AWESOME, AMAZING - all the A words!

I don't even know where to start. But I guess at the beginning is a good place.

Back in Oct, I contacted Robbie at Motech about doing a 3.8L -> 6.2L LS3 conversion on a 2008 JKUR. This was a completely *babied* JKUR, it had only been driven 30k miles and those were miles that were very un-eventful. But putting 37's on it, (it had a 3.5" TF lift and all of the TF fixings on it already), along with 5.13 gears - it became crystal clear that is was going to be a dog to run around the hills and valleys of the west in that configuration.

I had looked at Bruiser, but couldn't find anyone who had a good experience without lots of hand holding. I remembered that there was a Western location that did these conversion and had been doing LS conversions in one way or another for way longer than most everyone else. That being MOTECH

When I contacted Robbie, I had *NO IDEA* what all we wanted. But as luck would have it, he was running some specials. After an initial round of emails, and one follow up phone call, and watching *ALL* of his videos on youtube. We decided on the following.

It would be a 6.2 LS3, with the heavy duty driveline upgrade, the aluminum radiator upgrade, and 4.56 gears. And instead of me do the work, Robbie was going to do this turnkey. We did end up adding one additional item the AeroForce scanning gauge (plugs in the ODB2 port on the LS ECM and can read all the *deep* PIDS that Chevrolet creates as OEM specific PIDS in the ODB2/Can bus network).

My brother, ran it down and dropped it off over a long weekend, where they were planning to stay in Vegas for a few days with their kids. As luck would have it. 2 others shows up at Robbies that week for a similar upgrade. But time really wasn't critical for us.

Did I mention this was my 80 some odd young, Dads Jeep, and we did all of this without him knowing it until the big reveal at the end :)... more on that later.

While we waited in queue, there were a couple of tweaks we decided on. Robbie would do the 4.56 gear change, and we also had him add the Rubicon transfer case shifting lever upgrade that Advanced does as long as the chassis and cab were going to be separated anyway.

We got backed up a little further due to the SEMA show (thanks Eddie for sneaking yours in in front of ours!!!... lol). But through out all of this. Robbie was awesome to work with. His preferred method of comms became Text messaging, but that actually worked out great. We could back and forth without needing immediate responses from either side. Plus I use Google Hangouts for chat and it syncs texts from phone to my PC and allows me to respond from any device.

Once SEMA was over, I watched the other 2 Jeeps in front of us clear, and then poof, it was our turn. The next thing I know, Robbies starts sending me pictures over text messaging (see Robbie what you now started, the high bar has been set! :)...).

The body was back on it.

Staring at a HUGE hole!!!
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All of it's glory

I got a bunch more, but these are the meaningful ones. Before anyone thinks Robbie and his band of merry men cut corners, or make compromises, I can tell you, this is a well thought out upgrade. To look under the hood, everything looks factory. From the LS harness to the ECM module, it's mount with associated fuses and relays, to the induction, the exhaust, etc. It sincerely is work of art. Before you start to wonder if I know what a work of art is. I've owned 2 different Saleens, including the 570HP version that they made in their hayday grafting a 351W into a 2002 Mustang, etc. But what really sets this MOTECH install apart is how *STOCK* it all looks. And how well integrated it is.

While Robbies teams was doing the work. I found 2 comments from them that made me chuckle. First, my Brother has been working on an SPod type design for a while, but really doesn't want it to cost the $$$'s and have the challenges that the Spod has. As a result this one had his handiwork and Robbie teams were shocked about 2 things. a) how clean the jeep was when they started, specifically how clean the engine compartment was; b) how well the Spod like installation was done, groomed, wires routed, etc.... In fact, Robbies team went above and beyond around this and I'll get to that in a bit.

If I had to think back about timing... Robbie had told me 2-3 weeks. From when they started on it, until it was complete, not counting some *OTHER ABOVE AND BEYOND* work that Robbies team did. I'd say his approximation was spot on.

I had zero surprises, zero cost adjustments, everything went exactly to plan. I'm sure this is because the plan had been done a number of times prior and they knew exactly what they were doing.

In this case we recovered a small amount of the price in selling the 3.8L and it's transmission. Because it was so low on miles, it was in demand as it turned out. And Robbie made a point to tell us that anything they pulled was ours to do with as we wanted. Some things we just junked, the stock drivelines, the 5.13 gears, etc. But we got a box with hoses, radiator, transmission cooler (ah, because that was an upgrade that I had Robbie do on the 6L80), etc.

So I've mentioned a handful of things that Robbies team did - over and above expectations. When we dropped it off. One of Robbies guys had told my brother that they want it to be perfect when it's returned. Little did I know that that really included perfect.... Here's what we knew wasn't right when we dropped it off.

a) The ABS sensor was triggering in the instrument cluster and we hadn't taken the time yet to figure out why.
b) the Drivers side Rock Slide Engineering automatic step had a problem where only one end would move
c) The plates were expired (no they didn't fix that, but we didn't get them in trouble either as a result... whew!!!)

