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The Most Common & Reliable Engine Swaps

Engine swaps are common among car enthusiasts and mechanics alike. Some do it for fun and others do it because they have to, in order for their vehicle to continue its life. People decide to do engine swaps for many different reasons:

  • To replace a broken or old car motor with an identical one that isn’t broken or has less mileage.
  • To replace a broken or old engine that is very rare or difficult to replace/find parts for with a different engine that fits well in the vehicle.
  • To replace a car motor that keeps breaking down or needing repairs with a more reliable engine.
  • To swap the engine out of the vehicle’s original stock engine with an engine that will enhance the vehicle’s power and is easier to modify for speed and power.
  • Some people just have a car motor laying around they decide to put it in a vehicle because, why not?

Making modifications to a car can be pricey, so you want to make sure you are picking engines for an engine swap that you can count on. If you have the money to lose, you could try swapping insane engines into your vehicle, like the person who dropped a Hellcat engine into a Toyota Prius, after some work they created a Prius with 1000 horsepower, but it was no easy task. It is important to keep in mind that the engine is not the only aspect of an engine swap that matters. There are components that go into deciding to swap an engine.

The vehicle matters. If you put a nice engine in a car known for its poor suspension or heavy body, you could be wasting a good engine on a terrible body.

The car transmission matters. There are other parts that are attached to the engine that you should make sure compliment your engine choice and not hinder it. The transmission for an engine swap is one of the most important car parts to make sure mate well with the car motor. It should work well with the engine you are picking because a weak transmission paired with a strong engine is a recipe for disaster.

Other car parts matter. Aside from the transmission you should make sure the motor mounts, wiring, MSD box, etc all work well with the engine you are about to install. The swaps that will be covered in this article require the original engine harness to either be replaced or redirected to an MSD box. To learn more about an MSD box check out Dragzine, they give an awesome explanation to those who might not be sure what this box does. This allows the new motor to get the correct fuel and air ratio since it will be substantially more than whatever motor was in it before. Most of the time you will have to buy custom motor mounts that fit the new motor and the chassis they are putting it into. Sometimes the fire wall (this is part of the vehicle body that separates the engine compartment from the passenger compartment) has to be cut or bent in some spots so that the new motor and transmission can fit directly.

Replacing car parts matter. Also, other than making sure they work well with the motor being installed, make sure the other car parts are new, fairly new or are in decent condition, so you don’t have a faulty alternator or cracked belt. Small parts not working correctly may seem unimportant compared to an engine, but they can be the difference between your car starting and it being a fancy piece of art in your garage.

If you don’t know what engine you should swap into your car, you are in luck. We’ve decided to put together a list of the top five common and reliable engines that you can swap with ease into your vehicle knowing they have a track record of leaving people satisfied with their swap.

GM 5.3 LS Engine

Let’s start with the LS series, this GM engine is the most notorious engine ever produced, many of the engines in this series could be used for a swap. For now we are just going to focus on the 5.3 LS engine, also known as the 5.3 Vortec. This LS model is frequently found at used car part stores and scrapyards, so it will be easier for you to find, depending on the generation you are looking for. As GM created different generations of the LS series, they improved the designs of the engines. The 5.3 LS, along with many in its series, is commonly known for its ability to withstand abuse. This V8 engine is light compared to other V8s and it fits into many smaller cars making them lightning fast.

Racing enthusiasts love this motor because they were made well by the factory, making the addition of nitrous a job that requires minimal effort and there is no need to worry about it blowing up from the extra power. Unlike many other V8s, these motors don’t need many modifications to make insane power. You can rebuild the top end of the motor, put a camshaft in it and you got yourself a 350-500 horsepower race motor ready to drop into the car of your choice. These cars are the number one swap for rear wheel drive car owners looking to add cheap power. Besides changing the motor mounts, the only other thing you need to do is rewire anything pertaining to the motor with an MSD box. Get yourself a transmission that can handle this new found power and you’re ready to ride!

