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Thread: 3.0L engine swap

  1. #1
    Voice For Hire Farrar's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

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    3.0L engine swap

    I guess this is as good a place as any to document my car's engine swap. I put it under the "Carb" subcategory because it will be carbureted.

    To make a long story short:

    I bought #2613 in 2007. At the time, it was stock, except for the exhaust. I started having problems with mysterious engine death, and after trying to troubleshoot and swap out K-Jet parts to no avail, I decided to swap K-Jet for carburetion. This was achieved in 2008, just before DCS Gettysburg: I limped #2613 up to Bill's house in NC and we performed surgery in his driveway.

    Thereafter I had no fuel problems, but #2613 started having other problems: on my way home, the distributor cap caught fire, resulting in the car being off the road for several months. After resuscitation in early 2009, block rot reared its head. I patched a hole with Moroso A/B Engine Epoxy, and it wasn't long before oil reappeared in the engine valley. I patched it, too, and within weeks engine oil showed up in the valley again.

    Circumstances conspired to keep #2613 off the road for a while: a/c failure combined with an increased work schedule meant that it took a while for me to swap out the original high-pressure hose that blew. Over a period of several months, I replaced all hoses and the compressor, taking the opportunity to convert from R-12 to R-134a. In the process of swapping out hoses, I caused a breach in the evaporator, so the evaporator was replaced, and a new VOV was installed, several more months later. All the while, the engine was more or less OK, except for leaking oil into the engine valley. I drove the car in this condition for some time, until the air conditioning failed again.

    In 2013, while diagnosing and repairing the a/c leak, #2613 developed a new symptom: the engine would start and run for 30 minutes or so, and then slow down until it died and would not re-start for at least a couple of hours. I would go for a test drive and get towed home. I would check fuel, air, and spark, and all seemed OK. I was told that my car was exhibiting the "classic" symptom of pickup coil failure in the ignition distributor. Despite essentially equal resistance readings across the original and replacement coils, the pickup coil was replaced with a new one - in a Volvo distributor kindly provided by Bill Robertson.

    In 2014, I replaced the ballast resistor with one matched for my (MSD) ignition coil. I was getting flaky readings from the 1981 resistor, so I thought a new one might help with the no-start problem. It didn't.

    Despite everything I'd done, taking photographs etc., to make sure that I could get the distributor close enough to start the engine upon reinstallation, the engine still didn't start. I was told the only way to make certain that it was in the right place was to turn the engine by hand to line up the timing marks on the pulley and the distributor. To do this, I had to remove part of the car's 2004-installed "Performance Exhaust," which by now was very rusty. The earliest incarnation of "Performance Exhaust" had a very thick muffler, which prevented me from getting a wrench on the crankshaft nut. I removed the exhaust except for the headers, because the connections at the muffler were rusted solid. At this time, I decided to replace the rusty exhaust with stainless steel. I removed the headers and started planning my new "homebrew" exhaust.

    In 2014-2015, I was working full-time, attending college two classes at a time three semesters a year, and getting ready for my wedding. It took over a year to save up the money for new exhaust parts and find time to install them. After installation, I made sure everything was lined up for proper initial timing, and decided to change the oil before starting the engine. The oil was full of coolant. When I checked, the coolant overflow bottle was bone dry.

    Knowing now that the engine had either a failed cylinder liner or a bad head gasket, I decided nonetheless to see if I could get the engine running. The engine still would not start. All electrical connections were checked. The battery was charged. The engine did not start. I decided to check the spark plugs. There was nothing unusual there, except for one that broke off in the engine. I noticed that when I filled the coolant, it poured out the back of the engine: the rear main seal had failed.

    In early 2015, I gave up entirely on #2613's original engine. The community's advice was to replace, rather than repair, considering that the engine had at one point been overheated (something the previous owner never told me, but was evident from the missing plastic screen at the bottom of the oil filler), and the recurring/worsening block rot. Rebuilding an engine with block rot simply made no sense.

    May 2016: the wedding is over with, I've graduated college, my workload has decreased, and now it's time to get #2613 back on the road.

