Vehicles (17 Jan 2019)

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1979 Jimny Engine Upgrade

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07 Nov 2018 10:25 #197415 by andrewphilipson
Hi Everyone,

I'm thinking of buying a 1979 Jimny and working on it over the next year or so... maybe 10 years.
Firstly, I'm keen to upgrade the engine from 500cc... does anyone know what engine fits and works well with a 1979 Jimny? Any pointers and tips or things I need to consider first?

Also, any other advice or wise words about doing up a classic Jimny would be much appreciated? Any gold rules I need to know about???

Thanks everyone.


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07 Nov 2018 10:30 - 07 Nov 2018 10:34 #197416 by Max Headroom
Hello Andrew and Greetings from the Cotswolds.

I can't answer your questions but I'm confident someone here will be along soon, that can!
Good to see some of these beasts are now regarded as modern classics; I have a '79 MG ...but that's another story
I'd have thought a classic vehicle would be better kept in its standard form - wouldn't it be worth more that way? This is certainly the case with the two classics I own. Even changing the original paint-colour is regarded as the wrong thing to do.

Last edit: 07 Nov 2018 10:34 by Max Headroom.

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  • Gen 3 Jimny
07 Nov 2018 11:39 #197417 by mlines
Replied by mlines on topic 1979 Jimny Engine Upgrade
Just realised this is probably what we would call an LJ in the UK.

Keep it standard, its a classic


2003 M13 early KAP build.
3" Trailmaster lift with 1.5 Spacers on front
Customised winch bumper and roll cage
235/85R16 Maxxis Bighorns on 16" Rims, 4:1 Rocklobster, Rear ARB locker and on-board air
Corrected arms all-round, rear disks, Recaro seats and harnesses

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  • Gen 2 Jimny Gen 3 Jimny
07 Nov 2018 20:49 #197440 by yakuza
Replied by yakuza on topic 1979 Jimny Engine Upgrade
LJ50 this then?

If possible, keep it original!
In Germany a 30 year old whole Suzuki car in good shape could be priced at 10000€
But it must be original..

2005 Jimny M16A VVT, 235 BFG MT, 2" Trailmaster, 17%/87% high/low gears.

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  • Gen 3 Jimny
08 Nov 2018 00:51 #197447 by zukebob
Replied by zukebob on topic 1979 Jimny Engine Upgrade
Yes...an LJ50. I would agree with the previous comments that it would be best to keep it original and enjoy it for what it is; a light weight 4 wheel drive that can perform superbly off road. You would just need to accept its on road performance.

Part of my focus comes from a different perspective than already mentioned. I will preface my comments with an admission that I am not an expert on the LJ50. I only did a little bit of research when I was toying with the idea of one of these prior to my current Jimny and would gladly defer to anyone with more knowledge.

My understanding is that there are a lot of obstacles in doing an engine swap. The space is extremely limited with chassis rails being very close together, exacerbated by the fact that it has a center dif front axle. Without doing huge amounts of modification, you aren't likely to fit anything bigger than an engine with a Briggs and Stratton label. If you want to pursue it, I would suggest doing some searches on the Auszookers forum. The Aussies play a lot with the LJs and if anyone has successfully done a swap, it would probably be there.

Good luck and, whatever your choice, enjoy the little beast.

I started out with nothing & still have most of it left

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