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Thread: Anyone seen a John Deere tractor engine in a Ford pickup?

  1. #1

    Default Anyone seen a John Deere tractor engine in a Ford pickup?

    A friend at the school wants to put a turbocharged JD tractor engine in place of the blown-up six in his old F150. He asked me about making adapters to go between the engine and automatic transmission. Anyone ever seen such an arrangement?

    The normal hookup for the engine is a short driveshaft with U-joints on each end between the torsion damper on the flywheel and the transmission input. That's a bit long for the truck unless the transmission is moved back and the truck's original driveshaft is shortened.

    There's nothing on the back of the JD engine that's suitable for bolting the AT case to, so I'd need to make something from scratch that is highly concentric to the flywheel.

    I'm inclined to decline getting involved in this project because of the complexity of the adapters involved and my total lack of experience with machining large chunks of heavy metal. Maybe seeing how someone else has done it would be helpful.

    My best idea so far is to cut off the back of the Ford engine to get all the parts that mate to the AT. Then I'd cut off the crankshaft and fabricate an adapter to mate to the JD driveshaft. I'd need to do something about the rear main bearing, but at least all the big parts requiring precision machining would be taken care of.

    I suppose I should add that this is just a for-fun project to see what they can do with what they have on hand. Everyone involved knows that good-running bolt-in Ford sixes are readily available and relatively inexpensive.
    Last edited by winchman; 04-21-2010 at 04:32 AM.

  2. #2
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    HI Roger..

    A adapter I bought for Pontiac to Chevy bellhousing was just a 1/8" flat plate..one bolted to the trans, other to the block.. Kinda like a ford mid plate..

    Now, hitting all them holes w/crankshaft centered.. I used the cnc to probe the holes and wrote down the xy locations..

    About time again.. I got this lil quad4 in the corner..
    Excuse me, I farted.

  3. #3
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    Check out this video, there is a company doing it. You do have to make sure the components have the torsional rigidity to stand up to the diesel power.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxnU3F6EM-0
    Jim H.

  4. #4
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    It's much easier if they are the same class bellhousings, gas to real diesel engines seldom are but it doesn't mean it can't be done.......usually see more Detroit Diesels and 5.9's being swapped in but anythings game........
    Opportunity knocks once, temptation leans on the doorbell.....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCHannum
    Check out this video, there is a company doing it. You do have to make sure the components have the torsional rigidity to stand up to the diesel power.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxnU3F6EM-0


    That is very interesting!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCHannum
    You do have to make sure the components have the torsional rigidity to stand up to the diesel power.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxnU3F6EM-0

    Better be careful, you'll have Evan over here on a rant!

  7. #7
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    I have to admit...it's an interesting conversion job. But, even if you get everything concentric, and working correctly, you'll still have a nose-heavy pickup with plenty of torque and a top speed of about 60mph.

    As somebody mentioned, a 4.9L Ford inline six-cylinder would be a much easier, and practical conversion. The 4.9 is probably the last production engine Ford has that's worth looking at.

    I have seen a couple of 1 ton Ford pickups with 4-53 Detroit diesels in them.
    The high-reving Detroit delivers enough rpm's to cruise comfortably on the highway...but, being a 2-stroke diesel, isn't all that economical.

    I also saw a Ford crew-cab with a Cummins 5.9 diesel engine and drive train.
    No doubt, 'ol Clessie was turning over in his grave over that one.

    A much better conversion would be the older Ford 7.3L diesel.. Reliable, heavy, and powerful....and a whole lot easier to install.

    I donno....what was the advantage of using a JD diesel in the first place?
    This engine would be more at home turning a pump or a generator, powering a forklift or a (God forbid)tractor.
    No good deed goes unpunished.

  8. #8
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    This is a conversion easily wrought in concept but difficult to execute. It's not like swapping a V8 for a six. Displacement for displacement, a diesel engine has different max RPM's and torque characteristics.

    Then there is duty cycle. A car or light truck typically lasts for about 4500 operation hours, has a low duty cycle, and the engine is built accordingly. A tractor is intended to be reliable and runs to higher power demand than an auto. It might run 1500 hours per year over 15 years. Thing is a tractor engine is a far different animal than a light truck engine and there will be several hoops to jump before a tractor engine in a light truck conversion canbeconsidered successful.

    An engne and its automatic transmission have to be carefully matched. The transmission looks for certain throttle openings and engine RPM's to make its shift points.

    Also the tractor engine governor has to be defeated. An automotive engine is controlled by a footpedal that is essentialy a demand torque control accelleration in a given gear is a funtion of the foot pedal depression. In a tractor there is a hand throttle (actually an RPM setpoint control) used to adjut whatever constant speed needed for a particular operation.

    In an automotive installation A foot pedal directly controlling the governor setpoint of a tractor engine would behave badly in that it would call for max engine torque for every small increase input with the footpedal. The vehicle would accellerate in a series of lurches.

    Then there is the speed torque curve of the tractor engine V the original six gas engine. Will the lower RPM of the tractor engine take the truck to highway speeds? Will you need to change the rear axle ratio?

    I'm not suggeting an economical and very reliable tractor engine is unsuited for and over the road automotive application but I am cautioning this swap has a lot of potential problems to consider. Not to mential vibration.
    Last edited by Forrest Addy; 04-21-2010 at 11:11 PM.

  9. #9
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    From a strictly theoretical standpoint, wouldn't a manual transmission relieve the burden of overcomming a bunch of those hurdles? A little diesel in my Geo Tracker sounds like it could be an interesting combination.
    Video meliora proboque deteriora sequor

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  10. #10
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    Part of my shop time has been spent helping a friend of mine put a Cummins 6BT into a 72 Suburban. This is a very nice conversion, and even with the power upgrades (Banks), heavy foot, 4WD, and largish tires, he's getting about 20 mpg right now. Just a tiny bit better than my '02 7500 Duramax Crew Cab (I get about 19), also with power upgrades, 33" tires, and heavy foot. I've been kicking around the idea of putting a 4BT in my 1-ton K5, but haven't found a suitable donor. These are nice because there is a relatively common standard adapter plate to the Chevy bolt pattern (came with th400s in "bread trucks"). Or, you can use a Dodge adapter with NV4500 or NV5600. Down side is they don't even come close to 6BT in real world driveability. The biggest problem being near impossibility to get them to run without excessive vibration. But, I've seen folks who report 30+ mpg in 80's 4x4 Suburbans, and it's a near bolt-in...
    Last edited by BadDog; 04-21-2010 at 01:17 PM.
    Russ
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