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Lets talk about diesel swaps...

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by bigbluesuburban, Aug 31, 2006.

  1. bigbluesuburban

    bigbluesuburban 1/2 ton status

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    I think I would like to swap a diesel into my tow rig...so I have started gathering information about possible swaps. I would like to know where my fellow CK5ers stand on this issue.

    The rig is an 89 Sub that is getting D60/14BFF swapped in the next couple months, so the drivetrain should handle whatever I throw at it.

    What engine and trans combo (automatic) do YOU think is the way to go?

    6.2?
    6.5?
    Duramax/Allison?
    Powerstroke?
    Cummins? (is this heracy?)

    Which of these motors packs the most punch to price ratio. Which has the most available aftermarket go-fast parts.

    I am looking for opinions and facts.

    And yes, links to other articles is good too.

    Pics are the best.
     
  2. KGsK5

    KGsK5 1/2 ton status

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    duramax/ allison if you have the money... allison is one of the best trannys you can get and banks/bully dog have amazing power upgrades for newer duramaxs
     
  3. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    12V Cummins with 5spd or 6 spd manual. That would be my choice for ease of swap and best combo.

    A 6.2 & 6.5 are a pretty much a waste of effort, time, and money. Do it right the first time and put a real diesel in it (cummins, pstroke, dmax) otherwise you will be kicking yourself later.

    Harley
     
  4. 02turbogixxer

    02turbogixxer Registered Member

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    I think he was looking for a combo with an automatic trans. But your right a Cummins and a 6spd would be an awesome combo.
     
  5. FWP

    FWP CRS

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    It's all about the $$$. How fast do you want to go when towing? Faster= more $.
     
  6. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    6.2 6.5 is the easiest. a 6.2 shouldnt be considered, given that a 6.5 is usualyl the same price. (though some say the 6.2's are more stout).

    The others will need computer control, ecept the 12V cummins.

    a cummins burb is badass. But a Duramax/allison combo would be the smoothest quietest of them all. Dont know how much of an importance it weighs on you.
     
  7. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    6.2/6.5 are real diesels...just not the best candidate for go fast towing. Great motors for DD and crawlin IMO, and inexpensive to swap.

    Rene
     
  8. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    While I personally have no problems with the Detroit 6.2 / 6.5s I personally would not bother swapping one into a tow rig. Those engines are light duty diesels that are designed to be good mileage getters, not workhorses. They'd have a much better reputation if they were installed into some of the lighter more aerodynamic mid 80's cars instead.

    If I was to do a diesel swap, I'd probally go with a 5.9 Cummins myself. While a newer PowerStroke, or Duramax would be very cool, and would perform very well as they do in the new trucks, they are far more complicated, and far more expensive than the older 5.9 Cummins diesels are.

    Installing a 5.9 does take a bit of work though. Couple of problems associated:

    1. Firewall to engine clearance -- The 5.9 is a very big engine, and you will either need to "customize" your firewall with a big hammer, or put a 3" body lift on.
    2. Oil pan to engine crossmember clearance -- The 5.9's oil pan contacts the front crossmember on your truck, and the pulleys sit very close too. You'll etiher need to make a custom engine crossmember, or buy an aftermarket oil pan of some sort.
    3. The 5.9 needs a big radiator to keep cool -- This means you'll need to do some significant modifications to your rad support to pack both the rad, and the intercooler in.
    4. The 5.9 is an extremely heavy engine -- They weigh close to 1000 lbs, while most small blocks weigh closer to 300 - 400 lbs tops. You will absolutely have to upgrade your front suspension to accomodate. Think D60 + add-a-leaves
    5. If you are running AC, you'll need to move the AC compressor from the bottom of the engine to the top of the engine using an industrial tractor bracket that is available
    6. You will need to switch to hydroboost brakes, as a diesel engine produces no vaccum, and a vaccum pump will not keep up with braking demands
    7. Wiring -- you'll need to run the glow plug controller, and if you get a 94 or newer Cummins, you'll need to hook up the ECM stuff for the electronic injection
    8. Transmission -- you'll need to either find an adapter to hook the Chevy engine / transmission up, or you'll need to run the Dodge transmission + t-case
    9. Fuel system -- you'll need to find / buy a new Diesel fuel tank. Your gasoline tank has a galvanizing coating inside which will be broken down by the diesel and plated onto the inside of your 600 dollar IP, effectively ruining it
    10. Exhaust -- You want very free flowing exhaust for any diesel, so expect to spend a fair bit of money on a big diameter mandrel bent exhaust system to provide as much.
    11. Engine Mounts -- There are a number of companies / individuals out there that you can buy pre-made conversion mounts that either mount to your stock chevy engine mount faces, or even use the factory chevy style engine mount.

    Buy a complete, running donor vehicle. Nothing sucks worse than getting nickled and dimed to death on small stuff that doesn't come with a "complete" engine / tranny setup that you buy seperate from a donor vehicle. This is a lesson I learned the hard way swapping a TPI setup into my truck...

