Online Engine Rebuilding Education Programs

Things To Know About Engine-Swapping

The practice of engine swapping is nothing new, and dates back to a time when materials like rich mahogany and canvas were regulars amongst the automotive design arsenal. Stuffing bigger, more powerful engines into smaller, lighter-weight chassis is one of the most effective ways of generating a power-to-weight ratio that the factory won’t. Your grandpappy did it; so can you.

The number and variations of engine swaps are seemingly limitless, but the principles for one that doesn’t end up in failure don’t change. Sandwiching an engine in between a unibody is the easy part; getting ancillaries like electronics and power steering to work as well as properly retrofitting fuel and cooling systems into place can mean the difference between a fully functioning hybrid or 2,500-pounds worth of salvage stuck between you and your lawnmower. At the very least, these engine swap checklist considerations should be made before starting any power-plant switcharoo.

Engine Swap Checklist

  • The Right Car
  • An Engine
  • Engine Mounts
  • Axles and Drivetrain
  • Pedals
  • Shifter
  • Fuel System
  • Cooling System
  • A/C and Power Steering
  • Intake and Exhaust

Changing An Engine Is More Than Just Changing An Engine

Changing an engine is never as easy as changing an engine. You will spend more time in the scrapyard searching for pieces than you ever thought possible. There are several reports of people attempting this feat, only to end up with a piece of junk at the end of the day.

Your sweat and tears will mix with the dirt of your labor, and by the end of your project, you should feel glad because you achieved the impossible. It might be hard at times, but it is never enough to give up on your dream of performing an engine swap.

Understand The Effect Of The Added Weight

This is true for anyone putting a different engine into their vehicle. People have been known to remove a 300-pound engine and place in a 600-pound engine without thinking about the consequences. Your car is only meant to carry so much weight, and adding a larger engine can cause it to bog down, or cause issues with your chassis and suspension.

It is definitely possible to do this, as we have seen with the classic American muscle cars, but it is not always smart. You want to ensure your car has a stable center of gravity and upgrade it to be able to handle this added weight.

Never Force Anything

It might be frustrating when pieces refuses to come out or go together, but forcing anything will only cause major damage. Many times, people try to pry something out of their car, but the problem is that there is still one bolt holding it together.

Another error is when people try to force the engine and transmission together, which is a huge mistake because these should fall easily together. If you crack your transmission because you tried to force something, you will not be happy. Damaging this is the last thing you want to happen, as it will lead to a costly replacement.

Expect Challenges To Arise

All engine swaps are not created equal, and the cars are ultimately changed by the end of the process. Your new engine might not fit with the hoses and other components from your old engine, which can put you in a predicament.

This is part of the reason why doing research is so important, so you know exactly what you might need in addition to the engine itself. It is always recommended you use an engine from the same manufacturer as they are generally easier to install, but putting in an engine from a different company is a whole other story.

Special Rules For Inline Engines

When performing an engine swap, you usually have to remove the intake manifold and the exhaust manifold. This is not the case with inline engines, as you have the luxury of disconnecting them and pushing them aside. It is about fourteen bolts, but it will save you a tremendous amount of time.

Usually, you would have to reconnect all of the sensors and plumbing when the new engine is dropped in, but it is not necessary when you choose an inline engine.

Understand The Risks Before Going For The Reward

You should understand the amount of work that goes into these vehicles, and be able to figure out how to do it well. Oftentimes, people who have no idea what they are doing perform some shady repairs that result in a faulty engine. They use alternative methods that can lead to dangerous mishaps and potentially put everyone involved at risk.

If you plan on upgrading your steering and suspension at the same time as en engine swap, make sure you understand the complexity of the process. No one wants to see their pet project go up in flames (literally), but crazier things have happened when someone doesn’t understand the risks of their actions.

Should You Fix Up or Break Up With Your Car?

You’re looking at a $1,200 repair estimate for your ailing car when an ad catches your eye: a brand new set of wheels for a mere $450 a month.

At first, dumping your old car might seem like a no-brainer — and you can’t help picturing how good you would look in that new car. But automotive experts say you’ll almost always come out ahead — at least financially — by fixing old faithful. There are, however, other important considerations when deciding whether it’s time to say farewell.

Deciding what to do

To make the best decision for your situation, consider the pros and cons of both options.


  • Faster than shopping for and buying a new vehicle.
  • No change in insurance costs.
  • The car’s history is known.
  • You won’t waste time and money advertising and selling your car.
  • But your repaired car might soon need more repairs.


  • Purchase can include warranties and sometimes maintenance.
  • Recent cars have advanced safety features.
  • Younger cars are more reliable.
  • You’ll stop wasting time schlepping to the repair garage.
  • But a new car loan is a long-term financial commitment.