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Krooser 09-07-2012 03:44 AM

1997 engine swap
After 240,000 miles it seems my 5.2 is getting tired. And I just ran about 40 laps goofing off on the dirt track at my Rumblefest hot rod show last weekend and now I have an engine miss that MAY be a bent pushrod (I guess running 5500 RPM's down the straights didn't help!).

So I was at my local salvage yard today looking for some newer tires and I asked about used engines. The guy has several to choose from... most are 5.9's. One in particular is a '97 with only 130K on the clock... $400.00.

My question is will swapping in a 5.9 require anything special? Like also using the ECM from the donor truck?


Chunkem 09-08-2012 08:57 AM

Let us know how you make out and please keep us updated.....

Krooser 09-08-2012 11:27 PM

I get the impression that I'll need the flywheel and convertor and maybe the ECM. That should do it...

Regarding the engine miss.. it turned out to be an oil fouled spark plug. This engine does OK on oil if I run SAE 40... not so good with multi-grades. I think I may have a scored cylinder or a broken ring land on #8....

Now to pick an engine...

Gen1dak 09-09-2012 02:36 AM

The balance weight on a '97 is on the flexplate, so use the 5.9 flexplate and any zero-balance converter (5.2/5.9, 1996 or newer). Use matching computer.

Krooser 09-09-2012 09:45 AM


Originally Posted by Gen1dak (Post 884514)
The balance weight on a '97 is on the flexplate, so use the 5.9 flexplate and any zero-balance converter (5.2/5.9, 1996 or newer). Use matching computer.


Warlock III 09-09-2012 11:04 AM

I don't see why it is always suggested to use a "matching computer".

I have interchanged the 5.2 and the 5.9 engines and/or computers repeatedly without incident. They use the same electronic components, firing order, etc...

I learned years ago even in my '90 Ramcharger (supposed to be 1 year only ECM lol) that even the F/S van 5.2 and 5.9 ECM's were interchangeable...without incident.

As long as you're sticking with the same trans I know from experience that it doesn't matter which ECM you use.

The 3.9's even interchange with the F/S van and Dakotas...without incident...because I've done that many times. Especially when there's not an exact match anywhere to be found.

Used parts suppliers use the information they have at hand and constantly tell customer's that it's a one year only exact interchange. However the software they use is entered by someone that sits behind a desk with probably very little to no hands on experience.

As an example try to find a fender for a '95 Ford van and they'll tell you that it only interchanges up to '97. Then I wish someone would tell me how it's an exact fit for an '02 because I've done that too.

How do I know it doesn't matter which ECM you use? Because I've done it at least 25-50 times.

Gen1dak 09-09-2012 09:25 PM

On the computer, it has always seemed to me that the OBD II's could be re-programmed(flashed) to whatever was needed, then someone chimes in and says there's something particular between different engine, etc. I've also seen where computer swaps will work the basics fine, but certain options on the vehicle won't work unless the vehicle VIN is flashed to the computer in use. From what I've seen, it tends to be more about throwing ros in the way of exactly shat we are trying to do with these swaps. My suggestion on computers is to use as close to what matches the vehicle to minimize unforseen issues. Oh for the days of carb swaps and no computers.

Krooser 09-26-2012 06:50 AM

So I went to visit the guys I know at a different junkyard yesterday and I found a '94 5.2 with a fairly recent rebuild for $300.00. So I put some $$$ down and I'll pick it up when I get back there in a week or so.

Dealing with the intake swap won't be a big deal... I'll probably pull the pan to take a peek at the bearings just to be sure it's good to go...

Talltwisted1 09-27-2012 10:30 PM

just did a 5.9 swap and chasing major gremlins but good luck let me know how it goes

Krooser 10-14-2012 03:36 AM

I picked up the "new" 5.2 a few days ago... it's on the stand waiting for it's turn... I'll probably install a new timing chain and pull the pan to check the bottom end just to be safe.

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