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Old 01-12-2018, 12:24 PM   #1  
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Default Fair labor hours.

Hey Y'all!
I have an 01 Jeep Cherokee Classic, with stock 4.0 and transmission, 6.5 lift on 33's. I'm wanting to do a conversation LS swap to a rebuilt Lm7 5.3 Vortec.
I have everything bought,... engine, transmission, components, painless wire harness, transfer case, new drive line,.... even got needed parts from Novak kit, like bolt in ready radiator for the 5.3, engine fan, headers, everything needed to make this as easy as a swap as possible.... I've got EVERYTHING bought. I'm shoping around swap shops that do this day in and day out.
My question: what reasonable amount of LABOR HOURS should I be quoted to simply pull everything out, and put everything in. Asking obviously because I'm unsure, and don't want to be told it's a 100 hr job, when it's only really about 50, and way overcharged on my ignorance.
Thanks in advance for any responses and help Jeepers!
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:33 PM   #2  
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You really can't put an amount of hours on something like this. So much fabrication and unknowns to really say.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:44 PM   #3  
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Originally Posted by Readshell View Post
Hey Y'all!
I have an 01 Jeep Cherokee Classic, with stock 4.0 and transmission, 6.5 lift on 33's. I'm wanting to do a conversation LS swap to a rebuilt Lm7 5.3 Vortec.
I have everything bought,... engine, transmission, components, painless wire harness, transfer case, new drive line,.... even got needed parts from Novak kit, like bolt in ready radiator for the 5.3, engine fan, headers, everything needed to make this as easy as a swap as possible.... I've got EVERYTHING bought. I'm shoping around swap shops that do this day in and day out.
My question: what reasonable amount of LABOR HOURS should I be quoted to simply pull everything out, and put everything in. Asking obviously because I'm unsure, and don't want to be told it's a 100 hr job, when it's only really about 50, and way overcharged on my ignorance.
Thanks in advance for any responses and help Jeepers!
Hello welcome to Cherokee Forum , thank you for the post..

Like Firebane said, you cant really put a exact time on this kind of work..alot of fab work and wiring and so on that needs to be done.

good luck finding anyone to do it for under 90 an hour. Maybe cost more do to the fact special skills are really needed to make this all work. Not just any yahoo can do this and make it work right. That someone is not going to give that kind of skill away for free.
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Old 01-12-2018, 01:54 PM   #4  
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Hey Y'all!
I have an 01 Jeep Cherokee Classic, with stock 4.0 and transmission, 6.5 lift on 33's. I'm wanting to do a conversation LS swap to a rebuilt Lm7 5.3 Vortec.
I have everything bought,... engine, transmission, components, painless wire harness, transfer case, new drive line,.... even got needed parts from Novak kit, like bolt in ready radiator for the 5.3, engine fan, headers, everything needed to make this as easy as a swap as possible.... I've got EVERYTHING bought. I'm shoping around swap shops that do this day in and day out.
My question: what reasonable amount of LABOR HOURS should I be quoted to simply pull everything out, and put everything in. Asking obviously because I'm unsure, and don't want to be told it's a 100 hr job, when it's only really about 50, and way overcharged on my ignorance.
Thanks in advance for any responses and help Jeepers!
This is exactly what I deal with everyday. So when you say pull everything out and put everything back in, do you mean getting a running and driving vehicle back at the end of it? If so, its going to be all of 100 hours. Wiring alone will be around 30 hours with that painless harness (they dont live up to their name). Nothing will be plug and play. Tack on another $2500 in parts you still dont have cause I guarantee you dont have everything. You are still going to need custom fuel lines, power steering lines, radiator hoses, ac hoses... Do you plan on running the stock intake manifold? Pretty sure that wont clear the hood. Well if you put on a lower profile intake like a LS1, more problems. The water pump outlet will hit the throttle body and the throttle body will hit the idler pulley. Sure just change the brackets and water pump to something else. Nope not that easy either. Your block is missing 2 main holes that would allow you to run a pulley setup that would work (like the 5th gen Camaros). The list just keeps going on. Its all the small stuff that adds up and it adds up very quick. Just dont expect it to be a straight forward swap. If a shop quotes you 50 hours, they have never done a swap like this before.
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Old 01-12-2018, 02:38 PM   #5  
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I would say 100 hours...minimum.

The getting the old motor out and the new motor in is the easy part.

Everything from there takes time, and gets much more expensive.

If someone quoted you $5k for labor alone for you to drop of your rig running with the 4.0L, come back, and drive away with and LS running, I'd say that's reasonable.

That amounts to 100 hours at $50 an hour...which is cheap in labor terms.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:03 PM   #6  
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That amounts to 100 hours at $50 an hour...which is cheap in labor terms.
This would concern me... Are you getting quality work or pay for what you get work.

