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3 of The Best Jeep V-8 Engine Swaps

A look at some of the best Jeep V-8 engine swaps

Jeeps and V-8 engine swaps go together like peanut butter and jelly, ham and eggs, America and apple pie. What the best Jeep V-8 engine swaps are just may be the most common topic of discussion at any gathering of Jeeps enthusiasts. The conversation often runs the gamut of Jeep V-8 swaps ranging from early model Chevy 350ci V-8s to bigger and more powerful subjects like the 6.0L V-8s developed for later model GM SUVS, trucks, and cars, and include monster motors like the HEMI and Hellcat V-8s that are kicking out twice the horsepower the Jeep came with from the factory. Which Jeep V-8 engine swap is best? Let's take a look at our three favorite Jeep V-8 engine swaps, and you choose what's best for your Jeep.

When it comes to the best Jeep V-8 engine swap, the Hellcat 6.2L supercharged engine could be the perfect choice. It's certainly not for the budget-minded, but let's face it, if money were no object, it's the choice we might make, and there are a number of high-quality sources for that sort of potent Jeep V-8 engine swap power.
The best Jeep V-8 engine swap for a classic like this 1951 Willys Jeep might be a Chevy 350ci V-8 Jeep engine swap like this example built and blueprinted by Sherm Taylor in Upland, California, hiding under the hood of David's silver Jeep. It features Scat rods, Speed Pro Racing moly rings, Keith Black 9.8 pistons, ported and polished aluminum Edelbrock RPM Performer heads, Weiand Stealth intake manifold, ProForm 750 carb, Mallory ignition, Advanced Adapters headers, and customized MagnaFlow exhaust.

Old School 350 V-8

Some like old-school Chevy 350ci V-8 engines swaps for the tried-and-true performance and reliability, and the abundance of parts and accessories, as well as their simplicity and ease of maintenance. These early model Chevy 350 V-8s can be found just about everywhere you look from crate to junkyard. Splendid examples of clean and tidy Jeep V-8 swaps using Chevy 350 V-8s are not hard to find, some home-built and others shop-built.

The paint schemes and overall builds are different, but this pair of classic 1951 Willys Jeep CJ-3As are not as far apart as they may seem. Dave's blue CJ-3A has a 350ci V-8 engine swap built by Blair's Automotive in Covina, California. Highlights are JE 9.5 pistons, Edelbrock cam and Edelbrock RPM Performer intake manifold, Quadrajet carb, Mallory ignition, custom headers, and a customized MagnaFlow exhaust system. You have to love a pair of V-8 engine-swap hot rod Jeeps like these.

Two sparkling examples of old-school Jeep V-8 swaps with Chevy 350 V-8s are the two 1951 Willys CJ-3As owned by Dave (father) and David (son) Peifer. Dave's runs a 1970 350ci V-8 rebuilt by Blair's Automotive in Covina, California. A Chevy 350ci V-8 built and blueprinted by Sherm Taylor in Upland, California, hides under the hood of David's Jeep. The transplants are impeccably crafted and work exceedingly well. This is a classic approach to a Jeep V-8 engine swap for a classic Jeep. Well played. A fully detailed feature on these two '51s can be found at https://www.fourwheeler.com/features/1903-family-ties-two-1951-willys-cj-3a-jeeps/

Modern V-8 Power

There are plenty that say the best Jeep V-8 engine swaps take a more modern approach with next-level engine management technology. Two Jeep V-8 engine swaps that showcase this way of thinking are the 6.0L late-model Cadillac-sourced V-8 powerplants wedged into the 1979 Jeep Cherokee SJ built by Ken Farley Jr. and the 1995 Jeep Wrangler YJ built by Burt Franklin. Ken (aka Doctor Deathwobble) swapped in a fully operational 6.0L V-8 and its trans taken from a donor Cadillac Escalade and made it sound like thunder and go like lightning. See more of Ken's 1979 6.0L V-8 engine swap Jeep Cherokee at https://www.fourwheeler.com/features/1811-fullsize-1979-jeep-cherokee-chief-s-power-and-patina/

The Jeep V-8 engine swap in Burt Franklin's 1995 Jeep YJ Wrangler is the high-output version of the Vortec 6000 V-8 truck engine built specifically for Cadillac, and features high-compression (10:1) flat-top pistons, and according to factory specs cranks out 345 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. Treated to a cold-air intake, headers, and a tune through its HP Tuner, the 6.0L V-8 sends power through a Dodge NV4500 heavy-duty five-speed manual transmission and then is split by an Advance Adapters Atlas 2 (5:1 lower range) transfer case.

Burt stretched the wheelbase of his 1995 Jeep YJ to 100 inches, but when you pop the hood, all attention is drawn to the 6.0L V-8 from a 2006 Cadillac Escalade engine swap tucked between the rails. To see the rest of Burt's 6.0L V-8 engine swap 1995 Jeep YJ go to https://www.fourwheeler.com/jp-dirt-n-drive/2018/1811-lq9-v-8-1995-wrangler-yj-is-hard-to-ignore/

HEMI V-8 Heaven

Those GM engines, old or new, are solid candidates for best Jeep V-8 engine swaps, but there are some that believe that any engine not from the Jeep "family," which can include Dodge- and Ram-sourced power products, are the only preferred option, and therefore are the best Jeep V-8 engine swaps. The venerable 360ci and less common but highly sought after 401ci V-8s were available in some Jeep models, and for those they weren't available in, can make authentic and enriching V-8 engine swaps. However, the hottest and certainly most powerful Jeep V-8 engine swap option today is the Hemi. Of the numerous versions of the new-generation Hemi engines, the one with the loudest noise and carrying the most potential for creating power is the Hemi Hellcat. There are a number of companies that can provide this potent Jeep V-8 Hemi engine swap, most notable are Dakota Customs of Black Hawk, South Dakota and Jeep Speed Shop in Cotati, California. Of late we have also been impressed by the flawless Hemi Hellcat V-8 engine swaps done by America's Most Wanted 4x4 in Holly, Michigan.

The hottest and certainly most powerful Jeep V-8 engine swap options today are the Hemi V-8 engines. Of the numerous versions of the new-generation Hemi engines, one of the most popular choices for making is the Hemi V-8 Hellcat. We found the America's Most Wanted 4x4 Hellcat swaps to be superbly clean and well-done transplants.
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