Planning Your Magnum Swap:
In the articles on this site, our goal is to give an overview of available options, as well as the required modifications and associated expenses. Magnumswap.com is primarily targeted at someone searching for a budget alternative to an engine rebuild/ and the enthusiast looking for more power for their car or truck.
We recommend reading through the site thoroughly before starting your project.
Some decisions to make:
Decide your ultimate goal before starting your project. Prior to undertaking this swap, there are a number of questions to consider.
How much do I have to change to make the engine fit my vehicle?
The Magnum and LA engines are very similar, but not the same. Some of the differences are covered here: Magnum differences.
The more involved, but still minor, installation issues are covered here: Required Modifications
Can I reuse my existing heads or do I replace them?
Unfortunately, Magnum heads are prone to cracking. It is important realize that the stock heads may be cracked, regardless of mileage. Not all cracks will adversely effect performance-there are a lot of high mileage RAM trucks running with high mileage heads that are almost certainly cracked. At a minimum, we recommend you perform a good leakdown prior to installation. The upside is that there are very good replacement castings available at an affordable price. See more here Performance Modifications and here: Iron Ram Heads
Performance or stock?
A stock Magnum will deliver decent horsepower, but with a little effort and minimal expense, you can gain even more power! See our performance and racing-build tips here. Even if you aren’t planning to build a street machine there are tips that can help with engine performance and longevity.
Do I rebuild or not?
The goal of the information on this site is to enable you to use a scrapyard shortblock to meet your goals. Magnum engines are designed with superior long-lasting components, and with proper maintenance, they deliver good power even at high mileage. If you have time and some room in your budget, a rebuild certainly isn’t going to hurt. However, you should be able to find an engine that does not require a rebuild.
Do I want my Magnum to resemble an LA engine?
With some adjustments, you can make a Magnum appear to be an LA engine. More info here.