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Jeep Grand Cherokee 4bt swap.
I've been looking into this project for a month or so and hoped to hear back from folks that may have some specific experience with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. There is a very nice swap posted from a guy in upstate NY that sets a high standard for looks and quality of the build, nice job. I have a few basic questions.
I have found a 1994 Grand Cherokee with 220K on the 6 banger gas motor with a 5 speed manual, presumably the AX-15 (?). I can probably buy it for $2.5K, the body and interior are in very good shape.
From what I can tell the 4bt 'should' bolt up to than bell housing and flywheel. Is that right? My plan was to drive it as is for the winter and accumulate a 4bt motor, and other parts then start the swap in the spring.
It also seems necessary to do a 4 " lift to make the engine fit. Is that the general consensus?
If I boost the 4bt up a bit to say 170 hp, some readers think it could trash the manual (especially one with 220K on it). Perhaps a potential problem, but one that could be remedied with nv4500 5 speed.
My second question relates to trying to build the 1999 or newer Grand Cherokee. From what I can tell, these came in automatics only or the 5 speed manuals are even harder to find in this model. Is a 5 speed manual available in the 1999 or newer body style? If it's not there would obviously be a greater cost to put in a manual, bell housing, pressure plate clutch transmission, pedals etc. What worries me a bit is how much extra custom work would be required to mate the 4bt, with a manual tranny setup to the rest of the drive train, i.e., could I use the existing transfer case, drive shafts or would I need to custom make drive shafts and use a different transfer case? I'm not very familiar with compatibility between such different setups and wanted to have a reasonable idea about how easy or difficult this might be.
Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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99 and up Grands do not have a manual as an option, and working in chrysler/jeep dealerships for a year and a half I never saw a 93-98 Grand with a manual either, I didn't think it was an option on them, but maybe just extremely rare.
 

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99 and up Grands do not have a manual as an option, and working in chrysler/jeep dealerships for a year and a half I never saw a 93-98 Grand with a manual either, I didn't think it was an option on them, but maybe just extremely rare.
Maybe I better Grab it, NADA book is ~$2300 on it, and the existing manual would save considerable time and money, This is the only one I've seen on the front range in the past 3 months...Thanks for your comments
 

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Diesel Durango is correct 1993 & 1994 4.0L Grand Cherokee (ZJ) were available with an AX15. 1999 - 2004 Grand Cherokee (WJ) were not available with a manual tranny in this country.

In order to fit the AX15 to the 4BT, you can do as my96z and purchase a bell housing to convert the AX15 to a SBC bolt pattern. This bellhousing will allow you to mate the AX15 to the 4BT with Chevy flywheel housing. It has been proven that a healthy AX15 will live for a while behind a stock 4BT if driven lightly. A 170 HP 4BT and frequent use of the skinny pedal will leave you quickly regretting that you spent money on the conversion parts for the pile of scrap aluminum and steel.

The ZJ was available with several transfercases; both part time and fulltime. I would not consider using the viscous coupling fulltime cases (NV249). I would consider using an XJ/ZJ/WJ NP242 full time / part time transfercase or an XJ NP231 part time transfercase if they were free. If I had to invest in a transfercase, I'd use the part time NP241. The torque capacity of a NP241 is 3 times that of the NP231/242/247/249. The NP241 is readily available used for reasonable costs.

In my opinion the WJ is a far better vehicle than the ZJ. No, the WJ was not available with a manual tranny, but I would not let that stop me from installing a manual tranny if I wanted one. I'd try to find a clutch / brake pedal assembly that I could modify / install. I'd start with the ZJ/XJ pedal assembly, then try a Dakota pedal assembly and keep experimenting until I got a fit. If I wanted to install a 4BT in a newer Jeep SUV type vehicle, the WJ would be my choice. The WJ was available with the NP247 full time transfercase and the NP242 full time / part time transfercase. I'd consider using a NP242 if it came in the WJ.

For reliabilty, installing a NV4500/NP241 from a Cummins equipped Dodge or a ZF S5-42/BW1356 from a 7.3 diesel equipped Ford would be your best bet.

