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2008 Jeep Commander (going to be listed), 1979 Jeep Cherokee (sale pending), and soon a 1984 F250
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey y'all! I'm new here, but joined to ask a few questions about the viability of a Detroit swap into an older Ford. I'm looking at a 3-53 mated to an Eaton 6-speed, and have a few questions about the viability of the swap. How much fab-work would something like this take? Would I be able to do it for under five grand? Would I be able to keep four wheel drive AND make around 20 MPG? Or would the 4WD have to go? I understand that this is going to be a work intensive swap, and it's still up in the air as to whether or not I would even do this, but in case I do I would say its best to ask questions first.
 

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Well, with the Eaton and 3-53 there should be plenty of engine compartment room. Even a 4-53 would fit in there.
However, I think the 3-53 even if turboed would have a hard time getting out of its own way. A 4-53T would be more suitable, especially with 4WD. And the weight factor. You didn’t say whether you were thinking of half ton or 3/4 ton, 3-53 would work in half ton truck.

Don’t know if you have an engine already, however, the Al engines have durability problems and weigh little less than an iron engine. The Eaton 6 speed is a good choice. 6406 or 8406 can be converted to OD, with a kit. Other late ones can also be converted to OD with slight case mods.

Don’t know what part of the country you are in, but are several others In various parts of the country that are DD savvy. I have several 3 and 4 cyl. Detroit engines, 4-53T in front of a RR.

Ed in CO
 

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2008 Jeep Commander (going to be listed), 1979 Jeep Cherokee (sale pending), and soon a 1984 F250
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, with the Eaton and 3-53 there should be plenty of engine compartment room. Even a 4-53 would fit in there.
However, I think the 3-53 even if turboed would have a hard time getting out of its own way. A 4-53T would be more suitable, especially with 4WD. And the weight factor. You didn’t say whether you were thinking of half ton or 3/4 ton, 3-53 would work in half ton truck.

Don’t know if you have an engine already, however, the Al engines have durability problems and weigh little less than an iron engine. The Eaton 6 speed is a good choice. 6406 or 8406 can be converted to OD, with a kit. Other late ones can also be converted to OD with slight case mods.

Don’t know what part of the country you are in, but are several others In various parts of the country that are DD savvy. I have several 3 and 4 cyl. Detroit engines, 4-53T in front of a RR.

Ed in CO
It would be a 3/4 ton. I don't have anything yet as far as parts go, since it's still just a thought being formed in my head. And since you seem fairly knowledgeable, I'm going to keep asking questions.
1- How much would you say a swap would cost when all is said and done? I'm pretty handy with a welder and my dad is able to get around most fab work with ease, so I think we would have that covered, but I would be more worried about cost of parts and how long it would be off the road.
2- What parts would I need? Obviously some things just aren't going to work with the new engine, but I would probably use as much as I could from the original drivetrain and such.
3- Not so much a question, but it looks like the 351W from that year make very comparable power figures compared to a turbo'ed 4-53... so it looks like I would probably go that route.
4- How hard is it to convert one of those trannys to OD? And which one would you recommend?
5- I have heard of some people running a 50/50 mix of diesel and different types of oil (used cooking oil, filtered waste oil, etc.) Is power affected by this? What about the engines lifetime? Fuel mileage? I'm not looking for huge power figures, just reliability and economy.
6- Finally, would you say a swap like this is even a good idea? I know a lot of people will say "Just do a 4BT or 6BT!", and while I can see the benefits of both, they are INSANLEY expensive around these parts (North Dakota) and EVERYBODY does a Cummins swap. I have always found the Detroits to be really neat engines with an interesting heritage to boot. Nor will I be doing an LS swap, as 1) that is SACRILIDGE to do to a Ford, and 2) everyone does an LS swap. Again, I understand why (huge aftermarket, availability, etc), but if I wanted an LS I wouldn't be asking about a Detroit, now would I? I won't be doing anything with inherent fancy electro-digicals (VGG fans will get that one) for the sake of simplicity and reliability. I want to be able to repair this thing on the road with baling wire and JB Weld.
That's all I can think of right now, but if I think of anymore I'll be sure to ask.
 

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There is a gentleman on here occasionally who talks about making OD, don’t know his info, must search. Probably need an SAE # 2 clutch housing the Eaton would bolt to. Might too tight to fit in the frame though. Detroits come with GM bell housings, too. Eatons have an Al bellhousing that bolts to Chevy and GMC blocks. Need to get cruise RPM around 1800. Might need to change diff. ratios plus OD trans. Detroits have narrow torque range so need many ratios in trans. Need to install intercooler. Jake brakes would be useful also.

