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4x4 Truck Engine Swap Kits - Engine Swappers Guide

Posted in How To: Engine on September 1, 2009
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Keeping older vehicles running is more popular now than at perhaps any time in recent history. New hardware, wiring harnesses, ECUs, turnkey crate engines, and accessories make 4x4 repowering easier than ever.

The Chevy small-block V-8 remains the most popular 4x4 swap candidate. The current-generation LS engines are still the rage with competitive 'crawlers as well as recreational wheelers who want impressive power-to-weight ratio. The aftermarket constantly develops new hard parts and electronics to make LS engines as adaptable as possible.

Diesel swaps are gaining in popularity too. We've included a few sources for both VW and Cummins diesel conversions. The web is deluged with good diesel conversion information, including, devoted to Cummins four-cylinder conversions, and The Diesel Page (, which offers a Duramax/Allison retrofit guide.

The categories below organize aftermarket companies by their main conversion offerings; some spill into others. Hopefully this guide will put everyone in a swap-happy mindset. (Crate engines warrant their own guide in an upcoming issue.)

Mounts, Adapters & Kits

AEV offers Hemi conversion kits for JK Wranglers. The standard kit comes with mounts, a radiator, a computer, a harness, an air filter, hoses, and lines. The Premium Package adds exhaust, a programmable computer, spring spacers, and a trans cooler. AEV has provisions for mating either an auto or manual trans to the 5.7L or 6.1L Hemi. For diesel fans, AEV now offers a military J8 milspec rolling chassis with a 2.8L CRD (or a 5.7L Hemi). Information: AEV Conversions, 406.251.2100,

Acme Adapters
Acme makes kits for installing pre-'98 four-cylinder VW engines in '86-'96 Suzuki Samurai SJ413s, '89-'98 Suzuki Sidekicks/Geo Trackers (non-Sport models), and '79-'95 Toyotas that have the 22R-style four- or five-speed transmission. Acme also dieselizes Toyota trucks with its Toyota turbodiesel adapter plate and flywheel. Information: Acme Adapters, 971.212. 2263,

Advance Adapters
Advance Adapters offers one of the industry's most varied product lines for 4x4 conversions. Bestsellers include bolt-in saddle motor mounts for Chevy V-8 engine conversion in both the YJ and TJ (shown). This YJ kit replaces both the stock four- and six-cylinder engines, clearing the oil pan for the best mounting location possible. Motor mounts and transmission adapters for many other applications are available. Information: Advance Adapters, 800.350.2223,

Auto World
Auto World says it has done more than 300 Cummins swaps since 1988. The company's built-to-order motor mounts and brackets are waterjet-cut and TIG-welded; the mounts are engineered to retain the stock fan. Most popular are motor mounts for '88-'00 Chevys ('01-up are in development) and '99-'06 Super Dutys. Crossmember-style mounts (shown) and regular mounts are available for older Fords and Chevys. Accessory brackets, transmission conversions, and Painless Performance wiring harnesses are also offered. Information: Auto World, 406.727.8915,

Avalanche Engineering
Avalanche offers crossmember-style motor mounts for putting a Cummins six-cylinder diesel '67-'91 Chevys ('67-'72 model shown). These mounts are designed for solid-axle trucks and require a minimum 4-inch lift for oil pan clearance. Also available is a universal mount kit that includes modifiable frame brackets. Information: Avalanche Engineering, 970.884.7716,

BlueTorch offers motor mount tabs and plates for builders. The chassis tabs are made from laser-cut 5?16-inch plate and coped for 13?4-inch tubing. Two different tabs are available. Poly bushings and sleeves complete the mounts. Additionally, Chevy motor mount plates bolt to most Chevy small-blocks to give builders a start on mount fabrication. Information: BlueTorch FabWorks, 205.521.7333,

Burnsville Offroad
Burnsville Offroad offers Hemi conversion kits and components for JK, TJ, and CJ7 applications. Engine programming is available for 5.7L, 6.1L, 6.4L, 7.0L, and 7.2L Hemi engines. Automatic and manual transmission kits are offered. Conversion kits include an engine wiring harness, a custom-flashed computer, a radiator, radiator hoses, power steering lines, a transmission cooler, an antifreeze reservoir, motor mounts, an air cleaner, and mandrel-bent MBRP exhaust. Factory Hemi headers can also be used. Information: Burnsville Offroad, 205.521.7333,

