Here in magazine land every day is gumdrop-covered fun for all, where magical gnomes build our project vehicles while we frolic with busty beer maidens in an elfin forest. Nah. Actually, the staff of Jp spins wrenches and thrashes on their own junk more than all of the other off-road rags combined. About 90 percent of the time we don't rely on shops for our installs. Instead we get dirty and bust knuckles so when you ask what an install or bit of fabrication entails, we can tell you firsthand. Plus, most of the time if we can do it, chances are you can do it, so we like to think this lends a bit of credence to our stories.
The point is, often stuff doesn't exactly go as planned. This month we had hoped to bring you the full driveway install of our 4.6L stroker in our 1999 XJ project vehicle, but we flat ran out of time. The engine didn't arrive at our offices before the story deadline, so instead we'll bring you as many tips and tricks as we can to yank your engine and prepare your rig for its new engine.
Next month we'll be showing you how to make the 4.6L live and breathe in its new home. In stark contrast to the diatribe at the beginning of this story, we'll be taking it to Turbo City to have the fuel and ignition curves dialed in perfectly. We'll also hit the smog rollers to see if we can squeak the engine by the strict California Air Resources Board testing, generate some true rear-wheel dyno numbers, then see if we can break into the mid-14s at the quarter-mile.
In addition to labeling each connector and fitting, it's a good idea to take lots of digital or Polaroid photos and keep a pad of paper handy to make notes so your scribbles on tape make sense to you. We usually just label the tape numerically and write our notes for each number on the pad. It also helps to set aside a clean, safe space to put all the junk you take off so it doesn't get lost or damaged. Put any hardware in Ziploc bags labeled with where the hardware came from.
Before you go unbolting the bellhousing bolts, support the transmission with a sturdy floor jack. Use a piece of wood so the pan doesn't get damaged under the tranny's weight. Now is also a good time to disconnect your exhaust at the manifold collector, unbolt the lower engine-mount bolts, and hook up your engine hoist, adding a slight amount of tension to hold it up.
We stuck a rag in the torque converter so it wouldn't leak on the garage floor. Once the new engine arrives, we'll transfer the valve cover, water pump, and other accoutrements one at a time from the old engine to the new engine, using new gaskets where necessary. To avoid possible damage to the tranny seal, we'll install the torque converter on the tranny before the new engine goes in. Pour a quart of tranny fluid in it, then spin it two or three times until the shaft indexes the pump.
The 4.6L Powerhouse
Part of the delay in getting our engine was the fact that we asked for the optional engine dyno break-in and power test from Golen Engine Service. Here's what our 91-octane pump gas beast belted out using 24-pound injectors, a Hesco adjustable fuel-pressure regulator, a 66mm throttle body, and a Hooker header.