So, your Jimny needs a bit more power… Welcome to a problem which every single Jimny owner has. You either are looking at doing branches & a retune to try and get more out of your m13a motor. However my thoughts, 10% gain is a lot to get from a motor, but 10% of a small amount of power, Ie 60kw is only about 6kw gain (best case). Keep in mind this is also PEAK power gain and is not consistent throughout the rev range, which is key for driveability. That amount of gain is not really that noticeable, and probably not entirely worth all the money.

The only real solution to the problem is a M series motor swap. This involves buying a new donor motor and swapping it out into your rig. This sounds very scary and invasive, however, it is actually not to complex on the modification list if done simply and you follow the instructions and steps.

For anyone who is seriously considering doing a motor swap, I HIGHLY urge you to read through this forum, Yes all 50 pages of it. It is filled will loads of valuable information.

Step 1: Chose which motor you want.

This is generally the trickiest part and is often determined by budget and availability. You have 4 options:

  • m13a
  • m15a
  • m16a – (there are two variants here, the sport and non-sport)
  • m18a

This is the Suzuki codes for the different motor models, it equates to the size of the motor, so m15a = 1.5L motor.

Please note that this is information which I have collected on the internet, and maybe not be 100% correct, but it will give you a guideline as to which motor to go for.

I decided to go for the m18a it’s is more expensive however my thoughts where after all the costs and efforts, It might as well be worth my while. We use the car heavily for extreme offroading and heavily loaded overlanding and that extra low-end torque is just desirable.

Step 2 – Aquire the donor motor.

I got lucky here. When I called my local motor importer, they had an m18a available. (this is often not the case as they are rather scarce) I immediately hopped in the car and drove there to buy it. On arrival, my excitement quickly died as the motor looked like they had pulled it out of the bottom of the ocean.

My excitement immediately died when I saw this. I called up our local Zook expert and got his advice on the motor, he reminded me that all that you need is the internals, as long as there is compression and the motor turns over, buy it. haha, this didn’t give me much comfort, anyhow I went to the local store and bought a compression tester and got testing.

Manually turning over the motor, to check that there is compression in the cylinder.

Something I learned on this day, If a motor has been sitting for a long time, the oil etc all drains out of the piston rings, and it can lose complete compression. If you simply pour some oil or lubricant through the sparkplug and shake it up a bit, it immediately gained compression.

I took the risk and bought the motor, hoping worse case I could sell it or keep it for spares. It was not cheap so I had high hopes that it worked out.

Step 3 – Preparing the donor motor

Next step is to completely remove all peripherals from the donor motor. When I mean everything, Get the wrench out and go for all the bolts you can see haha. All you want to be left is the block & head intact. (leave the tappet cover on to keep dirt out, however, you will swap this out with the m13a motor when doing the conversion)

Tip, when removing a nut or bolt, put it back on, this will help you not lose any parts, it also helps you know what goes where, and protects any threads on the motor while transporting or moving it.

The key thing to remember when cleaning an engine is to block all ports and holes into the motor, You really don’t want any water getting inside the motor and causing any sort of rust or damage to the internals. They like oil, not water.

Step 4 – Buying the parts for the swap.

I decided this would be a great time to replace all the consumable parts, and obviously do a FULL service on the car. I decided to go the extra step and swap out the clutch, gearbox and transfer case oils while at it.

I headed off to our local car parts dealer and bought the following goodies.

  • Sparkplugs
  • Motor Oil
  • Gearbox oil
  • new air filter
  • new oil filter
  • new fan belts, there are two different types that you need.
  • I installed an uprated new clutch, this is however optional, if your stock clutch is still good you can keep it.

Step 5 – The swap

Once at the workshop, we got the car onto the lift and started removing. We removed the bonnet/hood to make access easier. Try not to drop it as we did. Its not good for the paint.

Please note, you do not have to remove the transfer case or gearbox, we need to change seals on the transfer case, so opted to just remove it all for ease of access.

last test that all the connections are removed before lifting the motor.

Next step was removing the m13a motor from the car. Time to get the engine hoist out.

m13a motor being removed

Once the motor was removed, the next step was to transfer all of the components over to the m18a motor. This part probably takes the most time, and it is worthwhile going slowly and meticulously doing things properly, using lock tight, gasket sealer etc and torquing each bolt to the required Nm. below is a rough list of things we swapped over.

