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Old 04/29/10, 11:32 AM   #1
grox's Avatar
Broomfield, CO
Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 5
Fuel efficient engine swaps???

New guy here... and I might get kicked out for asking this one but, anyone have info on switching to a modern, more fuel efficient motor? Maybe a toyota 22R 4 cylinder? Diesel? Just curious.

I'm considering buying a 71 Bronco for restoration. It's been about 30 years sense my last one (Orange 73). But, I have a long commute, and a long drive to most camping spots, so comfort and milage are important.


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Old 04/29/10, 11:51 AM   #2
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There have been several diesel swaps. I have not heard of anything smaller than the 170 or 200 6 cyl. that were stock in some Broncos. If I could find one of 4 cyl. diesels in the Egyptian military Jeeps I would try it. Anyway, my Bronco is already a duel fuel rig. It burns gas and oil.

Bronco's, Kids and Mountain Curs... What a mix.
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Old 04/29/10, 12:11 PM   #3
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The Cummins 4bt (diesel) is a swap that has been done quite a few times and is fairly well documented in the archives.

Most people go with a 5.0 or 351W setup with EFI using early 90s Mustang electronics.

The 22RE wouldnt get you out of the parking lot. A Bronco weighs in at about 4-4.5K lbs, so the Toyota motor while a good motor for its breed, will not be very good one for the Bronco.

Another swap that isnt super common, but is supposed to be pretty effective is an inline 300 six (Ford) takes a little shoe-horning to fit, but is supposed to provide great torque and be fairly efficient on fuel.

You can try doing a search to see if any of the other engine ideas you ahve have been discussed. Mostly people here like to keep it Ford, or at least, definitely not Chevy. I have also heard of an Isuzu diesel being used, but never saw photos or any other info.

Frame-up...Explorer 5.0 EFI, NV4500 and D20 (TLG and HD OS), Yukon alloys (w/ SJ) F & R (31 spl), ARBs and 4.88s. F250 h-boost w/Lincoln MC and 4W discs riding on 5.5" Deavers, Cage arms, hoops and shocks. Full Line-X inside, underneath and upside down, custom cage, 35" MTZ on black Eagle alloys.
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Old 04/29/10, 12:46 PM   #4
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Broomfield, CO
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Thanks for the info. I didn't realize these old Bronco's were so heavy. I wonder if there would be any advantages to a 3.8L Buick V6?
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Old 04/29/10, 12:52 PM   #5
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In '86 Ford Ranger was available with a turbo Perkins Diesel. 86 HP 1nd 134 ft lbs torque. Pretty puny but I've wondered why someone with a puny I6 hasn't retrofitted one. It should pull a light Bronco pretty well.
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'77, 2" suspension lift, 1" body lift, 32" tires. 302, 4 bbl, headers. NV3550, 4.11s, Yukon rear posi.
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Old 04/29/10, 01:00 PM   #6
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Ive often wonderd how a fuel injected turbo 170 six would do.

68 Sport-automatic undercarrage lubricaton system, anti stop rear brakes,flow thru fresh air ventlation system.
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Old 04/29/10, 01:01 PM   #7
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Honestly the 22re was a garbage motor as far as power and efficiency was concerned. Reliable yes, but that only gets you so far. They had a hard time moving the relatively light toyotas around. The 3rz 2.7l 4cyl they came out with in the tacomas is way better. Twice the valves, better head design, and a bit more displacement.

One swap that's always tempted me is a 3.2l SHO taurus motor from the early 90's. A Ranger 3.0l 5spd should bolt up to it, and it would be a fun motor.

Look for high torque output ratings low in the RPM range, that will get you the best economy. High low end torque, medium displacement will get you the best millage.

Turbo diesels are great, but spendy depending on what you're looking for. Gas milage gains may take a while to pay back for the intial investment.
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Old 04/29/10, 01:13 PM   #8
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Here's some pics of a PowerStroke Diesel Bronco from SuperCelebration this year.

