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Fair Trades

Top 10 diesel swap articles.

Aug 19, 2020
One of the cool things about the diesel truck hobby is the fact that it's made of so many fascinating elements, and almost all of them are subject to change at any time.
While we enjoy seeing rigs with appearance changes (paint, graphics, lights, etc. ), and suspension changes (lifts and lowering), radical drivetrain mods are the things that really get us charged up.
With gas engines, superchargers, and other power adders are typical upgrades, and of course there's the widely popular "LS (GM's late-model V-8 engine platform) swap" that many gearheads perform.
Diesel enthusiasts, however, are more apt to put oil burners in almost anything with wheels. Engine swaps are executed as same (diesel)-but-different (brand) replacements for original engines, or to stay consistent from a manufacturer standpoint while still making a big change nonetheless (check out the 6.6L Duramax in a Chevy Nova).
This is a flashback to ten stories about changing engines: diesels replacing gassers, and diesels for diesels, too. Check it out!
Photo 2/11   |   001 Top 10 Diesel Swap

Diesel Strokes

Leading off with the O.G. diesel-swap rundown, penned by Diesel Power's first editor, David Kennedy, back in 2007. Using a little clich here, the practice of installing diesel engines in different vehicles "has come a long way" since that time!
Photo 3/11   |   002 Top 10 Diesel Swap

1966 GMC Camper

Old meets much newer, in Todd Lemke's RV that's founded on a 2012 Ram 3500 dually and powered by a 6.7L Cummins engine, 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission, and four-wheel drive. Overlanding currently is the hot ticket for getting away. We bet doing it with this rig is a blast.
Photo 4/11   |   003 Top 10 Diesel Swap

1995 Ford F-150

Sure. Another Cummins in a Ford. Don't be too quick to dismiss this piece, as Jim Harris absconded with his son's clean, straight half-ton and dropped a 14.0L big-rig powerplant (N14) in the bed! The task certainly wasn't easy. This one really is a cool truck.
Photo 5/11   |   004 Top 10 Diesel Swap

1993 GMC Sierra 3500

Although Cummins diesels are the most popular engines used for swaps, enthusiasts also occasionally go outside that box and install very unique powerplants. Case in point, David Hackett configured his rig to carry a 7.2L CAT 3126 engine. The effort took nine years to accomplish, but the result is very cool.
Photo 6/11   |   005 Top 10 Diesel Swap

Swap Guide

Bruce Smith produced this modern-era guide to diesel engine swaps in 2018. The story covers a wide range of popular exchanges and includes details on resources for parts, consultation, and turnkey installation.
Photo 7/11   |   006 Top 10 Diesel Swap

2008 Ford F-350

Many of the Cummins swaps into other-brand trucks are performed with 5.9L engines that are mechanically fueled (P-pumped 12-valves). Tyler Dillard's late-model Super Duty is cool because common-rail fueling for the Cummins that replaced the stock 6.4L Power Stroke is handled by a standalone ECM. The change (back in 2009) was somewhat landmark for Scheid Diesel Service; a company that at that time was well known for making power the non-electronic way.
Photo 8/11   |   007 Top 10 Diesel Swap

1973 Chevrolet Nova

A car that may have come from the factory with a six-cylinder engine (we're not sure about its actual original heritage), or possibly a big-block V-8, properly upgraded with a 6.6L Duramax engine and it pulls wheelies and covers the quarter mile in 9 seconds. Badass!
Photo 9/11   |   008 Top 10 Diesel Swap

1993 Ford Bronco(s)

Yes, you read that correctly. With the truck and off-road world currently consumed by Ford's all-new 2021 Bronco, we think this look back at not one, but two of its predecessors is appropriate. David Calderon went with 7.3L and 6.0L Power Stroke engines in his rigs, creating half-ton trucks that the factory should have built. Right now, all we can do is hope that the 3.0L Power Stroke is picked up as an option for the new Bronco, or that a creative and resourceful enthusiast like David figures out how to get it done.
Photo 10/11   |   009 Top 10 Diesel Swap

1977 AMC Gremlin X

A cool little car, loaded with the latest all-inclusive swap kit from Cummins (R2.8L). Larry St. Amand drives this ride on a regular basis and covers great distances, too. He even pushed it to and from Florida and Indiana for Scheid Diesel Extravaganza in 2018.
Photo 11/11   |   010 Top 10 Diesel Swap

Put a Cummins in Anything

As we noted earlier, Cummins oil burners have long been the go-to powerplant for diesel engine swaps. In this story, Jason Thompson provides a few guidelines for bolting one of Clessie's finest in the engine bay of whatever your imagination desires (and your wallet can afford).