LS swap

Discussion in 'KJ General Discussion' started by RKinney, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. RKinney

    RKinney Full Access Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    Location:
    Hebron, Oh
    Has anyone ever considered it or done it for that matter? The only thing I can find on the net is some article on bangshift about a red Liberty with a 5.3 swap. The article didn't give details, but I assume they fabricated their own mounts since I haven't found anyone making them. Maybe someone does and I just don't know about them. The only reason I am pondering this is because I am having to basically take two Libertys and make into one. We had sold our Liberty to our nephew and he totaled it the first hour he owned it. i had it towed back to my house since he had liablity only and it was totaled. I was going to part it out but bought a second one with a blown engine, same year (02) and within 200 miles of one another. I was just going to swap the powertrains and the suspension stuff over, but then I started thinking. I have a complete 6.0/4l80e setup with harness and computer. I know there are adapters made to mate the Liberty's t-case to a 4l80e. My thought was to use a 4wd 4l60e that I have and an awd t-case that I also have out of an escalade. I think it will all fit then have custom driveshafts made. I am a hardcore GM guy but I really loved my little Liberty. After I did all the suspension stuff, that thing rode like a dream. Soaked up bumps and was rock solid. I just like the idea of having the same Jeep as before but with a 450hp 6.0 AWD setup. I think it would be a killer daily driver with very little money invested.
     
  2. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,070
    Likes Received:
    144
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    Location:
    Southeastern Ohio
    Upgrade and SFA it first, you;ll need the room in the engine bay.
    That way you can build up the front and rear diffs to handle that much power
    44 front and 9 inch rear ( full width)
    From there strengthen the frame rails front to back
    Then start cutting and welding
    then comes wiring
    You'll have to build it all since no one wants an LS in their Jeep KJ
    The one I have heard of was two wheel drive , so didn't have the close specs in the engine bay to work around
    Measure ten times . cut once
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  3. LibertyTC

    LibertyTC Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    6,315
    Likes Received:
    124
    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    Location:
    B.C. Canada
  4. RKinney

    RKinney Full Access Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    Location:
    Hebron, Oh
    I'm not getting into sfa and all that. I was wondering about the fitmment and keeping 4wd. I think the one that was swapped is the same one we are both thinking about and I think it was 2wd. The engine looked like it sat low in the bay. I might test fitment once I get the motor out of one. I am pulling the motor, trans, and all and using the stuff out of the wrecked one cuz I know everything works. It will be easy to then hang the motor in the bay with a hoist and an empty trans case attached to test fitment. I have done research regarding the swaps into older cherokees and how the set up the ecm. I am a GM master tech, so if I can get the motor to fit, I can wire it to make it run. Getting it to work with the factory cluster and suck is a different story. Some Cherokee guys were getting it to work using both ecms and Novak adapters tach adapter for the factory tach. Not sure if that can be done with the Libertys.
    I thought that I had read that the factroy speedometer still worked because it got its signal from the wheel spend sensors and not a sensor on the output shaft like GM does. Idk, lots more to research, but I am definitely going to test fitment. I don't think the LS platform is any wider than the 3.7. I think the interference is going to be at the front diff where the yoke is. I think the pinion yoke is going to hit the pan, but who knows. I think the truck pan will clear over the diff, very similar as to how the diffs sit in a GM truck. We'll see. I'll start as soon as it warms up.
     
  5. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,070
    Likes Received:
    144
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    Location:
    Southeastern Ohio
    Don't think you understand it all, unless you are going to drive like Grandma then the front diff for sure will not hold up, the rear for a short time.
    You have some things figured out but not all of it even if you are a GM tech. I used to be a Ford Lincoln Mercury tech as well but still don't know it all
    There is very little room above the diff , another reason to go SFA
    This has been discussed many times by many of us over the last almost 15 years I have been on the Liberty forums. Plus I know of several well intentioned KJs sitting that people thought they could do a swap only to run into issues .
    I have swapped V8s into things like a Corvair, VW Bettle etc over the years, but would never do an LS swap for one thing , but would never try putting most anything into a KJ with 400 horse plus with out going SFA.
    Of course I know how I drive
     