As soon as Robbie got our Jeep on the road. He called me and asked if the jeep pulled to the left (or right I can't remember now) and if it was extremely sensitive around center (or straight). I couldn't remember either issue, but I hadn't driven it in some time. Checking with my Brother who drove it down, he recalled no issue there... Robbie said he wanted to look at it. - First off they found those stupid bushings that TF uses and one had came apart. After fixing that it was better, but they wanted to look further. Well, not only look at it, they remeasured all the TF measurements, re-centered everything and found that it was out of what TF calls spec. So they centered everything up and low and behold found that when TF did the lift they had installed the right and left upper front control arms opposite where they should be installed. Once he swapped those and reset, the driveability immediately improved and that issues was resolved (not one I even knew about).

Next up, he said one of his guys wanted to look at the ABS light issue. Well sheesh, not only did they look at it, they resolved it down to the front left assembly and knew it was in the wiring at the wheel. Ended up being some corrosion which they cleaned up and that resolved that issue.

Adams did the gear change and Robbie didn't like the noise from the front, so the next morning had drove it back and they tweaked the mesh and resolved that ( this would have been expected as I paid for the new gearing - but I didn't know Adams would be doing it :)...).

Robbies team knew that this was a surprise for my Dad. As a result, when they realized that my Brother used the same relay/fuse module that they did and that they had the CAD already done for the mounting, openings, etc. They had a special mounting plate made up to fit my Brothers Spod like module and remounted all of that in the perfect place as it was moved to make room for the LS ECM etc. Even to the point of where they had that special mount power coated to match everything else of MOTECHs.

Because we knew about the step and some other work that we were going to have done. It needed to get to Dixie 4x4 in St. George as Bryce was going to fix the step and do some other work. Robbie had volunteered to get it to Dixie for us when it was finished. In the end, that didn't happen, but because we changed a few of our down stream plans more than anything. And we changed the reveal date. But was awesome of him to offer that!!!

On pick up day, Robbie had had it for a good week of drive time. Worked though all the issues above... AND while I didn't know this at the time, when I walked into the back room to see it. It was all washed and detailed. Looked amazing. One of Robbies guys jumped inside and started it and I noticed that the step was down on the passenger side (not the one that didn't work - normally we had those shut off so they weren't trying to come up and down with the drivers side not working). As I came around the drivers side, I noticed the step down. And I said, hey you guys fixed the step too??? Somewhat in shock. Robbies guy started to chuckle and said, yeah and that was a real challenge to figure that out. Turns out it was some bolt internally that had broken and jammed things up pretty good. But in true "it will be perfect" terms, they had resolved all the things that I knew about, and some I didn't. And I might add were quite proud of that fact!!!

The finished product and we'll get some better versions as soon as we finish up an EVO coil over upgrade :)
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So typing all of this, again it made me realize how glad I am that we went to Robbie and MOTECH. The attention to detail, both on their design, their integration, and the result is rather amazing. And the above and beyond is to be commended in this day and age. If anyone has *ANY* reservations about doing this conversion with Robbie. Please feel free to reach out to me. I'd be hard pressed, even if I could, to find any issue with what we had done, or how it was done.

I had about 6hrs of drive time with it. Nothing *wheeling*, but on the interstate driving from LV back to Utah. It still needs a couple of very tiny tweaks. The Speedo is off every so slight, I had made a couple of changes there, but it needs one more. We missed one wire that will be very simple to add to integrate the Jeep gas pedal back into the Jeep ECM. A pretty simple oversight as everything was working with the LS3. We just didn't have average MPG or DTE on the Jeep instrument cluster and as soon as I mentioned it to Robbie he was going to have Bryce do it at Dixie, but we skipped that step. So we'll get that issue resolved, but it effects nothing. BTW, down the road at 75mph, tach is just a tick above 2000 RPM right where it was wanted to be. I don't have a good read on fuel economy yet, but will let you know once we get computers dialed in.

To that point. We had a Trail Dash in this with the 3.8L. We didn't think we were going to use/need that, but Robbie said that it would work fine on the Jeep side to adjust lockers, etc. So it's plugged into the Jeep ODB2 port and the Aeroforce is plugged into the Chevrolet one. Makes for a perfect combination, but of course we no longer and change engine performance from the Trail Dash :)... This was how I tweaked the speedo, with tire size, after I programmed the 4.56 gears.

So as I mentioned this was a surprise for my Dad. I drove it to his place and manged to get it shutoff in his driveway before he was out the door. The exhaust system that it had on it originally was a 3" one and it's rather *stealthy*, which was good. As I met my Dad at the door, we chatted a bit and I told him I had something he needed to see. I ran out, lifted the hood and almost created a coronary for him right on the spot (needed to think through this for a 80 year young guy :)...). Threw him the keys after he checked everything out, and told him *BE SUPER CAREFUL OF THE SKINNY PEDAL*!!!!. First part of the drive went fine. We were only going around the block and a little more. Needless to say, he figured out the skinny pedal the first time... it was the second that really got his attention. As we pulled back in his driveway, coasting to a stop, all the tires except the rears made it over the small step between the gutter and the driveway. About a car length in front of us was his garage door - DOWN. I forgot to mention the skinny pedal again, but he found out really fast as that garage door quickly approached. Managed to find the brake pedal and no harm not foul, but the lasting memory will be burned into his brain i'm sure of the *SKINNY PEDAL*!!! :)

We'll get some more pictures up in the coming days. It didn't get to stay in his driveway for long. We headed it further north to get an EVO coil over upgrade installed. We are about half way through that and the holidays got in the way... It should be ready for Winterfest.... Now if the driver(s) will just remember the SKINNY PEDAL!!! :).

