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andykauf
andykauf New Reader
12/16/19 2:52 a.m.

I'm looking for a new project car. I'm in europe and i can't get my hands on any LS engine or anything else that comes out of the US.

Main requirements :

- up to 2.0 liters (anything more and the taxes will kill me)

- need to reach 200-250 bhp cheap and must be able to reach 400-500 with all the goodies installed (proper big turbo, forged internals, etc) - but still cheap

- must be decently cheap, looking for an old banger, as cheap as possible

- must be good for a daily, ideally 4 doors but i can do with 2 if the engine right

 

Personal preferences and history :

- i own a saab 9-3 aero coupe currently running at 240 whp with just a few basic upgrades (will probably take this to around 400-500 bhp but since it's FWD i won't be able to use that power (even with the current amount of power, the car is torque steering like crazy)

- also own a lexus is200 (with the 2.0 engine), rwd and quite fun, great daily but not a lot of tuning potential - wanted to swap a 1jz or 2jz in there but when seing how much it costs (especially a decent tranny to handle all that power) i gave up

- i don't like BMWs (except the e30 which might be an option for this, however it's the last option)

- miatas are cool but i can't fit in there properly and it's not a good daily - so that's out

- VAG 1.8T and 2.0T are crap (good for 200-250 bhp but not more, and very very unreliable - 5 tiny valves per cylinder is not a good idea)

- i love alfas but it will cost about 5k to add an extra 50 bhp to their twinspark engines

- i also love old mercs but same thing, not really good for tuning

- hondas are cool, don't like the civics (too mainstream) but i was thinking about an old prelude (but the 2.0 engine is crap and can't handle boost at all)

- when it comes to toyotas maybe a 3sge (or gte) will do - but they're hard to find in europe

- nissans (rb and sr) are really hard to find in europe and pretty expensive

- old volvos are cool, but their rear end can't handle more than 220 bhp

 

So i'm basically looking for options outside the usual box - help a brother out

 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
12/16/19 6:11 a.m.

rwd opel or vauxhall with an ecotec?

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
12/16/19 6:52 a.m.

Cheap, reliable, 500HP.    Pick two. 

Paul_VR6
Paul_VR6 Dork
12/16/19 8:19 a.m.
dean1484 said:

Cheap, reliable, 500HP.    Pick two. 

Or go with the VW and only get one?

andykauf
andykauf New Reader
12/16/19 9:03 a.m.

In reply to Fueled by Caffeine :

would rather be dead than seen in an opel / vauxhall...

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
12/16/19 9:05 a.m.

In reply to andykauf :

then get an old volvo 240.

 

 Youre trying to add an incredible amount of power to a car and have eliminated all the normal choices.  Not much out there will do what you want without a large amount of mods. Sure you can jam a turbo on an ls and make 500hp all day long but transmissions and rear ends and suspension and and and and.  
 

no such thing as a free lunch here. 

andykauf
andykauf New Reader
12/16/19 9:25 a.m.
Fueled by Caffeine said:

In reply to andykauf :

then get an old volvo 240.

that would have been my top option, the engine is solid but if you look at rear axle, it's extremely flimsy, people in sweden say it won't handle more than 200-250 BHP safely...

so it would eventually need a decent rear axle and i'm not sure if there are any cheap replacements (or easy swaps) or i have to get one built from scratch...

84FSP
84FSP SuperDork
12/16/19 9:34 a.m.

What about jdm motor options?  There are lots of big hp oem turbo setups from that market that get sold with full drive train / front clip on a skid and shipped international.  Subarus, toyotas, and Nissans come to mind but there are likely others. Then transplant into the victim of your choosing?

andykauf
andykauf New Reader
12/16/19 9:34 a.m.
Fueled by Caffeine said:

In reply to andykauf :

then get an old volvo 240.

 

 Youre trying to add an incredible amount of power to a car and have eliminated all the normal choices.  Not much out there will do what you want without a large amount of mods. Sure you can jam a turbo on an ls and make 500hp all day long but transmissions and rear ends and suspension and and and and.  
 

no such thing as a free lunch here. 

that's what i'm trying to figure out here, if i eliminated all normal options or not, if there's something that i forgot about or not...

 

i don't know much about ford engines (the european ones, old gen engines like sierra and such or the new gen engines). also not sure about the mazdas (small 1.8 or 2.0 engines)...

other than this, yes, all options seem exhausted

EvanB
EvanB MegaDork
12/16/19 9:51 a.m.

Subaru GC wrx/sti? Not sure how cheap those are over there. 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
12/16/19 10:22 a.m.

I'm the last person to recommend anything Hyundai, but...  Hyundai?

