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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys I've been reading the chats and it sounds like there is a lot of people that seem to know a bit on 3 53 detroit diesels. I was trying to figure out if it was possible to turbo my detroit. I know the 3 53t and I believe the silver 3 53 are turbo but mine is jus the regular 3 53. Can this be done?
 

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Sure, many things can be done to 3’s that are on 3T’s. Someone will chime in, however, if there is space a 4-53T would provide much better performance. A 3 is going to be low on the performance, I got a few extra 4’s just for spares.

Ed in CO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I dont know if a 4 would fit. The 3 53 is in a 47 power wagon and had to modify the firewall a bit to make it fit. So at this point I just want to modify the 3 53 to give it a little more power.
 

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Not much power available in a 3-53 in a power wagon. If you want a DD, find something light. I saw an old power wagon at the Springfield Mass. ATHS show with a 6bt in it, no I'cooler, didn't see firewall.

Ed in CO.
 

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I depends on how much work and money you want to spend , almost twenty years ago my family had a DD repair shop , and done a few 53 turbos , but it comes down on how much power you want , you already have the engine in the truck but just need a tad more just to make it have some get up and go or your going to carry and tow things , one the power wagon is kind of heavy but well built , you can just add a stock turbo and N65 injectors and that should give you the few extra pony,s to get out the way , that will not hurt anything because you are only using the extra power to get to speed , no towing , if you do want to tow something you will have to pull the head and upgrade some , that comes in two flavors , money and more money , one is a set of turbo liner kits that use the larger piston pin , yep you have to buy diffrent con rods , next is the crosshead kits , still you have to buy the crosshead con rods , those are the best , you could upgrade the can but you have to use new style valve springs and turbo valves , then you will have the same power as the 4-53 , my current project is a 3-53 out of a gama goat into a 2001 ford ranger , the truck is light so it perform well without a turbo , around 3500 lbs , what does the power wagon weigh ??
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm not sure what it weighs. I have the cab sitting on a 76 1 ton chevy chassis. It's got the 1 ton front and rear end and then a 5 speed eaton transmission with a 4 speed browning box. So at this point I just want to add some speed to get up and go more than towing
 

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Well in the 70’s and 80’s the 53 Detroit’s where popular engine for diesel conversion. There was even one company, Mentzer Detroit Diesel, in Sparks, Nevada doing pickup ‘53’ conversions.

While in the army in 1976, I discovered the GamaGoat 3-53 engine which plant the idea of a diesel conversion. Got out in 1979, bought two 3-53N power units for $800 and started converting my 1975 Chevy K20 4x4 pickup. Started with 3-53N 21:1 C/R pistons and N45 injectors. The rears were 4.10 ratio and replaced the munice 4-speed transmission with a New Process 540 overdrive 5-speed.

This conversion worked well along the Jersey coast area but was a dog when moved to Virginia with hills and mountains. Had purchased a new TO4 turbo before moving. Installed the TO4 turbo, switched to 17:1 standard pistons and turbo valves/springs. At first kept N45 injector but still dog then swapped for N55. This was a big improvement. Settle on N65’s for several years then went to C70’s. This truck was my daily drive for ten years. I had grossed out 12K lbs several times hauling 8V92’s and scrap steel. Rust finally killed the truck. Engine sitting in my shop and have a 3-53T out in the shed right now.

The downside of my K20 diesel conversion is the NP 540-O transmission. The overdrive was done by replacing fourth gear with the overdrive gear. Big gap in the gear ratio where you are either lugging at 1500 rpms or screaming at 2500 rpms. I broke two crankshafts in the 130,000 miles I put on the truck.

If ever get around to putting 3-53T into a truck, the transmission will be either NV-4500 5-speed or the Allison 1000 automatic.

Will try post some picture...

Bob G.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
When putting a turbo on a 3 53 would it be better to install one with an internal wastegate or is it better to go with a turbo that doesn't have a wastegate? They're both a t04e turbo with .63 a/r. But to get a turbo with a v band set up it has the wastegate. The one without a wastegate would be a 5 bolt flage adapter to the downpipe. I have a 4" exhaust on the dodge so I could easily bolt up to the v band. The flange would take an adapter..
 

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I was wondering about this while working on my Cummins 5.9 24V. What the performance of a 3-53T be like of a properly sized HX30 with wastegate. Having the boost at lower rpm.

Non-wastegate turbos are sized to not over speed at maximum rpm/fueling.

In the army, we had M109A1 howitzers with Detroit 405 HP 8V71 wastegate turbo. The turbo was huge. I believe this was a Garrett turbo which seem to weigh about 80 - 100 lbs.

Here is the power pack of the M578 recovery vehicle (Same platform of the M107/M110 howitizers). The M109 used same components just different arrangement.

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Here is the T04 on my 53 out in shop.
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Bob G.
 

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The 3-53 will be lucky to have enough power for a DD. If you want something that is light and nimble, look elsewhere(maybe try 225/60/16) ; this old truck had an output of just over 200 HP with the 6bt but lacked any cooling systems or firewalls so it's lucky we don't see how fast its top speed was!
 

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wonderman is funny has no idea......been daily driving my 2000 ranger with a gamma goat 3-53n n65 injectors nv4500 3-73 rears 4wd. tow 5000 lbs 430 miles a week have over 165k on the swap 36k this year between inspection. gets 18-20 mpg we run a organic animal feed business and use this rig to deliver to other states, as it's less than 10k in weight out of pa.
 
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