ENGINE CONVERSIONS

 

Judging by the slacking of phone calls going "How do I fit a 2.4 L Chev in my Baja Bug" somebody is reading my stuff. Before you go into a Conversion ask yourself "Why am I doing this?".

Stock motor to weak, incorrect gearing, to Expensive to overhaul, or do you want something different?

If the Motor is to weak consider that a bigger Motor of the same manufacturer often fits straight in. 4 Cyl can be replaced with a bigger V6 note that Ford V6 makes it power at the top Rpm but its character can be changed with a 3.3L kit. The alternative is the Buick 3.8L or Chevy V6. I personally prefer the Buick due to an abundance of aftermarket parts and its extremely strong components; also it comes in the Opel 3.8. A V8 is seldom the answer on light vehicles, as it is too powerful and has a healthy appetite for fuel. The 4.3 L Chevy motor seems to be available more recently, but it is expensive to build and there are differences in the years, apart from Vortec with 220 Hp and stock 160 Hp and less.

Yes incorrect gearing can be satisfied with a different Motor, anybody who has driven a Combi with a Wankel motor can attest to that. If you want more top end out of your low revving motor such as the Cruiser 2F, sure go for a 302 Ford and you are there.

Before you send your present motor for an overhaul, ask for a quote and Warranty, you might be surprised at the answers you get. A lot of Companies like Reman for Toyota offer a reconditioned Engine with a proper warranty and at an affordable price. Remember you get what you pay for. If you choose a different type motor for a conversion the same applies. Unless you have tons of time on your hands beware of something standing in a corner under Blankets. It is no fun spending time to do a conversion properly, just to find a Motor is shot!

Now for the "dare to be different" approach this is best left to Eccentric individuals with experience in this regard, or with the "Greenbacks" to let professionals do it. Basically anything is possible (and often fun to do). Yes I have transplanted a modified Buick 3.8 into a Suzuki Jeepie and it did get attention (so did I from Psychiatrists) Price was USD 20 000 included the suspension, axles, gearbox etc.

Getting back to us normal individuals. Find a gearbox that can take the punch (transfer cases are normally up to their task). Decide on the motor that suits your vehicle. Price Conversion kits plus their backup.

You might not just want a Bellhousing to attach Motor to Gearbox due to where the motor might lie later in the vehicle. Maybe Engine mounts are also available? What about the clutch assembly? Wiring harness, as for fuel injected motor into Carburated vehicles. A lot of conversions are available as straight bolt in kit form with instructions and a tech line.

Now you have it all together and wish to install it. Weight distribution is important. 4*4ís want their weight up front and rally cars in the middle. The motor must amply clear the firewall by at least a clenched male fist. The radiator should be no more than 1 to 2 inches away from the Fan. Do not lay the engine at an angle unless it came that way. Now using a movable crane lower the engine in the bay and start eyeballing it. If I see another Cruiser with its V8 stuffed into the Firewall I am going to puke, either you move the gearbox assembly forward and modify the drivelines or you fit a sandwich plate to the front of the Bellhousing. Does the motor fit snug or do you have to cut a hole in the bonnet to accept the Aircleaner? Please try not to relocate essentials such as Steering boxes. Consider the motors weight, as the Chevy weighs 250 Lb. less than your Cruiser 2F. Also take "movables" into account, such as a Diff moving up into the Sump! Once you relocated your gearbox (if that was necessary), mock up your Engine mounts with Fresh engine Rubbers and tack weld them. Now remove everything and complete your welds, preferably let a professional do it as "lost" Engines and cracked Frames are not part of the fun and games. Paint the result and refit all. Check driveshaft length (they are cheap to modify). Now all you need to do is bolt everything up and fit a shroud round the fan. Please do not rush to the end, as this process takes the most time and costs the least. Once the exhaust is on start her up and run her at 2000 RPM for oil pressure on the bearings and cam lifters. Check for leaks and once up at operating temperature switch her off and check through everything again, a heater pipe on the Exhaust is a sure way to "burn down" your new motor. Test drive now with he radio of, hearing, smelling, and seeing if anything is amiss. Return to your workshop and check for scuffmarks, burns, loose articles etc. If all looks okay now is the time to smile. Remember to check every nut and bolt you might have touched, within 1000 kmís. If you thought this through, remember it should last longer, work better, be the envy of your friends and give you many miles of smiles. And if you did not, you are going to hate life from now on.

Now for some popular conversions:

Hilux can take the Buick 3.8L but the Gearbox becomes marginal. Ford V6 has less torque below 2000 Rpm as your stock motor. Chevy V8 no thanks and also the Cressida 6 cyl is no joy installing. The Ford 302 works but do not ask me to install it, also what gearbox are you going to use? The Daihatsu canter 5 speed box can be made to fit your standard Transfer case, so can a TH 700 4 speed overdrive Automatic. Forget 4 speeds unless it is a car that never has to cruise at speed.

Cruiser is famous for its Chevy conversion and can take less than a week to install, Ford V8ís also fit easy.

Safari can take most v8ís but its Diff ratio will let your motor scream at speed. Due to its remote Transfer Case you are free to choose wildly for a suitable manual or automatic, no need to be put of. A suitably modified Buick 3.8 will also work well due to its ability to rev well.

The Nissan V6 could take a bigger Motor but watch that you donít use something with too much Torque.

Isuzu, Nissan, Mazda, Ford all have to much of a weak gearbox, but change that and you are free to go for what you want- V8ís although the rage are a tight fit and donít do much more than Bolster the ego.

Nothing is easier in a Ford F series or Chevy C series to replace the six with its V8 Cousin.

My Favorite for the Jeepies is the Buick 3.8 as it came stock in the Jeepster for a few years. The Gladiator and Wagoneer can be converted to V8ís but make sure that you have a good drivetrain.

The more rare vehicles as certain Patrols and Isuzu S.wagons have adapter kits available but they normally have to be imported.

Combi Water-cooled Models can take the Golf and Toyota Y and R series motors, Ford V6 and now with a modified 5 speed box the Buick 3.8, and the V8ís either mid or rear mounted.

As a Result of the article on Engine Efficiency, I had a "Neunmalkluge" misunderstand Fuel consumption figures. I mentioned "ideal conditions" in my figures of 4.5L for 45 Hp. No if your Landcruiser has 90 Hp you will not use 9L per 100 Km to Swakop, as your Engine is woefully inefficient. And furthermore are you running it constantly at peak HP? By the way, to size Injectors on EFI Motors, I use the following Formula: 300 Hp needs 150lbs. Fuel per Hour for a correctly Tuned Engine.

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