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General Dakota Board
FromMessage
Daniel Grill
Unregistered
 Email

3/11/2001
19:51:07

Subject: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
I recently picked up a 1988 4x4 w/ a 3.9L. I need both a new engine and tranny. Plan to put in a 360 out of my 1979 Cordoba. Can anyone tell me if this is possible? I know all should bolt up, just not sure how to do the radiator and what else is needed. Also the OD tranny is bad. Any ideas if a 3 speed auto out of a 4x4 truck or Dak will work. Anyone's thoughts will be appreciated. Thanx



87Dakota
Mechanic
 User Profile

3/12/2001
22:52:58

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Hey, I doubt it that a 3 speed out of a Dakota will work with the 360 engine. I have a 3 speed on mine and I have a 3.9L You could probably find an automatic that was bolted to a 360 in a junkyard or something that originally had a 3 speed with a 360. Good luck

1987 Dakota 3.9L, 3 speed, 220,000 miles

Jason
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3/16/2001
09:32:53

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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I am also doing the same to my 89 4x4. When you say it will bolt right up, do you mean with the original motor mounts? I am new to the mopar scene, but it seems unlikely that a 3 speed will hold up to a 360. My truck has the 5 speed. How do you plan on hooking up the transfer case if you swap the tranny? It's funny I've seen a few posts that say it is difficult, and others that say its no problem. Any info you have would be appreciated, also I'll pass any info on to you that I find.

Thanks, Jason



Jason
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3/16/2001
09:51:56

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Actually, I want to do the same thing. Unfortunately I am not find much info on the subject. Is this a strange thing to be doing? And didn't the 88 and 89 dakota convertibles come with 318's. Do we know what tranny they used? You would think it would be an easy swap.



walt_felix
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3/16/2001
16:26:19

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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The convertibles were available in 89 and 90 and were not available with a V8. The only V8 Dakota before 91 was the 89 Shelby package and it used an A-500 automatic. The A-500 transmission (automatic with overdrive) fits both the 3.9 and "A" engines. If you plan on doing the swap, take a good hard look at your tranny. The A-500 is based on the 904 TorqueFlite with an overdrive unit, which has a history of being weak. You can use it with a small-block V8 however if it's not in tip-top shape it may not handle the additional torque of a V8 well. I have heard the same comment about the stock 5-speed.

The 3.9l V6s are a 5.2 with two cylinders lobbed off. They have the same bore (3.91”), stroke (3.31”), and the alternator, water pump, timing chain, etc…. are interchangeable.

The motor mounts on a 4x4 consists of 4 parts. A left and right insulator and a left and right bracket. Both the 91 V6 and the V8 4x4 models list part # 4412102 as the right bracket and part # 4348555 as the left. The brackets bolt directly to the block itself and the right bracket also bolts to the front of the tranny housing. This suggests the mounts are located in the same location in relation to the block. The insulators, not only hold the brackets in place, but also hold the front axle housing in place which also suggests the placement of the mounts are the same in relation to the frame. In theory, a swap to a small block would be easy in a 4x4. The only area of trouble would be the fan. The 89 Shelby Dakotas used an electric fan because a stock fan wouldn’t clear the radiator. I know the 2wd had very different motor mounts and required some major changes when swapping in a V8. There is a guy on the DML, Mike D. who recently dropped a 360 into his 88 2wd. He might be some help. Also there is another guy named Shane or Shaun who dropped a 360 crate motor into his Shelby after the motor blew.


Walt-n-Ingrid's Dakota






Walt Felix
88 Dakota Sport 4x4
http://WWW.Walt-n-Ingrid.COM

Dan Grill
Unregistered
 Email

3/16/2001
18:09:59

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Thanx for the info everyone, I do appreciate it. To Jason, I e-mailed Rick Eherenberg at Mopar Action magazine and he confirmed what I thought, that Dakotas use full size Dodge running gear. This means that engines and trannys should work. Therefore I am going by the assumption that a 904, 999, or 500 trans should fit. Rick said it is an easy swap but you have to move the radiator in front of the yoke, everything else is a bolt in. My cousin works at a Dodge Dealership in the parts dept, his parts book lists parts for a 1988 V8 4x4 Dak, so you should be able to buy new parts if you can't get any used. Soon as the weather breaks here I'll confirm all this as the snow won't let me near the truck now. Thanx everyone and any more info will be appreciated. Dan



Jason Larkin
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3/17/2001
09:34:33

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Thanks so much everyone. The info will be a great help. Like I said I am new to Mopar. The truck was handed down to me by my inlaws. Since inheriting it, I love driving it. I owned a 95 ranger, and it doesn't compare, except for power. I guess I need to some homework on what those trannys are, but you guys have given a great place to start. Walt, I looked at your web site. I love the buildup on you dakota. It looks exactly like mine, only without the mods. Maybe someday, I'll attempt the lift. But it looks pretty complicated. Again thanks, and I'll let you know how the swap goes.

Oh, one more question. Will any year bolt up. Should I go for a newer fuel injected, or stick with an oler carburated. I live in Michigan, so emmissions isn't a porblem. And it's just a toy truck. Any suggestions?

