To swap or not to swap

Discussion in 'Discussion Forum' started by Chris in Canada, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. Chris in Canada

    Chris in Canada True Classic

    Location:
    Ontario, canada
    Morning all! I’m on the fence as to put some goodies on the stock motor, or just swap in a k20. I know we can’t get the same power from the fiat engine, but I love the way it sounds and revs. Just wondering how much more I can get out of the 1.5l while keeping it streetable, as it is my daily summer driver(100k/day)? Just wondering what the general consensus is here!
    Thanks
     
  2. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    I don't think your question is all that simple as a major engine swap is not in the same league as warming up the stock motor. I get the impression that the Honda motor swap, even with an installation kit is a big deal and will take a lot of time and money. An engine heat up can be done on a spare motor and has no downtime for your car until it's ready and the swap can easily be done in a weekend.

    I know that no one here likes the M word but if you want a tiny two seater with decent power, go get a 96 Miata. I think part of the fun of the X is ringing the daylights out of the motor while trying to accelerate up to the posted speedlimit.

    I have no doubt the Honda/X is a major hoot but it's more in line with building a kit car. Hey, my dream car was a Monster Miata.
     
    autox19 likes this.
  3. stingray250

    stingray250 True Classic

    Location:
    Oz
    I concur... You can get 10 to 15k deep real quick on a swap. But the payoff is immeasurable.
     
  4. DaveR

    DaveR True Classic

    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    It all depends on your skill, your money, and desire. I think determining how much you want to spend is the first step. You may want to play with a 0-60 or quarter mile calculator to see how much power you want to add. Brakes will also need to match speed. There are lots of threads on xweb and xweb 1.0 on best performance mods.


    If you have deep pockets check this Hemmings article:

    https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hsx/2011/08/X-Squared---1979-Fiat-X1-9/3701641.html
     
    Tavalin and Dr.Jeff like this.
  5. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Location:
    Michigan
    I have to agree. A swap is a huge undertaking as one can witness from the really fabulous swaps undertaken by a number of our members.

    They take a lot of time, ingenuity, fabrication, modification and money. The more you have to get done by others the more money it takes.

    I have two Xs, I hope to change one to a Toyota 2ZZ powerplant and the other to be a warmed up version of the existing using standard approaches which will net a notable improvement in the car but nothing like a swap would. I expect the Toyota changeover to cost in the neighborhood of 10K as I have some friends who are more adept with their hands than I and the warmed Fiat closer to 5.

    We also own a first generation Miata which although not powerful, has a much easier time of it in normal driving. I am hoping to match that with a hopped up Fiat motor in the ballpark of 110hp with fuel injection using one of the squirt engine management systems, higher compression pistons, EU exhaust manifold, a massaged head and DCNF throttle bodies.

    Time will tell, like many here, I have too many projects.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
    autox19 likes this.
  6. Chris in Canada

    Chris in Canada True Classic

    Location:
    Ontario, canada
    You bring another question to mind, and I hope this doesn’t cause to much friction here,......carb or fuel injection, which is better?
     
  7. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Location:
    Michigan
    I don’t think this is too divisive.

    Whatever you are most comfortable with.

    I personally prefer fuel injection due to set it and forget it along with very smooth drivability.

    The other smarter Carl prefers carbs because once you set it up it is the ultimate in simple from the perspective of spark, fuel and no electrical Tom Foolery to deal with. He is right by the way.

    Many people are not truly mechanical and dealing with carbs for some is a nightmare.

    Carbs likely will net the best ultimate power but will consume more fuel due to you jet for an average that ensures a good rich mixture at the top end. Fuel injection will be close to the same power at the top with high average power over the whole range and generally delivers better fuel economy as it can be tuned for the whole range.

    Carbs because there is nothing like have multiple carbs opening up behind your right ear. (Thus why I want to use DCNF throttle bodies.)
     
  8. Chris in Canada

    Chris in Canada True Classic

    Location:
    Ontario, canada
    I thought they had monster miata kits? Small block ford? I put a small block in a Vega. The only thing I had to cut was the drive shaft! EVERTHING bolted right in using v8 monza parts. Could have done it in a wknd! Wish there were wknd swaps for the X’s. Also don’t like cutting anything permanent.
     
