Question: I own an '81 Jeep Scrambler and want to make some modifications but don't really know how to go about it. My Jeep is bone-stock, with a four-cylinder motor, a four-speed transmission, a 300 Dana transfer case, and stock axles.
I want to put a V-8 motor and automatic transmission into it. I have a 318 with a 727 TorqueFlite trans out of a '75 Dodge 4x4, but everybody I talk to tells me it's more trouble than it's worth (because the 727 is so big). Everybody tells me to install a Chevy 350/Turbo 350 setup because it's the easiest. I want to keep the Dana 300. I also want to install Dana 44 axles front and rear without having to spend a fortune.
Answer: The 318/727 combination is not that much larger than the 350/350 combination. In fact, the Chrysler automatic transmission is actually shorter than the GM transmission. While Advance Adapters offers weld-in motor mounts (PN 713095), no one to my knowledge makes the necessary adapter to the Dana 300 transfer case.
All is not lost, however. From 1980 to 1986, Jeep used the 727/300 combination. The transmission case utilized the AMC engine bolt pattern, but there is no reason why you can't use this factory adapter and transmission output shaft in the 727 Chrysler transmission that you have. The trick is just to locate one. Collins Brothers Jeep (800/699-5337, www.collinsbrosjeep.com) may be able to help you on this, as the company has a pretty good supply of used Jeep parts and one of its specialties is selling Scramblers and parts for such.
You said that the engine and transmission you want to use came from a 4x4 Dodge. While it is a tight fit between the framerails, I have seen the NP203/205 used in CJs. This just may be your easiest option. Besides its larger size, a big drawback is the 2.0:1 low-range gearing versus the much better 2.6:1 of the Dana 300.
As to the 44 axle swap, there are no stock front or rear Dana 44 axles that will directly bolt into your Jeep. Everything out there is wider. Late-model Scouts ('74-'80) come the closest. The rear is a simple matter of just relocating the axle pad and setting the proper pinion angle. The front is more difficult, as you have to remount your leaf springs outside the frame due to the location of the differential. The Scout's caster angle is about 0 degrees, so to maintain proper pinion angle, you'll have to cut, rotate, and reweld the steering knuckles to obtain the 4 to 6 degrees of recommended caster. Not an easy job.
Your other choice would be '72-and-up Jeep Wagoneer axles. These use a six-bolt wheel pattern, so you can't use your present Jeep wheels. Well, you could, by utilizing some Ford 1/2-ton rotors up front and using a Scout rear as the width difference between the two is minute.
Bushwacker's (www.bushwacker.com) extended flares will keep the tires somewhat under cover and even better if you use an 8-inch-wide rim and a tire no wider than a 12.5-incher.
Question: I have a '96 Land Rover Discovery that I love. The engine sucks, though. I don't want to get rid of it, so I would like to drop in a new engine (not a Land Rover engine) that gets good gas mileage and good power. Will this be doable? How much will it cost me? I live close to Dallas. Is there anyone there I could call and ask?
Answer: Anything is doable. It just takes time and money. I think the best bet would be to use a 4.3 Chevy V-6, along with the matching overdrive automatic transmission and transfer case. These engines get good fuel mileage, are compact and relatively available at a reasonable price. Also, it would be much easier to swap the entire package instead of adapting another engine to the Rover's transmission. However, if that is the route that you want to take, then take a look at Mark's Adapters (www.marks4wd.com). Keep in mind that this is an Australian business, and for some reason they drive on the opposite side of the road than we do, so there may be some problems with steering location and such in their engine swap kits.
How much will it cost? No idea. It depends on what you have to pay for the engine, how much work you do yourself, and the cost of the shop work.
As far as a shop in the Dallas area that can do the work, we have no idea. Readers?