We're willing to bet that if we took a survey of four-wheeling enthusiasts and asked what improvement each person would like to make to their 4x4 most, the answer would be a resounding "More power!" Horsepower and torque gains can be made by several means, from bolt-on parts to custom-built, high-dollar engines, but for many applications the thirst for power can only be quenched by tossing extra cubic inches under the hood with an engine swap. Despite today's more complex engines and stringent smog laws, engine swaps remain just as popular now (if not more so) as they were 20 years ago. To help feed the horsepower fire and get you more in touch with what's possible, we've compiled an overview of what it takes to perform six popular engine swaps.
Before diving into the specifics, there are a few general points that should be noted regarding any engine swap. First, you should consult the laws of your state before performing a swap in a vehicle that you plan to register and drive on the street. Many states have very specific emissions requirements that must be met before a vehicle with a transplanted engine can be registered, and it would be a huge bummer to go through all the work of a swap just to discover that your new creation isnt legal. Second, no matter how easy an engine swap might seem, its a major undertaking that often requires a fair amount of mechanical expertise and a wide array of tools to complete. Always do as much research as possible, and make sure youre comfortable with the skill level needed before diving into a swap on your own. Finally, we hit on as many major points as possible with each swap we cover in this article, but whats mentioned is by no means every modification and part needed to complete an entire engine conversion. Weve constructed each section to give you a basic understanding of what these swaps involve, and you should always consult with the manuals and companies listed in this story to find out more information.