Dmax450! Casper gets a duramax! (3 Viewers)

Joined
Apr 17, 2019
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Valdosta,ga
So I made a build page not too long ago with info on how I got the truck...and the story behind it. Long story short, I bought a 96 lx450 for $500 that was locked and every factory option available.

I would add onto the build page..but I fell like what I’m doing needs to be put out there at it’s current stages. This will also motivate me more to update what I do each day so I’m not so far behind on the forum.


so I did a ton of work to the lx, put like 15k into it and rebuilt everything...including doing a 6.0 ls swap. Truck drove great, made great power but mpg was down lower then expected and I just love diesels. So I pulled the ls out recently, sold that swap to a buddy, and now I’m attempting to stuff a 6.6 duramax/Allison 1000 in. I’ve seen a few post about people attempting this swap. One with the most progress I seen was in Australia but It was never finished. It has a lot to do with just how complicated and very large this engine is. For size comparison I’d imagine it’s roughly 30% bigger then a ls. Think of it as a ls with dual overhead cams..that would kinda give you an idea on size.


so not being cocky but I hope to be the first or if not very close to the first to ever pull this swap off. I know I’ll definitely be the first to do it in a lx450!

So below is what the truck looked like when I found it and paid $500 for it...had a blown head gasket, missing a tire, needed a massive cleaning. Also below is a picture of the truck before I pulled the engine out and was running and driving
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Joined
Apr 17, 2019
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So where to start here.....I guess my main concern was why destroy a perfectly running truck that could easily bring 25k like it sat. I felt a bit stupid pulling that engine out not going to lie. But my main reason I didn’t sell it and build another was I’m emotionally attached to the truck. I love vehicles with a story...and the fact that i saved it from its death, along with it being my year and exactly the Lexus I was looking for just makes it special to me.


So anyways fast foward to removing the ls and selling the swap to a buddy. Once the engine sold I started looking for a donor. I did a big of research on what dmax I wanted to use. Basically any 06 and newer dmax are great, however the lbz is by far the most sought after dmax out there. This is mainly due to the fact all the early dmax issues were fixed, no emissions, and it makes 650ftlbs and 1600 rpm haha! We have a 07 gmc 2500hd my dad bought new and it came with a lbz. That truck has been amazing...plus it’s nice to be able to drive a truck with the same engine and be familiar with it. I know my dads truck is completely stock and it hauls ass being so big.

Next topic I’d like to discuss is transmissions. With the ls swap I ran a 4l80e. These trans are known for being really strong and also easy to adapt to. However, for anyone looking to do a ls swap...go ahead and try to put a 6l80e in. I think I would have kept the ls swap if it had a 6 speed honestly. They shift way smoother and also the gear ratios are more inline with what you need. Basically 1st gear is useless on day to day application with the 4l80e.

The other plus to the lbz duramax is they came with 6 speed Allison 1000’s which are ridiculously strong and shift very smooth. I love that you can just let off the gas and the trans slows itself down. This will be nice for towing and just daily driving in general.

next post we will talk about the donor!
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Joined
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There was a Land Cruiser mad scientist that did a duramax in an 80 probably 8-10 years ago. I think it was even a 6x6.

****EDIT****
Oh nope Alan's truck was a 100 series, not an 80. Turns out it was 14 years ago! ugh.

Wow that doesn’t even look real haha! Looks like some photo shop stuff you see online! I haven’t had much luck finding people that’s done the swap. I’ve talked to a few people in australia that’s said it’s been done there in a 80...but never any proof.
 
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Nope it is real. Guy has been doing crazy Cruiser stuff for years.



Wow that doesn’t even look real haha! Looks like some photo shop stuff you see online! I haven’t had much luck finding people that’s done the swap. I’ve talked to a few people in australia that’s said it’s been done there in a 80...but never any proof.
 
Joined
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Valdosta,ga
Finding a donor was a bit of a challenge. Personally I’d rather buy a complete truck then just a pullout. Doing it this way saves you a ton on small parts you need...but also gives you some return on the investment once you pull what’s needed. The main issue is everyone wanting to do a dmax swap wants a lbz....it’s apparently like the greatest thing since sliced bread or something. I was actually lucky and found a truck that was in a pretty serious accident but actually ran and was kinda drivable. I paid $5000 for the donor which to me I thought I was an idiot for doing. I mean you can buy a nice running Cherokee for 5k and beat the s*** out of it. Anyways 5k for the truck and $500 to have it delivered. Upon arrival it was alot worse then expected. I received pictures and videos before I bought it naturally...but if this guy lived he was very very lucky. I kinda freaked me out having it in the yard, plus it looked like s*** so...I had everything out in a day.

