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Hi my name's Michael and I have a 2wd 83 Ford f250 xl with a 460 and I would like to convert it to a 4bt but I'd like to hear what I would need to do this conversion like what transmission and what mounts fuel system things that need to be done and wiring my grandpa gave me this truck when I wrote him persuasive essay when I was 12 for school and fast forward to now he recently passed and I'd like to try make this everything we thought we could do awhile back I'm 17 so I just want this to be a stock kinda thing nothing crazy just something that can go in it and be a decent daily... I'd be doing all this work my self because my family owns a shop and I have most of the tools I'll need I believe
 

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Welcome to the forum. Need to ask a few questions. First off, what transmission is in the truck now? Manual or automatic? There are a lot of possible options. You mention a 4bt but a 6bt might be cheaper. What gear ratio is in the rear end? If it's a 3.55 that would be good. A 4.10 would be less desirable. Does the truck have a single rear fuel tank or dual tanks? Does the 460 have a mechanical fuel pump or are there pump electric pump in the tank(s)? If memory serves me 1983 was the first year Ford offered the 6.9 diesel. Your young. Don't expect to do this in a few weeks. To do it right will take some time and this sounds like a vehicle you will want to keep. First big step will be finding an engine. 4bts are getting more scarce but 6bts are still pretty common. The other thing will be the finances. Don't expect this to be cheap. Most swaps can easily hit the $8-10K range. It amounts up very fast when you get into it. For example, a 4bt in decent condition is usually $3500 or better. Plan on spending at least another $1-2K on the engine for new gaskets, seals, bearings, maybe a better turbo, upgraded parts, etc. Diesel parts are never extremely cheap. Then you have to figure out the transmission. On a 4bt, there two possible Ford units. The M5R2-OD is decent as long as you don't abuse it. A more bullet proof option would be the ZF S5-42. If the 4bt came with the small block Ford manual clutch assembly, either of those transmission would be a bolt on. Engine mounts can be made. If you used a 6bt there may be aftermarket mounts made that will fit. Your stock radiator would probably be fine on a 6bt but too large for a 4bt. There will be lots of little things that pop up. Wiring, the addition of a couple gauges will be necessary, braking system, etc. This is just a short list. If you had an engine then I could mention specific things to do.
 

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Yes Ed, that would definitely be in the plans unless he goes with a non intercooled engine like the base early Dodge or 4bt. Probably the best things to do is ask questions which he is doing and write down a plan of what's needed. That check list can sometimes get pretty darn long but can help avoid unexpected problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Welcome to the forum. Need to ask a few questions. First off, what transmission is in the truck now? Manual or automatic? There are a lot of possible options. You mention a 4bt but a 6bt might be cheaper. What gear ratio is in the rear end? If it's a 3.55 that would be good. A 4.10 would be less desirable. Does the truck have a single rear fuel tank or dual tanks? Does the 460 have a mechanical fuel pump or are there pump electric pump in the tank(s)? If memory serves me 1983 was the first year Ford offered the 6.9 diesel. Your young. Don't expect to do this in a few weeks. To do it right will take some time and this sounds like a vehicle you will want to keep. First big step will be finding an engine. 4bts are getting more scarce but 6bts are still pretty common. The other thing will be the finances. Don't expect this to be cheap. Most swaps can easily hit the $8-10K range. It amounts up very fast when you get into it. For example, a 4bt in decent condition is usually $3500 or better. Plan on spending at least another $1-2K on the engine for new gaskets, seals, bearings, maybe a better turbo, upgraded parts, etc. Diesel parts are never extremely cheap. Then you have to figure out the transmission. On a 4bt, there two possible Ford units. The M5R2-OD is decent as long as you don't abuse it. A more bullet proof option would be the ZF S5-42. If the 4bt came with the small block Ford manual clutch assembly, either of those transmission would be a bolt on. Engine mounts can be made. If you used a 6bt there may be aftermarket mounts made that will fit. Your stock radiator would probably be fine on a 6bt but too large for a 4bt. There will be lots of little things that pop up. Wiring, the addition of a couple gauges will be necessary, braking system, etc. This is just a short list. If you had an engine then I could mention specific things to do.
sorry I didn't respond it has an automatic transmission and electric fuel pump not sure on rear gear ratio I'll check next time I'm around it but I'm just trying to figure out on what things I will need like what engine or transmission would be best if I'd need to get another rear end or just upgrade the differential driveline and electrical stuff I don't imagine it will take a couple of weeks I know it'll probably take a couple months but I'm looking for all the parts I'll need or close to almost so I don't start and then realize I need more stuff 😂 and what upgrades are suggested for the engine before I put it all together it also has dual tanks
 

