Engine Swap for More Power- Is it Possible or Worth It?
Ever heard of an engine swap? It’s when someone swaps out a car’s factory engine for a different engine. Most engine swaps are done to get a boost in power, and sometimes they are done for a more modern and efficient engine. Swapping out engines in a car is possible, but is it worth the possible risks?
Engine Swapping Today
When purchasing a car, customers can perform an engine swap and not even know it. Just look at this article on diesel versus gasoline and which is better for your needs. When buying a truck, and looking for more towing power, buyers will choose the option of a diesel engine. They call it an “option” or sometimes an “upgrade”, but it’s the smoothest kind of engine swap there is. Why? Because that diesel engine was built for that truck.
So what about swapping out a factory engine for an engine that wasn’t specifically made for the vehicle? It’s still possible. Why spend the $65 grand on a 707-horsepower Challenger SRT Hellcat if you can buy the 2017 Dodge Challenger SXT for $26,995 and replace it with a SRT Hellcat engine for a few thousand dollars? Although it sounds like a good idea, most of the time, the more expensive and more powerful vehicle has specific components and configurations to handle that kind of power. Otherwise it’s like a novice hopping on a motorcycle and rotating the throttle – they’re gonna go flying off with little-to-no control.
Now, there are common engine swaps that happen all the time. For instance, drivers have been known to switch out engines in hot rods and muscle cars for the Chrysler HEMI engine or the Dodge Viper V10. Maybe it’s a matter of the configurations they prefer over those offered with the factory engine. The problem one can run into however has to do with the engine design, the engine bay, and money.
First off, the engine has to fit in the engine bay when completing an engine swap. Meaning, if the engine is larger than the engine bay, you’re going to run into some problems. You can’t put a circle into a square; well you can, but it’s not advised. Why?
Well for one thing, fitting an engine into a car that was never intended to utilize that engine requires a lot of work, time, and money. Modifying a Jeep for mudding or water crossing is simple, but does have its costs for post-factory components and installments. You can modify the exterior of a Ram truck for work or add on parts for better gas mileage, but modifying a car for an unnatural engine swap? That means the car itself and/or the potential new engine will have to be modified or reconstructed to work and fit together. Heck, even V6 and V8 HEMI engines need a larger engine bay just for the space they take up alone.
Second, there’s insurance. We hear this scenario all the time, “I want a 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, but I don’t want the high insurance rates that come with a muscle-car.” So an engine swap sounds like a smooth way to work the system. However, if your car gets into an accident that requires engine repairs and the engine isn’t covered by your auto insurance, the repair costs come out of your pocket. Money to install, and more money to fix.
Also, engine swaps will likely void a car’s factory powertrain warranty.
In the end, it’s better to look into installing different components or performing mods for more horsepower. If working with an FCA car, there’s a good chance Mopar Custom Auto Parts has performance parts that can do the same thing for a fraction of the cost. Engine swapping is possible, and there are a number of doable swaps, but consider the cost and insurance coverage before trying to turn a normal sports car into a hot rod.