Tacoma Diesel Swap: Pros, Cons & Other Truths Revealed

While manufacturer-approved motors are mostly of great quality, many drivers have been trying all tricks and tips with aftermarket or swapped engines to enhance their car performance.

And Tacoma users are no exception; the Tacoma diesel swap is currently the biggest talk in town by the time of this writing! 

There’s no way our expert team can skim over such a sizzling topic. Let’s dig further and see what it’s all about.

Why Would You Need A Tacoma Diesel Swap?

tacoma diesel swap
Tacoma Diesel Swap

Muscle cars like Tacoma have left remarkable milestones in the automobile industry for their raw, unbridled, animalistic power, possessing the energy and grunt of postwar rebellions! 

One thing, though: maintaining them can be rather expensive.

Thousands of cheaper methods have been devised to put massive torque in them, but so far, diesel engines still take the crown as the easiest and most reliable way to go about it.

Even some low-end options arrive with 1000 lb-ft torque, far exceeding many other substandard engines we have seen on the market!

They cannot beat racing monsters like Ford Mustang, sure; but their unadulterated power is still something to marvel at. We see no reasons not to give these diesel swaps a try.

What Are The Pros and Cons of A Tacoma Diesel Swap? 

Toyota Tacoma engine swap receives praise for impeccable and reliable performance. Finding aftermarket parts for them is also a breeze.

Nevertheless, watch out for time-consuming setups, transmission upgrades, car re-registry, and emission inspection.


Better Power

The only concern is whether your Tacoma model can handle that MUCH power. Otherwise, diesel swaps leave no room for doubt about its performance and capacity: a true beast, if you ask us! 

Easier to Find Parts or Modify 

Certain Tacoma stock engines do not arrive with various customizable/aftermarket parts.

Worse, some engine models are so old that finding any add-on or polishing solution is downright impossible.

In those cases, a diesel engine swap is obviously the best choice.


“Expensive” is an understatement when we talk about complete, full-fledged engine replacements.

Diesel engines are the lifesaver one needs: cheaper than most engines out there and a thousand times more budget-friendly than buying new diesel trucks/cars.


Unless you install substandard, used motors with unreliable mods, diesel engines are nothing to be afraid of: strong, capable, and working well with many vehicle options – not just Tacoma.

Consultations with automobile services are still needed, and some research on your part should be sprinkled into the mix, too.

But overall, we haven’t seen any Tacoma diesel swap ending in disasters; people only have the best things to say about it.



Even if you have the skills required for diesel swaps, removing the old engine to install new ones will still take at least 4 to 6 hours.

And you are not even done at that point; another 2 or 3 hours is a must to double-check whether the engine settles well in its new placement.

That’s about it for new, modern Tacoma cars.

Imagine upgrading some old models that have been discontinued; the process will be much, much longer, requiring more car modifications than you could ever imagine.

Transmission Changes Might Be Needed

Transmission turbo upgrades may be necessary – depending on your chosen diesel engine and Tacoma year.

To put it bluntly, greater incompatibility between the car and engine equates to higher possibilities of transmission swap.

And let us tell you: those transmission changes can get even more annoying than the engine swap itself if you (or the technicians) do it the wrong way.

Weigh the pros and cons to see if it’s worth all the hassles! 

Your Current Vehicle Might Need to Be Re-Registered 

In some states/regions, a car or pickup truck with a swapped engine is not considered the same as it used to be when first registered; the authorities might ask you to have it registered a second time.

These predicaments are especially true for Tacomas formerly labeled salvage or drivers wanting to get rebuilt titles.

Ensure you have double-checked everything with the local DMV and read through relevant documents.

Emission Checks

A minor inconvenience – but still inconvenient regardless: emission inspections are inevitable for drivers with a diesel swapped Tacoma.

Similar to registry issues, each region also has different emission laws. Research/ check them out to confirm exactly what you must do.

What Are Things to Consider When Performing A Tacoma Diesel Swap?

cummins swap tacoma
Some Issues Considered When Performing A Tacoma Diesel Swap

Like with the Honda Del Sol engine swap, thousands of diesel engine options have been introduced to the marketplace, so our one-size-fits-all checklist might need refinements in more specialized situations.

Still, it’s a good start for new drivers who just got into ls swapped Tacoma

Engine Dimension

Before picking your wrench, confirm that the diesel engine can perfectly slot into your TDI swapped Tacoma.

If its engine bays are smaller than you would like, it’s time to expect which part can be modified or adjusted for a better fit.

  • Should the firewalls be extended?
  • Can you insert some hood scoops? 
  • How about the fan’s lengths and other engine accessories? Should you use electric ones instead to save space?

Also, larger radiators might be required; from what we gather, most gasoline radiators are shorter than a diesel engine of the same size would usually demand.

Engine Weight

Regardless of which Tacoma you want to perform the swap on, the diesel will be significantly heavier than whatever gas engine it’s supposed to take over.

Hence, one must be 100% certain that the front axle, front suspension, and frame can withstand this extra load. How so? Here are some expert suggestions: 

  • Box the frame’s front section to increase its structural integrity. 
  • Upgrade or lubricate the suspension to support the extra weight.
  • Swap the axles and front suspension from heavier vehicles (though you need to double-check which Tacoma car you are dealing with). 
  • Purchase a motor mount for the diesel engine you will install.

Rear Axle 

Whether your intended output is 100 or 500HP over a regular gas engine, the drivetrain must be properly addressed.

Suppose the diesel is: 

  • 6.9L/7.3L IDI
  • 6.5L/6.2L
  • or 12V Cummins

Then 1/2 axles are enough for the Tacoma engine swap.

But let’s face it: a horsepower of 200 HP doesn’t do much for most competitive racers.

It’s rare to find 1/2 axles (or lighter) that can survive the expected torque output of any diesel; our best bet is 1 or 3/4.


No modified gas transmission can suffice for any diesel power level beyond its intended capacity; we suggest sourcing the transmission your original gas engine came with.

After that, how much work/power adjustments are needed for the engine components will depend on your preferred torque/HP output.

  • The stick shifts must be tailored for your new diesel conversion (Remember to put performance clutches before it).
  • Ensure the transmission tunnels can fit. Loosen them if needed to allow more transmissions and fuel delivery.
  • Switch the axle ratio accordingly for maximum fuel tank performance.


1st gen tacoma diesel swap

Carrying out a Tacoma diesel swap should be straightforward – given that you have already planned ahead the price, setup timing, and relevant car adjustments.

Be mindful of every step on the way, and feel free to contact us if you still need help on Toyota Tacoma engine swap options.

Should the swap fail, leave it be or seek professional help! 

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