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Motor swap possibilities?

Discussion in 'Performance' started by autopat, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. autopat

    autopat New Member

    I was wondering, has anybody considered a Subaru WRX STi swap into a HiJet? This seems like a no brainer! It's a flat 4, you can do it EFI or carbed, if you do it EFI you could even include the turbo, and intercooler. What say you? My neighbor has a "spare" WRX STi motor, that he was planning on building for his Forrester, but has since sold the Forrester, I'm sure I could fab a mounting plate adapter to mount to the original trans, and you would be able to use all standard Suby parts. Just a crazy thought.

  2. autopat

    autopat New Member

    I went to the JY today, and checked out a couple of Suby boxer engines. I'll have to take some detailed measurements, but initial eyeball measurements say it'll probably fit pretty well. I'll have to do some more investigating, it'll come into better focus, when I do some cradle measurements. I can get a good runner for about $400, or a good builder for $150.

  3. greg0187

    greg0187 Moderator Staff Member

    Anything is possible and can be made to work if your determined. Let us know what you find.
  4. old grayfellow

    old grayfellow New Member

    Did you ever pursue this idea further? How do the dimensions/fit work out? Other findings?
    Seems like the Subaru boxer engines might avoid many of the biggest problems one encounters in this application (trying to find/adapt a 100hp-range engine to a mini truck).
  5. autopat

    autopat New Member

    I haven't had the opportunity to check any further into this, life keeps getting in the way! 2 kids, wife, 8 other projects, and work, just keep stopping me just before I pick up the tape. Luckily my neighbor has generously donated a suby engine to the cause, he wants to see it happen too. I'm almost wondering if I could use the stock suby trans as well?

  6. spaner

    spaner Well-Known Member

    That would be the smart way to go..;)
  7. old grayfellow

    old grayfellow New Member

    It does seem like bringing the Subaru transmission/transfer case along has advantages, and might be the better way to go:

    -Perfect mating to the Subaru engine without modification

    But a few things would have to be checked to determine whether it would be less work to satisfy all of them, (vs using the mini-truck's original transmission and making an adapter plate to bolt to the new engine):
    -Will the mini-truck driveshafts fit onto the subaru transfer case (correct shaft lengths, compatible joints, do the output positions on Sube trans case match up well enough to where they were on the minitruck-- for example, are they on the wrong side of the transmission?)
    -Will the Sube transmission/case physically fit into the available space, and difficulty of making any additional mounts
    -Is the mini-truck's speedometer/cable compatible with the Sube's drive for it, (can it be inserted, and if so, will speeds be accurate)?

    On the side of keeping the mini-truck's trans:
    -None of the above problems adapting Sube transmission

    Possible problems:
    -If using the Sube's clutch, do the Sube's clutch plate splines match the MT's trans shaft (doubtful). Alternatively, using the MT's clutch would require making new (precisely positioned) mounting holes for it in the Sube's flywheel. Keeping the Sube's pressure plate but using the MT's clutch plate and throwout bearing might be easier, if there was good enough spatial agreement between the contact surfaces (this seems possible, but would have to be checked).
    -The thickness of the engine/transmission adapter plate would have to be taken into account for pilot bearing/trans shaft contact and for throwout bearing engagement.
    -The minitruck trans input shaft might have to be machined/altered to match the pilot bearing in the Sube engine.
  8. spaner

    spaner Well-Known Member

    I did a lot of work back in the early 90s with the subaru GL wagon 86/87 4x4/2WD.

    What you're talking about is a lot of assumptions and misinformation to begin with. The first thing would be to get a complete platform to make some actual decisions with. This would help you a lot.

    Like for example, the subaru 4x4 in this series, is a "full time" FWD, with shiftable rear drive shaft, for 4WD. Of course, this would work nicely with the under seat engine position of the suzuki. Shifting on the GL, series was also "on the fly", clunky from 2 to 4, if not balanced, but syncrowed from hi to low.

    Anyway, very good cars. I had no complaints at all. Only that the bodies tended to fall off, and the drive train outlasted the body..by far. Very good off road car. In my last year owning it, after being completely rotted, I bought an 87 2wd with good body, changed the driveline from my 86 4wd over to it. Took 4 weeks. Bolt holes were all there though.

    I think you'd be OK with this model. only 90hp though. The "brat" came with optional turbo...only a few horsies more though.

