How much does it cost to do an engine swap? Let’s set the record straight: replacing your engine is a very expensive undertaking that will cost you more than a thousand dollars.
Whether you need it because your engine is no longer capable of performing at its former strength or you want to increase power, this action will cost you a lot of money and take a long time.
In this article, we’ll tell you about the cost of an engine replacement and other interesting things you need to know.
What is an Engine Swap
Just to make it clear to you, an engine swap is a name that is widely known among car enthusiasts when they want to change the engine on their car for whatever reason to give it more power. So, they install a new engine that does not fit their car by default.
If you just put in a new engine that is the same as the original engine, then you are doing an engine replacement.
More often than not, this procedure is necessary when the old engine is past its sell-by date and has some damage, and is simply not repairable. Often a simple replacement is much cheaper than a repair job.
These terms are generally similar. But in this article, we will talk about engine swap as a way to significantly increase the power of the car.
Is It Legal
Laws vary from state to state, but California has very finicky laws that apply to engine swaps. You just need to call your DMV office to find out what the law is for this in your state. But we’ve put together for you a few items where replacing an engine isn’t against the law:
An engine must be installed in the same year of manufacture or one that came out later than the year your car came out. Here’s an example. If your car is a 2005 car, you can’t have an engine made before that year installed.
Also, the engine must match the class of the car. That means you can’t install a truck engine on a passenger car.
The engine must be equipped with everything necessary to clean the exhaust gases, such as the EGR system and catalytic converters.
If you don’t have these, you won’t be able to pass emissions testing, and your vehicle will simply be deemed unfit for use.
Again, you will only find out all the details at your local DMV.
Some states have fairly lenient laws regarding this procedure, and some are very strict and prohibit many subtleties, such as installing a different brand of the engine manufacturer.
Engine Swap Cost Factors
The whole problem is that there is no way to tell exactly how much money you need for an engine swap. There are a huge number of factors that will determine the engine swap cost.
Engine Swap Cost: Cost of the Engine
It’s pretty obvious that the cost of the engine will have a strong impact on the entire engine swap cost. When replacing an engine, you can go one of three ways: buy a rebuilt engine, buy high performance engine from the factory, or find a used engine.
A rebuilt short block engine is an engine that has been reanimated by adding new parts and trying to make it look like the factory version.
This procedure consists of manually modifying the engine block, cylinder heads, and other component parts to their early condition.
After that, new parts are completely added, fresh pistons and valves are installed, and almost everything is new.
Needless to say, as you may have already guessed, this is an expensive operation. Restoring an engine to its original condition is time consuming, and requires a lot of experience and expensive tools.
The cost of rebuilt engines ranges from two thousand dollars to five thousand dollars, it depends on what model of the engine.
Sometimes the price is much lower, but you should be aware that the price does not include the cost of installing the engine itself.
Crate engines are essentially similar to remanufactured engines. But the name crate engine often means an engine just bought from the factory – most often, these are engines for muscle cars, which are bought in special crates.
They cost anywhere from five to eighteen thousand dollars, depending on what type of engine you need.
Meanwhile, used engines will cost you quite a bit less. There are many companies that focus on selling used engines, and sometimes you can easily find them at any junkyard.
Used engines are brought there when the car is written off, but the engine is still quite working.
The cost of a used engine, if bought at a junkyard, ranges from four hundred to seven hundred dollars, but good engines in working condition sometimes cost over a thousand dollars.
Let this option will save you money, the disadvantage here is, without argument, the lack of any guarantee that the engine will work at all stably.
Even if the car starts up and no faults are found in the operation, you do not know how much time has passed on this engine and how all the parts in it feel.
Engine Swap Cost: How Much Does An Engine Swap Jobs Cost
Another thing that affects the engine swap cost is, of course, the labor cost.
The entire price for the procedure is directly related to the amount of time it takes to replace your car’s engine. Generally speaking, a car engine swap is done in about fifteen hours.
And as for the price, it varies depending on the requests of the car repair shop and will range from seventy to one hundred and fifty dollars.
If you are very lucky, then the master will manage for 15 hours, and for the entire procedure, you will give only a hundred dollars.
Based on this, you can calculate that the full engine swap will cost you one and a half thousand dollars. This we deduct the purchase of the engine itself.
This is the most ideal option. Don’t worry if you end up with a bill of $2,000 or more, those options are possible.
Engine Swap Cost: Transmission Cost
If you decide to install the same engine as the one you had before, you shouldn’t worry too much. But if you’re taking the engine from another car, you’ll need to remember about the transmission as well.
It is quite possible that the old transmission simply will not be compatible with the installation of the new engine.
We are not going to detail in this article why this happens, but if you have an engine and transmission from different companies in your car, then more often than not, you are going to have big problems down the road.
Even if they seem to work together stably at first, there is a very good chance that the default transmission will simply not cope with the power of the new engine. This can lead to unfortunate consequences and complete failure of the transmission.
From this, we can conclude that not only will you need to buy a new engine, but a new transmission as well.
As with engines, you have the option of buying a rebuilt or used transmission. A rebuilt one will cost you anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500 and a half.
Used ones are cheaper, costing anywhere from five hundred dollars to a thousand dollars, but they are hard to find in good condition.
Engine Swap Cost: Other Components and Fabrication Cost
In addition to the engine and transmission, there are other components to consider as well.
These include the fuel system, transmission and engine mounts, exhaust system, coolers, and a bunch more.
Of course, if you decide to put the same engine you had, you can use working parts from the car’s original engine.
That said, if you’re installing a completely different engine, you’ll need to include the cost of all the necessary parts – unless they came with the engine you bought.
Also, when the engine swap, you will likely have to order some parts separately.
Parts that are made to order are rarely cheap, more often than not you have to pay a hefty sum.