    The car and the replacement 3.0L engine are both in NC at Bill's house, waiting for the two of us to get the time and parts together to install the engine. I imagine Bill will eventually chime in here on this thread, but for now I can tell you that he has figured out a way to use the car's current fuel system by way of adapter plates, and he has figured out a way to use an ignition distributor that is not computer controlled. For now, I am using the Premier/Monaco service manual to try to figure out what parts I will need to buy and bring with me to Bill's garage. So far, I have figured out that I will need:

    - serpentine belt
    - a/c compressor
    - alternator (or 6-groove pulley)
    - replacement parts for whatever else on the car has failed while sitting

    The car sat for over a year with a quarter tank of (ethanol-free) fuel in it. The fuel went bad. I added five gallons of fresh fuel in a plan to let it mix with the old fuel and then pump it out, removing varnish bit by bit as I repeated this process until the fuel looked good and the varnish was no longer present, but I was only able to do that once before the car was hauled to NC in March 2016.

    To make a short story even shorter:

    #2613's revival is tentatively scheduled for next month. I will document progress here on this thread for anyone who's interested in following the process, and also as a reference for myself in the future. Stay tuned.
    Last edited by Farrar; 08-03-2016 at 01:18 PM. Reason: typos
    DeLorean status: probation

    "Our doubts are traitors,
    And make us lose the good we oft might win
    By fearing to attempt."
    -Wm. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

  2. #2
    Senior Member Josh's Avatar
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    I have an a/c compressor, send me an offer!

  3. #3
    Voice For Hire Farrar's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Long Island, New York

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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    I have an a/c compressor, send me an offer!
    Josh,

    Thanks for your reply to the serpentine belt question in the other thread - I've made a note of it.

    Is your a/c compressor under warranty, or is it original to your discarded 3.0L engine?
    DeLorean status: probation

    "Our doubts are traitors,
    And make us lose the good we oft might win
    By fearing to attempt."
    -Wm. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

  4. #4
    Senior Member Josh's Avatar
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    Neither I suppose haha.

    It is a rebuilt unit I bought when I originally did my swap. It was mounted on my engine but since I never hooked up the ac it was just a big idler.

  5. #5
    Voice For Hire Farrar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    It is a rebuilt unit I bought when I originally did my swap.
    In that case, I think I'll pass. Don't take it personally - I just haven't had much luck with used or rebuilt parts. (So I'm taking a big gamble with the 3.0L engine...) Thanks for offering!
    DeLorean status: probation

    "Our doubts are traitors,
    And make us lose the good we oft might win
    By fearing to attempt."
    -Wm. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

  6. #6
    Voice For Hire Farrar's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Long Island, New York

    Posts:    4,273

    My VIN:    02613

    Club(s):   (LINY-DMC) (DCUK)

    Shopping for parts online

    Since my alternator was known to be good the last time I drove the car, I have opted to replace the pulley instead of the entire alternator.

    To anyone looking for information on a certain part, I highly recommend using RockAuto's website. Thanks to their drill-down feature, I was able to get the following information about the alternator, using a 1990 Dodge Monaco as the reference:

    - 96 amps
    - Delco CS130
    - 6-groove pulley
    - internally regulated
    - 3:00 regulator plug position

    However, the Premier/Monaco service manual includes a chart indicating that the 3.0L PRV actually used one of three different alternators:

    3.0Laltspecs.jpg

    So it's good to have as many sources of information as possible.

    I bought a DMCHouston alternator for #2613 some time ago. It has the same footprint as the Delco CS130, and it worked the last time I tested it. I believe it is the 105-amp alternator.

    Using the information from RockAuto and the service manual as a reference, I found a site online (alternatorparts.com) which sells alternator pulleys. It looks like this one will fit:

    3.0Laltpulley.jpg

    If anyone (Josh?) could measure their 3.0L pulley and see if those dimensions are correct, I'd appreciate it. I'm pretty sure it is sized correctly. At $24, it's a friendly price. But it never hurts to make absolutely sure.
    DeLorean status: probation

    "Our doubts are traitors,
    And make us lose the good we oft might win
    By fearing to attempt."
    -Wm. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

  7. #7
    LS1 DMC Nicholas R's Avatar
    Join Date:  Jun 2011

    Location:  Orlando, Florida

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    Congrats on the wedding and graduating! It's crazy how much life can come in waves. That compounded with the unfortunate luck you've had with the original engine certainly sounds pretty exhausting. Glad to hear you finally have time to put into the car. Sounds like you've got a pretty good plan laid out. I'm looking forward to following your progress. Best of luck!

  8. #8
    Voice For Hire Farrar's Avatar
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    More shopping for parts online

    Thanks, Nicholas! Life is full of adventure, isn't it?

