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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this on JF and figured I would post it over here too. This is going to be a dual purpose rig, so no tons, 42's, etc...

I picked up a 97 2.5L wrangler with 108K on it and a ton of work already done to it. It was pretty close to what I would have built myself so I figured let someone else dump $10K plus plenty of work.

This is what it had when I bought it:

5.5 Rubicon long arm lift with 3 link wishbone rear
Rubicon D44's front and rear with ARB front and Rubicon locker rear with 5.13's and alloy shafts.
37" Toyo MTR's
2" body lift
Warn 9000I
Super short SYE with Tom woods rear shaft
Custom rear bumper with tire carrier

Changes I've made so far:

Remove body lift
Trade 37" toyos for 35" MTR's

And the biggie....

5.3 with 4l60E
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I picked up the 5.3 a few days ago from a 2001 Silverado with 70K on the clock. It came with the ECU, full accessories (minus the starter and A/C) and the harness for $700. I also scored on a low millage 4l60E from a 2000 Tahoe with 60K on it for $400 a few weeks ago.

Here's what I'm starting with.







I started at 9am and by 10:30 I had this.



Had the engine, trans, and transfer case pulled by 12:30. Wranglers are super easy to pull engines since you can pull the entire front clip!

Before I pulled everything out I made a little reference mark to show where the transfer case was positioned forward and aft.



I started to weed through the factor wiring harness to eliminated everything I didn't need anymore. I'm keeping the factory ECU to run the guages.





I have ordered a bunch of parts and have quite a few left to order. I'm hoping to keep the budget somewhat in control yet do everything "right".
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Had a little setback. The wiring harness that came with the engine was a bit hacked and missing a few connectors. Rather than rummage through a junkyard or order new connectors I ordered up a new harness.

Started tearing the motor down for a little cleanup and inspection.

This is what I started with.



Pulled the intake off. Yes, there are two cigarette butts and an earplug sitting there.



Motor looked pretty good except for one broken exhaust manifold bolt and a somewhat suspect valve. The spark plug had some deposits on it. I'm going to run a leak down test on it and see if it's OK.



After pressure washing and some super clean. Still going to paint the balancer and power steering pump pulleys.



I received Novak's "black box" the other day (for the tach signal and stock gauge) so I wired it up and shrunk wrapped all the other loose wires.



I also installed my auto brake pedal.



And cut out the old mounts and tacked the new Novak mounts in.



 

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Discussion Starter #4
Made some more progress today and dropped the engine in. I'm impressed with how well the engine fits. Almost like it was intended to be there. The Novak mounts made everything a breeze.





I used 2010 Camaro LS3 exhaust manifolds and it looks like they will work out great!



Plenty of clearance around the steering shaft too.



Also had time to swap out the 5.5" RE springs for some 3" Savy / Currie springs. The wire diameter of the Savy springs are thinner, so the ride should be a bit better.



Gonna drop the gas tank - do some fuel stuff and work on my hybrid np231J /C transfer case.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
One of these areas are transfer case / transmission adaptability. I originally wanted to get Advance Adapters part 50-0435. It basically takes your stock Jeep NP231 and puts a 27 spline input gear in it. Then adds a tail housing for your 4L60E (shorter than the stock 4l60E tail housing) and adds a VSS.

This part was on forever back order so I decided to go a different direction. I knew some guys were combining Chevy S10 NP231C transfer cases with NP231J Jeep transfer cases... Hmm... The S10 transfer case has the correct input gear I need... And a wider (stronger) chain... And a stronger planetary...

So after countless hours on the internet trying to find how this works, I decided to just grab a S10 transfer case out of a junk yard. Various posts on the internet give different "best years" but what you are looking for is a NP231C with a manual shifter out of a S10.

Here it is next to my Jeep NP231.



As you can see, the input side of the Chevy transfer case has 5 bolts as opposed to the 6 on the Jeep. (Chevy 1/2 ton stuff has 6 bolts too) No problem, I'll just use the Jeep case with Chevy internals and bolt it to the 460E tailhousing adapter.



The Chevy 6 bolt pattern is 90 degrees off from the Jeep pattern. And no, the bolt pattern is not symmetrical so you can't just spin it around.

Huh... So I made a call to Advance Adapters (to cancel my forever back ordered adapter) and asked if they had anything.

Yup. Part 50-0405E takes a 4l60E and turns the back end into a 700r4. So all you need is the 4 bolt to 5 bolt 700R4 tail housing adapter from an S10 and you are good to go. Best part is the kit comes with the VSS and relecutor wheel for the same price as the VSS kit alone!

I found a 4 bolt to 5 bolt adapter on craigslist for $40. Here's what it looks like.



Anyway - I tore into the Chevy transfer case and look what I found!



The elusive 6 gear planetary! All the research I have done say the S10 cases have 4 gears. (Jeeps have 3)



Also notice how much wider the Chevy chain is.



The Chevy case had a Synchro for shifting to 4 high. (Jeep did not) So I reused it, and swapped all the Chevy stuff over to the Teraflex shaft.



In the end I ended up with the front case, input gear, planetary, chain, and front output from the Chevy. I used the Jeep rear half and Teraflex SYE shaft and tail. Also note that my front Yoke happened to fit - but it's not stock since I have rubicon axles with larger D-shaft U joints. (It's the thing painted bright orange) From what I've read, the stock jeep front output has a different spline count and will not fit the output of the Chevy case. You can reuse the Chevy front output and just get a conversion U joint to go to your Jeep shaft....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A little more progress. I bought Novak's cable transfer case control kit. It's made to bolt to Jeep/ Dodge bolt pattern tranfer cases so of course it didn't bolt to my Chevy bolt pattern case. I cut the upper mount back a little and used a poster board template after I made sure the cable would work well in the new position.



Burned into place.



Also recieved my adapter for my transfercase from Advance Adapters. Here's what it looks like with the VSS installed.



I bolted the transfer case up and everything works great. We have been out of power for the last few days so I haven't got much done - but it just came back on in time for some more weekend thrashing. I also received my radiator and tube fenders plus a few odds and ends. I think I officially have all the parts I need to fire it up! Time to get my butt in gear.
 

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I had some time to drop the radiator in the grill and fab my fan a little. I'm using a Lincoln Mark 8 fan. I knew I wanted to move my engine is far forward as possible to try to salvage my rear drive shaft so I needed to cut 1" out of the shroud.



The Mark 8 fan fits great with a little clearancing where the lower coolant hose is located.

With the engine pushed forward and 1 inch trimmed out of the shroud it's snug, but plenty of room. I can also cut the threaded end off the water pump to get even more room if I wanted.



I also adjusted my Novak cable shifter and Art Carr cable shifter. The Novak transfer case shifter works awesome. Very easy to shift with no binding at all.





I also started to mod my Rubicon Express skid plate. Looks like everything will fit real well.
 
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