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Old 10-04-2019, 03:35 AM   #1
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Location: Wisconsin
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Default Engine swap on a 90's era Dodge van?

Has anyone ever done an engine upgrade/swap on a 90's era Dodge? I have a 1994 Pleasure Way van. I love it and it does great in the midwest, but I am concerned with taking it into the mountains in the eastern states where I now live. I had problems out in S. Dakota with getting up a grade, but some of the grades in PA are very steep.

I wondered how much, how hard, etc what is involved with getting a bigger crate motor with like a towing cam. Has anyone ever done a swap before? I would love a modern Chrysler big block but even like a 390 would be a big improvement.

Has anyone here done a swap before?

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Old 10-20-2019, 03:34 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
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I live in PA and traveled though out the Northern tier in my 92DV190 B250 with a 5.2L (31 and 3.92 rear axel, yes I have to lock it out of OD and down shift into 2nd rarely, but rarely the slowest on the grade.

What rear axel ratio is your van that may be a factor, you can look your build sheet here, ignore the pre 98 warning it works for my 92

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Old 10-20-2019, 03:58 PM   #3
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The vans are tight on engine compartment space, so highly unlikely any big block would fit, especially the older 383/413/440 ones.

We know that a 360 from back then would fit because they were an option for the vans, which is a big bonus in being able to get mounting pieces without doing all the fit and weld yourself. Even beyond the extra displacement, the 360 is a better engine for torque at low rpm because of it's small bore long stroke design. Some of the "magnum" engines in the pickups around 1990 were quite powerful. I think you can get full roller/lifter conversions for the 360 which allows a quite a bit more cam to be put in as lift, gaining power without raising the torque curve rpm much. I know from experience the small port size Magnum heads on a 360 can easily support 350hp with a little work.

Mopar Performance probably has a complete crate engine in a 360 bottom to top, either with carb or EFI. They may even have a high torque truck/towing version as IIRC the used to do them.

Putting in a fully modern engine like the new Hemi ones is a huge job in most vehicles as it would require a full reharnessing of all the engine controls and computers. I took a look at what it would take to put a new tech GM 6.0/6.2 into my 5.7 equipped 96 Buick Roadmaster, and figured I could do it, but even with a fully equipped shop, it would be more than I would consider it to be worth by a big amount.

Of course you would also need to change transmission if you go with a modern setup.

My guess is that a swap to "smiled on" 360 would be in the $5-10K even doing a lot of the work yourself, depending on how non stock you go. A change to a modern engine would be considerably more than that if you have to buy a bunch of labor to do it.
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