Are you thinking of how to convert FWD to RWD? Before making this plan a reality, it would be better to know what are you getting into.
Converting a front-wheel-drive to the rear wheel is no easy task. That will require some knowledge and a lot of money. If you are still up for it, read on, because we will describe how the whole process is being done.
- 1 What is a front-wheel-drive (FWD)?
- 2 What is rear-wheel drive (RWD)?
- 3 What does it mean by FWD to RWD conversion?
- 4 Material needed to convert fwd to RWD
- 5 Step by Step Guide for How to Convert FWD to RWD
- 6 FAQ about How to Convert FWD to RWD
- 7 Verdict
What is a front-wheel-drive (FWD)?
FWD vehicle is defined as a vehicle in which the engine is transmitting power to the front wheels. The front wheels are pulling the car while the rear wheels don`t have any power in them.
The hood of an FWD car is small and the motor takes up a lot of space in it. That design can be thanked for the transaxle which sits just below the engine.
The transaxle is responsible for the transmission and acts as a front differential. The engine sends power to the transmission, and from there to the front differential.
- They don`t have a transmission tunnel, so there is more interior space
- Light drivetrain results in smaller gas consumption
- The front positioned engine provides better traction on snow and mud
- Harder to control in sharp turns
- Performance in uphill conditions is limited, especially on snowy roads
What is rear-wheel drive (RWD)?
RWD car engines are sending power to the rear wheels. That way the car is being pushed when compared to the FWD car that is pulled forward.
To accomplish that, the car needs to have components known as a drive shaft and a differential. The engine transmits power to the driveshaft and from there to the differential.
The differential then powers the rear wheels, resulting in the pushing effect. This type of car construction is better suited for performance cars.
- The distribution of the weight is balanced, ending in better handling and brake control of the car
- Driveline parts are not in the engine space, so making the engine more accessible for repairs
- RWD vehicles tend to lose traction on frozen and wet roads
- Transmission tunnel reduces indoor space
What does it mean by FWD to RWD conversion?
There is a lot of car enthusiast out there who enjoy making changes to well-known cars and more specifically converting an FWD to an RWD. Your car may be a great RWD convert? Why not try and make it a rear-wheel-drive powerhouse?
An FWD to RWD conversion is not a new concept, numerous shops and mechanics have been doing it for years. It is a costly and major procedure, but for a car enthusiast, it is a dream come true.
If you want to start an FWD to RWD conversion you for sure must cut a car’s chassis and make a new one. That includes removing everything from the front of the car, including the engine and the transmission.
If you are not sure what type of car you want, here you can see all the differences between an FWD and an RWD.
Material needed to convert fwd to RWD
What we mentioned is just the start. After the cutting of the chassis and emptying of the engine space, you need to build a new frame that will support the new wheel drive.
In most cases, FWD cars have weaker engines, and thinking about swapping them is a must. A usual fwd engine setup is a four-cylinder motor, which can be weak for a car with an RWD.
Replacing it with a V6 or some other option would add much more muscle, and that would make a car a real powerhouse. Here can be viewed as a great example of the conversion of a Honda Accord.
When making this kind of transformation you will be making a unique product with a lot of custom work involved. You will need to make most of the chassis parts from scratch.
Making a transmission tunnel is also a major operation. FWD cars don`t have that tunnel, but when converting to an RWD, it needs to be made. That means that the whole floor of the car needs to be redone.
SEE MORE: How To Engage 4 Wheel Drive GMC Sierra
Step by Step Guide for How to Convert FWD to RWD
Step 1 – Engine choice and placement
When talking about the engine first thing to do is to check the position of the engine. Orientation of the engine can be from the right to left, or from the front to back.
How a conversion from FWD to an RWD will be successful depends a lot on the position of the engine and the transmission.
Changing the engine is not a must, but it is recommended. Since the driveshaft is moving from the front to the back, that demands a serious overhaul of the transmission.
During that work placing a new, heavier, and the stronger engine will give a proper boost. Sticking to the smaller engine while wanting an RWD powerhouse will not get good results.
The thing about an RWD is the punch that the car gets from the rear axle, and that always comes with a powerful engine.
One of the main reasons for these conversions is how the car lays in the sharp turns, and that feeling will not come without a proper boost coming from the engine.
Depending on the engine type it can be front, mid, or rear-mounted, so making this choice is very important. Maybe the easiest way is by using the front-oriented engine because most RWD cars are using them.
That way the weight distribution is better, allowing better handling and braking.
Step 2 – The transmission
When starting a major reconstruction like this, we recommend using an automatic transmission FWD car as a blueprint for a new RWD convert.
When converting from FWD to RWD the transmission is switching from the front to the rear axle. Besides that, FWD cars don`t have a transmission tunnel that goes through the floor of the vehicle.
When building a new chassis making a spot for this is essential.
Step 3 – The suspension
Making a sub-frame for the drive assembly is the next step. The frame should be welded with tubular support to the strut towers and connected with the new frame.
