As the name implies, an engine swap involves taking the original engine out of a car and replacing it with another one. This can be done if the original engine is no longer working and needs to be replaced, or if the vehicle’s owner would like an upgrade for better power, speed, or handling. Updating your engine is not cheap, but it’s a great alternative to purchasing a new or used car instead if you’re looking for something new. This guide will help you answer all your engine swap questions, from what to think about before starting the project to how much does an engine swap cost.
Considerations Before Your Engine Swap
If you’re ready to do an engine swap, take a moment to consider three key areas of your vehicle and engine before starting. This will help you budget for the project and ensure that there are no surprises along the way.
First, take a look at your wiring system. The gauge, amperage, and other factors will determine what type of engine can be used in the swap, as everything needs to be compatible to ensure a safe and functioning ride. If you choose an engine that does not match your wiring, you may need to pay for a new wiring system.
Cooling System Check
Next, evaluate your current cooling system. When the engine is replaced, you may need to install an auxiliary cooling system, too. This helps prevent overheating and other dangerous concerns but may also increase the cost of your swap.
Finally, check the fluid reservoirs you’ll need. Most engines will require the installation of new reservoirs, so make sure there’s enough space in the vehicle to accommodate them. The reservoirs contain essential fluids for proper engine performance, and skipping this step could cause serious issues.
Factors Affecting The Price Of Your Engine Swap
You’re now ready to begin your engine swap, but how much is it really going to cost? There’s no one answer for this question, but this guide will give you a rough estimate of what to expect based on the type of engine you choose, the brand and model of your car, and the mechanic doing the swap.
One factor that can determine the price of your swap is whether you choose a short block, long block, or complete engine. A short block engine is about one-third the total size or components needed to make a full engine. This includes the pistons, bearings, connecting rods, and freeze plugs, among other essential parts, but you’ll need to purchase additional components. Short block engines cost the least of the available options.
A long block engine is an almost-complete engine that contains cylinder heads in addition to the remaining short block pieces. You’ll need to purchase the rest but won’t have to track down quite as many parts, making a long block engine a good choice if you aren’t interested in extensive customization.
The most convenient option is to choose a complete engine, with has everything you need to begin your engine swap. While the most expensive option, this is a great choice if you’re short on time and are sure of what you want in your engine.
In addition to the type of engine chosen, consider the brand, features, and technical specifications of your options, as these factors can all increase the price of your engine swap.
Brand & Type Of Car
Like the engine, the brand and type of car you choose will have an effect on the price of your swap. A basic vehicle with commonly-found parts will likely make for an economical swap thanks to the ease and speed of replacement. A sports car that requires a higher level of performance will be more expensive, as will a swap involving a vintage or rare car, as these will likely have more delicate or hard to find parts that require extra effort.
Mechanics typically charge between $50 and $100 per hour of labor to complete an engine swap, and this job can take up to 20 hours to complete. As a result, expect to spend between $500 and $1,500 in labor costs, in addition to anywhere from $500 for a short block engine to $9,000 for a complete, high-performance engine. Remember that depending on the type of engine chosen, you’ll need to pay for additional parts to complete the block as well.
Speak To A Custom Auto Body Specialist
Engine swaps are complicated procedures best left to a professional. Reach out to Rob’s Customs and Restorations for more information about engine swaps or to schedule an appointment. Rob’s specializes in engine swaps and classic cars, making the shop an excellent choice for vehicle owners looking to improve the performance of their vintage vehicle.