FourWheeler 1.2: Drivetrain for the Custom LJ Buggy

The DIY Buggy Gets a Heart

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FourWheeler Show Description: If it has wheels and goes off road, Ian Johnson will work on it! In FourWheeler we work on everything from upgrading your daily driving Jeep, to building a custom tube chassis rock crawler. Ian takes you along for the "do it yourself" ride as we tackle everything from simple "bolt-ons" to full on fabrication. Find it here!

Season 1, Episode 2: Custom LJ Buggy-Part 2 - The custom Jeep LJ gets a drivetrain after Ian finds a junkyard LS engine to install. He also fabricates his own exhaust.

In the second episode of FourWheeler (Custom LJ Buggy-Part 2), Ian Johnson continues to labor on the custom tube chassis Jeep LJ, this time tackling the drivetrain. The LJ chassis kit, at this point tacked together, is designed to house an LS engine, so that's the natural option that Ian chooses for the powerplant. The LS of choice is a junkyard 5.3L acquired for $500. Before opening up the engine, Ian mocks up its location inside the LJ and attaches a Turbo 400 transmission and an Atlas II transfer case. He welds up the beginnings of an engine cradle, motor mounts, and all the associated support brackets, tabs, mounts, and crossmembers needed to suspend the engine, transmission, and transfer case.

With plenty of room under the belly of the LJ, Ian finds it prudent to next tackle the exhaust. He mocks up the 2 -inch Magnaflow dual exhaust system, making it look easy-peesy.

For those becoming anxious that Ian was considering running the junkyard 5.3L as-is, rest assured knowing that the second half of the episode is dedicated to stripping down the gooey LS, sending it out to a machine shop, and reassembling the beast. Because off-road guys can't leave things alone, the LS happens to return from the machine shop as a 5.7L. Lastly, Ian walks us through the Edelbrock fuel system and LS1 intake.

If only we could all accomplish so much in 22 minutes of tinkering. Stay tuned as Ian continues to work on the LJ in the next episode of FourWheeler.

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