Need the opinion of the Mud

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Apr 5, 2012
Mesa AZ
Hello fellow muder's I am at a cross roads and thought I would get the opinion of the mud to help me make a decision.I have a 96 80 series not currently a DD with 109K on the OD the head gasket has not been replaced. I am going to be switching to a diesel (because it's mine and I want too).:D

I live in Mesa AZ so it will need to pass the Kalifornia type emissions test I contacted Strictly Diesel here in Phoenix and was informed AZ requires engine swaps to be the same year engine or newer and pass emissions for that model year so that's what I'm going with.

I have narrowed it down to two-ish options a GM 6.5L or a Toyota 1HD-FT (first choice) / 1HD-FTE I have listed the Pros and Cons I have come up with below, please feel free to and your 2 cents. I ruled out the cummins BT4 for noise levels and the Toyota 1HDT because last year of manufacture was 1995 unless I am mistaken.

GM 6.5 Pros
I can get a newly re-manufactured one for between 5 and 6k with a 3 year 36k mile warranty
Only need a 3in lift to install
Would also have a beefy 700R4 with 0 miles behind it and a new torque converter
Parts are easy to find at local parts stores
Lots of diesel mechanics have experience with them
Not super loud
Don't shake like a dog s##ten a peach seed
Weights about 750
Intercooler available (not sure if it will fit in the yoda)
Can buy a piece at a time

GM 6.5 Cons
Not known as the most dependable diesel ever
EXTREMELY sensitive to overheating
Main Bearing Web Cracks,Crank Failures,Cylinder Heads Cracking
Would cost more to install than a Toyota diesel
Needs a Different transmission and torque converter
Needs an adapter for the T-case
Intercooler available (not sure if it will fit in the yoda)

Toyota 1HD-FT 1HD-FTE Pros
Its a Toyota
Easier to install than the 6.5
Wouldn't need a new transmission
Not super loud
Don't shake like a dog s##ten a peach seed
Intercooler available that fits

Toyota 1DF-FT Cons
Don't grow on trees
Parts don't grow on trees either
Not a lot of mechanics have ever worked on one
Will most likely have more than 100k on it
The 1DF-FTE would cost more to install
Personally I would stay away from the GM. You bring up good points for the Toyota diesel. Have you considered a cummins? It is a shame that the power stroke v-8 diesel won't fit in the 80 engine bay.
I have looked at the cummins the 4BT is to loud and the 6BT is bigger and heaver and over kill for what I'm going to need.
The cummins is a loud bucket of bolts for sure. Dependable and able to be built for a lot of power but loud. If we could get a v-8 diesel in the 80 I would be considering a swap. I know Detroit made a small diesel v-8 years ago. I drove a f800 with one in it. Small block size with a ton of tourque. Did quite well on fuel also.
Have you looked at Isuzu diesels?
You may want to post in the Diesel and 24V section also.

1HD-FT's are pretty rare indeed, FTE's are almost unheard of in the US. I am fortunate enough to have found a 1HD-FT which is going into my FJ45, since Kalifornia essentially makes it impossible to do this conversion in my FZJ80 without "bending" the law quite a bit. A 1967 pickup, no worries. ;)

With any of these engines, it will not be cheap for the conversion. You will need a new transmission with the Toyota options, since the A343F you have will not work (the transmission ECU is embedded in the engine ECU). 5 Speed manual? A442F?

Another option to consider is the 1HZ, and add a turbo. Should be a bit more available, and definitely less expensive. The 1HZ was made well beyond 1996, so you are GTG there.


I looked at the Isuzu 4HE1-TC I would still need a new transmission and from what I could find on Mud there was an issue with the starter placement.

I did not know I would still need a new transmission with the Toyota diesel that's good to know. I will look in to the 1HZ though sounds like an possible option.

I haven't heard of the Hino before I will look into them.