    The easiest way to do this, is to get a car off craig's, park it beside the truck...and get started. Idle speculation is just a wast of your time.
  9. old grayfellow

    old grayfellow New Member

    I agree that you'd certainly need the whole car. That's clear enough just as a source for all the ancillaries to serve the engine alone, even if you didn't use the Subaru transmission. If it were me doing the transplant (which it might be some day if my current engine gives out), i'd do measurements and visual checks as well as reading up about the Subaru's systems to see what kind of serious roadblocks you might be up against before i even bought the donor car. I'd rather waste a little time than waste both money and time.

    If using the Subaru transmission and it's drive system/configuration is going to cause problems adapting them (or even driveability problems) maybe it would be wiser to stay with the engine transplant alone? That way at least your challenges mostly stop at the clutch/transmission input shaft. I'm not closely familiar with Subarus like you are Spaner, although i have done engine, transmission, fuel system, etc. transplants in other cars. Things like bringing self-contained engine management computer boxes, igniter modules, grounding centers etc. that just bolt onto fenders, and different fuel pumps are not a big problem. But what i would be afraid of would be the presence of connections (essential for the engine to run properly) between the engine and Subaru-specific things that you didn't want to bring over like the speedometer/tachometer (hypothetical example). The fact that these Subaru engines are popular for use as airplane powerplants suggests that there shouldn't be anything insurmountable about their control/feedback systems. Did you have any problems with engine management/control systems between the two cars in your transplant?
  10. spaner

    spaner Well-Known Member

    I come across a little wrong sometimes, what I meant was that you'll get 10x value on your time, with the car in your possession. I'm OK with talking about it, if you want to.
    I've done a few complete transplants, but the GL wagon FWD to 4WD was my first. Lucky on that one, maybe just well planed, the only problem that I had was the tunnel cover on the FWD was 2cm too low, different cover. AND, not in the same place as the mechanical controls. Nothing a 5lb sledge couldn't fix while on the hoist.

    Something like this though?
    I think of it as two separate areas.
    Area 1,
    The truck. All the systems function, lights, bat, grounding straps...everything for the truck's engine is disconnected and "hung". Don't remove, or rewire anything.
    Area 2,
    The transplant engine. Get it running in the original unit and get all the bugs worked out.
    Then, remove and bench run. Everything to run the engine is placed on the floor. ECU, fuel pump...everything.
    Then the doner is placed in the space provided, boxes, fuel pump, or pumps, everything into the bay and rails where space is available.
    AND, everything wired to the alt, on the doner.

    SO, the only connections should be, ground strap, alt to bat, bat to start, and of course...ignition to starter solenoid.
    A little more detailed, but you get the idea. I isolate the doner from the car as much as possible to eliminate all the nitty-gritty.

    The GL wagon to Suzuki, should be pretty strait forward though. I don't know much about the WRX or outback lines though. I think that, it's just a lot of trouble and WAY too expensive.

    Nowadays, you could get a complete 84-89 GL 4X4 doner for about 200 bucks.

    Let me know if I can give more info.
  11. old grayfellow

    old grayfellow New Member

    So it sounds like these might be the best engines/cars to look for? (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Subaru_engines)

    EA81: 1781 cc OHV, 73 hp at 4,800 rpm used in the 1980–1984 Subaru Leone and 1981–1993 Subaru BRAT
    EA81T: 1781 cc OHV Turbo, 95 at 4,200 rpm used in the 1983–1984 Subaru Leone and Subaru BRAT
    EA82: 1791 cc SOHC, 84-97 hp used in the Subaru Leone and Subaru XT
    EA82T: 1791 cc SOHC, 115 hp at 5200 rpm used in the Subaru Leone and Subaru XT

    That sounds good to me. The horsepower is plenty -- more than that would probably get me in trouble in a minitruck anyway.

    Sounds like the EA 82 was available with a carburetor, single point fuel injection, multi-port fuel injection, or multi-port fuel injection with a turbocharger. I guess the multi-port would be the best? Unless there's any disadvantages you know of ? Does yours have the turbo? It might tend to make fitting the engine in the minitruck more of a challenge, not to mention potential need/cost of replacement of turbo from an old car..

    Anyway, will have to put the GL on the craigslist watch.
  12. spaner

    spaner Well-Known Member

  13. jrettenmayer

    jrettenmayer New Member

    How about mating an EJ22 with the loyale transmission? It's easy enough to do. A stock EJ22 is 135 hp and ultra-reliable. The Loyale trans gives your 2wd/hi/lo 4wd.

