My '93 Ford F350 dump truck needs TLC. "Plan "A" was to get a new one, cost
was $50K. So, I'm on to plan "B"
If the old girl got a new engine, new tires, new toolbox, new bumper,
sandblast dump box, and new paint job; I think I could get another ten
years. "The Kid" says I should get a diesel for it cause the gas mileage is
so horrible (7.5- 9.0). He's agreed to do the work if I buy all the parts.
Anybody done this? What engine should I look for? Hidden gotchas?
"The Kid" says I should get a diesel for it cause the gas mileage is
My son took out the 460 Ford V8 and had a Cummins diesel from a '93
Dodge put in his 1994 F350 4wd. Also swapped the c-6 auto tranny for a
6 speed manual. HELL of a lot of work. Complete new fuel system.
Complete new custom exhaust. Everything from engine mounts to radiator
hoses may need to be fabricated. And a lot of other problems.
For starters, the inline 6 Cummins is too long. It sets in there and
there is maybe 1/2" of clearance in the back between the engine and the
firewall, and the radiator had to be moved forward some. So much so
that the hood didn't fit anymore and everything in the front of the
truck had to be custom made. Some of the Ford accessories need vacuum
(like brakes) and the Cummins doesn't have it. Had to put in a hydro
boost system for brakes.
Bottom line is that if you are thinking about a diesel, having seen what
my son had to go through and as much as I like the Cummins I think you
should tell the kid "Maybe next time." At least for a Cummins. Makes
for a helluva truck though. 18+mpg empty and power up the wazoo. I'm
sure you wouldn't have NEARLY as much difficulty installing a PowerStroke.
On the plus side, the Cummins is pretty much self contained. If you get
a complete engine with the computer you can put it in anything that has
I haven't done it Karl, but I can give you some things to
ponder. My diesel P/U is an old Chevy...
You would need an extra battery box and connecting cables
(my truck uses two big batteries). If nothing else a much
It uses two fuel filters, one mounted to the firewall and
another on the engine.
It has a special kapok float in the fuel tank that the fuel
pick-up rides on. A drain line that leads to the bottom of
the fuel tank with a petcock. A water sensor in the fuel
tank. They (GM) took water in the fuel as being a serious
problem and it is. Possible a fuel return line going back to
the fuel tank from the injector pump.
You may need some sort of sensor change coming from the
transmission, especially if it is an automatic to make the
Your high end/top speed may drop. Most diesels don't rev as
high as gas motors.
Unless you need a lot of power (yeah, it's a one-ton dump truck - still,
how many hills, how fast do you need to get up them on the occasions
when you have a full load) I'd be inclined to drop the relatively
bulletproof Ford 6 (4.9L - gas) in there as a lower hassle way to get
the fuel milage up.
I'm not brave enough to mix and match car companies. First choice at this
point is the 7.3 turbo powerstroke. I'm thinking buy the whole damn
truck. Then I know I'll have all the parts. Key question at this
point, does the powerstroke 7.3 have the same bell housing bolt pattern as
the 460 gas?
Probably a match, since auto companies like to have everything
mix-and-match in the parts bins, but I dunno. Ask your local wrecking
yard, they have the Englander Manuals that say what swaps where.
The "buy a complete donor vehicle with all the pieces you will need"
route is the only way to go, because almost every stupid system in a
diesel car is different. And don't buy the donor unless it's a pretty
close match - a F-350 in the same or newer model year of the same
body-style version (so you can swap body harnesses and instrument
clusters), and a similar GVWR.
Brakes are hydroboost not vacuum, fuel tanks and fuel piping system
has several significant differences, exhaust is all different, body
electrical is all different, etc.
Find out what you need to do from the state before you do the swap
regarding registration and tags. If you swap the odometer you need to
file a statement of incorrect mileage, and the engine size and type
records will need to be changed on the title. If you don't correct
the title and a cop pulls you over, and the title says Gas and the
truck is Diesel the first thing he's going to think is "Stolen Vehicle
- Swapped VINs" until you prove differently.
And even with all the pieces you need readily at hand, figure this
is still going to be an "All-Winter" project - you will hit snags
where you have to fab a bracket from scratch, or figure out the part
number and buy it at the dealer, and work will creep along. Clear out
a bunch of space in the back of the barn, you don't want to block
anything important in with a truck that can't move.
If there's nothing wrong with the engine, I wonder if a rear
axle swap would help? If this thing screams at highway speed,
it may have way too much gear reduction. One possible drawback
to such a mod could be overheating, but usually big trucks have
a decent radiator and cowling.
...and I recall, from some research I did via signing up at one of the
online diesel-truck forums and asking dumb questions before I almost
bought one, the "same era" diesels from Ford have some "known issues",
at least to beware of. Not so bad as some...
It is, in short, a chore much bigger than swapping gas engines. or
rebuilding the one you have. Probably cost you more than you'd ever hope
to save on fuel, even as the price of fuel spirals up.
Having thought about doing something similar, I concluded that selling
the gas truck and buying a diesel truck (non-wrecked) was the only way
that made and sense to do the gas/diesel swap. My brother has done the
diesel/gas swap with some of the notoriously unreliable early Chevy
diesels, (which years? go to kelly blue book's site, and see where
having a diesel lowers the value...;-) and it's at least as much of a
bear. The people he was working for at the time were idiots, and wanted
it done, seeing "good truck bad engine" but failing to see the money
they were wasting on the extensive work.
Yea, this diesel engine swap sounds like too much work. I think I'll just
price out a new 460 long block and live with the horrible mileage. I know I
can swap blocks out over a weekend.
I gave up on used. I need 4x4, standard cab, extended frame, dually,diesel,
cherry shape, low mileage. They just ain't out there.