Can you do an engine swap in a Mercedes Benz car?

In this blog, we will find out if it is possible to swap the engine in a Mercedes Benz and answer a few questions like how to swap the engine of a Mercedes Benz car? Is it expensive to swap an engine in a Mercedes Benz car? Which models are popular for swapping the engine?

Can you do an engine swap in a Mercedes Benz car?

Yes, you can do an engine swap in a Mercedes Benz car. The process however is very complicated and mainly depends on the type of the engine. Swapping the engine in a Mercedes Benz car for a more powerful engine will need modification to the vehicle shell. If the model is equipped with a 4 Matic drive system then the original components are so closely packed that a complete overhaul is needed to successfully swap the engine.

Despite the challenges, swapping the engine is common practice when it comes to tuning a car. The difference between swapping and upgrading the engine is the parts. When it comes to upgrading the stock engine special knowledge is required and the parts list can continue to add up. There is no limit to the upgrades available in the aftermarket for Mercedes Benz cars. 

The engines are also strong so no additional modifications are necessary after installing upgrades like bigger turbochargers or a supercharger. 

Swapping an engine on the other hand means buying a powerful engine and then connecting it to the vehicle body. Mercedes Benz engines must be swapped along with the automatic transmissions as the power output of the new engine should be compatible with the transmission and the final drive of the vehicle.

Swapping the engine allows for the freedom in the selection, customers can choose from crate engines provided by different manufacturers or swap the engine from a more powerful Mercedes Benz model. 

It is important to note that swapping the engine will void the warranty and Mercedes Benz will reject any warranty claims. All the latest Mercedes Benz cars have an SA codes list based on the vehicle identification numbers. So if the engine is swapped with the same engine, it is possible to identify that it does not belong to the same vehicle. 

Therefore the majority of the engine swaps are done to project cars or cars that are no longer under warranty. If it is a road-legal car then in some countries it may be required to register the car again. Engine swapping is illegal in most Asian and south-east Asian countries. Therefore, the majority of engine swapped cars are called Sleeper cars. From the outside, the vehicle looks completely stock but there is no stock engine under the hood.

How to swap the engine in a Mercedes Benz?

Following are the steps to swap the stock engine in a Mercedes Benz with a more powerful engine.

  • Assemble the new engine and transmission before removing the stock drivetrain from the vehicle. 
  • Disconnect the coolant and air conditioning hoses and remove the exhaust system.
  • Remove the brake callipers and front suspension struts.
  • Lower the front axle carried along with the engine and transmission onto a suitable lift.
  • You can also choose the alternate method to suspend the engine from a jack and remove it from the form of the vehicle.
  • Once the old engine and transmission are out of the vehicle simply align the new engine onto the front axle carrier.
  • If the transmission is compatible with the new engine then connect the new engine to the old transmission.
  • Finally attach the propeller shaft, engine mounts and the exhaust system.
  • Modification to the routing of the coolant hoses may be required depending on the space available in the engine compartment.

If the engine uses an electronic fuel injection system then new injectors must be coded into the old engine control unit. Many popular crate engine suppliers provide their own engine control units.

Replacing the engine control unit adds another complexity to the overall engine swap job as it is part of the drive authorization system. Therefore all the components related to the drive authorization system are swapped with the stock parts.

Modifications to the front axle carried may be required if the replacement engine is not a Mercedes Benz engine and support mounts do not align with the existing holes. The final drive ratio is given in the owners’ manual and also engraved on the differential. If the axle is snapping then that means the amount of torque transmitted to the road through wheels is more than the axle can handle. Therefore, a bigger differential with thicker axles might be required to complete the engine swapping process.

Is it expensive to swap an engine in a Mercedes Benz car?

Yes, it is expensive to swap an engine in a Mercedes Benz car. Swapping an engine involves complete disassembly of the underbody of the vehicle. The cost of the replacement engine is also not cheap. Based on the engine additional parts like the electronic ignition switch, engine and transmission control unit may be required. 

Most of the replacement engines can be acquired for used cars or scrap dealers but there may be underlying issues in the replacement engines. Therefore, most of the tuners prefer to either buy a crate engine or remove a working engine from a donor vehicle.

The entire job is not over after simply installing the engine as it needs to be connected to the vehicle’s electrical wiring harness and cooling system. It can take more than 3 months to successfully swap an engine in a Mercedes Benz car and only the pure car enthusiast do it as many customers are happy with the stock power produced by the Mercedes Benz engines.

Which models are popular for swapping the engine?

The following models are popular for swapping the engine as the price of these cars in the used car market is very cheap and the mechanical setup is simple. 

  • Mercedes Benz C Class W 202
  • Mercedes Benz E class W 124

Both the models were mass-produced and launched in the 90s, even today the condition of the exterior body and the interior of many used cars is good. The mechanical suspension setup included a double-wishbone and AMG has even installed huge V8 and V12 engines easily in the W124 chassis.

The cost of the spare parts of the old models is also very low and there are plenty of used spare parts dealers since these models were mass-produced and sold globally.

Other articles about Mercedes Benz you may be interested in

What is the oil type of the 2010 Mercedes Benz C 300?

Should you buy the Mercedes Benz S 400?

What is a Mercedes Benz mbrace?


Mercedes Benz AMG is focused on making high-performance versions of the standard cars but sadly AMG is no longer the engine tuner it used to be. Customers looking for Mercedes Benz cars with more performance either buy the AMG line model or the AMG 45 and 63 series. Swapping the engine in a Mercedes Benz car is a very technical job and only performed by the customers with the essential knowledge and time.