Isuzu diesel conversion

Discussion in 'Diesel Tech' started by tk064, May 5, 2003.

  1. tk064

    tk064 Farmall Cub

    On a few other diesel forums, much to the aghast of several members, the issue of Izusu diesel conversions have come up with favorable results. Especially the 4cylinder variants in vehicles with limited length under the hood.

    The basic opinion is that they are very durable motors that have much less vibration than the 4BT cummins. Searching for engines, they are quite available in auto trim as opposed to the 4BT, I guess that is because they are seen everywhere around town in delivery trucks. NPR's and GMC medium duty.

    The opinions site the best motor as being the 170 hp version, but I believe it is computer controlled.

    Just wondering what the thought is on this site. I have seen one 4BT in a jeep. It would crawl a wall and rattle your fillings out. As dental work is expensive, my initial impression caused me to cross that one off of my list.
  2. Eddie

    Eddie High Wheeler


    The little brother to the Nissan Diesel SD-33 six-cylinder is the Nissan Diesel four-cylinder SD-22, likewise a very smooth and quiet engine. Plus, it was easily available in Datsun/Nissan model 720 pickups '81-'83, and came with a good 5-spd OD transmission.

    I have one of these SD-22/5-spd setups that I'd planned to use in a Jeep but don't think I ever will, now. That engine would fit as though it was made to go in the Jeep engine room.

    PM me if you want to know more--I need to get it out of my garage.

  3. tk064

    tk064 Farmall Cub

    The 4 cylinder Isuzu has a much higher power output than the Nissan 6 let alone the 4.

    I think I am looking for the 170 hp, 350 ft/lbs, version. I think they also come with chevy bell housings or adapters on the GMC version.

    Thanks for the info
  4. Rob Peterson

    Rob Peterson High Wheeler

    I'm interested in using an Isuzu diesel 4cylinder turbo w/ either the Allison or Aisin trans (basic NPR configuration) for a 2WD truck conversion. Does anyone have any idea on how much this combination weighs?

    Has anyone seen or done a similar swap?
  5. Tonka Toy

    Tonka Toy Binder Driver

    I don't know the exact number, but from what I have read it weighs about the same as an SD33T. I am likely to go the same route, and I found this site that should really help you: They are mostly about Cummins 4bt's, but have a discussion board for the Isuzu's also. They don't have the quality FAQ set-up like we do, but there's tons of info in stickies on each of the boards.

    And then there is David makes adapters to bolt this engine to GM transmissions. But I'm with you, I am looking at using the Isuzu gearbox as well. For me, the only obstacles are the trans length and adapting a T-case to it. I think I have the adapting part figgered out. I just gotta go prowl the local yard for those trucks and take some measurements. But in a 2wd truck, it will be much easier (obviously). Does this truck have IH emblems or something else? Just curious. :D
  6. Rick Dennis

    Rick Dennis Farmall Cub

    As the owner of a 61 Travelette with a 4BTA that I installed, here are my thoughts (for what they are worth). Just because you have seen one installation that may or may not have had the best engine mount setup in a very short and lightweight Jeep, doesn't mean that you should write the engine off for bad behavior. While my truck is unmistakably a diesel, the only time it has any real undesirable shaking is when you first start it and when you shut it off, but I am working on adding a small shock absorber to connect the engine to the frame to alleviate some of that. While it is running, there is no doubt that it is a Cummins motor, but even my wife says that the noise and vibration are not obscene (and THAT is saying something :eek: ). I know that there are other factors to consider in choosing an engine for a swap, and maybe this is the least of your concerns for your application, but I would hate to see you discount an excellent engine like the 4BT based on your experience with one vehicle.
  7. Rob Peterson

    Rob Peterson High Wheeler

    Not sure yet. Possibly my METRO van, but I'd like to consider a diesel conversion on some sort of truck. I'm just in the brainstorm and pipe dream phase at this point. Thanks for the link to Isuzudieselswapper
  8. Dougal

    Dougal Farmall Cub

    Hi guys.

    I own one of these engines (Isuzu 4BD1T, 135hp) fitted to a rangerover. I'm also the moderator of the Isuzu diesel section on That place is probably the best source for info on these motors, I'm building up a library of anything possible. Including a 3D CAD model.

    But if you have any questions, fire away.
    I can confirm that chev bellhousings will not fit. Some of the industrial engines have an SAE #3 housing. But the automotive ones do not.

  9. CareyWeber

    CareyWeber Diesel Herder / Moderator Staff Member Moderator


    Thanks for coming by it's great when all of a diesel people can share info.

    I'd like to hear more about the Isuzu bell housing and what mates up to them.

  10. bong dominguez

    bong dominguez Farmall Cub

    Hi Friends,

    We in the Philippines have retrofitted most of our gasoline fed engines to Japanese surplus diesel engines in the early 80's because of the uncontrollable rise of fuel prices.

    My family had a 77 Scout Traveler (345), a 74 MB 280S (W116) and a 76 Chevy Blazer (K5). The shift to diesel was first done to the Blazer since it drank the most. The Isuzu 4BA1 packed the highest hp compared to C240, C221 & C190 available in the market at that time.

    Yes, we choose Isuzu from the other Japanese brands for the reason that it was the most widely used engine by our 'Jeepneys' (local transport) and was known for being dependable and affordable.

    The conversion was a success in bringing down fuel expenses BUT had weak points in relation to overall performance.

    Then the MB was next but we had second thoughts on using another Japanese engine, so with much haggling with a German auto shop, a 300D was offered in exchange with the I6 twin-cam twin-carb engine plus cash...we were happy of the decision!