Honda B Series Engine 1.6 L

Hondas changed street racing forever. Imagine putting tens of thousands of dollars in your souped up V8 Camaro and getting absolutely obliterated by a 1700 pound 4 cylinder Honda; the motors make great power for their size. They are obviously very light and are very easy to work on. These cars were widely reproduced and the parts for them are cheap. The addition of performance parts to these motors are still pretty cheap and again very easy to install. Unlike any motor on this list they are found in front wheel drive cars. This combination delivers unbelievably quick power to the wheels and why they are feared when it comes to a ¼ or ½ mile drag race. When it comes to swapping this motor into your car it doesn’t get much easier. You will need to first have a front wheel drive vehicle, second get the matching housing so that your engine will fit whatever transmission you have.

Ford 5.0 Engine


This Ford made 302 cubic inch motor was made notorious with the Ford Mustang. This V8 engine is a favorite to Ford lovers, when it comes to engine swaps. It’s pretty lightweight and can be made to have a ton of power with keeping the block mostly stock. Throw a camshaft in it, lift rockers and pushrods and get ready to grip the wheel. These motors are loved by street racers because they are durable and pretty easy to “bore” or “stroke” out. What this means is they resurface the head on the vehicle so that the motor has more displacement (open space inside the motor) and therefore has more power. They are another favorite for all rear wheel drive vehicles and like the LS you will need to rewire the motor to an MSD box, install new motor mounts to fit your vehicle and possibly make some adjustments to the transmission to withstand however much power the motor makes.

Ford 3.5 L V6 Engine

This is Ford’s most powerful V6, although it is an ecoboost. It comes from the factory with a whopping 350 horsepower and 450 ft pounds of torque. These engines can be found in 2010 and later Ford F150, GT, Expedition, Explorer, Flex, Police Interceptor, Taurus, Transit, along with the Lincoln MKS, MKT and Navigator. Unlike any engine on this list, they come with either a twin turbo set up or single turbo from the factory. This is what makes it more difficult to swap into other cars but it’s gaining in popularity quickly. People with RWD vehicles that are looking for power but dont have the space to fit a v8 quickly find this motor as their best choice. To do this swap into your vehicle you will need to have a good understanding of engine wiring and how to tune them, you will also have to make custom tubing for the turbos. Along with these changes, you will need to get motor mounts that will fit the vehicle and a car transmission to back up all of its power.

Jeep 4.0 Engine


The final engine swap we are going to cover is more for our off-roading enthusiasts. This motor was also produced by GM and was used in almost every Chrysler made Jeep for many years until it was discontinued in 2006. While these motors are not typically modified for more power, they are still a favorite for engine swaps. This is because they are lightweight and can take a beating. Jeep lovers rave about them because when it comes to reliability, it does not get much better. They can run off of anything from 5w30 oil to 15w40 diesel oil when you hear the engine valves getting a little noisy. These motors were vastly reproduced and so were the parts for them, so they are very cheap to work on. These engines don’t require much space and will be fairly easy to install. These motors are typically only used in Jeeps so it’s not like you have to make it fit. Make sure your wiring harness is for a 4.0 liter and everything else is plug and play.

Where Can I Find Used Car Motors For Sale Near Me?

Now you might be wondering where you are supposed to get these engines to do your swap? We recommend getting a car motor from a car parts store, a good place to start looking is right here at My Auto Store! We have used engines for sale for a fair price and we ship your engine replacement to you in 2 days, for free! Not to mention, we give you a 6-month warranty, so you can have peace of mind when buying with us.

Why buy a used motor? Well, buying a brand new one is either impossible because they are no longer made or unimaginably expensive and may not even be put together fully, giving you more work to do. Rebuilding a car engine can be expensive and tedious, if you do one thing wrong, the entire engine won’t work. A used engine is already built and has already been taken out of a vehicle where the engine was perfectly fine until something else went wrong with the vehicle. If a transmission goes or if the back end was smashed in an accident and the damage is not worth repairing the vehicle, many people just scrap it. The engine still works perfectly fine though and that’s where companies like My Auto Store come in!

We take each car part, especially used engines, and we quality test them with our 4 step quality control process. These parts have to pass our tests to be put into our inventory, so we know we are giving our customers a working OEM engine to make your swap successful. If you need a transmission for an engine swap, we have the car transmission you need! Whether it’s a Ford Focus transmission or a Honda Accord transmission, we have an inventory full of transmissions ready to sell. Luckily, we not only sell used engines and transmissions but we sell them online too! So now you don’t need to wait for normal business hours to come into our store or to call one of our team members. Just check out our website and browse through our inventory online for a quality OEM engine for a quality price!

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