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minisubie
minisubie None
7/16/19 3:43 p.m.

Hey guys, I am looking for a subaru engine to swap into a classic mini.

DISCLAIMER: Before people get mad at me, the mini im getting has already been cut into, so im not ruining an original car.

I am aware of the clearance issues, because the cars are so small. The plan is to run a forward located subaru motor, to a torque tube, then a t56 rear transaxle out of a corvette for RWD. I'm American, I like big power, front engine, RWD. If I get the trans in the back, I have more engine room, and better weight distribution. Now, I am not completely tied to a subaru engine, but I do like the power they make, and the front to rear dimensions would allow for ample cooling and such in a mini. I am aware of how much of a project this is.

 

My question would be, what subaru engines do you like for maintenance, power, and reliability? I was looking at an EJ208, as it seems that they are fairly reliable, small, and make great power. However, I'm not sure with the twin turbos it would fit, and finding parts/a standalone harness could be hard. Is there a subaru engine out there that you think would be better for this build? Whether it's turbo'd from factory, or if it's a small, non-turbo engine I could turbo down the road. I'd like to be well north of 200 horses, without getting into a super complex engine. I'm good with mechanical stuff, but I HATE (and honestly am bad at) wiring, reading wiring diagrams, and that kind of thing. In an ideal world (for service purposes) Id like a small displacement, SOHC, turbo subaru motor. 

 

Let me know what you guys think, and any resources/suggestions you might have. Also, if this is in the wrong section, my apologies. I am new to the community. Feel free to let me know if i'm being a moron. 

cheers

Luke

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
7/16/19 3:52 p.m.

H6 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
7/16/19 3:57 p.m.

I don't know enough about the newer Subie engines to provide a really good answer, but I CAN say that if you come across the EA82T and think it's the perfect ticket due to small size, SOHC, turbo, etc...I'm here to tell you it's not! They're fragile, have no aftermarket, and the heads crack if you look at them wrong.

My depth of knowledge ends with the late 90's stuff but I would think an EJ22T (SOHC, single turbo, closed deck, used in the 1991-1994 Legacy RS Turbo) would be an excellent choice. I always got the impression they are far less fragile than the newer engines.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/16/19 4:08 p.m.

I think the EJ22T was a closed deck while the newer ones are open? It's been a while.

minisubie (what a fortuitous name!), have you laid a tape measure against the Mini? Once you've installed that transaxle, how much space is there to your motor? Also, you have some floorpan surgery in your future.

How much are you willing to push the wheels outboard? Flat fours are wide, Minis are not.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/16/19 4:17 p.m.

Did some looking. The Subaru engine is about 31" wide. The Mini front subframe mounting points are 26" apart (https://www.minimania.com/Mini_Body_Dimensions). 

minisubie
minisubie New Reader
7/16/19 4:17 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I think the EJ22T was a closed deck while the newer ones are open? It's been a while.

minisubie (what a fortuitous name!), have you laid a tape measure against the Mini? Once you've installed that transaxle, how much space is there to your motor? Also, you have some floorpan surgery in your future.

How much are you willing to push the wheels outboard? Flat fours are wide, Minis are not.

Oh yes, definitely some floor pan surgery will happen. Doing a full tube frame, so it'll just be a mini shell, custom inner fender walls, etc. I have a guy that will be shortening the torque tube to a custom length for me. The wheels may get pushed out a bit, but i'll be running cantilevered coil overs, so that should help me out a bit. First step is to get the mini to the shop sucessfully, get measurements, and figure out what will and wont work. At this point, I'm just collecting as much information as possible on the different options I have for drivetrain. Like I said, not set on a subie, but would like to figure out which motor I would like to use if I did go that way. 

 

Thanks for the feedback.

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 HalfDork
7/16/19 4:20 p.m.

