'97 LX Ground Up Build, Cummins (1 Viewer)

Joined
Dec 11, 2019
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Alberta
Hi all, been wanting to build a cruiser for a while now, I had an HDJ81 for about a year, it was already built up and introduced me to these vehicles. I recently sold that and picked up a very stock '97 LX450, been a family owned vehicle and currently has over 400,000 km. It has front and rear lockers, a well taken care of drivetrain and interior, and is the perfect candidate for a ground up build. I enjoyed the 1HDt, but I've seen a few members on here have swapped in various years of 12 valve Cummins, and that peaked my interest. My daily driver is a '93 W350 Cummins, I'm currently part way through putting a Cummins drivetrain into a 1986 GMC K30 crew cab, and I've been working with these engines for many years now. It just makes sense to me. I want something I can daily drive, and also load up heavy and take on week or or longer expeditions, so, the plans for the build:

-1991.5-1993 12 Valve cummins, mild power modifications, I don't want any more than 300 horse
-NV4500 or a 47Rh, not too sure if I want an auto or stick right now. Leaning towards stick
-4" loaded lift height, researching brands and parts right now. I'm in Alberta, our dollar sucks and everything out of country is expensive, haha
-Armor, I plan to run the truck hard, so skid plates, sliders and some form of heavier bumpers is a must
-Some sort of camping set up, probably build a basic drawer system for the back, that's not a huge priority right now
-Change the colour, previous owner had all rust cut out and replaced with new steel, but they rolled on some sort of bed liner and painted over it with white and black it looks good from afar. I like bedliner, but I want a more subtle colour like an army green or tan. Not sure if I'll have to completely strip the liner and start again, or if I can prep what's there and respray
-35 or 37" tires, to be decided

I know many of you have done similar projects, and I look forward to the advice and discussions. I basically want to keep everything as simple as possible, and be able to grab parts out on the road if I need from any parts store, something I could not do with the HDJ. It's going to be a slow build, but it will press forward! thanks for reading

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Joined
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So the truck has been very well taken care of. I am the third owner, all of the maintenance and service has been done at the dealership since new. It has 400,000 km, and runs and drives like a top. Only issues is the AC needs a charge, and one of the O2 sensors reads out of range. The ABS light has since turned on, but it wasn't on for the test drive. I'm guessing I got careless with a strap when securing it to the trailer for the trip home. Interior is very clean, couple rips in the seat but nothing unexpected for the age and mileage. Both lockers work, and it's straight as an arrow on the highway. Third row seats are clean, it even has all the factory literature in the glove box, and a Lexus brand first aid kit. May not seem like much to some, but I'm used to buying vehicles in far worse condition than this. I know it's not very exciting right now, but we'll get there!

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Delta VS

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Very cool! Good choice on VE pump, much nicer to drive and better mileage. Been weighing the differences between NV4500 and 47/8r as well for a build. 48 is longer (unverified by eyes yet, but trans shop says "a few inches") so would require shifting the t-case back and changing drivelines, which NV4500 doesn't apparently.
 
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Very cool! Good choice on VE pump, much nicer to drive and better mileage. Been weighing the differences between NV4500 and 47/8r as well for a build. 48 is longer (unverified by eyes yet, but trans shop says "a few inches") so would require shifting the t-case back and changing drivelines, which NV4500 doesn't apparently.
I seen a lot of the guys on here like the P pumps, I have them in both my trucks and I prefer the Ve for a daily driver. They're so much better for drivability and economy. As for the 47Rh, that would be my path as the shifting is all off a hydraulic governor, I don't want to even attempt to wire in a Dodge PCM or find a stand alone controller. Still would have to have Lock up and OD on a switch for the Rh, but that's livable, I guess. Definitely leaning towards a 4500
 
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calgary
Where in AB are you?

Mine came with a 6BT swapped in out of a 91, couple to some sort of home built adapter to the stock trans with an aftermarket torque converter. It was fine, later it started having issues breaking flexplates due to a poorly aligned /centered adapter and I went to an NV4500.

Having had both in an 80, I like them both, the auto May have actually been friendlier for climbing steep hills, but the manual has better control with idling over things and riding down steep terrain. If your planning on daily driving, the auto is friendlier.

If you thinking about an NV4500, I will be going to a full time case (have an adapter kit for the 60 series split case that I’m removing in the near future if your interested) and I’m in Calgary.
 
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So in Canada they will let you swap in a older motor into a newer vehicle? I don't think they allow that in the US.
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2019
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Alberta
Where in AB are you?

Mine came with a 6BT swapped in out of a 91, couple to some sort of home built adapter to the stock trans with an aftermarket torque converter. It was fine, later it started having issues breaking flexplates due to a poorly aligned /centered adapter and I went to an NV4500.

Having had both in an 80, I like them both, the auto May have actually been friendlier for climbing steep hills, but the manual has better control with idling over things and riding down steep terrain. If your planning on daily driving, the auto is friendlier.

