I bought my first non-GM car in more than twenty years yesterday. It is a
1985 Mercedes 230 CE which is a gray market car here in the US. The body and
interior are in very nice shape but the engine is shot due to a timing chain
problem that bent valves and probably damaged the pistons.
Instead of the expense of rebuilding this engine, I am thinking of putting
It looks like that there is plenty of room to it mount in place of the
original straight four.
What engine, transmission combination from what vehicle would you recommend?
Keep in mind that this is a rear wheel drive car. I'll be looking at
auctions to find a wrecked car so that I can get all the electronics too.
You'll find plenty of aftermarket products for the Chev 4.3 v-6 and it
has plenty of power. After all, it is essentially the old trusty 350/5.7
with the back 2 cylinders 'cut off'. IIRC, the s-10 pickups/Blazers after
approx. 1995 have a 4L60E trans, a good one, and a "vortec" v6, more power
than earlier ones. However, you'd need the donor's computer to make the
trans shift. Earlier 4.3's were not as powerful as the "Vortec" series, but
IIRC they have the 700R4 trans, which can be caused to shift with an
installable kit(like from Jeg's) just by dropping the trans pan.
Easiest way to make the swap would be with a suitable intake, carb, and
an "hei" distributor from GM--only 1 hot wire to connect to dist. for all to
fire up and run and shift gears using the 700R4 trans & shift-kit.
What would be the ultimate, using GM's v6, would be to get the later
model v-tec with 4L60E trans and use its computer to control all. Much more
wiring adaptations, plus comp. mods, but it'd be a neat, dependable swap,
giving plenty of hp PLUS good mpg. Luck, s
Check out the website <http://www.jagsthatrun.com . They provide
aftermaket engine mounts (among other things) and "how-to" information
for dropping GM V8s into various vehicles. I haven't specifically
checked, but there's the possibility that some of their stuff is
applicable to GM V6s as well.
Lot of things to line up and/or interfere. Unless you have CAD models of
both, or are real handy with a torch (I'm not), I'd want to know the
combination was going to work.
My experience is limited to dropping in a different option available from
the factory. That was enough work.
If I was going to go through the work in your case, though, I'd go Chev 350.
I'd get the baddest, fastest, smoothest engine I could afford and stuff it
in there. It would have to have lots of machined and powdercoat stuff, and
lots of modern Tuned Port electrical crap that I could tweak myself. I
think that would provide the most fun for all the same efforts involved.
I second sdlspamo's choice. The 4.3 is a good motor and should be easy
to find, plus I believe it has the same bolt pattern as a small block.
If you get board with the six a 350 should bolt right up to the 700r4.
On Mon, 26 Mar 2007 09:38:20 -0800, a rock fell the sky, hitting Scott
Buchanan on the head, and inspiring the following:
As others have mentioned, the Vortec 4.3L V6 was a great engine. I had a
'95 Jimmy which I drove for 150K miles in seven years. Just watch out for
the early ('95-'96) injectors as they are FUBAR.
Again, it is basically a 5.7 minus two cylinders with the same bolt
pattern and can hook up to the same tranny.
The jagsthatrun site is pretty useful for a swap. I haven't looked in a
few years, but I knew a few guys who did a V8 swap into blazers using
If you're really itching for some fun, try a 6.2 or a 6.5L diesel. Again,
same bolt pattern as the 5.7 AFAIK.
Thanks for the responses. I read up on the Vortec. It looks like a good
engine but I think that it may be too much power for this application. I
don't want to break anything. Did they use the 3800 in any rear wheel drive
You're taking the trans that goes with the V6 or one that
can handle even more, you'll certainly need a custom driveshaft anyway...
Just the rear axle is all you'll have left that it could possibly break.
I don't think a MB would have one so weak as not to be able to deal with
it in more or less normal driving. Maybe if you're doing burnouts you
could break it.
The Buick 3800 has gone in rear-drives from its inception in the 70s
(Regal, Grand National, etc.) to the last of the v6 F-bodies (Firebirds
and Camaros), so there are RWD transmission choices factory paired with
both Gen-1 and Gen-II 3800s.
V-6 Firebirds had the 3800 in them all through the 90's. It was a
front-wheel-drive block configuration (that's all GM produced), and they had
a 4-speed automatic and a 5-speed tranny that were configured to fit it as a
GM made both FWD and RWD 3800 blocks, just like they did with the 2800.
LOT's of variations out there of both. I can think of 5 variants of the
3800 block in just RWD alone, not including the earlier 225 it was based on.
What vintage engine/trans are you considering? Modern
distributorless/EFI/fully electronic, or older distributor ignition
If you're going for an older simpler approach, then since *EVERYONE* is
going to recommend a Chevy 350 I'll be contrarian and recommend either
an older Buick v6 or v8 and associated trans, OR a Ford 5.0 and
associated trans. A turbo 3.8L out of an 80s Regal would be a very cool
swap in a Benz. Both Buicks and Fords have front-mount distributors and
will likely have less firewall clearance issues than a Chevy. If it were
*me* doing this swap it would be Mopar all the way. :-)
I was thinking about an OBD II engine for fuel efficiently and cleaner
emissions. I can handle the electronics. I had a '82 Cutlass with the 3.8
and thought it was a great motor. Turbo? Humm....
I am not a Morpar guy, but what would you recommend?
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