Engine swap full car wire harness swap

Tiny
BRANDON BRODERICK
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 DODGE CALIBER
  • 1.8L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 179,000 MILES
I have the car listed above SE 5sp manual. I want to take the 2.4 non turbo engine from another Dodge Caliber but this one would be an RT, and put it in place of the 1.8. I am aware I may need an ECU change. If you could verify that would the wire harness from the donor 2.4 fit my car listed above if I plan on basically turning the (currently) 1.8 caliber SE into a full-on RT, with power windows and everything. Is this an easy task or what should I be aware of? The only option that is different between the years is the appearance of the interior. The Dodge Caliber also shares the same platform as the Jeep Patriot and compass and the RT did come with a manual t355 as well. So, am I over thinking this or can I legit plug and play the RT and swap the engine etc, and I may need a new ECU? I’m just looking for verification, help or tips.
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Tuesday, May 24th, 2022 AT 6:28 PM

4 Replies

Tiny
KASEKENNY
  • EXPERT
This can be done but this is much more involved than swapping the engine, wiring harness, and ECUs.

Is there a reason that you want to change this engine? Are you in need of an engine replacement? If so, I would suggest sticking with the same engine and then invest your money into an actual turbo for the 1.8L.

The 2.4L is not that great of an engine for horsepower. Basically, you can get much more benefit out of modifying the 1.8L than just swapping in the 2.4L.

Also, you are saying that you are going to change everything over to power windows and other options that your vehicle does not have, if I can suggest it will be far cheaper and easier to just find the vehicle with the options and engine that you are trying to change this one into.

This is a Caliber and they are pretty common and not that expensive so I would at least look into this option of just selling this one and buying the vehicle you are trying to make.

By the time you buy the engine, ECU, harnesses, switches, sensors, and any other parts that we discover along the way, it would have most likely been cheaper to just buy a different vehicle.

In summary, you are going to have to change the ECU with the vehicle that has this engine so that you will be able to run it but you are also going to have to be prepared for VIN mismatch issues. There are scan tools out there that will get the PCM to ignore this but again, you are going to have to buy that and they are not cheap.

Hopefully this info was helpful.
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Wednesday, May 25th, 2022 AT 6:24 PM
Tiny
BRANDON BRODERICK
  • MEMBER
To find the color the t355 transmission is extremely limited. I have the basic shell with crank windows I’m hoping to just take the wire harness and plug and play from an sxt/RT The same t355 is this true? I have literally the entire interior harness I want to basically upgrade to power windows and locks I also have a Dodge Caliber ecu that can be flashed that is a Spare most of the connections for this car are identical across the board. You are right initially I want a Dodge Caliber srt4 which has the 2.4 turbo 6 speed manual trans world engine. But those are so limited on production they are harder to come by. So, I’m basically hoping to build one in a way I have read the forums and a lot say that the normal caliber engines cannot handle the turbo which is odd since they do make a 1.8/2.0 turbo engine on other platforms that have the same parts as the Caliber. I’m not too savvy on how this works I’m still a little green behind the ears. But yes, I have the entire interior harness shouldn’t I just be able to plug and play? Everything was identical from the donor car just had power windows and locks and yes, I have the locks and keys as well what other issues can I possibly run into? I honestly own two Calibers and I do all the work myself from CVT transmission maintenance to the MT transmission and engines motor mounts brakes all around I’ve got some money invested I want it to be able to move when I want it and last a while. Money truly isn’t the issue I want the experience.
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Sunday, May 29th, 2022 AT 2:28 PM
Tiny
BRANDON BRODERICK
  • MEMBER
Also, on a side note. I have the cluster gauge which has the tachometer on it will I require the engine harness as well or should I be fine without the engine harness I’m not sure if the tachometer is reliant on a sensor or is just one the already existing features that just doesn’t make an appearance on what I have but the wiring is still there? Just some thoughts on down the road I wanted to confirm I mean this is happening I understand I will have money invested and that is the point. I just want to make sure I’m doing this as right as rain on a hot summer day if you know what I mean.
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Sunday, May 29th, 2022 AT 2:36 PM
Tiny
KASEKENNY
  • EXPERT
If you got all the parts for the power windows then yes, the harness will plug in and it will work once you have a dealer update the sales codes and perform what is called a restore configuration.

Basically, any change that you make to this vehicle, you are going to have to have the sales codes changed so that all these components are sure to work.

The vehicle will not know how to send power to the power window switches, motor, regulator unless you tell it that it has these parts.

So that means you need the sales codes added for these types of options.

You will not need to change it for the drive train components. Just the interior functions that you are trying to add.

The only other way that this would work without sales codes is to get the control modules like the TIPM out of a vehicle that already has these options.

On these older vehicles you can use a module out of another vehicle even though the VIN has to be programmed into it. Once the VIN is programmed in, then it will operate as that VIN is equipped but you can't change the VIN in the modules.

So, this means you are going to need the PCM out of the vehicle that you take the motor so that it knows how to operate it properly.

Lastly, I am sure you will need the engine harness as the sensors are going to be different between engines. You are correct that the 2.4L non turbo engine does not like the additional pressure, and you will most likely have head gasket failures. The reason the smaller engines are able to operate with the turbo is they were built for it and are able to handle the boost. When you are adding a turbo or blower to an engine, you need to upgrade other parts as well so that it can handle the additional pressure.

Hopefully, this helps. Let me know if you have other questions.

Thanks
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Sunday, May 29th, 2022 AT 9:12 PM

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