CJ7 Engine Conversion Info - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2000, 03:55 PM
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CJ7 Engine Conversion Info

Five years ago I put in a Chevy 350 and a TH350 into my 80 CJ7. I was not (and am not) a mechanic and pretty much winged everything... I was pretty impressed that it worked at all. Drove cross country twice in it, but I had many problems, and other factors contributed to its demise. I am looking for an 86 CJ7, and want to put in a small V8 again and was hoping I could get pointed to some good info.

There was a heat problem with the 350 and the TH350, the cab would get quite warm and the starter would cease to function for some time when it heated up. I would braing a book with me wherever I went, so if the starter wouldn't work, I would read until it did. From what little info I have been able to find about the 350/350 conversion, heat is a common issue. I had a custom 3-core radiator built, and engine temp itself was never a problem. Heat reflect under the carpet help? Any ideas on the starter problem?

I blew 3 transmissions i nthe 10,000 miles the motor ran. All three with a cracked bell housing and Red Lake under the Jeep. I used an Advanced Adapter's conversion kit, and nobody I ever showed the thing to could figure out what the problem was. Any ideas? The only thing I can think of, is that the motor mounts were mounted by sight... could the driveline been crooked enough to stress the tranny that bad?

Anyway, I am not stuck on a 350, or even GM at all, but I would like to get a GOOD plan in place with GOOD information this time, so I can keep the Jeep and have it be reliable enough for a daily driver. Links, pointers to old articles, ANYTHING would be helpful.

Thanks in advance!
Jeff

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2000, 04:15 PM
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Re: CJ7 Engine Conversion Info

As far as the starter goes, did you have headers. I used to have an Olds with headers that ran real close to the starter, used to do the same thing until I used some header wrap.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2000, 04:17 PM
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Re: CJ7 Engine Conversion Info

Make sure that the radiator is big enough to keep the engine cool. Also, get a heavy duty tranny cooler to keep the tranny cool. As far the hot starter, I would recommend a Mean Green starter. They are smaller, better, and have a built in heat-shield to protect them from the engine and exhaust heat. I don't know what to do about cab heat. I have no idea what type of insulation to use to keep the heat out. Also, I have no idea about the cracked bellhousing problem. I hope I helped somewhat.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2000, 09:58 PM
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Re: CJ7 Engine Conversion Info

I have an 80 CJ5 that is small block chevy powered. Here are a couple things I did to help with the heat problem. I got a radiator for an 80 CJ7 304 V8 with 4 rows. I had the inlet / outlet reversed on the radiator to match the chevy engine. I'm using a 17" electric fan. I have headers, but there over the frame rail so the headers are not close to the starter. I now longer am using a TH350. I am now using a Ford T-18 four speed manual transmission. When I was using a TH350, I had an external transmission oil cooler, I think the transmission cooler was rated for 12,000 gross vehicle weight, or something close to that.

There are a couple versions for the small block chevy starter. I am using what is know as the high torque factory starter with the 164 tooth flywheel. Usually the pickup 350 engines in the mid 70's will use the high torque starter and have 164 tooth flywheels.

Check with Mountain Off Road Enterprises for bolt in motor mounts http://www.mountainoffroad.com/catal.../bombproof.htm Maybe the bolt in mounts will align the Chevy 350 so that the TH350 does not crack the bellhousings.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-06-2000, 08:16 AM
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Re: CJ7 Engine Conversion Info

I would like to thank everyone for the quick response. Your experiences are a great help and I appreciate it. After further browsing on this BB, I am amazed at the quality of the posts... lots of knowledge here. I will spend some time mining old posts for more info.

Again, thanks everyone!

Jeff

post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-06-2000, 09:02 AM
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Re: CJ7 Engine Conversion Info

Jeff

If you dont want to spend bucks on conversion kits and motor mounts why not toss in a AMC 360 ? Lots of cubes and a lot less hassles . Just my 2 cents worth .

Jeff

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-06-2000, 10:48 AM
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Re: CJ7 Engine Conversion Info

I just recently fired up the 350 in my CJ7. I have headers and wrapped them, and also got a starter heat blanket. I don't want there to be any problems with the starter, so hopefully this does it. One of the best things I did with mine was install mechanical temperature and oil pressure gauges. I like them because there is now way they can be wrong. The temperature always stays right at 180,(the thermostat setting) until you shut the Jeep off, it then rises to about 210, and then starts to cool off. I have a 4wd hardware conversion radiator and a stock 7 blade fan with thermo clutch, around which I built a shroud out of sheet metal. It seems like it moves a ton of air so hopefully cooling won't be a problem. As far as carpet/interior insulation, in my wrangler when I replaced the carpet I put a reflective blanket down first. You can get them in the camping section at meijers or somewhere similar. I just glued that down first and then the carpet over it. This did wonders for the heat from the engine. You don't even feel it anymore. However in my CJ, I only have herculiner and a glass tub, so it will probably be really hot, good in the winter at least. Hopefully I helped
Dan

post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-07-2000, 02:09 AM
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Re: CJ7 Engine Conversion Info

another thing you can do to help keep the starter cool, is install a solenoid heat shield...or better yet, make one! You can get one at the local parts house for lie 3 or 4 bucks, or if you have an old coffee can laying around....

mikey

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-10-2000, 03:09 PM
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Re: CJ7 Engine Conversion Info

The Chevy trucks that had 4wd have an aluminum lower converter shield that has braces to the sides of the block to help keep the weakly designed GM case from cracking. Usually one or 2 good jumps will break the GM tranny case. The Mopar/AMC torqueflite cases are much thicker and completely surround the flywheel.

The 360/401 AMC would be the easiest swap, as mentioned earlier, all factory parts can be used. The 999 auto trans that comes with 258s will bolt to the 360 and can be modified to handle V8 power quite easily.

I used a Magnum 318 Mopar in my CJ, as I wished for EFI that would be smog legal in CA. It does reqire a different manual trans or a switch of automatic bellhousings though.

Hope this helps, good luck!

post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-11-2000, 08:50 AM
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Re: CJ7 Engine Conversion Info

Being legal in CA is also one of my goals, which pretty much rules out the 360/401 AMC swap for the model years I am looking at.

Are you happy with the 318? Which transmission did you use? I have heard of a couple people using the Magnum engine, but haven't gotten any first hand impressions yet. Was it a difficult swap?

Also, IANAM (A am not a mechanic), so what would need be done to the TF999 to beef it up for V8 power, or to sit behind a 318? Would a typical tranny shop know what I was talking about if I asked them to beef it up?

Sorry for all the questions, and thanks in advance!

Jeff

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