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Project J2008 Part VII Engine Pre-Install Prep

Posted in Project Vehicles on January 1, 2009
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In Part V of this buildup series we clued you in on our list of drivetrain component we'll be installing in our '68 J2000 pickup. To recap, we obtained a complete '92 4.0L engine, computer, and wiring harness out of a '92 XJ Cherokee from Scotty's Jeep, Truck, & 4x4 in Fontana, California. Also in that issue, we showed you the NV3550 five-speed transmission we got from Advance Adapters and the '84 Dodge NP208 transfer case that M.I.T. Drivetrain Specialists in El Cajon, California, rebuilt for us. However, while it's easy to select a modern fuel injected engine, it's quite another thing to get it wired and fired in the chassis.

First, we had planned on using Painless Performance's new Perfect Engine Management System for the 4.0L engine. We actually put the build on hold for several months while Painless finalized its programming of the Delphi MEFI 4 computer included in its kit. But, while the Perfect Engine Management system would greatly simplify the wiring and would no doubt offer seamless performance, the system was designed around the '97-'99 model year sensors. To make it work on our '92 engine would have required swapping over to the later '97-up distributor, TPS, MAP, and other related sensors as well as a GM-style coil. After totaling it up for our '92 engine the price for the extra accoutrements added nearly $500 on top of the $1,700 (as of press time) price of the engine management system. If this was a higher-end buildup we would have gladly forked over the cake, but as it is, the price for the engine management alone would rival the current value of the truck.

Our next plan was to go caveman and yank the injection and CPS-driven ignition. We put in a call to Holley for a 390cfm four-barrel carburetor, some spring loaded off-road needle and seats, and a 10-inch air cleaner. We then called Clifford Performance, which recommended a Mallory distributor, PN 4760101 for an AMC 258 engine to replace our crank-driven computer-controlled 4.0L unit, as well as Clifford's single-plane 4.0L four-barrel intake manifold, PN 47-4520. Unfortunately, the intake manifold was back-ordered and wouldn't be available by our deadline.

Finally, we received an e-mail from Tony Squier of Hotwire Auto who offered his company's services to pare down our factory XJ harness from an unintelligible mangle of spaghetti to a slick, easy-to-install harness with labeled connections and relays and fuses added as per our request. And it's not just 4.0L engines the company deals with. Hotwire Auto can handle anything from wiring a Dodge Viper V-10 to making a 6.1L Hemi seamlessly mate with a stock JK wiring harness. From modification of factory looms to stand-alone hot rod style harnesses for virtually any engine and transmission, Hotwire Auto can handle it. And the results are way beyond impressive. We received our harness from Hotwire Auto a week after we sent it to the company. You can see the results for yourself. Now we can finally start spinning wrenches on our drivetrain swap.

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Painless Performance Products
Ft. Worth, TX 76105
Clifford Performance
Lake Elsinore, Ca
(888) 471-1161
Arizona TPI
Tempe, AZ 85281

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