Hang out here for a while, most of your questions will be answered. Px my 4-53T in ‘37 GMC with RR 10 speed. Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive exterior Gas Auto part

Ed in CO
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If you want to swap a Detroit into your 1984 F250 I would suggest a 4-53T minimum. I daily drive a 4-53TIB in a 2009 F350 with the Ford 5R110 and it's just enough power to keep up with traffic and tow with. A 3-53T is really not enough power and you'd soon be looking for a 4-53T.:) There's a huge amount of transmission options with the #2 flywheel housing, so not a problem there. You'll have to fab all the mounts etc as there are no kits for the Detroits to mount in a pickup.:) Power wise there's no comparison between the Cummins 6BT and the Detroit 4-53T, Cummins is a far better engine for power and torque. Have a look at my build thread to give you an idea what involved.:) Detroit 4-53T into 2009 Ford F350 with 5R110
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you want to swap a Detroit into your 1984 F250 I would suggest a 4-53T minimum. I daily drive a 4-53TIB in a 2009 F350 with the Ford 5R110 and it's just enough power to keep up with traffic and tow with. A 3-53T is really not enough power and you'd soon be looking for a 4-53T.:) There's a huge amount of transmission options with the #2 flywheel housing, so not a problem there. You'll have to fab all the mounts etc as there are no kits for the Detroits to mount in a pickup.:) Power wise there's no comparison between the Cummins 6BT and the Detroit 4-53T, Cummins is a far better engine for power and torque. Have a look at my build thread to give you an idea what involved.:) Detroit 4-53T into 2009 Ford F350 with 5R110 View attachment 131838
Looked it over, looks like you're pretty handy with this kinda stuff! It's definitely a nice build, for sure. If I have any questions I'll be sure to come knocking
 

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been running a 2000 ranger with 3-53n nv 4500 5 speed 3-73 gears 4wd for over 5 years with no trouble, except the rear, 3rd one, truck weighs 4600 and i tow a 4 wheel 5k dump trailer in pa doesn't like large hills but runs along at 60 on the highways Around 9k gross is the limit of power with the n engine
 

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... gotta love them to listen to them in a small pu near the gov
The song of a "Screaming Jimmy". I live a half block from the road that goes South. Right where the road goes from 45 MPH to 55 MPH. I've stepped out of my shop just to listen to one drive South ;)

And occasionally, Jake brakes in the North bound speed reduction.

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
forgot mpg It will get 30ish empty or 18-20 pulling in pa hills gotta love them to listen to them in a small pu near the gov
How tough was the swap? Asking specifically about the fabrication area here...
 

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I did not do the original swap but finished all of the other things dash board tach, parking bk cables, had the drive shaft rebalanced, I burned up the rear towing with it and changed it to a exployer 8.8 with disc brakes and had to change the spring pads to the top and change the parking cables again as the ends are different I have put on more than 100k on it in 6 years and it is very tired as I tow with it daily ,but still runs ok just uses lots of oil It is going to come out soon to refresh it but the cab has to come off to get it out It looks like the hardest part was the oil pan around the front rear as it has a large hole in it to fit around the pumpkin irs front .It has a finger of room all around with a front and rear plate like a sprint car uses bolted to the front cover-and between the block and bellhousing in the rear The fellow that did the swap did a verry good job as I have had no trouble with orignal install. forgot the isuzu alt with vaccume pump on the rear I used a allum rad and it lasted 75k or so and rubbed a hole in the top tank If I get another 100k out of the next overhaul I will be happy The alum engines get a bad rap but they are fine . mine has a hard life towing and uses more oil than it should but runs along happy I Have asked questions on this forum about oil pressure as it only has 35ish hot running but has been that way for 60k or so
 

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more info has a 3 inch body lift and stock suspension I'm on the 3rd set of china front hubs but there only 30 bucks each 4 inch ex all way back but needs more lift for jake room under the hood as the engine is 2 inches taller with the spacer nv4500 231c case 97 chevy 2500 driveshafts double cardian joint at front of tf case I like this so much if I smash it up I'm going to build another
 

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more info has a 3 inch body lift and stock suspension I'm on the 3rd set of china front hubs but there only 30 bucks each 4 inch ex all way back but needs more lift for jake room under the hood as the engine is 2 inches taller with the spacer nv4500 231c case 97 chevy 2500 driveshafts double cardian joint at front of tf case I like this so much if I smash it up I'm going to build another
Are you Jon Leader? If you are I've watched your Ranger videos on YouTube.:)
 
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