top of page

Conversion FAQs

We have put together a list of commonly asked questions regarding the diesel conversion process. If you have a specific question not found on this list, please don't hesitate to send us an email. 

  • How do I get the process started?
    To get started, we ask that you email our sales team HERE detailing your vehicle’s specifics as well as any additional items you would like done during the conversion process. We will take this information and create a personalized invoice your project. On this invoice will also be your project’s time-slot which is the date your project is scheduled to begin. To secure this conversion time-slot, we’ll need the deposit outlined on the invoice, a signed copy of the invoice and Diesel Toys® policy page. The average deposit for a D-4D conversion is $18-20k.
  • I'm looking to do my own conversion. Can you supply the powertrain?
    We do not sell diesel powertrains independent of our conversion services. This means that while we do work with shops and individuals in the form of building custom wire harnesses, selling immobilizer delete kits, mounting kits, etc. We do NOT just sell engines by themselves. We receive this request several times a month from companies and/or folks attempting to do their own conversion(s). Essentially, this is an attempt to bypass our core services and makes no financial sense for us to do so. We make our living converting vehicles, period. As such, we do not get involved in projects where the owners are attempting to avoid spending money with our company. Seems like a no-brainer, but we get quite a bit of hate mail every month from people upset that we wont sell them an engine and/or dole out a bunch of free information on conversion methods, etc.
  • What is my deposit used for?
    The deposit serves two purposes. First, it allows us to acquire the diesel powertrain from overseas and get it shipping to our facility in Texas. Second, it secures you as a conversion customer. We do not require a Diesel Toys-specific deposit as we feel if the customer has purchased a diesel powertrain, they are serious and intent on completing the conversion.
  • Are these new or used engines?
    In order to have all the components needed for a diesel conversion, we have to buy complete, low-mileage vehicles and strip them of all of their usable parts. We do this for two reasons. First, the engine, transmission, all wiring, accessories, instrumentation, computers all need to be diesel-specific and from the same vehicle. All of these components need to match. Toyota does not sell new “complete” gas or diesel engines, only long-blocks. So, one would have to piece together hundreds of parts to have an operational powertrain. This would drive component costs into the stratosphere (e.g. $40,000-50,000). Due to the technical requirements of performing an engine conversion, we need to buy year-specific components that are as similar as possible to your conversion vehicle. This way we can ensure vehicle compatibility as much as possible. New long block assemblies are available through Toyota, however we would still require the aforementioned parts to have a functional powertrain. Unless otherwise specified as is the case with our DT630 powertrains, which are new, all powertrains are used, low mileage.
  • My vehicle has an existing issue when it arrives to begin the conversion project. How is this handled?
    Communication of your vehicle's condition is absolutely paramount here. If you are aware of a mechanical or electrical issue with your vehicle, you need to disclose this before the vehicle arrives at our facility to begin the conversion process. If during the conversion process, we discover an existing issue, we will immediately contact you and discuss additional costs and the approach we will take to repair the issue so we can resume the conversion project. **Please DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING during the conversion process. Be honest and transparent so we can discuss it and form a plan** We have had customers fail to mention their vehicle was purchased as a flood vehicle, that the vehicle had been in a MAJOR accident which bent the frame, their vehicle had been rewired by morons using CAT5 wire, plumber's putty used to hold relays in place (see image below) so it has major electrical issues, the list goes on and on. As ridiculous as it seems, these customers assumed, "well since you are replacing the engine, rewiring our dash, or straightening our frame should be included!" etc... Bottom line: the best way to avoid issues during the conversion process is to be up front, honest, and transparent with any known issues on your vehicle so we can discuss options with you prior to signing a contract. If this repair is not listed on your initial conversion contract, it will not be done. If the repair prevents us from doing what IS on the contract, you WILL be charged for it. Sometimes thousands of dollars (depending on the nature of the issue). Example of what NOT to do
  • I dont see my vehicle listed on your website. Can you convert my....
    While we do attempt to put pricing and availability to the most commonly converted vehicles on our website, please do not consider this an exhaustive list. If you have a vehicle you are interested in converting, send us an email with vehicle specifics and we can get back to you with an itemized quote.
  • How do I service my converted vehicle?
    We recommend finding a local diesel technician that specializes in TDI Volkswagens. These TDI specialists are typically more familiar with modern 4-cylinder diesels than your domestic diesels. If you cant find one or need a recommendation, hop on and look for their Trusted TDI Mechanics List by state.
  • Do these conversions require the use of diesel exhaust fluid?
    Typically, none of our conversions require diesel exhaust fluid. We install diesel-specific catalytic converters as standard-installed equipment. The newer 1GD-FTV and the DT630 V6 engine conversions do retain the option available in markets where they are required in order to register the vehicle. We leave this at the customer's discretion.
  • How do I register my conversion in my state?
