July 12, 2012

by Lynne Rabak

Many people have been heard saying, “I’ve spent long enough getting my vehicle ready for the trails, and it’s still not done. I just want to drive it!” That’s pretty much the sentiment shared when we got Lindsay’s 2000 Jeep TJ in our shop about a month ago.  A lot of work had already been done to swap the original, blown, 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with standard transmission for a GM 4.3L V-6 engine, with automatic transmission, out of an S-10 pickup. The key wiring harness issues were mostly sorted out and now the challenge was to fine-tune the Jeep set-up to the new power plant.

Under the hood a new aluminum performance rad had been mounted but required a fan shroud for proper air flow; the cold air intake needed to draw outside air rather than the hot, under-hood air; and the computer needed to be protected from the engine heat and water. Inside the passenger compartment, the transfer case and transmission shifters were not syncing up with the dash and e-brake, so the old console had to go.

The first thing tackled was the fan shroud. While most are a single piece that makes for a nightmare in accessing the front of the engine to do simple things like changing a belt, we opted to create an aluminum two-piece version so that it could be unbolted to remove just the top half for ease of access. Creative bends and precise cuts were the name of the game for Garrin, our metal expert, to get the fit just right. Relocating the coolant reservoir was also required. Now when the engine is running there is a proper draw of air through the rad, eliminating the potential overheating issues on the trail under low speed and high demand, especially since this Jeep is equipped with the large Warn 8274 winch. {insert picture of fan shroud here}

Next came the air intake conversion. The Vortec engine’s air intake needed to be rerouted 90º so that it would align with the cold air intake sitting at the driver’s side fender. {insert picture of air intake box here} This required some interesting angles to the custom-made aluminum pipe. {insert picture of air intake set-up here} The computer box was the simplest build and sat in the same area directly opposite the air intake, on the passenger side. To ensure proper air flow to the filter and computer, the hood was cut and a unique set-up created to allow the air in while redirecting unwanted water. Using the cut-outs from the hood and weather stripping, we were able to accomplish this. {insert picture of hood vent here} The new additions really pulled the new engine conversion together with the existing layout. {insert picture of full view under the hood here}

Inside, the transfer case shifter was crafted out of square tubing and bent to accommodate the slope of the dash. The console was made with a steel frame with sheet metal sides and checker plate on the top. By tweaking the e-brake we were able to have the automatic transmission shifter just miss the e-brake when in low gear. Future plans include building a box to house the CB inside the console and mounting some gauges on top. {insert picture of console here}

To add some flare to the overall effect, the steel wheels got a face lift with rim stiffeners welded on. Since Lindsay’s plan is to paint the Jeep a bright “can’t miss me!” orange (as seen in the engine compartment), we decided to stick with her plan by bringing the colour into the wheels, rather than just staying boring black. {insert picture of wheel here}

There are still some finishing touches planned but the Jeep is up and running and returned to its happy owner. Just in time for the wheeling season, with the air flow correctly set up under the hood and critical elements protected, along with the ability to engage the transfer case and transmission, Lindsay will finally be able to drive her new Jeep on the trails. {insert picture of Jeep here}

--------------------------------------------------------------------------30-------------------------------------------------------------Contact information:

Canadian Shield 4X4 Outfitters/Evolution Truck & Trailer Service

1900 Stanley Avenue

Niagara Falls ON  L2E 6S4

877-263-5967 (P)

905-262-5852 (P)

905-262-5977 (F)



July 12, 2012