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Ford F250: Changing the 460 Gas Engine to a 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel


jt2016
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for starters I was inquiring about swapping the gas engine i have in my 1996 ford f250 crew cab and putting a 7.3 turbo diesel in it,i currently have the 460 big block in it now and don't think that i will have any issues pulling the 460 out and swapping it for the 7.3. i would also like to put a manual transmission in it, and just wanted to cover my bases before i dive into tearing it down. any advice is helpful

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Welcome to the forums, jt2016!  The swap is possible, though I would ask whether this truck requires emissions inspections.  If so, the swap would require an engine the same year or newer than the chassis and the use of any/all emission related chassis or engine parts considered part of the 1996 7.3L Powerstroke package.

If I were doing this swap, including the engine and a manual transmission, I would seek an intact donor vehicle for the prototype.  You want to compare any and all components that make up the difference between the engine and transmission packages.  This could be considerable work, and you need to verify items like the fuel pump, fuel lines, mounts, the exhaust system, any cooling system/radiator needs, essentially a side-by-side comparison of parts.

With the manual transmission conversion, there's the steering column if you want to get rid of the column shifter, the pedal mechanism for the clutch/brake, any wiring differences between the 7.3L diesel and the 460 gasoline engine (EFI) and so forth.  The main concern would be sensors and wiring harness differences underhood, plus the ECU and the fuel pump. 

I've considered a manual transmission swap with our 2005 Dodge Ram.  In hindsight, I'd have preferred a 6-speed manual transmission over the 48RE automatic.  However, the task of changing out the transmission, flywheel and clutch parts, accounting for all of the chassis, steering column and other differences, would likely have me weighing the sale of our truck and purchase of a manual transmission model in identical or similar condition...In real terms, your proposed project contains many of these challenges.

Happy to provide illustrations of parts if a specific question comes up.  The diesel engine chassis is simpler than the gasoline models as a whole.  The kicker might be your desire to change the transmission, although I applaud that notion.  As a footnote, you need to consider the spring rates for the front springs of a 460 versus 7.3L model.  As heavy as the big-block gas engine is, the 7.3L Powerstroke could be heavier!

Moses

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  • 5 years later...

I have a question for you guys. I have a 94 f250 4x4 that has 460 engine, I also have around same year 2 wheel drive with the power stroke engine! Can the power stroke engine be put in the truck with the 460 gas engine? I have been told it will bolt to the transmission, others have said it will not bolt up. Any help would be appreciated.Thanks 

 

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GhostOverwatch...You did not mention the transmissions involved.  Are these manual (ZF), automatic overdrive E4OD or 3-speed C-6 automatic transmissions?  The 7.3L engine uses an adapter between the transmission bellhousing or converter housing and the engine block.  The engine is a Navistar medium-duty truck design.

Before considering this swap, the fuel supply system, evaporative emission system and engine wiring harness must match up with the diesel.  This could be the time-consuming part of the project.  You have the underhood harness for a 460 V-8 gasoline engine now.  You would need the harness or wiring for the 7.3L diesel.  This goes from the dash through the engine bay and to the fuel pump.

These conversions "can" be done.  I would not attempt the job without a factory workshop manual that covers both the diesel and gasoline engines.  I have a 1993 set that I referenced when writing my Ford F-Series Pickup Owner's Bible (Bentley Publishers).  Ford did a great job on these manuals.  See if you can find a set for your 1994 chassis and powertrain.  The two book set for 1993 covers "Body/Chassis" in one book and "Powertrain/Drivetrain" in the other.  You might find a set at eBay or an automotive used book supply.

The manual shows frame and engine mount differences, powertrain fit-up and many other details.  A Ford dealership parts person can also fill in details.  This swap begins with engine to transmission mating plus mounting the engine in the chassis.  Then there's the cooling, wiring, exhaust, fuel supply system and other details I've mentioned.  Consider the work involved and parts before committing to this project.

Moses

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