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Discussion Starter #1
I have wanted to do a 4bt swap for a long time. I want to use my 96 F250 with a 460 big block and my 5 speed trans that is in really good shape. I just have no idea where to start outside of reading forums.
A few questions I have are:
What is a rough cost estimate I am looking to spend in the beginning to get everything.
How long does the 'average' swap take (if I have everything before I start).
What parts will I need to replace to go from Gas to Diesel.
And what other questions do I need to ask before I do anything?

All advice is welcome and I am looking forward to sharing my process with everyone when I finally get started. I just want to make a good plan before I even start to start.
Thanks for the help.
 

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Welcome to the website.

Your cost will be based on the availability of parts and the shipping costs where involved. There are really an infinite number of variables involved. Some folks end up with as little as $600 in the engine after buying a step van and scrapping it for a return of money. Others are spending over $3000 just to get a good running engine.

You want to use a transmission that will likely end up requiring an aftermarket transmission adapter set that might be found for $700-1000 used or around $2000 new. Just these two components now have a total range of between $1300 to $5000. Or you could change your transmission to one from a small block Ford. Then you could use a 4BT stepvan conversion set up. But then you have no way of calculating the cost of the replacement transmission if you intend on selling your current one.

The time factor is based on your equipment, shop facilities, your own mechanical abilities, etc. Have you ever converted a Toyota to a GM engine or transplanted any engine from another manufacturer into a different manufacturer's chassis? The crystal ball is now going cloudy with an infinite number of possibilities involved.
 

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With that size vehicle, you may be better off swapping a 6bt and matching tranny into it. Should be cheaper as 6bt's are more plentiful and you'll wind up with more power to boot.

sent from my mobile look at device
 

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my 02 dodge with automatic and 3.55 gears will average 19.5-20.5 mpg in the summer driving very conservatively. i put lock out hubs in, synthetic fluids, and a small programmer to get there though. If you need the power the 460 provides id recommend the 6bt.
 

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I don't think your 5 speed will work. They claim the diesel and the big block 5 speed have either a slightly different bolt pattern on the bell housing or the dowels are different. I don't recall which it is. The 5 speed from a small block will work. The ZF 5 like yours has the PTO covers on the sides and the M5R2 doesn't have PTO covers and is in the half ton trucks. Occasionally you will find a ZF in a half ton.
 

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There's no problem with the ZF behind the 460. It's only drawback is the 1st gear is very low and you'd probably seldom use it. To adapt it to a Cummins will cost between $1600-2000. You'll need an engine to transmission adapter plate, NV4500 flywheel with Ford pilot bearing, Ford 6.0 starter, and Ford style clutch and pressure plate. I have that setup only mine fits the 7.3 diesel ZF. Valair made the flywheel/clutch parts and Destroked did the adapter plate. The starter is an off the shelf item. A 6bt fuel mileage will probably run in the upper teens to low 20's. A 4bt can probably do the mid 20's. One plus of using the 6bt is that engine mounts for your truck already exist. Can be virtually a bolt in swap. Just need to work out wiring and plumbing. Another area you'd need to address is the brake booster. If you keep the vacuum booster you'll need a vacuum pump. The other option would be hydroboost. Either way you'd probably want the Dodge vacuum/ps pump combo. Some of the heater/ac controls or cruise may need vacuum.
 

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There's no problem with the ZF behind the 460. It's only drawback is the 1st gear is very low and you'd probably seldom use it. To adapt it to a Cummins will cost between $1600-2000. You'll need an engine to transmission adapter plate, NV4500 flywheel with Ford pilot bearing, Ford 6.0 starter, and Ford style clutch and pressure plate. I have that setup only mine fits the 7.3 diesel ZF. Valair made the flywheel/clutch parts and Destroked did the adapter plate. The starter is an off the shelf item. A 6bt fuel mileage will probably run in the upper teens to low 20's. A 4bt can probably do the mid 20's. One plus of using the 6bt is that engine mounts for your truck already exist. Can be virtually a bolt in swap. Just need to work out wiring and plumbing. Another area you'd need to address is the brake booster. If you keep the vacuum booster you'll need a vacuum pump. The other option would be hydroboost. Either way you'd probably want the Dodge vacuum/ps pump combo. Some of the heater/ac controls or cruise may need vacuum.

I have about $1k into my adapter plate, flywheel, clutch, Starter setup.



Adapter plate - $620
Starter - $91
Flywheel - $124
Flywheel pilot bearing - $5
Flywheel machining - $40
Clutch - $136
ARP flywheel bolts - $63



I'm using a stock NV4500 flywheel and stock clutch for a Ford 460 gasser
 

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Look at all the money those guys are putting into hooking the transmission to the engine. I went looking for a 4bt out of a Ford and found one with a t19 4 speed. I had already bought a 93 F150 with automatic trans. I got an M5R2 5 speed, drive shaft, the clutch/brake petals and the hump in the floor at a junk yard for $100 and all I had to do was take the 4 speed off and put the 5 speed on. I recently got a ZF 5 speed for $100 also. I like it better because it has a low first gear and reverse. The M5R2 was OK with 3.55 gears but it sux with 2.73 gears that I have now.
If you choose to go with the 6bt I would just look for a Dodge with 6bt and 5 speed and swap it in.
You also have to take the fuel pump out of the gas tank and put a hose in. The engine lift pump will suck the fuel out. It is possible to use both tanks. I draw from the front tank and when it gets low I pump the fuel from the rear to the front with the in tank pump. I made motor mounts for the 4bt but they say you can buy them for the 6bt. It took me about 4 months to do the swap and have it on the road. Like they say, it seems like you never get totally done that you'll want to add or change something.
 

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Changing to a Dodge transmission might be an option, but it this is a 4x4 then you'd be changing transfer case and drive shafts. Even if it's more money, I think leaving the original drive train intact is a better idea.
 

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Changing to a Dodge transmission might be an option, but it this is a 4x4 then you'd be changing transfer case and drive shafts. Even if it's more money, I think leaving the original drive train intact is a better idea.
Not to mention my speedometer is in my tcase. I converted to a 5spd and I used the stock hydraulic setup.

Also, my zf5 was $400. I've never seen an NV4500 for less than $1k
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks everyone this is really helpful! I will be looking into both swapping my transmission and also trying to keep it.

Would you look for a 12 or 24 valve 6bt?
 

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I would agree that the 6bt would be a better option and probably less expensive to accomplish. If you do go with a 4bt its just about a bolt in deal with the right mounts and will bolt to your tranny if you get an engine with the ford adapter plate.
 

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in a 3/4 ton I'd go with a 6bt. If you want the manual, you've been given the options on that already. I really like the Dodge 47RH myself. I hope the build goes well.
 

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A friend of mine did this swap in a 90 f250 4x4, the power was fine, but he never pulled any trailers with it, just hauled stuff in the bed, and not anything real heavy. If you plan on light hauling and towing the 4bt is fine, if you want to haul and tow heavy the 6bt would be better.
 

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I didn't do as well as clhman did, but I got mine from CL as well for $700. As was already said you have to watch closely and be patient.
 
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