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Hello Everyone. I’m new to this, so I hope I don’t annoy anyone with naïve content.

The reason I’m here is that I built a 2002 Silverado 2WD with a turbo diesel OM606 motor off a 99 E300. I posted a short video on YouTube and some people asked me for the build details. I’ll post the video link at the bottom.

My project is a daily driver, built for fuel economy, reliability, comfort, and for use as a work truck when needed. It’s something my wife can drive to pick up the kids or go to the supermarket. So this is not a “superturbo”. I say this in case my project may not make a great deal of sense to some.

General Elements and ($):
• 2002 Chevy Silverado 2WD short (stepside) bed. I wanted white but after many months looking for the truck this is what I found
• OM606 stock engine with stock turbo, alternator, PS pump, AC unit, etc. (approx. $1500)
• DIY OM603 (M) pump with 6mm plungers delivering approx. 75cc, I have a spare 6mm pump that delivers 90cc (approx. $1700).
• Chevy 4L60E transmission (model 1999) with stock cooling hoses.
• EZ-TCU standalone transmission controller ($500)
• Adapter plate (purchased from Bendtsen for under $1K)
• Dakota Digital unit for rpm signal ($50)
• 2.5” intake ($200)
BACKGROUND:
I first found a complete engine with transmission. The seller said the motor had a knock (most likely an injector). Turned out the motor was toast. He helped me with parts so I decided to rebuild it. I actually destroyed the original turbo head and ended up using a non-turbo I found. I kept the non-turbo cams and springs. I may replace those with the turbo ones. But the motor started and idled fine after I completed the rebuild. I replaced two pistons, two rods, crankshaft, etc. Then it took me several months to find a truck. The one I found was in excellent condition so I got it for a great price.

MOTOR & TRANSMISSION:
The transmission adapter plate I found online was made for the 99 4L60E so I picked one up from the salvage yard and rebuilt it (I could not use the exact 2002 4L60e that came with the truck). To control the transmission I bought an EZ-TCU controller. I should have spent a bit more. The unit has been throwing a code although the transmission continues to shift normally. The EZ-TCU needs a TPS. There are standalone TPS kits online. I made my own one. The TCU also needs an RPM signal. Dakota Digital sells a small unit that generates an rpm signal, those rpm units are great. They allow a few options to generate the rpm signal, I used my alternator with the “W” terminal. I actually had to find one at the junk yard. Many diesel alternators already come with that terminal. You can also use the om606 sensor picking up with flywheel to generate an rpm signal. And finally (besides voltage and ground), the TCU needs a signal from the speed sensor at the tail of the 4L60E. The TCU is customizable (I think just made that word up) which is really cool. Look it up.

After having mated the motor and transmission I made the motor mounts. I stated with the stock Silverado mounts and cut them such to weld a flat surface where the stock mounts from the OM606 rest. It’s easy to make motor mounts so I won’t elaborate because my mounts were not the best ever due to my crappy welder. Point is that the stock om606 mounts sit exactly where the stock Chevy motor did. There’s plenty of room in the engine bay, however, this is the position I liked which kept the transmission (drive shaft) at stock position. This motor mount position, however, involved a conflict between the rack and pinion and oil pan. It’s easy to modify or relocate the oil pan well. I kept the stock and initially relocated the rack and pinion. I developed a death wobble (yes, death wobble) so decided to move the rack and pinion back to its original position (then found this was not the cause of my death wobble). Anyway, this meant that I had to notch the rear corner of the oil sump to make room for the rack and pinion. The modification to the oil pan was fairly small so I didn’t mitigate for oil capacity. Kept the stock drive shaft. There will be plenty of space between radiator and fan. I kept the om606 steering pump, alternator, serpentine, etc. Coolant hoses were mostly stock either Chevy or Benz. Kept the Silverado radiator and reservoir set up. I made my own throttle linkage from parts I found at the junk yard. I’m pretty creative but you can imagine it does not look impressive. There are linkages from the 95 E300 (mechanical pump) that will work, no need to make your own. The motor is hard to find but they are available for around $2k. I actually bought a whole car first and right after found the motor and transmission alone. So I still have the car which I’ll save for another project—runs excellent. I made the mistake of not rebuilding the head. I will try it down the line.

