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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been lurking on this site for years, but finally decided to take the leap and go after a diesel conversion of my own.

My ideal vehicle would be a 4-door pickup to haul my family, dogs, and any junk we want to take along, but I wasn't finding any great deals on those. I had an idea one day to look at Suburbans, and found out that people were dumping these vehicles for cheap. I found this beautiful machine with a like-new interior for less than $6k.




After seeing the results on a full-sized pickup on IsuzuDieselSwapper.com, I decided that the 4BD1T was the engine to use. Given the 1500 Suburban's weight, I don't expect to get 30+ mpg, but getting into the upper 20s would be great.

I actually found this 4BD1T before I found the Suburban at a big truck salvage yard on the border of Indiana and Ohio. The engine had been sitting since 2006, but they hooked up fuel lines and a battery and started it up for me. No coolant, though, so we shut it back down pretty quickly.



I've been looking at what transmission I'll use, as love-horsepower (Rod) told me that the 4L60E trannies aren't holding up. I picked up a 4L80E for $250 on Craigslist and dragged it home. Then I priced the controller, internal wiring harness, connector, torque converter, adapters to make a 2WD tranny fit the NP246, and even a remote throttle position sensor to help feed information to the controller. This was adding up very quickly, not to mention that I'd need to swap rearends as the 10-bolt won't hold up to the hard shifts I should expect. Further, I don't even know what kind of condition the 4L80E is in and could need a complete rebuild for $1k. The 4L80E is back on Craigslist.

I've decided to go with an NV4500 and I've got a few leads from salvage yards around the country. I'll be purchasing one of these soon.

I've pulled the injectors and had a local shop check them out for me. 3 out of 4 were leaky, and all had crappy spray patterns. I've sent them back out to be reworked. I'm on a fairly tight budget for this effort, so I'm going to start by trying things out with a stock engine, and I can always upgrade to 30% larger injectors, a Holset HE341, and an intercooler later. When I get this machine on the road and sell my 15 mpg Cherokee, I'll start pulling together those parts.

I did a basic compression check which looked OK for a cold engine. I've also been cleaning off the engine a bit at a time. The guys I bought it from painted everything black -- even the mud that was caked onto much of the engine. When I pulled the valve cover off I was pleasantly surprised to find that the valve train was nice and clean.



That's all for now. You'll be hearing more from me!

Mark W. Marasch
Martinsville, IN
 

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Mark thats a nice looking suburban, Its going to be cool when its done!
 

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im planning a similar build this summer, -- 4BT (120hp) IN A 98 GMC halfton pickup lifted 4 inches running 35's with a stock 4l80e --. it will be very interesting to follow your build, why did you choose the 4BT1T??
 

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Discussion Starter #5
truepenhead, I chose the 4BD1T because I read it was more "automotive," smoother running, etc. I really got inspired by the results on IsuzuDieselSwapper with 32 mpg. I also found one in running condition a short distance from Indy for only $1500. My understanding is that the 4BT engines are getting more valuable and more expensive than that. Your benefit in the 4BT, though, is that I think your adaptation options may be a bit simpler.

Thanks, guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Update: I ordered a low-mileage NV4500 from a place in SD today for $1150 shipped (and I've seen that those shipping costs are often murder).They provide a 199 day guarantee on the tranny, and agreed to throw in the donor vehicle's pedals, shifter, boot, etc for another $50. The next best price was $1500 shipped for higher-mileage units. I should recommend Nordstrom Auto and Jeremiah is the guy who helped me out, but I haven't actually seen the parts, yet...

Actually, I have to admit that one place was $1050 shipped, but they were jerks on the phone when they asked for a VIN and I told them I was doing a swap. Voice volumes increased and I simply hung up on the ****head. They chose not to do business with me!

Last night I spent quite a bit of time cleaning the engine--but this will be a long effort with the sellers' "paint over mud" approach!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I sent some email to Dakota Digital with some tooth-counts, and they believe that the DSL-1 can be used to run my tach from the Hall-effect sensor over the power steering pump. So, I'll be using this. When I get there, I'll let you all know how well that works.
 