    Back on topic, slightly: This is not directly related to my engine swap, but since it's part of getting #2613 back on the road, I thought I'd mention it. When my car was towed up to NC, it was on a trailer part of the way and a tow dolly the rest of the way. In order to use the tow dolly, the drive axles had to be removed. When he looked at them, Bill Robertson noticed that, on one axle, one of #2613's CV boots is torn, and on the other axle, one CV joint is missing its end cap. I knew about the torn boot on the driver's side, but I could never figure out why grease was being flung on both sides every time I made a test drive. Well, now I know. Bill is donating an end cap to #2613. I've decided to provide the car with new CV joints and boots as long as it's getting a new engine.

    It's relatively common knowledge that DMC-12 CV joints are identical to Porsche 930 (a.k.a. 911 Turbo) CV joints. When I was searching for CV joints online, I found a website called Pacific Customs. They sell a set of four Porsche 930 CV joints for $199, which I consider to be a reasonable price. They also sell "Mini Max" cone-shaped CV axle boots and flanges made to match those boots. The aforementioned Nicholas R (of LS swap fame) used these boots and flanges on his amazing car, and the fact that he used them is enough endorsement for me.

    I plan to take it one step further by adding grease rings. This will make it possible to grease the CV joints without removing them, which I thought was impossible until I saw this product. Added coolness factor: the grease rings come with longer bolts to make up the 7/16" difference, and with plugs in case the fit is too tight to leave the grease fittings on while the vehicle is in use.

    All of these parts together will cost $518, which is more than sending my current axles off to be done up with new CV joints, but I think it will be worth the added expense.

    Side note: the same company also sells a pulse generator for a 16 pulse per revolution speedometer. There's a thread about this product elsewhere on DMCTalk, but I thought I'd mention it because I think it's pretty cool. Who knows, maybe DMCHouston will make it the centerpiece of a future electric speedo conversion kit.

    Back on topic: I am also shopping online for an a/c compressor. The Premier/Monaco engine did not use mounting brackets for the Sanden SD709 compressor; instead it bolted directly to the engine:

    compressorattach.jpg

    This means that I won't be able to use the a/c compressor currently installed in #2613. It's only a few years old and works just fine, but that's life!

    Bill Robertson has sourced a head (back plate) which should allow the DMC-12 hoses to attach to the back of a 7-cylinder Sanden compressor, which is good because the SD709 with proper mount holes I found at the best price has the wrong head:

    compressornew.jpg

    Fortunately, the gasket is metal and can be reused. Here's the head which -- in theory -- can be used to attach the Monaco/Premier SD709 compressor to the DeLorean hoses, as found on eBay by Bill:

    SD709-QDhead.jpg

    That's $35 for the head, and $175 for the compressor. If it works, I'd say I scored a bargain!

    Gotta love shopping for parts online. Right?
    DeLorean status: probation

    "Our doubts are traitors,
    And make us lose the good we oft might win
    By fearing to attempt."
    -Wm. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Feb 2016

    Posts:    943

    Quote Originally Posted by Farrar View Post
    Bill is donating an end cap to #2613.
    I am?

    You may want to throttle back your jets on all these accessories -- there's a lot of work to do before then. I don't even know what length serpentine belt you'll end up with. I've got to get Bryne Heninger out of the way first (after I finish repairing a bunch of canoes at the summer camp), then I'll start work on your engine. Perhaps the weather will have cooled off slightly by then.

    Bill Robertson
    #5939

  10. #10
    Voice For Hire Farrar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by content22207_2 View Post
    I am?
    Good point - "donate" is the wrong word. You said you'd find one on eBay for me. I will happily reimburse you, of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by content22207_2 View Post
    You may want to throttle back your jets on all these accessories -- there's a lot of work to do before then. I don't even know what length serpentine belt you'll end up with.
    According to Josh (who had a 3.0L PRV before he had an LS), a 6PK2120 is the correct length for a 3.0L with the power steering pump removed.

    Don't worry, Bill -- I haven't bought the parts yet. I'm just making my shopping list and documenting things along the way for future reference. With both of my cars out of service and only half a job, I have some time on my hands at the moment.
    Last edited by Farrar; 08-04-2016 at 08:54 PM. Reason: typo
    DeLorean status: probation

    "Our doubts are traitors,
    And make us lose the good we oft might win
    By fearing to attempt."
    -Wm. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

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