Yet another Engine Swap

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elafilos

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Hi guys!

After being by my side for 21 years and 140k miles my 3.7 Liberty KJ decided it was about time to let go.

Happened yesterday on top of a mountain range and recovery was a big challenge but we (somehow) did it. After she returned home I have started making some calls trying to figure out what to do next.

Got an instant yellow oil light, immediately the engine started knocking from the passenger side, stalled and died in a mater of seconds. Something must have terribly failed. No smoke / leaks though which brings us at the early assumption that something must have siezed.

During those past years the engine has been overheated a couple of times. Dropped a valve seat, had resurfaced heads etc. In other words it has seen better days.

This brought me to the point where replacing the whole unit with a used engine would be more cost efficient. Some rough estimates converted to USD are the following:

Finding a fair condition engine would cost approximately 1200-1800$. Given that it is an early 2003 car, most plug and play engines are pretty expensive compared to the after 2004 counterparts.
Labor for swapping in and out would cost approximately 600-800$
Getting it serviced before installation would cost approximately 200-400$

So this brings us to a total of 3.000$ to get it up and running.

Pulling out the engine just to diagnose and repair, overhaul etc. costs approx. 600$ just to remove and start looking around. Just a wild guess this would end up costing way over 3k still having an engine past it's effective life.

I have managed to find a 4.7 unit with it's ECU and trans for 3000$ which essentially means that I could get it up and running for around 4500-5000$ but the gains do not justify paying almost double price. I am guessing I would get some quality of life and drivability, but still too much of a price to pay for just 30-40 hp and a tad of more torque. This engine comes from a totally jeep grand cherokee from a friend with almost 60k miles.

Plan C is to just get the cheapest possible 3.7 engine I could find, bolt it on and pray. But even the cheapest engines hover around the 1000$ mark and do not justify the savings by taking such a risk.

I was thinking of actually finding another KJ (currently sold for around 5-6k $) and breaking down mine to parts, but I am too emotionally attached to do so.

This topic is definitely discussed countless times - but trying to make up my mind and take some decisions. Any input would help.

Thanks for you time!

Attached a photo of her last dance during the recovery.
 

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Shaggy

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Hi guys!

After being by my side for 21 years and 140k miles my 3.7 Liberty KJ decided it was about time to let go.

Happened yesterday on top of a mountain range and recovery was a big challenge but we (somehow) did it. After she returned home I have started making some calls trying to figure out what to do next.

Got an instant yellow oil light, immediately the engine started knocking from the passenger side, stalled and died in a mater of seconds. Something must have terribly failed. No smoke / leaks though which brings us at the early assumption that something must have siezed.

During those past years the engine has been overheated a couple of times. Dropped a valve seat, had resurfaced heads etc. In other words it has seen better days.

This brought me to the point where replacing the whole unit with a used engine would be more cost efficient. Some rough estimates converted to USD are the following:

Finding a fair condition engine would cost approximately 1200-1800$. Given that it is an early 2003 car, most plug and play engines are pretty expensive compared to the after 2004 counterparts.
Labor for swapping in and out would cost approximately 600-800$
Getting it serviced before installation would cost approximately 200-400$

So this brings us to a total of 3.000$ to get it up and running.

Pulling out the engine just to diagnose and repair, overhaul etc. costs approx. 600$ just to remove and start looking around. Just a wild guess this would end up costing way over 3k still having an engine past it's effective life.

I have managed to find a 4.7 unit with it's ECU and trans for 3000$ which essentially means that I could get it up and running for around 4500-5000$ but the gains do not justify paying almost double price. I am guessing I would get some quality of life and drivability, but still too much of a price to pay for just 30-40 hp and a tad of more torque. This engine comes from a totally jeep grand cherokee from a friend with almost 60k miles.

Plan C is to just get the cheapest possible 3.7 engine I could find, bolt it on and pray. But even the cheapest engines hover around the 1000$ mark and do not justify the savings by taking such a risk.

I was thinking of actually finding another KJ (currently sold for around 5-6k $) and breaking down mine to parts, but I am too emotionally attached to do so.

This topic is definitely discussed countless times - but trying to make up my mind and take some decisions. Any input would help.

Thanks for you time!

Attached a photo of her last dance during the recovery.

If you plan on keeping it for 20 more years, then go with the best option to be honest. The only thing with that option is that its probably more then what the KJ is worth, but again, if you plan on keeping it, then I wouldn't worry about the engine swap being more then what the KJ is worth. Enjoy the knowledge of having a good engine in it knowing it won't break down on you again like it just did.
 

ikuo78

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It seems that there are not many cases of swapping to 4.7.
Is this a successful example of 4.7?


I'd like to see it, but many posts here say it's difficult.

The car is the same model year as mine.
Let's do our best to maintain it.
 

elafilos

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Thanks for the replies guys.

The shop has already done one successful 4.7 swap before so is a hassle indeed but it's doable.

However, I am not sure the extra +-2.000$ are justified for a 45RFE trans and a torquier motor.

Currently I am charting down all the available motor options and I am leaning on replacing it with a decent 3.7 engine and call it a day.

As a sidenote to what Shaggy said KJs in the Greek used market fetch around 6-8k $ depending on their condition. Built versions hover around the 10k mark - so you are right, it will eventually cost almost half of what the car is worth. But on the other hand there are no cars capable of doing what the KJ is able to do at the same price bracket in the Greek used market right now.
 

lfhoward

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As someone who just had the entire valve train redone so I could keep my built 08 on the road, I understand the financial pain. But to me “what the Jeep is worth” doesn’t matter because I never plan to sell it. It is worth it to me. I want to keep the Jeep I have instead of starting over with another used Jeep with no mods and possibly a host of unknown issues.
 