Calmini claims that its 1,600cc engine conversion kit is the easiest way to wake up Samurais. To accommodate the Sidekick/Tracker engine, Calmini includes a laser-cut bellhousing, an adapter, motor mounts, a motor mount spacer, and hardware. An electric fuel pump is optional. The stock intake manifold can be used with the new engine. Information: Calmini, 800.345.3305,

Destroked designs, tests, and manufactures a line of Cummins conversion products. The company guarantees that no further modifications are required for swapping Cummins engines and Allison transmissions into Ford, GM, and even Dodge trucks. In addition to motor mounts, Destroked offers adapters for many popular transmissions (Allison shown) as well as all required electronics and engine accessories. Information: Destroked, 303.945.7570,

Downey Off-Road Mfg.
Downey Off-Road has been a source for Toyota pickup, 4Runner, and Land Cruiser engine-conversion components for 39 years. To keep pace with GM's latest V-6 and V-8 electronic engines and transmissions, Downey goes beyond motor mounts and adapter plates, producing electronic adaptation such as this 40-pulse Reluctor Ring Kit. Information: Downey Off-Road Mfg., 562.949.9494, specializes in installing 5.9L (12-valve, 24-valve, and common rail) and 4BT Cummins engines in Ford trucks, Excursions, Broncos, and select Chevy pickups. Offerings include transmission adapters, bolt-in motormount sets, gauge adapters, wiring harness builds, instructions, and tech support. Replacing the Ford 6.0L Power Stroke is particularly popular. Information:, 406.755.8878

Herm The Overdrive Guy
Herm offers conversion motor mounts for swapping a GM V-6 or V-8 into a Jeep CJ, wagon, or pickup. The mounts can either be bolted in or welded on. Information: Herm the Overdrive Guy, 360.256.3843,

JB Conversions
JB Conversions is developing an LT1/LT4 fan kit for 4x4s with limited clearance and radiator surface area. Available now is a new NP231C/241C Super Short slip-yoke eliminator that allows the full drivetrain from a GM truck to be swapped into a Wrangler without any adapters. Information: JB Conversions, 337-625-2379,

M.O.R.E. designed its BombProof Jeep motor mounts to overcome the stress of rockcrawling. The mounts are intended to create a crossmember with the engine. Conversion mounts accommodate Chevy V-6/V-8 and AMC V-8. Poly or rubber bushings and bare steel or zinc-plate finishes are available. Information: M.O.R.E., 970.625.0500,

Northwest Off-Road Specialties
Northwest offers parts for swapping Chevy V-6 and Ford and Chevy V-8 engines into Toyota pickups. These include headers (Chevy 4.3L V-6 shown), bolt-in motor mounts, transmission adapters, power steering brackets, heavy-duty radiators, oil pan conversions, and starters. Information: Northwest Off-Road Specialties, 360.676.1200,

Novak Adapters
Novak has done Jeep conversions since 1967. Its latest conquest is GM Gen I-III small-block swaps for the '84-'01 XJ/MJ Cherokee/Comanche. Bolting an LS conversion into the Cherokee (shown) increases power from 175 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque to 325 hp and 330 lb-ft. Fuel economy reportedly improves from 14 to 20 mpg. Novak says that street, towing, and trail performance are all vastly superior. Information: Novak Adapters, 435.753.2513,

Rocky Road
The Rocky Road 1.6L engine kit allows bolting in a 1.6L "big-block" Sidekick or Tracker engine into a Samurai. The mounting system utilizes CAD laser-cutting technology taken directly from Suzuki OEM engines and transmissions for extreme accuracy. Rocky Road's wraparound mounting approach provides super strength. This kit carries a lifetime guarantee. The Axis VW turbodiesel Samurai conversion is also available. Information: Rocky Road Outfitters, 888.801.7271,

Petroworks' Full Circle Engine Adaptor for installing 1.6L Sidekick or Geo Tracker engines into Samurais is engineered so that there's no need to move any body parts, adjust the hood, or modify the frame for the exhaust. The motor mounts are custom-molded polyurethane for durability and vibration absorption, and the heavy-duty trans mount ensures proper positioning. A precision plate aligns the engine to the trans and the starter as well. Information: Petroworks, 800.952.8915,

