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Old 02-03-2018, 10:05 PM   #1
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1997 4x4 V10 to diesel conversion?

I have a 1997 Sportsmobile, clean body, rust free which is rare here in the rust belt. The V10 with 200k on it threw a spark plug out and I don't want to repair it. I'm planning an Alaska trip in 2019 and don't want this tired engine. A 1999 E350 4x2 with a 7.3L Powerstroke popped up on craigslist with 115k miles on it dirt cheap so i bought it. I meant to research these type of conversions before purchasing the diesel van but I didn't have time to.

I am a very experienced mechanic having done many other gas to diesel conversions in non Ford vehicles. Many other motor replacements as well. I assume this won't be fun, having to change wiring harnesses, etc. But I also assume it can be done since its similar era E350 to similar era E350 vans. I realize I will likely have to change transmissions as well and I am not worried about that. Likely fuel tank swap too.

Has anyone done this conversion? I imagine this is not easy but definitely possible. I'm in no hurry so I plan on working on this over the next 12 month. Is there any reason I shouldn't? I have a well equipped shop and tools.
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Old 02-03-2018, 11:45 PM   #2
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A body swap would be easier. You'd want to pull the body anyways to do the engine swap. Besides the entire engine electrical harness, you'd be swapping the fuel systems (except the tank) as well.

Repairing the V10 isn't hard, and will likely be more reliable in the long run compared to the 7.3L.

Your V10 has the E4OD which is mechanically similar to the 4R100 behind the '99 Power-stroke (and V10s) but is controlled differently. Plus the torque converter stall speeds are different.
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:32 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by carringb View Post
Repairing the V10 isn't hard, and will likely be more reliable in the long run compared to the 7.3L.
And cost a lot less to maintain.

Wait...are we allowed to discuss diesel VS gas any longer on this forum? 10 years ago we were prohibited to have that discussion. Hey, here it is,
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...eads-1020.html

Bailiff, instruct the jury to disregard A/T's comments.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.........................
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Old 02-04-2018, 01:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by carringb View Post
A body swap would be easier. You'd want to pull the body anyways to do the engine swap. Besides the entire engine electrical harness, you'd be swapping the fuel systems (except the tank) as well.

Repairing the V10 isn't hard, and will likely be more reliable in the long run compared to the 7.3L.

Your V10 has the E4OD which is mechanically similar to the 4R100 behind the '99 Power-stroke (and V10s) but is controlled differently. Plus the torque converter stall speeds are different.
Careful there is a special place in hell for anyone speaking ill of a 7.3 Powerstroke
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Old 02-04-2018, 09:36 AM   #5
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Welcome Twilkins. I'm a V10 fan and would just find a low mileage one from a salvage yard if I were you. From your background you probably know after about 98 the spark plug issues went away and they are extremely reliable otherwise.

If you really want to go down this path you may want to get in touch with Chris at Ujoint Offroad. He pulls bodies all the time and has answered lots of questions for folks who wanted to do a diesel/gas swap. I inquired about it one time and he quickly talked me out of it. Sounds like you have a lot more know how than me though. He's much more active on Expedition Portal but you can find him anywhere vans are these days. If you do this lots of people will be interested in following along!

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Old 02-04-2018, 10:15 AM   #6
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Careful there is a special place in hell for anyone speaking ill of a 7.3 Powerstroke
I guess I'm going there then. I'm likely the most anti-7.3L of anyone here.
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:10 PM   #7
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I guess I'm going there then. I'm likely the most anti-7.3L of anyone here.
Well, it looks like the door is open on this one. I've always felt the cost to maintain, repair, and upgrade a 6.0 or 7.3 is far too high compared to a V8 or V10 (unless your towing heavy loads). Just the cost of an oil change is silly, not to mention the cost of what seems to be routine maintenance like njectors or a HPOP. Gas motors eat fuel pumps or coils once in a while, but I can't think of any other routine failures. I'm sure we couild all go on for days about what routine failures diesels suffer. I would fix or replace the V10. Ok, I've said my piece, flame away................
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:36 PM   #8
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I've always felt the cost to maintain, repair, and upgrade a 6.0 or 7.3 is far too high compared to a V8 or V10 (unless your towing heavy loads).
The V10 does better at that too! While the 7.3L is easy to add more power, it comes at the expense of high EGTs. The V10 is a little harder to add more power to, but comes with few adverse affects to reliability.

Tow much with the 7.3L, and you'll need a built transmission. Tow much with the V10, and I swear the transmission lasts longer. My theory is takes towing to get it warm enough to cook off corrosion-causing moisture.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:32 PM   #9
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How many times do I have to say this V10
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:01 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the reply's. Maybe I will stick with the V10 on this one. Maybe I will do the diesel swap on my other quigley (non SMB) just because everyone told me not too
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