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 4BTSwaps.com, devoted to Cummins four-cylinder conversions, and The Diesel Page (thedieselpage.com), 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, www.aev-conversions.com
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, www.acmeadapters.com
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, www.advanceadapters.com
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, www.autoworldmt.com
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, www.avalancheengineering.com
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, www.bluetorchfab.com
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, www.burnsvilleoffroad.com
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, www.puresuzuki.com
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, www.destroked.com