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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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 Post subject: Best and worst donors,
PostPosted: July 24, 2016, 9:07 am 
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So every other car here used a Miata, S-10s and Rangers are obvious choices, most of the small pickups really, I see a Mustang being used, I partly like that because of what's wrong with Mustangs, I'm using a Camaro because I have a couple, although ponycars are a bit wider than LoCosts are supposed to be, so I thought I'd note the best and worst from my 25 years of working on cars, 15 of them as my livelihood.
Some things you really should stay away from, for a variety of reasons. Like overly-complex engines, engines known for failures, grossly inefficient engines, and engines with no supporting industry. Some of the popular engines have serious problems also, most of them have problems with head warpage or other forms of leaks.
The one to avoid more than any other is Subaru, I can't tell you how many thousands of Subaru heads have come through the automotive machine shops I've worked at. Plus the unconventional arrangement of the cylinders, makes it the kind daddy of FAIL!
GM 2.2s also have head problems, GM 2.5s crack blocks and heads, early GM 2.8s break cranks, Ford 4.6s are huge, heavy, inefficient, and have problems with timing chain guides, I could go all day, easier to stick to what's best and why.
Very best of all is indisputably GM's LSx V8 ( I'm starting to look brand-loyal here, but I swear I'm not ) which is the most-swapped engine the world has ever seen. The aftermarket support for it knows no bounds. You can get them complete and running for a few hundred dollars, ready for another 100K-300K miles, ( GM durability tests them to 300k ) and the only problem with them, aside from everyone else having one, is they're too powerful for a 1500# car. If you can afford one, you can afford a heavier car to exploit their potential for 1000 turbocharged HP. Why waste potential?
So back to modest engines, most of you, I guess, think about an aluminum-block engine, not just aluminum heads. Well, if weight is more important than efficiency, which to a wide-tires guy like me it's not, then back to GM, they made a V6 version of the Northstar V8, found in some Olds Auroras, and it has a lot to recommend it, but you'll have to build or modify your frame to use it. For 500 easy HP, it's great. But is it any lighter than a carbureted Ford 5.0L V8 with aluminum heads and an iron block? No. Price is comparable too. In fact, you won't even gain any MPG potential since the 5.0 will do better with taller gearing.
What's next? How about a simpler V6? The Ford 3.8 / 4.2 had aluminum heads, unlike the more efficient GM 3800, which you want the '96-up Series 2 if you get one. But a lighter V6 with better flowing heads and no extra weight / bulk from extra cams up top is the GM 3900 V6. Still none of the problems of direct injection, but like the Aurora V6, never offered in longitudinal form. So putting 3500 heads on a '93-'95 Camaro 3.4 will get you closer, and easier.
Maybe we should stick to engines offered in non-transverse layout? Means nothing from a FWD car. And then we rule out some of the best choices, both foreign and domestic. Luke the Mitsu 4G63T, it's good for 350 HP with nearly no mods. Just a bit more boost from the stock turbo, and a set of injectors, will get it to 300. It's strong, and has excellent support. It turns up in the yards all the time.
If you want simple power on no budget, then there's only 1 choice, a Chevy 350 with '96-up Vortec heads. It uses one cam, you can get as mild or as wild of a cam grind as you want, for it, for under $110 with lifters, delivered, and most of them will push it past 400 HP. To get a Ford 351W to do that, you will have to spend a grand on heads. But why, when an LT1 comes with what amounts to aluminum Vortecs? Still under $250 for a complete LT1 at pick-N-Pull, but the carbureted intake manifold for it is slightly spendy. Even so, ends up $500 cheaper than the Ford, with a lower-profile oilpan for a lower center of gravity, and easier to see over the hood.
I'm not just GM, I'm hunting a Hyundai 3.8L V6 for another project, in fact. I would love to play with a Toyota 5.7L V8 if they weren't so overpriced and so unfriendly to changing the tuning in their ECMs.
Buying an LS3 makes no sense, you'd be wasting it's potential, at great monetary cost. If that's what you want, do an LT1 at roughly 1/6 the cost, put the rest of the money elsewhere, like into the rest of your LoCost AND building a whole second LoCost for your wife. Yes, the LS3 costs twice as much as I'll spend to finish mine with 450 HP.
If you get an LS3, go find a mid-'90s Camaro to put it in.