If you thinking about an NV4500, I will be going to a full time case (have an adapter kit for the 60 series split case that I’m removing in the near future if your interested) and I’m in Calgary.
The adaptor is for a 60 series case? I'd possibly be interested, I'm hoping to reuse the 80 case as the all wheel drive is one of my favorite features of this vehicle. I'm just north of Edmonton

So in Canada they will let you swap in a older motor into a newer vehicle? I don't think they allow that in the US.
Yeah, I've never heard of any issues with it. Only place it would have been an issue would be when Vancouver had it's air care emissions testing, but that's been gone for a while now. I could put a 6V Detroit 2 stroke in here if I wanted to. Maybe out east it's an issue, but we don't talk about that over here, haha
 
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calgary
Ya it’s for a 60 case, I’m going to use the adventure vehicles NW kit which is supposed to arrive this week maybe, I’ll post some pics and info on it whenever it shows up.

No issues with swapping to other motors, the only issue is with insurance companies in increasing horsepower or adding turbos to things.

The company I use for insurance (the co-operators) got a bit excited when I told them my other cruiser (BJ60) had a turbo added on as the extra horse power as going to make it dangerous.. I reminded them that it was only about 100 horsepower stock and I couldn’t go over 75km/hr on the steep hill near them if I tried, without it and they relaxed a bit.
 
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Westminster CO
So in Canada they will let you swap in a older motor into a newer vehicle? I don't think they allow that in the US.

The US doesn't care what you swap ether. You can go ether direction so long as the emissions is up to date to ether the year of the car or motor. Whatever is newer....
Definitely doesn't matter on anything pre-emissions.
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2010
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Langley BC
I went NV4500 in mine connected to the factory AWD transfer case. I have a P-pump in mine but when I started down this path I wanted a VE pump engine for its better cold starts and slightly better economy. A good deal on a very low millage 215hp P pump engine came up and I could not pass it up so I have that in mine.

Ideally keeping the AWD in my mind makes sense. Putting the power and torque to both axles effectively splitting the load the rear would see if RWD only.

Had no issues with registering as a Diesel in Vancouver, all I needed to do was have my registration changed to diesel and pass an Opacity idle test with Aircare before it was scrapped.
 
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I went NV4500 in mine connected to the factory AWD transfer case. I have a P-pump in mine but when I started down this path I wanted a VE pump engine for its better cold starts and slightly better economy. A good deal on a very low millage 215hp P pump engine came up and I could not pass it up so I have that in mine.

Ideally keeping the AWD in my mind makes sense. Putting the power and torque to both axles effectively splitting the load the rear would see if RWD only.

Had no issues with registering as a Diesel in Vancouver, all I needed to do was have my registration changed to diesel and pass an Opacity idle test with Aircare before it was scrapped.
P pumps are usually much more valuable, I would have made that choice too
 
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Yeah, I have contemplated switching over to a VE pump buts a lot of work for marginal gain.

Now I'm looking down a P-Pump 24V rabbit hole...
I looked into building one of those for my truck, did a lot of reading, talking to a few machine shops and the general consensus is that you can have a 12 valve head ported, polished and valve seats machined to match the flow of a 24 valve head. So I decided to stay away
 
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Anyone have experience with bed liner? The truck is covered in an unknown brand and painted white and black over top. That's fine, I was planning to bed line the rig eventually anyway, but not white. Any chance I can just prep the existing rock guard and spray my own colour over top? Just need it to look good from 10 feet, it's going to get abused off road anyway, haha
 
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Canby Oregon
Yeah, I have contemplated switching over to a VE pump buts a lot of work for marginal gain.

Now I'm looking down a P-Pump 24V rabbit hole...
That motor sucks worked on a 24 valve that motor runs rough and loud in an 80 I love my VE powered cruiser will always just use this for a an 80 swap the best combination, and I have worked on several swapped 80's . My DD is a swapped VE pump 80 with the A343F transmission 35" tires I think I will be doing the 10% over drive because I am not geared the best
 
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That motor sucks worked on a 24 valve that motor runs rough and loud in an 80 I love my VE powered cruiser will always just use this for a an 80 swap the best combination, and I have worked on several swapped 80's . My DD is a swapped VE pump 80 with the A343F transmission 35" tires I think I will be doing the 10% over drive because I am not geared the best
Yes they are noisy, I have heard a few P-Pump swapped 24v's and they are no louder than my P-Pump 12V really.

I don't mind the p-pump 12v in my truck currently, I found its not as bad as most think. I do not have the timing cranked on it though so that keeps it a bit quieter. One nice thing with the p-pump is the option for on the move fuel adjustments via the AFC live I have in my truck.

Like I said i started down this path wanting a VE pump but got a good deal on a lower millage P-Pump engine so it was a easy change.
 
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Dec 11, 2019
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Not much to report, updated the old deck with a pioneer unit. Need to bypass the amp yet, have a whine through the speakers. Collecting parts to start the swap in the spring, cold as hell outside and not worth working out there

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