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One basic question would be do you want to stay with the automatic transmission? If so, there are a couple possible avenues. There were a few possible Ford transmissions that can work, but adapting them is fairly expensive. The 4R100 that came behind the Ford V8 diesel would be good. Main issue is it's computer controlled so you have to have an outboard controller. By the time you get the transmission, torque converter, adapter plate, custom flex plate, and controller you may have spent $4-5K. We more commonly see the use of either the Dodge Cummins 46RH or 47RH which don't use a computer. They are the same transmission except the 47RH has a lock up torque converter and will usually get better fuel mileage on long hauls. If you wanted to go manual there are various transmission setup that can be done. You'd probably want to look for a truck of the same vintage as yours in the salvage yard to get the steering column and pedal assembly. The main thing is decide which engine you want to use. Once you have that in hand, you can start sorting out the other issues. OK, you have dual tanks. You have a switching valve for the tanks. On a diesel there are 2 fuel lines. One to the fuel pump and a second is a return line for unused fuel. If you current switch valve doesn't have 6 ports, you'll need to change that. If the tanks have the in tank fuel pump and strainer sock, that all has to be removed. Might need to add the return port to the fuel tank. If you could find a diesel truck of your vintage in the salvage yard, it would be good to get the tanks or at least the pickup units, control valve, and fuel pipes leading to the side of the bed (the pipe inlets are bigger for diesel pumps). Another thing you could look for is the dash gauges from a diesel of you vintage. You could keep your gauges except swap the fuel gauge which will say DIESEL and also the diesel tach. Not totally necessary but makes a nice touch. If you don't have one, a tach is a necessary instrument for a diesel. You will need to add a pyrometer and boost gauge to monitor engine operation. Have to decide where you want to place those. Your rear axle should be plenty strong. Main thing is find out what gear ratio you have. As for time line. Weeks would probably be a dream unless you had a garage full of helpers and everything perfectly planned. Months is possible but if you read most of the builds generally go into a year or more. We have some that are approaching 10 years. 1-2 years is very common. The up front planning can make a huge difference in the time.
 

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As for time line. Weeks would probably be a dream unless you had a garage full of helpers and everything perfectly planned. Months is possible but if you read most of the builds generally go into a year or more. We have some that are approaching 10 years. 1-2 years is very common. The up front planning can make a huge difference in the time.
Char hit the nail on the head. I will say that my build--a 1994 F150--went from running 302 to running 4bt in about 5 weeks. I took one full week off work and spent about 8-10 hours/week after that to get it running. But I did exactly what Char describes: massive preparation, lots of parts staging and lots of friends helping. Also, I'm still ironing out the kinks 6 years later, haha!

Good luck.

-Mike
 

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With any project like this, the planning is the key. Write it down on paper and begin accumulating the parts needed. Keep the truck running until the very end when you're ready to do the swap. Once you have an engine you can begin prepping that. Figure out the transmission and have that ready too. Those things take some time but don't interrupt the use of the truck to haul all the stuff you need. You have access to a garage which helps. One thing to remember is you'll be working with an engine that is very heavy. Both the one you take out and the new one. In fact, the 4bt weighs almost exactly the same as the Ford 460. A 6bt is about 300 lbs heavier.
 
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