Tell us: “Horrible engines” that really aren’t that horrible

Colin
By Colin Wood
Nov 11, 2022 | Engine swap, engine, Discussion

Photograph Courtesy VW

Some engines–like the LS V8 and the Honda K-Series–seem to get all the love because of their strong aftermarket support and their availability in the salvage yards.

But when it comes to engines that are said to be finicky, hard to modify or even unreliable, is all the bad press really true, or are there a few diamonds in the rough out there?

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Engine swap, engine and Discussion news.
Comments
Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
11/11/22 11:21 a.m.

Is this a thinly-veiled attempt to discover ideas for uncommon engine swaps? Perhaps.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/11/22 11:27 a.m.
Colin Wood said:

Is this a thinly-veiled attempt to discover ideas for uncommon engine swaps? Perhaps.

Either way, I approve.  Paddle on, Colin

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/11/22 11:30 a.m.

Pretty much any diesel gets a rep worse than it actually is.  That's good for me because it keeps them from being more expensive than they already are.

wae
wae PowerDork
11/11/22 11:32 a.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

Pretty much any diesel gets a rep worse than it actually is.  That's good for me because it keeps them from being more expensive than they already are.

I will fight to the death to keep the OM642's reputation as low as possible.

Maybe it's only because mine have been the 2v versions, but I hear a lot of dissatisfaction with the Triton motors.  They've been awesome for me, though.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltimaDork
11/11/22 11:37 a.m.

200-250ci Ford I6

Braze/TIG some injector bungs on the integral intake, throw boost at it, grin.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UberDork
11/11/22 11:54 a.m.

Iron Duke. Horribly slow, yes, but reliable.

Run_Away
Run_Away GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/11/22 11:56 a.m.

I've always wondered about the Oldmobile Aurora 4.0L V8. Apparently it was used as a basis for an Indy Car engine or something? Related to the Northstar?

Off to google.

 

EDIT: Wiki sez

The Aurora came standard with Oldsmobile's 4.0 L (244 cu in) L47 V8 engine, a DOHC engine based on Cadillac's 4.6 L Northstar V8. The Northstar engine and 4T80-E had been exclusive to Cadillac prior to the Aurora. The L47 put out 250 hp (186 kW) at 5600 rpm and 260 lb⋅ft (353 N⋅m) torque at 4400 rpm.[7] The Aurora used a four-speed automatic transmission with driver selectable "normal" and "power" shift modes. A highly modified 650 hp (485 kW) version of this engine was used by General Motors racing division initially for Indy Racing League and IMSA competition starting in 1995 with the GM-supported Aurora GTS-1 racing program, then was later used in the Cadillac Northstar LMP program in 2000. Both engines retained the 4.0 L capacity, but the Northstar LMP version was twin-turbocharged.[8]

Apparently it was also used in the Shelby Series 1 car.

 

 

I'm assuming it's not easy to adapt to RWD or something. Also plenty of engines that are great in factory form,  but lack aftermarket support or require lots of parts to be turned up much which kills it's popularity before it can get started. If you have an engine that makes 250hp stock, and has the head flow and bottom end to support 600hp but the bean counters gave it pencil thin rods then it's not going to become huge. Or even just saddling the engines with a non-enthusiast platform to begin with. Like the Nelsons and the Atlas engines, overlooked because of it's size/oil pan and Trailblazer surroundings, among others.

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/11/22 12:01 p.m.

The Porsche M96. Do the IMS once and actually ring it out and it will last forever.  Same thing with Mazda rotaries, if you actually drive it like it's meant to they last. If you let it sit all the time and baby it, they break. 

Moral of the story is buy high mileage sports cars. 

clshore
clshore Reader
11/11/22 12:07 p.m.

I'm attempting to swap a mildly popular FWD motor into a RWD platform.
Honda L15B7 into a Spitfire/GT6.

Light, compact, powerful, plentiful, and loads of aftermarket stuff to X2 the stock HP.

Not really a 'Horrible Engine' when used in Civics and such, but as a RWD swap candidate, has drawbacks.

No RWD transmission, the closest I found was a bellhousing used to convert to a
propeller belt drive for use on light aircraft, which even if I found one, would still need
an adaptor to the transmission itself.
And what to do about standalone engine management?

But I figured out how to fit a Getrag gearbox from a BMW 323i with an adaptor ring.
And there are Hondata boxes that can run the motor standalone, as in the aero application.
See this link:  Viking 195 Turbo Engine — Viking & Valkyrie Power (vikingaircraftengines.com)

I'll admit to have been eying the Toyota GR16 3 cylinder motor, but good luck finding one of those.
(bring the BIG wallet)

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
11/11/22 12:10 p.m.

In reply to Javelin :

If what we learned from our Porsche Boxster S project car, fixing the IMS issue isn't nearly as scary as many would make it out to be.

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners
lOFRpqE3kzN7aCngPsmq3IW6ue8EpSsWSxejWmdawD96VLN2ZLAaSp2diMgqoMru