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Go Back   BHM Forum > Self-Reliance & Preparedness > Hands-on > Auto/Truck/Other Transportation

Auto/Truck/Other Transportation If you use it to get from here to there, this is the place to talk about it and how to fix it.

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  #1  
Old 09-24-2009, 10:09 PM
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Quietgentleman Quietgentleman is offline
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Default Diesel conversion in a half ton pickup

I've always wanted a diesel pickup but have never wanted one bigger than a half ton. I very seldom haul anything that's very heavy and when I do need to haul anything that's to heavy for my pickup I have a friend with ton trucks and up I can borrow. I like the fuel mileage of the diesels and the towing ability and the longevity of them. Well I have been looking at a couple threads on 2 different forums and I think I've found what I been looking for.I think I going to do what this guy in the first forum did with the chevy but use the engine that was used in the second thread in his jeep.

http://www.4btswaps.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8185

http://www.dieseltruckresource.com/d...j-t112807.html

QGM

Now the search is on for a short wheel based 2000 or newer chevy pickup with a bad engine.
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2009, 11:07 PM
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What size and make diesel engine are you wanting to install in a half ton pickup? Even the 4 cylinder Cummins diesels are very heavy. They are pretty much a 5.9 with 2 cylinders cut off and still well over 1,000 lbs. fully dressed. Great engines and with some upgrading the suspension, and some fabricating end up with a real nice truck that gets great fuel mileage and still has good power.

Last edited by WRTN; 09-24-2009 at 11:13 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-25-2009, 01:54 AM
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B3.3T Cummins is 560 lbs with starter, intake, exhaust manifolds,turbo, SAE bell housing and flywheel. So there is no need to upgrade the front axle. And the power out put is well within what the drive line is capable of handling. I'm looking for a little better pulling power and a lot better fuel mileage.


QGM
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:28 AM
cinok Male cinok is offline
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Are you planiing on buying a new engine to put in the truck you are looking for. Never mind the intail outlay thier are major expensive changeovers to swap from gas to diesel. Fuel tanks, pumps ,wiring harness, radiators, ecm, also the trans may to be reworked to work with the computer. It my be cheaper to find a used diesel in good shape I am not sure what your budget is but even the diesel p/u are getting more affordable. Also to remeber when ever you make major changes to a vech you can effect its realiabilty and ease to repair if you are not near the house
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Old 09-25-2009, 12:04 PM
chrisser Male chrisser is offline
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Awesome project QGM.

I have a 2000 Sierra. Would love to turn it into a diesel, but the engine (5.3) has been bulletproof and continues to work well.

Will emissions testing pose any problem in a swap of this nature?

I just rebuilt the trans (4L60E) in the truck. There are a couple of weak points I would address if you intend to use a diesel with this trans. (I had it "professionally" rebuilt a few years ago and did it myself this time)

Biggie is the sun shell. Get "The Beast" by TCI. The stock model can barely handle the torque of even the 4.8 gas engines offered in these trucks. I went through the stock one, and the rebuilder used another stock equivalent. I don't tow or haul all that often, mostly I commute, and I still went through two of the darn things.

Also, it would be prudent to replace the 1-2, 3-4 and forward accumulator pistons with aluminum if the ones installed are plastic. I had the 1-2 fracture and cock in the bore and it caused all sorts of issues, ended up breaking it's spring, had little plastic bits in the valve body, yada yada...

Finally, the 2-3 servo should be upgraded to the Corvette model or aftermarket equivalent.

I'd also put in a shift kit like Transgo sells to do a bit of tuning. Their customer service is awesome if you can get through to them and they may have other suggestions.

Other options would be to go with an old TH400, or its electronic equivalent, 4L80E.

Personally, I'd go with a manual trans, which was offered in the 2500 series according to my service manuals so it should be possible to find stock bracketry and pedals that could be made to fit.

What are your plans for the computer? I believe you're going to need that to get things like the gauges and climate control (if you have it) to work properly. Even the factory radio is tied into the PCM (theft prevention).
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Old 09-25-2009, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietgentleman View Post
I've always wanted a diesel pickup but have never wanted one bigger than a half ton. I very seldom haul anything that's very heavy and when I do need to haul anything that's to heavy for my pickup I have a friend with ton trucks and up I can borrow. I like the fuel mileage of the diesels and the towing ability and the longevity of them.

QGM

Chevy built some 1/2 ton pu's and Blazers powered with a 6.2L diesel. It's a very good diesel if used for what your wanting, i've had 5 of them, and still have two. They are very good on fuel, and are all mechanical, so you can burn filtered waste oil ect. in them.

The trucks they came in, had added sound insulation ect., and i still think they were a best buy for a light/medium duty fuel efficient pu.

(And NO, these diesels were NOT converted gas engines!)

DM
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2009, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietgentleman View Post
B3.3T Cummins is 560 lbs with starter, intake, exhaust manifolds,turbo, SAE bell housing and flywheel. So there is no need to upgrade the front axle. And the power out put is well within what the drive line is capable of handling. I'm looking for a little better pulling power and a lot better fuel mileage.


