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Hemi Power

Drivers Side View With Trailer
Kevin McNulty | Writer
Posted September 22, 2004

American Expedition Vehicles' 5.7L V-8 Hemi Wrangler

We've seen plenty of engine swaps over the years, but nothing compares to the refined conversion American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) is now completing on its 5.7L Hemi Wranglers. You may ask yourself why such an engine would be placed in a Wrangler TJ. Well, it makes perfect sense. The Hemi engine weighs only 57 pounds more than Jeep's I-6 and will give you an additional 165 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque.

Dave Harrington, owner of AEV, told us that this '04 Wrangler is fit with a "brand-new 5.7L Hemi engine and drivetrain, direct from the DaimlerChrysler assembly line." This swap is as close to a factory option as a person can get. All the factory gauges, emissions, diagnostics, and comfort features, such as air conditioning and cruise control, are left in their original state and work perfectly with the new drivetrain. The engine is still fit with the factory sequential multiport injection, and it pumps out 355 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. This is a far cry from the 4.0L's 190 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. The Hemi engine is coupled to the 545RFE double-overdrive five-speed transmission. This modern drivetrain runs smooth and crisp, without any hesitation. AEV builds its own computer to mate the Dodge and Jeep components. With this installation, gone are the quirky and finicky issues of old-engine custom fuel-injection combinations.

The 5.7L Hemi engine fits snugly in the Wrangler's engine compartment. AEV's installation looks better than factory. Great care was taken to get the 355hp engine and drivetrain running as smoothly and dependably as possible. The engine and transmission still carry the Dodge 1-year /12,000-mile warranty and AEV's 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.

The engine conversion on this Wrangler also included swapping out the factory radiator for a Be Cool aluminum radiator, and installing a 3-inch exhaust system for better aspiration. A NVG 242 Selectrac transfer case was coupled to the transmission, but any Jeep transfer case will work with the Hemi conversion. The TJ was fit with a Rockcrusher Dana 60 axle in the rear and a Dana 44 in the front. Both differentials use ARB Air Lockers for traction and are geared to 4.88. The driveshafts were double-CV-joint-modified.

AEV's Hemi Wrangler is fit with a Rubicon Express 4-1/2-inch Extreme Duty long-arm suspension system. The Extreme Duty system is designed as a complete replacement suspension system and maintains the proper geometry, which improves the vehicle's stability on the highway as well as out on the trail. The factory shocks were left in place for a smooth, comfortable highway ride. Goodyear 315/75R16 M/TR tires were fit over AEV's super-clean 16x8-inch chrome wheels for a very sharp and functional combination.


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