Corvette transaxle is overkill for less than 300 HP. Also the corvette unit has the change gears on the front, so you have occupied too much interior space. A Porsche or Audi unit  or even Subaru, with the change gears behind the final drive would yield a better car. I won't say how poorly I view the Subie engines these days, even if it fits.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/16/19 4:20 p.m.

I have a freshly installed SOHC motor in my VW that I can easily measure, and a classic Mini. What do you need?

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
7/16/19 4:23 p.m.

I'd look at a K-series motor or nearly anything else other than a Subaru motor.  They aren't known for reliability or fun in the same sentence.

As has been described, its too wide for the Mini.

If you look at something like a 924 or 944, you'll see they laid a 4-cylinder over quite a bit to clear the low hood and they also used Torque Tubes with rear mounted transaxle.  Something similar for the mini with a smaller 4-cylinder might fit better in the Mini's envelope.

Really, a FWD drivetrain mounted in the rear would really fit the envelope of the Mini and provide the RWD solution you're looking for.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
7/16/19 4:24 p.m.

Have you looked at the kits to install a honda V-6 where the back seat and trunk are supposed to be? This is route I would go if doing major mods to a mini. 

Your idea reminds me a bit of Mike Guido’s Minissan. 

Either way, sounds like a fun project  

 

minisubie
minisubie New Reader
7/16/19 4:42 p.m.

@Turnerx19

 I liked the t56 for the weight, and gear ratios, with the small wheels. Definitely overkill. Also, having a hard time finding a transaxle rear end for a front engined car. They're available and I know a guy that I can get them from cheap. But yeah, may not be the best fit. Once again, I'm just doing research to figure out what will and wont work ahead of time.

@Keith

Thanks, I'll keep your contact info for once im a little more organized. Right now i'd be wasting your time. I want to figure out a little better the route i'm going before I ask for measurements.

 

@Stefan

Yeah, I hear you. One of the main attractions for me was the fact that it's not just another honda swapped mini. I'd really like to keep the front engine, rwd, so i'll check out the other options you listed there. I didn't realize they used that same platform. Thanks for the tips.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
7/16/19 4:55 p.m.

Look at a gm v6.  3400 or lfx. Plenty of torque and reliability in a compact package. Its honestly better fitting in the miata than the miata engine. 

Ive only ever had na Subarus, and their reliability SUCKED. Cant imagine that boost makes that better.

bigdaddylee82
bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
7/16/19 4:57 p.m.

eBay 3SGE Beams with trans, and a Miata roller skate whittled down to fit.

I'm working with a little more room than a Mini, but that's currently the top contender form my Nash Metropolitan's new drive train and suspension.

NGTD
NGTD UberDork
7/16/19 9:11 p.m.

EJ207 from Japan. The 2.0L are much more reliable than the 2.5L. 

I even have an 05 ECU and engine harness I could sell you. Then you just need to add a few wires to run the VVT system.

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
7/16/19 9:26 p.m.
TurnerX19 said:

Corvette transaxle is overkill for less than 300 HP. Also the corvette unit has the change gears on the front, so you have occupied too much interior space. A Porsche or Audi unit  or even Subaru, with the change gears behind the final drive would yield a better car. I won't say how poorly I view the Subie engines these days, even if it fits.

I think the problem with the boxes that hang the gearbox behind the axle center are no go for mini because the wheels are basically right at the back corner of the car.  

How about one of the new little ecoboost engines?

also corvette trans/diff are huge.  

minisubie
minisubie New Reader
7/16/19 9:39 p.m.
Patrick said:
TurnerX19 said:

Corvette transaxle is overkill for less than 300 HP. Also the corvette unit has the change gears on the front, so you have occupied too much interior space. A Porsche or Audi unit  or even Subaru, with the change gears behind the final drive would yield a better car. I won't say how poorly I view the Subie engines these days, even if it fits.

I think the problem with the boxes that hang the gearbox behind the axle center are no go for mini because the wheels are basically right at the back corner of the car.  

How about one of the new little ecoboost engines?

also corvette trans/diff are huge.  

