Lemons to Lemonade

What to do to the 1997 FZJ-80?

  • Sell It! Start looking for the new diesel Jeep Rubicon...

    Votes: 5 7.1%
  • Keep It! Toyota 1HD-FT, 5-speed, full-time 4wd half cut

    Votes: 14 20.0%
  • Keep It! Cummins 4BTA, 700R4, 60-series split case from Proffitt's

    Votes: 23 32.9%
  • Stage my own death, resurface when Life Insurance pays out

    Votes: 28 40.0%

  • Total voters
    70
  • Poll closed .
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
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My family is relocating east (Ithaca NY) and this has forced me to scrutinize and evaluate whether or not the 80 stays with us. I've already posted it for sale but have actively been pursuing what options are out there to "green" these boats up a little. I'll start out there, that the primary focus and concern for us is not sinking any more time, energy or $$$ into the low mpg game. My goal is ~25 mpg diesel that can go bio-diesel and have the possiblity to go WVO/SVO.

I posted my options above so please weigh in with anything enlightening (or not). These are pretty much the only options right now - only them. At least I have options so I'm grateful for that.

If it sold today my plan is to look into something newer that 2005 so I'd get the updated features lacking in the 80 like side-impact air bags. I've even considered the 4-door Jeep Wrangler if it does indeed come out in a diesel.

The 1HD-FT from Toyota is available as a half-cut and is mated to a H155 or H151 or ??? manual 5-speed and retains the viscous coupled full-time 4wd transfer case. This costs more than the entire Cummins swap, parts will be harder to source and more expensive. It will be a Toyota, fit perfectly and will have a high neat-o factor. The swap will be hugely time consuming, especially to retro-fit the clutch assembly.

The Cummins 4BTA conversion would be Proffitt's and is pretty well documented. The Cummins seems to be a really good match and parts, service, etc would be common-place. It has also already been proven to be a great performer for bio-diesel and SVO/WVO. This option also has some interesting pros/cons depending on what your position is. The 4BTA is not currently able to be mated to the A343 tranny in the later 80's so a heavy duty 4-speed 700R4 w/ torque converter lockup is used and mated to a 60-series split transfer case (w/front lockout hubs added) for true part time 2wd/4wd. This would likely increase daily mpg and seems to open the door for dual cases/crawler gears at some point if desired.

And lastly, if the diesel conversion is the way to go, what would be a conservative estimate of what I could hopefully recover $$$ by selling the petrol 1FZ-FE, A343 tranny and xfer case and the Safari turbo setup? Keeping the 80 and doing a swap would hinge to a great extent on this number. If all of that is worth only $2K this likely all academic...

Thanks again for any input.
 
Joined
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Just to factor in for your time frame, last I'd heard Profitt's was ~2 years out on work and had 8 4BT swaps in line.

I must admit, if they did a diesel Rubicon, that would be a HARD decision. Even if it's not the Rubicon edition, just a standard Wrangler, with the PILES of cheap aftermarket Jeep crap available, building it would be cake.
 
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Joined
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:) I'm drooling for a 4bta so thats my vote. I'd also post this in diesel tech. They may have some good recommendations for other swap choices.

Erg80
 
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I have thought long and hard about this topic. Being from Canada, I had the opportunity to select between a gasser and a diesel 80 series. I test drove the diesel but never test drove a gasser before I bought my lx 450. It was the availability of parts that put me off. Your case is a little different in that you would only be strapped for parts for the engine and tranny. Except for the big end bearing issue, you would likely ever need to get parts so I think the parts issue is moot. These engines and trannys are renowned for longevity. As well, there is a strong network that would keep you well equipped with parts imported from Canada. So that kills one aspect of your argument against the HD. One thing that should be a barrier and you have not mentioned is actually doing the install. That could be a colossal pain. I bring this up because you would have Proffitt do the BT4, so I am thinking you would hire out the HD swap too.

I owned a j@@p between cruisers. I hated it. There was always something wrong. I rarely ever had the opportunity to enjoy it because I was always fixing something. I wheeled it only a few times. The one trip that stands out best in my memory involved having to rebuild the tcase in the field on some trivial little situation. I still have that busted output shaft. In fact I am looking at it now. I think you should cross the j@@p thing off your list. You would never be happy. A s a side thought. The j@@p liberty came out as a diesel for what one or two years and now its gone. I suspect that you would have less support with a j@@p diesel than the HD. If you need to prove the j@@p thing to yourself rent one for a week and see if you like it.

