REVscene - Vancouver Automotive Forum


Welcome to the REVscene Automotive Forum forums.

Registration is Free!You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today! The banners on the left side and below do not show for registered users!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.


Go Back   REVscene Automotive Forum > Technical Discussion > Tech Archives

Tech Archives Where did the old tech forums go? Right here..... The search function has been enabled.

 
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-12-2002, 04:48 PM   #1
RS Veteran
 
Hyper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Regina..where the phrase "ever been with a big woman?" was made famous
Posts: 859
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Something for people considering an engine swap should read.

I know it looks long, but if you are considering doing an engine swap on your car, you SHOULD read this

Second-hand Japanese engines have been flooding in through Australian import wreckers for many years. Indeed, their amazingly cheap prices have proven a tremendous advantage to anyone who owns - and, especially, modifies - a Japanese car. But despite popular opinion, not all Japanese import engines have done only 30,000 kilometres and are in mint condition. In addition to this, it's common for people wanting to do a conversion to buy a cheap bare engine - but then not be able to afford to do anything with it. Certainly, it's easy to be seduced by a bargain package that only half suits your needs.

In this story, we'll have a look at what type of engine configuration best suits your application and how to check on its health...

For Sale: Engine Only

Bare engines are extraordinarily cheap - and there are good reasons for it. These engines have had their hoses and wires slashed in order to quickly hoist them out of the donor car; all that the buyer receives is the engine and whatever's bolted or screwed into it. As such, an engine-only purchase is most suited to somebody who's simply after a bolt-in replacement for an existing engine; in this case, there shouldn't be any major problems with wiring looms and connections. (But make sure that the donor car is the same make and model - not all same model number engines have the same ancillaries and computer.) In addition, though, some people - especially those who are tuning their cars for maximum power - consider it worthwhile to purchase a bare engine simply as a spare.

We'd advise against buying just a bare engine if you're planning on performing an engine conversion into another body. You'll either have to pay to get a separate computer, loom and any necessary ancillary electronics (such as airflow meter, boost solenoids and igniters) or you'll need to shell out for programmable management. The latter option is fine if you're positive that you want programmable EFI, but - be warned - you'll be up for at least $2000 to get such a system installed and tuned.

Being jammed up against - or beneath - other engines inside shipping containers, it's common for bare engines to get damaged during freight and/or handling. Typical damage includes crushed top-mount intercoolers, broken EFI sensors and cracked cam covers.

Note that bare import engines often come with a transmission still attached - as a 'bonus'.

For Sale: Engine, Trans, Computer and Loom Package

The next step up from a bare engine is an engine package. A package deal typically includes the engine, trans, computer and loom - supposedly "everything" that's needed for a custom engine transplant. Be warned though, you very rarely get all that's required. All too often, these 'package deals' are minus a couple of ancillary items, such as igniters, MAP sensor and many other easy to overlook items. Finding these components - and then getting them at a good price - can be difficult.

Be especially wary of incomplete packages that wreckers say they can get the necessary components for. When extra parts have to be sourced from a different vehicle, you're leaving yourself open to problems with plugs being slightly different, wiring loom variations, gearboxes having the wrong ratios and more. The management computer, for example, may be designed for use with a manual transmission when you might also want it to control an auto trans. There are a million areas where problems can arise.

As before, an engine package can also get knocked around and damaged during freight and handling.

For Sale: Half Cut (Front Clip)

Short of purchasing a complete car and stripping out everything you need, a half-cut is by far the safest way of buying a Japanese import engine. A half cut is - literally - the front end of a vehicle cut from the dashboard forward. (In a the rare mid-engined cars, it comprises the rear half of the car.) This gives you things like the airbox, charcoal canister, fuse box, relays and more. Brakes and suspension are also usually included in the deal.

If you're conducting an engine conversion, this is indeed the best - perhaps only - way to go. With the inclusion of the aforementioned components, you can rest assured that everything you need for the conversion is at hand - except for the fuel pump and anything that's normally found in the rear half of the vehicle. Of course, this is not to say that a swap will be easy though! You'll always need to organise things such as engine and gearbox mounts.

