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  #1  
Old February 8th, 2006, 09:13
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5.3 vortec

I know that there is alot of hard core jeepers out there, and I have built over 50 4x4s in the last 40 years but I'm thinking of doing something different with my XJ. I have in my possession a brand new 5.3 vortec and tranny with everything I would need to make a power train transplant. the pros I see is that the 5.3 weighs 150 lbs. less than the 4.0 and it has about 145 more horses than the 4.0. I think that I've covered the complete change over in my mind from alum. rad., to gauges, to exhaust and computer. Maybe I'm putting neck on the chopping block now by asking for anyones intelligent thoughts here but what do you think?????? Jerry
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  #2  
Old February 8th, 2006, 09:26
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Re: 5.3 vortec

Quote:
Originally Posted by grandpaxj
I have built over 50 4x4s in the last 40 years but I'm thinking of doing something different with my XJ.
With this kind of experience you need to work on my rig...and concerning your rig you can do what ever you want. I think that would turn out awesome.
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  #3  
Old February 8th, 2006, 10:05
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Re: 5.3 vortec

If you think you could make it work Jerry, go for it. Then I'll come up and break it in for you.
With all of the weight you're carrying around in the XJ, the 4.0 probably feels like a pig. What about just throwing a blower on the 4.0? By the time you do all of the custom work needed to house the 5.3, you will have probably spent close to the cost of a good supercharger.
Let us know if you decide to take it on. We could have some wrenching parties out at the shop.
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Old February 8th, 2006, 10:17
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Re: 5.3 vortec

the best by on a super charger I can get is $3500 and I can do all this change over for less than that and I can sell the old 4.0 with only 62,000 miles on it to also recoup more money. the 4.0 has banks ceramic headers, air raid tube and throttle spacer K& N air filter. Jerry I would love to have shop days again, it just takes 6 paying students from the club to make it happen.
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  #5  
Old February 8th, 2006, 19:26
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Re: 5.3 vortec

My '99 Silverado has the 5.3 Vortec and it's amazing in the half ton. It would be insane(incredible) in a Cherokee. Good idea.
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  #6  
Old February 8th, 2006, 20:17
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Re: 5.3 vortec

The big problem is cooling. If you can whip that problem you will be ok.
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  #7  
Old February 8th, 2006, 20:22
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Re: 5.3 vortec

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrMoab
The big problem is cooling. If you can whip that problem you will be ok.
Jerry is going to need one of those cowl induction hoods. They look good and should help the cooling.
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  #8  
Old February 8th, 2006, 20:24
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Re: 5.3 vortec

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveW
Jerry is going to need one of those cowl induction hoods. They look good and should help the cooling.
More then that...From what I have read, even a 3 or 4 core aluminum radiator with twin high CFM fans are not enough to cool a V8 in a jeep
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  #9  
Old February 8th, 2006, 20:40
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Re: 5.3 vortec

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrMoab
More then that...From what I have read, even a 3 or 4 core aluminum radiator with twin high CFM fans are not enough to cool a V8 in a Cherokee
Fixed it for ya.
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  #10  
Old February 8th, 2006, 20:46
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Re: 5.3 vortec

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Originally Posted by JeeperG
Fixed it for ya.
thats what I meant to say
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  #11  
Old February 8th, 2006, 21:32
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Re: 5.3 vortec

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveW
Jerry is going to need one of those cowl induction hoods. They look good and should help the cooling.
eh, just go with out a hood! show off the unique mod.
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  #12  
Old February 8th, 2006, 21:51
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Re: 5.3 vortec

I would pass. I worry enough about the unibody as it is, more power could only put more strain on things.

On the other hand, if the body held up, and the 40-80 hours of work and headaches were worth it to you (which they wouldn't be to me) it could be a sweet, unexpectedly fast/powerful rig. I'm also seeing a HUGE red flag in the cooling dept. The problem with cherokees, as I see it, is their small grill opening. They cannot accept a large enough radiator without serious modifications. I'd recommend removing the front crossmember and replacing it with a stout front bumper or equivalent crossmember which allows at least 3-4 more inches of exposed height for the radiator. Adding more cores to a radiator is pretty useless after 2 or maybe 3 cores - but adding square inches makes a huge difference.

But seriously, just make sure you understand what your final product will be. You'll have an XJ, with a gigantic amount of do-it-yourself wiring under the hood and dash, probable cooling problems, and a shoehorned-fit awesome V8 under the hood, and likely a chopped/fabbed trans tunnel/console/carpet. All this for only a few months of your spare time and several hundred dollars in custom and conversion parts. But hey, it would run good.

Jared
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  #13  
Old February 8th, 2006, 22:24
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Re: 5.3 vortec

Admit it Jared...you are just a cheap-skate.
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  #14  
Old February 8th, 2006, 23:14
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Re: 5.3 vortec

Yes, I am. Absolutely, with no shame, I am a cheapskate.

But I guess when I look at XJ's, I see limits. It's one heck of an easy platform to make a very capable and still family friendly trail rig for not a lot of money. BUT - it has no frame. Eventually, XJ bodies self destruct when used hard off-road. I want a rig that can catch 5 feet of air and not flinch. So, I look at my XJ's as a great, very worthy stepping stone that I'll stand happily on until I can afford a higher-dollar rig - something that can stand up to high speed desert racing stuff, which is basically my favorite thing in the world to do, even more than rock crawling. So to me, building an XJ to the extent of dropping in a 275 HP V8, with heavy duty axles and killer suspension and a full cage just doesn't make sense. While XJ's CAN be built to handle incredible stress on the body with a full cage, why do it? Just start with a boxed frame and abuse it.

I've always said that it's worth building an XJ with a nice lift, some trimming, skids, bumpers etc., but doing much more than that is really going beyond what XJ's are designed to handle without unreasonable modification.

Anyways, rant over. It's your rig and your time/money. I'd run for your life from a project like that, but it would still be "cool".

Jared
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  #15  
Old February 10th, 2006, 21:58
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Re: 5.3 vortec

Jerry, if anyone has the resources to pull this off, you do. I say, go for it. Jared's on the right track with the cooling part, fab a tube crossmember to tie in the unirails behind the bumper and make your custom radiator taller for more surface area. This should also allow you to run a larger set of electric fans.....perhaps some of the dual shrouded F.A.L setups will work?
Don't forget to add a crossmember under the pan to tie the rails in and brace the trackbar.....this is needed for any stock XJ , and helps the motor mounts live longer too.
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