Jason



Walt_Felix
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3/17/2001
17:50:16

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Dan,
Your cousin is mistaken, the first year a V8 was available in 4x4 Dakota was 91.

Walt-n-Ingrid's '88 Dakota Sport





Walt Felix
88 Dakota Sport 4x4
http://WWW.Walt-n-Ingrid.COM

larkinja
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3/17/2001
18:00:43

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Walt,

As I don't know much about the tranny/engine lineup, what would my best bet be for a good engine tranny combo. I have a friend that has a '74(I think) 318. Would that work, or should I try a different year. What would be you suggestion. I currently have the 3.9l w/ 5 speed manual.

Jason



larkinja
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3/17/2001
18:05:30

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Walt,

What engine/tranny do you have in your truck?

Jason



Walt_Felix
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3/18/2001
11:29:26

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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I still have the 3.9 and A-500 in mine though they have been build up slightly over the years. I have a Mopar Performance cam & heads, with headers. The lower end, intake & TBI are stock. I too am considering swapping out the motor in mine in favor of a 5.9 crate motor but it won’t be for a while. My wife and I will be buying a house shortly and I don’t want to take on a project this big until after. Despite having 200,000 on it, it’s still running good though it does burn a little oil and with 4.10 gears turning 33’s, it is a little lacking on the highway. It’ll run about 75mph on the flats and drop to 65 on hills. However, with the transfer case in low range, in first gear with the tires aired down, the thing is a tank. I had the transfer case re-geared to a 4:1 low range.

My plan is to use a magnum 380 crate motor and an Advanced Adapter Atlas II transfer case mated up to the transmission with a Klune Extreme Underdrive. I just haven’t figured out what transmission to use. I’m thinking a 46RH from a 95 Ram, for I would like to stay with an automatic. Because this is still a way off, I haven’t spent any time working out the details.

87-91 Dakotas with a pre-magnum 3.9 were mated up to one of three transmissions.

NP-2500 overdrive 5-speed, which I believe was used 87-91
A-998 Loadflite 3-speed automatic used 87 and most of 88
A-500 Loadflite 3-speed auto plus overdrive very late 88 and up.

In 92, you get into the magnum motors, there is the 42RH and 46RH up to 95 then I believe 96 and up had the 42RE and 46RE which are electronic shift.

As far as the 74 318 fitting in, you will have to fabricate motor mounts. I understand Dodge made some slight design changes to the blocks in the early 80’s. The motor mounts are further forward on a 74 block then a late model block. A 318 from the late 80’s would be a closer match to the 3.9


Walt-n-Ingrid's '88 Dakota Sport





Walt Felix
88 Dakota Sport 4x4
http://WWW.Walt-n-Ingrid.COM

Dan Grill
Unregistered
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3/18/2001
16:05:54

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Walt I really appreciate your input. The more I look at it the more I wonder if it wouldn't be better to just find another 3.9 and modify it like you did. Looks like alot of work. After taking a tape measure to the 360 I have I get around 32 inches from tranny to end of water pump. That puts the engine right up to the radiator support. Mounting the rad in front of the support looks tough, I think that is why the later versions of our body style have the curved front and grille to make room for the radiator.I wanted to go as cheaply as possible with the engine I have but that may not work out. Perhaps I'll just finish the Cordoba project, sell it and put a good V6 in the Dak. You were right though no V8 4x4 Daks in 88. I'll get some photos of that 94 this week and see what can be done. Are there very many 3.9 performance sources? Your truck looks REALLY good. Mine is just a silver long bed with rusted out fenders, but it was free so I can't gripe. Thanx again for the info and keep in touch. Dan



larkinja
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3/19/2001
12:52:42

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Thanks for the input. Looks like I have quite a decision to make on which way to go. That info should help a lot.



larkinja
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3/20/2001
10:00:21

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
I think if we go with an electric fan as a pusher in front of the radiator, we might not have to move the radiator.



Walt_Felix
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3/20/2001
19:43:58

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
That’s how the ‘89 Shelby Dakota’s are set up. A pusher fan between the radiator and the AC condenser.


Walt-n-Ingrid's '88 Dakota Sport




Walt Felix
88 Dakota Sport 4x4
http://WWW.Walt-n-Ingrid.COM

larkinja
GenI
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3/21/2001
10:04:01

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
I've got a friend that has a 1974 318. Have any idea if that year will still use the same mounts as newer 318's? I've heard yes, but nothing concrete. I can't find anyone that can tell me what years were the same/different. If I can be reasonably sure it will bolt in, I might start on it.



larkinja
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3/21/2001
10:29:29

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Ignore that last post, I just realized that you already answered that question Walt. How hard do you think it would be to get that 318 in there? It is a really good runner, and I can get it for next to nothing. So if it is possible to put in it would be great.



