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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
so my 96 damnsuzoo rodeo is getting on up there in mileage. around 213k now. ive recently had the idea of doing an 4.8/5.3 LS with a 4l60E and transfer case swap (not sure if the old transfer case will work or not) and i know if i use a 4l60e ill have to chop the driveshaft. but i dont really want to crush it once the engine gives, as its been a damn good vehicle and taken me wherever i wanted to go.
so if anyone here has done such then here are my questions
1. is it honestly worth it???
2. any clearance issues between front of engine rad. and top of engine to hood?
3. what will i have to do about a trans mount? will it bolt right up with the old one?
4.can the frame hold the higher power/tq of the ls? someone told me it wouldnt?
5. what would the projected cost be?
Any other tips?
 

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I can't answer many of your questions for sure, but I'd not be concerned about the frame as long as it's not rusted.

Old tcase can theoretically work if you make custom adapter and you use a 4l60e with a 27 spline output. Other options would be an 89-91 np241 (pass drop) if I remember correctly, as well as, assuming you piece together the correct adapters: np208, np203, np205, dana 300 (with a few changes needed), etc.

As long you you can keep your costs and time involved reasonable, I don't see why you wouldn't enjoy v8 power. That assumes quite a lot tho! Many a lofty idea for an engine swap has ended in a pile of parts half installed and given up on.

You can probably find dimensions online and measure vs your current motor. The trans may be too big to fit in the tunnel without some work there or a small body lift - don't know for sure. Trans mount I also don't know for sure, but it likely would need to be moved. Easy fix if it needs to be moved though.

Costs could be anywhere from $1500 to $15000 depending on what parts you get, how much you pay for them, and how much work and/or tuning you need to farm out. That would ultimately determine if it's "worth it".
 

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1313blade said:
1. is it honestly worth it???
2. any clearance issues between front of engine rad. and top of engine to hood?
3. what will i have to do about a trans mount? will it bolt right up with the old one?
4.can the frame hold the higher power/tq of the ls? someone told me it wouldnt?
5. what would the projected cost be?
Any other tips?
1. Short answer no it's not worth it. Long answer there's zero support from the aftermarket so you're on your own for everything. To make things even better it's been done by a couple people that never documented their swaps so you can't "follow" anyone

2. Yes the engine fits dimensionally in the engine bay. Depending on placement you may need to move the radiator forward. Biggest problem is oil pan to axle clearance. Isuzu used an extremely narrow pan(front to back) to clear the axle. No one makes anything that will fit. So you have modify an existing pan or make your own.

3. No it won't bolt right up. The crossmember isnt even remotely in the right place. In fact there's nothing about this swap that will "bolt right up".

4. The frame is more then adequate for the additional power. Your axles on the other hand will be questionable.

5. Cost will vary quite a bit. For you to do it yourself I'd guess in 3-5000. If you hire a shop to do it plan for 2-3 times that amount. This doesn't include the rest of the drivetrain which will need to upgraded as well.

Best tip I can give you is if you want a LS buy a different vehicle(like a Silverado). The fact is you aren't just looking at an engine/trans swap. The axles will most likely need to upgraded and the brakes probably won't stop you in 4lo anymore. The bright side is you could do a SAS while you're at it which helps with the oil pan issue and gets you better brakes to boot. So toss another $2-3000 on the total and you'll have the ultimate Isuzu. Or take your $5-8000 and buy something already that has a LS installed and call it a day(like a Silverado) <--This is my plan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i see the issues now that they have been mentioned... on ls engines they are either a flat pan or have an "old skool" style that allows for a retrofit into a muscle car. what is an "SAS" im not familiar with the term
however id like to have the ultimate isuzu, there is some dude on YT that made a diesel one and thats not a bad idea either... im just trying to figure out a good excuse to tell myself so i can keep it LMAO
 

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SAS= Solid Axle Swap. Basically you cut all the stock front suspension off and ditch the stock axle in favor of a Solid axle. This opens up tons of space below the engine. Problem is there's no aftermarket support so again you get to build/design your own suspension. It's been done and documented so at least you can "follow" someone or ask questions.

Diesel swaps have been done. It's probably the easiest swap short of dropping in another 3.2. Still cost close to the same as a LS swap since the engine/trans Isuzu used was never available stateside so you have to import it. They come up on eBay every now and then for around $2000. If it has an auto bolted to it good luck. No one has a pin out for the auto so you're on your own figuring that out. There was a guy on a Pup forum years ago doing it but I haven't checked his thread in a long time.

If you're thinking of using a different diesel that's been done too. There's a couple swaps documents on 4btswap.com. Chances are a LS will be quite a bit cheaper though. Most diesels weigh as much if not more then a big block Chevy. Your frame will need to be reinforced, axle will need to be upgraded as well as your brakes.

In all honesty drive your Rodeo until the engine quits. Then either drop a reman/junk yard 3.2 in it or rebuild your engine. I rebuilt the 3.2 in my Trooper because my kids love it. If it wasn't for them it would have gone to the scrap yard. Not saying I don't love my Trooper but the sad reality is the brand is dead in the states and the little aftermarket support there was is quickly drying up. Basically I'm saying enjoy your Rodeo for what it is and don't waste your time/money building it into something already available from another brand.
 

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The sump is too wide. Milodon list it at 7.5" long. Most people don't realize the stock Isuzu sump is only 4-5" across with a 1/2" gap to the axle. You're stuck making/modifying a pan or swapping the axle. Before someone says do a diff drop that won't work either. It will give addition vertical clearance but does nothing to increase horizontal clearance.

This is the worst part about the entire swap. Modifying a pan isn't too bad IF you have the tools and IF you know what you're doing. The problem is most Isuzu owners fall into the "I don't know what I'm doing" or "I don't have the tools" category. Not really a bad thing but it means you're paying someone else to do it which equals more money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hmmmm that really opens it up.. so for the time being i could cross LS swap off the list for this guy.. i may end up just dropping a new motor 3.2 and make it into a war wagon imo... things never ever been stuck and goes where i tell it to.. wife loves it too
 

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Good lord that oil pan must be gold plated.

1313blade, a fresh(er) 3.2 and heck a fresh(er) 4l30 to go with it would probably keep you in the game many more years. A nice v8 would be awesome, but that whole "worth the effort" bit can be hard to get to.
 

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So, did you ever do the LS swap? I'm in the midst of swapping a 5.3 into my 91 base pickup. I don't have 4wd, but the motor fits with a specific oil pan (a little pricey), and some fabrication for the motor mounts. I'm using a stock ls/4l60e transmission mount. A very slight mod to the existing plate (drilling a hole to accommodate the single stud in the center) was needed, that's it.
I'm still trying to figure out how to fit a header system into the bay, but I think that'll be manageable.
Anyway, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
 
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