    Also, look http://www.subarugears.com/. They reverse the transmission for use in rear engine cars...not sure if that would be useful or not.

    I've got a spare EJ22 sitting in my shop now if anyone wants some measurements...
  14. spaner

    spaner Well-Known Member

    Yea, I think that's a good application, too much power maybe. You might be able to shoe horn all that in there though. 2.2L!

    I still remember the first time I saw a 4x4 suby trans in this series. I couldn't believe it. Proper design for the application. I was used to the half ton 4x4 ford design at the time; and I had to ask myself, why isn't every manufacturer making them like this?

    The first I had ever heard of a FWD shifted to 4WD with central limited slip...blew my mind. Then I bought two..;)
  15. old grayfellow

    old grayfellow New Member

    I found this:

    Might be a bit too much of an unknown, having sat for so long? And the engine is carb'd rather than FI (I'd really rather have FI).
    On the other hand its essentially free...

    What do you think Spaner?
  16. spaner

    spaner Well-Known Member

    Wow, that's all I can say, Brat box seats, cyclops light.
    and you'd want to use the cluster BTW, makes it feel like your flying a space ship.
    Looks pretty stock under the hood.

    Man, that brings back memories..:)
  17. jrettenmayer

    jrettenmayer New Member

    Definitely FI. The 2.2L is virtually the same weight as the older 1.8L ( ok...a little heavier), but super dependable. You might look at the brat for the transmission though...

    Kennedy engineering makes an adapter plate for not too much money to mate the two together.

    Of course, like spanner said, it might just be easier to adapt to the mini truck trans. What about just
    swapping in a newer, FI motor from a mini truck?
  18. old grayfellow

    old grayfellow New Member

    Yes i'd really rather use a more modern and reliable engine, as long as the conversion is not hampered by highly complicated control systems that make the transfer difficult.
    I'll be able to check dimensions on my truck over the holidays. It would be interesting to see if the 2.2L would fit in there.

    It's always nice to have more power-- but i wonder how many hp before one might have to worry about capability of the stock transmission to handle it? I had the generalized attitude that transmissions usually are not a weak link in these kind of things, but don't have any direct experience modifying MT powertrains built for ~45hp. Anyone have info about it?

    BTW, my truck is a '95 HiJet, in case that matters.
  19. greg0187

    greg0187 Moderator Staff Member

    I'd be more concerned about the clutch than the trans itself.
  20. Lemayilleur

    Lemayilleur New Member

    So I am assuming this has not gotten anywhere since the last post was in 2012?

    Has anyone else did more research on this? I had this exact same idea (Boxer EJ swap in a key truck) and I'm still day dreaming about it. Could make a very cool Project.
  21. spaner

    spaner Well-Known Member

    The reason for the Brat, and BTW, it was brought back in 2002-done in 2006, as the Baja AWD computerized dynamo...:sly:
    you don't want that,

    You want the Brat or even the wagon (L-series, 2nd generation), GL model, with the EFI big turbo charged engine. That was the whole point of the thread. You could still find one cheap, you can get any part you want, and it is a true 4WD (not this AWD crap) and the GL of all models had the shift-on-the-fly dual range 4WD.

    The kicker, the real selling point as a doner, is the trans. It incorporated both rear (part-time) and front (full time) drive lines, in a unit shape that is familiar, with shift linkages and clutch bell housing normally seen in domestic off road products.

    The difference was, that the full-time front wheel drive CV axels, came right out of the sides of the bell housing of the trans...a true "single unit" 4wd gear box.

    That was the whole point of the thread, and the pictures that were referenced, it is the definition of a doner unit...for small, light 4wd, CV-front, solid axle rears...dune buggies, or the like...AKA minitruck.

    You could go solid axle (like some here) or you could opt for this route. Is the unit, or units going to bolt-right-in? No, of couse not, but it is a true 4WD doner unit for the minitrucks that can be easily upgraded performance wise, due to the road rally market and research design that was done during the 2nd and 3rd generation development of the systems for the future designs that were first the Outback, and later the WRX.

    Sky's the limit, and the reaserch is done;


    BTW, in my opinion, the reason that the Baja never really took off; a come back of the Brat,
    was the fact that they sold the IDEA, of the Brat with the old body styling, sitting on the new fangled computerized gizmos, and AWD concept that was the Baja.
    All they had to do was make new copies of the old Brat, brand new, with all the old designs, including the REAL 4WD shift-on-the-fly system, and some new paint.

    I would have bought one...:sly:

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