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Thread: New member 88 Mightymax 4WD possible 4G63 swap in CA?

  1. #1

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    New member 88 Mightymax 4WD possible 4G63 swap in CA?

    Hey everyone, I've seen lots of good info on these forums for the pickups, so I need some advice...
    so here goes I''m planing on buying an 88 mightymax 4wd 2.6 manual trans, I have 2 questions I need answered sooner rather then later, I know I should search some of this, but I just want a quick answer, so here goes...

    A few details first, the truck is not in running condition, but the owner is asking $500, I think it's a steel for a possible swap, the trans was pulled to replace the clutch and the motor is missing some vacuum lines etc, but it all looks like it could be restored with a little work.

    1: is it possible to swap in a 4G63T motor into awd truck and still have it CA reffed to be smog legal? I have a lot of spare dsm parts enough so that a swap is possible, I don't mind swapping in a later pickup 2.4 motor or do a 4G63T swap, but I definitely want an EFI motor in the frame, I doubt the stock motor will pass a smog inspection as is vacuum lines missing and a few bits missing...

    2: what trucks had the G63B block that works with the 2.6 trans or can I use the 6 bolt dsm block?

    thanks, I really hope I get this truck I'd love to have something to haul stuff in.

  2. #2



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    1. Nope it will not be legal, I tried. BS about can't put a car engine into a truck, even though it runs a hell of a lot cleaner than the pos carbed g63b.

    2. Need to find up to 89 g63b that had an auto tranny as that will be wide block engine(same as 2.6) compared to the g63b with a manual tranny which were narrow block
    Josh
    09 BMW 335i E92 Twin turbo
    89 Macrocab 4g63 Turbo swapped & Bagged: Build Thread

  3. #3

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    I thought that it was legal unless your putting it into a truck that had a heavy-duty motor?, I doubt the mighty max is anywhere near heavy duty...but then again California thinks the prius is a monster trucks lol.
    Thanks for your input dropped mitsu.

  4. #4



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    That's what I read/was told online(about the HD part) but like I said I took it to the ref station to get it legal and they wouldn't have any of it. It is also dependent on the referee so maybe you could find a cool one. I even tried to appeal it/take it higher up and they denied me.
    Josh
    09 BMW 335i E92 Twin turbo
    89 Macrocab 4g63 Turbo swapped & Bagged: Build Thread

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    ...says the guys who clean billed every diesel VW Golf for Cali emissions

  6. #6

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    Okay I got the truck at my house now, so I can start restoring this old rig [image 1 is after I cleaned it up some] , so I need some help with images 2 and 3, the truck came to me with the trans removed for a clutch job...and I already put a new clutch in there, but the question I'm asking is, what supports the transmission on my "88 4wd MM? I didn't take it apart so I have no clue how to put it all back in there or if I'm missing some parts so in image 2 there seems to be bolt holes for a cross brace of some kind, and in image 3 I have some parts I found inside the cab not sure if they are even for this truck lol please let me know if you can I'd any of these parts thank you.

  7. #7

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    There should be a rubber block with 2 parallel bolt holes running transversely through it. Sandwiched in the middle of that block will be a metal plate sticking out with another 2 holes drilled next to each other. That is the transmission extension housing mount. That slots into the underside of the trans cross member and is secured by 2 long bolts. I swear 2 of those brackets in the 3rd image are FWD engine mount and trans mounts...

  8. #8

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    I went to all local parts sources, and I can't find a 4wd MM/d50 lower trans cross member, if anyone has a picture of what it looks like or a link to a tear down that would help out, I'm thinking of contact the po and seeing if he has it laying around somewhere I hope I can get this truck running again I have no clue what the engines state is of yet and the paper work needs to get done.

    I'm assuming I can't use a 2wd mm/d50 lower cross member but if I can please let me know I seen a few 2wd MM/d50 trucks at my local u pull it yard.

  9. #9



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    Try car-part.com. They might help you.

  10. #10

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    well I managed to get the truck started using parts I had laying around, I used a 1991 Mighty max 2.4 flywheel on the stock 2.6 I was scared it would not work, but it bolts on perfectly with the after-market 2.6 clutch set i Had, it's lighter then the stock 2.6 flywheel, and It so far will rotate the motor using 2.4 manual starter [I think it's the same as a 2.6 starter but don't quote me]... but the pedal is at the floor now...I likely have to re-adjust it for the 2.4 flywheel.

    The dash lights are dead I've gotten far enough to realize that there must be a short somewhere in the wiring, I already have an idea to try, I'll update on what the issue was and the fix.

  11. #11

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    Bit off topic - I find it really strange that an engine swap would be rejected before an emissions test is performed. If all the pollution gear is functioning as per factory and the emissions are within acceptable parameters, it should get a clean pass. No chance of speaking to a smog referee and getting additional information?

    This doesn't relate directly to these trucks but I ran into this during a search - http://www.jeffchan.com/cars/nckcc98/ca-register.html
    Might be the side door into getting an engine swap approved...

  12. #12

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    I suppose I could look into registering it as a kit car ahem truck, thanks for the link... Anyway back on topic, Just in case anyone is in my shoes, and is missing the lower cross-member, I discovered that the transmission cross-member setup on the 1st generation Mitsubishi Montero/ dodge Raider has the same bolt pattern to the frame as my "88 mightymax, the 2 bolts in the center for the transmission mount will need to be drilled, or at least thats the case with the one I got, but thats a lot easier then making a crossmember from scratch [which is what I was considering doing if I couldn't find an oem solution]

    Below is a small list maintenance I have done so far.

