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Oddball Idea

Just a question to see if anybody has any ideas. Thinking financially here when I say this but, what if I were to get a chevy 350 small block engine, rebuild it and mount it into a 2007 dodge nitro. Would it be do-able to keep the original transmission of the nitro is all im thinking so i dont have to bust my wallet getting a different one for the time being. I know it’s an absolutely dumb idea but would like to here input or other ideas that might work. I only got that thought out of thinking of different ways to get more horsepower and tourque and this weird ass idea popped into my head.

It would be less expensive to buy a first Gen SRT Grand Cherokee, $30,000 +, than to modify your Nitro

Everything in your Nitro is computer controlled and tied together, you can’t change one thing without changing everything else, the wiring would be a nightmare, and everything would have to be custom fabricated.

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Besides the fact the trans won’t even bolt up. That is a unique way to waste money and devalue a Chevy SB.

The first step for the OP is to locate a shop that could fabricate an adaper that would allow the Chevy engine to mate-up with the Mopar transmission. And then, there is the engine/transmission electronics issue…

well. motor is north/south which is a dodge trait for their fwd cars. like my old intrepid. so, adding a 4cyl deep block vs a 3cyl(v-6)block needs more room between motor/radiator. so, offhand i would say no.
i just looked at an 08 grand prix gxp v8 with a bad trans. that motor is sideways. 5.3 ls motor. hmm, maybe better than the 350 setup you want to use?

A Dodge Nitro is a RWD SUV so no FWD funny business to address. You’d be way ahead to swap in a 5.3 liter Gen 3 Chevy V8 AND its transmission as a unit. Buy one a GM truck, they are plentiful and cheap. They put out 300 hp or so from the factory and run forever. Transmissions last for 175K or so but only cost about $1100 for a rebuilt on at the parts store. Make sure you get the ENTIRE wiring harness and computer for the package.

Fabricate engine mounts, exhaust, driveshaft, trans mounts, modify radiator, coolant lines, trans coolant lines, move stuff in the way, make brackets, repeat until it fits.

Buy a wiring diagram for BOTH the engine/trans combo and the Nitro. Figure out what wires need to go where and reconfigure the harnesses to meet. This will be a job far worse than you imagine even now reading this! Some things in the Dodge will no longer work properly - gauges most likely. You might be able to figure out how to make this work, or not. Find a person that can re-program the computer from the 5.3 to eliminate the security system and any other system it expects to be there that is no longer there. Maybe it will start, maybe it will need more mods.

Did you read anything “cheap” in all this?

You could just jam a carb’ed 350 and Turbo 350 trans in this thing and jury-rig enough stuff to make it actually run but nothing will work properly and NOthing will pass emissions testing if you have such a thing.

i would have assumed the nitro was fwd. i sorta looked at a jeep partriot with a bad trans and the review said it was copied from the dodge caliber which never should have been built to begin with. patriot/compass/nitro? all the same i thought. but no.

Different platforms, this is a Jeep liberty with slightly different styling.

There is your answer >

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These things were feasible and fun to do in the 50s and60s. However today’ powertrains are all computer managed and the electronics cost as much as the engine.

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If you’re the slightest bit concerned about not spending much money on this, then you’re not prepared for what what this job entails or will cost. It would be far easier and cheaper to simply sell the Nitro and then take the proceeds from that plus the 10k-15k you were going to spend on the project, and buy something more powerful.

… on a vehicle that has a book value of… maybe… $4,500, if it is in excellent condition…