Yeah, not really a happy medium there. The 944 trans definitely hangs out too far, also, with  20” tires, the final drive ratio is way too low, and from what im reading, that’s pretty hard to change. I liked the z06 T56, because of the 3.08 fdr, 6 speed, and the fact that it doesnt stick out in the back. Only problem, they’re pretty big. 

Am considering the possibility of an ecoboost, would have to figure out that whole transaxle thing. Can be done. 

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
7/16/19 10:10 p.m.

What about a Ford V4 out of a Saab Sonnet (I don't think any other vehicle came to the USA with these) and a Type 9 gearbox coupled to a Miata or similar rear IRS?  I know this isn't a transaxle setup but it should be really short and actually fit without cutting up the car too badly.  It would also sound kind of odd (like a Subaru) and should in theory not be expensive to source once you found one.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
7/16/19 11:21 p.m.

The 79 924 and 79-80 924 Turbo had a 911 based transaxle that was much more compact and had the majority of the gear stack ahead of the final drive.

the 924 turbo version had larger splines that are easier to adapt as they were a pretty common Ford/Chrysler spline.  They are stronger than the Audi version and they handle a V8 just fine.

The smaller spline version is also plenty stout, just more rare and harder to adapt due to the clutch splines (though shortening the shaft could allow one to have Moser build a new shorter shaft with whatever splines you need)

In either case, the torque tube is a pretty basic steel tube with a splined steel shaft in the middle, supported by 3 or 4 bearings and a coupler at one end for the transaxle and a 4-bolt pattern at the front for the bellhousing.

There are adapters for Corvette bellhousings and you can use the drawings to make other bellhousings fit in similar manor.

Given how short the Mini is, I doubt you’d need much of any length to the torque tube and could get away with a more traditional red solution.  Just a thought.

Good luck.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
7/17/19 7:25 a.m.

Clearly the answer is Celica AWD drivetrain.

That out of the way - other than the concerns about the width, I'd be concerned that a 'vette transaxle is going to take up too much space in the interior and will affect the seat positioning for driver and passenger. Depending on how tall you are that might not be a good idea.

Most of the RWD converted Minis in the UK run either a motorcycle drivetrain or an FWD drivetrain where the rear seats used to be. I suspect that might give you far fewer packaging headaches than trying to convert it into an F/R setup.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
7/17/19 8:46 a.m.

The Fortech Mini that ran in GT5 then GTL is front engined rear wheel drive, but they had to keep the BMC A series engine. Just turned 90 degrees. I suspect the rest of the drivetrain is similar to spridget racecars, but don’t know. 

 

Besides those type of cars an Minissan, I don’t know of many front engined RWD Minis. 

I haven’t seen the clown on here in years, but you can get hold of him through Classic Minis United. 

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
7/17/19 8:48 a.m.
NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
7/17/19 8:54 a.m.

I was gonna post something along the lines of "this is the worst idea ever put forth", but then remembered my own build thread in the early days and decided to say "Bring it on, I dare you"

 

Disclaimer, I drive an FRS and it has made me a non-fan of the Subaru flat four. There is no benefit to the design.

 

Pete

NickD
NickD PowerDork
7/17/19 10:00 a.m.
NOHOME said:

Disclaimer, I drive an FRS and it has made me a non-fan of the Subaru flat four. There is no benefit to the design.

But, but, but, muh lower center of gravity.

 

Also, a former fan of Subarus, their engines do a good job of really turning you off over time. I'm with Stefan, a Honda K-series is the way to go here. It's not like K-swapped RWD Minis are going to mob your local Cars & Coffee. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
7/17/19 10:11 a.m.
T.J. said:

Have you looked at the kits to install a honda V-6 where the back seat and trunk are supposed to be? This is route I would go if doing major mods to a mini. 

I always wanted a DC Integra hatch with a midmounted K24 / 6-speed swap.

I can only imagine it would be twice as much fun in a Mini.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
7/17/19 10:31 a.m.
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