FLUIDS:
Speaking of oil and fluids, I kept the stock transmission lines (and radiator), and made custom hoses for oil cooler. I used the OM606 oil cooler. Also made a power steering hose. I will add here that I kept the fuel pick up unit but removed the gal fuel pump. However, I used an external diesel sump and a ½ inch hose from it straight to the lift pump; this to avoid ¼ tank issues and fuel restrictions.

ELECTRICAL:
Kept the Silverado ECU and eliminated any parts of harness obviously not needed like fuel injectors, etc. All my gauges work, Silverado cluster of course. Spliced the speed sensor (purple) wire to share with the TCU but kept the original wire feeding the Chevy ECU and my speedometer works. The stock OM606 temp sensor works. The tachometer…just find the tach wire and hook it to that Dakota Digital unit I mentioned. The EZ-TCU plugs right to the transmission harness. From the junk yard, I picked up an OM603 glow plug relay for my glow plugs. Just wire it to a signal that feeds juice when the ignition switch is turned on, you’ll find plenty; just like your rpm unit and TCU will need juice. The alternator and starter are an easy hook up, the wires are just rerouted.

INJECTION PUMP:
It would be a sin to use an OM606 engine with M-injection pump (om603) with 5.5mm elements; you find many of those on ebay for around $500. I got mine for $70 at the junk yard. You should at least upgrade to 6mm plungers. I swapped them myself. Shops charge around $1500 to swap them because it’s laborious…when you don’t have the right tools. After swapping them I took it to a shop for calibration which normally runs around $300. My pump delivers approx. 75cc, plenty for my needs. I have another 6mm pump that delivers 90cc. If you want more fuel then you can order 7 or 8mm (or more) plunger pumps; this would entail more expensive modifications. A pump with 6mm has plenty of spirit for my light Silverado.

TURBO:
Kept the stock OM606 turbo. I changed its actuator to a boost driven. Twisted the housing a bit to fit the intercooler hoses which were routed to mount the cooler behind the bumper, best place I could find. Kept the om606 intake and intercooler pipe attached to it, which ends near the AC compressor.

SUSPENSION
I lowered the truck 3” in the front and 5 in the back (flip kit). The reason was to make it a bit more aerodynamic…and I like the look. I liked them raise or lowered, nothing stock. After the swap the front suspension bounced too much. I replaced the springs. The om606 motor is supposed to weigh about the same as the 5.3L I removed, but the springs had a different opinion. Ended up rebuilding the entire front end just to make it perfect. The truck is flawless cosmetically, it just needs a polish.

TIME:
Working on my own and in spare time it took me about two months to swap the engine get it running, after I had the engine, transmission, and truck. Dropping the motor is easy. I removed the entire front end, it makes it easier. A helping hand would be real nice here and there to muscle things around but with patience and creativity it’s doable by your lonesome. It takes a bit longer (as a novice) to fine tune things here and there. When you know what you’re doing from the get-go, it’s a lot faster. I could do this same project again in about 2 weeks, full time and with all the parts ready.

SUMMARY:
This project is not really that hard. It was a lot of work for me because I got too ambitious and ended up rebuilding engine, transmission, and injection pump. Something I’d never done before and have limited skills, tools and money. My project is still fairly clean and presentable. I will still have wiring to clean up. I will figure out a way to post some pictures. Again, there’s tons of room under the hood for this conversion. A Chevy with a power steering box may present more conflicts, so I decided that the rack and pinion might be easier to work around. I cut a few corners here and there but all still worked out real well. I needed to save as much as I could. I had a $10K budget. So far I’ve spent a little over $8K, but that’s including work like lowering it and front suspension rebuild which was not considered initially. It would have been cheaper if I didn’t rebuild motor and transmission, and if I used the 722.6 transmission with standalone controller. The more expensive parts are motor, adaptor plate, and injection pump.