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PostPosted: July 24, 2016, 11:17 am 
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You forgot the all aluminum V6 Ford Duratec chain driven DOHC (Tarus motor also used in Mazda and Jaguar)
Run it off a MegaSquirt
Bullet proof motors can be boosted into the "holy crap" horsepower zone.

The Ford Ecoboost motors are very good candidates.
And don't forget the EcoTec GM motor (that I think rule the HP per pound category)

What about an aircooled VW 1835 or Porsche 6 (3.0L?) in front with a 944 transaxle in back.
Lower center of gravity, less weight (no radiator or water), altered weight distribution.

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PostPosted: July 24, 2016, 11:42 am 
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The biggest problem with Subaru is the packaging. Where do you run the steering shaft? The engine is so wide you have to put bubbles in the side of a +4 and the starter projects into the drivers footwell using the best of the available conversion to T5 bellhousings. (uses a stock flywheel and clutch, costs under $500 from Bill Hincher) 300 HP is an easily supportable output over the long term even without a closed deck.
Mitsubishi engines... Again, under $500 for a RWD conversion bellhousing and uses the stock flywheel if you get it from Bill.
Honda 3.5..... there's a possibility, conversion bellhousing from quicktime to fit a borg warner Txx transmission for $700 and a standalone ECU from Hondata for another $1000. Make it a front facing intake manifold and you'd be on to something.
Given the weight of a 7 if I went unlimited budget for horsepower I'd probably run a 20B with compound turbos...

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PostPosted: July 24, 2016, 12:13 pm 
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Dave1976 wrote:
... Very best of all is indisputably GM's LSx V8 ( I'm starting to look brand-loyal here, but I swear I'm not ) which is the most-swapped engine the world has ever seen. The ...only problem with them, aside from everyone else having one, is they're too powerful for a 1500# car. If you can afford one, you can afford a heavier car to exploit their potential for 1000 turbocharged HP. Why waste potential?

Buying an LS3 makes no sense, you'd be wasting it's potential, at great monetary cost. If that's what you want, do an LT1 at roughly 1/6 the cost, put the rest of the money elsewhere...


My brother's LS3-powered Stalker puts down all the power - maybe you should try some real tires. Yeah, it cost more than a used engine, but he's starting with a known new engine, has a warrantee, and makes the right amount of power right out of the box without having to build it. He has no regrets.

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PostPosted: July 24, 2016, 1:32 pm 
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I've probably done more track time on "slicks", both dragstrip and autocross, than you're likely to ever see. Go ahead and bash, I know from experience that 5 pounds per horsepower is more than most other drivers can handle. Especially on the street.


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PostPosted: July 24, 2016, 3:25 pm 
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Dave1976 wrote:
I've probably done more track time on "slicks", both dragstrip and autocross, than you're likely to ever see. Go ahead and bash, I know from experience that 5 pounds per horsepower is more than most other drivers can handle. Especially on the street.



Pictures or it didn't happen......

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PostPosted: July 25, 2016, 11:34 am 
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Dave1976 wrote:
I've probably done more track time on "slicks", both dragstrip and autocross, than you're likely to ever see. Go ahead and bash, I know from experience that 5 pounds per horsepower is more than most other drivers can handle. Especially on the street.

I'm going to go ahead and call bs on this one. We collectively don't know you from a hole in the ground, or how much track experience you might have, but there's lot of members here, and a pretty good chance some have done quite a bit of racing. As for power to weight ratios, my Locost is right around 6.5:1, and it felt pretty impressive at first, but I'm used to it now and it feels kinda slow to be honest. Granted, I'm pretty careful if the roads are cold or even a tiny bit wet, especially after I accidently spun it one cool morning last fall. I'm running Toyo R888's in 205-60/13 for street tires, so they're fairly sticky, but also pretty small. I had a set of 10" wide slicks on it for autocross, and that was lots of fun on a clean course. If I can talk myself and my wife into building another, I will be aiming more towards the 4:1 area.
Kristian

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PostPosted: July 25, 2016, 12:28 pm 
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What about an aircooled VW 1835 or Porsche 6 (3.0L?) in front with a 944 transaxle in back.
Lower center of gravity, less weight (no radiator or water), altered weight distribution.


