Volvo Sugga Restoration

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Powerstroke Diesel

My primary reason for buying a Sugga is to drive it, not to have it sit unused.    However, the drivetrain on the Sugga is not well suited for highway use or even driving around-town.    The drivetrain was designed for all-terrain use in mountainous areas, with a top speed of 90 km/hr or about 54 mph.  The Swedish Armed Forces told its drivers to keep it under 80 km/hr (48 mph).

  My restoration priorities therefore include:

  1.     Engine/Transmission Update

  2.     Mechanical Safety improvements, particularly brakes

  3.     Repair Body - Rust, Dents, paint

  4.     Interior Updates - Safety and Comfort

A diesel engine seemed like an obvious choice, although there seem to be relatively few diesel Suggas running around.  Many folks went with V8 gas engines for their engine swaps.

A diesel will generally provide more low-end torque than a gas engine, which is useful for a vehicle as heavy as the Sugga (over 6000 lbs.)   A diesel will also improve the Sugga’s towing ability. 

In the US, we thought the best choices for a diesel engine for something the size of a Sugga are the Cummins 6BT inline-6 cylinder, 5.9L engine (used in Dodge Ram pickups), or a PowerStroke diesel from a Ford pickup.  The Powerstroke engines were made by Navistar (International) and come in a variety of sizes and configurations.

We settled on the 7.3L V8 Powerstroke diesel, as it has a very good reputation for reliability and long life.   It will also fit inside the Sugga’s engine compartment, which is fairly roomy.   The Cummins 6BT could also be made to fit, but due to its inline-6 configuration, it is substantially longer than the Powerstroke, and would require moving the radiator forward (not too tough on the Sugga - there is a couple of inches of room to do this).  But, modifications to the firewall would also be required to make room for the Cummins.

The most economical strategy to get a replacement drivetrain is to buy a donor truck at a salvage auction.  A vehicle that’s been in a rollover is often a good candidate.  The right vehicle can provide lots of useful parts, not just an engine and transmission.  We bought a 1999 F250 4x4 with a 7.3L PowerStroke Turbo Diesel.  This truck had relatively modest damage to the right front.  Go to my Restoration Status Blog to see updates on our progress.

Volvo Sugga Engine Swap Powerstroke Diesel

Restore or Modify  --

How to Decide

What to Do?

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Click on the box below to see updates and the current status of my Volvo TP21 restoration project