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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
I found the shifting problem was the input shaft pilot bearing not being pressed in far enough (the shim alignment was still wrong). When the tail cone was torqued down, this pressed the rear bearing and the main shaft so there was not enough play in the shaft for the proper alignment.

Here are the new snap rings from McMaster-Carr. Jeep rings are discontinued. McMaster ones are much easier to install and more secure. Left side are the output shaft (thick) rings, McMaster # 98585A130, 1-3/8 OD shaft, right side are front of main shaft, McMaster # 90213A116, 1-3/8 OD shaft:



Front installed:


Rear installed:
 

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Discussion Starter #22
The next step this week has been sorting out the switch wiring. The 2002 WJ used a PM-controlled dash light, the 98-99 Durango uses a 5-position switch (not sure if I covered running a wire & adding a bulb to the dash when I was doing the gear position mod, but both bulbs work now). The most time-consuming thing here has been fiding the proper connectors so I can make a new plug & play harness. The original one, Dodge PN 56021648 is long discontinued. I found it uses two different brands of connectors- a Yakazi 090II at the harness end, and an Aptiv/Delphi Metri-Pack 150 one at the switch. I also found the latter comes with anywhere from 1-4 openings, so I ordered the 4 opening one. The 1-opening one is used on the GM LT1 engine.

I see we can direct upload pics again. (y) Here are a couple of pics, the second one has detailed wiring info that will also come in handy for a 231 to 242 swap. I hope I'm doing the thumbnail part correctly, if not it won't be the first time I've had to do something twice on this project. ;)


242_switch_top.jpg 1998_Durango_Jeep_242_wiring.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
Switch harness is complete except for some 1/4" split loom to cover it. All I had on hand was 3/8 and not enough of it. Both connectors were correct. The kits from Ballenger Motorsports came in like 2 days regular mail, and had extra terminals and even a block-off plug for the unused switch opening. I added a Metri-Pack blocking plug I had on hand to the harness side. It's good to know these parts are still readily available since the harness has been discontinued. I'll attach a couple of pics showing the connector in the switch and the complete harness next to the 231 harness.

EDIT- Links for parts:
Switch connector CONN-75828
Harness connector CONN-75929

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Switch connector.jpg
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Completed harness with 231 harness.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #24
This month if all goes as planned (what can go wrong LOL) I hope to reassemble the 4L80 and maybe get the motor mount plates welded. I also am planning to relocate the oil drain plug on the GM pan from the driver side to the passenger side for easier maintenance (the plug is too close to the front diff). I plan to bore a hole in the aluminum pan, put a round piece in place, have my welder friend weld it up and then drill & tap it for a drain plug.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Update, I'm stuck on the 4L80e reassembly. I can't get the rear set clearance to come out right, and since I added a roller bearing there am not sure if it is supposed to be the same as the OEM thrust washer.

In better news, I got the motor mounts and oil pan drain welded. I modded the oil pan for a passenger side drain since the OEM driver side one was too close to the front diff. Waiting on a 16.5mm drill bit so I can tap it for a drain valve. If I can remember next time I'm in the garage I'll snap some pics of both items.

I'm also redoing the fan relays. I have a pair of 70 amp large terminal (.375" vs .250") relays and will add these outside the fuse/relay box I built using some proper sockets. Reading up on the Mark 8 fan it would have burned out the smaller relays.

I also received the connectors to adapt the older park/neutral switch to my harness, and a new switch as well since the one that came with the trans was super-crusty.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
More progress this week. Motor mounts and oil pan mods are done. I ended up cutting the OEM mounts and having them welded to some 3/16" steel plate. See pics below.

I also got some 70A relays (larger terminals) and interlocking sockets I'll use for the Mark 8 fan. These will take the place of the 40A ones I had in the add-on fuse/relay panel.

I'm still figuring out the 4L80 reassembly. I think I have most of the parts needed now.

Chassis side of mounts, 3/16 plate and custom metal added to attach to axle-


Engine side-


Oil pan with passenger side drain and 18mm drain valve-
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Another delay, when I put the oil pan on & tried to turn the motor over, it would not fully turn. I ended up pulling the heads & there was a lot of debris in the chambers. I had the intake ports taped up but somehow stuff got in there.