Mike
 

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why do you like the wj so much better than the ZJ? what all did they really improve? Not bashing, just curious :)

I know the ZJ is a lot more sturdy than an XJ but not sure on ZJ/WJ

Oh, and the AWD cases with the viscous coupling in ZJ's is an NP249.

for the ZF, with economics in mind, the small block ZF 5 would be my choice over the diesel/big block ZF. Especially if you have all the ford stuff to begin with.
 

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Diesel Durango is correct 1993 & 1994 4.0L Grand Cherokee (ZJ) were available with an AX15. 1999 - 2004 Grand Cherokee (WJ) were not available with a manual tranny in this country.

In order to fit the AX15 to the 4BT, you can do as my96z and purchase a bell housing to convert the AX15 to a SBC bolt pattern. This bellhousing will allow you to mate the AX15 to the 4BT with Chevy flywheel housing. It has been proven that a healthy AX15 will live for a while behind a stock 4BT if driven lightly. A 170 HP 4BT and frequent use of the skinny pedal will leave you quickly regretting that you spent money on the conversion parts for the pile of scrap aluminum and steel.

The ZJ was available with several transfercases; both part time and fulltime. I would not consider using the viscous coupling fulltime cases (NV247?). I would consider using an XJ/ZJ/WJ NP242 full time / part time transfercase or an XJ NP231 part time transfercase if they were free. If I had to invest in a transfercase, I'd use the part time NP241. The torque capacity of a NP241 is 3 times that of the NP231/242/247/249. The NP241 is readily available used for reasonable costs.

In my opinion the WJ is a far better vehicle than the ZJ. No, the WJ was not available with a manual tranny, but I would not let that stop me from installing a manual tranny if I wanted one. I'd try to find a clutch / brake pedal assembly that I could modify / install. I'd start with the ZJ/XJ pedal assembly, then try a Dakota pedal assembly and keep experimenting until I got a fit. If I wanted to install a 4BT in a newer Jeep SUV type vehicle, the WJ would be my choice. The WJ was available with the NV249(?) full time transfercase and the NP242 full time / part time transfercases. I'd consider using a NP242 if it came in the WJ.

For reliabilty, installing a NV4500/NP241 from a Cummins equipped Dodge or a ZF S5-42/BW1356 from a 7.3 diesel equipped Ford would be your best bet.

Mike
Thanks Mike that is really helpful. So I'd still be buying parts if I used the AX15 in the 1994 with the 5 speed, therefore the advantage of that approach is lost and there are other liabilities. I really like the skinny pedal as well, (my 98 Dodge RAM fitted with cam plate, 4" exhaust, Banks Quick Turbo puts ~ 275hp to the back wheels while on a veggie oil, Greasecar kit), so I like to play a bit. Sounds like I'd make short work of the AX15. Only tricky part is the pedal assembly. We have a good junk yard in Colo Springs, take the parts off yourself, really cheap. I've changed an automatic to a 4 speed way back in the 70's on a 1966 Pontiac LeMans, A PIA but satisfying once I got it to work after a bit of welding. Yep I'm an old Hot Rodder years ago.
I do like the WJ body style better. You convinced me to look for one with a blown motor or 200K+ miles.
I assume the transfer case model numbers might be available from the VIN Number, or of course crawling under and knowing what to look for works too. I'll keep you posted as I continue the hunt. Very uesful information, thanks again Mike.
Layne
 

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why do you like the wj so much better than the ZJ? what all did they really improve? Not bashing, just curious :)

I know the ZJ is a lot more sturdy than an XJ but not sure on ZJ/WJ.
Imroved front/rear suspension and steering design. Steering components are also larger. Improved brakes. Larger uni-bearing assemblies. Stiffer unibody design. Quieter. Better ride. If you are going to heavily mod your ZJ or WJ and use it as an offroad only vehicle than these differences probably aren't that important.

The ZJ is much closer in design to an XJ than a ZJ is to the WJ design. Only 127 parts were carried over from the ZJ to the WJ.

I have installed the WJ steering and brakes onto the HP Dana 30 in my 1998 XJ and can tell you from experience that the ride and braking with 5" of lift & 32" tires are much, much better than my 1995 XJ with 4" lift and 31" tires.

