When Nelson Jeep enthusiast, Rowan Coutts first purchased this 1997 Jeep TJ Wrangler four years ago it was because it was considered a good buy as it already had a two-inch suspension lift and 33-inch tyres.
However it didn’t have a WoF and was “in a bit of a state” according to Rowan. Rowan, an experienced diesel mechanic and company director couldn’t resist the temptation and it soon sat in the driveway at home waiting for some attention.
Rowan already had a Wrangler that he was using off-road, so didn’t really need this and while it sat there he toyed with the idea of lengthening the wheelbase and making a ute out of it. But all that changed when Andrew “Sav” Saverley from the Nelson 4x4 Centre mentioned to Rowan that he was looking for an automatic gearbox from a TJ Wrangler.
Rowan is still not sure how it all came about now as it was four years or so ago but “somehow we did a deal and Sav got the auto from the TJ and I got a 5.2 Magnum V8 in bits with a 46RH transmission to go behind it.”
The V8 engine and gearbox was from a Grand Cherokee and Rowan is still not sure who got the best deal!
The engine came from a mid-90s ZJ Grand Cherokee which in standard form produced 170 kW @ 4,400rpm and 410Nm of torque @ 3,200rpm and in the ZJ Grand Cherokee Jeeps was mated to the 46RH 4 speed overdrive transmission.
So Rowan’s project was now to fit the engine and transmission into the TJ Wrangler.
Behind the transmission the standard TJ Wrangler NP231 transfer case was used but this was updated to six-gear planetary, slip yoke eliminator fitted and a double yoke rear driveshaft. The transfer case and rear cross member was also modified to provide better ground clearance.