I'll take this as a sign I need to freshen the motor up. I plan to do a DIY valve job, maybe put on some better springs & lifters (I some of these engines tick), along with a cylinder hone with new rings and bearings. The block has a film on it and I plan on washing it once everything is out.
 

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Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
I have ordered some new Keith Black flat top pistons and rings- the 5.3 used dished pistons, this will bump up the compression ratio to 10:1 from 9.5:1. Along with my Summit truck cam, I should be making in the area of 340 HP vs the 245 @ 4,000 the 5.9 made. As for torque, the 5.9 made 335 @ 3,200. A high-output L33 5.3 Chevy does [email protected] 4,000. The Summit cam should help restore torque at lower RPM.

Also on the way, new rod & main bearings, some valve grinding compound, a cylinder hone, and some plastigauge. Pending are some head and main studs and lifters. Still looking at various valve springs.

I can't edit my brake post, but I found via another thread here that the 2000-03 lower ball joints are needed due to a different size on the stud part. I got one pressed in yesterday and it eventually fit OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
All the engine parts are in (see pics). I decided to buy new lifters as I've heard a lot of these 5.3L engines with ticking lifters. I discovered there is no uniform way to center the new pistons on the old rods. Installing the pin involves heating the small end and then slipping the pin in quickly. I'm using my Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner with some undiluted "Mean Green" cleaner/degreaser ($7/gallon at Walmart) to clean the rods one at a time. I used a 3:1 solution for the heads in a large plastic tub to clean them. The stuff works a lot better undiluted.

I measured the piston gap using some feeler gauges, and I got a measurement of .139" gap with a rod in place. Splitting that in two gives me .0695" that should be on each side, which is very close to 1/16" (.0625"). If I can't find some steel of that thickness I can use as a jig, I can use some 1/16" steel.

I ended up going with some AMS .560" lift beehive springs. I regret now not getting the higher lift version of the Summit truck cam, but hindsight is always 20/20. At least now if the motor is ready for a higher lift cam if it ever comes to that.

The block has been cleaned and I clearance checked the new main and rod bearings as well as the new rings. I bought a 240 grit flex hone the next size up (4.125") and it worked OK, the cylinders look good. Everything is within spec. The cam bearings look good and I don't have the tool for them, so I'm not messing with them. Still a lot to do (including the 4L80) and not a whole lot of time to spend on it.



Valve parts.jpg

Pistons.jpg Block top.jpg Block bottom.jpg Rods before after.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
March update- I damaged two of the pistons trying to get the pins centered. I found a place that sells them individually and got two more. I found the trick on these pins and rods is to freeze the pins as well as heat the rod ends (gives you more time to position the pin), I used an insulated lunchbag to carry them to the garage. All of the pistons are in now and the rods and mains are torqued. The engine rotated as it should w/o binding. The cam, timing chain, & oil pump are installed and I put the oil pan in place to align the front & rear covers- there are expensive special tools for this, but from reading it looks like they align to the oil pan so I'll try the alternative method. I'll torque them down once the engine is off the stand.

I'm now working on the heads and head studs. I got the springs & seals replaced and used a cordless drill to grind the valves using some grinding compound (YouTube video). They are all cleaned up & ready to install. I used my ultrasonic cleaner to clean the pushrods and rockers using some purple power cleaner from Walmart.

EDIT- Forgot to add I'm making a standalone box for the Mark 8 fan. The plan is to mount a pair of true 70A relays- the kind with large .375" terminals for inlet & outlet. These require a different socket than the ones in my combo panel. A place sells a sealed box that has these relays along with two maxi fuses for $60, but I decided to make my own for about half the cost. My plan is to use a maxi fuse holder with 70A fuse and then feed the relays per my original diagram. I have the maxi fuse holder, the relays, and relay holders. The box is coming from China and is not supposed to be here for another month. I'll attach a schematic I drew.
109876
 

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Discussion Starter #31 (Edited)
Fan relay box is complete. Pics are attached. I'm mounting it on a bracket I made that attaches to the front panel behind the passenger headlight. Not shown are the fan harness and PCM control wires. I'll attach the leads once the box is installed.

