I sometimes wish I’d gotten the V6 engine that was optional when my 2002 Nissan Frontier pick-up was built, because then I could use my truck to pull a small (4,000) lb. travel trailer, which is something I am lately interested in getting as a kind of mobile home (literally). I like the idea of having a fallback place to stay that I can take with me, in the event where I live becomes unlivable – possibly due to an unusual orange glow in the near-distance, courtesy of Keeeeeeeeeeeev.
Anyhow, as it is, my truck came with the standard four and so it cannot pull much. But it could pull more – and that’s what differentiates it (and other older trucks) from the new ones.
They pull whatever they are rated to pull – and that is (realistically) all they will ever pull because changing something major that affects pulling power – like the engine – is no longer the essentially simple bolt-in swap that it once was.
And still is, with an old truck such as mine.
I could put almost any V6 – including those not made by Nissan – in my truck. So long as it bolts up or can be made to bolt-up, as by fabricating custom engine mounts, it’ll work. People used to do this kind of swap all the time. It is what’s meant by the term Hot Rod, which refers to the act as well as the result.
The manual transmission my truck came with will work with any engine it can be physically bolted up to. Just the same as the later-model automatic transmission (with overdrive) I installed in my 1976 Trans-Am works as if it were factory installed behind the big Pontiac V8, even though Pontiac never offered an overdrive transmission with its V8s.
And if my truck’s factory-installed manual transmission doesn’t bolt up to the V6 I’m trying to bolt in, all I have to do is find a transmission that does – and make it all fit.
And then it will work.
The reason being that – unlike the new stuff – my old truck’s entire being was not entirely Borg’d at the factory. Star Trek people will get the reference, which refers to an alien race that is a collective race. No individuality. No deviation. Everything . . . connected. A single Borg could not disconnect from the collective.
From the Hive Mind.
And so it is with the major (and minor) components of vehicles made since – roughly – 2010 and newer. They are all connected, each to the other and the collective makes up the totality of each vehicle’s integrated systems.
It is no longer a simple matter of physicality to remove whatever engine the vehicle came with and swap in a different one because the Hive Mind computer that controls the collective will not run the different engine. It won’t work with the transmission you have, for the same reason. And it may not work with anything else, either – everything else also being connected to the same Hive Mind.
Replacing the Hive Mind – the computer – isn’t the simple matter it used to be either, because it is paired with the car’s corpus, it’s body. Via body control modules that control everything from the power windows to the dor locks. All paired with the Hive Mind. The gauges in the instrument cluster. In the newest vehicles, the audio and many essential secondary systems such as the AC and heat – are controlled via a touchscreen that is likewise embedded technology.
You would probably have to gut (and replace) everything in a late-model Borg’d vehicle to get a different-than-factory engine (or transmission) to work in the thing. This, of course, is mre trouble and expense than it’s worth – which is why it’s increasingly rare to see a late-model vehicle that isn’t exactly as-built by the factory.
Which is fine, if all you need or want is what the factory built. But it leaves you with no option to change what you’ve got – without chanhing what you’ve got. As in – buying a new/different vehicle that has what you need or want.
Not so with the stuff that was built before the factory Borg’d everything, like my ’02 pick-up truck. It has a computer, of course – but it only runs the engine. The manual transmission is purely mechanical, with no electronic-computer connections. It has (thank God) manual windows and door locks, which will work just as well with a big block Chevy V8 under the hood (assuming I could get it to fit) as they do with the factory installed four that’s currently under the hood.
The gauges might need to be replaced, but probably could be made to work with a different engine as they are not computer-controlled or LCD. The fuel gauge sender will work the same. The tach just needs a simple single and the speedo cable is a physical rather than electronic thing.
Basic wrenching, mostly.
And for that reason, well worth doing. I could put a brand-new Nissan-built crate V6 – the same type that was optional for my truck when it was new – for about $4,400. Half or less that for a good used engine from a salvage yard.
And it’s actually a lot less than that – on both instances – because the government won’t know about it. Were I to go out and buy a different truck – one built by the factory to be capable of pulling a 4,000 or so pound travel-trailer – the government would know about it.
My state – like many – applies a personal property tax on vehicles, which is based on the “book value” of the vehicle. The “book value” of my 20-year-old truck with its little four cylinder engine is very low – and so, thankfully, is the tax. Also the insurance, another form of fleecing practiced by the fascist system we suffer under (fascism not being defined by goose steps and jackboots but by the consolidation of corporate and state power).
But my old truck with a new engine? Who’s gonna know? More to the point, who’s not gonna pay?
Why, that’d be me!
And that makes the possibility of buying the small travel-trailer I’m interested in a lot more possible, since I won’t have to buy a new truck – or pay the government for it, either.
. . .
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