Re: Crazy motor swap idea!
The 5.2 is a 318. You may not recognize the computer, but lean burn (ignition control) was used by Mopar from about 77 on. Starting with 80 the carbs were 'feed back' type. This means the exhaust is analyzed using an O2 sensor sending data to a fuel mixture computer that in turn directs adjustments to the mixture in the carb up to 10 cycles per second. Before computer controlled transmissions, Mopar used the 727 on its rwd V8s. The 4wd 727 trans may be a good fit in the jeep (I don't have one on hand to measure - try google). The jeep 4wd trans has a different tailshaft (shorter) that bolts up to the transfer case. My guess is that the 4wd 727 does the same. Now the 318 was used for years before computers, first with points & a standard carb, later with an electronic ignition with a normal carb (2 & 4 bbl). Your standard gauges in the jeep may be an issue because they may be fed &/or tied to/from the on board computer. As an example, the alternator functions (voltage regulation, charging, etc) are routed through the computer. It can be controlled from an earlier version of Chrysler voltage regulator, but this will trigger the 'check engine' light. So you can see that eliminating the on board computer system will give you challenges, but there are 'work arounds'. (Just wait till you try to get the ac system to work - that's a REAL challenge. Ha ha.) As for trans controller that allow you to eliminate the stock system, I don't know, but I'll bet that there are some out there. You ask about clearance, drive shaft, etc issues. I'm sure there will be some challenges, but nothing a pile of greenbacks can't handle. Remember you are making major changes, but most are do-able. Custom length driveshafts are made every day. Cross members can be modified. You may find that a Dodge Ram Charger 727 w/transfer case assembly may be shorter or similar in length than the jeep unit. Linkage will have to be fabricated (I'd go for a cable unit). BTW why have you condemned the jeep's wiring &/or engine? Unless the jeep was in a fire or a flood, most issues are fixable. The jeep/Mopar computer based fuel management, timing & transmission management system is pretty good especially when compared to the 'good old days' carb & distributor. I know first hand - I owned them, drove them, and worked on them professionally. Those old systems were horrible, and maintenance hogs. Really difficult cold weather starting, stumbling acceleration, flooding, vapor lock, and on and on. The newer (post renix) systems start & run very well. The only system from the 'good old days' (sarcasm alert) was the trans - the 727 was/is great. Good enough that its still the base for Mopar rwd auto trans up to the 2000s.