On the other hand, a half-cut may be overkill if you just want a replacement or back-up engine. The extra cost, however, may be offset by the inclusion of many hard to get and expensive parts that only come attached to the body - igniters, boost solenoids, relays and more. Take this on a case-by-case basis.

Inspecting an Import Engine

With just a bare engine or half cut sitting on the wrecker's floor, you may feel unable to thoroughly check its condition. But there are a quite a few checks that can be made.

The first place you should start is with a complete visual external inspection. Take your time to check the engine for any damage from freight, handling or a road accident. AutoSpeed staff have purchased two Liberty RS engines over the years; both were later discovered to have cam sprockets that had been broken in the accident that the donor car had suffered.

Next up, you should check all critical sealing areas for signs of oil and coolant leaks. This should be followed by a good look inside all accessible oil and coolant passages. Excessive oil stains around breather pipes are indicative of combustion blow-by, while signs of "mayonnaise" in the coolant passages is indicative of a blown head gasket; another pointer is deposition in the coolant overflow tank. It's also a good idea to look at the electrical wiring - especially in a half-cut. Check for brittle insulation and deteriorating connectors - these are common in vehicles such as the Nissan 300ZX twin turbo, where under-bonnet heat can be a problem.

Another thing to consider is how well the engine has been looked after while it was running in Japan. It's scary how many cars barely ever get serviced - especially the cheaper cars. Signs of 'cheapo' maintenance include non-genuine parts eg the oil filter, gaskets and sealants, spark plugs and - sometimes - fastening bolts. Also, look for tell-tale signs of removed bolts and fasteners - this will give you a guide to any service interval maintenance or more major repairs. For example, if you look at an engine and see a few intake manifold bolt heads slightly rounded-off, a non-factory sealant that has leaked out between the head and block, and an aftermarket oil filter - steer clear!

As mentioned, don't assume that every engine out of Japan has minimal kilometres.

If you're not buying a half-cut with the odometer still attached, it's advisable to have a look for signs of service interval style maintenance. Most modern engines use a one-time seal or a sticker over the cam cover; if it's been burst then it's likely somebody's changed the timing belt. And there's no reason for that to occur unless the engine has done (depending on the type of vehicle) 50,000km or 100,000km. Importantly, bear in mind the age of the engine; it's unlikely that that a 10 year old Mazda 12A turbo rotary, for example, will have less than 80,000 kilometres on it. Be sceptical if the wrecker makes claims to the contrary.

Beyond a visual check you will need to get some tools out.

Step one will be obvious to many readers - rotate the engine internals using a spanner on the crank pulley. Check for rotation smoothness and, if it doesn't turn at all, don't bother with that particular engine.

After that, we'd remove the sump plug and drain the oil into a bucket. Look closely for any stray metal particles and consider the colour of the oil. About six years ago, one AutoSpeed staffer had a Daihatsu Charade carby turbo engine installed by a wrecker - only to later discover a funny clacking noise from the bottom-end. Inspection of the ex-Japan oil revealed many tiny metal particles that had once belonged to the big-end bearings...
Advertisement
__________________
Proverbs of wisdom...
Real engines whistle
Women are like cars...they are nice natural...but they are even better with a little boost
You wouldnt wear rice...why drive it?
At the end of the day, style dont mean shit
The man who said "theres no replacement for displacement" must have never seen a turbo
Buy It...Boost It...Drive the Hell out of It
If speed kills, atleast I'll die happy
All spice...no rice
Hyper is offline  
This post thanked by:
Old 02-12-2002, 04:48 PM   #2
RS Veteran
 
Hyper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Regina..where the phrase "ever been with a big woman?" was made famous
Posts: 859
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
If the oil has already been drained from the engine, try to arrange to remove the sump pan. Inspect the bottom-end for signs of wear and any stray metal particles. If you're still feeling keen, you might want to remove the valve cover(s). You'll soon discover any residual "mayonnaise", obvious valvetrain wear (eg in rocker arms) or excess oil gunk build-up. The "black death" of this Mazda V6, for example, was a good indication of poor oil quality.

