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1996 4.0 into a 2000/01 XJ - Build Thread

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1996 4.0 into a 2000/01 XJ - Build Thread

Old 09-02-2015, 09:31 AM
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Default 1996 4.0 into a 2000/01 XJ - Build Thread

Hi everyone,

This is my first Jeep ever, a 2000 Cherokee 4.0/auto, and I'm pretty stoked about it . It's pretty clean for having 202k miles and rod knock, but hey I only paid $550 for it.




Anyway, I didn't feel like doing a full rebuild on the knocking motor, so I just bought a good used one to swap in. I found a 1996 Grand Cherokee engine with ~150k miles on it for $300 fully assembled. The guy had a video of it running before it was pulled with the gauge cluster showing mileage, no CEL, good oil pressure, etc. I decided to at least clean it up, pull the head off and freshen things up a bit.

I should have taken more pics as I went, so some steps are missing, but here we go:

Engine bay shot with 85% of the stuff holding the current engine in removed (intake, exhaust, entire front end, fan, alternator/AC, etc.). You can see I have the annoying Cali emissions option, so I have 2 precats in addition to the main cat under the car.



Engine removed! Sitting on my garage floor.



One thing to note, the two upper bellhousing bolts are star (Torx) shaped, not standard hex bolts. I don't have a pic, but the socket you need to remove it is an E12 inverted torx bit that looks like this:



Also, those two bolts sit so close to the firewall that I had to attach my hoist and lower the engine to access them. Therefore both motor mounts and their brackets had to come off the engine. After that it was smooth sailing, remember to have a jack under the trans to stop it from dropping:



And here's a pic of the 96 GC engine, with most of the accessory parts already stripped off the long block (you can see them on the floor by the hoist). Notice the distributor? This will be swapped for the cam synchronizer/position sensor assembly from my 2000 engine.



Before removing the head I powerwashed the engine to get all the grime/mud off of it. I then removed the head, scraped all of the old head gasket material off both the block and the head, and started disassembling the head.



Here's a shot of the valvetrain removed and numbered 1-12 front to back. I basically kept them like this until I reassembled it.



At this point I removed all the valve stem seals, spark plugs, and cleaned the combustion chambers/valve seats with a brass wire brush. Then I thoroughly cleaned the whole head in my parts washer. Next, I polished all 12 valves with a wire wheel and then painstakingly lapped each of them into their seats with lapping compound. This ensures that the valve and seat are a matched pair and creates a better seal. I've also found that after 100-150k miles exhaust valves tend to get pitted and won't seal as well. I regret not taking pics of this part.

But anyway, are you ready to see this sexy engine after I put most of it back together?

I'll admit, I might have a slight addiction to painting engine parts...


But I like the finished product, complete with new ebay header:










In order to swap the cam position sensor and synchronizer assembly over (in the above pic), I set both engines at top dead center for cylinder #1, removed the distributor from the 96 engine, and dropped in the synchronizer in it's place. There's a hole in the base of the synchronizer where you can stick a pin through to keep the internal part lined up so you shouldn't have to mess with timing too much. Here's a link to the little procedure for this:
https://www.cherokeeforum.com/f67/20...208553/index2/

Last edited by t.mcginley.jr; 09-02-2015 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:42 AM
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This brings me to present day, I wanted to check my ebay header for flatness, because I would hate to have an exhaust leak and since I only paid $120 for it I wouldn't doubt if it's a little off.

Side note, this header is for a pre-2000 XJ with the larger exhaust ports in the head and no precats. My stock 2000 exhaust manifold wouldn't have bolted up without leaking. These headers can also be had with the larger ports AND flanges for the precats, but I can't comment on fitment.

So I bolted the header to the head as you can see a few pics up, and this is what it looks like up close on the #2 port:



Clearly it's not flat. I'll have to figure out a way to mill it, or drop it off at a local machine shop and have them do it. Granted this was only with the 2 end studs bolted up and none of the middle ones, but that's a decent sized gap.

Also, I'm replacing all my brake lines while the engine is out. The master cylinder to rear axle hard line is rusted to hell, and the rest aren't much better. I bought a 25 foot roll of that Nickel-Copper brake 3/16" brake tubing and a harbor freight bending tool. It's 9000 times easier to do this with no engine in the bay

More updates to come!

Last edited by t.mcginley.jr; 09-02-2015 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 09-02-2015, 07:19 PM
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Excellent write up. Thanks for posting. Looking forward to seeing how this works out.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:23 AM
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Update! I finally finished replacing the brake lines after a few trips to Napa, Harbor Freight, etc. I wanted to get at least the main master cylinder to rear axle line and the 2 front lines done while the engine was out. The hard line going from the MC to the passenger side wheel was a pain in the ***, I had to make it in three pieces using connectors like these:




I still have to bleed them, but no leaks after pumping for ~5 minutes or so. It probably is easier to buy the pre-made lines for $150-200 whatever it is, but I only spent about $40 and a few hours time.

