What diesel engine is best for a CJ? - JeepForum.com

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post #1 of 27 Old 08-25-2006, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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What diesel engine is best for a CJ?


So, anybody ever try an engine from an IVECO? How about a Mercedes engine? Didn't the ford ranger come with a Diesel at one time? Maybe a 4cyl diesel from an old tractor? Could always use a tried and true 6.2 Chevy? 6.9 Ford? Detroit Diesel from an old payloader(hahahaha)?

Whats the general thoughts on putting a diesel in a CJ? I am thinking this primarily for fuel efficiency, and good low end torque.

I see one person here with a Nissan 6cyl diesel? How's that work? Think it's street drivable? What tranny, and how'd you hook it up?

Thanks all,

1988 Wrangler 89000 miles, no rust, no rot, all nice and pretty.. Runs down the highway really nice too.. This is great fun.
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post #2 of 27 Old 08-25-2006, 01:46 PM
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man...... diesel in a jeep, I know some people that are starting a project that involves a cj8 and a '90 chevy diesel for a power house! and man.... the list of custom they had to do is insane! your talking about beefing the front frame, heavy suspension(definetly custom), heavier steering, 90% sure a heavy heavy tranny & t case, and the list could go on and on and on aond ........

but, if done right, it could be a great vehicle! but I wouldnt invest all that money and time just to shave 3-5 mpg!


'78 CJ- 5 (O'l Green), '99 TJ on rocks (li'l man), '07 JK (rattle can)
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post #3 of 27 Old 08-25-2006, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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If I was to pull a 4cyl diesel from, say, one of those miniature motor homes, it should fit rather simply. They get roughly 21mpg average in one of them things. Plus adding gobs of low end torque, a one of a kind motor transplant(if that's possible with a CJ). Figure out what type of bolt patten those motors run. Most usually fall back on either chevy or ford bolt patterns, with a few chrysler patterns. I could run a SM465/NV4500/T18, or many others. Then just deciding the transfer, most likely a D300 with an adapter.

As the motor, I'm not looking for a big cummins or anything like that. I dont' care about being able to hook to a laptop and program in another 200hp. I care more about doing 70 on the highway, and still being able to hit the trails, and still pull off decent milage.


1988 Wrangler 89000 miles, no rust, no rot, all nice and pretty.. Runs down the highway really nice too.. This is great fun.
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post #4 of 27 Old 08-25-2006, 10:06 PM
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Not to mention being able to submerge your engine and as long as its got air comming in and air going out you've got no problems!

1982 CJ7
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post #5 of 27 Old 08-26-2006, 04:11 AM
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Dual turbo 4 cylinder Cummins.
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post #6 of 27 Old 08-26-2006, 09:59 PM
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VW TDI is close to the old Jeep 2.5L HP rating, 100 hp now in the newest NA iteration.

Ford used a Mazda diesel in the Ranger and Escort in the 80s. Jeep used a Perkins diesel in the 60s (you did ask about a tractor engine Jeep already did it), Jeep also used a Renault diesel in the 80s.

I'm partial to the VW diesels but a MB makes a nice swap I'm guessing.

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post #7 of 27 Old 08-26-2006, 10:26 PM
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That's funny, I was going to search for threads on this and it was at the top! I would avoid the 6.9l as it's an international diesel and would be a big pain and is heavy as can be. From what I gather using a v8 diesel will be very heavy and require a lot of mods along with the 3.9l cummins as well. I'm looking into the same thing and most people doing this had lots of money and fabrication was insane. I really would like to do a swap, I need no more power than I'm getting now out of my 258 but don't want to lose any power either. Not sure yet...
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post #8 of 27 Old 08-27-2006, 05:01 AM
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I don't see isuzu mentioned and they used to put turbo diesels in their trooper SUV's. I trust this would be enough. Any more than a 4 cylinder becomes an issue of the weight of a diesel. They are built rather heavily since the forces in them are so high.

Not certain of adaptor availability. A diesel is a great idea, but logistics of getting retro-fitted sounds more like a tinkering project for someone with a lot of time and money to throw at the project.

Jeep is offering a diesel in the new Liberty (I think) that would probably be a good match and you know it will be a modern (relatively quiet) diesel that way. Again, the major cost of a swap like this may be the adaptors, not the engine.

I've considered this quite a bit, but not enough to pursue just yet. I like the idea and have the T-18 and D300 already, so that would not be an issue. I suspect you would want to eliminate weak stock drivetrain components. Which in most jeeps starts at the tranny and goes all the way to the axles regarding CJ's.

I have my drivetrain nearly ready for that much torque, just another thing on the wishlist in coming two or three years once the house gets squared away a bit more.

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post #9 of 27 Old 08-27-2006, 07:01 AM
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Hmm... Maybe the power plant from a uni-mog? (If you can find it...). Or the VW rabbit (and rabbit pickup truck thingie) had a desil option. If $ is no object, try to find a liberty CRD and harvest the only good thing to ever come out of it..... :-)
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post #10 of 27 Old 08-27-2006, 07:32 AM
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Use a diesel from a Frito Lay truck or similiar. They are 4 cyl Cummins and I think they are called 4BT or close to that. It's basically a 6 cyl Cummins with 2 cylinders lopped off. I have a friend going to do the swap.

Problem with Diesel's in a wheeler as I see it: Not enough horse power and too limited power band.
Most people think they want a diesel to have more power. With a Jeep in low range you already have a significant amount of torque reduction even with the 4 cyl. What most wheelers need is wheel speed on some muddy obstacles which really only comes with a V-8 and a huge power band as a bonus.

I haven't seen a diesel Jeep on the trails, but expect the crawling to be good and wheel speed to be mediocre.

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post #11 of 27 Old 08-27-2006, 11:47 AM
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Hmm... 100% of torque from 0 RPM and up? I can't wait to see an electric crawler... :-)
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post #12 of 27 Old 03-11-2009, 06:12 PM
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Hi I have one conversion in the works to put a 3.0l Mercedes 5 cyl in a XJ using the XJ auto transmission. This project is stalled I need to modify the XJ torque converter to fit the benz engine. The next one is my pops wants to put a Perkins in a CJ2A. This was a factory option in the late 50's not sure if it was the CJ2a or not? The CJ will probably be a go. Does anyone have any info on the Tranny used with the Perkins. I believe the Perkins used back then was a 4-192. We have a 4-108, Also any info or where to get the info about the Bell housings of these 2 perkins, and the original Transmission that Jeep used. Any help would be appreciated.
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post #13 of 27 Old 03-11-2009, 07:34 PM
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a jeep cj10a came stock with a nissan inline six diesel. http://www.warbirdrelics.com/engine-pump-hyd/jeep7.jpg

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post #14 of 27 Old 03-11-2009, 08:06 PM
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the Cerlist (check spelling) diesel was used in FC Jeeps in the 60s. They ran on anything that was a liquid, even 87 octane gas (im serious bout that) They got about 15 MPG back then with their rating system. However good luck finding one. ULTRA RARE, and even harder to get parts for. It hooked up to Jeep T-98 tranny I am told.

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post #15 of 27 Old 03-12-2009, 05:14 AM
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A cummins 4BT or the newer 3.3BT are great little motors. The only problem is they are worth there weight in gold so good luck finding one cheep.

1980 CJ7- In the build stage
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