Need some engine swap suggestions.

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Need some engine swap suggestions.

Postby Mike 17264 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:48 pm

I have an 87 trooper 2 door I bought back in May. It is a 2.3L 5 speed. It was sitting in a field not running since 2007. The price was right at $1 with a good title so I pushed it up onto my trailer with a tractor and brought it home. To my surprise it was relatively rust free, none on the frame. The Hitachi carb was shot so I did a Weber conversion right away along with a complete new brake system (God Bless Rock Auto). I found a set of 5 16" snowflakes on Craig's list. I deleted all emissions, did some body work and painted her. I built a set of custom bumpers and a roof rack. I didn't think about doing a build thread until it was too late. All in all, I got her inspected and on the road about two months after purchase. So far I put about 2500 miles on it. Lately I have got the feeling that the motor just seems a little tired. I know these motors are a little under powered but I feel it should be a little snappier. During the summer I bought a 90 4 door, 2.6 5 speed with a bad frame. I basically bought it for it's headlights and seats however it runs awesome. The mileage is about the same as the 87 at 150k. I realize there are some differences between the two. I have been thinking about swapping the 2.6 into the 87. I know I will need an electric fuel pump to feed my Weber. I would like to know if it would be a good idea to rebuild the 2.6 before installing it? I see rebuild kits on rock auto for a couple hundred dollars. Is it hard to adapt the 2.6 to the old transmission or should I swap that as well? Any other ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Need some engine swap suggestions.

Postby Ed Mc. » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:59 pm

I had an issue with my '86 2.3, it was burning quite a bit of oil and the cat clogged. Could hardly get down the road. Fixing the cat restored the power.

The 2.3 certainly isn't a race engine but it should get out of its own way. If you have an infrared thermometer you can check cat inlet and outlet temps to see if the cat is dead. A muffler shop can check backpressure in the exhaust system.

You might want to do a compression check to see if you have cylinders low on compression. The Fours are notorious for burning exhaust valves when the valve adjustments are neglected. So that's a good thing to look at, too!

Regarding the swap, if the 2.6 is running well, not using oil or any other nasty habits, you may not need a rebuild. The bottom ends are quite stout and the only real issue down there are the crankshaft thrust washers. So be sure to check crankshaft free play (forward-to-aft) and if there's a lot, you should tear it down for inspection. You could also pull the oil pan when the engine is out and pop a few main and rod bearing caps to see what the crankshaft and bearings look like. Probably a good idea to reseal the oil pan anyway, it's one of those things that are almost impossible to fix once it's in the vehicle.

You'd probably be better off swapping the MUA5 tranny along with the 2.6, since it's a stronger transmission than the MSG. You'd also have to retrofit a hydraulic clutch master cylinder since the MSG uses a cable-operated clutch. But you've got a spare parts rig with all that stuff on it, Piece of Cake!

If you do decide to leave the MSG in place, you can mix-n-match the 2.3 and 2.6 clutch/flywheel parts to bolt up the 2.6. One of the 4-cyl swap Gurus can help with that, I can't recall which parts you'll need to use.

IMHO if the bottom end of the 2.6 checks out, I'd leave it alone. Especially if it's not burning oil. These are known to go 200-300K without big issues.

But do check out the thrust bearing, it is one known weakness of the bottom end.

Heads can warp/crack if overheated, valves burn, but at least a head can be replaced in the vehicle without too much trouble. Bottom ends are much harder to fix!

HTH..........ed
'90 3.4 Troop LS;
'89 Troop RS (Exhaust Valve Challenged), now gone to a Good Home!
Yes, I am a Trooper-Holic!!!
Keep On Troopin' !
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Re: Need some engine swap suggestions.

Postby Mike 17264 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:03 pm

The cat isn't an issue. It's gone. I thought I was having an issue with it because of egr having been disconnected so I removed it. I have or should I say had good compression, I haven't checked it lately. I was getting 155 +/- 2 psi on each cylinder. On the flat I can run 65-70 mph though it does take a really long time to get there. It is pretty gutless on any kind of incline.
The other day while it was warming up at fast idle I noticed a blue smoke haze in the bright sun light at the rear of the vehicle. It has been going through about a quart of oil about every 500 miles. I believe this is due to leaks more than usage but I don't see quite that much oil on ground. I am also only getting around 15mpg. I had an 88 trooper we bought new and if I remember correctly we got 23-25mpg back then.
The previous owner of my donor vehicle said that it didn't use oil, so I'm thinking lower end inspection and new oil pan gaskets. Then inspect the head and replace gasket. While it's out probably should replace the water pump and timing belt.
I know our old 88 had close to 300k on her when she was traded in so I've.always been sold on Zu's.
Thanks again for the input.
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Re: Need some engine swap suggestions.

Postby RickP » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:11 pm

If you put bigger tires along with heavy bumpers, your MPG goes out the window. My 2.6l doesn't use much oil just driving around town, but if I get on the highway and go 70+ it can sometimes use a whole quart in 200 miles if there is a head wind and hills/mountains.
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Re: Need some engine swap suggestions.

Postby Ed Mc. » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:38 pm

The 2.3 does sound kinda tired. My old '86 with a Delta 260 cam was getting almost 25mpg on long trips. But it was also burning oil at a precipitous rate, around 200 miles/quart!

You'd think it would be billowing smoke out the back, however you couldn't see it when you were driving. But if someone was following you, they could!

The cylinders were worn/tapered and the oil control rings couldn't stop the oil burning. Even a new set of rings did no good, I needed to bore the block. About that time, the head gave up the ghost and I just quit & bought a V6.

The 2.6 swap would be the way to go. While you've got things down, throw a "Jerry Cam" in there for a nice bump in performance. Jerry Lemond has perfected the cam grind with excellent results:

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=79422

Cheers........ed
'90 3.4 Troop LS;
'89 Troop RS (Exhaust Valve Challenged), now gone to a Good Home!
Yes, I am a Trooper-Holic!!!
Keep On Troopin' !
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Re: Need some engine swap suggestions.

Postby Mike 17264 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:15 pm

My original plan when this project started was to turbo an older 60-70 hp Kubota diesel and adapt it to the transmission however this 2.6 kind of came free with a set of headlights haha. Besides older used Kubota engines are neither cheap or easy to get a hold of so I think I'll go this route first.
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