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changing starter location to drivers side

Old 02-10-2017, 12:39 AM
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Default changing starter location to drivers side

I have a 98 with a 318 in it, I'd like to do a transmission swap, either an AX15 or 46RE and I'm wondering if changing starter location is as straight forward as it would seem? new bell housing set up for that side plus extended wires? is there a difference in the dodge vs jeep blocks that make it a problem?

for the manual:
most swaps I found used a bell housing from a 90's Dakota, but no one mentioned starter location with the bell housing and when I was at the junk yard the other day I found a manual Dakota and checked it out and noticed the starter was on the drivers side so I'm not sure.

as for the 46RE swap the jeep 46RE seems to be a hard piece to find, but I can get a dodge 46RE rebuilt all day long for 1000, but again would need to change starter location so I hit the same road block.


and then since I'm at it, if it doesn't work out swapping the starter with my motor What would be the implications behind installing a dodge 318 or 360 with its accompanying transmission? pretty plug and play?
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Old 02-12-2017, 11:41 AM
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Looking at it under my jeep it seems doable, the starter should still turn the same direction, unless I'm looking at it wrong.
gonna be going to the jy in the next few days and I'll look at a few dodges and see how different it is.
at this point I think id really just like to do a 46re, I'm just hoping I can make a dodge unit work.
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Old 02-12-2017, 07:19 PM
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I'm looking at similar issues, its a lot to consider , I have a 96, put a 94 or 95 dodge truck 5.9 in it, got a 44RE slipping under hard acceleration. I found a 46RE in a 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee, that's what the 5.9 model came with, this is the first time I'm hearing of starter relocation. But a 46RE does for sure come in 98 5.9 Grand Cherokees. As far as that goes, the 93 - 95 Grand Cherokees have a 46RH tranny that is stronger, but not electrictronic controlled, probably wouldn't work with computer though.
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Old 02-13-2017, 03:17 PM
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You swapped in a dodge 5.9 and it went in fine and ran on your computer ect? And you mounted the starter on the passenger side?
makes me think that it should work the other way around.


lucky you finding a jeep 46re I cant locate one locally as it's what I want.
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Old 02-14-2017, 03:33 AM
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I hope I can still get it and it works with the computer for the 44 RE, 75$ plus core, tax and I have to drive 100 miles to pull it. But I had a mechanic do the engine swap, he was old school, no spectacular changes were made, other than intake, exhaust manifolds, sensors, etc. the computer will learn the engine, it wont run full potential, I guess you have to get the computer flashed, not sure what that is yet. But the tranny reads engine data supposedly or the computer does rather and controls the tranny, so the 360 running a little different may have something to do with tranny slip, I'm not sure.
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Old 02-14-2017, 03:35 AM
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I have interior electronics and lift problems to go through also, its a solid straight Georgia body though.
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Old 02-14-2017, 04:29 AM
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Check front driveshaft clearance with a starter on the driver's side.
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by dave1123 View Post
Check front driveshaft clearance with a starter on the driver's side.
thanks for bringing that up.. it didn't even cross my mind, and I prefer to keep it low, I'm at 3" now with pucks and the only height change I plan is whatever I gain from doing new 3" lift coils to replacce the factory springs and pucks,
I could see issues with the drive line hitting, I will have to crawl under there and look tomorrow.

I think for now I will stay on the look out for a jeep with the 46re in it. there are 2 98 v8s at my local yard that I haven't seen or checked out, heres to hoping some dummy scraped a 5.9
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:39 AM
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Lots of them scrapped and gone after the cash for clunkers scam. I found a decent 98 with a 4.0 for 475 with bad fuel pump, lol. I did not know about the starter issue, not sure why or how it could be different yet, since the 5.2 and 5.9 are the same block with different bore and stroke measurements, timing, balancing etc.
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Old 02-17-2017, 04:39 PM
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If the starter mounts to the bellhousing instead of the block, it can go on either side depending on the transmission.
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Old 02-18-2017, 04:40 AM
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Driver side starter will interfere with the shifter mount that came in V8 powered jeeps. I swapped a 5.9 and 46re from a Ram into my XJ and had to fab everything. Would have worked way easier with a 46re from a ZJ limited, but good luck finding them. There are a couple on Ebay, but 500-600.
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Old 02-18-2017, 04:21 PM
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So a V8 jeep will have the same starter mount position, from the same years of course.
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Old 05-02-2017, 12:53 PM
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yeah I wouldn't want to have the front drive shaft hitting the starter the first time I flexed, lol. The exhaust is different also, made to run around whatever starter location. They didn't change it just for fun, but what you can do is find a tranny core if you can from a 98 jeep 5.9 , then rebuild it or change guts over from any 46 RE in a full size truck.
I missed getting that 46 RE from the parts yard, someone beat me to it.
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Old 05-04-2018, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelerboy12 View Post
You swapped in a dodge 5.9 and it went in fine and ran on your computer ect? And you mounted the starter on the passenger side?
makes me think that it should work the other way around.


lucky you finding a jeep 46re I cant locate one locally as it's what I want.
​​​​​​
Reviving an old thread, but i have also swapped a DODGE 5.9 into my ZJ. Only differences in the block were the timing wheel(near the starter,bolted to the TORQUE CONverter), belt drive components, and the OIL PAN/pump. Everything else is a direct fit/swap. The starter orientation is the same, just located on the opposite, and only bolts to the TRANS, not MOTOR. I realize the TRANS is what your interested in, but was just creeping on this old thread and thought i would drop my .02
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:52 AM
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gonna bump this thread....again.

So last time I bumped it, MY Trans had not gone out. Now my trans is dead, and i'm looking for a 46RE. Plenty of Dodge counterparts in the Junkyard, but no 5.9 Limited.

I already have the trans, just busted internals. Can I use a JY Dodge 46RE/A518 Trans and swap bell housings?

Or am I better off just rebuilding the bad one?
I have no Trans experience(don't make it weird), and a little worried about the job. But I did rebuild the top end and swap a 5.9 in a week and fired up 2nd try. (1st motor swap ever. All by myself too! *cookie*) I recently found an ATSG 46RE manual, so I have plenty of paperwork. Any recommended Master Rebuild Kits?
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