IceBox Ty previously posted:
"I just think a Hemi wagon would be awesome"
The thing about swapping in such an engine in an old wagon is that everything else has to be changed as well....The t90 transmission can't handle too much power although if you are reasonable with the skinny pedal you can make it last with low end v8 power - but modern v8 power will crush it. One thing to think about is when jeep went to the Dauntless V6, the T90 was replaced - first with the T86 and then the T14. Honestly, I think all 3 of those 3 speeds are about the same, but the later two were synchro'd in all 3 gears and helical whereas the T90 is non-synchro etc. The T90 was designed in the late 1940s! The other really weak spot is the front D25 axle - it was upgraded to the D27 when the v6 came out. Of course, if you don't put a traction device in it, it can survive for a while. The rear D44 is reasonably strong, but its the old 2 piece design that isn't as strong as many people think based on today's D44. The D18 transfer case is pretty darn strong - certainly v8 strong - but even today, with modern 300+ hp engines, the D300 is standard (if not an Atlas II). Of course, some of that is also the size of the tires....160hp turning unlocked 30-31 inch tires compared to 300+ hp turning locked 37-40's....And finally, big engines get things moving fast - but you have to be able to stop them as well. So for me, with all original drivetrain and brake components, slightly bigger tires, a low end v8 is still pushing the limits of the components. Heck, even the open C-channel frame will struggle to stay rigid with modern v8 power. People like to say old jeeps never broke - that is because they didn't have enough engine to break anything.....most of the old jeeps and willys originally came with the L or F 134 (64-75hp GROSS! - not net, but gross hp). The 226 L6 that came in the wagon was the upgrade and produced 120 gross hp - that would be more like 100hp net using todays rating system.
Basically, many wagons end up as bodies on a blazer frame with modern running gear and axles etc....To each their own, but to me then its just like driving a more modern truck and has lost its soul. When I drive a 60 year old vehicle, I think it should feel like its a 60 year old vehicle. I am hesitant to put in too modern of a crate engine - both for too much power concerns and because I don't want to loose the willys soul. We all find our sweet spot with old vehicles...I am happy to keep it mostly original, but their are things that can be done to make it reliable and usable but don't sacrifice its soul (not to mention may just be a safety necessity in todays world) - I think I have done well with the cj in that regard. Some brake and ignition upgrades, but its still manual drum brakes, through the floor pedals, mechanical clutch, carb with manual choke, mechanical distributor but with hidden breakerless ignition (pertronix instead of points), manual steering, lifted but original width, SUA, inboard leaf springs, low back seats etc...The wagon on the other hand already had some upgrades (sbc v8, power steering) - obviously when I bought it, I knew that and was thinking I would appreciate that and make some more modern upgrades....but now I kind of am regretting that, and wishing it was a bit more original. At least the sbcv8 was of the same vintage (1957 283), but its added a lot of hassle to the project. And honestly, I am not sure what I think about the power steering - kind of like the manual except when offroad wheeling hard trails, and this wagon isn't going to be for hard core wheeling. Its all good - everyone gets to build them how they like. To me, the hard part is figuring out how I want to build mine....