Wifey's 2012 Sonata Limited with the 2.0 Turbo GDI engine made 250-plus, maybe 270? stock.  I've gotta believe you could get more.  Dunno what the supply is like.

What's your idea of old?

andykauf
andykauf New Reader
12/16/19 10:43 a.m.
1988RedT2 said:

I'm the last person to recommend anything Hyundai, but...  Hyundai?

Wifey's 2012 Sonata Limited with the 2.0 Turbo GDI engine made 250-plus, maybe 270? stock.  I've gotta believe you could get more.  Dunno what the supply is like.

What's your idea of old?

GDI engines are a good idea, don't know much about them but i can start looking, plenty of them around and cheap. Old is old, i can do 80s cars, even 70s - but i doubt i can find something cheap ...

andykauf
andykauf New Reader
12/16/19 10:45 a.m.
EvanB said:

Subaru GC wrx/sti? Not sure how cheap those are over there. 

yup, i'm looking at EJ20 options (impreza, forester, legacy) - not sure if all STI versions have forged internals (the EU versions) but this would definitely be a great candidate...

andykauf
andykauf New Reader
12/16/19 11:04 a.m.

latest idea is to get a honda prelude (which i absolutely love) and do a k20 or b18 swap... how complicated would that be? engine mounts, gearbox, etc...

Rons
Rons Reader
12/16/19 11:23 a.m.

You eliminated the Volvo due to rear end capability, but a rwd with a stick axle is probably the easiest configuration to think out an engine, transmission, drive axle swap.

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
12/16/19 11:36 a.m.

I don't understand the question. Are you looking for a practical CAR that makes 240 hp from a 2.0L engine ... or an ENGINE to swap into a project car? If so, what's the desired drivetrain layout?

For front-transverse applications, a Mitsubishi 4G63T would be hard to beat. They start at 270 hp from a turbo 2.0L four, but there's practically unlimited tuning potential. Evos in the 500-600 hp range aren't anything special. The 4G63T is robust, reliable, and fairly affordable. They made tons of Evos, so there should be no shortage of donor vehicles.

 

 

andykauf
andykauf New Reader
12/16/19 12:36 p.m.
LanEvo said:

I don't understand the question. Are you looking for a practical CAR that makes 240 hp from a 2.0L engine ... or an ENGINE to swap into a project car? If so, what's the desired drivetrain layout?

For front-transverse applications, a Mitsubishi 4G63T would be hard to beat. They start at 270 hp from a turbo 2.0L four, but there's practically unlimited tuning potential. Evos in the 500-600 hp range aren't anything special. The 4G63T is robust, reliable, and fairly affordable. They made tons of Evos, so there should be no shortage of donor vehicles.

 

 

i'm actually looking for a project car, a foundation that i can build on. i'm not saying it has to be practical or have great MPG, but i would like 250-300 bhp (eventually, after fitting a bigger turbo / FMIC / injectors / fuel pump, etc) from my daily driver. but it has to be cheap, i want this as a project i can work on (bodywork, mechanics, welding / fabrication, etc - i can do all that myself). don't want a ready made car (otherwise i'd buy a golf gti, megane rs or an audi tt)

the evo is my holy grail - powerful, reliable, however i can't find a cheap one in europe (not even the older models) - all the decent ones start out at 15-20k (completely stock) and i'm looking for this to actually build something special (built, not bought). but i need a good - and cheap - foundation (i know good and cheap don't mix, but when i'm saying good, i mean with potential).

regarding the 4G63T, is there any way i could get a much cheaper 4G6 engine (not sure which, don't know that much about them, but there has a to be a weaker, non turbo version of it) and then add forged internals, a turbo and the rest of the stuff and actually turn it into a something that's close to the 4G63T ?

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
12/16/19 12:46 p.m.

If you're looking for a complete car, try the Nissan Primera. You want the P11 chassis (1995-2002) which came with 1.8 or 2.0 liter versions of the SR20DE engine. Should be easy enough to swap the turbo stuff over.

I used to own a Peugeot 405 Mi16 sedan. One of the best handling cars I've ever driven. They're very cheap here in the USA: $1500 to $4000

Getting back to the 4G63T engine, you might be able to find a Galant VR4. Again, they're not worth much here in the USA. Maybe $4-6k at most.

andykauf
andykauf New Reader
12/16/19 1:13 p.m.
LanEvo said:

If you're looking for a complete car, try the Nissan Primera. You want the P11 chassis (1995-2002) which came with 1.8 or 2.0 liter versions of the SR20DE engine. Should be easy enough to swap the turbo stuff over.

