Question about Engine Swap in Houston, Texas

Question about Engine Swap in Houston, Texas


1983 Jeep CJ-7. I-6 256 with standard transmission. Stock.
Hello all. I am new to this forum as this is my first post. I am also new to jeeps. A buddy of mine needed to get rid of his 1983 CJ7 and asked me to purchase it. I have always wanted a jeep so I agreed and now I am starting to figure out what I want to do with it. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about jeeps nor do i have any mechanical knowledge.

This jeep will be used 90% on my ranch. The terrain is varied, but there is a lot of sand dunes so I am building it with that in mind.

On my list of upgrades, in order of priority are:

1) I would like to upgrade my I-6 (standard transmission) to a V-8. Any suggestions as to best motor for the job? I am willing to spend some money to do it "right". What can i expect in terms of costs (all-in, labor, parts, etc). Will this require new transmission? Anything else i should know?

2) Adding a suspension lift to accomodate Mickey Thompson 33 / 12.50s.

3) Spray in bed liner.

4) Replace all gauges and return to working order.

And finally, anyone by chance have a recommendation of someone who can perform the engine swap in Houston, Texas?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
Any of the AMC V8's is an easy swap into your CJ...literally a "bolt-in" minus the engine frame mounts, but those can be found or aftermarket ones can be purchased for a little (lot) more money.

The problem with AMC engines is the cost of rebuilding vs. say, a sbc 350. The other problem is the increasing scarceity of parts for these engines, which also drives up the price for them. When I had my 401 rebuilt, it was over $2000 and that was just for machine work, an engine kit (pistons and cam included), and having the shop punch in new cam bearings, install crank, pistons, and timing set (I didnt want to mess with that stuff at the time). I did the rest to include putting the valvetrain together, installed the heads, and everything ahead of the timing gears.
Recently, I had to have a cylinder sleeved and a new piston...and that ran me $400...I did the complete breakdown and reassembly myself.

What Im saying is the chevy motor is a lot more involved to swap in, but support, parts, and price are generally dirt cheap over the AMC stuff.

However, being an AMC guy, I am still going to recommend an AMC V8. If you can find a 360, that's almost the way to go. A 401 would be gold, but they are getting hard to find and people want a lot of money for them when you do find them. A AMC 304 is not a bad engine, but like I said, if there is a 360 sitting next to it, go that route...and if there is a 401 next to get the picture :D

But as I said, if you go the AMC route and need the engine rebuilt, and installed, expect to pay through the nose.

The AMC V8's will bolt right up to the tranny you are running with no issues, you can even run the same clutch parts. Now depending on what tranny you have, it might be wise to upgrade. The T-4 and T-5 are extremelly weak trannys. If you have a T-176 , you will be ok. A popular swap is the Ford T-18 and there is a variety of Jeep bell housings you can use for the swap. The downside is there is an expensive adapter involved to mount it up to the Dana 300 transfer case. It's still worthwhile if you can swing the extra money.

You can run a 2½" suspension lift with a little trimming or a body lift to fit 33's or go with a 3-4" suspension lift which will require a few things like a dropped pitman arm or relocating the draglink, possible driveline mods, longer brakelines, shocks, etc.

Spray in bed liner is cool.
I went with a chevy because they are cheap and you can get parts in any junk yard no matter where you are.
They are not cheap to set up though. You need new mounts, headders and exaust, radiator, and adapters, maybe new driveshafts, and a ton of little $tuff.
CJim7, got the lift part right. If you don't mind triming the body, tj flairs and a 2 1/2" lift is the way to go.
where did the adapter and motor mounts come from??:cool:

I just put a 350 in mine last week. Was very easy and found the motor for 300 bucks in craigslist.
MY Jeep came with a 305 so everything was already inplace for the 350. Mounts for a CJ canb e made or bought from just about anywhere. And when I hear the word adapter I usually think advanced or novack
So it would be safe to assume that replacing a AMC 258 i6 / 4.2l or an AMC V8 with a SBC may take more than a weekend and would cost more than $500 even if some one gave you the motor??:D

MY Jeep came with a 305 so everything was already inplace for the 350. Mounts for a CJ canb e made or bought from just about anywhere. And when I hear the word adapter I usually think advanced or novack
Unless you get most everything for free it is definately going to cost quite a bit more than $500.

Sent from my DROID2

The adapter is $500 alone, another $400 for a good conversion rad., you get the idea.
Nothing good in life is free.
If you want a cheap build then you have to be patient. Parts are out there but you have to do the leg work. I live on CL and I know many salvage yard guys by name. Get out on the internet and research. I like SBC because the parts are very interchangeable. Today I decided to take my 350 that I just put in my CJ and put it in my TJ and take the 4.0 and put it in my CJ. I'm swapping the entire drivetrain. IT doesn't seem like to big of a deal but yeah where you get hit the most is all of the small $15- $20.00 parts. MY TJ is my trail rig and the CJ I want to build right so just take time to plan and then plan again. I like to rush everything but I end up paying alot more. I have 3 weeks to complete my swap. :D

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