RESULTS:
The truck glides real nice on the freeway and has plenty of acceleration, maybe comparable or better than the Chevy 4.3L V6, or comparable to the 99 E300. My Silverado is actually slightly lighter than the donor E300. I’ve put about 1500 miles on the motor and is returning 30mpg hwy. I hope to get it near 35mpg with a few things I still have to tweak. Sometime later I’ll test it for top speed, but it feels like I should do 120mph easy. We’ll see. I still have to make hoses for my AC, but I got to fine tune a few other things first.

VIDEO:
You'll find a YouTube video under "Silverado 1500 with OM606 Diesel Engine Conversion"
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Kwboy, thanks again for your support. I really hope you get to your project pretty soon. I'd be more than glad to share any guidance I may be able to provide.
 

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Nice swap! I'm interested in doing something similar with a junkyard budget for my land rover, so it's good to know this can be done. Is there any chance you can go into anymore detail on the injection pump swap? I'm pretty handy, but haven't been able to come across any detailed information on properly swapping the 6mm elements. Also, which shop did you send the pump to for calibration?
 

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For a few hundo you can get our ECU to be tuned to put out even more power Something to take a look at
I think you will get even better mpg if you take the mechanical fan off, and replace it with a SPAL and a thermostat switch.

Do you know how much boost you need to run to burn your level of fuel?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There's a lot of yunkyard in my project and still came out alright. A landrover is a great project, there are plenty pf those out there already which should help some. What you don't find much of, as you say, it how-to's on swapping the elements. I'm handy but not very knowledable nor rich. So I had extra pumps and decided what the heck and just tried aware I may ruin it...but was successful. It's not super hard but you have to be super careful and have to be ingenious to prepeare some tools, while paying strict attention to how parts go. The trick is holding spring tension to to remove the cam. The plunger upgrade one way or another is expensive, but still cheaper doing it yourself...if you get it right. You need two pumps for around $700 for both and the calibration which cost me $500; the thing is that after you do your part the shop still has to do the phasing which you couldn't do without that fancy machine. I would't mind guiding you but I'm not sure where you live. I'm in LA and the shop I used is near the city of Whittiier. The guys there are very helpful. They've done two pumps for me...by the way I have an extra 6mm pump I don't need that I'll be trying to sell. It's a real long story how I ended up with two 6mm and a 5.5mm. Anyway, I wish I would have made a video of the element swap I did but it's pretty hard to do the work and record/document.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Smoothoperator, when I was planning my project I wasn't able to find an ECU that seemed prmisable. I'm keeping it in mind for the future but for now I've spent too much and still have a few things to polish.
 

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Atg, the electrical fan is definitely in my plans, which is why I don't have a fan shroud (sp?). I wanted to get it running first and then move onto other parts of the overall project.

I still do know how much boost theoretically. My plan was to adjust the boost controller to where I saw no black smoke at wot. Again, another aspect I planned to educated myself on eventually. But first I'm addressing what appears to be a misterious fuel restriction or similar. As soon as I figure that out I will fine tune the boost thing.
 