I used to own a Peugeot 405 Mi16 sedan. One of the best handling cars I've ever driven. They're very cheap here in the USA: $1500 to $4000

Getting back to the 4G63T engine, you might be able to find a Galant VR4. Again, they're not worth much here in the USA. Maybe $4-6k at most.

didn't know the primera had the SR20 or SR18 DE engine - seems like a great option to build upon... thanks for the suggestion!

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 SuperDork
12/16/19 5:18 p.m.

I'm surprised there aren't more options for the Lexus you have. That seems like a fantastic platform to add more power to. 

andykauf
andykauf New Reader
12/17/19 3:10 a.m.

In reply to amg_rx7 :

the is200 has a 1g-fe engine (straight 6, built for fuel economy). it sounds nice but it's internals are weak. people say stock internals an only hold about 200-220 bhp safely (which will cost about 2-3k to turbo or supercharge). However, to get more than 200, you need forged internals. And of course, (almost) no one makes them - so a set of rods for it costs about 3-4k (just the rods). For that amount of money i can get a complete 2jz engine (but not the gearbox for it, which is my main problem with the 2jz, very expensive manual gearboxes).

Damn you Honda with your cheap turbo kits and engine upgrades...

therealpinto
therealpinto Reader
12/17/19 7:46 a.m.

I don't know where you got the (mis)information about the Volvo rear axles?

The 140, 240 and 740/940 all have rear axles that will laugh at 300 bhp and 400 Nm all day long. When you start running 10-second quartermile runs on slicks, the axles start twisting. But it is easily one of the best European rear axles around. 

Apart from the 2.0 l cap, you are essentially speaking about a Volvo 740 or 940. If you can live with a 2.3 your bhp goal is considered a basic performance upgrade here in Sweden. I say that and I don't even like Volvos!

The Nissan Primera (preferably a GT with the 150 bhp SR20DE) is a nice car but very fwd and the drive shafts are marginal. The Saab you already have is a better bet...

If I would suggest something I do like, get a SOHC/Pinto engined Sierra or Scorpio. 200-250 bhp is certainly attainable cheaply (been there, done that, got the spanner rash to prove it) with a turbo (use a Mitsubishi 16T, Megasquirt and run E85 if possible). 400-500 is not cheap anymore, and then you need to upgrade everything else. My Pinto turbo is hovering around the 280-300 (wheel power) mark and yeah, that's not cheap anymore.

But you have an IS200 already. If I had one, that's what I would build. It's a nice platform and the transmission can't be that bif of an issue.

Oh, and old Mercedes...once again, your 2.0l limit is a bit of an issue. The M104 straight six is a beast and will take almost any amout of boost you throw at it. Think of it as a M50B25 that doesn't break down. The 4-cylinder engines are less overbuilt but still way better that their reputation says. And I don't like Mercedes either ;-)

Gustaf

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
12/17/19 7:52 a.m.

In reply to therealpinto :

I was going to mention the W124 platform: I've owned the 300CE-24 coupe and currently daily drive a 260E sedan. People make huge power with turbo M103 and M104 engines. But they're 2.6 to 3.0 liters, which is more than he wants. Even the W201 16v (my race car LOL) is a 2.3 or 2.5

therieldeal
therieldeal Reader
12/17/19 8:41 a.m.
andykauf said:

that's what i'm trying to figure out here, if i eliminated all normal options or not, if there's something that i forgot about or not...

 

i don't know much about ford engines (the european ones, old gen engines like sierra and such or the new gen engines). also not sure about the mazdas (small 1.8 or 2.0 engines)...

other than this, yes, all options seem exhausted

 

Mazda BG chassis (90-94) 323 GTX and GTR.  The 1.8 BP engine is mostly the same as the NA miata, so parts are available everywhere.

The GTR motor has stronger rods etc from the factory, and will do ~300++HP with nothing but injectors, standalone, and a new exhaust system.  Upgrade the turbo for your end power goal.

The GTX motor is basically a stock miata motor with slightly lower compression.  Will need rods and maybe pistons if you want to go nuts.  Stock turbo is very small, maxes out at ~210hp

 

Unfortunately in either case the gearbox is basically the same, and a major weak point.  I make/sell adapter plates to convert to the Celica GT4 driveline but it's a bit of a project (i.e. you're on your own as far as mounting everything). Maybe too much of a project, not sure, you tell us :)

Duke
Duke MegaDork
12/17/19 11:57 a.m.

If you're going BP engine, I believe somebody makes an adaptor to back it with a BMW 5-speed manual out of an E46, which should be pretty stout and not terrible expensive to source in Europe.

 

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