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4BT Swap in 99 4x4 (offroad edition)


southaw

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UPDATE: Re-thinking things quite a bit recently. Actually thinking IFS is going to be better, but don't know all that much about IFS under heavy weight.


Ok, for starters I threw the "offroad edition" in as a joke, because that adds what, a chrome bumper?

Introduction:
I'm a ~20 year old man from Indiana, to my left outside this house is a cornfield, to the right there is a cornfield, and straight out there is a been field. Good enough picture?
I'm a professional web developer, full time. But I've always been into cars/trucks/bikes just as much. I have access to many massive arms and a full blown auto shop to get the job done.
This will be my build thread.


I'm finally getting around financially where I can afford to do some major work to this truck.
Truck:
1999 Extended Cab, 4 door, ~182K miles
4.0 OHV with an Automatic (runs perfectly)
28 spline 4.10 on the back, some shitty 4.10 IFS on the front.
4x4 (vacuum hubs... They work sometimes :) )
31s on stock 16" explorer-style rims (I like em!)

Intent:
I want a daily/semi-daily driver, the enduro takes over most of the summer so I'm getting 58mpg, but 30mpg through the winter in the truck sounds wonderful. Either way, raise it above 20mpg and I'd be happy.
I will not be trying to squeeze every last bit of power out of this engine, it's going to stay around 110-160 in the long run, that's good enough for my purposes.
I WANT WHAT I WANT
Also I don't want to end up doing a ton of fab work for every part of the truck, I can do it, but I don't want to be excessive.

I'm looking to swap a 4bt for my 4.0, then rebuild the 4.0 (even though it still is great) and buy roller to throw that and my old auto tranny in, then either sell/play with, whatever I decide.

First of all, yes, the axles must go. Looking at Dana 44s but don't think I actually need to go that heavy. Other options? I don't want to skimp, but I think the explorers 31 spline axles should do the trick. if I'm staying at a more mellow power, but should I use them? I'm leaning towards "HD is better" in all aspects of this swap.
What I know for sure is that both axles must go, and the front is going to a solid axle. What kind of suspension issues might I run into? Is there anything that sticks out as something not to do?

Transmission needs to end up attached to a rod sticking out of the middle of my cab's floor, i.e. I want a real transmission, and I want a manual.
What options do I have here? I'd like to use a Zf, but I think I only get one option for the small block version. I could go with something out of an F150, but again, heavier duty is going to be better. I just wonder how much fab work it'd cost me. The truck is going to sit about 3-4" taller because of how I end up doing the SAS, meaning I don't want a huge body lift to fit my transmission/transfer case underneath the truck. If there's one thing I don't want to skimp on it's my transmission.

Engine itself is going to be a tight fit obviously, but I have an engine crane and a pole barn with 3 auto bays and a 10,000lb lift, so this job should be easily manageable as far as space/brute strength to put the damn thing in.
What do I need to watch out for when buying one of these? I'm not dead set on buying a pristine, perfectly tuned and running engine, in fact I don't want that at all.
I'd like to purchase one that needs a little work, one that I can pour my sweat into and watch come to life. I'd even go as far as a total rebuild, but I don't want to end up with a cracked block or similar. I'm thinking I will buy one I can hear run, and hopefully avoid any catastrophic issues later on.
I've seen the build threads and done my research, this has been a plan for 3 months now. No one says much about the engine mounts. Why? Does she bolt right up? This is probably my most important question.

I don't plan on having A/C, I don't use it anyway. Windows are down if it's too hot, hell, windows are down in the winter and I use the heat to balance it out. This isn't a problem for me.

Fuel tank is another topic, but I can't imagine it's going to be a tough one in comparison.


I think I have the rest pretty well handled.
I'm looking to buy the engine itself next month-ish (gotta find a deal, we know how it is). Then I'll start with the rebuild on that engine.


Also, it's worth noting that I am taking an entire week's vacation to do the bulk of the work. I get vacation so why not use it, right? Aside from that I'm a pretty open scheduled guy. Work is 9-5 M-F, so I have plenty of time to actually do work on this truck.

The motorcycle will get me by for transportation during all of this as she has just seen a complete rebuilt, along with a new clutch, exhaust and so on :)

Current pic of truck:
 
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Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 70D65189E6D8FF: January 5th, 2022

southaw

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I'm here to get info on a 4bt swap, not info on engine swaps in general, and not to decide which engine I want to use. I have decided to use a 4bt. As stated, this has been a plan for months and is finally coming together. You drop the v8 you want if that's what you want, I'll drop the i4 :icon_bounceblue:


But I also see that there's some good info in there from you and others. I'll give it a read tonight when I can get inside for awhile before I jump the gun and label you as unsupportive :p
 
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Hagan

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I have a 4bt in my garage that I initially picked up for my Ranger. I took my old engine out and set the 4bt in. I quickly realized this is by far a "bolt in" situation. I quickly decided my Ranger wasn't good enough for the 4bt. Its extremely heavy, doesn't fit that great, and it isn't worth it. My 4bt sits in my garage now waiting for a vehicle to go in.

You aren't stuck using a small block zf. 4bts have 4 adapter plates that fit 4 different styles of transmissions. Dodge (6bts have this plate too), Small block ford, Chevy, and SAE. Not to mention you can buy the adapters to run different transmissions such as big block/diesel zfs but are pricey.

Sorry, but a small block zf will not fit in your transmission tunnel. I am trying to squeeze one in my truck now.

