5 One-of-a-Kind Diesels: Unique Swaps, Volume 5
Our popular diesel swap series returns with five hand-picked oil burners that are sure to impress—and probably even surprise—many of you. Although they’re either Cummins or Power Stroke equipped, these projects are anything but run-of-the-mill swaps. In fact, we’ve seldom seen similar builds. How about a ’39 Ford packing an aluminum-block, common-rail Cummins or a Chevy Loadmaster-turned 12-valve rat-rod? And what about a 6.7L Power Stroke under the hood of a dent side Ford or a 7.3L Power Stroke-swapped ’78 F-250 of the same era? If tractor technology is more your thing, we’ve got that covered, too, in the form of a P-pumped 7.3L parked in a ’16 F-350 Super Duty body.
Whether you’re ready to pull the trigger on your own homegrown project, drop one off with a professional or keep reading up on the ever-expanding world of diesel engine swapping, we hope you enjoy these creations as much as we do.
1. Diesel-Powered ‘Shine-Runner
Looking to put a unique spin on a popular classic, Todd Cox and Dan Scheid teamed up on this ’39 Ford DeLuxe sedan, Cox handling the auto body work at his place of business, Todd’s Hot Rods, and Scheid (i.e. Scheid Diesel) supplying the engine. Prepping the ’39 to accommodate and then support the Cummins it was destined to receive, Todd’s crew knocked it out of the park, adding Heidts Mustang II upper and lower tubular control arms with adjustable coil over shocks, a take-out rear-end (and independent rear suspension) from an R34 Nissan Skyline GT-T, extensive reinforcing of the car’s frame and finishing things off with Standox base coat and clear.
Aluminum Block Cummins
While Scheid Diesel’s billet-aluminum blocks are typically found in 3,000hp truck pulling applications, the company may be looking to change all of that with its water-jacketed version employed here. Billet connecting rods, 4.125-inch bore Diamond Racing pistons and a fire-ringed (and ported) 24-valve cylinder head off of a 5.9L common-rail Cummins highlight the hard-parts.
Fueling is provided by a 95-gph FASS system, Scheid’s 50hp premium common-rail injectors and controlled via an S&S Diesel Motorsport-tuned stand-alone ECU from Bosch Motorsport. With one of Scheid’s 63mm Lightning turbochargers also in the mix, the Cummins-powered sedan sends 720 hp and 1,420 lb-ft of torque to the tires. If you want to see more of this one-of-a-kind car, it will be on display at the 2019 SEMA Show in Vegas November 5-8.
2. Not the Power Stroke You Expected…
While many would expect to see the 6.7L Power Stroke retained in a ’11-’16 Super Duty, such is not the case here. In an effort to be as competitive as possible in the national Pro Stock Diesel Truck pulling class, Ferenc X Vegh Jr., his son Nathan and crew chief Will Hardesty decided to go full-on mechanical.
But they didn’t set a Cummins between the frame rails of this ’16 F-350. Instead, they rely on an 1,800hp P-pumped (i.e. mechanical) version of the venerable 7.3L Power Stroke to get the job done. The truck’s name is Jumping Jack Flash and it’s a big hit with fans and fellow truck pullers alike.
Reaching out to a household name in the P-pumped 7.3L world, Ferenc and the boys contacted Hypermax Engineering for an engine build, P-pump conversion and the 91mm turbocharger that would be needed. A bed plate, forged-steel rods, completely reworked (yet factory-based) and ported cylinder heads, a 13mm Bosch inline 8-cylinder pump, Peterson dry sump oil system and a belt-driven water-injection system are just some of the exotic parts on this bad boy.
While the 91mm (3.6-inch) smooth bore turbo limits what the engine is capable of in the Pro Stock class (with smooth bore often even being likened to restrictor plate racing in NASCAR), occasionally the JJF guys swap a 4.1-inch charger into place, bump up to the Super Stock class and uncork the real potential of this monster V8.
3. Diesel High-Boy
Mechanical, electrical and fabrication skills come in handy when you’ve got a complete powertrain out of a ’97 F-250 diesel, a ’76 High-Boy in above-average shape and a little time on your hands. After sourcing the perfect dent side Ford for his project (meaning a near-rust-free version in his area of the Midwest), Chris Herth’s ’76 F-250 build got underway in earnest and seven months later the truck was drivable.
Along with the 7.3L Power Stroke, E4OD transmission and BorgWarner 1356 transfer case, Chris also swapped a Kingpin Dana 60 under the front-end and the ’97 donor’s 10.25 Sterling in place out back.
Lots of Midnight Oil Burned (lots of it)
Hours of measuring, planning and fabricating later, the 7.3L Power Stroke was in its happy place. Easing the integration process, Chris used the ’97 F-250’s firewall and transmission tunnel, which provided ample clearance for the turbo, transmission and transfer case. Motor mounts and transmission mounts had to be fabbed up and a completely new driveline made.
Surprisingly, the truck’s ignition switch proved the most time consuming and frustrating item in the entire build. Performance-wise, the 7.3L was treated to a TS Performance six-position chip and a 4-inch Diamond Eye exhaust. Work-wise, it’s on the hook often, be it tied to a horse trailer, flatbed full of hay or toting a tractor somewhere.
4. Late 40s Chevrolet
From 1947 to 1955, Chevrolet built the Advance-Design pickup truck series in both Loadmaster or Thriftmaster form.
After this version spent a good portion of its life working the Schmidt farm in eastern Missouri, it was retired and parked in the barn—until Jeremy Schmidt decided to dust off grandpa’s old Chevy and treat it to the ultimate repower.
5.9L Power & Rat-Rod Touches
Ditching the dinky original gas engine in favor of a 12-valve 5.9L Cummins (and a P-pumped Cummins at that) brought the old-school workhorse right back to life, although we think it’ll be more of a show-rig this go ‘round than a farm hand.
On a recent trip to the massive show ‘n shine hosted at the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza (where we spotted it), Jeremy’s flat bed Chevy took First Place in the Custom Diesel category.
5. Dent Side Up Top, Super Duty Underneath
Matt Claycamp started piecing this truck together several years ago and while it might look like it’s still a work in progress it’s 100-percent drivable.
In fact, his old Ford has been spotted towing a trailer cross-country a time or two. Using body parts from several different ’73-’79 donors, Matt’s dent side—which he tells us is titled as a ‘77—sits atop an ’11 Super Duty chassis. This includes a solid Dana 60 up front, 10.5 Sterling in the rear and the corresponding 18-inch, 8-lug (8x170) Super Duty wheels.
6.7L Power Stroke
But what gets the truck moving down the road? How about a 6.7L Power Stroke. Somehow, some way, Matt was able to squeeze the FoMoCo diesel V8 into the engine bay and get all electronics to work.
This is where having a complete donor rig is so crucial in dropping a modern day oil-burner into an older truck. To shoehorn the Power Stroke in behind the grille, Matt told us the original firewall had to be completely removed, and you’ll notice what appears to be the Super Duty firewall in place in the photo above.
Curious as to the other one-of-a-kind diesel repowers we’ve featured? Start from the beginning of our Unique Swaps series here.