Next to come out should be the spark plugs. Inspect them for any abnormalities such as oil dampness, baked-on black deposits, or even the wrong plug-gap. A white electrode surface indicates lean mixtures, engine overheating or the incorrect plug heat range. A physically damaged spark plug often points toward detonation. Stay away from an engine with damaged plugs.

Furthermore - if possible - you might want to take off the pressure plate to check out the condition of the flywheel and clutch. Be on the lookout for flywheel scoring and cracks and a thin, fried-looking clutch plate. You'll find this on any high-performance AWD car that's had a semi-hard time.

If you want to get really tricky and blow the wrecker away, you can hire what's called an endoscope. This is a very small camera (4.3mm in diameter) on the end of a flexible stem. The end section can be bent so that the camera (which has its own light source) looks up at the underside of the valves or down at the top of the piston. National company Tech Rentals (www.techrentals.com.au) rent endoscopes for around $305 a day - if you're looking at a mega-dollar engine it's be a wise investment. (Plus imagine where you could go looking with such a small camera? Well, maybe not.....)

A compression check is almost impossible to carry out on import engines - except for those in half-cuts where you can easily insert a battery. If it is possible to turn the engine over, connect a compression gauge and look for consistent readings across each of the cylinders.

If you plan on using an import gearbox, it's a good idea to remove the oil pan (or plug) and - again - inspect the fluid for stray particles. As with an engine, perform an external inspection for leaks and signs of being pulled apart. If you're planing a FWD transplant, make 100% sure you can get driveshafts to suit your application


Turbos
When you buy a hi-performance Japanese engine, a turbocharger - at least one - is often part of the caboodle. Short of fully stripping a turbocharger apart, you cannot obtain a sure-fire indication of how healthy it is.

Bill Keen of Adelaide Turbo Service suggests a few easy assessments to quickly identify a dud turbo. Interestingly, Bill has seen a l-o-t of ex-Japan turbos that have been below par due to too few (if any) oil changes. We're told it's a good idea to remove the oil drain fitting from the turbo core and check for sludge or carbon build-up. Interestingly - despite common belief - it's not always a good sign to have minimal axial shaft play. This can in fact mean that there's an oil/carbon build-up that's making the shaft feel tight. On the other hand, Bill considers too much axial play to be when the wheels are touching (or very near touching) the inside of the housing. It's also quite common for the 'lads' in Japan to run their turbo cars without an air filter - this may have led to damage on the compressor wheel, which may be visible by using a torch and careful inspection.

Important Final Bit!
Having performed these inspections, make sure that you get all of the details of the wrecker's engine warranty. Also, ensure that any deals - no matter how seemingly insignificant - are made in writing. This should cover your bum unequivocally.
__________________
Proverbs of wisdom...
Real engines whistle
Women are like cars...they are nice natural...but they are even better with a little boost
You wouldnt wear rice...why drive it?
At the end of the day, style dont mean shit
The man who said "theres no replacement for displacement" must have never seen a turbo
Buy It...Boost It...Drive the Hell out of It
If speed kills, atleast I'll die happy
All spice...no rice
Hyper is offline  
Old 02-13-2002, 10:42 AM   #3
RS Veteran
 
Hyper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Regina..where the phrase "ever been with a big woman?" was made famous
Posts: 859
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
woot! woot! my first sticky post

Oh BTW Ill help out on those tech things you were looking for, give me some time to get some in order for you guys.
__________________
Proverbs of wisdom...
Real engines whistle
Women are like cars...they are nice natural...but they are even better with a little boost
You wouldnt wear rice...why drive it?
At the end of the day, style dont mean shit
The man who said "theres no replacement for displacement" must have never seen a turbo
Buy It...Boost It...Drive the Hell out of It
If speed kills, atleast I'll die happy
All spice...no rice
Hyper is offline  
Old 02-17-2002, 07:48 PM   #4
Diagonally parked in a parallel universe
 
VanIsleRev's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 1,467
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
whoa! good work! VERY helpfull!!!!
VanIsleRev is offline  
Old 02-21-2002, 10:57 PM   #5
NOOB, Not Quite a Regular!
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: caliHORNYa
Posts: 40
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
where have u been white boy? i havent seen u for a while =D sent me a icq msg when u see this
__________________
"Our GT40 is going to reduce your Viper to a status somewhere between garden snake and earthworm." - Ford SVT Chief Engineer, John Coletti

"you masterbate so much, u had to rock a wrist band" Jin

"your comment is exactly what I was talking about... Accessorize... JDM? like that's gonna make you faster...?"

