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Old 07-18-2021, 10:03 PM   #1
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Convert express van to diesel?

I have a 2019 Chevy 3500 Express van cuttaway in my Thor Motorhome. It has a 6.0 Vortec engine and six speed trans.

ls to me. Has anyone had experience with similiar? Any suggestions on brand and type/size diesel [And presumably a transmission upgrade]?

What advantages/deficits would I expect?

If I buy a good but used diesel engine, what would I expect it to cost?

Thanks for any info.
JC
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Old 07-18-2021, 10:39 PM   #2
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I think you will find more help/info googling truck motor swaps.
Friend got great deal on auction 2015 diesel truck ended up needing motor or full fuel system . He was looking at 8k complete used , no ECM , trans and all extras that's needed for swap. He flipped as is made 4k.
There's whole emissions issue in many locals to deal with as well, on older vehicle it's easier.
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Old 07-19-2021, 12:01 AM   #3
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It’s going to be way more trouble than it’s worth. If you want a diesel RV (not sure why), I would buy one with a Diesel engine already in it.
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Old 07-19-2021, 05:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j carter View Post
I have a 2019 Chevy 3500 Express van cuttaway in my Thor Motorhome. It has a 6.0 Vortec engine and six speed trans.

ls to me. Has anyone had experience with similiar? Any suggestions on brand and type/size diesel [And presumably a transmission upgrade]?

What advantages/deficits would I expect?

If I buy a good but used diesel engine, what would I expect it to cost?

Thanks for any info.
JC

The only diesel these vans come from the factory with is a wimpy 4 cyl.

That makes converting to a V8 diesel a monumental task bordering on impossible.

Sure, you could get a 6.6L & trans out of a 3500 Silverado and stuff it in there but you would need a very well appointed fab shop, a donor vehicle on site, and some seriously advanced mechanical skills.

To pay someone who has all this to do it for you.............
(if you could even find someone willing to attempt it)



Take Massparanoia's advice: Sell your rig and buy a diesel rig.
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Old 07-19-2021, 06:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j carter View Post
I have a 2019 Chevy 3500 Express van cuttaway in my Thor Motorhome. It has a 6.0 Vortec engine and six speed trans.

ls to me. Has anyone had experience with similiar? Any suggestions on brand and type/size diesel [And presumably a transmission upgrade]?

What advantages/deficits would I expect?

If I buy a good but used diesel engine, what would I expect it to cost?

Thanks for any info.
JC
Some issues are motor and transmission mounts, old transmission and engine mating up, electronics needing changed out. Gas and diesels use different computers. Also will the engine fit in the compartment without doing modifications to wheel wells. Will the suspension hold the weight difference with the diesel in it? Cooling system will your work with the diesel engine? How about the AC unit on the old van will it mount the same on the diesel? How about the air intake, is it large enough for the diesel? Now let's talk about the fuel system, new tank, pump, fuel lines maybe installing 2 fuel filters, where to mount these?

A good used diesel would probably run around $5,000, add the transmission, motor mounts, suspension upgrade cost, so let's figure around $10-12,000 for parts, now add labor.
Just guessing at the cost.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:04 AM   #6
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You are better off buying a wrecked chevy 3500 diesel truck and start from there. There will still be a lot of fabricating required to get the engine to fit . If you got a good shop and are good at fabricating , it can be done. If you have to get someone to do it , It would probably be cheaper to buy a new diesel pusher.
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Old 07-19-2021, 07:22 AM   #7
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IMO that is not a viable project. Swapping the engine itself is a very expensive project due to fitment issues. The present tranny will not support the diesel engine so it must also be replaced. The front suspension must be replaced with parts that support the much heavier engine. there there is the entire DEF system to install, the entire EPA exhaust system, the present tranny will not support the diesel engine so it must also be replaced. The fuel system must be modified with parts that will withstand biodiesel.
That is just what immediately comes to mind, I'm sure there are other major modifications to consider.
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Old 07-20-2021, 09:39 AM   #8
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Thanks for replies

Thanks to all that replied. I agree that the idea is not feasible. i was just wanting a small class C w/great towing /mountain /mileage . This is the first Chevy RV I have had. i know in the case of the Ford E350 / E450 series vans, they frequently put diesels in the cut-a-way buses that haul 12 to 20 passengers. In one of those Fords, it might be simple to do a swap with two vehicles [used bus and RV]. However with more research on my part, and your comments, a similiar simple swap for Chevy is not possible.
Jim
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Old 07-20-2021, 09:31 PM   #9
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Thanks to all that replied. I agree that the idea is not feasible. i was just wanting a small class C w/great towing /mountain /mileage . This is the first Chevy RV I have had. i know in the case of the Ford E350 / E450 series vans, they frequently put diesels in the cut-a-way buses that haul 12 to 20 passengers. In one of those Fords, it might be simple to do a swap with two vehicles [used bus and RV]. However with more research on my part, and your comments, a similiar simple swap for Chevy is not possible.
Jim
It wouldn’t be possible in the Ford either.
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Old 07-21-2021, 08:25 AM   #10
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Buddy did an engine swap on a late 2000's Ford V10 gasser to diesel. ALOT of work and more money then he thought. He said he wouldnt do it again knowing what he went through.
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Old 07-21-2021, 08:56 AM   #11
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Chevy/GMC vans were available with the V8 Duransx so its possible
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:06 AM   #12
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Possible and practical are not the same. Would this project be possible on either chassis, yes it likely would be, but not without inordinate expenditure or time and money. This makes it not practical. If you want a Class C diesel, buy one. Apparently they aren't real common but they are are available. Good luck
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:15 AM   #13
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Why? Extreme cost and difficulty to do. Every electronic engine component would have to be swapped out. Reliability, (due to fabrication and installation mistakes) would be compromised. You'd spend at least a year getting all the bugs worked out. And in the end you would have a vehicle that would be unsalable. No way would I buy something that new that has been modified that much.

I even backed away from a coach last year with a solar install, be cause the owner did it himself. Nope, If I go solar I'll either hire it done, or do it myself so I know exactly what is in it and how it works. You'd find the same with an RV buyer.

In the early 80's GM came out with diesel cars in Olds and Pontiac. They were just converted 350 engines to diesel. We did a lot of those change outs and put 350 gas motors in them. But then to make one run all you needed power to the starter, the HEI ignition, and the fuel pump.
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:18 AM   #14
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Not really a feasible swap with todays engines and all the electronics that have to be installed. Looks like a real money pit project.

Ken
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