On the BT thing. These things are freakin loud. I had lingering thoughts about this swap too until I heard one. There are no polite words for how loud they are. The HD is super quiet, but still has that testicular diesel snort to it. In my opinion its not a cool factor thing, the HD is a better motor than the bt for passenger vehicles and by a long shot. They can be easily tuned to 190hp and 340ftlbs torque. Thats lots of power. The one hdj80 I test drove was zippier than my lx 450, and it had not been tuned.

Your post is a little contradictory. You dont want to spend the cash to drive a low mpg gasser, but want to spend the cash to do a swap or buy a new j@@p or a different more economic vehicle. I am gonna guess that its not the money thats the issue here, but your concern over fuel consumption and the type of fuel is what is driving your post. If that is the case I would say that a new vehicle should not be in your plans. Consider that a new vehicle represents a bigger environmental burden than keeping and upgrading a used vehicle.

So, after all that dialogue, I vote HD swap for the reasonings above. As another side note, have you considered a 6.5l chev diesel swap? There are a few folks that have voiced strong opinions about the 6.5, but I have not seen or read anything that supports such a bad rap. They dont get fantastic mpg, but you can use wvo. Parts are readily available, the swap is fairly routine and could be easily outsourced to any almost any offroad shop.

Karl
 
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I am a huge diesel fan especially Cummins. But when it comes to being green dosen't the diesel polute more than a gas motor. Please corect me if I am wrong. I know MPG are usualy better with the diesel but whats the trade off in the whole enviroment issue. I just had my 80 smogged and the emmissions were extremely low compared to the max emmissions allowed and the motor has 308,000 miles on it. Either way I still wish I had a diesel cruiser just can't justify the cost of a swap. BTW Jeep NO WAY I owned one and hated it yes it was old yes everyone said I would work on it alot but almost everyday.
 
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Nay - Henry's had that 62 so long it inspired me when I got my 1982 FJ-60 back in 1999. I'm afraid 1997 is the oldest truck I'm going to own. As I get older and spend more time on the highways with crazy people I want more and more airbags :rolleyes: and more and more armor :hillbilly:

harper68 - emissions are not a clear cut done deal for sure. SVO is carbon neutral when you burn it but likely puts out more NOx but also puts out no soot. By what I've been able to read there's just not a lot of emissions tests out there on this stuff. but it is undeniable that running gas and refined diesel have greater consequences at the endpoint (me) than bio-diesel & SVO. I also understand the bigger picture and how petrochemical farming is how the vast majority of veg oils are produced so there are always demons to live with.
 
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It really sounds like your answer is to get a new vehicle for safety features (I hear you there on airbags, which is why my other vehicle is a minivan with side curtain and 5 star everything ratings plus 26 mpg @ 75 mph on the highway) that can tow a dedicated wheeler.

Or maybe the question is this: are you going to wheel hardcore after the move?

The new Rubicon Unlimited's are sweet. I watched one on 2" of lift and 33's walk an obstacle that set a 40 on 38's aside for 30 mins of repair. You got wheelbase, low case gearing, axle and 'case strength all from the factory. Add a diesel and you are good to go. Keep the 80 and see what comes out in new diesels between now and '09-'10.
 
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it's for sale!!??? Shhh..... i'm going to go look. hmmmmm....


OK, for a serious note, i would say keep the rig, but the 4bt in it and sell off the motor, turbo seperatly to help offset the cost of the motor swap.
 
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I am a huge diesel fan especially Cummins. But when it comes to being green dosen't the diesel polute more than a gas motor. Please corect me if I am wrong. I know MPG are usualy better with the diesel but whats the trade off in the whole enviroment issue. I just had my 80 smogged and the emmissions were extremely low compared to the max emmissions allowed and the motor has 308,000 miles on it. Either way I still wish I had a diesel cruiser just can't justify the cost of a swap. BTW Jeep NO WAY I owned one and hated it yes it was old yes everyone said I would work on it alot but almost everyday.