    It took a couple of years when we decided to have a diesel on the Scout -We wanted it stock. I was reading then a 4X4 magazine when I came across pictures of a Scout Terra winning a Baja Race using an IH 6D33T diesel engine. Wrote a letter to SSS and they sent a catalogue where I saw the diesel to be a Nissan SD33T.

    At last, a Japanese diesel designed for our Scout and the rest of the story is history!

    Now another Japanese diesel conversion...WHY??? :wacko:
  11. Dougal

    Dougal Farmall Cub

    Ironically enough, I was directed here by people at when I was looking for turbo info on a DT817.
    Now I direct people here back to 4BTswaps. There's a fairly tight online diesel community with a lot of crossover between boards.

    The Isuzu truck bellhousings to my knowledge only fit the Isuzu gearboxes (MSA & MSA series).
    Isuzudieselswapper has kits to make them fit the 700R4 auto, but I only know what he's written about..
    There is an Aisin auto gearbox, but where I am (New Zealand) I have yet to see one. They come up on Ebay USA occasionally but I can't confirm or deny the bolt pattern.

    The industrial engines (mining plant, hitachi excavators, ingersoll rand air compressors etc) often come with an SAE pattern bellhousing that is noticably longer and heavier than the automotive ones. Check the thread below.
  12. Dougal

    Dougal Farmall Cub

    Hi Bong

    What can you tell me about the Isuzu 4BA1 engine? I'm trying to put together info on the whole series, and recently got a maintainance manual for the 3.6L 4BB1. But I have nothing on the 4BA1.
  13. smit1143

    smit1143 Farmall Cub

    A good friend of mine is building a Trooper diesel usine a 2.8 Isuzu turbo diesel he imported (at a really reasonable cost) from Australia. I think the engine code is 4JB1-TC - it seems really modern and is direct-injected and feels pretty driveable, from my limited exposure. In any case, I think the bellhousing pattern is the same as the standard Isuzu Trooper manual transmissions (which may be the same as some GM pattern, as the 2.8 60 degree V6 was a common mill in thise rigs).. Anyway, if you want more info, he has a really detailed build page at . When my 345 gets tired, I'll most likely go diesel, and am seriously thinking this may be a viable option.
  14. Dougal

    Dougal Farmall Cub

    The 4JB1 has been around since the early 80's
    The 4JB1T (turbo) came out mid 80's and the TC (intercooled) was late 80's.
    The 4JG and 4JH engines (3L and 3.1L) were sold up until recently in Isuzu/Holden pickups, still based on the same block.
    I think the 4JB1T is still available as an industrial engine, but derated compared to the automotive version.

    Excellent engines for a midsize vehicle (that's probably small vehicle to the americans).
    The 4x4wire forum above has plenty of information regarding those engines and bellhousings. They are not the same as the chev V6.
  15. bong dominguez

    bong dominguez Farmall Cub

    Hi Dougal,

    Sorry got no exact info on the 4BA1s yet, but from what i've heard, they are @ 3000cc and the engine overheats alot, some owners redrill and increase the diameter size of the water holes between the block and cylinder head then use a different head gasket (guess from the 4BCs), these were done after upgrading to a thicker (more rows) radiator...will try to get more info when i get back home.
    BTW, re the 4BD1, is there a conversion kit for it to match the A/T of a 1989 ford econoline E350? The V8 has made my pockets lighter and wallet leaner :no:
  16. Dougal

    Dougal Farmall Cub

    There's a bolton kit for the 4BD1T to 700R4 courtesy of is that any help?
  17. bong dominguez

    bong dominguez Farmall Cub

    THANKS for the info, will be visiting the site for guidance, hope there are pics on the conversion though :)
  18. DNL

    DNL Binder Driver

    I have just enough info to frustrate people here. I have a good friend who has swapped an Isuzu diesel into his 1967 IH pickup. His engine is a six cylinder with a NP420 GM 4 speed behind it. He had to mod the firewall to make it fit. The truck also has 4.88 gears and even with 37 inch tires it has a top speed of about 50 miles per hour, so a gear swap is the next project.
  19. smangold

    smangold Farmall Cub

    I too am interested in the Isuzu 4 .Does anyone know anything about the factory autos( in the NPRs).I have a 2wd travellette and would like to stay auto. I E-mailed Isuzuswapper about what would be better about the 700r4 and he replied no computer and cheaper tranny overhaul. I know of a low mile cabover with a auto If I bought it then I would still need to find a 700 and rebuild it, seems other than a computer a simpler deal.If it is just a tranny computer couldn't I just bring it over from the donor. I haven't looked at the truck yet , does any one know where the comp is mounted. Other thoughts on the Isuzu autos Thanks
  20. Jeff Melber

    Jeff Melber Binder Driver


    I read the threads on the 4bd swapper page. There's certainly a lot of information as you pointed out. Thanks for sharing the page.

    I realize my info is a little late and not really needed regarding the IH 727 and the chrysler or chevy bell housings. There's more to the IH bh not fitting other than the starter's on the wrong side. The IH bh is a much larger bolt pattern than a chevy or ford small block I'm not sure about the big blocks but from what I've seen on stands I'd bet the big blocks won't line up with an IH. For instance those $40 engine stands at autozone won't even come CLOSE to reaching the two bottom holes on IH. Ya gotta spend the big bucks and get a real engine stand. In a pinch I've used only the top 4 holes on the IH and a cheap stand but I gotta tell you it doesn't look or feel good when you put a 600lb engine on a $40 stand. You only get one set of feet - watch out for em.

    Take care,

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