We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Engine Swap?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An engine swap is a process in which an automobile's engine is removed from the chassis and replaced with another. Many times, the engine swap is completed due to the amount of damage inflicted on the vehicle's original engine. It is often less expensive to complete an engine swap than to repair an existing engine. Perhaps the most common reason for attempting an engine swap is to increase performance from a vehicle. Many times, a small, low-performance engine is removed from an automobile, and a larger, higher-performance engine is installed in its place.

There are different levels of an engine swap to be considered once the decision to change an engine has been made. While the goal of an engine swap is to replace a broken or worn-out engine, financial circumstances may dictate many alternative processes to a complete engine swap. Replacing the short block or long block is often a more financially-friendly method of restoring power to a vehicle. This option is dependent on the quality of the vehicle's original power plant.

The option of a short block replacement entails replacing the worn-out engine block and rotating assembly consisting of the crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons and rings. When completing this type of swap, the engine's original cylinder heads are usually rebuilt while the camshaft and lifters are typically exchanged for new pieces as the engine is being reassembled. Gaskets and bearings are also replaced, while components such as the water pump, intake and fuel system are cleaned up and reused.

Replacing a long block involves everything from the short block assembly; however, a long block comes equipped with the camshaft, lifters and timing components as well as new cylinder heads. This is a more complete assembly and allows the installer a much easier and less time-consuming task when installing the engine in a vehicle. Although the long block is more costly than the short block, once the cost of machining the original cylinder heads is factored in along with the cost of the camshaft and timing components, it is a very competitively-priced option for the engine swap.

By completing an engine swap in an older vehicle, the life of the vehicle can be drastically extended. Replacing an engine in a newer vehicle allows the user to enjoy the vehicle instead of replacing it prior to paying it off. The task of changing engines is not an exercise for the inexperienced mechanic. For the mechanic with the know-how to complete the job, it becomes a viable option over replacing an entire vehicle.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Melonlity — On Mar 19, 2014

Here is something else to consider with engine swaps -- will the suspension in the vehicle support the new engine? There have been some radical swaps over the years by people trying to turn vehicles into tame economy cars to asphalt-eating street machines.

Let's say you've got an old Chevrolet Vega with a straight four under the hood and you want to replace the engine with a small block, Chevrolet V-8. That's a radical switch and the new engine will be much heavier. If the weight is too great, suspension components might have to be changed and something may have to be done to address the car's balance, too.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.