Thanks for all the input :cheers:
Not trying to burst any bubbles, but you mentioned having to pass a Cali type emissions.test... you did check to see if a diesel is a "legal" swap right? In Cali, (the CARB and BAR are prettt well definied when it comes to swaps) aside from engines being same model year or newer with all pertinent smog equipment, the engine has to also be EPA certified and it has to come from the same vehicle type I.e. you can't put a medium duty truck engine (cummins 4BT) into a light duty SUV (Land Cruiser). Also, there might be restrictions on going from gas to diesel, but not diesel to gas or gas to CNG, LPG, etc.

Again, this applies to Cali. If none these apply in Arizona more reason to like AZ (your gun laws are awesome!!)
I have checked into it it is legal to swap It has to pass the emissions test so it will need a cats. The toyota diesels and the 6.5 both came out of light trucks so I should have all my bases covered, and yes AZ gun laws are awesome!!
What are you estimated costs for both the GM and the Toyota diesels? I'm curious what the difference is. I wouldn't think twice, I would go with the Toyota engine over the GM or not do the swap at all.
From what I have read on various diesel boards, most of the hazards of the 6.5 can be reduced/eliminated during the re-manufacturing process. More $$$, but more peace of mind. I would look at the NV 4500 adapted to a Toyota split case for the drive line. Go window shopping and test drive one in a full sized pickup and you will find out what they are really like. John
estimated costs for the GM about 6k for the engine 3k for the transmission and torque converter and 1,500 for the adapter for the t-case and about 6,500 for the install for the Toyota 1HD-FT the cheapest one I have found so far is 11k just found out I need a transmission and torque converter so not sure what that's going to run and install 5,500 I am going to look into a 1HZ and see what they run and a turbo to go with it the install prices will most likely go up a little for miscellaneous parts on the install.

Yes I also read that the 6.5s get helped out on the re-manufacture and they also have a high flow water pump and duel thermostats that really help with the over heating issues and a couple of other tricks that help reliability.
Another vote here for the cummins. Widely available and you could get a low mileage one for a good price. As far as the noise, who cares? Is it that big of a deal?
I would also compare the torque and HP ratings for each motor.
I hand my fair share of loud trucks and cars when I was younger and to be honest I'm kinda done with it I'm just not a big fan of LOUD any more. :cheers:
From what I can find on the web the 1HD-FT is running 168 hp and 280 ft-lbs
the GM has 215 hp and 440 ft-lbs
the 1HZ has 135 hp and 187 ft-lbs before turbo
Here are a few folks on Mud to bounce Diesel ideas off of:

  • Torfab
  • 70sguy
  • Lynchmob
  • Orangefj45
  • Radd Cruisers
  • Jan-78FJ40
  • Gifu

Each has been deeply involved with Toyota Diesel transplants, and can help to ground you with the ups and downs, costs, etc. Having recently been neck deep in the search for a motor, I can guarantee it will take patience and plenty of $$$. BTW, OrangeFJ45 (Georg) of Valley Hybrids is handling my conversion, and they had no less than three rigs getting swaps when I was in their shop three weeks ago.


Thanks for the info I will look them up
How much do you enjoy wiring? If you do enjoy it or if you enjoy torturing yourself you should consider any of the engines with the AW 450 transmission (Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Hino, UD etc...) You swap in the output shaft and tailhousing from an A442 (early 95 and older Land Cruiser) and make an aluminum spacer plate and it bolts up to your transfer case. If you shop around for a while you should be able to find a truck (maybe wrecked) that doesn't have anything mechanically wrong with it for less than what you're talking for the other engines. Or you could get one that needs rebuilding and get a first class education into the inner workings of diesel engines. The 4.9L Mitsubishi 4M50 uses the same injection pump as the 1HD-FT, has 175hp/2700rpm and 347ft.lbs/1800. It is quieter and less vibration than an 01 5.9 Cummins; you definitely know it's a diesel and it has nice turbo whistle but it's not at all obnoxious.

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