IMG_20200406_233022944.jpg IMG_20200406_233045066.jpg IMG_20200406_233123709.jpg IMG_20200406_233218300.jpg Fan relay installled 1.jpg Fan relay installed 2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I'm one of the lucky few to still be working during the virus outbreak although my hours have been cut, so this means more shop time. :)

I took some pics of the engine on the stand this morning.
Engine on stand 1 040720.jpg Engine on stand 3 040720.jpg
 

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I'm one of the lucky few to still be working during the virus outbreak although my hours have been cut, so this means more shop time. :)

I took some pics of the engine on the stand this morning.
View attachment 109890 View attachment 109891
Hey man it’s awesome seeing someone work so hard on a Durango I got an 03 rt recently and love it how far are you from being done do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter #34 (Edited)
Hey man it’s awesome seeing someone work so hard on a Durango I got an 03 rt recently and love it how far are you from being done do you think?
Thanks! The 03 R/T is the best of the best IMO. Finished? LOL it varies weekly. Sometimes it seems like one step up and 3 back. I thought I had the 4L80 back together to the point where I could put the valve body on, but damaged one of the 4th clutches installing the pump. I ordered a set of improved (Alto red) frictions for it, $25 shipped is a good deal.

I also found the hood & tunnel insulation (jute matting) is in bad shape/falling down. Ordered a roll of newer stuff (plastic/foam?) that can be glued in and is supposed to be able to handle under hood heat. Then I forgot to buy the glue on my weekly trip to town. :(

On the engine side, I'm waiting for a balancer install tool. Once it is in place I can align & torque the front cover. Forgot to add I had to buy a torque wrench that can do 240 pounds for the balancer, far cheaper/better tool online than locally. I've also picked up some bits & pieces for the steam vents. I used the old front pipe on the rear by heating the outlet and straightening it. Got a 3/8" "pex" (which is more like 5/16) tee at Lowes to connect the front & rear lines as well as some reinforced 1/4" silicone hose and smooth band clamps for it.

Presuming all goes well, I should be able to install the motor & trans as an assembly within a couple of weeks. The main roadblock I see at this point is the trans crossmember. I had mocked one up but don't think it is sturdy enough. I have drilled & cut a couple of .187" thick plates to mount to the frame rails. After that I need to get some 45 degree exhaust pipes and rig up some type of crossover. Then there is how do I connect a Dodge shift cable to a GM transmission? One day at a time. :)

I know if I were to do this again, it would be on a 2000+ 2WD truck.
 

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Thanks! The 03 R/T is the best of the best IMO. Finished? LOL it varies weekly. Sometimes it seems like one step up and 3 back. I thought I had the 4L80 back together to the point where I could put the valve body on, but damaged one of the 4th clutches installing the pump. I ordered a set of improved (Alto red) frictions for it, $25 shipped is a good deal.

I also found the hood & tunnel insulation (jute matting) is in bad shape/falling down. Ordered a roll of newer stuff (plastic/foam?) that can be glued in and is supposed to be able to handle under hood heat. Then I forgot to buy the glue on my weekly trip to town. :(

On the engine side, I'm waiting for a balancer install tool. Once it is in place I can align & torque the front cover. Forgot to add I had to buy a torque wrench that can do 240 pounds for the balancer, far cheaper/better tool online than locally. I've also picked up some bits & pieces for the steam vents. I used the old front pipe on the rear by heating the outlet and straightening it. Got a 3/8" "pex" tee at Lowes to connect the front & rear lines as well as some reinforced 1/4" silicone hose and smooth band clamps for it.

Presuming all goes well, I should be able to install the motor & trans as an assembly within a couple of weeks. The main roadblock I see at this point is the trans crossmember. I had mocked one up but don't think it is sturdy enough. I have drilled & cut a couple of .187" thick plates. After that I need to get some 45 degree exhaust pipse and rig up some type of crossover. Then there is how do I connect a Dodge shift cable to a GM transmission? One day at a time. :)

I know if I were to do this again, it would be on a 2000+ 2WD truck.
Wow that sounds crazy! I thought I had it hard trying to install headers 😂😂 it’s nothing compared to what your doing soon I’m going to do cam and heads which should be fun haha but at least your doing a good job and not skipping over stuff it’s going to be awesome when your done ✅
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Oh and you probably mentioned this somewhere in the forum but you said your doing a gen 3 gm engine. What exact engine are you doing 5.3?
This engine is the aluminum block LM4. It's used in several of the Trailblazer variants. I was able to do some detective work and reconstructed the VIN from the number on the block. I Googled the VIN and found pictures of the wrecked truck- a GMC Envoy XL. I'll see if I can attach one.