I also took care of some rust in the engine bay while the engines out, especially around the shock tower areas and some on the frame (mainly surface rust). Under the battery was actually kind of pitted from acid I'm assuming. I used a wire wheel, then painted with rust reformer, then some generic silver enamel paint. I figured you won't be able to see most of it anyway once everything is assembled so it didn't have to match 100%







Notice the parts that are a brighter silver? Most of that had some surface rust on it.


After all that was done, I re-wrapped the EFI harness, it was pretty worn through in some spots, or just caked in grease. I redid all of the electrical tape with some 3M Super 33+ tape and replaced a few feet of the plastic harness wrap. I did some small parts on the body harness too. Someone hard-wired one of the upstream O2 sensors in too, so I have to figure out what to do with that.





AND THEN I was able to drop the engine back in. Took me a little over an hour, because I had it almost in before realizing I forgot to bolt the flex plate on After that though it was just a matter of lowering/raising the engine hoist and the jack I had under the trans until I could line them up. I replaced the two upper bellhousing bolts (the weird inverted torx ones) with standard 3/8 - 16 hex bolts, grade 8, 1 3/4" long.




Ignore the towels, I laid them over the engine to protect the paint from the chains I used to hoist it up.


Now to reconnect some of the harness on the trans, bolt the motor mounts on (I have it sitting on the frame right now), make some coil pack brackets, and mock up the exhaust setup. Updates to follow
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:55 AM
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Over the weekend I didn't get much done, but I did get the alternator mounted along with its bracket, and made up some brackets to hold the coil pack assembly in place since I'm using an older head. I also installed the water pump pulley and crank pulley, installed the 4 torque converter-to-drive plate bolts, the lower trans shield and starter. Took me a few tries to figure our how the engine harness was supposed to be routed, but it's making sense now.





Close up shot of the coil pack brackets I made. I know they're ugly, but I didn't feel like going to the store to buy new metal. I had these brackets laying around from previous projects, so I just shaped them and drilled some holes. I was able to use the stock mounted bolts from the original engine and just put nuts on the end. Everything cleared great:




Now I'm working on the exhaust setup, trying to mock up the easiest way to connect my header to the rest of the exhaust. Somehow my entire exhaust didn't have a single flange besides the pre-cat flanges. After that it looks like everything is slip-fit with clamps, except that the clamps are missing. I'll have to take pics of that. Also, is it normal to have 2.5" mandrel bent piping? was that factory? My header outlet is 2.25", so I bought an adapter at the parts store.






DISCLAIMER: THIS IS MOST LIKELY NOT EMISSIONS LEGAL, DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.


Also in a previous post I said it looked like the header flange was not flat, as it wouldn't sit flat against the head even with the gasket. I tried it now without the gasket, and used all the bolts instead of just the 2 end studs and it sits perfectly flat against the head. So that's one less thing to worry about. I still have to weld O2 sensor bungs and wrap the header.
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:40 AM
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Wow! Looking good!
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Old 09-15-2015, 10:48 AM
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Looks clean. Keep up the good work
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Old 09-15-2015, 05:34 PM
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I'm really liking this build. I'm curious to see what you come up with for an exhaust pipe. This may be the route I go with my boys jeep.
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:22 AM
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Another update, I finally had time to work on the exhaust again. As I said in my last post, for some reason my entire exhaust system has no clamps or flanges (besides where the original manifolds met the precats). Here's what I'm talking about:







Looks like there might have been clamps before, but they fell off? Either way it isn't leaking or even remotely loose at the moment. The problem is that I need a place to disconnect it so I can make my downpipe to connect my header. So here's what I did:



Ebay header + stock downpipe from the 96 grand cherokee engine + 2 to 2.5" adapter

If I didn't already have that section of downpipe from the grand cherokee, I was going to order this from rockauto.com and cut that section off to make my pipe:




Anyway, it took a number of tries to get the header bolted to the head, with that foot section of pipe loosely bolted to it, and then playing with the adapter to make it straight, then mark it up with Sharpie and eventually tack weld it. Which is how I ended up with the first part you see (up to the adapter).

I decided to put a flange in further down so I could actually unbolt it. I ordered this generic 3-bolt 2.5" flange (with gaskets included) off of ebay for $18 shipped:



Then I cut the pipe where it runs past the side of the trans, about 10 inches before the cat and slid my flanges on to mock it up. Looked like this:



Flanges are just slid onto the pipe and bolted loosely together, not actually attached to the pipe yet.




Not too shabby eh?

It fit so well that I tack welded it in place on both sides. With the flange still bolted up, I also tack welded the 2-2.5" adapter to the rest of the exhaust. Then I unbolted the flange and actually welded everything up. Keep in mind I'm just a hobby welder, not professional at all so forgive some of my welds haha. Also its much easier welding new pipe than older rusty stuff.








Finished product:



I know it's not pretty, but it works and only cost me like $25 between the adapter and the flanges. All of the pipe is still solid too besides the surface rust.