    1: Replaced old stock fuel filter.
    2: Installed an electric fuel pump and blocked off the stock mechanical one.
    3: new air filter.
    4: pcv valve.
    5: thermostat.
    6: put a spring on the busted secondary air valve [temporary fix].
    7: New distributor cap, rotor, plugs, and wires.
    8: cleaned all the carbon deposits out of egr valve and carb.
    9: changed oil and filter.
    10: pulled lifters cleaned and are now soaking in new oil.

    After reseting the distributor [whomever owned the truck before me had the distributor off by a few teeth] I got it to run woot ,but I heard lifter tick and I had a good idea what it was... I pulled the valve cover and sure enough all the jet valves were shot but 1 so I found a cheep used set of four, they on the way, also noted the trucks water pump bearing had a small leak so thats ordered as well, thats it for now I'm trying to do all of this on a budget anything I have sitting around will be used .

  13. #13



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    instead of the jet valves, replace the old ones with the jet valve eliminator kit - they screw into the holes for the jet valves.
    Pennyman1
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    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  14. #14

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    Whelp more bad news, the truck is mixing oil with water now, I plan to pull the head and inspect it all, but it's likely a cracked cylinder head... ... oh well I suppose I'll go source a non jet valve head... an even better idea would be a the dohc turbo swap lol, I wonder if there are any smog free counties in CA still? if so I might have to make friends with someone that lives in one of those counties.

  15. #15

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    Sorry to hear you got more woes with your engine. Might just be a blown head gasket, won't know til it's apart. As for emissions testing exemptions it looks like they've done away with some counties slipping through the net. They do test every 2 years (I thought it was every year...) but unless you get an exemption for a 'specially constructed vehicle' you're stuck with the rule book.

  16. #16



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    Quote Originally Posted by mitsubishikid View Post
    I wonder if there are any smog free counties in CA still? if so I might have to make friends with someone that lives in one of those counties.
    Yes there are, Butte county is one of them, and there are 2-3 others. I'm sure you can guess why I know about it.
    Josh
    09 BMW 335i E92 Twin turbo
    89 Macrocab 4g63 Turbo swapped & Bagged: Build Thread

  17. #17

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    Well the verdict is in... ...The cylinder head is messed up, there are a few cracked areas near the jet valves, and one of the valves had a hole in it, that explains the misfire, I think I'm going to buy a non jet valve head, and rebuild the bottom end at the same time, there was milkshake in this engine, so I'm wondering if i should tear it all down and clean it up, hot tank, maybe do a balance shaft elimination at the same time, and have the rotating assembly balanced, new rings main and rod bearings oil pump etc.

    So I need a few opinions, what is the best bargain in cylinder heads, there are a few on ebay but most of the low buck ones need to have new valves put in them, should I buy a fully built head at $450ish with valves etc, or buy a bare $270ish head and then have a shop build it what would be cheaper option.

    I managed to find some a/c parts to swap in air conditioning, I got a used compressor, the mounting bracket, belt tensioner, and I also procured the a/c button for the interior [not sure if I need to pull anything else to wire it in], I know I still need the condenser and the under dash cooling unit, and the lines and hoses.

    As you can tell I decided I want to keep this truck for a while and a/c is a must in California any input is appreciated.

  18. #18

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    IMO the bare head would be the better starting point if you're going for more performance. You can get some port work done to the head and tidy up the inlet manifold (if you're prepared to DIY it will save you a bomb of cash). Add V6 rockers for more lift. I've heard of guys buying a fully assembled head only to find that the machine work and assembly was below par and ending up having the head reworked, so it will pay you to get hooked up with a good machine shop and get their advice. I would get the bottom end torn down and the block hot tanked seeming the head is already off. I think your build plan is on track with your above post.

  19. #19

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    took some quick pictures of the carnage.
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  20. #20

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    Wow, that valve. The valve is probably an indicator the guide has run out. The cracking between the plugs and valve seats is not unusual. Once you source a non jet head this issue will be unlikely to come back to haunt you.
    *btw been doing some research - the gurus of tuning advice is cam duration, not lift to extract HP from these engines. Extra valve lift can actually kill performance.

  21. #21

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    I might do a mild port on the head remove some of the rough cast, I'm likely just going to run a stock cam for now.

    okay another issue that I have to address is, the transmission, the last owner of the truck, said it only needed a clutch, but I know now why the transmission was pulled, 5th gear was not engaging [when it ran] you could put the shifter in 5th without depressing the clutch and you would feel nothing as if no 5th gear was there.

    So I have a good question, is it possible to use an 1986 ram/mm 4x4 km145 trans?
    I seen one at my local parts yard that goes into all gears perfect, and the gearing looks to be the same 3.909 as my mightymax.

  22. #22



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    Yes you can, but you need to swap the tailshaft housing over to the 4x4 tranny, and you may need to swap output shafts - not sure on that part.
    Pennyman1
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  23. #23

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    I pulled the block out of the truck, tore it down, brought it to a shop and had the block magnafluxed... they found out it was cracked =, good thing I pulled the block out of the truck, I went to a pick n pull and got lucky and found an 87 ram 4x4 with a 2.6 so I pulled it's block, and left the jet valve head behind, went back to my machine shop and this one is in great shape so I got the block back today and I'm getting to work on her.

    after removing all the rust I decided to paint the block metallic black.

  24. #24

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    I plan to put brass freeze plugs in soon the internals are getting balanced at a shop, and I plan to delete the balance shafts on this build the motor is .5mm over and the crank has been turned down I think .10 but will update this post soon.

  25. #25

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    I also found some period correct fog lamps on an early 80 MM I cleaned them up and painted them and mounted them on my front bumper.

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