  • Altenator
  • Starter
  • Water Pump
  • Fuel Rail ( We used the m18a motor injectors)
  • Exhaust manifold
  • Flywheel
  • Crank Pulleys & tensioner
  • Power steering & aircon pump
  • Engine mountings
  • Sensors
  • Tappet Cover and Oil Pan
m13a with m18a waiting for all the peripherals to be transferred over.

Step 6 – Put the motor back in

The next step is now putting your new and complete motor back into the Jimny. Connecting up all the pipes, wires, connections, etc in the same way that you removed them all.

Fill up your new motor with some fresh oil, and radiator coolant and hope for the best when you crank that key…

Here she was firing up, for the first time. Not gonna lie I was nervous there for the first few seconds.

Feedback after 1 year.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much better this car is with the m18a motor. The drivability has increased so much. I wouldn’t say that it feels fast or powerful. But it can drive like a normal car now. Stay at 120km/h on the highway even on hills. Regardless of how heavily loaded it is.

Fuel consumption did drop, My fuel consumption was particularly bad to start with which didn’t help. But this again very much depends on how you drive her. One thing I did notice is that you no longer need the rev the crap out of the car anymore, it has plenty torque from 2000 to 3500 rpm.

29 Replies to “Suzuki Jimny M18A Engine Swap”

  1. Hi,
    nice job on the engine swap and good explanation.

    one thing I was wondering about doing a swap like this. Didn’t it require any tuning or remapping to get it to work in your car or did the original computer from the 1,3 just “adapt” ?

    best regards

    1. I am still running the m13a ecu and mapping, I have not gotten round to doing a chip and retune. They do say it is better to do so. But we do not have any good tuners here in SA that can do it well.

      So for now I am just sticking to m13a mapping.

      1. Hi,
        You can speak to Bertie at Auto Expert in Kimberley, he is the owner and also did the M18A engine swap. He is more than competened to do the chip and re map, as he did it on his Jimny at his bussines.
        Bertie: 0824637580

  2. Hi, where did you accuire the engine from? And the price roughly if I may ask please.

    1. I got mine from a local engine importer. Price may vary based on supply @ demand.

      Contact Zook Spares and ask them if they can source it for you.


    1. Yes,

      The m18a which I have is VVT. It is less noticeable than my m13A which you could feel the vvt kick in.

      Long and the short it is there yes. This might differ per region or model? I am not 100% sure.

        1. No it is installed in a Suzuki Jimny Jb43.

          I donot see why anyone would put a m18a in a pajero. its stock motor is way more powerful than the m18a.

      1. Hi
        Good to hear someone else did the same like me mine is m18a non-vvt. Do you still use same transmission? My jimny is automatic transmission since i change the engine i got slipping when it shift from 3rd to 4th gear and now is totally stopped so I’m rebuilding it but in same time looking for substitute transmission could handle the more power.
        Thanks for helping and good luck

          1. My Jimny was VVT and I used a VVT m18a head on my rig I did not open the motor.


    I am based in Pretoria.

    Would love to keep in contact as I am also looking to do a similar convertion and would need some morivation to pull the trigger sooner than I intend.

    Please could we chat further?

    1. Good day,

      thanks for the comment. No need for any motivation. Sell whatever you can and do it ASAP. There is no point in owning a Jimny unless it’s a m18a Jimny.

      Contact “Zook Spares” they are based in PTA. They will be able to do the conversion for you.

      You welcome to message me on instagram.


  4. howzit,

    Loved this thread – very informative. Is the M18A a straight swop with a Jimny? Would mounts etc need to be modified to make it fit? Are all the ancilliaries like aircon/powersteering/etc the same on the engines?

    Great build man!

    1. Yes it all works,

      Remember it’s the exact same block, just with bigger pistons and crankshaft. It’s literally a direct swap in replacement.

  5. Hello, thanks for posting. A question please. I have a 1997 Suzuki Jimny 658cc, (similar shape to the Samurai or SJ413)
    Would you know if this engine swap would work on it without any structural modifications?
    Thanks heaps

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