"you may have a 400 HP car and look in your mirror a there's a CIVIC riding your ass. Let him pass"

"Drive it hard...and if you can't afford to repair bodies don't go for JDM stuff, just drive till it craps out and fix it and come back for more... Messed up AE86 that goes fast is a lot more trendy and hip than Takumi Trueno that sits in car shows... "

"This aint no beer belly!! its the fuel tank for the sex machine!!!!"
WannaBM is offline  
Old 03-14-2002, 10:51 PM   #6
Banned (BBM)
 
riceboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 1,366
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by WannaBM
where have u been white boy? i havent seen u for a while =D sent me a icq msg when u see this
XLNT
riceboy is offline  
Old 04-06-2002, 10:35 PM   #7
14 dolla balla aint got nothing on me!
 
BoBo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Nowhere
Posts: 668
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
X........cellent.............
__________________
Whatever...
BoBo is offline  
Old 05-03-2002, 02:27 AM   #8
"They call me Bowser...RawR!"
 
!LittleDragon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 7,970
Thanked 670 Times in 274 Posts
Where did you cut & paste this? I swear I read this a few months ago and forgot where it was, I've been looking for the article since...
__________________
"Damn fine car Dodge... Ran over me wife with a Dodge!", Zeke

Last edited by !LittleDragon; 05-03-2002 at 02:28 AM.
!LittleDragon is offline  
Old 05-08-2002, 09:17 PM   #9
Banned By Establishment
 
DJ Milk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 7,324
Thanked 532 Times in 162 Posts
This is copy and paste
__________________
Why are you reading this?
DJ Milk is online now  
Old 05-21-2002, 11:52 AM   #10
RS Lurker, I don't post!
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by LittleDragon
Where did you cut & paste this? I swear I read this a few months ago and forgot where it was, I've been looking for the article since...
you probably read it on the mr2 board, Bill strong posted it on there awhile ago.
pure456 is offline  
Old 07-03-2002, 12:33 PM   #11
User Number 7
 
Volitaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: n00bville
Posts: 10,122
Thanked 18 Times in 10 Posts
yeah you might wanna post links a credits next time...
Volitaire is offline  
Old 09-02-2002, 03:45 PM   #12
Rs has made me the man i am today!
 
docomo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Tokyo-3
Posts: 3,226
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
i posted the link to this article months ago..
why didn't i get the sticky for it..
__________________
"If its not blown, it sucks!" -- unknown author

RS Elite Ninja's : Bread Ninja (aka Afghani Ninja)
docomo is offline  
Old 11-12-2002, 01:33 AM   #13
Need my Daily Fix of RS
 
Nitrousburner's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: vancity
Posts: 272
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
hey whiteboy you're japandy on ebay.... you like a god of jdm stuff dude... = ) I've seen this guy pull rare hks BOVs out his ass... you da man..
__________________
ICQ 64283717
Aaron or Chrissy

Last edited by Nitrousburner; 11-12-2002 at 01:34 AM.
Nitrousburner is offline  
Old 08-31-2003, 12:12 PM   #14
I am Hook'd on RS
 
khemfusion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: N/A
Posts: 96
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Japan Andy is awesome!

http://www.valley.ne.jp/~sirogane/japandy.jpg


Last edited by khemfusion; 08-31-2003 at 12:16 PM.
khemfusion is offline  
Old 10-22-2003, 03:22 PM   #15
Unauthourized Spammer
 
audiophile's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 983
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Hey man,

Do you know of a good shop in Vancouver that could do an SR20DET swap for me?

Cheers,
Mark
audiophile is offline  
Old 11-17-2003, 08:11 AM   #16
NOOB, Not Quite a Regular!
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Calgary
Posts: 39
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Exactly what I was looking for. Excellent post!
Pop'nFresh is offline  
 

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:08 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.
Revscene.net cannot be held accountable for the actions of its members nor does the opinions of the members represent that of Revscene.net