for an example; shortly we will be using the original VFD (vacuum Flourscent Display) to indicate the Cruise Control on/off indicator and CEL(check engine light) for the GM powertrain. Once implemented there will be no visual difference between our interior and stock. The small LED indicator we used on the CC switch worked great(I actually like it better than the stock indicator); however our goal is to make our swap appear and function just like it came from the factory.
Getting back to the thread functionality is great, but so is affordability. I have customers come in dissapointed with their 3.8 but can't quite afford(or justify) a V8 swap, so....I know where there at.
I feel there is a market segment of the JK'ers being left out. They either spend $5-8k on a supercharger or step up to $12-15k for V8 swap with a lot of labor.
After 5 years of development our kit will be moving on to a new level of integration. Through the use of smart electronics we have eliminated most of the costly redundent hardware associated with this swap. Each of our kits currently has about 26 hours labor in it and this does not include tech support. The steel, aluminum, wires, connectors, etc. we use are all the best, no Chinese Delphi rip offs. So it adds up on our side to produce this kit. We use fire sleeve and friction tape on our harnesses, no split loom or vinyl. So we can't(and won't) make it cheaper; however, we can reduce the parts count through electronics.
For the guy who demands a new crate engine/trans with all the options - OE cruise control, Atlas, electronic shift, HD aluminum radiator, etc. $20k+ is not unreasonable and still a good value for money. When you consider shop overhead, payroll, insurance, taxes, etc this must be factored in the price.
On the other end is the guy(or girl) who wants to get into a V8 JK on their budget, collage student or retiree. They want to enjoy the sound, torque, reliability and longevity of a real V8. No more whining V6 reving to the moon on road trips.
So I would appreciate some feedback here.
An iron Gen IV 4.8 or 5.3 runs $1,000 or less and will power a JKUR with style. A used 6l80, again about $1,000, maybe a little more. With no fancy options or even a HD radiator(not needed with most 5.3 swaps) I feel the do it yourselfer can be into a LS V8 swap for a similar price point to a supercharger, plus some additional labor.
We would offer a bare bones kit with our new technology to get the LS in your JK and keep most systems functional. The kit will come with the usual frame/engine mounts, trans mounts, harnesses, electronics, etc.
I know there are similar options for an affordable Hemi swap; however, GM engines are readily available, more affordable and better supported by the aftermarket.
Our new electronics are a little bit down the road, most of the R & D has been done and now we need to package and produce it.
We have led the way with the LS in a JK for years. After my butt has driven close to 100,000 miles in LS JK's I feel it is the best powertrain for the Jk bar none. Based on feedback from you guys I will persue this low cost kit option using MoTech's technology so more of you can have real V8 power at an affordable price. I don't have a price on the affordable kit yet, I need to crunch some numbers.