DISCLAIMER: AGAIN THIS PROBABLY ISN'T EMISSIONS LEGAL, DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Anyway, there are probably easier ways to do this but I work with what I have. I still have to weld O2 sensor bungs on (bought 4 off ebay for $20), and then wrap the header, and finish welding the other flange onto the exhaust. Also bought new power steering hoses I need to install, and a new steering stabilizer.
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:16 PM
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Also here's a crappy pic of how it connects to the header once installed on the car:




That's the view between the oil pan (bottom of pic) and frame.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:07 AM
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Another update, I pretty much finished the exhaust and power steering work yesterday. Replaced the input shaft seal on the steering box and installed new lines from the box to the pump:




Then I went about figuring out where to put my O2 sensor bungs. I sat the intake manifold on just to see where I had room, and not surprisingly one of the header runners hits the manifold (the #6 one to be specific, closest to the firewall). I did a little persuading with a hammer and everything fits good now.




I then marked the header where I wanted the bungs, drilled 1/2" holes and welded them on:




The downpipe I made already had one O2 port on it already, so I just had to weld one more bung on the backside:




I then went ahead and finally wrapped the header in fiberglass header wrap. It should help keep some of the heat inside the header instead of heat soaking into the intake manifold. I only did the first few inches of each runner, not the whole header:




Now I just have to install the O2 sensors themselves, bolt my downpipe on, and install the intake manifold and PS pump. She will start up soon... very soon.

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Old 09-29-2015, 11:48 AM
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Finally got the exhaust fully bolted on, both the header, the downpipe and all 4 oxygen sensors. One of the downstream sensors coming off the downpipe is a smidge too close to the trans for my liking, but it does clear it. In hindsight I should have angled it more towards the frame so it had some room.

After that I got the intake manifold and fuel rail mounted. I cleaned the throttle body before reinstalling it and also changed out the injector O-rings and did a somewhat ghetto cleaning job on the injectors themselves with brake cleaner and a 9-volt battery






Last night I got the power steering pump mounted, along with the AC compressor and the clutch fan assembly and serp. belt. I forgot to order one with the rest of the parts so I picked up a Dayco belt from Advanced for $37.








While at the junkyard on Saturday I managed to find some parts I was looking for. This included a newer starter (dated from 2011), the trim piece on the liftgate that holds the license plate bulb (mine is half missing), and this nifty cover for the engine computer (off of a 96 XJ):




Not sure if they stopped putting those covers on in later years or mine was just missing, either way I thought it was cool.

Now to put the rest of the front end together, bleed the brakes, change my diff. and T-case fluids, etc.
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:30 AM
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ALMOST got it started last night.

The other day I pulled the front diff cover off to change the fluid and gasket. The cover had silicone instead of a gasket so I think someone already did it once before. Overall it was pretty clean inside, a little bit of sludge build up in the bottom which isn't unusual. Replaced it with a paper Fel-Pro gasket. I'll be doing the rear one soon too.

Advance Auto Parts didn't list any front diff cover gaskets for a 2000 Cherokee, so I had to do a little digging. The part# for the Fel-Pro Dana30 gasket is RDS55019. The part# for the rear Chrysler 8.25" diff cover gasket is RDS55047.



I also dropped the transmission pan (what a PITA!), changed the filter/screen and replaced with the rubber Wix gasket that came with the filter. Going to refill it with Valvoline MaxLife ATF.

Back to the engine, I had ONE and only one electrical connector that I couldn't figure out where it went. Here's a pic of it, sits in the back passenger side corner of the bay:



Apparently this goes to the under-hood light, which is conveniently missing from my Jeep. So I left it hanging there for now.

Here's a few shots of the bay, fully back together at this point:






Filled up the radiator and overflow bottle, filled up the power steering reservoir, pretty sure there's some gas in the tank, put some Mobil1 5w-30 oil in it, Purolator filter, etc. Went to fire it up, no dice, just kept cranking. Turned it off and tried again, thinking maybe the gas had to get up to the front. Nope.

Also noticed none of the gauges were moving. The odometer and warning lights would come on fine, warning lights would eventually go off. Then the odometer mileage went away and it said "No Bus". Hooked up my scanner and got P1694, which apparently is a bad crank position sensor. GAH. The one sensor that won't let the car start at all and that I didn't touch.

I read this and it pretty much summed up all my symptoms:
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f11/c...3/#post6079423

Ordered a new one from Advance and am going to install it today. Hopefully it starts up this time!
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:08 PM
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I'm afraid you might be wasting your time with an Advance Auto CPS.
The Mopar CPS is the only CPS that seems to be reliable in the 4.0 but you can give it a try. Ebay and Amazon will likely have the best prices.
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Old 10-02-2015, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Bocefus View Post
I'm afraid you might be wasting your time with an Advance Auto CPS.
The Mopar CPS is the only CPS that seems to be reliable in the 4.0 but you can give it a try. Ebay and Amazon will likely have the best prices.
Turns out it's no the CPS, with the new one installed it still won't start. Apparently you can test if its the CPS by unplugging it and trying to start again, if the gauges work then it is the CPS. However, with mine unplugged it still doesn't let my gauges work. I tried disconnecting the rest of the sensors on the intake, still no start. Removed and cleaned the 3 big connectors going into the ECM, no change. All the grounds are good on the engine.

I must be missing something... when I try to start it and get the "no bus" message, etc. I don't ever hear the fuel pump prime. Keep in mind the Jeep started just fine before the engine swap.
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