The diesel engine has never been more popular in its 100-year history than at this very moment. But there are only three diesels you can even buy in all 50 states right now. That's crazy!
So here's what I propose: It's time to start building our own diesel vehicles. I'm not suggesting that we all quit our jobs and start our own automotive manufacturing businesses. I'm saying I'd like to see more people swap diesels into existing vehicles that never came with Rudolf's engine. If I had my way, here's a few diesel swaps that I'd love to do:
1. 6.0L Power Stroke into an '04 F-150:
Way back in 2002, Ford showed the media its all-new design for the F-150. We were told that when the truck went on sale the following year it would have a diesel option. Well, it's 2007 now, and I'm tired of waiting. I'd drop a 325hp, 570 lb-ft 6.0L and TorqShift transmission in a Super Crew and finally get the 1/2-ton stormer I've been dreaming of.
2. 721hp LB7 Duramax into a '70 Chevelle SS:
Ever since I saw Diesel Power Challenge West winner Nick D'Amico's Duramax-powered Silverado on the dyno and dragstrip, I've wanted to put his engine and Allison 1000 into a '70 Chevelle SS clone. Of course, I'd pull the 454 badges and make my Chevelle a Duramax SS. I figured I could put a Ford 9-inch in the rear, cage the car, spray the engine with nitrous and run low 10s, and get close to 30 mpg.
3. Cummins 5.9L into an H1 Hummer:
As nice as the 6.2L, 6.5L, and Duramax-powered H1 Alpha were, I think that AM General should have teamed up with Cummins to put a 5.9L in the military version from day one. I'd drop a 12-valve engine in with a P-pump for simplicity and back it with the GM 4L80E.
4. International 4.5L V-6 into Ford Ranger:
I know we'll see diesels in compact pickup trucks eventually. And truth be told, you can buy Ford Rangers with diesels on just about every other continent on the planet. From an OE standpoint, a 2.8-3.2L I-4 would be the perfect engine, but this is Diesel Power, and you can at least buy the twin-turbo V-6 in the U.S.
5. '08 6.4L Power Stroke in a Mustang:
This one really wasn't my idea, but I like it. I've been told that the new Mustang has the largest engine compartment, so it'd be the one to go with. This swap would involve significant reengineering of the Mustang chassis, and the finished product would probably drive like a tank. But I'm already trying to con one of our sister publications into doing it.
6. Cummins 4BT in an '07 Jeep Wrangler:
A low-speed diesel engine with tons of torque should have been put in a Wrangler years ago. I've looked for wrecked Jeep Libertys to donate their 2.8L VM Motori diesel, but they're so scarce I think the heavier Cummins engine is still the way to go.
7. Volkswagen V-10 in a Cobra kit car:
In my eyes, the Touareg's 550 lb-ft 5.0L V-10's still the hot rod diesel that could (and should!) be available in more vehicles. Imagine the wow-factor you'd have when you popped the hood on your Shelby Cobra replica and told onlookers that your 5.0L is actually a twin-turbo'd 10-cylinder diesel!
8. Caterpillar C-15 into a Unimog:
I'd consider swapping a Cat engine into anything, but if I had my way I'd want a Unimog with a 625hp C-15 engine. I've been in a few Unimogs over the years, but none I'd consider "fast." I'd love to construct a Race Mog and enter the Baja 1,000 or Paris to Dakar.
9. The new 4.4L Ford V-8 in an early Bronco:
I'll confess that I really don't know much about the new 4.4L Ford V-8 diesel, or if it will even fit in the '66-'77 Bronco frame, but I'd like to give it a shot. I suspect we should see the new F-150 diesel by 2010 and that it will be fully computer controlled. The idea of a swapping it into an older vehicle will be like converting my microwave into a nuclear power plant. But, hey, if it was easy, everybody would be doing it.
10. 2.8L MWM International common rail engine into a Toyota:
Here's one swap that I think we can actually pull off. We'll be teaming up with an engine supplier and Advance Adapters to bring you an in-depth, how-to swap story. We're going to combine a solid axle Toyota truck with a diesel engine that has proven itself for years in the worst conditions that South America has to offer.