The easiest way to pull a dmax engine is with removing the body. Luckily for me the body was screwed. So I just put a chain around what’s left of the roof and picked it up with the backhoe. This made it so easy to get to all those odd and ends that take forever usually.
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Once I pulled what was needed, I quickly sat the body back on, shoved some body mount bolts in and tried to get it out the yard. Funny enough it just so happened a new friend of mine had moved back to town...and had a 07 dmax but it was 2wd. He came over to buy the tires off the wrecked truck and was like...how much for the whole thing. It has literally everything I need to convert my truck over to 4wd. So long story short on that. I sold what was left to him and the dmax transfercase for $1500. So at this point in time I have $4000 total in the engine and trans...which is really more then I would like. But these dmax engines aren’t cheap like ls engines unfortunately!
 
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I guess it’s time to kinda get to the good part here. To me putting a duramax into a 80 series would be literally the best combo money could buy. You have a very capable rig that’s solid axle and coil spring with lockers, with a monster diesel that gets 20+ mpg and a bullet proof Allison trans. To me this was the inspiration for the build. What I described was the gap on the market that no one offers but everyone wants. Coming from owning a brand new Colorado zr2 with a 2.8 dmax...I liked the thought of building a older vehicle that will not Depreciate, I don’t mind getting a few scratches on...and that I’ve built so I can actually work on it. All of this adds up to what I’m trying to build and the motivation behind it. Why be 40k in debt with a new truck when you could build one for half of that and will actually hold its value if not appreciate!


Fitting the dmax on the first test run was a absolute disaster. It literally was hitting on everything and every where. Basically I had to strip parts off it till I could get it to fit..and then try to work around these once the engine was in. The number one issue with the swap is the oil pan. If you had a custom one piece oil pan made up, it would greatly simplify the ability to swap this in. I plan on trying to make some up later down the road maybe once’s the swap is done. Might be a way to make some money back on all the hard work I’ve done! Pictures below are of the test fit and how the engine didn’t fit.
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The engine is sitting way to high in these pictures. Another thing to note is the oil pan is almost hitting and that’s when the springs in...not at full compression with the springs out! Lots of work to be done to the oil pan!
 
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Probably my last post for tonight...it’s almost easier building these things then making a post about it.

So the lbz dmax has a 2 part oil pan assembly. The upper oil pan is about 4” thick and is aluminum. The lower oil pan is made from steel and is where I had to do a lot of my modifications. First step for me was to remove a section of the upper oil pan. The way it’s setup, there is roughly 2” that can be cut out the front of the oil pan before you run into hitting the pickup line.


Two main issues with the oil pan are the front panhard bar brace, and the diff itself. From the factory the lbz is a ifs truck, and the diff is mounted driver side. This means the whole oil pan assembly is oriented towards the passenger side. This naturally is a issue for me as the diff is on that side with the Lexus.
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as you can see in the photos, I cut out roughly 2” of oil pan from the front so the engine can sit lower in the engine bay. I also had to remove a large section of oil pan that stuck out over the diff. This took a lot of work and has been a bit of a pain in the ass.

Even with all this work, the engine does not sit low enough to allow for the hood to clear unfortunately. So my plan is to actually cut the hood open and built a custom hood scoop if you will. This should give me the clearance I need to close the hood and nothing hits!

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This is my most recent photo of the engine sitting in the engine bay. Problem being with the dmax is the alternator and ac compressor are mounted on top of the engine. I have seen ways to low mount the alternator, but nothing on low mount for the ac compressor. So meaning that I’ll have to cut my hood a good bit for it to fit!

My hood is dented and the paint is chipped off the front anyways...so not too upset about it. Plus it would be cool to give it alittle more flair so it actually looks like a dmax is hiding under there!
 
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flintknapper

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Body lift would help give you hood clearance. Still need to cut the hood and add a scoop I imagine though.

How much does a DuraMax and Tranny weigh? Got to be a significant increase.
 
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Curious to know how much oil capacity will be lost trimming the pan 2”. I have an 06 Dmax and believe the stock oil capacity is 10 quarts, wouldn’t want any less capacity.
 