QGM
I was thinking about the 3.9 cummins that has a wet weight of between 720 and 780 lbs. The 3.3 is in that weight range and would be a good choice.

What transmission will you be considering?
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Old 09-25-2009, 05:33 PM
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I have seen a new engine for around 4000 and I have read where some have picked up used ones for as little as a 1000. If I can find a good deal on a new one not to far from where I live I'll go new. The ones I seen on the net for 4000 were in SC. These little engines are all mechanical you give them 12 volts to the starter fuel and air and they will run. The guy with the 4bt build in the first forum is using all the factory gauges and hasn't had a problem with the computer. Personally that's why I'm interested in this project is to have an engine that doesn't need a computer to run. You can use your old tank you just don't use the fuel pump that's in it. There are electric lift pumps you buy and use. And far as the transmission is concern I will be using a manual.

I never researched the autos cause it wasn't part of my thinking but a few I know like using the 700R4 with a few mods to handle the torque of the diesels. As for emission test yes it would be a problem but I live in a state that doesn't have that so it's all good here.

As for the GM 6.2 diesel a person has to find a pickup form the eighties to find that engine and well around here anything that old is a rust pile. But even finding one in decent shape would be a chore in itself. The Cummins I'm thinking on is mechanical and the person that put it in the jeep on the second forum is running bio in his for 3 years and hasn't had any trouble. Also in that thread is a person that running the same engine and he's running waste oil in his.

I plan on using the NV3500 or 4500 GM manual trans. They are 5 speeds overdrive of .73 to 1 and with 3.08 gears in the rear end is a good combo for this engine.

QGM
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:54 PM
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For what you will have into that conversion, i can find two 6'2L pu's in another state in excelent condition and go get them. Conversions, may be neat, but they never save you one dime in the end, and this is from a guy with (2) 6.2's, and a 5.9 Cummins...

My cousin did a 3.9 Cummins into a Ford, and it ended up costing him waaaaaay more than he thought it would, not counting the untold hours of his time he put into doing it. I see, now that the "neat" factor has worn off, he doesn't drive it all that much.

BTW, the 6.2 is pretty much a drop in, so any older Chev will accept a 6.2 and you have all those factory parts sitting around for the taking.

DM
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Old 09-25-2009, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DM View Post
For what you will have into that conversion, i can find two 6'2L pu's in another state in excelent condition and go get them. Conversions, may be neat, but they never save you one dime in the end, and this is from a guy with (2) 6.2's, and a 5.9 Cummins...

My cousin did a 3.9 Cummins into a Ford, and it ended up costing him waaaaaay more than he thought it would, not counting the untold hours of his time he put into doing it. I see, now that the "neat" factor has worn off, he doesn't drive it all that much.

BTW, the 6.2 is pretty much a drop in, so any older Chev will accept a 6.2 and you have all those factory parts sitting around for the taking.

DM
Pretty much what I was thinking. Unless you already had the engine and components you could by a nice Cummins pickup for around $8,000 to $12,000 if you stay with the 2001.5 and 2002 which are the 2 best 24 valve models in my opinion. If you like the 12 valve engines, the 1998 model is the best.
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Old 09-25-2009, 10:09 PM
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I didn't say it would be practical when done it will be my only driver. Well except the golf cart I putter around town in. I can also just buy anything just like everyone else in the world. I like the sense of adventure this brings and I'm not sure I will use a late model pickup either. This project is in its early stages and I have a few other projects I have to get done before I can devote a lot of time on.


QGM
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:40 AM
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Default diesel conversion

I'd say go for it and make it work. Older mechanical diesels are very simple to operate--and if you use a shutoff cable instead of a solenoid there's one less electrical connection to make. An older pickup can be had cheaply and a used engine an trans can be found and rebuilt by yourself if need be. You'll just need a driveshaft made if the length is different from the original trans/rear axle combo. Good luck on your project--
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Old 10-18-2009, 02:58 AM
jlmissouri jlmissouri is online now
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I can see why your wanting to do it, but agree with DM on the cost, but if money is no obstacle why not. I have done several conversions, and it is usually more difficult than you would think, although sometimes it is easier than planned. Why the newer Chevy? all that wiring is going to by a pain. The Cummins may be mechanical, but the Chevy will have wires everywhere for its old complicated powerplant. If you are wanting good MPG, and only need a half ton I think I would go a different route. I drive a 86 Mazda B2000 with a Isuzu diesel. I didn't do the conversion, but it was done for under $1,000.
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Old 10-20-2009, 02:37 PM
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IMHO, converting from gas to diesel will simply ensure that you will always be tinkering with something just to keep it roadworthy. If you're really into tinkering that's a different story -- to each his own.

If you want something light and efficient, restore an old diesel LUV/Izusu or Toyota.

If you want something "full sized" then get something in the F-250 or bigger size range (ford, chevy, dodge) because their heavier suspension will give you more trouble free miles (example: I use my F-350 on light duty and get about 100,000 miles on a set of brakes/shocks etc.)
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