What about a 3.0 Powerstroke Drivetrain Swap? - Ford Bronco Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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What about a 3.0 Powerstroke Drivetrain Swap?

First of all: Sorry for the clickbaitish title.

My 5.8w is getting really hard to find niche parts for (crank tone ring on the harmonic balancer) and expensive to repair since I don't have the time to do it myself (1k for oil pan?? apparently they have to drop the front axle to do it...). So I've been considering an engine swap to something economical while still putting out near the same numbers as the 5.8 since it's my daily. My goal is a reliable daily, maintain or improve power numbers with an engine and possibly transmission swap (only, if possible), and improve mpg.

After doing a lot of researching and reading, I decided on a 4bt as it seems to put out good torque numbers and depending on the config can easily be tweaked to produce higher numbers. As far as I read, they are good for 300k miles or so, too, after a rebuild or brand new. More research later and I decide that I'll probably just have the e40d rebuilt with 4r100 parts to make sure it handles the torque okay and I shouldn't have to (immediately anyway..) replace other drivetrain parts.

After bumming around a bit and looking at copart, I'm seeing a couple of totaled 3.0 powerstrokes that still run and drive with really low miles selling for 8k or less. Well that engine puts out about the same power as my v8, is a diesel, better mpg, same weight, and has a 10R80 in it. Wouldn't that be slick?

So really what I'm asking is for opinions on that kind of swap. I don't have experience doing swaps (except a 327 in an fj40 once..) and so I'm not sure what things I'll need to take into consideration. I understand money will be a thing if I ask a shop to help me do it. I'm willing to consider a reasonable one since if I were able to swap out the whole drivetrain, it would still be a lot cheaper than a new(er) $60k+ truck. Also I really like the Bronco.

It seems like there isn't a lot of info (if any at all) out there regarding something like this since the 3.0 is so new. So I imagine a lot of custom fab work.


Will it be too involved since the new trucks vs a Bronco have a lot more technology and electronics in them?
What things am I not considering and what opinions do you fine folks have?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 09:36 AM
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We have a 1995 7.3L PowerStroke F250..... many times have I said, "I would love to have a diesel in this Bronco."

Watching this one.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 08:04 PM
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First of all, I am a huge fan of newer technology in older rigs.....of any kind. That is, unless they are something rare or highly optioned originals. I am fuel infecting my Falcon and my Fairlane will eventually get a Coyote engine and six speed.

Wait for it......I will keep it short......easy to get carried away on this....

BUT, a swap with a really new drivetrain is MUCH, MUCH more than just fabricating brackets and cross members to make it fit in the hole! I don't know you or your abilities.... One of the big hurdles(there are many) is harness and computer modifications to make the drivetrain stand alone. Usually one can't just not use wires they don't need.

The newer ECM's are communicating with many other modules and sensors, etc. If not programmed to not look for things you don't use.....it will be salty and uncooperative. It also looks for the presence of the key fob. I am not claiming to be an expert. I have had some experience with swaps of this nature.

There are MANY other issues as well, but this post was just intended to get the wheels turning in your noggin. After all, the ones in our heads have to turn before the one of our projects!

My point is BEFORE a project of is nature has begun, as many future questions that may arise should already be answered


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-12-2019, 09:06 PM
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I am not a mechanic! If it is in the slightest bit technical I wont do it. With that being said I am having the drive train changed to a completely deferent drive train. Since I don't have the experience to complete the swap, and I want the job done right, I have went to a shop that specializes in this type of project.

I have budgeted 20 thousand for the swap, and that is just for the engine, transmission and 2sp Atlas, all parts are new. This is a toy not my daily driver.

If you are planning to have this for a daily driver I would stay away from anything exotic.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-13-2019, 12:21 AM
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Id rather a Chevy 350

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-13-2019, 12:53 AM
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SkyMaster.......Blasphemy!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-13-2019, 10:09 AM
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That sounds awesome. Your budget sounds decent. Iíll bet there is a programmer out there that would happily discuss the ECU changes needed to perform this. PPEI tunes those ECUís. Maybe a call to them would either ease your install or tell you it canít happen. Iíd bet a case of beer can be done though. The key fob is a simple fix. I had aftermarket remote start on a vehicle that needed a chipped key. I just had to put another key in close proximity to the ignition halo. Being that you donít have a chip and the security it provides newer vehicles, I wouldnít view that as a deal breaker. Plus the proximity keys have a much bigger area to pick up the signal. Might be cool to have the security option the proximity key provides. Just my opinion.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for getting back late, went on a 400+ mile jaunt around the northeast on the wing.