Been there, done that. Biggest issue is the length of the torque tube. Subbies with the torque tube and transaxle would be a fun choice also.

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PostPosted: July 25, 2016, 1:34 pm 
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KB58 wrote:
My brother's LS3-powered Stalker puts down all the power - maybe you should try some real tires. Yeah, it cost more than a used engine, but he's starting with a known new engine, has a warrantee, and makes the right amount of power right out of the box without having to build it. He has no regrets.


If I read the OP correctly, I think that the question here isn't whether a Chebby V8 wouldn't be fun, but rather, bang for the buck? The LS3 gets the big bucks 'cause it's the big name?

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PostPosted: July 25, 2016, 1:41 pm 
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Perhaps we're too far down this river now, but I gotta speak up for those who don't want a "baby Cobra" style Locost. (I'm meaning that in a good way, honest. Please, no flames?)

I have no doubt that the LSx motors are great for all sorts of fun things, and bang for the buck (and bang for the pound) are really great, with tons of aftermarket support and quite frankly, cheaper prices than most other makes. And I hope that my next build will use one.

Having said that... isn't there something to be said for sticking with the original Lotus idea of low weight instead of HP? Perhaps a thread here on "really great lightweight motors"? BEC's and such?

Not to mention the entire "locost" thing, ie, taking an unloved turd motor that no one wants and using it to have a blast? Maybe Jack's diesel tractor motor?

Seems to me to be three, distinct engineering exercises, with the respective Venn diagram having just a bit of overlap between the three....

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PostPosted: July 25, 2016, 2:06 pm 
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geek49203 wrote:
Not to mention the entire "locost" thing, ie, taking an unloved turd motor that no one wants and using it to have a blast?


That's why I built TETANUS from a rusty old Toyota. I bought a 78 Toyota liftback for something like $500. It had the 2TC with a whopping 75hp. I added a pair of side draft carbs (Craigslist score) and built my own header.

With some careful shopping that car was finished and titled for under $3000.00

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PostPosted: July 25, 2016, 2:15 pm 
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So putting money into any engine that is not turbocharged within an inch of its life is "wasting its potential"?

That's an...uh...'interesting' philosophy.

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Last edited by Driven5 on July 25, 2016, 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: July 25, 2016, 2:35 pm 
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Actually the GM LFX engine would be a great choice. There starting to gain traction as swaps in Miata's and there are companies to unlock the immobilizers on the ecu's. They are already RWD configured with 6 speeds in multiple GM platforms, decent pricing on ebay. Another plus is the internal exhaust manifolds. :chev:

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PostPosted: July 25, 2016, 2:51 pm 
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cwhite wrote:
Actually the GM LFX engine would be a great choice.


I think I started a thread on the LTG 4-cyl variant. However, it's tall, weighs 360 pounds, etc. But if you want to spend the money, GM has a harness kit for around $2500? As people point out, the list on this crate engine is higher than the LSx variants.

The LFX is 380 pounds, so you save around 100 from the LSx?

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PostPosted: July 25, 2016, 4:46 pm 
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geek49203 wrote:
Not to mention the entire "locost" thing, ie, taking an unloved turd motor that no one wants and using it to have a blast? Maybe Jack's diesel tractor motor?

Seems to me to be three, distinct engineering exercises, with the respective Venn diagram having just a bit of overlap between the three....

An unloved turd pretty much describes the Taurus v6 that I have in my car. I really do think the ones that are basically a baby cobra look like a lot of fun too though, and that's something I think I might want to build too.

I've also lately been looking into how to go road racing on a budget lately due to the lack of autocross where I'm living. I think I've settled on kart racing, and the class that seems like the best bang for the buck is the 6.5hp Honda clone class. That's pretty much the ultimate lightweight momentum racing.
Kristian

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