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Mezzanine
Mezzanine Reader
7/21/14 1:34 p.m.

The 1.3l in my ’77 X1/9 is tired and crappy, and I’m leaning toward putting something modern into it. Car is just for fun, but I want it to be very drivable.

I want to stay naturally aspirated, and in keeping with the Italian tradition, I feel like it should be willing to rev. Target 180+ HP. LSD transmission is also a strong preference.

My X weighs around 2k lbs; while that sounds light, it is a lot of weight in such a small car. I want the new engine to be light.

Common swaps include Honda B16A, B18C, and K20A2. I think the K20 is right out for me based on cost- these average around $5k, which is too rich for my blood. This leaves the B16 and the B18.

JDM B16A should be good for ~170 HP and 116 tq. Average price ~$2500 JDM B18C Type R should be about 200 HP and 134 tq. Average price ~$3800

The B18 sounds like a great idea because I could just run it as is. No parts, no tuning, no tweaking. But is the B16 plus about a grand worth of performance parts and tuning a better idea? Is there another engine I should be looking for? I considered the 4AGE Blacktop, but it seems like I can get some newer tech for similar money.

The SR20 doesn't seem as thick on the ground as the Honda motors. Is there a better path to follow than finding a JDM importer? I live in Tacoma which is a major port city, so that should make things a little easier.

GTwannaB
GTwannaB Reader
7/21/14 1:38 p.m.

I saw an X19 at an autocross a few years ago with a turbo dodge motor. Really quick. Lose the turbo, add some velocity stacks. Not this car, but others have done it too:

http://hooniverse.com/2013/05/28/reader-submission-shelby-powered-fiat-x19/

Travis_K
Travis_K UltraDork
7/21/14 1:42 p.m.

Fiat 1500, Lancia twin cam? I think the engine is enough of why an x1/9 is cool that putting a Japanese engine it would make it less interesting.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
7/21/14 1:51 p.m.

What about the MR-S engine or a ford Zetec?

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
7/21/14 1:53 p.m.

Lancia Twin Cam would be my choice... the 2nd choice would be rotory

racerdave600
racerdave600 Dork
7/21/14 1:54 p.m.

The Abarth X1/9s came with a 1600 twin cam. Any of the Fiat twin cams would be a good choice, but you can also go with the 1500 sohc Fiat motor from the later X1/9's. These are such sweet motors. That's what I did with my '74, and added a nicer cam, dual 40 dcnf webers, hc pistons and lots of head work. It's light years easier than a motor swap, and you get to keep the sound. Much nicer than it's Asian counterparts.

If I really wanted to do a swap, I would look for a 500 Abarth that's been wrecked and do that. You still get to keep it a Fiat at that point.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey UberDork
7/21/14 1:55 p.m.

Honda D series and a turbo. Cheapest route to the best power.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
7/21/14 1:58 p.m.

the 1500 was a good little motor. With the right cams, high compression, and carbs.. will rev to the moon and back

jstein77
jstein77 SuperDork
7/21/14 2:08 p.m.

LS7?

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
7/21/14 2:12 p.m.

Sport bike engine?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HqLTQAHqGQ

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UberDork
7/21/14 2:33 p.m.
GTwannaB wrote: I saw an X19 at an autocross a few years ago with a turbo dodge motor. Really quick. Lose the turbo, add some velocity stacks. Not this car, but others have done it too: http://hooniverse.com/2013/05/28/reader-submission-shelby-powered-fiat-x19/

A related possibility would be a DOHC Neon motor.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder HalfDork
7/21/14 2:42 p.m.

Buy my civic and use it's heart, sell the rest of the parts for a profit.

But seriously, built d-series are seriously under-rated, reliable, and light.

RossD
RossD PowerDork
7/21/14 2:52 p.m.

I'm guessing the 2.5 liter V6 SVT engine and transmission from a Contour would be too big?

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
7/21/14 3:02 p.m.

Im going to second the Neon motor idea. 2.0 + cams, tuning (VERY established megasquirt support base), and the header you're going to have to build, will do 180chp easily. It's probably the cheapest option by a wide margin too.

I like the honda D-series for cheapness as well but it's not going to get 180hp n/a anywhere near as cheaply as a neon motor.

Also with the neon motor you get to pick which side of the head you want your intake and exhaust on because they built them both ways.

mr2peak
mr2peak HalfDork
7/21/14 3:02 p.m.

Don't swap in a stock motor that needs to be modded to hit your target. Go with something that hits your target stock, gives you room to grow for the future.

There's a reason K20 swaps are so popular. It will also be easier to sell when that time comes. Well documented and reliable.

kreb
kreb SuperDork
7/21/14 3:03 p.m.

Does it have to be transverse, or could you cram a Subaru motor in there?

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
7/21/14 3:07 p.m.
Don't swap in a stock motor that needs to be modded to hit your target. Go with something that hits your target stock, gives you room to grow for the future.

180+ hp n/a 4 cylinders that dont require oem-level engine management (cam phasing, direct injection etc) are few and far between and cost a chunk of change.

I agree a k20 will increase the resale value of the car, but it's probably still more of a money loser than spending less money in the first place.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
7/21/14 3:12 p.m.

If you want to stick with revvy, stick with the Fiat. I suggest you get the thing driving as is before making any rash decisions.

kanaric
kanaric HalfDork
7/21/14 4:34 p.m.

Fiat Twin Cam, maybe a turbo version? 4agze?

racerdave600
racerdave600 Dork
7/21/14 6:30 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: the 1500 was a good little motor. With the right cams, high compression, and carbs.. will rev to the moon and back

I used to rev mine to 9,000 on occasion. It was dropping off power, but it sounded like only the Italians know how. I would never motor swap one of these personally, as the motor is one of the reasons to own one. They take boost well too.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
7/21/14 6:34 p.m.

In reply to racerdave600:

The shorter stroke 1300 and 1116 rev even better.

racerdave600
racerdave600 Dork
7/21/14 7:13 p.m.
Kenny_McCormic wrote: In reply to racerdave600: The shorter stroke 1300 and 1116 rev even better.

But you lose the big block power!

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi SuperDork
7/21/14 7:42 p.m.

I was looking at the K20 swap for mine and found a K20/k24 hybrid that was substantially lower buy in but brought in much larger amounts of torque. I will see if I can dig it up but I think it is the same set up the guy who wrote the Kylimini "how to" book built.

Edit: the K24 means you have to go into the trunk, same as if you were turboing since the block is 3/4" taller.

SkinnyG
SkinnyG Dork
7/21/14 8:31 p.m.

I did some work on this K20-X1/9. It is scary, scary, scary quick.

Not affiliated, not even sure if it's still for sale:

http://www.vcmc.ca/forum/showthread.php?13701-Poor-Man-s-Ariel-Atom-for-sale

Knurled
Knurled PowerDork
7/21/14 8:46 p.m.

One of my friends does/did K20/K24 swaps into X1/9s. Some supercharged or turbocharged. He did beautiful work.

From what he was telling me, an engine swap was still cheaper than doing a rebuild of the Fiat engine. And 300hp is more than sufficient to make an Italian tissue box on wheels move plenty quick.

I don't see why the K24 should be expensive. They generally don't break, and Honda saw fit to flood the market with them in Civics and Accords.

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