After that, the strut towers should be connected with a removable brace and then those are fitted into the strut tower mouths using bolts.
Installing a toe-adjusted bar used for cars with rear suspension is the big thing in the conversion from FWD to RWD. It should be placed in the space for the stock power steering back.
When choosing a toe bar it should be a type that would fit into the stock steerings end links.
Step 4 – Cutting the back end of the car
When making this major conversion it cannot be done without major catting of the body of the car. An FWD to RWD conversion requires additional space in the back of the vehicle for the assembly.
Elements of the transmission from the front are moved to the back, so making space in the trunk and the back seats are needed. The wielded subframe must be connected with the body of the car using custom-made steel plates.
Knowing someone with experience in these conversions could be of great help, because they may know how to use a conversion kit for the conversion. That would make this step much easier.
Step 5 – Making a frame for the engine
The conversion is almost done. Making a lightweight frame around the engine is the next step. It should be made from square stock tubing that is placed around the engine.
This frame should be covered with the plywood that is pressure treated. The best way to connect the plywood with the frame is with piano hinges. That way allows for the best access to an engine.
Choosing plywood is important because it can be a barrier to heat and noise.
Step 6 – Recconecting everything
Now the engine, computer, new transmission, AC lines, fuel tank, radiator, and battery needs to be properly connected. If you added the new shifter or kept the old one, it should be connected with the new transmission.
It can be done by using the universal shifter cable, or by connecting the shifter with the extended wires.
FAQ about How to Convert FWD to RWD
01. Can you put an FWD engine into an RWD?
The engine is there to produce power, so it doesn`t matter if it comes from the FWD car. There are a lot of differences in engine orientation and size, but besides that, an engine from an FWD can be put when doing an RWD conversion.
The bigger question is finding a transmission and fitting it into the system. Not all transmissions would work in this combination, so the compatibility needs to be checked.
But there are other questions to be answered when conducting a major refurbishing of a car as a conversion of an FWD to RWD. When the engine is properly oriented, better weight distribution comes as a result.
That is a major issue because cars with an RWD can lose balance when aggressively accelerating. Finding an amount that would allow a proper orientation is something that needs to be done.
If the vehicle that is going to be converted already has a strong engine, that is a bonus. But, that is rarely the case. FWD cars are usually fitted with four-cylinder engines with insufficient horsepower.
Swapping it for a V6 or V8 would be a great option. That way the car would be more fun to drive, and that should be the goal of an FWD to RWD conversion.
02. How much does an FWD to RWD conversion can cost?
The cost can vary, but it can easily go to 25.000 dollars. When starting this massive car conversion you should know that you need these things:
- A lot of time
- A bunch of custom made parts
- Mechanics that have experience with fwd to RWD conversions
- Enough money to spend
If you want to convert an FWD to RWD it would be best to have an RWD donor engine. Yes, you can make the conversion without it, but this way the results will be even more impressive.
If you don`t have it, you will need to buy it. And buying an RWD engine is not cheap, and will take a big chunk of your budget.
Besides the engine itself, every car that goes through FWD to RWD conversion can be called a unique new car. Making a unique car is always costly because you can never know how many custom parts you will need to make.
Yes, you can buy suspension, transmission, and exhaust and you may think that you finished the job, but those custom upgrades can cost a little fortune.
Also, finding a team of mechanics that have enough experience to do this job properly is a feat itself. Not a lot of people are doing these conversions, and those that know what are they doing can cost a pretty penny.
Other factors that can impact the price rise are:
- If the engine is mounted in the wrong direction
- Pairing the transmission from an RWD and an engine from the FWD
- A lot of sensors can be scrambled when making this conversion, so the dashboard can light up like a Christmas tree
- Connecting the gearbox with the transmission
- The lack of parts on the shelf demands a lot of custom made expensive parts
Is switching from FWD to RWD worth the effort? The answer hinges on your aspirations. If a thrilling driving experience and adept cornering are your priorities, this might be a venture worth considering.
First and foremost, possessing an RWD engine from the outset can be a boon. Not only does it curtail expenses, but it also infuses your RWD vehicle with enhanced power and dynamism.
It’s wise to research and identify suitable models for a seamless RWD transformation.
Dive into the availability of necessary components in the market, seek expert opinions from seasoned mechanics, and tally the projected expenses. While we’ve spotlighted a few insightful YouTube tutorials, there’s a wealth of knowledge out there to tap into.
By absorbing lessons from seasoned converters, you equip yourself to make an informed decision. Ponder over the pros and cons, and if it aligns with your vision, embark on the transformation journey. Relish the revamped drive!
Hello, this is Wesley Shelton, currently working in a car restoration company for over 5 years. Before that, I was a worker at a small car repair shop. As I was a car freak from a young age and worked as a professional for over half a decade, I think I now know pretty much everything about every car and its parts. To establish my name as a professional and help others by sharing my knowledge, I’ve created this website, which I work on whenever I get free time. I hope you’ve enjoyed my informative blog!