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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-11-2002, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
 
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1991 sidekick tranny and engine swap

Couple of questions. I am a jeep guy, but dad has a sidekick, and we love it, but the tranny is slipping, and the engine is starting to show some wear SO...is there a way to swap the auto he has for an auto with OverDrive? He said that he thought the vitara had OD trans, will that fit, or is there another alternative. The Zuk is the right size for him, but overdrive would be nice on the highway

Question 2. What to do about the engine, rebuild and swap in the OD trans, or do a swap of both the engine and trans. What are the options? I did a search, but there was alot, so if any has the info on what is possible with the least hassle for the most benefit, that would be great! Thanks guys

Cecil
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-12-2002, 11:51 AM
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Re: 1991 sidekick tranny and engine swap

Hey Cecil,
I will reply since people are not lining up to answer your questions. I am no expert, but I think the info below should be relatively accurate.

If he REALLY wants the 4 spd O/D trans his best bet would probably be to find a wrecked Sidekick/Tracker donor with that motor and transmission setup. The 4 spd O/D is electronically controlled by the ECM and came mated with the 16 valve 1.6 litre engines. The 16 valve engine and trans could be easily mounted in the '91, but he would also need the ECM and wiring harness from the donor to control both the engine and trans.




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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-13-2002, 03:40 AM
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Re: 1991 sidekick tranny and engine swap

Just a bit of help for you maybe, the transmission that's stock on the kick/track is a GM TH180 or as the newer nomenclature goes, a 3L30.

Specs are not posted on the GM Powertrain site anymore for the 3L30, but the 4L30E which is the 4 speed electronically controlled version of it does have spec's posted. It's rated at 250 lb/ft of torque, and seems to be a fairly decent unit. GM uses it in the Isuzu Rodeo, was using it in the Cadillac Catera, and sells it to BMW for use in the Z3 roadster. (a few other cars like Opel's use it too).

Anyway the Rodeo would be your best bet for a replacement that's tough as I'm not sure what the one in the 4speed trackers/kicks is (if someone knows for sure let me know though, that would obviously be the easiest swap to do) but as was previously stated, since it's an electronically controlled tranny so that creates some problems.

I believe there are kits to act as a separate brain box for a 4L60E and 4L80E so it's possible one may exist. Downside is that these aren't cheap (several hundred dollars in other words.) As for an application for the 4L30E, I haven't found one. It's possible the ones that work on the others would work on this though.

I would think a Rodeo V6 swap with the 4WD tranny would be a great swap (powerwise if nothing else) and the outputs are in the right spots to minimize the amount of fabrication you'd have to do. Also the 1st and 2nd gear ratios are a bit higher numerically on the Rodeo version of the 4L30E which would be a plus. This would require of course the ecu and harness from a rodeo, alternately you could use an aftermarket fuel injection system but they're not cheap. (They're great for performance though with the tunability they provide).

The downside, to all of this is the cost. The Rodeo 4L30E's usually go for roughly 900-1000 dollars at non-self serve yards just for the tranny with the T-case. Probably about the same for the engine but you might luck out and find a rolled one if you watch insurance auctions or happen across one at the self serve junkyards.

The upside to this conversion is that the bellhousings are removable so it's possible (I have not verified this and the bellhousing has fluid passages machined in so comparing the two would be very wise) you could just swap bellhousings and mate a 4L30E up to a G16A block without too much trouble. I believe the torque converter should also be interchangeable but I'm guessing here, tough to get tranny shops to cough up much info when they want to do the work so they can make money so if anyone knows otherwise please speak up. (That and most of em only know how to fix 700R4's and stuff that starts with Turbo-Hydramatic it seems).

I've been looking at this as an option for a few years as I have a 35 mile commute and most of it's on the freeway at 70 MPH which really sucks with the 3 speed auto from both a mileage and a wear and tear perspective, the added grunt of the bottom two gears would be great too.

This is where I'm at on it until I have the money sitting around to do the change or if I happen across one at a self serve yard as I'm not about to pay 1000 bucks for something that might not even work (150 or so and I might take the gamble though.)

Hopefully the research I've done will help someone out, maybe even me. I've also tried contacting GM for some info on the specs for the transmission that it expects to recieve from the ECU, it might be possible to make a less intelligent version of the ecu that would allow it to function as a standard "dumb" automatic.

It might even have a limp mode it defaults to that is just this if it should have a failure of the controller. If anyone has access to the service manual for a Rodeo/Amigo (the real deal not haynes) and can verify this sort of info, that would be great. GM won't tell me squat unfortunately.

In any case, this probably seems a bit much for a tracker or kick. It probably is, unfortunately coming from a car background with Datsun Z cars (1st gen 70-78 mostly) and spending way too much time looking at the crazy stuff people at places like www.hybridz.org do (Buick Grand National engine in a 2400 lb 240Z and then grafting in Corvette rear suspensions to handle that much power), There are people there that are fabbing their own stainless exhaust headers for turbo setups pushing the 600HP barrier in daily drivers. So I'm convinced most of this would be possible if you really want to do it and have the ability. (And of course the tools, parts, time, and motivation required)


Brian
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