More progress today. The install tool for the balancer arrived, but I still need a torque wrench capable of 240 ft-lbs to install the balancer. I have one on the way from Amazon but the COVID-19 deal has added weeks to their free shipping. Looks like I'll also need an extra-deep 24mm socket to torque it since the install stud I got has the hex end on it.

I'm attaching pics of the old and new under hood and trans tunnel insulation. I marked it using a Sharpie and got it cut to size. The roll could have been a couple of inches wider or I could have ordered a couple more feet of it and then turned the pads sideways, but a test fit looks pretty good for amateur work. I picked up some heavy duty construction adhesive from Ace Hardware. It' similar to Liquid Nails LN-903, which they did not stock. One of the Amazon reviews for the insulation said they used Liquid Nails and it worked well. I need some new retainer clips for under hood. In the past pic the new part looks larger since it is closer to the camera.

I got a replacement set of frictions for the 4L80e OD section. I'm now trying to work out the end play (Sonnax link) for the various parts. I had way too much on my first check, so I need some thicker shims in some places. I'm taking my time on the trans since I really don't want to have to pull it out once everything is installed.

Forgot to add I'm using this site for the engine reassembly.

Donor_Envoy.JPG IMG_20200417_153334515.jpg IMG_20200417_153555830.jpg IMG_20200417_153600534.jpg IMG_20200417_154619130.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #38
I continue to hurry up & wait. The ETA for my supersize torque wrench is the middle of May. I hope the flywheel lock I got will hold, since my flywheel is offset due to using an LS motor with an older 4L80. I'm also waiting on the shims for the trans gear set, but they should be here this month.

I received a 12V 100A circuit breaker for the auxiliary power panel and fans. It is supposed to nbe waterproof. I have used a couple of these on some UPS computer power backups (external 12V batteries) I built and they seem to work OK. I also have a maxi-fuse setup as a backup plan.

In the near future, I need to go over the harness wiring and make sure all of the connectors, notably the trans connectors, are OK. I think I will need to re-pin the trans connectors since my truck harness was for a 4L60. Then it's a matter of getting a decent baseline tune from the HP Tuners repository. I don't see where anyone is using a Summit truck cam, but it is not too extreme, so a stock tune should get me going. I want to add a bung for a wideband where my y-pipe terminates so I can do some tuning.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
As a brief update, I've been working on a family member's truck and in the process discovered Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) cooling fans. The Mark 8 fan I have here is great, but involves a lot of added wiring. From the looks of things, I can add a small controller box, connect it in to the coolant temp sender and add a trinary switch to the AC line. They also use heavy power cables, but they are more direct since they do not pass through relays. The advantage here is a "soft start" so there is not a huge power spike like with the Mark 8 fan. They can run at varying speeds.

I've done a lot of radiator core size shopping and at this point plan to use the fan from a 2003-14 Volvo XC90. The 2009-16 BMW V8 powered X5/X6 uses a powerful 850W (62 amp) fan that would be a decent fit, but they are big bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
I had a productive morning today. I got the guts of the 4L80 put back together with the new OD clutches and all clearances are within spec. I put my torque converter in place and spun it to be sure the oil pump was turning. It was smooth as butter. The internals turn freely. I found it does work better for clearances when you put that last bearing in! :confused:

Next area of the overhaul involves the valve body. Saving that one for another day.

I got the XC90 fan ordered. If it's permissible, the place I got it from is All Foreign Auto Parts in Pittsburgh. They are super helpful and have no problem shipping fans- even big ones- for $20. Add that to the extremely reasonable $30 cost for the fan and it's $50 delivered. I found an XC90 at a JY somewhat nearby, they sell fans for about $35 w/ tax and core. The process to remove it is worth $15 to avoid. I'll work up a diagram for the fan setup soon. Here's the link for the PWM controller seller. About $60 shipped is a good deal for what this does, and the seller has been very helpful with information thus far.

Soon I need to do some reading/YouTubing as to what the best process is to install the engine and trans at once as well as if there is anything else that needs done before then. All of my other swaps have been manual trans cars, so this is new ground for me. Not looking forward to wrestling the 90 pound 242 transfer case into place either.
 
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