I'd go to 4btswaps.com and do the majority of your research there.
 

cammeddrz

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you can buy the adapters to run different transmissions such as big block/diesel zfs but are pricey
I think there was a link to those in the thread I linked to

it's like an $1,100 adapter right? :icon_confused:
 

Hagan

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Yeah I believe they are something like that. Pretty damn expensive considering a 4bt will cost around $3k.
 

cammeddrz

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Yeah I believe they are something like that. Pretty damn expensive considering a 4bt will cost around $3k.
I agree 100%. its a $4,000 swap. that in reality would take someone several years of driving it 250 miles a month to even break even on the initial expense of swapping it in.
 

dangerranger83

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Where at in Indiana are you?

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk
 

Hagan

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I agree 100%. its a $4,000 swap. that in reality would take someone several years of driving it 250 miles a month to even break even on the initial expense of swapping it in.
Exactly. It will never likely pay for itself. From my research a 4bt can only pull around 25mpg. I know some people claim more but I'm realistic. I've had 2 Cummins powered trucks (6bts) and I could only get around 17mpg. Just my opinion but a 302 is a much better engine to swap in. Its lighter, easier, and cheaper. I'm sure you could probably get same mpg numbers as a 3.0/4.0.

I'm not here to tell you not to. I'm just providing you with facts.
 

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Okay, but not everyone drives 250 miles a month. If I could get 20+ MPG out of my 99 Ranger with a 4bt I would daily drive it and sell the Kia. I drive 300+ miles per week, factor that into your calculations.

The man said he wants a 4bt, that's what he wants. Quit telling him every reason to get what you want, and help him get what he wants. Not everything we do on these is about the money. How long will it take you to break even with all the work you've put into that BII? Oh, that's right.. You never will, but that didn't stop you from doing it. Hell, I went out and spent 18K on that Kia in my sig. I'll never break even on that either, but it didn't stop me from doing it. I just got sick of 15mpg in the 99 Ranger, could have bought a hell of a lot of gas for what I'm paying on that car. Still bought it.

Sorry dude, can't help you on your swap, but I can pretty much guarantee that you will need custom motor mounts due to the added weight of the diesel. Please keep us updated if you go forward with the swap, and details on what you have to do and how you did it. It would be good info for anyone wanting to follow you down the diesel path. Depending on the work involved I might even do it down the road on another truck.

This thread might help you some: 4bt swap -- 95 Explorer
It's an Explorer, but the engine bays and frames are pretty similar. Close enough to the same that most of what he does will be the same for you.
 

cammeddrz

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Dude, I would bet money the vast majority of project rangers here get driven far less than 250 miles per month. Most diesel-swapped rigs aren't 300 mile/week daily drivers

I'm comparing apples-to-apples gas v8 swap vs. 4bt swap

Okay, if you had read my thread you would have seen my figures of if a, person drove it the commonly-accepted average of 1,000 miles/month...the answer is 2 years to break even
 
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southaw

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Wow quite a few replies right away! Good feedback.

I guess I should've mentioned what my driving habits are. I average almost 2,000 miles a month, somewhere around 1,800 usually. This truck will be splitting that with the bike, but when I have the bike out I tend to do an extra 3-400.
That makes about 1 year to break even if you completely ignore the second half of this swap. The second half is where I get a rolling chassis and swap my engine/transmission/transfer case/axles if needed onto, then sell that. I can easily fin a 98-99 without an engine in great condition at a great price. Once my 4.0 comes out it starts being my second rebuild for this project. Once it's done it goes into the new truck along with my automatic, I fix her up a bit and sell it for $6-7K or more depending on what all I do and then my build bill is actually profit. Although I'm not relying on this money in any way so it doesn't matter how long until I see the return.

It's been a snowy and busy day so I can't answer everything mobile.

To whoever asked, I'm right around Fort Wayne Indiana. I see you're from Lafayette, I have a brother over there who's wife works at the Purdue library. Heard you guys are getting a snow day tomorrow too ;)
 

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My truck sees an average 500 miles a week. Ive done the V8 swap, have plans/designs in the works for a supercharger install, and I still am considering a 4bt swap for more mpg's and a kool factor. Only difference is I would run an E4OD trans, but I have a SBF ZF for another temporary project, then it'll likely get sold.
Where in indiana are you located? I might be able to swing by and lend a hand when the time comes...

SVT
 

southaw

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My truck sees an average 500 miles a week. Ive done the V8 swap, have plans/designs in the works for a supercharger install, and I still am considering a 4bt swap for more mpg's and a kool factor. Only difference is I would run an E4OD trans, but I have a SBF ZF for another temporary project, then it'll likely get sold.
Where in indiana are you located? I might be able to swing by and lend a hand when the time comes...

SVT
Glad to hear a vet looking into this swap as well. Honestly not looking to get too much more power than I already have is going to give me great mileage, plus the thing will hopefully run into 300K miles or more without major repairs and that's my end game.

I'm over between Warsaw and Fort wayne, Columbia City, it sits right off of US 30 (no exit ramps or anything) but the shop I'm using is up North in Albion/Kendallville area.

We got around a foot of snow so far, here's the truck before it all fell.
Those are 31s, so we got about 12".
 

RangerSVT

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Your a good 8-10 hours from me. Like you, I'd be doing it for better mpg and a longer lasting powerplant. I'd turn it up a little, but wouldn't need to make a drag truck out of it...

SVT
 


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