'74 Stocker (302, C4)
Binco Build Thread
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Old 04/29/10, 01:35 PM   #9
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Welcome to the site.. Cummins 4bt (diesel)

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Old 04/29/10, 01:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by av bronco View Post
Ive often wonderd how a fuel injected turbo 170 six would do.
it's been done, but not fuel injected. a member of LEBC has a 170 or 200 with a turbo on it, sucker moves!
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Old 04/29/10, 01:40 PM   #11
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Fuel efficient vs cost efficient is a main reason there just are not many engines out there that will increase the mileage all that much and the ones that do will cost you quite a bit more than it may actually save you.
As others have said those smaller motors you think are more efficient will not be in a bronco. areo dynamics is a major issue with broncos and fuel mileage. Best bet in my book is keep it relatively stock height 302 built to meet your driving needs and tuned properly EFI might help slightly, gearing matched to your driving needs and tire size and you'll pull about all the mileage you can get. You should be able to easily get into the mid to high teens for mileage.

73 Ranger 2 1/2 lift 302 TFS heads NP435,PS,PDB, tierod over, 33x10.50x15 BFG M/T
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Old 04/29/10, 01:55 PM   #12
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The thing is with fuel economy and Broncos, it isn't the engine. The Bronco itself is the problem. It has absolutely nothing aerodynamic about it. It would do better in a wind tunnel test if you put it in there backwards. So no matter what you are fighting the wind.

Now add in weight. You need a fair amount of power to get 2(+) tons moving. The 170 was just over 100 HP new and even then it was lacking to the point the standard gears were 4.10 and 4.56 optional. The gears were not there to make it awasome offroad, they were there to get this thing moving due to lack of power and heavy weight.

For the most part there is little you can do about the drag. The 2-box design has you trapped. The wagon top is probably the most aerodynamic. No lift, skinny tires, air dam under the front bumper all help. Just about any of our normal offroad modifications is the wrong direction.

I know of the excelent reputation of the GM 3.8 V6 for economy in cars. Take that car get up to 75 MPH and slip it in nuetral and see how far you coast. It is a slippery little thing. Try the same thing in the Bronco, it will feel like you are riding the brakes. That is the drag killing you.

The 4BT is probably the best at making the amount of power needed to fight the drag on the least amount of fuel.

Any gas engine with "turbo" makes horrible economy while under boost. Heavy vehicle will always take boost to get moving, drag will keep it in boost at cruise. I grew up with the 80's turbo cars. They got great power and highway economy. Thing is they had to stay out of the turbo when on the highway to get that economy. Play around a little and keep up the boost, A big V8 started looking a lot better and didn't need that premium fuel either.

If you need economy, you need another vehicle.

"She's built like a steakhouse but she handles like a bistro"-Zapp Brannigan
“How hard can it be?”-Clarksonius 4th century BC.
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Old 04/29/10, 02:10 PM   #13
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I'd say for economy vs price you'd be best with a freshly gone through 5.0 with speed density EFI. Enough power to get you going, enough to keep you going, and relatively good mileage with the accuracy the SD sensors put into the computer. Won't handle HP upgrades on the motor well at all though but you might not need them. They're cheap to buy as most guys are looking for the MAF setups and super plentiful in the wrecking yards. Low mileage SD 5.0 w/ all the EFI stuff, new rings and seals maybe, drop it straight in, wire it up and your runnin'....

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Old 04/29/10, 02:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by trailpsycho View Post
The 22RE wouldnt get you out of the parking lot. A Bronco weighs in at about 4-4.5K lbs, so the Toyota motor while a good motor for its breed, will not be very good one for the Bronco.
Just to play devils advocate, a bunch of the weight in a EB is in the drivetrain. The frame and body (without top) don't weigh significantly more than the body, box, and frame on a yota pickup. While working on my 85 solid axle pickup I started considering how easy and clean this swap would be. I'd put wedges on the front axle and use the Bronco coils. I know this is balsphemy but one could end up with a 20+ mpg capable rig that would definitly get you out of the parking lot. P/S, P/B, 5 speed, electric lockers front and rear, etc. Lots of HP mods for the 22R like super chargers etc.

Just a little thinkin outside the box. Please don't disown me.
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Old 04/29/10, 02:20 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Just a little thinkin outside the box. Please don't disown me.
We would never disown you for that Dave, there are plenty of other reasons to do that!

As it was said before, if you need mileage, you need another car. I am not saying you cant get mileage out of a bronco (4bt) but the cost/time to get there isnt going to pay itself back anytime soon either

The beatings will continue until morale improves.
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