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Diesel Conversions Convert gas to diesel, or convert to a 6.2/6.5/Duramax/Cummins/Navistar/Isuzu/Perkins/Detroit/or ... diesel engine. Go here to see completed projects, works in progress, share your conversion or ask the experts.

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  #1  
Old 06-18-2007, 01:21 PM
ThePIGSmith ThePIGSmith is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Posts: 63
Default My First Step down the Diesel Swap Path: 6.2L in a '86 Grand Wagoneer

I've taken my first step down the Diesel Swap path.
I have been talking about it for quite some time, but now, I own a Diesel Donor.

1993 GMC Vandura 3500 Utility VAN 6.2L Diesel 1 ton (I hope this link works)
eBay Item Number: 170121009793



It is a 1993 GMC Vandura 3500 Utility VAN powered by a 6.2L Diesel and backed by a 4L80 tranny.

The PROs
• 1993 was the last year for the 6.2L Diesel and should have all the refinements/updates/upgrades for a factory 6.2.
Such as, modern real main seal, serpentine belt system, updated DB2 injector pump, etc..
• VAN Diesels are different than Truck/Blazer/'burb motors as they have different exhaust manifolds, water pump inlets, other smaller items
• Because the 4L80 is behind a 6.2, it has a stand alone computer and should be easy to rebuild! (like an overgrown TH400)
• Suppose to run 'great' (we'll see, I hope it does)
• The Mirrors, large fuel tank(?) and 16" load range E tires will go on my J20.
• As the 14 bolt rearend is too wide for my Wag, I might could sell it to recoup some of my cost.
• It was cheap!

The CONs
• It's 340 miles from me. (time)
• It has 197,753 miles on the clock, but I've been told that if a 6.2l has been taken care of, that should be okay with this many miles.
Being that is a cargo van, I am hoping these are highway miles.
• It's 4L80 slips bad, but can lot drive (tranny rebuild $$$)
• I need to trailer it or flat tow it home (gas $$$)
Any suggestions as to which would be better?
• I need to find a place to park it while I pull the drivetrain out (I need to be good neighbor) (space)

My goal is to make my '86 Grand Wagoneer a DD to replace my ailing '99 Grand Cherokee (WJ).
My WJ gets approx 18 on the highway (I may have gotten 20 once) and about 15-16 in town.
I would love to get as good if not better MPG with a larger vehicle while using cheaper fuel.
Besides, my Waggie is way kewler than my WJ would ever be!

This is a long term project that I will work on a little at a time.
My budget is very limited for such hobbies.
I will most certainly will be asking many more questions and post pics as I go along.
If my WJ get any worse, which I am sure it will, I may accelerate this project.
It really depends on which is cheaper to fix at the time.
Today, it's a wash, about the same amount of investment of time and $$$ to either repair the WJ or swap a Diesel into the Wag.
Which should be an indicator of how bad the WJ is.

I'll make another posting with the details and pics of when I go collect it.
__________________
Bryan Smith
2004 KIA Optima: wife 's DD
1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited: my DD
1993 GMC 3500 Vandura, 6.2L Diesel
1982 J10: Replacement engine now sitting in the truck! No Cab Brow!
1981 J20: Commercial flat bed. Long term Project: RUST! No Cab Brow!
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2007, 01:45 PM
JeepSJ JeepSJ is offline
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Location: Feeniks, Aridzona
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You are traveling the righteous path, my son. My diesel Waggy is absolutely the best DD I have ever owned. Mileage is consistent at 21-22mpg in daily driving, and upwards of 24 with lots of highway driving. You will love it.
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1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer...new 6.5 in process...diamond block, 18:1's, other goodies...

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  #3  
Old 06-18-2007, 01:48 PM
Craig M Craig M is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Riverside, CA USA
Posts: 686
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As far as trailer vs flat tow, safest would be a trailer. 340 miles is not that long a trip. If you have to ask that implies that you are not real comfortable with flat towing. The Van has some weight to it, not sure what tow vehicle you would be using. That being said I have flat towed many vehicle many miles. It can be done, but one has to be much more careful. Keep speeds down, check condition of tires and wheel bearings on vehicle being towed (a blow out or flat may send you sliding down the road). You will not have brakes connected on the towed vehicle (like we hope you would have with a trailer?) so drive with caution. Do not flat tow in rain or wet weather (you will not be able to stop). Watch out for sandy patches or gravel roads. Stopping will be difficult! For the few dollars saved in gas from flat towing, you will better off going with a trailer. Your choice, but be safe either way.
__________________
83 C10 Suburban, Silverado, 6.2, 700R4, 3.73, 31-10.50R15
82 C30 Crew Cab dually, 6.2, Banks, Th400, 4.10, Gear Vendors, 235-85R16
83 C20 Suburban, Sierra Classic, 6.2, 700R4, 4.10, custom paint, 285-50R20
95 Yukon, 6.5, 4L80E, 3.42, 265-50R20
73 GMC Astro 95, 8V71, 10 speed Roadranger, 110" WB, 6 each 11R24.5
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  #4  
Old 06-18-2007, 02:02 PM
ThePIGSmith ThePIGSmith is offline
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Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig M
As far as trailer vs flat tow, safest would be a trailer. 340 miles is not that long a trip. If you have to ask that implies that you are not real comfortable with flat towing. The Van has some weight to it, not sure what tow vehicle you would be using. That being said I have flat towed many vehicle many miles. It can be done, but one has to be much more careful. Keep speeds down, check condition of tires and wheel bearings on vehicle being towed (a blow out or flat may send you sliding down the road). You will not have brakes connected on the towed vehicle (like we hope you would have with a trailer?) so drive with caution. Do not flat tow in rain or wet weather (you will not be able to stop). Watch out for sandy patches or gravel roads. Stopping will be difficult! For the few dollars saved in gas from flat towing, you will better off going with a trailer. Your choice, but be safe either way.
You are correct, I am not comfortable with flat towing.
When I was younger, I had an ugly experience flat towing an Olds VistaCruiser behind a then new, 6.2L powered '82 Silverado.
But sadly, my tow rigs are sickly.
My '81 J20 need a cam. The #1 Intake lobe has gone flat and opening all the way.
It runs good, but ticks and stumbles on take off.
If I am not careful, it will backfire through the carb if I accelerate hard.
I am sure if I took it easy, it would do okay.
It's all interstate driving.
If this seller will hold off, I might spend a weekend and install a cam.