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There's a lot of yunkyard in my project and still came out alright. A landrover is a great project, there are plenty pf those out there already which should help some. What you don't find much of, as you say, it how-to's on swapping the elements. I'm handy but not very knowledable nor rich. So I had extra pumps and decided what the heck and just tried aware I may ruin it...but was successful. It's not super hard but you have to be super careful and have to be ingenious to prepeare some tools, while paying strict attention to how parts go. The trick is holding spring tension to to remove the cam. The plunger upgrade one way or another is expensive, but still cheaper doing it yourself...if you get it right. You need two pumps for around $700 for both and the calibration which cost me $500; the thing is that after you do your part the shop still has to do the phasing which you couldn't do without that fancy machine. I would't mind guiding you but I'm not sure where you live. I'm in LA and the shop I used is near the city of Whittiier. The guys there are very helpful. They've done two pumps for me...by the way I have an extra 6mm pump I don't need that I'll be trying to sell. It's a real long story how I ended up with two 6mm and a 5.5mm. Anyway, I wish I would have made a video of the element swap I did but it's pretty hard to do the work and record/document.
Good to know. At the moment, I have a junkyard om606 in hand with good compression. I plan on pulling the pump apart in the next week or so and pulling an older mechanical pump from the junkyard maybe this weekend. My understanding is the best pump to swap into is a w124 pump off an om606 (93-95). I have access to a machine shop, so aside from the fancy bosch calibration machine, I can most likely rig up anything needed. I guess I'll keep posting here if I run into any issues. By the way, I'm located in San Jose, Ca. I have buddies down south there, so if the shop you know down there is worth it, I wouldn't have an issue sending the pump down there. At the moment though, any work I can do myself and get away with, I prefer to do that way in order to cut costs.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Speaking of, what compression value is that you're talking about on the OM606 engine you have? I just tested compressions on another motor I have, the results were pretty uniform around 330 psi and I'm not sure just how good or bad that is. I found a spec that says between 260 and 500 is good, but to me that's way huge of a range. Anyway, you'll see it's not that hard to swap the elements. And let me know if you have questions I may be able to give insight. And what coincidence that as I type this message I just passed San Jose driving up north. Anyway, let me onow when you start that pump work.
 

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Speaking of, what compression value is that you're talking about on the OM606 engine you have? I just tested compressions on another motor I have, the results were pretty uniform around 330 psi and I'm not sure just how good or bad that is. I found a spec that says between 260 and 500 is good, but to me that's way huge of a range. Anyway, you'll see it's not that hard to swap the elements. And let me know if you have questions I may be able to give insight. And what coincidence that as I type this message I just passed San Jose driving up north. Anyway, let me onow when you start that pump work.
Off the top of my head, I recall that mercedes bare minimum is 18bar or ~260psi. Ideal compression is 25-30bar or ~340-430psi. When I got mine, it was making like 100psi or less on all cylinders. After squirting some oil in injector holes and turning it over a bunch, I think it managed to scrape any dried oil and crud off the cylinder walls and ended up making 350-400 on all 6. Hopefully the rings are in good shape still.
 

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I'm using the 90cc and I think that's the one I'll keep until I can save enough money to get me a 7.5mm which will be a while. I will sell the other one though that puts out around 75cc. This one works just as good and is in as good condition.
 

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Big difference. With 350psi you should be fine...I think. It'll be interesting to see how many psi yours will compress after you get it running.
 

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Big difference. With 350psi you should be fine...I think. It'll be interesting to see how many psi yours will compress after you get it running.
Agreed, it's still a wider range than I expected. My understanding from gas motors is that they should all be within 10% of eachother. Maybe that's just how these engines are. Time will tell I guess.
 

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If you guys have more questions or things you want to know about the OM606 (or really any Merc diesel), checkout these forums: http://www.superturbodiesel.com/std/

These guys are mostly in Europe, and are experts at modifying these engines. They know everything there is to know, and are very happy to help with any questions you have.

It's all in English.

-Dan
 

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Alright, today I finished swapping the 6mm pump elements over to an rs157 pump I pulled from an 87 300sd at the junkyard. I neglected to play with the rack a ton before I took it apart, but it seems to me that it sticks a little when I cycle the throttle. For example, if I open the throttle all the way and then close it, the rack does not return to the same position all the time. It also seems to respond more smoothly if I move the throttle quickly. Is this supposed to clear up once the governor spins? It seems like it started doing it once I attached the governor.

Another question: does anyone know of anywhere I can find the stock adjustment screw settings for the pump? I made some adjustments according to a video I found, but also wasn't thinking and didn't write down where they were at before I started tinkering.

Once I get all of the above verified, I'll try to start it on the stand.
 
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