The 5.9 Magnum V8 engine was Mopar’s revision of the LA 360 V8 engine and the newer design contains numerous improvements over its predecessor. Used Magnum engines are readily available, and they make great economic replacements for low power, worn out, or displacement-challenged Dodge, Plymouth, and Chrysler LA V8s or Slant 6 engines.
The best part about using a Magnum engine is that the expensive machine shop bill associated with a full rebuild can generally be avoided. Unlike their low compression LA 360 counterparts, the Magnum engines have better, more consistent machining, lighter internal parts, and performance compatible compression ratios straight from the factory. They also carry hydraulic roller camshafts, capable of generating more street-friendly horsepower than flat tappet designs. Hydraulic roller cams are zero maintenance and there are no worries about zinc content in your oil or flattened lifters.
Because the Magnum is a direct descendent of the LA series engines, they are nearly a direct replacement for an LA small block, and many inexpensive and readily available performance components for the LA series engines are direct bolt-ons.
It may seem strange using a junkyard engine for a street machine or weekend racer, but with a little ingenuity and proper parts selection, impressive results can be achieved.
Please Note: All of the information presented here is for use at your own risk. Working on cars, racing cars, etc. have inherent dangers and expense. We caution you to use good sense and be careful, but accept no responsibility or liability for any outcome.
NEW: Scram Speed is helping keep this site open with a sponsorship to help defray server (and other) expenses. They’re Mopar gearheads just like us, and have opened a Magnum Swap parts section on their website. Give them a look when you need parts!
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