Oh, and the AWD cases with the viscous coupling in ZJ's is an NP249.
Thanks for the correction. I got confused with the NP247/NP249 applications. I fixed my posting.

for the ZF, with economics in mind, the small block ZF 5 would be my choice over the diesel/big block ZF. Especially if you have all the ford stuff to begin with.
With economics in mind, I agree the small block Ford ZF S5-42 is the route to take. This is especially true if your 4BT comes with the Ford flywheel housing. The diesel ZF S5-42 does offer the close ratio gearing and allows for use of a 12" clutch as compared to 11" with the small block version. Unfortunately, mating the diesel version to the 4BT requires the use of an $795 adapter plate from www.destroked.com .

Mike
 

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Imroved front/rear suspension and steering design. Steering components are also larger. Improved brakes. Larger uni-bearing assemblies. Stiffer unibody design. Quieter. Better ride. If you are going to heavily mod your ZJ or WJ and use it as an offroad only vehicle than these differences probably aren't that important.

The ZJ is much closer in design to an XJ than a ZJ is to the WJ design. Only 127 parts were carried over from the ZJ to the WJ.

I have installed the WJ steering and brakes onto the HP Dana 30 in my 1998 XJ and can tell you from experience that the ride and braking with 5" of lift & 32" tires are much, much better than my 1995 XJ with 4" lift and 31" tires.



Thanks for the correction. I got confused with the NP247/NP249 applications. I fixed my posting.



With economics in mind, I agree the small block Ford ZF S5-42 is the route to take. This is especially true if your 4BT comes with the Ford flywheel housing. The diesel ZF S5-42 does offer the close ratio gearing and allows for use of a 12" clutch as compared to 11" with the small block version. Unfortunately, mating the diesel version to the 4BT requires the use of an $795 adapter plate from www.destroked.com .

Mike
i gotcha on the stock equipment being better, i was thinking more on the lines of the unibody's integrity. ZJ's are getting more reasonable value wise if you want to wheel it and beat the crap out of it.

I agree with the ZF statements, the close ratio would be nice though.
 

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i gotcha on the stock equipment being better, i was thinking more on the lines of the unibody's integrity. ZJ's are getting more reasonable value wise if you want to wheel it and beat the crap out of it.

I agree with the ZF statements, the close ratio would be nice though.
Thanks for your input. Here is what I've learned and why I'm at a bit of an impass on what vehicle to drop a 4bta into. While your comments about the WJ are appreciated, better vehicle in general and the limited package with all the extra goodies appeals to my wifes sensibilities. But there is one big unknown that I'd like resolved if possible. It has to do with the additional weight of the 4bt vs a V-8 and availability of lift kits. The 4 bt would add ~300 - 350 extra pounds to the front end. Not huge but a factor. Several of you suggest one reason for a lift is to compensate for 2+" of sag when you add an extra 350 pounds to the front end. The few folks that have put the 4bt into the ZJ, stated that a minimium of 4" of lift is need to make everything clear (he did 7"which looks awesome). If the same applies to the WJ this could be a problem. As far as I can determine the WJ is much more sensitive to lifts (handling wise, I suppose), and I've only seen 2" kits available. Did I miss somethig. If that is the case and no one else has done this before, I could find myself in a fix, i.e., not being able to lift it enough to shoe horn in the 4bt.
Knowing that it's been done in the ZJ (the guy in Niagara Falls, NY) proves it's possible, there is an example. Trying to do the same swap in the WJ seems to be a bigger risk for major expensive alterations to make the engine fit. Has anyone out there put a 4bt in a WJ.
Given all that, I'm reconsidering the ZJ for this swap.
What do you think?
 

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there are plenty of lifts available for WJ's, check out clayton offroad they should make a nice tall for the WJ, similar to ZJ's. the WJ is 99-04.

You could probably do it with little to no lift if you modfied the oil pan enough, it would be pretty hard though I suspect.

You should be able to pick a limited ZJ for next to nothing and they would be more my choice for this kind of swap where the things that really matter, engine/transmission are going to be replaced with something newer. Might just be my thinking since i chose a vehicle with 220k on the clock.
 

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there are plenty of lifts available for WJ's, check out clayton offroad they should make a nice tall for the WJ, similar to ZJ's. the WJ is 99-04.

You could probably do it with little to no lift if you modfied the oil pan enough, it would be pretty hard though I suspect.