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You can usee acetone,or muratic acid to clean off that engine
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, guys. I found a thread the other day where somebody mentioned a Harbor Freight pressure washer that hooks up to a compressor. I bought one tonight for $6 and went to work outside the barn with it. I just used some of their heavy-duty degreaser watered down ~20:1. It worked great, but I ran out of light. That tool is quite a deal! I'll hit it again tomorrow...
 

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i find it interesting that a isuzu would have better mileage? from my understanding the 4bt is identical to the isuzu? i'm most definitely going to be following your build! lookin forward to hearing about your mileage when its all put together, good luck sounds like a fun build!

Tal
 

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i find it interesting that a isuzu would have better mileage? from my understanding the 4bt is identical to the isuzu? i'm most definitely going to be following your build! lookin forward to hearing about your mileage when its all put together, good luck sounds like a fun build!

Tal
The isuzu is quite a bit different then the 4BT for a few reasons. The Isuzu has glow plugs and uses a japanese pump that's a lot like a bosch A pump. The Isuzu is also a sleeved engine, making it easier to rebuild and overhaul. Another thing where the Isuzu differs, the exhaust is on the left side and the intake on the right. This is oppisite of the standard in the US which the 4BT has.
 

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looking Great MARK! Thanks for the amazing deal on the 80e, and i def look forward to seeing many many updates of this setup,

Guys, Mark is doing one clean swap, i got to see the engine on the stand in person and the truck he is using, very very clean!

Best of luck Mark! Can not wait to see the finished product!

Kyle
 

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I did the same swap in a 2003 Tahoe last year. Because I wanted to keep the 4X4 I went with a rebuilt 700R4 transmission. Bad choice. The right choice is an electronically controlled transmission like you did so you can control the shift points. I went with a rebuilt 4L60E transmission. I am using the stock engine with new stock injectors. Since I hooked up the air it has barely enough power to go up grades on the Interstate without shifting down. The biggest disappointment is the 21 mpg average although that is 50% better than the gas engine. If your Suburban has an ECM you can control the dash and everything using the old throttle body. Feel free to ask any questions.
 

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Please give a little bit of info on controlling the stock dash using the trottle body.
 

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Look on the thread "Help with 2003 Tahoe Swap". I tried to get good pictures. Feel free to contact me personally for clarification.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks, Kyle (Jax04), it was good to meet you!

Equipguy, since I've got a '99, I'll just be running a cable to the injection pump. Also, I'm not using an automatic at all, anymore. I'm currently planning to use an NV4500 and the kit from 4BDConversions.

I've been taking photos and will post a real update soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Update 6/8/11

I haven't posted in awhile, so here are a few things to share.

First, I never found pictures on how to rotate the starter. Two of the distances between the studs are the same, while the third distance is different. The solution I used was to figure out which ear was the offending one, mark it,



then I cut it off, and the Sharpie markings can still be seen in this image:



I've used some small washers (not seen from this angle) and a large washer to clamp the flange where there isn't an ear.



Since then, I've spent a LOT of time checking bearings, replacing seals, cleaning parts, and painting things.

This past weekend I installed a pyrometer on the inlet flange to the turbo, as there wasn't much room on the exhaust manifold.



Then, I mounted this stock unit back onto the engine.



The rebuild injectors have been installed. I didn't find any external dust shields, so you can see blue RTV where they enter the head. The point is just to keep crap from falling down in there.



Note that the supply lines aren't attached, yet. This weekend I'll prime the pump and do the pump timing checks described in the Isuzu manual.

Meanwhile, I've got a stack of parts collected in the barn, including an NV4500 from a Chevy 2500, clutch pedals, adapter shafts, radiator fans, etc... My adapter kit from DieselTim at 4BD Conversions should be on its way any day, and my next step is to swap the input shaft for the Cummins-type input. Then, I'll pull the gasser out of the Suburban and start mounting the accessories and sensors onto the 4BD1T.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I was trying to use photos from my Picasa/Google account. The album being used is visible to anybody with the link, so does anyone know why the photos aren't showing up?
 
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