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Jeep Wrangler Sahara Hemi - Super Sahara

Front View
Phil Howell | Writer
Posted June 1, 2008

Burnsville Off Road Turns a Mild-Mannered Sahara Into a Super On/Off-Road JK

You've probably heard of Dan McKeag and the crew at Burnsville Off Road, located in Burnsville, Minnesota. Dan figured out very early how to install Hemi V8s into new JK Wranglers and doing it so that everything works as it came from the factory. With the CANbus system in the JK, all systems communicate with each other, making a simple engine and transmission swap more difficult than just bolting them in. The Burnsville crew makes these swaps work every time. The swaps also come with a one-year unlimited-mileage warranty. Dan or one of his crew members will fly out and repair any problems one of their vehicles might have, although we haven't heard of any problems yet.

This JK started out as a mild-mannered Jeep Green JK Sahara Unlimited that came from the factory fully loaded with the dual-top group, power/convenience group, and MyGIG navigation radio. It came from the factory equipped with a Dana 44 rearend and Dana 30 front. Burnsville purchased a Mopar Performance JK Rubicon frontend and rearend and replaced the stockers. Superior 5.13 gears were installed front and rear. They also replaced the Sahara sway bar with a JK Rubicon electronic-disconnect model. The front and rear lockers work in any transfer-case position, not just in Low range as in the Rubicon. The sway bar can be disconnected or reconnected at any speed, even in two-wheel drive. You can see the advantages.

What really makes this Jeep a Super Sahara is the 6.1 Hemi, the same V8 used in the SRT8 Grand Cherokee. The 6.1 used was a brand-new crate engine from Chrysler that comes complete from intake to exhaust manifolds. A Griffin aluminum radiator keeps the big mill cool, even on the hottest days. A custom stainless exhaust system, built by Burnsville, utilizes stainless MagnaFlow mufflers. With 425 hp, the 6.1 motivates the JK Unlimited much better than the stock 3.8L V6 did (duh). Tony Squier at Squier Incorporated in Mena, Arkansas, supplied his wiring harness for this swap. Tony's harnesses look OE and use all factory connectors.


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