  6. RKinney

    RKinney Full Access Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    Location:
    Hebron, Oh
    Believe me, I know I don't have it figured out. As far as the GM tech goes, I said if it fits I can make it run. I never said I knew it all, only hat I could make it run. Making an LS run stand alone is easy. Making everything else work along with it is the hard part. I know this. I know it's more than likely not going to fit, but I know I have seen one fit 2wd or not. I am already going to have it gutted so hanging it on the hoist to see where it hits isn't that hard to do. If for some reason it does fit, I'll decide then if I want to attempt it. Making a 450 hp lq4 isn't really difficult to do. Keeping it at the rated 300hp/380tq would be more than enough. I know the front diff is weak, I just wonder how long it could last if not abused. I know you have a mass amount of knowledge on these jeeps, I was just curious about a swap. I had already considered the weak points. The rear I think would last much longer than the front if not beat on. I really just wanted to know if someone had physically tried to sit an LS in the bay and where exactly was there interference. There are many swaps that people do that probably are not ideal, but they still do them. I just happened to see one swapped and it got me thinking. That is all. "Don't think you understand it all" and "you have some things figured out, but not all even if you are a GM tech" really weren't needed. Just because I do not mention everything that could be weak points in my initial thread does not mean I have not thought of them. You telling me I don't understand it all because I initially didn't say anything about all that isn't proving anything to me or giving any insight on what I had asked for. Once again, I never said I knew it all because I was a GM tech, only that I know I could make it start and run if it did fit in a Liberty. i am not trying to be an ass, I merely wanted to know if someone on this forum has actually tried it and the outcome only because of the one I saw. We all know one "can fit" 2wd or not. I just want to know how 4wd will affect it. if no one here has actually tried it themselves, then I can't get exact info. No biggie, i am still going to test fit to find out. Doesn't hurt tondo that. Then we will know for sure as to where it hits.
     
  7. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,070
    Likes Received:
    144
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    Location:
    Southeastern Ohio
    We've done a lot of measurements on various motors
    Have helped a buddy drop a small block Ford install in a KJ.
    But ran out of money and been sitting about ten years
    One reason tjkj did a SFA was he was looking at doing a swap, even talked hemi for a while.
    But no one on here has physically installed a LS down in a KJ
    Only way I would even consider it would be a 2 wheel drive so no interference with front diff . Just isn't much room above or around it .

    I guess that after years of being on these forums and knowing about and seeing so many nice KJs being torn apart to either do a "bigger" motor or a SFA, then being pushed behind the barn, well you get jaded.
     
  8. RKinney

    RKinney Full Access Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    Location:
    Hebron, Oh
    Believe me, I know I don't have it figured out. As far as the GM tech goes, I said if it fits I can make it run. I never said I knew it all, only hat I could make it run. Making an LS run stand alone is easy. Making everything else work along with it is the hard part. I know this. I know it's more than likely not going to fit, but I know I have seen one fit 2wd or not. I am already going to have it gutted so hanging it on the hoist to see where it hits isn't that hard to do. If for some reason it does fit, I'll decide then if I want to attempt it. Making a 450 hp lq4 isn't really difficult to do. Keeping it at the rated 300hp/380tq would be more than enough. I know the front diff is weak, I just wonder how long it could last if not abused. I know you have a mass amount of knowledge on these jeeps, I was just curious about a swap. I had already considered the weak points. The rear I think would last much longer than the front if not beat on. I really just wanted to know if someone had physically tried to sit an LS in the bay and where exactly was there interference. There are many swaps that people do that probably are not ideal, but they still do them. I just happened to see one swapped and it got me thinking. That is all. "Don't think you understand it all" and "you have some things figured out, but not all even if you are a GM tech" really weren't needed. Just because I do not mention everything that could be weak points in my initial thread does not mean I have not thought of them. You telling me I don't understand it all because I initially didn't say anything about all that isn't proving anything to me or giving any insight on what I had asked for. Once again, I never said I knew it all because I was a GM tech, only that I know I could make it start and run if it did fit in a Liberty. i am not trying to be an ass, I merely wanted to know if someone on this forum has actually tried it and the outcome only because of the one I saw. We all know one "can fit" 2wd or not. I just want to know how 4wd will affect it. if no one here has actually tried it themselves, then I can't get exact info. No biggie, i am still going to test fit to find out. Doesn't hurt tondo that. Then we will know for sure as to where it hits.
     
  9. JasonJ

    JasonJ Full Access Member

    Messages:
    1,500
    Likes Received:
    36
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Location:
    Michigan
    Kinney... Hard Returns buddy... use them please. That wall of text is very very hard to read.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  10. RKinney

    RKinney Full Access Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    Location:
    Hebron, Oh
    No more long responses. Did some measruring and inspection yesterday. The LS is much more narrow than the 3.7. Other dimensions were very close. After looking everything over with some buddies, we came to the conclusion that the bottom of the LS truck oil pan will hit the steering rack before the top of the front diff. If the diff hits anywhere it will hit the pan where it goes down to the sump on the driver's side. I will probably know for sure in a few weeks when we pull the engine, trans, and t-case and test fit.
     