We won’t tell you the exact engine swaps cost, because a lot depends on the part itself, as well as the engine model and the specifics of the car itself.
Engine Swap Cost: Bottom Line
As a result, the cost varies greatly due to the various factors we discussed above.
To give you at least a rough idea of what to expect, here’s an example of the simplest engine swap method without third-party modifications when using a used engine – from $1,500 to $5,000.
If you want to replace the engine, buy a brand new engine, and even order the missing parts for it, then this procedure will cost you from $6,000 to $30,000.
It all depends on the make and type of your car, what engine you want to put and how much it will have to be modified for this.
There is a very simple thing for any engine swaps: whatever budget you are counting on, just in case, mentally increase this amount by three times. That way you can’t go wrong.
Engine Swap Cost: Pros and Cons
Of course, engine swap will always be your decision alone, and it depends on whether you want to splurge on such a procedure for your car.
We have found for you all the pros and cons of the engine swap cost, and it’s up to you to make the decision.
Pros of an Engine Swap
You will get more power if you replace the engine. There is another option, which involves redesigning the old engine for more power.
But with this procedure you are unlikely to be able to increase the power greatly, by 10-50 horsepower, moreover, you will have to spend a lot of time refining the parts.
Some engines do not have a wide range of spare parts on the market. So by installing a popular engine, you’ll immediately expand your ability to replace spent components.
Plus, this will open you up to further modifications.
You’ll also have a newer, more reliable engine, but you need to do the engine swap without mistakes and do the engine swap with a new engine, not a used one.
Cons of an Engine Swap
This is a very expensive procedure, especially if you treat it carefully and do not choose any engine. In this case, you will have to buy the transmission and new parts. The engine swap cost in this case is very high.
This is quite a long process, so you will not be able to use your car for a long time.
While a simple engine replacement is done within 24 hours, more complicated engine swaps with new parts sometimes take several weeks.
You’ll likely have to dive into the car re-registration process, which will also have a tangible impact on your engine swap cost and time.
You’ll also have to pass an emissions test. If for some reason you fail the test, it will bring bad consequences.
How to Do an Engine Swap
To make an engine swap it is necessary to perform a lot of mandatory procedures, especially if a completely different unit is installed.
First of all, you need to make sure that the desired ICE can be placed on the chassis of your car.
After measuring, you can choose an engine swap that is suitable for you – manufacturers today offer a fairly wide model lineup of motors, which differ in their characteristics:
- Some initially have more power;
- Others are easier to tune up;
- Others are larger and therefore simply do not fit into the hood of your car.
When selecting an engine for the engine swap, you should use the experience of other motorists, which they share on the Internet, the advice of auto experts and salesmen, and the information of the automaker.
Next, you need to make sure that all fasteners and pads fit the dimensions of your car, and are strong enough and reliable. If the fasteners do not match, it can lead to a whole set of problems:
- disruption of the angle of the actuators – it should be no more than 3 degrees. (both for front and rear);
- uneven location of the gearbox;
- broken lubrication cycle, etc.
It is strongly recommended to avoid contract engines with damaged, loose mounts. When loaded, they can break, and the engine with all its weight will fall on the front axle and steering system.
Weakened rubber pads are better to be replaced at once – for heavier engines, it is worth installing tougher polyurethane ones.
It is not uncommon for engine swap to have to redo the oil pan and install new lubrication system equipment – pressure sensor, oil pump, etc.
Replacing the wiring can be just as much trouble – for this, it is better to use specialized sets of cables and fuses, marked with different colors.
Also, care should be taken to protect the wires in the most critical areas – where there is a high risk of damage, it is better to put metal or rubber pads.
Another important point on the wiring – laying new cables for the carburetor motor will not make much trouble, but models with an electronic injection system will have to study its features in detail.
To do this, it is recommended to use the official manuals for your chosen engine model and for the car.
ECU must be installed so as to protect it from accidental bumps, but at the same time access to it should be easy enough – after the swap engine control unit will have to be reconfigured
In addition to all of the above, you will need to do the following when installing a new motor of a different model:
- Check the compatibility of the motor and the dashboard – the gauges must be compatible;
- Check the stroke of the throttle opening cable;
- On rear-wheel drive cars, in most cases the driveshaft also needs to be replaced;
- If the engine with electronic injection is installed, it is necessary to modify the fuel system accordingly;
- Modernize the cooling system in order to improve its performance.
The most important thing when doing engine swaps is to control each step, check the quality of connections, and test the performance of each component individually and in aggregate.
Video: How Much Does It Cost to Do an Engine Swap
In this video, you can find an information about how much does it cost to do an engine swap.
Engine swap involves a lot of work, which costs a lot of money and if you are not ready to invest a lot of money, it is hardly worth starting.
Buying a new or contract motor, installation work, modifications, electronic approvals, and more are all a lot of money and dozens of hours of work by many people.
A swap engine or box is certainly a tempting offer, promising new opportunities and emotions. But before you go for such a drastic step, weigh the pros and cons, so that in the process you do not change your mind and give up on your idea halfway.
Probably, you should try to pump the engine by tuning first (ECU flashing, camshaft replacement, turbine installation, etc.).
In addition, remember that in the process of swap engine exploitation you will constantly face the problem of service of your “non-standard” car. Not everyone can and not everyone will undertake maintenance of such an engine and all its pitfalls.
Also be ready, that the final result can disappoint you, as running gear, even after modification, can not cope with the increased load.
Axle weighing will be changed, the auto can lose its exterior steer ability and turn into a heavy wobbly, or even useless piece of metal.
But, if you dared – study the matter as much as possible, find a highly skilled service, which can do everything at the highest level. Calculate all the possible problems that may arise in the process and assess the front end of the work, as well as its cost. Here is how to escape prison in bitlife.