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Thread: Just picked up a 82 D50 What swap should I do?

  1. #1

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    Just picked up a 82 D50 What swap should I do?

    What's up everyone,

    My name is Jimmy I run a company called Crooks Life (www.CrooksLife.com) that focuses on photography and lifestyle of what we do everyday over here on the West Coast.

    I just picked up a D50 for $400 bucks. It starts and runs but has a bad knock. I am thinking of doing a swap right after Christmas and will be documenting the entire thing.

    My question is what type of swap should I do?

    I was going to go with a Chevy small block, but after adding up all the parts I would need it isn't worth it.

    Should I rebuild my current motor? G54B? I am looking for more power maybe even go turbo. My buddy has a full operational shop where I can do all my fab work and do the swap fairly easy. Would really like to become a sleeper over time so being able to do upgrades afterwards is always a plus.

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    Please give me some input on what you would do or would like to see done.

    * I have attached a few photos that I took with my iPhone. I will be doing full shoots with it once we get started.

  2. #2


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    even a stock rebuild isn't worth it... these truck as worth nothing to start with if you look at what Toyota's, S-10's and Rangers are worth in about the same condition. You can do a Chevy(ewwwww) small block with a 700r4 swap cheap from a wrecked 80's something for about what complete rebuild would cost for your 4 cyl. That's why I dropped a 302 in mine, it ended up costing me less to get a good used 302/AOD then all the mechining, parts and pieces to rebuild the stock 2.0. But it's your truck do what you like but do it for yourself not what it "might" be worth. I have around $12,000 into mine now after owning it for 18 years but if I sold it I might get $5000 for it if I'm real lucky.

  3. #3



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    I kinda agree with Ford, the parts and work are rather expensive, but there are also crate engines out there too. California is a gold mine for crate engines and there are several outlets that probably could hook you up.
    You mentioned that you would like to have a sleeper made out of it sometime. Well, my image of a sleeper is a powerful motor under a stock looking body and there is no other way to power one of these up then with a V8. There definitely is a lot of room under the hood for them and the trucks are simple enough to not have it turn out to be a life long project.
    I had my shortblock rebuilt and had it done by a very reputable machineshop. I just didn't want to mess with doing it for my first ever teardown. Though, in the future if I ever have to replace the motor for any reason, I am forcing myself into a V8 and probably take the book right from Ford's build. Rick D also has a nice swap to check out also. Camoit also went V6 and has tons of valuable info.
    As for the money, Soon as you step on that peddle it all is worth it.

  4. #4

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    hey, have two first gens with small block chevys. for me an easy swap. find a donor vehicle, stay with an automatic.
    a 3000 lb truck with 300 hp is a lot of fun. fabrication is fun.

  5. #5

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    Of course a small block would be tons of fun, but I would think with the modern V6's putting out some good power those would be a good consideration as well.
    Plenty of 300hp or Very close to it V6's out there.
    But maybe under hood space isn't an issue, so having the shorter V6 isn't a plus ?

    The project _I_ always had in mind, was an All Aluminum small V8 swap. Specifically the V8 that came in the Triumph TR8.

    Crazy English motor you say ??? Nope.

    They actually bought the tooling from GM in the late 60s ,,, so it's really just the 215 cu in (3.5L) from the Buick / Oldsmobile stable !
    Sure, not a fire breathing 350, but a fun little V8 with plenty of power without the huge iron lump weight penalty. :oD
    (and it's 80s period correct for our trucks) LOLOL

    Just an idea I've had ,,, never went looking to try and find one, maybe they would be hard to find, or parts scarce.
    But I still think it's a great idea ! LOL

    But I Also agree with Ford ,,, Build the truck YOU Want ,,, not what's cool or trendy, or what you think it might be worth when you're done,
    but what will make You happy Every time you see it in the garage, or hop in it and take it for a spin.

  6. #6

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    yes, lots of engines will fit, but cost and availability can make a big difference.
    that's why a small block chevy. the only suspension mods needed are front springs
    that are stock for a different vehicle.

  7. #7

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    Mitsu turbodiesel with a stack sticking out the hood. Direct fit to your truck. They sell crate engines for around $4200.

  8. #8

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    Update****

    Thanks for all the replies.