Another follow up, it's been a little over a month since we picked up the Jeep from Robbie.

I'm just dumbfounded at how well things work. It's not perfect, but it's dang close. Right after we got it, we threw (that surely doesn't represent the amount of time it took huh aspenkid?) an EVO bolt on coil over set on it, day following we drove it to St. George, and wheeled it for 3 days at the Winterfest 4x4.

This LS conversion is just amazing to drive. We elected to follow Robbies advice and did 4.56 gears in it, It's a Rubicon with stock axles and TC. It's on 37's.

At 70 down the freeway, it drives on rails. Tach was right at 2k in 6th gear. Instant MPG was right around 19 and holding. This was off the Chevy ECM. At 80, again it was completely on rails, no wobble, nothing, it was smooth as glass a real pleasure to drive. Totally a daily driver. MPG did start to suck at this speed. it dropped about 5 mpg :)

For those that went to Winterfest, you probably know it was cold, rainy, and not so great for sand and sandstone the first 2 days... Actually the middle day was the worst. We did Double Sammy the first day. I have to laugh, being a little green behind the ears, every day I skipped the first obstacle. (Didn't want to dent Dads jeep ya know). But we went through everything except the Chute at the end, actually we only got a couple up that anyway as it was too wet. Day 2 was Plan B. Again skipping the first obstacle, but handling everything else just fine. Last day was Milts Mile. Yep, skipped the first obstacle, but during the trail I did a few that were way out of my comfort zone, but I had no issues with them. The 6L80, LS, and Rubi TC were awesome. What was most funny was that after we would complete a trail.... I was like... ok, why did I skip the first obstacle, let's go back and do it... Happened that way every day :).

It did take me until the last day to figure out the shift lever. With the conversion, the O/D button becomes the Tow/Haul button, pulling down to 2 becomes the manual mode and there is a toggle switch which can act like the tap shift levers. Pulling down to 1 was the challenge. It doesn't stick you in 1 only, and I didn't realize that until the last day. Pulling down to 1 still allows the trans to shift, but with a different shift pattern and RPM. Mostly you are in 1... but the real trick was to pull to 2 from a start and then you'd stay in 1. I need to talk to Robbie to better understand this, but none of it presented any problems. By the last day, the skinny pedal was more tuned to my foot, and that helped a ton. We also started with way too much tire pressure, once we adjusted that down, things got really good and we had lots of fun. We didn't do anything harder than a 7, but given the conditions, they were more like 8s :). Still tuning the suspension, but for out of the box it was really pretty good.

Here's a tip for those contemplating this change, and we'll be making a change here. The *stock* LS PS reservoir is a plastic tank with a screw on lid. That lid isn't a pressure fit lid and it vents. After a couple of obstacles on day one with Double Sammy, where we were at extreme angles. We cavatated the PS pump and pumped out some fluid. I would suggest that you either (we had PSC ram assist on it as well) stay with the larger PSC, pressurized reservoir even thought it is remote. OR and this is what we are going to change to. PSC now has an LS3 pump with integrated reservoir available. It will hold 6 PSI pressure and is sealed. That should prevent any future cavatation.

As much over the top as I was to begin with, I'm even more so. This is an awesome combination, and so well thought out.

We are headed back to see Robbie next week for a few tweaks. Nothing major. To be fair here is our short list of things.
a) when the installation was done, we never had ave MPG and DTE on the dash cluster, this was a one wire omission that Robbie probably could have talked us through
b) on day 2 at Winterfest, we had a check engine light. It was on the Chevrolet side and was the darn crank sensor adjust, which is only an emissions code anyway, and didn't put us in limp home. The sensor just needs to be learned again by the ECM and we didn't want to do that while we were running trails :)
c) the instant MPG on the Aeroforce gauge (the Chevy side) stopped working, I don't know why, it was, and now it only reads 0.0. Not sure why
d) we are going to get the CANBUS update so that the shifted gear will show as the last digit in the PRNDL indicator on the dash cluster - Robbie and gang have figured out how do that now.
e) we had this issue when we picked it up, but it was felt that it was related to some LED tail lights. We pulled all the LED's except for the main headlamps and we still have it. The Cruise control only works about every 3rd start. Again, no idea why, but I'm sure the gang and Motech can sort that out.

So, while not a longevity report, at least an in progress report. If you are going to do this, you owe it to yourselves to talk to Robbie first. I wish I could bottle whats in his brain around conversions and sell it, cuz he is for sure a smart guy around this stuff. And his team is awesome to work with.

(I know I sound like a commercial, but I'm just that happy with the results, relationship, etc....)

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