JOE T
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3/21/2001
15:35:28

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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I got a 92 dakota and i dropped a 318 from the 70's Dart and i used the stock 5 speed trans that bolted right up.



larkinja
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3/21/2001
16:47:49

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Joe,

Have you had any problems with the tranny holding up, or the rear end. Is your dakota 4X4. Any problems you ran into putting the engine in?

Thanks,
Jason



89DAKOTASPORT
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4/11/2001
19:10:42

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Does ayone know if I can put 1992 or newer v-6 magnum engine in a 1989 dakota sport 4x4 with a 5 speed manual transmission. Will it fit with my motor mounts and will the transmission bolt up.

1989 DAKOTA SPORT4X4 W/ 5 SPEED

larkinja
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4/11/2001
22:31:19

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
After all the reasearch I have done on swapping in a better motor, it should all bolt up just fine. You will need to update the computer and wiring for the magnum motor. Otherwise it is a basic swap. You may want to consider the updated transmission, that is what I am doing. Your transmission should bolt up, but it may not hold up very long, especially if it has high miles already. Good luck, let us know how the swap goes, if you decide to do it.



morparman
Dodge Dakota
JOIN HERE
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12/30/2002
03:57:51

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
i have a 93 3.9 dakota. i ripped out a 318 out
of a 74 dart. my question is just like the rest of you. how can i make this swap. i'm still not to sure if the tranny and torque converter from the 3.9 will mount and if not what tranny will; and also will mount up to my transfer case. is there a parts truck i should look out for like a 89 dakota or some type of D100. something to make it a cheaper convertion. also are the motor mounts that bad to get costumized if needed on this swap. your help would be much appreciated thank you for you time and help.



Bud Gates
Dodge Dakota
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1/05/2003
11:56:26

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Thank you for all your information. This looks promising I just found a 318 the same year as my Dak ('87). I'm going to buy it today and get started.



Richard Alton
Dodge Dakota
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1/06/2003
20:16:46

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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I have a 1988 dodge dakota 4x4 with electronic overdrive.does anyone know how hard it would be to switch it to a manual overdrive or where i would find a transmission with the overdrive or approximately how much 1 would be.it is a V6. 3.9L



larkinja
Dodge Dakota
JOIN HERE
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1/15/2003
10:03:57

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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I would start with the junkyards. I might still have my old five speed, but I would have to check. It is out of an 89, 114k miles. As far as switching it, just remember you have put in the pedal, hydrolic unit, and the hoses. So you will need more than just the tranny. As far as you other guys doing the engine swap. I used everything from a 84 ramcharger. Worked pretty good, but you will either have to lift it(suspension) or get a different oil pan, cause it will hit. I used the entire engine cradle out of the ramcharger and welded it to the frame. Fit real well. The most work was grinding off all the old suspension pieces. I used the axles, suspension, and front drive shaft as well, and made it a solid axle. Wasn't to hard. Rear drive shaft was custom made. Cost about $100. One thing to keep in mind if you do the axle swap is to move the axle about 2 inches forward from where the original sat. Good luck to all of you.



Bud Gates
Dodge Dakota
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4/10/2003
19:34:20

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Well it took an awful lot more work than anticipated putting the 5.2 engine from a '87 Diplomat in my '874x4 Dak. Even though the two vehicals are the same year the motor mounts on the 318 are not even close to those on the 3.9. I had to make some brackets to adapt them together.

Since the exhaust on the two engines are totaly different I had to buy some california smog approved headers that were made for a '92-'95 and modify them by adding air injection.

Even with using an electrick pusser fan in front of the radiator, the radiator had less than 1/8 inch clearance from the water pump hub so I had to get a water pump made for a '68. The '68 waterpump has the inlet on the oposite side so I still have to build some tubing to route it around the power steering pump. It's been a real nightmare but it's almost done.

If I had it to do over again I would have bought a Magnum engine with center motor mounts but it's a little late for that.



Jason Larkin
Dodge Dakota
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4/15/2003
19:51:31

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Sorry to here you had such a hard time. Mine really wasn't that bad. I used an '84 318, but I used the entire crossmember from an 84 ramcharger. I used the stock manifolds. With that crossmember, I could position the motor as far back as possible. I am using the factory manual fan. I also put a pusher fan in front for extra cooling since I don't have a fan shroud. Of course I put a solid front axle under it to which might have made more room, not sure. If you have any question, feel free, I can get pictures of how we mounted it if it helps any.



Jason Larkin
Dodge Dakota
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4/15/2003
19:53:19

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Next week, we are swapping the tired 318 with a slightly built 360. Next month, if the wallet allows, lifting it 6 more inches and trading the 31 for 33's (wider too) :)



rick
Dodge Dakota
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4/15/2003
23:18:10

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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does anyone know where to get a transmission with electronic over dive for an 88 dodge dakota 4x4 3.9L 6 cyl or does anyone know if i can eliminate the electronic overdrive



Jason Larkin
Dodge Dakota
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4/16/2003
08:31:49

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
Try www.car-part.com

This searches junkyards all over



rick
Dodge Dakota
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4/18/2003
14:54:14

RE: 1988 4x4 engine swap
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Message:
hey thanks alot Jason



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