Not-Jeep ConversionI’ve noticed that in some advertisements and articles that a few of the vehicles appear to be non-Jeeps. I assumed that they were in disguise or weird concept vehicles. I just received the December ’18 issue and to my surprise, the cover photo is of one of these odd mutated vehicles. Is it a new version of the Wrangler? If it is, it is hideous. Luckily, when I ripped the cover off there was a nice black JK in the Black Rhino ad. Please stick to keeping Jeeps on the cover and in the articles. There is no reason to induce vomiting in your subscribers. Thank you.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder—maybe they should have mentioned something about altering Jeep grilles. Interestingly, it might seem like modified Jeep grilles and front clips have only recently hit the market. It’s nearly impossible to not bump into some new version of an aftermarket angry eyes Jeep grille on the way across town. The Gladiator front clip conversion is certainly a little less common than the angry eyes grille, but we can appreciate that it’s not for everyone. You might think that no one ever modified their Jeep’s grille prior to the JK Wrangler, but you’d be wrong. Early on, and even today, many people set out to bolt a Ford GPW/Willys MB nine-slot grille to the front of other flatfender Jeeps. The smaller headlights and extra slots offer improved cooling and more space for a larger radiator. This is an especially handy modification for the early Jeeps with swapped-in V-6 and V-8 engines. Locating a genuine GPW or MB grille in good condition would be quite the task though. Fortunately, Omix-ADA (omix-ada.com) offers repop nine-slot grilles, headlight buckets, and all the necessary brackets for the ’41-’45 Ford GPW and Willys MB. It’s a completely bolt-in conversion. You could even get really weird and opt for the Omix-ADA repop of the early ’41-’42 Willys MB slat grille, which looks like little more than 1-inch-wide strap steel fashioned into a flatfender-shaped grille.
In what would be considered sacrilegious by today’s standards, many of the SAS Jeeps that roamed the South African deserts during WWII had their vertical grille bits chopped out to improve engine cooling in the inhospitable climate. We suspect that one of these original chopped-up grilles would be quite valuable and sought after today. But the grille and front clip mods didn’t stop there. Early CJ-5 owners have toyed with the longer fenders and hoods of the ’76-’86 CJs, and some went so far as to install Jeepster parts. The ’76-’86 CJ owners did just the opposite, by installing early CJ-5 fenders and hoods to increase the size of the wheel openings for bigger tires. We can’t even begin to tell you how many people wanted to install the round headlights, grille, and hood of a TJ to their YJ. Omix-ADA even dabbled with a fiberglass conversion to put round headlights and a TJ-like grille on the YJ. The conversion was only available for a short time. FSJ owners climbed all over each other to get their hands on the ’63-’69 aluminum Gladiator grille inserts, and then proceeded to reface later-model Wagoneers, Cherokee Chiefs, J-trucks, and even M715s.
Over the years, pretty much everything on a Jeep has been fair game for modification, including the grille and front clip. Complete Gladiator grille and front clip conversions have even found their way onto Jeep and Mopar concept vehicles. The JK Gladiator grille conversion is available as a kit from Chris Durham Motorsports (cdmracing.com). It’s no wonder that popularity of the kit has gained traction; with so many Jeep JK Wranglers on the road, it’s become difficult to make each one look unique. Just as with most modifications, there are those that like it and those that hate it. As the JK Wranglers grow longer in the tooth and second and third owners take over the driver seat, we’re sure that you’ll see more grille swaps and conversions on the road and trail.
Flattie Exhaust SolutionI just read the Your Jeep column online about the stock exhaust manifolds not fitting well in a flatfender. I recently put a ’98 4.3L Chevy V-6 crate engine in my ’83 CJ-7. I had the same problem. After I put the hydraulic clutch cylinder on the driver’s side of the engine, the factory exhaust manifold curved out at the rear halfway over the frame and pointed right at the slave cylinder only inches away from it. When I started this swap, Advanced Adapters said that this was a popular swap. No one said anything about the exhaust. I ordered a set of Advanced Adapter headers, which I really didn’t want, just like in the other guy’s letter. The right side fit in good, but the driver’s side hit the front tub mount. I sent them back and found a good used left side manifold on eBay for $65. It came off of a ’94 Astro van. The ’95-and-older manifolds empty out straight down between the second and third cylinder, which is between the motor mount and the clutch cylinder. I had a shop that I knew make up a Y-pipe. The factory passenger side still emptied out at the top rear. The shop ran the pipes inside the skidplate and crossed it over about a foot behind the transfer case to the left side and into the stock muffler and tailpipe.
