Conversion of gas to electric or diesel

Any suggestions about hopw to start educating oneslef about converting a gas-powered car to diesel or electric power?

Sorry about my spelling/typing.

First, tell us your budget for this project, and we will tell you what might be feasible.

One of the odd results of the old AMC-Renault partnership was that for a couple of years you could get a Cherokee with a Renault-made 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine. Buying one of these would be your cheapest option.

I would be forced to start with google.

Conversions to diesel can’t begin to pay for themselves, and conversion to electric will likely cost the price of a new car. If you want a diesel, buy a car or truck with a diesel already in it!

I think that converting this vehicle to electric status would cost the price of several new cars.

Perhaps the OP is a wealthy person who needs a very time-consuming hobby, but in any event, I am still waiting to hear how much he has budgeted for this project.

I don’t have enough information to have a budget, that’s why I am looking for sources of information. Just googling gets lots of people claiming to have done conversions but are short on specifics.

Conversion from gas to diesel is not very practical. There is so much involved you’d be better off to go out and buy a diesel vehicle. Plus, you’d never be able to get the vehicle through any sort of emissions testing, if they have such a thing in your area.

Electric conversion is possible, but I’d want to start with an old vehicle, one that never had any emissions controls in the first place.

Again, you’ll spend more than the cost of a brand new vehicle trying to switch to electric power, and the operational range on current battery technology will be extremely limited.

I’ve seen some electric conversions built for drag racing. They’re very quick, but they only have to worry about going 1/4 mile at a time, and they are not used on the street.

Your cheapest option (please note that I did not say it would be cheap) would be to drop a used diesel engine into it. Your major expenses will be to have a machine shop custom-cast an adapter so that this alien engine can be mated to the existing transmission, and to custom-craft appropriate motor mounts for it.

Also, be sure that the existing transmission can take the high torque put out by most diesel engines. If the trans is not up to the task of handling all of that torque, then you will have to install a transmission compatible with the diesel engine–and hope that it will fit in the same space as the original trans. Then, you will have to have the shift linkage custom-crafted, and the driveshaft custom-crafted for the different length between the new trans and the rear axle.

You will also have to have at least the front suspension modified to handle the higher weight of the diesel engine, the tires will have to be upgraded to handle the greater weight load, and it would be advisable to have the brakes upgraded, so that you can actually stop this thing in less than 3 city blocks.

Also, you should install a second battery and all of the related wiring to connect it to the alternator and the diesel starter. If you can find a decent used diesel engine (and transmission, possibly), you might luck out and be able to buy them and have all of the modification work done for $6k-$8k. Truthfully, I doubt that you could have a good job done for that price, but it might be possible.

As to conversion to electric status, I would suggest a budget of at least $10k.

As was already said, you would be FAR better off just buying a different vehicle.

If you live in a area that requires emissions testing, FORGET converting from one fuel to another. You will run into a bureaucratic buzz-saw. The vehicles registration status and VIN will have to be changed before you could buy plates for it…All kinds of inspections and certifications would have to be obtained…

Come back at us with a little bit of what your thinking. For example, when someone tells you that the best way (and probably only way) to get from gas to diesel is to trade in the gas vehicle on a diesel vehicle, is that what you want to know? Or, are you thinking outside the box. Don’t be shy here. The folks here are friendly and NOT looking to put anyone down. Your question has the makings of a great conversion. So come on back and tell us your thoughts and what you would like to do to learn = which I think is very admirable.

I’ve got a 2000 Cherokee which I love to drive, but only gets 17MPG. I’m starting from a completely naive position and trying to think what to do with the car. I know people here (in New Orleans) making biodiesel, so that is the motivation for thinking about diesel conversion. I know the car companies are (supposedly) starting to come out with production electric cars, so is the battery technology ready for practical use? I have no idea what this involves or costs- I’ve pulled engines and done major work before, so if it is economically feasable I game to try.

With a large enough hammer and a ton of money anything is possible.

The practical thing to do is to sell what you have and buy what you want.

Back in the 70’s, I knew some “top gun” electronic technicians who took small cars and made them into electric cars. They worked, but they were not really feasible. The distances were low; the reliability was poor. As indicated here, view it as a fun experiment with price limited only by available cash rather than a practical idea.

That is the only reason you should consider such a move.

The diesel conversion may not even be totally legal, since it will not be certified. Un-certified cars can be a yoke around your neck.

A bit of advice. If you need to ask here how to do it, as offensive as it may sound, you are probably not qualified to do it. Not to discourage you if you are determined, just saying.

Those technicians had a mental idea what was involved from extensive background in a variety of subjects, including electronics and mechanics. They knew it was not going to be easy, but they knew what they needed to figure out before they started.

If you don’t, and your question indicates you don’t, understand it is going to be a major task for you. Yes, it can be done. Determined people do great things, but you should know what you are getting into.

Don’t even THINK about converting to diesel. A diesel conversion for this truck would require a complete drivetrain replacement, from engine to rear axle. It is only feasible IF you can find a diesel Cherokee and swap all the mechanicals to your truck. Otherwise, your looking at a total fabrication or a lot of money and time tracking down the proper diesel equipment to pull this off.

And, with current do-it-yourself technology available, electric conversion will be costly, troublesome, unreliable, and cause far more problems than it is worth. A large motor and lots of batteries would be the least of your needs to pull this off, and probably get only 25-40 miles on an 8-10 hour charge if done right.

Do what my sister did. Keep the Jeep like it is, use it sparingly, like when you need the space or just tooling around on the weekends, and buy a small, fuel- efficient car for your daily commuter needs. You’ll be happier.

Well, you never know if you don’t ask.

Hey, don’t give up…Perkins makes some nice little engines, There were a few Checker taxi cabs with Perkins power…The marine diesel market is full of sweet little engines. To be practical, you need 80-100 hp. The hard part will be the transmission and getting the engine and transmission bolted together, then getting it connected to your transfer case…You might want to START with a common transmission / transfercase like out of a Blazer and make that fit a suitable engine…YOUR existing transmission bellhousing might work with a custom made adapter plate. It’s a lot of work and it will take a lot of money…

Is this a 6 cylinder? You know some had V8s, maybe you could convert to a V8. Yes you would have to change some other things too, but you could get by without changing everything!!

Check this out:

These guys provide a kit that will connect an Isuzu 3.9L turbodiesel to a Chevrolet bell housing and manual transmission. If you buy a Chevy truck, for instance, with a dead drive train, you could buy the Isuzu diesel and a manual tranny. Their kit is $680; add the engine and transmission to that. This would only make sense if you use a used engine and transmission.