A Engine Swap Information

I've been receiving a lot of questions about engine swaps and there seems a need for some sort of resource for that information so here goes.

Swapping in an engine is probably one of the single steps that leads to very significant performance improvement, but with electronically controlled fuel injection engines, it isn't as easy as the old days where the biggest concern was how to adapt the throttle linkage for the carburator on two different muscle car engines.

The one very convenient thing with the Isuzu models is that within the various model ranges, the vehicles were manufactured with all of the mounting positions for the entire range of engines available in that model, making installation much less a matter of fabricating mounts and adaptors and much more a matter of collecting all of the various pieces to bolt into the positions that are already there.

This is by no means an instruction guide but is meant to give a general idea of what is involved with doing an engine swap on a Isuzu car. I am confident that there are many, many details that are not included in this information. One thing that you should have before even beginining to obtain parts is a Isuzu shop manual for both the vehicle you will be installing the engine in as well as the vehicle you will be using the engine out of. These books will give you something to set side-by-side to compare and contrast and instruct you on both removal of the original parts as well as installation of the transplant parts.

One note on power ratings, different ratings in different markets is mostly due to varying emissions requirements, availability of different grades of fuel, and ECU programming to compensate for these two variables. Japan, Europe, and Australia had no catalytic converters until a few years ago and Japan has a minimum fuel octane around 101.
Also keep in mind that there are slightly different power rating systems in each market as well.

1981-89 Impulse and Piazza JR
1985-89 I-Mark, Spectrum, and Gemini JT
1990-93 Impulse and Piazza, Stylus and Gemini, Asuna Sunfire, and Geo Storm

Overall, performing an engine swap is a bit more complicated than just buying a used engine and bolting it into the car. The electronic controls and fuel injection systems require changing the controls, wiring, and ECU with the engine for best results. It is easiest to simply scrounge the wiring harness and brain and just rerun the transplant wire harness in the place of your original wire harness. It is possible to splice some of the wiring harness, but it could take years of aggrivateion which has resulted in more than a few projects being towed to the salvage yard.
For some of the turbo engine swaps, it would be easiest to just buy the entire turbo car, intact, and set it aside the vehicle you will be transplanting the engine into. This will allow side-by-side comparison and you can work directly from one vehicle into the other vehicle with all of the controls, solenoids, actuators, etc.
It is also possible to use a aftermarket computer system, the best of which is the Iperformance system from Isuzuperformance.

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