    After taking a look at what I got myself into, I ended up pulling the old motor out and found a great deal on Craigslist.

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    We headed down to Bakersfield Christmas Eve to pick it up for $400 after talking with the owner. Once we got back to our shop with it, we discovered it was actually a Turbo 400 Trans, not a 350! He even threw in an extra small block to the deal and we closed the deal at $400. The next day with some minor troubleshooting, we were able to get it to start within 10 minutes it was a great feeling.

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    We started with a check list of things we would have to do,

    (New Battery 700+ CCA, Air Cleaner / Housing, Throttle Cable, Radiator Hoses, Hose Clamps, Thermostat, Alter the Drivershaft, Radiator Fans, Custom Shifter, Gauges, Idler Arm & Steering bushing, New Tires - What do you recommend? , Oil Fuel Plug, Throttle Cable, New Spark Plugs, Exhaust shit, Engine Mounts, Trans mount, Gaskets, 3/8'' Fuel Line, Lock Rear end)

    The list seemed to get longer and longer as we went on lol. But so far I paid $400 for the truck, $400 for the used small block and turbo 400 Trans. I was able to pull the stock motor our and get $250 for it locally. So I'm not that deep into it yet. ($550)

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    Trying to fit the new 350 was a hassle. We didn't have enough clearance and ended up having to cut out some of the front just to get it in. We did it with no care as we started this project as something to do over winter break. I also found a guy on this forum named Mike, (818) 268-3012 who is the go to man for any D50 parts you may need. I picked up a brand new set of OEM tail lights and after meeting with him I will definitely be giving him a call if I need anything else.

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    Once we had the motor in we had clearance issues all over. There was no room to mount the radiator up front, so we thought about running it back to the truck bed, but I really didn't want to go that route. We decided to hold off until summer and hit the firewall in so we can set it up how it is suppose to be. Any recommendations would be helpful again, this is a learning process for us so feel free to say whatever you like. We enjoy hearing peoples feedback positive or negative.

    We still want to lock the rear, figure out the shifter, run new fuel line 3/8'', figure out exhaust, tires and driveshaft!

    I have video of the whole process once we finish this project over the summer we will post it on Youtube for you guys to check it out.

    We were trying to think of a cool name to call it since its now a Chevy, Mitsubishi, Dodge but we used the words "FOR NOW" often and think that is the perfect name for this project.

  9. #9


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    Rad is easy.just have one made like I did using a 4 core forklift center and custom tanks. Set the rad under the header between the grill and the rad support. strange that you had to cut the top of the rad header as I didn't need to with the 302 and the SBC's are shorter then the SBF's. I did have to cut the tranny tunnel opening back about 3" then move it up 2" to clear the AOD's bell housing. Driveshaft again an easy fix, just shorten the front and weld a chevy yoke into it, if it a 2 piece only the front needs to be shortened and rebalanced. Name maybe Mitsulet as I have the Fordubishi Tranny cross member again easy 3"x 1/2" flat bar lined up with the factory frame holes and a piece welded to line up the TH400's mount. There should be pic's of some of what I'm talking about in my build post. hope this helps it's looking good so far, keep it up.

  10. #10

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    hey, throw away the stock water pump. use a short pump from a sixties small block.
    summit has a radiator that fits great, or an 80 datsun 200sx radiator, have used both.
    I find or fabricate what is needed to make them work. a turbo 400 is more than you need, but the price
    was great.

  11. #11

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    more info for you. did not use an engine fan, electric in front of the rad, 14" fits great with thermocontrol.
    one piece drive shaft. b&m makes a shifter that bolts to the trans, comes up though the shifter hole.
    bigger tires and wheels front and rear for handling. the v8 will lower the front or bronco 2 front coils with the pig tails cut off.
    use a cut off wheel on a grinder not a torch.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fordubishi View Post
    strange that you had to cut the top of the rad header as I didn't need to with the 302 and the SBC's are shorter then the SBF's.
    That's what _I_ was thinking ,,, should have been enough room without cutting.
    But hey, what's done is done, and it looks like you did it nice and should be able to put the Rad header back in ???
    Bolt in set up maybe ?

    Eithe way ,,, Looks Great ! Keep up the Good Work, and Keep us all updated on the project !

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