You should be able to pick a limited ZJ for next to nothing and they would be more my choice for this kind of swap where the things that really matter, engine/transmission are going to be replaced with something newer. Might just be my thinking since i chose a vehicle with 220k on the clock.
Ah... found the one on Clayton, nice 6" lift looks sweet. But..there is allways a but, these kits are $1800 - $2400, this added to higher cost of a newer model and this project is getting up there. Geez, maybe I should just buy a new GC with the Mercedes V6 diesel for $36K :), If only money were no object.
Actually the best scenario is to find a WJ with a bijillion miles on it or a blown motor.

Layne
 

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if you are going big and don't want to build it your self, clayton gets my vote hands down. There are few companies that compare to his work. it may seem like a lot but there is a lot of experience and testing in it and it will work and hold up.

That is a good scenario to go for, there should be some out there too.
 

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I'm getting ready to start a swap into a 99' WJ within the next month. I had been wanting to swap in a 4bt, and I blew up engine a few months ago. I'm gonna do a 4.5" lift on custom long arms, some chassis reinforcement for the added weight, and a ZF w/ a NP205. It should be pretty easy to just mount a aftermarket clutch pedal and master cylinder, I was looking at the wilwood and it should fit nicely, just going to trim the huge brake pedal down a bit. I'm going to Dana 44's I have out of a wagonneer as well, but probably not initially.

Brian
 

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99 wj

What about a WJ with M5R2 and Ford np205? I heard that there might be an issue using the m5r2/ZF because the starter is on passenger side and might cause some problems. What do you guys think? Any other problems you think that would come up. Just want to do my research before buying a cherokee and trying to fit my 4bt in and finding out im in way over my head.
 

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I get hammered every time I answer this question.. But I still feel the same .. Some guys do have the talent to put a 4BT into the Cherokee.. But I say the Cherokee is too light to house the 4bt .. I know people put them in CJ's AND I THINK THIS IS OK IF JUST USED TO PLAY but I feel THE Grands and Cherokee are planned to be more of a daily driver...
.... Now what have I put my 4BT into ..Well the Classic E Bronco and now after It's in it I wish I'd never done this swap not enough room and I had other SUV to use.. I have a 1980 300cid with a NP435 It would be a shoe in ..out of one Ford chassis into another ...
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....Just my 2 bits worth..
 

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I get hammered every time I answer this question.. But I still feel the same .. Some guys do have the talent to put a 4BT into the Cherokee.. But I say the Cherokee is too light to house the 4bt .. I know people put them in CJ's AND I THINK THIS IS OK IF JUST USED TO PLAY but I feel THE Grands and Cherokee are planned to be more of a daily driver...
.... Now what have I put my 4BT into ..Well the Classic E Bronco and now after It's in it I wish I'd never done this swap not enough room and I had other SUV to use.. I have a 1980 300cid with a NP435 It would be a shoe in ..out of one Ford chassis into another ...
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....Just my 2 bits worth..

I happen to agree! Thats why I tossed the 4bd engine (very similar to the 4bt but 3" shorter) and run the 3.5L nissan engine, it fits like a dream and should be lighter by a good bit.
 

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You are correct in saying that it would be a daily driver. Thank you for the input. Just curious, I have heard of alot of people putting them into scout II and saying that they are basically meant for the 4bt and should have came like that from the factory. The way I saw it was that a Grand Cherokee would be equilvalent in size and what not. Obviously the Scout is a little bit beefer for off road use. But I was looking for more like you said daily driver and I already have a ford setup 4bt. What ya think?
 

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Lighter = better mpg right? :beer: Well im just trying to get some opinions because I see a NON RUSTED out 2000 WJ for sale with blown engine for 1500 ....the key word there is non rusted. because I would probably swap it into the F150 but i tell ya what up here in MI i dont think there is such a thing as a F150 92-96 with blown engine that is NOT RUSTED. the engines would last through 3 ford chasis before the old straight 300 would quit. The bodies just rust out and the engines run forever. Plus I just pulled the 4bt out and im itchin to get a swap goin.
 

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The problem with the Grands are they are unibody designs and pretty narrow. I could have used my isuzu but I would have had to heavily mod the unibody "frame" to clear the starter, injection pump and then totally relocate the a/c compressor not to mention majorly hack the firewal just to run a down pipe and dont forget the big lift since the 4bt is tall even around 3" taller than my isuzu. Definately not a chassis for the faint of heart to start with. Although if the body and interior are in good condition for that price it might be worth trying.
 
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