    Every state has different laws regarding emissions testing and procedures. What’s legal in Texas may not be legal in Kansas etc. Many folks email us starting with “I read on the internet that I cant register my conversion here in…”. In the 20+ years we’ve been converting vehicles, we have NEVER had a customer unable to legally register their conversion. Regarding EPA certification: a popular myth is that because an engine is not sold in this country it automatically fails. This is patently FALSE. A NON-EPA certified engine simply means that it has not been certified by the EPA and may be subject to emissions testing (where applicable). Now, if it fails the emissions test, then it WILL need to be brought into compliance (sometimes at considerable expense). Bottom line, if you are concerned about legality and registerability for ON-HIGHWAY USE, we always recommend that you check with your local and state offices to determine legality. Diesel Toys DOES NOT imply legality and offers conversion services “FOR OFF-ROAD USE ONLY”.
  • Do you repair things during the conversion process?
    Through the years, we have had vehicles show up with serious mechanical issues. Sometimes, the owners “assume” that we are rebuilding the entire vehicle so they forget to tell us the fact that the vehicle was totaled, or there was an engine fire etc. The diesel conversion process does NOT include rebuilding items on the vehicle and all pricing is based off a stock, running driving vehicle in good order. For example, we modify (shorten or lengthen) driveshafts in order to suit the diesel powertrain but we need good driveshafts to start with. If you snapped a driveshaft off roading, we will need to replace this at additional cost. If the vehicle has been in a major accident, it is company policy to reject this vehicle outright. If the frame has been compromised through an accident, it can affect fitment and functionality that can cause issues for years to come.
  • How do you calculate conversion pricing?
    We take the cost of the power-train + misc. components required for the conversion + the nationwide average shop rate of $125/hr and we end up with the total for the conversion project. The typical diesel conversion has 100-120 hours of labor factored into the price. So, that translates into $12,500-$15,000 in billable labor hours. The average cost of a low-mileage D-4D powertrain is around $18k. Using a cost of components + labor model, one can expect to spend in the neighborhood of $30-35k for a completed conversion. This can vary wildly depending on the type of conversion project and model of the vehicle. But, this should serve as an effective guide for accurate pricing.
  • What happens to my original gasoline powertrain?
    Anything we remove from your vehicle is yours to keep. We will place the components on a pallet, shrink wrap it, and get it ready for immediate transport.
  • Where can I get parts and service?
    All of our D-4D conversions include a USB thumb drive that contains a FACTORY TOYOTA SERVICE MANUAL, a New Owner’s Packet containing part numbers, our internal list of overseas sources for any and all parts, and a complete project booklet containing pictures of the project from start to finish. Windows-based diagnostics software and a USB cable can be purchased through our online store HERE. Through the years, we have put together a comprehensive list of trusted diesel-specific service facilities throughout the USA. These are shops that are familiar with our company and our vehicles. Moreover, they are folks we trust to work on our converted vehicles in a manner consistent with our standards. We have also had excellent results telling customers to find an experienced Volkswagen TDI mechanic. Why Volkswagen mechanics? Volkswagen has been producing modern, small-displacement diesel vehicles for years so these mechanics are familiar with the similar layouts of these Toyota 4 cylinder diesels. We also sell parts on our online store, however most parts etc. are available through your local Toyota dealership. If you need something specific, give us a call.
  • How much is the typical conversion deposit?
    Depending on which type of project it is, the deposit required can range between $18-20k.
  • How long does the conversion process take?
    All Diesel Toys conversions are done on an individual basis and are custom by nature. We focus on quality, not getting your vehicle slapped together and out as quickly as possible in order to bring the next guy in. Our conversions can take as little as 3 weeks to as long as a year. This depends heavily on what we’re doing to your vehicle, and the options being installed. For example, a solid axle swap v.s. a frame off restoration.
  • Do you offer TDI Conversions?
    We pioneered the TDI-Toyota conversions 18+ years ago with VERY lackluster results. The biggest issue we had was that the small displacement TDI (1.9 liter) and a larger 4WD truck simply did not mix well. The last reliable TDI engine Volkswagen produced was the ALH and at 90hp it is far too small to adequately power a Toyota Tacoma or 4runner. The stock 90hp ALH TDI engine we installed into a 1998 Tacoma did not have have enough power to be driven safely; often having difficulty maintaining highway speeds. A proposed remedy to this shortcoming is that you can "tune" the TDI engines to achieve better performance. While this is true, once you do that the fuel economy goes out the window. So, any economy gains you would realize by converting your vehicle to diesel are lost. Furthermore, as the owners of a TDI specific service center for the last 20+ years, in our opinion the TDI engines do not have what we would consider to be a stellar reliability record. We saw the exact same issues with different vehicles over and over again. We had a saying around the shop with TDI's "anything you save in fuel economy you'll spend in maintenance and repairs". This has held overwhelmingly true over thousands of TDI's repaired and 20+ years in servicing strictly TDI VW's and we have the paid invoices to prove it. So this all begs the question, why use an underpowered, unreliable powertrain?


In The Press...

bottom of page