  11. wheeee32

    wheeee32 Full Access Member

    Messages:
    1,334
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    SOMD(wish it was still the mountains)
    Good luck to you and may the finish of this project not disappear if successful. I'd love to see it happen just to see something different.
     
  12. RenKJ

    RenKJ Full Access Member

    Messages:
    305
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2015
    Location:
    Canada

    oh lawdy please come up with a motor mount / modified oil pan template
     
  13. JasonJ

    JasonJ Full Access Member

    Messages:
    1,500
    Likes Received:
    36
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Location:
    Michigan
    Give it a shot.. I'm not one to discourage a unique attempt at a project such as this.. if you have the time and money to put into it, go for it.

    Honestly, a newer LS engine is itself worth what an entire KJ is.. so....I mean, I guess if you have the parts sitting there and can fab stuff...
     
  14. dude1116

    dude1116 Full Access Member

    Messages:
    3,365
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Location:
    Pompton Plains, NJ
    I encourage the attempt.

    ...but I also foresee you disappearing in the near future. That's almost always how big projects work. Ford motor swaps, sfa's, 4.7L swaps...they all start a similar thread and disappear into the wind.
     
  15. RKinney

    RKinney Full Access Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    Location:
    Hebron, Oh
    At this point I am only going to attempt to test fit and see what happens then. I don't get on here much, so i can promise I will disappear for a while. If I do decide to move forward, I can assure you there won't be constant updates. If it doesn't fit due to interference, I will post pics of where contact is made so everyone will know exactly why an LS doesn't fit in a 4WD application. If it does clear, I will post pics of it the day I test fit.
     
  16. 04Liberty

    04Liberty Full Access Member

    Messages:
    1,179
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    MD
    Nice seeing you while it lasted :happy175:
     
  17. RKinney

    RKinney Full Access Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    Location:
    Hebron, Oh
    Yup! I guess many people think that everyone quits on a project once started. I am the type that finishes what I start, but also will not start something that is too involved. By involved, I mean massive fabrication. I am not cutting shit up to make it fit. If I can't get it to fit by positioning it and making the mounts, then it's a no go. To me, fitment is the biggest hurdle. The wiring doesn't intimidate me. Like I have said, I will test fit then give info on yay or nay.
     
  18. JasonJ

    JasonJ Full Access Member

    Messages:
    1,500
    Likes Received:
    36
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Location:
    Michigan
    Also probably because an SFA swap done properly costs twice to three times the retail value of literally ANY KJ on the road today. It's cost-prohibitive for most. Cool as hell, for sure... but for the average guy running down two-tracks and driving out to the hunting property with his Jeep, completely unnecessary; which makes investing that money (even if you have it to burn) somewhat frivolous.

    If I wanted to swap a small block -anything- or a bigger motor into a jeep, I'd pick an old XJ or YJ to do it in. But then again, at least for YJ's, around here... people think they were made of solid gold and price them accordingly.

    I think you're going to find that to be the case.. but the LS is a fairly compact engine, for it's size, isn't it?
     
  19. RKinney

    RKinney Full Access Member

    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2016
    Location:
    Hebron, Oh
    Yes, the LS is very compact. It was about 7 in more narrrow at the outside edge of valve covers (widest point due to v-type engine) than the 3.7. Best I could measure is that the engine with accessories is about 1 in deeper. The height from the bottom of the front of the pan to the top of the 3.7 air box is damn near identical to the LS from the bottom of the front of the LS truck pan to the top of the truck intake. The shape of the pans is very similar. That's why I say that if i have clearance issues it's going to be at the pumpkin of the front diff at the left side of the pan near the sump. One other area would be the front bottom of the pan contacting the steering rack, but I think that could be corrected when making the mounts if it hits at all.

    I want to try and keep the crank centerlines in the same place and keep the angle of the powertrain similar for rear driveline angles. My goal is to try and place the trans mount with the LS setup in the same location as the current trans mount then see where the motor interferes. That way I may be able to use the factory trans crossmember. The t-case clocks in a very similar manner to the jeeps setup. We shall see.
     
  20. JasonJ

    JasonJ Full Access Member

    Messages:
    1,500
    Likes Received:
    36
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Location:
    Michigan
    If the oil pan is going to be the biggest clearance issue, you could go with a dry sump on the LS...