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V8 Jeeps - Trail Head

Posted in News on October 10, 2014
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Twelve times! That was the email I got at the beginning of August. You all will be happy to learn that Jpmagazine is now going to come out 12 times a year. Yep, we are going monthly for 2015.

Of course, that means more work, but heck, I’m already up to my armpits in broken or half-running Jeeps. So, what does it really matter? Even a bad day wheeling beats a good day at work. But this issue is all about power. Who doesn’t want more power? So let’s talk about that.

I had a ’80 CJ-7 something like 20 years ago, and it was the last factory V-8 Jeep at the time. Obviously, this was before they even started putting V-8s in the Grand Cherokees but not by much. When I got it, it was a basket case. Remember, I’m from the Northeast, so the thing was pretty rusty. However, I was at my local junkyard, and they had it sitting there while I was fishing for parts for another Jeep. I was 16 and had never seen a V-8 CJ before. I lost my head when I started poking around it. Didn’t even know the things existed. Keep in mind this is before immediate results from Internet searches and so forth.

Anyway, I asked them if it ran, but the guys running the junkyard had no idea if it did. They told me it had just come in the day before. I got ’em to agree to let me try to get it running. It took me a half a day, but I got it fired up. Once I did, I convinced them to let me take it for a ride. Woooo Nelly! If you’ve never driven a V-8-powered universal-series Jeep, you need to. I was in love.

I talked them out of it, and because it took me half a day to get it running, they were pretty amenable to giving me the thing. Sure, I paid a little bit for it but really not much. By this time, the guys knew me, and I bet they figured I’d be back for more parts for it (I certainly was). I got it with the factory two-barrel carburetor, cast-iron exhaust manifolds, cast-iron intake, and so forth. However, I had the V-8 CJ bug, so that didn’t last long. I went through plenty of two-barrel carbs (the Holley 390 cfm was my favorite on the factory intake) and lots of headers in search for more power.

In the end, I settled on a four-barrel Holley on an Edlebrock Air-Gap intake (the first available for the AMC V-8, I was told), Thorley Tri-Y headers, and a dual exhaust with an H-pipe (because I kept stalling it in mud with straight-up side exhausts). That Jeep was a ton of fun to drive. I ended up swapping that ’80 CJ-7 for a ’78 CJ-5 (also with a 304ci V-8). I never ended up driving that CJ-5 much, but it was the basis for a couple of my first stories here at Jp. I never lost the power bug, and I bet a lot of you still totally have it too. So, here’s a power issue for your perusal.

I just got done running the Rubicon to test the new stroker engine in the JK. I worked with 505 Performance to stroke a 3.8L V-6 out to 4.1L, and in the meantime, fixed a lot of the issues those engines had. Then, I drag raced against a 3.6L JK on a 1⁄4-mile track and beat it by one-and-a-half lengths—so that says something, especially because I have 4.10 gears and 37s and the 3.6L one had 5.13s and 37s. I didn’t get a chance to put it on the dyno before this issue, but it’s way better than it was before. Check it out further on in.

We also put some other power modifications together for you and went out and smacked ’em around a bit. We give the Pig Truck lots of power-adding stuff, we break down the ins-and-outs of common bolt-ons, and talk about engine swaps and more in this issue. Adding more power to your Jeep is never cheap, so pick your poison carefully if you are like us and don’t have a money tree. Hopefully we give you a good idea of what you are getting into, no matter what you are looking at, before you get into it up to your armpits like I am.

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