David A. Warr

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I would definitely look for a low mileage 3.7 replacement engine. Less hassle that way. I run two Liberty vehicles one for the winter and one for the summer. Luckily I found a parts Jeep with just over 140,000kms. I am trying to prolong my Renegade for as long as possible. Should be good for another ten years.
 

KJowner

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If you are in Europe then get the 2.8 CRD, loads of power and double the MPG of the V6.
 

elafilos

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If you are in Europe then get the 2.8 CRD, loads of power and double the MPG of the V6.
Definitely a good engine, however can't do the conversion - need to scrap the whole car and get a CRD. Prices for the renegade trim CRDs are hovering around 10-12k euro. The price difference doesn't justify the gains.

The KJ is just my vacation / weekend car since 2010 so fuel efficiency is nice to have but not vital.
 

elafilos

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As someone who just had the entire valve train redone so I could keep my built 08 on the road, I understand the financial pain. But to me “what the Jeep is worth” doesn’t matter because I never plan to sell it. It is worth it to me. I want to keep the Jeep I have instead of starting over with another used Jeep with no mods and possibly a host of unknown issues.

Kind of on the same boat with you. Selling my KJ is not something I am planning to do anytime soon. More of like a toy / project car to me than a way to preserve value.
 

KJowner

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Definitely a good engine, however can't do the conversion - need to scrap the whole car and get a CRD. Prices for the renegade trim CRDs are hovering around 10-12k euro. The price difference doesn't justify the gains.

The KJ is just my vacation / weekend car since 2010 so fuel efficiency is nice to have but not vital.
Wow cars are expensive in Greece compared to the UK! It would be cheaper to buy a one way ticket here, buy a car and drive it back just for parts!!
 

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elafilos

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Wow cars are expensive in Greece compared to the UK! It would be cheaper to buy a one way ticket here, buy a car and drive it back just for parts!!
That's a great price indeed. However trying to get such a car through Greek customs is going to be *4 times the price.

Greece right now is probably the dump of all European cars. Prices are off the roof both for new and used cars. That's probably why most cars in our roads are 17 years old.

A 2002 KJ is still considered a luxury car in Greece right now. Imagine that the annual road tax for such a car is 1050 euro (around 1100$). In a country where 12k per year is considered a fair wage.

Fun times.
 

KJowner

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That's a great price indeed. However trying to get such a car through Greek customs is going to be *4 times the price.

Greece right now is probably the dump of all European cars. Prices are off the roof both for new and used cars. That's probably why most cars in our roads are 17 years old.

A 2002 KJ is still considered a luxury car in Greece right now. Imagine that the annual road tax for such a car is 1050 euro (around 1100$). In a country where 12k per year is considered a fair wage.

Fun times.
Owch! I thought we had it bad!!
 

elafilos

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Just a quick update 1 month since the fail. There are literally no (12t reluctor) engines available in Greece right now which would be a direct fit for the car. The only way to do it is buy a newer engine (after 2004) and swap the reluctor ring.... which is not an easy task to say the least.

Just wanting to share my pain. Anyone got a spare engine anywhere in Europe? :)
 

nbas

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Strange not to be able to find a 3.7 engine in Greece since there were many Cherokee's in the streets back then...
As said, it depends on whether you like this Jeep or not. I live also in Greece and I have a 2004 KJ, bought it new.
I have decided long ago, that I like it and therefore I plan to upgrade it and keep it as long as possible, fingers crossed...
By the way, who is the mechanic who has already performed a 4.7 swap?
 

elafilos

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It's weird I know - there are currently no 2002-2003 engines available from reputable sources. Trying to avoid shady dealers as much as possible since I am planning on keeping the car for the years to come.

The swap will be performed by Moutafis, used to work for over 15 years in Chrysler Hellas and currently runs his own shop in Athens. Koutsoubos is the other guy I was talking to. Great guy, with Paris-Dakar credentials and runs a tidy shop.

Found a 2005 engine with 145.000 km and ATM trying to figure out the logistics of transporting it from Crete to Athens and swapping my reluctor and cam sensor... Let's see how this will turn out...
 

WheelNut

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If you do for some reason decide to the 4.7L swap keep us updated on how it goes and how it drive because it sure would be interesting to know! The V8 is a lot more money, but it would be unique and very cool.

Best of luck with finding a good 3.7!

Not really relevant to the original topic, but why would Greece have such high import taxes on vehicles from other nations in the EU? That is extremely perplexing. It's not like there is some Greek auto manufacturer that they 'need to' protect. I think I can assuming the reasons why, but it would be interesting to know what sort of rubbish reason surround it.
 

elafilos

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That's a really good point WheelNut. Doesn't make any sense anymore.

Back in the day there used to be a thing, which thankfully is being abolished slowly but steadily, that they would adjust your income tax based on the engine displacement of your car (s). Road taxes are also based on displacement right now which would also creates some interesting scenarios where it was more expensive to run a KJ than a Panamera or a Macan.

Long story short I have no idea why Greece is still on that page, because in my books, letting us import Gas Hungry KJ's from the EU essentially means more gasoline consumed, thus more gasoline tax and eventually more profit.

The only explanation I could give is that since Greece's biggest export sector is refined fuel, less consumption equals more exports equals better numbers for the EU.
 

KJowner

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Strange, here the older cars are in a fixed tax bracket, expensive new cars get hammered but thankfully mine are all 20+ years old and my wife's is an eco diesel Jeep so £30 a year tax. They are hitting the electric cars for tax next year too LOL that will upset them :)
 
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