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Curious to know how much oil capacity will be lost trimming the pan 2”. I have an 06 Dmax and believe the stock oil capacity is 10 quarts, wouldn’t want any less capacity.

The only difference is you need to change your oil proportionally sooner according to the capacity reduction.
If you're relying on the quantity of oil to be a "heat sink" of sorts then something is wrong with the cooling system, as it should be able to remove heat from the oil as fast as it is added. Maybe add another oil/water heat exchanger if the stock one isn't satisfactory?

Regardless, V8 diesels are nice in how "civilized" they are in terms of NVH vs the 4 cylinder ones. Definitely a cool project.
 

flintknapper

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Curious to know how much oil capacity will be lost trimming the pan 2”. I have an 06 Dmax and believe the stock oil capacity is 10 quarts, wouldn’t want any less capacity.

Remote reservoirs can be added to address that if it proved to be a problem. But I agree....I'd want all the capacity I could get.
 
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Curious to know how much oil capacity will be lost trimming the pan 2”. I have an 06 Dmax and believe the stock oil capacity is 10 quarts, wouldn’t want any less capacity.

Yeah this was a big concern for me. I haven’t finished it yet, but I have the lower oil pan cut apart right now. I cut a section out the side and built a box out of steel to hold more oil. Naturally it’s not very pretty but it should get me alittle closer to what there was stock. I might have to add a remote revisor later. Need to bolt it up and see.

thinking back now...I feel like an idiot for not trying this. But I should have seen how much capacity the lower oil pan would have held with water. This would give me a rough idea on how much volume I needed to add!
 
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Body lift would help give you hood clearance. Still need to cut the hood and add a scoop I imagine though.

How much does a DuraMax and Tranny weigh? Got to be a significant increase.

I was going to use a body lift...but I made custom weld on slider steps and if I raise the body it’s going to make the steps look like s*** lol. So I think I’m just going to cut the hood and fab something up. Worse case I cut the hood and don’t like it...I can try to locate another hood and add a body lift later.

as far weight goes....I’d imagine it’s around 1200lbs. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind 6bt weights close to that by itself!
 

cruisermatt

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subscribed. When we were chatting before I was impressed that you even considering to de-LS-swap a cruiser for a different swap, most can't even wrap their head around getting the LS swap done :lol:

What are the transfer case plans? Can you just bolt a 4l80/Hf2A or splitcase adapter to the 6-bolt tailhousing on that giant thing?
 
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subscribed. When we were chatting before I was impressed that you even considering to de-LS-swap a cruiser for a different swap, most can't even wrap their head around getting the LS swap done :lol:

What are the transfer case plans? Can you just bolt a 4l80/Hf2A or splitcase adapter to the 6-bolt tailhousing on that giant thing?

I feel like an idiot for pulling apart a perfectly running truck lol. Most people dream of a ls swap but it wasn’t good enough for me.

For the transfercase I had to get creative. So it just so happens the landcruiser black box allows a ton of different options to adapt to different trans. One of those trans are a 6l90e which is a 29 spline output just like the Allison. It also shares the same 6 bolt pattern as well. So I don’t know for sure.....but I think that setup is going to work. I have the black box already ordered and just on the waiting list now.
Cool thing about the black box is I get the benefit of the extra gear ratios as well as the adapter. So it’s going to help me out Offroad with getting that perfect combination!
 

cruisermatt

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I feel like an idiot for pulling apart a perfectly running truck lol. Most people dream of a ls swap but it wasn’t good enough for me.

For the transfercase I had to get creative. So it just so happens the landcruiser black box allows a ton of different options to adapt to different trans. One of those trans are a 6l90e which is a 29 spline output just like the Allison. It also shares the same 6 bolt pattern as well. So I don’t know for sure.....but I think that setup is going to work. I have the black box already ordered and just on the waiting list now.
Cool thing about the black box is I get the benefit of the extra gear ratios as well as the adapter. So it’s going to help me out Offroad with getting that perfect combination!

Cool. watch the oil in the blackbox. Several are having to add external reservoirs and coolers since they have a low capacity. So are you running Blackbox to a 60 or 80 case?
What's the length on the Allison? I think you're going to have a lot of floor cutting and gas tank relocating in your future. :)
I would probably be reconsidering that body lift right about now.
 
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