Even though this motor is rated at 190 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, I couldn’t see putting headers and dual exhaust on a V-6. This Jeep has no computer. I converted it to a V-belt front accessory group, installed a two-barrel carburetor, and added an HEI distributor. You have to use a boat manifold on the ’96-and-up engines if you want a two-barrel carburetor. The intakes went from 12 bolts to 8 bolts for these Vortec motors. The ’96-to-’05 engines have different intake and exhaust manifolds than the earlier engines. When you look for the exhaust manifold on eBay, make sure the bolts are horizontal and not angled. Chevy had six V-6s, but only three have the correct bolt pattern. If you go to rockauto.com, it shows an image to match it up. This was one swap I couldn’t have done without a computer. I had to change the water pump and the flywheel too. I also had to trim the starter and cut an ear off of the back of the oil pan. The performance difference between this GM V-6 and the old 85hp Iron Duke is huge.
Very few drivetrain swaps are direct bolt-in conversions that go over without problems. We’ve always maintained that no two engine swaps are alike. Likewise, the solutions to the issues that will no doubt surface during an engine swap are often just as creative as the Jeeps themselves. Thanks for all the detailed information; it’s very instructive and helpful to other Jp readers!
2.5L to 4.0L SwapI’m sure you guys have done a write-up on a 2.5L four-cylinder to a 4.0L six-cylinder engine swap; I just can’t find it on the Internet anywhere. Could you send me the article so I can look it over? I am just about to start tearing apart my 2.5L YJ to swap in a 4.0L from a donor YJ I picked up.
Thanks in advance! Jeep on!
The 2.5L to 4.0L swap is rarely one we recommend. It’s generally not a cost-effective swap, and it’s typically far less expensive and a lot easier to simply find a six-cylinder YJ to start with. In fact, we even considered the 2.5L to 4.0L swap one of the dumbest engine swaps ever, which you can read about here: bit.ly/1TkupkO. However, if you are going to do it, it sounds like you are going about it the right way. Having a complete 4.0L six-cylinder YJ donor vehicle on hand will simplify your swap and should reduce the overall cost of your conversion. You are right though, we have shown this conversion. You can find the YJ 2.5L to 4.0L swap story online here: bit.ly/2PDvPBj. Be sure to get your project up and running before you scrap the donor YJ. You never know what small and expensive or discontinued part you’ll need until the swap is complete.
Proud DadIt’s a proud dad moment! My daughter is going through the pages of Jp Magazine! I think my little girl is ready to go ’wheeling soon!
Mark Petrone Jr.
Uh-oh, you may have just opened Pandora’s box. Are you ready to invest in motorized electric Barbie Jeeps? Of course, being a Jeep guy you’ll never be able to leave well enough alone. The Barbie Jeep will need a 24V battery conversion and a brushless electric motor upgrade. You will likely add aggressive rubber tires, too. Her first car will be your Jeep, which you’ll never get a chance to drive again. You may as well start making plans now for your next Jeep.
Where Is My Mag?How long does it usually take to get your first magazine once you subscribe to Jp? I put my subscription in over a month ago. I was just getting antsy and wondering. If you need more information I’ll be happy to give it. Thanks!
Thanks for subscribing to Jp! We’re glad to have you aboard. Typically, it will take six to eight weeks for your first issue to show up in the mailbox. As with any mail, make sure the address on the magazine is correct when it does come. This will help eliminate the possibility of a delay in the future. If you need to make an address change or alter your subscription in any way, please contact the people at our reader services department right away. You can reach them via phone at 800/678-8012 or by email at email@example.com. When contacting our customer service department, please have your name, address and phone number ready, or include them in your email. Enjoy your subscription to Jp!
Theme JeepI own a ’14 Jeep Wrangler and thought I would share. We did a themed show last month. My Jeep has a Thin Red Line theme. We decided to handwrite all of the first responders’ names on the Jeep in memory of all who passed. It honestly turned out better than I thought and the response from people who have seen it has been humbling. We had people reach out and ask if certain names were on the Jeep and just to express gratitude for doing this.
Catie Locorriere- Birabent
Very cool! Thanks for reaching out. We love to see and hear all about Jeep builds that have been dedications to individuals or groups that made a difference and moved the needle for good. You can always present these dedicated Jeeps to our Jeep Shots department. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Jeep Shots” in the subject line. Please include details on the build, your full name, and the area of the world you reside in. Don’t forget to attach a couple photos of your Jeep. The images should be at least 1,200 pixels across the long side. In most cases, if the image is 1.5 MB in size or larger you should be good to go.