Swapping any of the 4.x series engines...
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Cadillac Tech Tips - How to fix it Discussion, Swapping any of the 4.x series engines... in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; In the past few weeks here on the forums I have noticed that there have been a lot of questions ...
  1. #1
    illumina's Avatar
    illumina is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Exclamation Swapping any of the 4.x series engines...

    In the past few weeks here on the forums I have noticed that there have been a lot of questions in regards to swapping a 4.9 liter engine into a car that has its power coming from a 4.1 liter engine and so on. In a generally swift answer to the question of "can you place a 4.9 liter engine into an '87 *insert Cadillac here*"? The quick answer will be no. Not that it cannot be done, but there are several factors to the equation of swapping a 4.9 liter engine into a 4.1 liter powered car.

    Over the next few days I'll do my best to explain the pros and cons about this swap, so please be patient and enjoy the articles as they come your way...

    Also keep in mind that this will generally be about a 4.1 to 4.9 liter swap...I'll work on other swaps over time, but I'm starting with this one. Now on to the swapping...

    If one would like to do a quick swap, that is, placing an entire 4.9 liter engine with everything attached to it, into a car that has (or had) a 4.1 liter engine, then yes, the answer will be a resounding no: you cannot just swap the engines and expect the ignition to fire up.

    Reasons you ask?


    Well, this is simple: for a swap of this type, you pretty much have to take the entire (and I do mean entire) engine controll system, the 4t60e transmission, every little wire in between, and more to the car the engine is intended to power. We'll look into the details a little later on...

    If you have that kind of cash and know-how, then by all means, give it a shot. Otherwise, prepare yourself for a long journey into switching around basically an entire car just to make the power that a standard 4.9 liter powered car will give you.

    Does that mean that you cannot use a 4.9 liter engine?

    No, it doesn't mean that you can't use the 4.9 liter, but you do have to have some mechanical knowledge to make that swap work.

    When I say that you can use the 4.9 liter engine, I pretty much mean that you can use the block only. Everything else from the engine has to go in favor of the 4.1 liter hardware, including the cylinder heads.

    Why do the cylinder heads have to go?

    To the best of my knowledge the cylinder heads for the 4.9 liter engine have slightly different intake runner and water passage alignments to accomodate the MPFI intake manifold. I believe that even the valve diameters are different, and thus makes swapping the heads un-manageable...Go ahead and try if you would like to, but I'll bet my money elsewhere.

    Okay, that's it for right now. I have to go to work so that I can continue to pay my exorbitant internet bill!

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  3. #2
    illumina's Avatar
    illumina is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
    Automobile(s): '98 Buick Regal LS - '91 Caddy Seville - '87 Caddy Seville!
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    Thread Starter

    Re: Swapping any of the 4.x series engines...

    If we recall from yesterday's article, I stated that placing a 4.9 liter engine into a car that was an OE (original equiptment) 4.1 liter, you're going to run the gamut of issues with that swap. In short detail, here's the rundown:

    a.) You cannot easily run the MPFI components of the 4.9 liter in a 4.1 powered car,

    b.) If you chosse to do the above, you're going to have to basically convert the entire power/drivetrain to that of a 4.9 liter powered car,

    c.) If you like your body style over that of the 4.9 generation, then by all means, keep reading for what you may have to do in order to get it done...

    To swap an entire drive/powertrain into your, let's say an '86 Deville for example, be prepared to relocate every piece of hardware in the engine compartment so that it resembles that of a '92 Deville. Get a camera if you must to get a clear idea of what the engine bay of a '92 looks like, because that's what you're going to need as a refference point for every little detail...

    *If you aren't getting the main point here, then read further*

    While we're at it, get a clear idea on the ECM/BCM locations, wire routing, and everything else in between. Allthough I'm not too sure, you may need to take the main communications module from the '92 as well.

    *If you aren't getting the main point here, then read further*

    In short, when you're at the junkyard getting all that you need from the doner '92 Deville, I would highly suggest purchasing the whole car so that you won't be nickled and dimed to death.

    *If you aren't getting the main point here, then read further*

    The easiest way to go about this entire method is to have a good garage to work in. Plenty of hand tools are needed as well...

    Now take the '86 Deville and clean out the engine bay, the entire dashboard, and the undernieth of the dash and glove box. This means that all wires, hoses, and everything else should be removed so that you can accommodate the new computer hardware and wiring for your new 4.9 liter '86 Deville. While you're at it, the steering column might need to be replaced because of the complexities of the PASS-key system and the standard airbag systems found on all of the 4.9 liter powered cars.

    *If you still aren't getting the main point here, then read further*

    Now remember what I said about basically converting everything from the doner '92 Deville to your '86 Deville? Do so now. Because I haven't actually tried this method at home, I can't lead you to where you want to go with this swap other than the aforementioned basic tips.

    Tomorrow we will try something else if you are still dead-set on swapping in a 4.9 liter into your '86 Deville...

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