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1997 dodge dakota 4x4 5.2 nv3500
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m hoping this is the right place to post this forum but i’m looking to do a budget friendly 4 cylinder mechanical injection turbo diesel swap for my 1997 dodge dakota with the nv3500.

does anyone know any good options for these trucks? has anyone done a 3.9 4bt cummins swap?

the truck is currently my daily but it will eventually be some type of off-road build. this will be done in the next couple of years so i am looking to gather all the parts i need
 

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C'mon Dodge - NEW DAKOTA
2003 Dakota Club Cab Sport 4.7L
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594 Posts
Wasn't there a popular Subaru turbo diesel that lots of guys were using for similar swaps? Seems like it was all the rage about 10 - 12 years ago.
 

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1997 dodge dakota 4x4 5.2 nv3500
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wasn't there a popular Subaru turbo diesel that lots of guys were using for similar swaps? Seems like it was all the rage about 10 - 12 years ago.
that seems like it could be fun, im not picky about brands. just looking for an affordable diesel swap i can have some fun with. do you know the name of the engine?
 

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C'mon Dodge - NEW DAKOTA
2003 Dakota Club Cab Sport 4.7L
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594 Posts
No but I do recall it was a boxer style engine -- horizontally opposed cylinders. I remember one install where the guy actually had to tilt the engine to fit it in the vehicle -- which was not a Dakota, it was maybe a Samurai or some other micro 4x4. Dakota would be a bit heavier wider and heavier....
 

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2003 Dakota Sport
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122 Posts
There's a guy currently swapping a VW diesel into his Dakota in one of the Facebook groups. I forget which transmission he's using, though. Not an NV3500.
 

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I’m hoping this is the right place to post this forum but i’m looking to do a budget friendly 4 cylinder mechanical injection turbo diesel swap for my 1997 dodge dakota with the nv3500.

does anyone know any good options for these trucks? has anyone done a 3.9 4bt cummins swap?

the truck is currently my daily but it will eventually be some type of off-road build. this will be done in the next couple of years so i am looking to gather all the parts i need
I wouldn't exactly call a diesel swap budget friendly. Diesels tend to be a little harder to find and tend to be a little more expensive to buy than a gas engine. The 4BT in particular, is a very popular engine in the diesel swap world. As a result, they tend to command a higher price. In my case, I used a 6BT because they are more common, and tend to cost slightly less (at least at the time I purchased it 15 yrs ago).

Besides the engine, you will need a compatible transmission. Your current NV3500 won't bolt up and I do not believe there's an adapter available... but even if there was, the trans capacity is too small to support the torque output of a 4BT. As far as manuals go, the NV4500 and NV5600, would be the better option.

Ok, so what are you getting yourself into? Before you begin, you need to determine what you want the truck to be capable of and then formulate a build plan. In my case, I wanted my Dakota to be able to run deep mud and have the power to turn large tires. I started with a 6BT which I know can turn 40+ tall tires in hip deep goo, but to run 40+ inch tires, I needed axles that were going to hold up to big torque and big tires, so an axle swap was also in order.

Now, you don't have to go thru the same extremes I did, but it will help to finalize a plan. Start with your needs first. Whatever type of wheeling you plan to do, how much engine do you want? There are many diesels out there. Some are small 4 cylinders like the Kubota V2203DI that are light weight, but don't put out that much power. Others like the Cummins 4BT will put out some power, but will weigh more than a big block. Keep in mind that more weight and more power, will require a stronger transmission and bigger axles and that will push it out of budget friendly.

If you want to keep the truck to as close as possible to factory, you're looking at small 4 cylinder diesels, like VW, Kubota, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, etc. However, you'll probably have to swap transmissions or build a custom trans adapter and then figure out how to make a set of custom engine/diff mounts.

Ed
 

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that seems like it could be fun, im not picky about brands. just looking for an affordable diesel swap i can have some fun with. do you know the name of the engine?
I’m hoping this is the right place to post this forum but i’m looking to do a budget friendly 4 cylinder mechanical injection turbo diesel swap for my 1997 dodge dakota with the nv3500.

does anyone know any good options for these trucks? has anyone done a 3.9 4bt cummins swap?

the truck is currently my daily but it will eventually be some type of off-road build. this will be done in the next couple of years so i am looking to gather all the parts i need
5cyl Mercedes OM617 turbo diesel I am planning to put one in a 94 Dakota At this point I am undecided on the transmission, either the Mercedes trans or a NV3500 the Mercedes weighs the same as a 5.2 v8 I have not found an adapter for the 3500 to the Mercedes. I have the abilities to make one, but the 81 up 722.3 Mercedes is a pretty good trans also, so that makes the indecision.
The 3.9 Cummins weighs almost twice as much as a Mercedes, and only turns 2600 rpms, which the Mercedes will turn 5000rpms peak hp is at 4350 rpms and take that all day long. The Mercedes does have a front sump on the oil pan, but it looks like it will sit right in front of the steering rack just fine on a 2wd I do not know how it would fit in a 4wd
So you have a little more food for thought.
 
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