Personally I would pay more to know plastic butt connectors weren't used and proper solder and shrink tube was used.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:21 PM   #7  
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That amounts to 100 hours at $50 an hour...which is cheap in labor terms.
Absolutely no way he's finding a shop that charges $50 an hour that does quality work. $80 is like the minimum nowadays......so let's go with the 100 hours. $8k for this job just in labor, plus everything he's spent in parts? Holy crap hahah
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:23 PM   #8  
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Absolutely no way he's finding a shop that charges $50 an hour that does quality work. $80 is like the minimum nowadays......so let's go with the 100 hours. $8k for this job just in labor, plus everything he's spent in parts? Holy crap hahah
Swaps are never cheap unless you do it yourself and even then still won't be cheap.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:24 PM   #9  
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Absolutely no way he's finding a shop that charges $50 an hour that does quality work. $80 is like the minimum nowadays......so let's go with the 100 hours. $8k for this job just in labor, plus everything he's spent in parts? Holy crap hahah
You got that right. We are $105 a hour. And it doesnt matter if thats for welding, wiring, fab work, machine time, general work and so on.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:33 PM   #10  
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This is exactly what I deal with everyday. So when you say pull everything out and put everything back in, do you mean getting a running and driving vehicle back at the end of it? If so, its going to be all of 100 hours. Wiring alone will be around 30 hours with that painless harness (they dont live up to their name). Nothing will be plug and play. Tack on another $2500 in parts you still dont have cause I guarantee you dont have everything. You are still going to need custom fuel lines, power steering lines, radiator hoses, ac hoses... Do you plan on running the stock intake manifold? Pretty sure that wont clear the hood. Well if you put on a lower profile intake like a LS1, more problems. The water pump outlet will hit the throttle body and the throttle body will hit the idler pulley. Sure just change the brackets and water pump to something else. Nope not that easy either. Your block is missing 2 main holes that would allow you to run a pulley setup that would work (like the 5th gen Camaros). The list just keeps going on. Its all the small stuff that adds up and it adds up very quick. Just dont expect it to be a straight forward swap. If a shop quotes you 50 hours, they have never done a swap like this before.
This should be required reading for all the LS zealots. There seem to be a lot of people who think you can do an LS swap into anything for $300 over a weekend.

I'm planning to put a Holley Sniper fuel injection system on the 360 in my Gladiator, and my own brother started that LS crap telling me that would be a waste of money because I could do an LS swap easier and cheaper. My response was, "What planet are you living on?"
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:40 PM   #11  
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Although I would be honest and fair about the actual time on something like this, I wouldn't touch it without an open estimate. What you are asking for is an uncommon request and to find someone who has ever done this particular retrofit daily is a stretch.

So to even ask them to quote you an estimate based on experience and past jobs would be impossible. All you can do is find someone who is reputable and honest and hope they are fair with what you are asking them to do.

Myself... I would never write a solid "hold me to it" estimate on this type of work. Used to, not anymore... But when it is done you will have a vehicle worth ten times what a new one is worth, even if only to yourself.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:48 PM   #12  
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Although I would be honest and fair about the actual time on something like this, I wouldn't touch it without an open estimate. What you are asking for is an uncommon request and to find someone who has ever done this particular retrofit daily is a stretch.

Myself... I would never write a solid "hold me to it" estimate on this type of work. Used to, not anymore... But when it is done you will have a vehicle worth ten times what a new one is worth, even if only to yourself.
That's why they are called estimates. Could be more, could be less. You really can't be held to an estimate unless it's not an estimate, and just a plain price quote or bid type job. All you can be is fair.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:50 PM   #13  
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This should be required reading for all the LS zealots. There seem to be a lot of people who think you can do an LS swap into anything for $300 over a weekend.

I'm planning to put a Holley Sniper fuel injection system on the 360 in my Gladiator, and my own brother started that LS crap telling me that would be a waste of money because I could do an LS swap easier and cheaper. My response was, "What planet are you living on?"
Back in the day, I did an LS swap on my 70 Camaro. Going to say this was back in 2002. Even with all my connections, having a free engine and doing all the work myself, it still cost me $5k. It would be the same if I did another one today.
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Old 01-12-2018, 03:56 PM   #14  
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But when it is done you will have a vehicle worth ten times what a new one is worth, even if only to yourself.
This is a key statement. Just because you put 5k into it doesn't automatically make it worth 5k. The mods we do to these things are seldomly worth anything to other people.
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:01 PM   #15  
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This is a key statement. Just because you put 5k into it doesn't automatically make it worth 5k. The mods we do to these things are seldomly worth anything to other people.
Are are right and this is a fact that I understand well. I would rather dump 20 k into a 66 Chevy than I would waste money into a new piece of crap engineered and designed to be just that... A piece of crap...

Money well spent in the long run... Same with a Jeep

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