Diesels do put out more particulate matter in their exhaust, stuff that settles back to the ground and into streams and what not. Not necessarily more emissions, just more of a different kind. On the other hand, the 100% more efficient than a gasser under a load. Then you add in the bio-diesel/ waste grease, and you end up with emissions that have a negligible effect on the environment (not in the carbon cycle or something like that), and at the same time give you the option of making your own fuel. So, from what I understand, diesels in 80 series sized vehicle have less of an impact on the environment than gas powered rigs. Imagine a gasoline motor in a semi. It would have to be massive, over 600 cubic inches to make the torque to move 80-90k lbs, and probably only get 1-2 mpg. Torque is what moves the 80s, and thats what diesels are good at.
 
Joined
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how much driving you going to do in ny? if little just keep the cruiser. ive lived in NYC and if I had to do it again I would get another geo metro. you is lucky if you never have to visit that place
 
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There is always the option of daily driving a Civic or the like. Down here a cycle is actually a viable option because of the riding season, not so much in NY.

I hope to put enough money away before the 190,000 mile engine in my Lexus goes (hopefully it'll go 300,000) for the 4BTA swap. I want to go that way as much for the 'green' aspect of running biodiesel and svo as for any other reason. I just don't see any reason to get rid of it, ever. There isn't another vehicle out there with the build quality. As much as we complain about these being huge vehicles, it's actually a very nice size. Enough bigger than a cherokee or 4-runner for a larger family (2 goldens and a boy for now), but it isn't like trying to wheel a Tahoe or the like.

All of the arguments I've seen against staying in the family with a Toyota diesel seem to be very valid reasons. I too have thought about the 6.5 Turbo GM engine since there are kit's available to match them to the Toyota tranny, but don't know what kind of mileage you'd get with one, and they are heavy. The 4BTA seems to strike a happy medium between just enough power, and great fuel mileage.

If there was a diesel unlimited rubicon, that certainly would be a desirable vehicle. It's a nice size, slightly more room than a cherokee, but not larger overall (going to a v-6 frees up some room) Who knows how long it will be till they offer one though. 2008? 2010? Could dump a ship load of money on a Grand Cherokee with the 3.0L bluetech, but I think it's got too much power and not enough economy (not to mention no frame and IFS - though it might be easier to covert it to solid axle than to convert an 80 to diesel). I keep hoping that Daimler's influence will improve Jeep's quality, but so far it seems Chrysler has influence Mercedes quality in a negative direction. That may be a crap shoot though.

I've run numbers before trying to figure out what gas mileage I'd need to pay for replacing a vehicle I already have, and make it pan out financially. In the end I can buy alot of gas even at $3.00 a gallon for $20,000.

In the end, like most automotive decisions, it'll end up being an emotional one, no matter how much logic, and calculations you put into it.
 
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If you are willing to look at a split case, this opens up many more swap alternatives, if you want to be a pioneer. For example, the new ford/international cab forward trucks have the baby v-6 powerstroke mated to the same tranny as in the superduty pickups. it has 200 hp, 440 lb-ft of torque, and gets in the high teens, low 20's mpg in a truck. One merely has to wait for one to get totaled and then tranplant away. If the wranglers will have the same diesel as in the liberty, don't do it, they suck.
 
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Bearcat80, I would really want to source the 4.5L V6 Powerstroke you are talking about and the rumors I've seen posted on the web is that it will be in the F-150 maybe by 2008-09 so it would then presumably be pretty common. But as you no doubt know, for now they are really hard to find except in a nice new Ford LCF and ~ $40K. But yes, that'd be a very good choice.
 

MoGas

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My choice would be a 6.2 GM diesel with a Banks turbo. I had that setup in a Blazer and loved it.
 

landtank

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I haven't been able to get my head around this one, are you planning on commuting from CA or what? How different is the cost of fuel between CA and NY that an engine swap might be needed to justify keeping the truck?

Just don't understand whats going on.
 
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Diesel is great for all that it offers. Replacing the truck for better mileage is fine.

But let's put a bit of perspective in the matter.
My wife drives a rare Toyo 4wd van that she and her students love. It gets just over 20 MPG. She teaches high school in a location 18 miles from home. She has considered giving up the van for a 35-40 MPG sedan. We thought about it.
At $3.00 per gallon, if I bought an old Camry at 35 MPG, went to the work to bring it up to reliable condition, it would take more than 3 years to offset the cost of the car and my time taken from real income work versus the fuel savings. If we opted for a later model at just $5000 in price, it would take just over 7 years. If we were to buy a new car at even 60 MPG, it would take at least twice as long to return the cost. We decided to just buy the gas and bite the bullet. It's cheaper! She loves her custom van. Why should we replace it?
 

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