Teach me..... | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Teach me.....

Anybody who has the time/knowledge...Could you please explain to me the basics of swapping engines? I believe I will run into a few engine swaps in my lifetime in my never-ending quest for speed. I just want to know basicallythese few questions:
1. How does one begin to research the proper engine for a particular vehicle(let's say the Explorer in this case)?
2. What other parts other than simply the engine would also need to be considered for replacement with the addition of the new engine?
3. What is involved with the actual swap of engines? (And for the sake of argument, let's say that we're swapping in a larger/more powerful engine than the previous one)

Please help me out here, if you wanna suggest some books I could pick up at the local Barnes and Noble or something, that would be sweet too. Looking for all the information you guys got...Thanks :)

'95 XLT 4dr 4.0L V6 OHV Auto
Flowmaster 40 series Cat-back
Bosch 4+ Platinum plugs
Splitfire ignition wires
PIAA 9007 Super-White Headlights(adds 40 rearwheel hp)
Superchip (Installed soon!!)

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Okay I will explain briefly. Someone else can explain in-depth. Right now I am in the middle of an engine swap with a Chevy 350 in my J**p.

1.For an Explorer, this message board is the perfect place for info and help. The internet is also very helpful.

2.Radiator, engine mounts, tranny or bellhousing or an adapter would be needed to mate the new engine to a new or old tranny.

3. Remove everything associated with engine such as engine mounts and radiator. You need to take apart the front end also to make more room to remove an engine. Also the frame might need to be strengthened but in the case of an Explorer it should be strong enough. Also putting in an engine with more HP or torque would require you to beef up the rest of the drivetrain or you will break stuff such as u-joints.

Hope this helps. It's a start.


Swapping engines is more than just the engine as pointed out. I am assuming that you would put a larger/or more powerful engine in- anyone put a smaller or less powerful engine in something??

Remember that you are changing more than the engine. Everything- the suspension, axles, transmission, cooling, fuel system have to be evaluated. Take a look ast some of the posts for those swapping engines, radiators meant to cool a less than 200hp V-6 cant cool a 300 hp v-8, the trans that is designed for 300ftlbs of torque wont stand up to 500 lbs torque etc.

Engine swaps are expensive, and usually the cheapest part is the engine itself. All the additional work that needs to be done to "reengineer" the rest of the systems takes time and money to sort out.

Researching swaps on boards like this one is the wayto do it now. Most Ideas have been kicked around, and/or someone has done it so tons of info are avail. for the more popular swaps. Other sources to check would be adapter manufacturers to see if they offer the combo you want- if they havent I would think twice about persuing it. Last and a most important one for most of us is to check your local DMV, and emmissions laws. Here in MD the rules make swapping impractical for newer vehicles.

Just some thoughts, from someone who has done a few simple swaps , and will probably do so again in the future- although not to my Explorer since i cant make it legal.

Say we are doing a 302 v-8 replacement. This will be from a 97 5.0 explorer. You need radiator, engine, tranny, and the other stuff that has already been pointed out. Most importantly you need the computer for the tranny and engine and wirring harness. If you are going to do a carb'd swap then u can forget the computer. A good place to go for research is http://www.rangerpowersports.com and look under engine swaps. The ranger front end is pretty much identical to the explorer's front end. Hope this was some help...if you have more specific questions I will try and help.


Motor swaps are not simple, especially for those who have never attempted it. With the Explorer, most go with a 302 V8. If you have the knowhow and the money, any motor is possible. But the 302 is the most popular.

Neither stock transmission (Mazda 5 speed or auto) is made to handle the power of the V8, so you'll need to change the transmission also. There are a number of choices: T5, AOD, C6, even the Chevy autos can be mated to the 302.

For 4wd applications, the stock transfer case will handle the additional power.

If you're going with an EFI motor, you will have to get all the necessary wiring and computer that goes with it.

Like the others said, you'll have to update the cooling system and motor mounts.

Overall, it is quite a major project. And it is not cheap. The price is highly variable, depending on where you get the parts from. If you get them out of a donor salvage vehicle, like a Mustang, you can save a lot of money. But then again you're putting in an old motor and tranny, and you might not be sure of their condition. You can buy everything new, but that can be tremendously expensive. I know, because I am presently doing just that to my rig. It all depends on what you're after. You have to ask yourself, for the money, is it all worth it? For some, like me, it is. For others, it isn't.

If you're not an experienced mechanic with a lot of tools and a place to do it, you're going to need help. To find someone that has the knowledge to swap a motor and tranny and everything else into an Explorer isn't that easy, at least someone that will do a competent job.

As far as books from Barnes and Noble, I don't think you're going to find anything helpful there. There is a lot of good info in this CONVERSIONS forum, with many good links like Chav gave. This is where you will learn most from.

Even though there are a number of companies that sell "swap packages", it's not as simple as buying everything and stuffing them in your truck. So do as much research as you can, and keep asking questions. When you find out all that it takes to complete a swap, then you can decide whether you want to do it or not. But no matter which way you go, it's not going to be inexpensive.

Hi there,

I have done a engine swap in my explorer and if I could do a few things differently it would be:

-Buy a wrecked never explorer that already has a v8 in it then you would already have all the parts needed. You would take your body and replace it with the body on the wrecked explorer, does that make any sence ?

Take care