My WJ runs well, just it has brake issues that I am unable resolve (even after spend big $$ on rotors and calipers!)
I love Jeeps but this is one I really hate!
I've restricted it to in town, close to home only.

The trailers I have access to are only 16' long.
I dunno if they would support the weight of the VAN.
I am trying to keep the cost or I would rent a trailer from UHaul.

Other than getting it home, how does this van sound?
Sound like Good donor?
Any blaring issues I may run into?
__________________
Bryan Smith
2004 KIA Optima: wife 's DD
1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited: my DD
1993 GMC 3500 Vandura, 6.2L Diesel
1982 J10: Replacement engine now sitting in the truck! No Cab Brow!
1981 J20: Commercial flat bed. Long term Project: RUST! No Cab Brow!
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  #5  
Old 06-18-2007, 10:23 PM
Craig M Craig M is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Riverside, CA USA
Posts: 686
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The price was low enought that you should do ok. Lets hope that the engine was well cared for. My 6.2 equiped Suburban went over the 230,000 mile mark last week, so you can hope. Transmission work will be expensive, like you stated. Getting a complete vehicle like you are doing is a good move for a conversion. You will have just about all the misc parts you need. The van engine is usually less popular than the truck one, but might work out ok for you. A compression test on the engine prior to removing it from the van might be a good idea. Get an idea of its condition. After all the work for a conversion, would hate for the engine to die on you, would ruin a nice project!
__________________
83 C10 Suburban, Silverado, 6.2, 700R4, 3.73, 31-10.50R15
82 C30 Crew Cab dually, 6.2, Banks, Th400, 4.10, Gear Vendors, 235-85R16
83 C20 Suburban, Sierra Classic, 6.2, 700R4, 4.10, custom paint, 285-50R20
95 Yukon, 6.5, 4L80E, 3.42, 265-50R20
73 GMC Astro 95, 8V71, 10 speed Roadranger, 110" WB, 6 each 11R24.5
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  #6  
Old 06-19-2007, 06:09 AM
ThePIGSmith ThePIGSmith is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Posts: 63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig M
The price was low enought that you should do ok. Lets hope that the engine was well cared for. My 6.2 equiped Suburban went over the 230,000 mile mark last week, so you can hope.
I am hoping! Fingers crossed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig M
Transmission work will be expensive, like you stated.
I was told that the 4L80 was basically a updated TH400 and would be easier to rebuild than a 700R4.
I hope this is the case, for I plan to attempt the rebuild myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig M
Getting a complete vehicle like you are doing is a good move for a conversion. You will have just about all the misc parts you need.
Yes, I agree and this seems to be the overwhelming consensus.
I consider myself lucky and fortunate to get a donor like the one I purchased.
While at this time, I have not seen it get, I feel that if 10% of what I've been told and what I see in pics is true, than I will be okay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig M
The van engine is usually less popular than the truck one, but might work out ok for you.
Oh? I thought vans had lots of little differences that made it a good swap candidate.
Like the engine was in a smaller engine bay and thus had to me more compact.
I thought would be a good thing for my Wagoneer has a giant fiberglass heater box on the passenger side firewall that might benefit from this.
Also the water inlet and outlet are in a different location than a truck and lend themselves to my advantage for swap purposes.
I'll keep an eye out for any pitfits and report back with what I discover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig M
A compression test on the engine prior to removing it from the van might be a good idea. Get an idea of its condition. After all the work for a conversion, would hate for the engine to die on you, would ruin a nice project!
Great advice!
I've got plans for a leak down tester that think I can modify for a 6.2.
I will invest in a compression checker as well.

Thank you for your comments and advice.
__________________
Bryan Smith
2004 KIA Optima: wife 's DD
1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited: my DD
1993 GMC 3500 Vandura, 6.2L Diesel
1982 J10: Replacement engine now sitting in the truck! No Cab Brow!
1981 J20: Commercial flat bed. Long term Project: RUST! No Cab Brow!
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  #7  
Old 06-19-2007, 07:08 AM
HH's Avatar
HH HH is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 488
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Have you checked the cost to have it shipped?

You could also rent a U-haul truck and car hauler trailer. Fly in, pick up U-haul, drive home.

Sounds like a good conversion.
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1993 K3500 - Peninsular 18:1 engine, marine injectors, high capacity cooling, AL Core Radiator, 3" DP and 4" exhaust, ISSPRO Gauges, Girdle, AMSOIL Dual Oil Filter System, 1997 Air Filter(trashed the K&N), 395K on Body, 165k on engine.
1997 GMC Savana - 6.5 TD
1966 CJ5 - V6 Gas - highly modified
1967 Jeepster - Stock
1986 Jeep CJ7 - Stock
1993 Grand Cherokee - 6.2 diesel
2007 Grand Cherokee - 3.0 diesel
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