    If I ever find a cheap 5.9/NV4500 truck, I'd definitely consider this swap, but would be expecting to spend at least 4 - 5000 on the swap, not including the donor truck... Some guys get it done for as little as 2500, including the donor, but I wouldn't count on it for sure! Some guys have spent over 10k getting it done, but usually they get someone else to do it for them...

    So, in short, do your research before you leap headfirst into anything. Its all very possible, and lots of people have done these swaps before you, so learn from their discoveries / mistakes, and you'll do it for the best price possible. Also, take any estimate of cost, and triple it, and think if you're still willing to go for it or not. Maybe you'll be correct in your estimate, but usually that isn't the case.
     
  9. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Yes, that is true. I am not knocking them as not being true diesels but for pure pulling power in a towrig they fall way short of what is capable by the newer diesel. They are good motors for certain situations and are very reliable. For a towrig swap though they would be dissappointing IMHO if you are expecting to be able to tow the way most want to.

    Harley
     
  10. mostwanted

    mostwanted 1/2 ton status

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    I'll say from expieriance, go with the cummins. I helped a friend swap one in a 79 GMC a couple years ago. As a matter of a fact, due to divorce (the legal kind) it is for sale right now. http://kansascity.craigslist.org/car/201194758.html

    Anyhow, even if you arn't interested in buying someone else's project for $4000 you couldn't buy all the parts plus the motor itself. Well, you might with some time and research. Watch ebay for a used 12valve. Personally I am partial to the second design of their injection pump on the 12valve. Check out dieseltruckresources.com for some good articles on the subject.
     
  11. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    A late model Duramax and PSD are out of the question, too expensive and too much wiring and circutry.

    A 12v Cummins with preferably a P7100 inline "P" pump or an early 24v with the VP44 injection pump. Even though the 24v ISB is an electronic engine, it is still fairly simple compared to late Dmax, PSD, and ISBE CR motors.
     
  12. bigbluesuburban

    bigbluesuburban 1/2 ton status

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    So based on what I am reading it sounds like from a power/price/ease standpoint the 5.9 24V Cummins is the way to go. I am still getting the 425 Chevy Trans that I talked about before. I think that if I get the Cummins adapted to it that would be just about bomb proof and I can then swap to a 205 T-case.

    I am liking this idea more and more.

    What are the best diesel forums out there? I am looking a place like this where I can get quality info without all the drama.
     
  13. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    One forum you can check out is http://www.cummins-conversion.com/phpBB/ There are a number of guys there who have swapped 5.9s into their 88+ Chev trucks, and one or two into older trucks.

    Or, you can check out CK5's own in house diesel section, there is a huge topic there with regards to this swap.
     
  14. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    A 24v Cummins is a good swap but a 12V Cummins with the P7100 injection pump is a better swap. It is all mechanical with now computers and the much more reliable P7100 IP. The VP44 in the 24V trucks isn't a terrible pump but you must keep it supplied well with fuel from a lift pump otherwise it goes out. The VP44 by itself is $800-1200 normally + labor time. So if you do swap a 24v make sure to use a fuel pressure gauge post filter & pre VP44. It is cheap insurance to keep the VP44 alive.

    The 12v Cummins is the best swap IMHO for ease & cheapness of power mods and simplicity. You can get another 100+ HP out of a 12v Cummins for less then $500 and a few hours time.

    Some good sites for Cummins is

    www.cumminsforum.com
    www.dieselram.com
    www.turbodieselregister.com

    Harley
     
  15. 55Willy

    55Willy 3/4 ton status

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    cummins

    someday the 68 will get one
     
  16. rjfguitar

    rjfguitar 3/4 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    No, a 12v P pumped 5.9 is what everyone is basically saying. I just mentioned that an ISB could be a decent canidate in 2nd place as the ISB electronics are fairly simple.
     
  17. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    actually, they'd have a better rep. if they had good gearing... that's all it takes.
     
  18. txfiremank5

    txfiremank5 1/2 ton status

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  19. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Even with 4.10 gears and stockish tires on my buddies crewcab the 6.2L still wouldn't tow like my Cummins does with 3.55's. His 6.2 has even been turboed to help with power. My stock Cummins would tow circles around the turboed 6.2L even with the better gearing he has with the 4.10's and the OD box on the TH400.

    More gearing helps out with the 6.2L & 6.5L's power deficiency but it still doesn't compare to the newer diesels.

    Harley
     
  20. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    comparing the two is pointless b/c the purpose behind the construction of these engines was entirely different. i do not think the 6.2 would be a great hauler, but it wasn't created for that. great engine for wheeling... light weight, plenty of power. i like my 24mpg and i think the get-up-and-go is fantastic. a properly geared 6.2 will get up and go just as fast as a stock 350...
     

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