RE-POWER

Diesel World - - Diesel Engine Swaps -

DIESELS ARE TORQUE MON­STERS. WHILE A FULL-BLOWN RACE CAR MIGHT MAKE 1,000 LB-FT OF TORQUE, THAT NUM­BER CAN BE AC­COM­PLISHED WITH A STOCK OR NEAR-STOCK DIESEL.

STEP EIGHT: Get­ting Power to the Ground

For ve­hi­cles that aren’t heavy-duty in na­ture, the rear axle can be quite a task if per­for­mance is in­volved. Re­mem­ber when we said that a diesel makes the torque of a race en­gine? Well, your rear axle won’t know the dif­fer­ence, so don’t ex­pect a stock truck or car 10-bolt or GM 7.5, or any­thing else of that na­ture, to live long be­hind a diesel pow­er­train. Cus­tom front and/or rear axles can be re­quired if jump­ing, off-road­ing or drag rac­ing is in­volved. Try to think about your needs and price mar­gins, as light axles usu­ally aren’t cheap, and cheap axles usu­ally aren’t light. If you’re build­ing a truck, you may even be able to grab an axle from your donor ve­hi­cle—some­thing heavy duty like a Dana 70 or 80 or AAM 1150.

STEP NINE: Cool­ing & Other An­cil­lary Sys­tems

We know of one less-than-bright en­thu­si­ast who had al­most com­pleted his project and de­cided he didn’t need a trans­mis­sion cooler just for driv­ing around. In­stead of find­ing and run­ning one, he just looped the lines and fried his trans­mis­sion. Take a mo­ment here and make sure all your cool­ing, steer­ing and add-ons (like air con­di­tion­ing) will work well with your diesel en­gine. Diesels don’t make much heat at idle, but un­der load it’s a dif­fer­ent story. Both en­gine and trans­mis­sion heat are some­thing that must be fac­tored in on a build (es­pe­cially on a mod­i­fied en­gine) and it’s bet­ter to be safe than to skimp. Items like NASCAR-STYLE alu­minum ra­di­a­tors or over­size trans­mis­sion cool­ers are still rel­a­tively cheap con­sid­er­ing the cost of a new en­gine or trans­mis­sion.

 Prob­a­bly one of the harder swaps we’ve ever seen was built by David Hack­ett, who some­how man­aged to stuff a 1,300-pound 7.2L CAT into his GMC. Note how much he had to mod­ify the fire­wall for this swap, and it’s still right up against the ra­di­a­tor.

 Need to fit some­thing in a tight pack­age? Merchant Au­to­mo­tive’s Duramax-pow­ered sand rail doesn’t use a diesel trans­mis­sion—it uses an ATI lock-up Pow­er­glide with an M&M con­verter. It’s also been from zero to 100 mph in only 3.5 sec­onds at the sand...

 It’s a lit­tle less com­mon now be­cause of the cost, but putting a Cummins en­gine into a 6.0L-pow­ered F-250/350 used to be a very pop­u­lar swap. Since a 6.0L is a diesel to be­gin with, much of the cool­ing sys­tem and driv­e­train can be re­tained.

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