View Full Version : Time / Cost estimate for Duramax swap
03-29-2004, 05:00 AM
After your experience swapping a Duramax into an older 6.5 chassis, would you consider doing one for hire?
(Assume that the engine, trans, computer and harnesses all were customer supplied and complete.)
If so, what would you have to charge to make it worth your time? Also, what time frame would you need - i.e. would it be measured in weeks or months?
03-29-2004, 09:21 AM
Hmmmm.... I honestly haven't thought about doing another. I've been working pretty consistently a little nearly every day since the first of December, but doing another would be a lot easier. Figuring stuff out takes a great deal of time. For example, determining the best location and then how to mount the TCM took about 4 hours this past weekend.
I've thought about putting together a comprehensive "How-to" article series that explains the wiring and tech details. That might be too tedious for the regular project updates, but could contain more of the tech info. From that, someone could do a 88-98 C/K conversion on their own if they have some wiring and tech savvy, and can interpret GM's wiring diagrams.
Anyone considering something like this would do well to acquire a complete salvage truck. Buying the bits and pieces runs the cost up considerably - as I'm learning. Just the intercooler pipes/hoses/clamps are more than $700 at discount.
Incidentally, it would be very easy (comparatively speaking) to install a Duramax/Allison in a 2001 or newer Suburban.
04-01-2004, 09:46 AM
I can understand why Jim's doing his drag race truck. No offense intended, but for the rest of us, unless a person needs a hobby, I can't understand putting a D/A (DuraMax/Allison) in an older, non-D/A truck. If you figure out how many ACTUAL hours would be put into such a conversion, I'm quite sure a person would be paying themselves pennies per hour, vs simply buying a newer truck that already has D/A. Or, get a quality 6.5 from the Avants or other top-notch DP vendor for the older truck.
Remember, Dr. Lee's NA Avant 6.2 rips off 9.5 second 0-60 times, & will put double 100' black stripes down at will; I wonder what the same motor built as a 6.5 turbo would do. :eek: Because he used the right block, it's unlikely to ever experience cracking; or, the block being made by AM General or whoever is now making the new blocks could be used (supposed to be much stronger than most GM 6.2/6.5 blocks).
Another issue for such a conversion as a daily driver is that there's only one person on earth who knows how it was put together - you. ;) I don't want to be the guy to buy this truck after the conversion - there's no way to know how it was wired, what parts were used, etc.
Jim's comment about ≥ 2001 D/A Sub's is interesting. I would think that if plans were put together & sold for doing this, there might be significant numbers of folks who would do it - there's no reasonable alternative vehicle available. It also might be something one of the vehicle conversion companies might try, if they were convinced there was a large enough market.
Brian Johnson, #5044
04-01-2004, 10:36 AM
Just to set the record (pun intended) straight:
In Part 2 of my 700R4 article, I reported 0 - 60 mph in 8.98 seconds.
Dr. Lee :D
04-01-2004, 02:32 PM
"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." :( I read that article, too.
Brian Johnson, #5044
04-02-2004, 08:42 AM
The previous Power Project had a mission. This one does too. That mission is to help determine the performance potential of the Duramax 6600 in a lightweight truck. We all know (and can recite) the performance potential (1/4-mile & dyno numbers) when testing a 2500HD/3500 truck. The question is, how is performance affected when you remove 2000 or more lbs from the truck? Secondarily, there is interest in powertrain conversions, and we have a few members with Duramax conversion projects currently underway. Thirdly…. Should be fun…
This truck will make a great boulevard cruiser. It'll likely be a one of a kind. I'll run some fuel economy tests with it, and I'm expecting at least mid-20's - maybe better. Possibly twice the fuel economy and three or more times the power of the original 5.7L gas engine.
Wiring…… All of the 2001 model year fuses, fuse blocks, junction blocks and electrical circuits feed all of the same circuits and 2001dash in this truck. Anyone with a 2001 wiring diagram book and service manual can troubleshoot nearly all of the electrical systems. If the HVAC doesn't work, check the AC fuse. If the head, turn, stop, park, backup or interior lights don't work, check the appropriate fuse in the 2001electrical center. If the 6-way power lumbar seats, seat belt latch circuit, dome lamp, and radio & speaker circuits are malfunctioning, check the appropriate 2001 fuse & circuit. Scan-tool troubleshooting, programming and testing will remain exactly the same as a 2001/2002 model year truck.
By the way, I dropped off the front and rear driveshafts yesterday at the shop doing the modifications. I should have them back by mid week. The modified radiator core support has been painted and is currently being bolted into the truck. If all goes according to plan, the engine should be running this weekend.
There's a custom truck accessories show coming to Missoula, Montana in mid May. I could have the truck there.
04-02-2004, 09:15 AM
That thing got a Duramax?
04-02-2004, 01:24 PM
I stand corrected. Please remember, I have a room in the home for the perpetually confused. :confused:
From what you've said, this conversion sounds very do-able. I wish I had your (Jim's) talent & abilities - it sounds like maybe, on a small scale, there could be a market for such. I would think that there might be considerably more market for the Sub conversion you mention - lots of DP folks have said they'd like a D/A Sub. Probably not enought for GM, but a small shop?
Your reference to fuel economy sounds VERY interesting - mpg is my only hobby.
Have fun at the show - I hope you get far enough to take your truck. smile.gif
Brian Johnson, #5044
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