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Broke Man With Tools (engine swap)

Old 02-24-2019, 07:05 PM
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Cool Broke Man With Tools (engine swap)

Hey Guys,
I'm new here in case you didn't notice my post count. I'm a guy who lost his job and most of his savings trying to make a better life for myself in the Midwest. Long story short, it didn't work out so well. Fast forward to today, I am working to get my 92' XJ back on the road and Decided to do a complete engine swap. I have removed the old motor and (regrettably) scrapped it. I realize now that I could have saved myself some headache and rebuilt the engine but alas mistakes were made. So, lets get on with it...

I was reading the Cherokee motor interchangeability sticky and if im reading it correctly I can swap any 4.0 XJ engine between the years 89-01. My local junkyard has a couple of vehicles that fit this criteria. They charge a flat rate of 300 for any engine so I think it may be the way to go. You can view the list of vehicles here. Being that these vehicles are a in the junkyard for a reason I know I need to look out for potentially big problems. What would be your biggest red flags to look out for when trying to find a decent engine?

TLDR: I need a junkyard engine, Will any 89-01 XJ engine work? What are the biggest things I should look out for when selecting a new(old) engine?


Lifting it out.

Right before i lifted it out.
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:16 PM
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Re-read that sticky about which ones that you need to save your old harness you use, if any.

You probably want a vehicle that looks like it was a total loss from a hit. You almost certainly knew that it was running when it was hit. Also, make sure that none of the threaded bosses (holes) in the block aren't cracked or missing bolts. The Cherokees have a tendency to break the bolts of the bosses enough that multiple persons sell extra-large mounting brackets that utilize the other already tapped bosses. If you are used to air conditioning, then ensure that you get that.
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Old 02-24-2019, 09:22 PM
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Agree with gat's excellent advice.

I'd stay away from any 00 or 01 due to the 0331 head issues and manifold differences.
Make sure you can manually turn the engine over.

Around here the junkyards tend to pull engines that are known to be good - you might be able to find something that at least is known to be good.

Don't overlook the possibility of finding a parts Jeep on Craigslist or something like that where you can maybe find something that you could at least fire up prior to purchase - plus have a bunch of extra stuff that is useable.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 02-25-2019, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by PatHenry View Post
Agree with gat's excellent advice.

I'd stay away from any 00 or 01 due to the 0331 head issues and manifold differences.
Make sure you can manually turn the engine over.

Around here the junkyards tend to pull engines that are known to be good - you might be able to find something that at least is known to be good.

Don't overlook the possibility of finding a parts Jeep on Craigslist or something like that where you can maybe find something that you could at least fire up prior to purchase - plus have a bunch of extra stuff that is useable.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 02-25-2019, 06:02 AM
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do you have any accessories like intake etc? Brackets? Mounts?

Or did you scrap that stuff also?
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Old 02-26-2019, 09:53 PM
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Thanks for the great advice guys. I'm heading to the junkyard tomorrow and will update you with what I find. I kept everything that was attached to my old engine block so I should be able to frankenstein something out of what is available.
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Old 02-28-2019, 01:48 PM
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There weren't too many options at the yard today but I think I found a winner. I've got some pics of the other XJs that were the black one is the one I'm going with.





I want a two door so badly 😭
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Old 02-28-2019, 03:00 PM
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So are they going to pull the engine for you or do you have to do it? Did you turn it over manually? There wasn't any better option where you had a confirmation that the engine is good?

The 2 door is nice, but those doors are freakin' heavy. I much prefer the 4 door so I can easily carry certain items in the back seat and it's an absolute necessity when you have small children. It's a PITA enough to put the car seat in when you have 4 doors, it's another level with 2 - then getting the munchkins in and out (especially if they fell asleep and you want to keep them that way!)... no matter how cool the 2-door looks, it isn't worth that trouble.

Good luck man, keep us posted!
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Old 02-28-2019, 03:01 PM
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Also bear in mind you can pull the I6 out of a Grand Cherokee or Wrangler... Wranglers are harder to find at the junkyard than the XJ's, but GC's should be a dime a dozen.
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Old 02-28-2019, 08:22 PM
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Just for reference I bought a v8 Jeep GC donor that runs and drives for 800$ to use for my wrangler. Bought it and drove it home 40 miles into the mountains. You can find tons of them in 4.0 form too. Might help with any missing wiring and brackets.
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:56 AM
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Definitely make sure the engine will at least turn before you hand over any cash, and have them pull the motor for you. Its hard to pull it in the yard. Did you pop the oil cap or dip stick and see how the oil looks?

That 2 door is pretty nice. Next time you are there, see if that 2 door has the block off bezel for the rear wiper on the hatch. Those are hard to find and they are not made anymore.
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:06 PM
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I'd be interested in the mileage, IDK what year the odometers went digital. Doubtful you can "power one up" that has I key to see the digital odometer, but you can ask! The white one looks like it's been leaking oil. I might swipe my finger in a tail pipe and see how black it comes out. In the old days when odometers "flipped", we would look at the wear on the brake pedal. IE, a very worn pedal and 50,000 miles on the odometer likely means 150,000 miles.
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:11 PM
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Digital odometers started in 97 model year. Both the XJ's pictured should have analog odometers so the mileage should be readable if the clusters are present. Granted, it may not be accurate due to a cluster swap or engine replacement. My 95's odometer reads 141k, but the body of the Jeep has about 300k on it and the engine has about 160k on it due to both a cluster swap and engine replacement.
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:44 PM
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Are the engines complete throw a battery in and crank it, might even start. P.S> check the oil first...
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:05 PM
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Must be nice to find salvage yard Jeeps that are not totally rusted. And the oil fill caps are in place.

Once you narrow it down to a particular engine you might pull the valve cover off. It is relatively quick and easy to do and what you see will give you some idea of how well the engine has been maintained and if there might be serious issues. It is not a perfect check but it might help eliminate a problem engine. If you see milky looking oil, antifreeze puddles, heavy sludge, bent pushrods a broken valve spring you might want to pass on that one. And as has already been stated see if it will rotate. You might pull the plugs to make it easier and even then you will still feel decent resistance due to valve springs.
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