Hedman, Trans-Dapt, and Hamburger's Performance combined R&D forces to create a comprehensive S10 V-8 engine swap kit.? In addition to motor mounts and an oil pan, the kit can be ordered with your choice of Hedman Hedders: Elite Ultra-Duty, HTC-coated, uncoated, D-port, and angle-plug styles. Trans-Dapt also offers universal motor mounts. Information: Trans-Dapt, 562.921.0404,

Suzuki Lightning Conversions
Suzuki Lightning specializes in Samurai Chevy V-6 and V-8 conversions and Sidekick/Tracker V-6 swaps. The Basic Kits include mounts. The Advanced Kit adds driveshafts, an oil pan, an exhaust manifold, a radiator, an electric fan, engine accessories, and hardware. The Full Crate Kit includes everything plus a 4.3L Vortec V-6 and a 200R4 transmission. Samurai 1,600cc swaps and Suzuki 1,300cc crate motors are also offered. Information: Suzuki Lightning Conversions, 800.839.6150,

TeraFlex offers the most commonly needed components for a TJ Hemi conversion. These parts (sold individually) include a transmission mount, a motor mount kit, a gas pedal bracket (for drive-by-wire compatibility), and a BellyUp skidplate. All bracketry is precision CNC laser-cut for accurate fitment and powdercoated for durability. Information: TeraFlex, 801.288.2585,

Trail tough
Trail Tough offers do-it-yourself Samurai conversion kits for swapping in a 1.6L (8- or 16-valve) or 2.0L Suzuki engine. The 2.0L kit accommodates a '99-'02 Tracker/Vitara EFI engine thanks to full-circle motor mounts, a custom flywheel, a pilot bushing, a trans adaptor, a fuel pump, a three-core radiator complete with hoses and a belt, a pusher fan, and the modification of your donor harness and speedometer. Information: Trail Tough, 877.789.8547,


AEM's Universal Programmable Engine Management System is engineered for fuel-injected competition vehicles. It includes 10 independent, built-in peak and hold injector-driver channels (for low-impedance injectors), direct-drive ignition (to drive a coil without an igniter or ignition module), and dual wideband UEGO controllers for tuning the air/fuel ratio. A wiring harness and sensors are sold separately. Information: AEM, 310.484.2322,

Howell offers an extensive line of standalone and integrated wiring harnesses that adapt the late-model GM V-8 or 4.3L V-6 engines to any vehicle, with simple wiring connecting the harness to the battery and ignition power. Complete throttle-body kits are also available for virtually any engine for completing EFI swaps (YJ 258 kit shown). Information: Howell Engine Developments, 810.765.5100

Painless Performance
In addition to swap harnesses for most of the Chevy LS family (works with manual transmission, O.E. ECM), Painless Performance offers a new Extreme Off Road Harness. This kit is designed specifically for wiring any non-street-legal rockcrawler, sandrail, or other off-road vehicle. Wire, connectors, and a weatherproof 10-circuit/four-relay fuse block are included. Painless also offers a swap harness for the 5.9L Cummins common-rail diesel. Information: Painless Performance Products, 800.423.9696,

Jeep performance specialist Hesco is well versed in 4.0L straight-six repowering. Designers of the original harness to add multiport EFI to the 258 straight-six, Hesco also has a harness that converts '96-'06 4.0L engines back to '94-'95 OBD-I ignition systems. It is a direct fit for all '91-'95 engines except that the distributor and coil connectors have been upgraded to '98 specs. Information: Hesco, 205.251.1472,

Hotwire Auto
Hotwire Auto offers a complete electronic system to swap a Gen III Hemi into a TJ. This kit now includes engine mounts and other hardware to make it functional and simple to install. These systems have been offered since 2004 for the TJ and are said to have passed the California emissions certification requirements. JK kits are also available. Information: Hotwire Auto, 479.243.9115,

The ISIS Intelligent Multiplex System is a solid-state electrical system that eliminates the tangles of wire associated with traditional chassis wiring harnesses that typically control the fuel pump, starter, and other accessories. Multiplexing uses computerized power distribution to reduce the amount of wiring, reportedly slash install time in half, and increase performance. An optional remote control gives wireless control over any electrical accessory. Information: Littelfuse Inc., 847.824.1188,

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