So I visited an auto fab shop that expressed a lot of interest and excitement if I were able to provide them the opportunity to do a 3.0 powerstroke swap. He also mentioned that all the extra sensor and tech goodies would be a pain and the shop owner mentioned he'd have to do research to see if there is a software already available to modify the ECU to remove the things I wouldn't need. Although he did mention the labor costs involved would be pretty high because of uninstalling from a wreck and reinstalling into the bronco - which I expected but I'm hoping not to get to the 20k range like @Blue1551 haha. I was thinking of a 15k upper limit. I forgot to ask if they'd let me help out to save a bit there. However, If I do get a running/driving salvage, I could part it out to recoup costs hopefully?

@89Survivor Thanks for getting some grease in the gears of my brain. I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to also consider attempting a dash swap to retain some functionality of the extra goodies, though I'm sure I'm talking about adding a hefty chunk to the price tag with that idea.

@SkyMaster I've had a couple buddies look me in the eye and go "Just LS swap it!".
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 05:57 PM
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I've discussed this same swap with a couple of custom shops. They love the idea but had no idea what all would be involved. I'm going to guess that the shop that did the Rapter Bronco swap
https://www.motorauthority.com/news/...the-skin-video
had to go through the same process with that swap as you would with the 3.0 Powerstroke. Swapping the engine, transmission and transfer case would be the route that I would go. The transmission is matched to the engine's power curve and will perform the best as a unit.
The Cummins R2.8 swaps are using the ZF 8HP70 transmission as it is 'tuned' for this engine. And Dodge is using this transmission behind their EcoDiesel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZF_8HP_transmission

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:38 PM
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Sorry for getting back late, went on a 400+ mile jaunt around the northeast on the wing.

So I visited an auto fab shop that expressed a lot of interest and excitement if I were able to provide them the opportunity to do a 3.0 powerstroke swap. He also mentioned that all the extra sensor and tech goodies would be a pain and the shop owner mentioned he'd have to do research to see if there is a software already available to modify the ECU to remove the things I wouldn't need. Although he did mention the labor costs involved would be pretty high because of uninstalling from a wreck and reinstalling into the bronco - which I expected but I'm hoping not to get to the 20k range like @Blue1551 haha. I was thinking of a 15k upper limit. I forgot to ask if they'd let me help out to save a bit there. However, If I do get a running/driving salvage, I could part it out to recoup costs hopefully?


@89Survivor Thanks for getting some grease in the gears of my brain. I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to also consider attempting a dash swap to retain some functionality of the extra goodies, though I'm sure I'm talking about adding a hefty chunk to the price tag with that idea.

@SkyMaster I've had a couple buddies look me in the eye and go "Just LS swap it!".
I'm definitely not trying to talk you out of the project! As I mentioned, there are MANY other caveats, not just the ones I mentioned. I think it would be a badass swap indeed!

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:09 PM
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SkyMaster I've had a couple buddies look me in the eye and go "Just LS swap it!".
Hell yeah, LS with a Holley four barrel

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 08:34 PM
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Hell yeah, LS with a Holley four barrel
You're killing me smalls....

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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I'm going to keep my eye out for another wrecked 2018+ 3.0 powerstroke... but the one I was bidding on got out of hand and I wasn't about to spend 22k on a totaled truck. So... I'll keep looking for that or a 4bt of a certain config... and when one comes along at a decent price, I'll likely go that route. Sorry for the disappointment... but there's still a chance the 3.0 will happen!

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 01:10 PM
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I was trying to wrap my head around how a truck that new could be that cheap like thinking wtf happened to the thing... 22k sounds more like it. I love my 4bt if that helps you any. 20k should leave you some room with a 4BT to upgrade to heavier axles. I know the mechanics work cheaper around here but I had 3k in labor paying for it to be swapped in to my 79 and switched to a manual 5 spd.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah @curtwow it was a complete rollover, so I didn't think it would sell for that much anyhow. It was at 7k for several days and in the last hour shot up to 22k Oh well. A few more have gone up in better shape so I don't expect them to go for less. But in other news... I located a 4bt in the config I want (cpl#1839 w p7100 pump) nearby. So I think I'll go that route and just beef up my e40d. 3k labor would be sweet but I'm thinking the shop I'm trying to go through is looking at like 5k. I need to go back and get a more accurate idea.

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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 10:14 AM
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The problem with shops that are willing to do this kind of swap - but don't have the experience of doing this kind of swap - is the labor hour "creep". They will estimate so many hours of labor at X amount per hours. So they are halfway through and realize they seriously underestimated the labor needed - you think they're going to eat the labor costs? They won't. I would be wary of any shop that did not have experience with a diesel swap and gave you a low labor estimate. Find a shop with experience in this kind of swap - no matter where they are located - and call them and see how much they charge in labor. Then compare.

Most people seriously underestimate labor times. I've seen more than a few gear heads start their own shop, then go out of business because of not estimate / budgeting for labor correctly. Also, experience with similar swaps actually saves them time / labor and you money - because they've done them before and they will of course take less time to do it because of this experience.

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