  9. Daniel Forest

    Daniel Forest True Classic

    Location:
    Montreal,Canada
    FI in stock form is more performing and easy to drive. If you are looking into modifications, the carb/carbs are cheaper, easier to fit and are more inline with the view of old timers. A programmable fuel injection is the actual choice if you want the best. But you must know what you are doing and it could end-up much more expensive, depending on your ultimate goal.
     
    autox19 likes this.
  10. autox19

    autox19 True Classic

    Location:
    East Lansing, Mi
    Totally agree programmable fi will beat carbs everytime. The idea is to have the most optimal air fuel mixture regardless of carb or fi. Carbs (using a single throat for example) cannot rejet themselves on the fly for specific rpms, load, temperature etc.. fi can do exactly that. As I dive into programmable fi I am amazed at how much I can control given x,y and z variables

    Odie
     
    Dr.Jeff likes this.
  11. Rodger

    Rodger True Classic

    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    I started by converting my ‘79, which most will agree was severely hobbled by a small carb and smog controls, to FI. Definitely an improvement, but the best money spent was when I took the FI head from my ‘81 K20 project car and sent it to MWB for their performance mods. It added a nice boost in acceleration that made the car perform so much better. No, it’s not a rocket ship but just quicker enough to make the daily driving more fun. I did finally swap in a Strada final drive which dropped the revs a bit to make 70 mph runs on the freeways more relaxing without a major drop in acceleration. My eventual plan once I get the body restored is to build a better bottom end to go with the top and to maybe install a Megasquirt system to tweak it.

    As far as engine swaps, ditto what others have said about time and money. I have been having fun with my swap, and I view it as my chance to custom build an X1/9 hot rod, but I am almost 5 years into it with countless hours and way more money than I ever imagined.
     
  12. 7982X

    7982X True Classic

    Location:
    Colorado
    A bit off the topic, but a friend of ours put a Mustang 5 liter into an early Miata. He did a show quality job & said it was fun. Kinda what you had in mind?
     
  13. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    If I'm understanding you correctly. You want a reliable, safe, drivable car to put 100,000 a day on? That certainly is NOT any Fiat, regardless of build. Frankly I don't see how anyone can drive that much, but that's not the point.

    Even if that was a typo about the miles/kilos driven (perhaps it means 100 kilos?, not 100k?). For a safe, reliable, dependable, streetable daily driver, I don't think you really want any modifications - neither hot SOHC nor engine swapped. They simply won't fit those criteria. If it has to be your X, then I'd suggest rebuilding every part of it to new stock condition with fuel injection, electronic ignition, and all other 'modern' enhancements Fiat ever offered. And get a roadside assistance program, good cell phone, and friendly boss that understands when you come in late due to car problems. :D
     
  14. fastx19

    fastx19 Administrator Moderator

    Location:
    Santa Clara, CA
    Oh Jeff. It is possible, however we have to remember the build quality and tolerances of cars from the 70's and 80's are vastly different than today. Hence why you can buy a standard POS off the car lot and expect it to go 200k with no problems. This was unheard of in the 70's.

    Now, I have owned a number of X's over the years with all different power updates, from Stock to WTF. I also daily drove my X when in college and had no issues. Lots of adventures though.

    Two setups I would recommend.

    First - 1500 with a mild compression increase, slighlty warmer cam and FI. Along with the 3:xx gearset makes for a wonderful driver. Capable of 80mph all day long and make all the right noise.

    Second - 1500 with a 35/75 cam, slight compression increase and a larger single carb with a manual or water choke on it. If you leave the stock gearset alone, it will be great as well. Kind of like a street fighter for the roads as long as you are under 80mph.

    Anything hotter, such as dual carbs, 10+ compression ratio, etc will either be a nusance because of having to tune all the time or it will suck a lot of gas. I had a dual carb with a 40/80 cam in it, and I swear 15mph was about the best I could do.

    Either of these options should provide a bit more zip, keep the sound, and give you confidence in your vehicle to take you where you need to go.
     
  15. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Location:
    Michigan
    I find my X is similar to my Miata in terms of general reliability. It just isn’t as fast. Fuel economy is better for the X.

    An older car is an older car, Miata included. The marginal plastic tanked radiator is in line for replacement this spring along with a bunch of other maintenance needs of any car 27 years old.
     
  16. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    My rat X had an internally stock 1500 with header, turbo muffler and 34 DATR. Jetting was set with a wide band oxygen sensor. It ran great and I had no desire to raise the compression, port the head or increase the compression. I did put the dual DCOEs on it because I already had them, the project was fun and the howling sound more than worth it but not sure the car actually ran any faster.

    The same motor is going from the wrecked rat into the Fatrat. I will be putting dual IDFs on it this time because I love IDFs. I'm sure programable individual throttle bodies would be the optimum over carbs but my comfort zone and pocketbook are with carbs.

    A stock fuel injected X is a "nice" driving motor, kind of like being told a blind date your sister set you up with "has a nice personality".

    Chris, I bought a Chevy Monza new with the V8 already in it. Only thing I had to do was remove the muffler and just run the stock resonator so it sounded proper.
     
    kmead likes this.
  17. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    A friend of mine had one of those. You had to loosen and raise the engine up a few inches to change the spark plugs.
     
  18. Yes, I remember those.

    My friend had a 61 Chrysler 300 with a 413 with dual quad cross ram manifolds. To get to the plugs, you had to remove the front wheels and then remove access panels from the fender liners.
     
  19. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    Well, that's another fine thread that drifted off topic!
     
    AKimball92 likes this.
  20. Chris in Canada

    Chris in Canada True Classic

    Location:
    Ontario, canada
    Ya think!!!!
     

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