Using newish engines

Which drivetrain to choose, so many choices, 4-cyl? 6-cyl? NA? Turbo?
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Using newish engines

Postby Midlana1 » 09 Aug 2016, 13:02

I meant to post something about newer engine but kept forgetting.

The reasons not to use a newer engine might include: higher cost, unavailability of ECUs, new (unfamiliar) technology (like direct injection), etc. The reasons to use them might include: better reliability, higher power output, and parts are easy to find. The catch is, the above is a moving target.

I started designing Midlana in 2008 and chose the Honda K-series engine because it was just getting old enough (2004) to have a good aftermarket and because the prices were dropping on used engines. What I learned was that by the time the chassis is ready for the engine, enough time may have passed that the previously new and/or expensive engine may well be affordable and available. Said another way, if you're currently at the planning stage, it might be okay to "aim high" and consider newer engines. That is making the big assumption that by the time you want to start the engine, there'll be solutions in the market. Potentially a little like jumping out of an airplane without a chute and assuming that a net will be erected by the time you reach the ground. Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but have a backup plan to "go it alone" if the market doesn't provide a solution by the time you need it.

Somewhat related, it was a bit surprising to learn that the Honda K engine I'm using isn't even made any more. That's a mixed blessing because while prices are currently as low as they'll ever be, as parts dry up it'll be more difficult and expensive to get them. Here's a write-up on the Honda K-series:

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Re: Using newish engines

Postby dpkilty » 10 Aug 2016, 07:24

I agree with everything you just said Kurt and would like to add a couple things.
I looked into using a very new Subaru FADIT series motor. These motors are only a couple years old but have many of the same dimensions as their older EJ brothers. They are direct injection and the power output is much better with these motors. What kept me away was the security features built into the ecu. Not only would I need the original chipped keys, but I would have to a fair bit of the wiring and security things in the dash. That is unless I choose to run an aftermarket ecu, which isn't well supported just yet.
Also being drive by wire it measures outputs from the transmission to adjust various things accordingly. So that meant I'd need a matching transmission, clutch, flywheel etc.

So just try and think of all the built in electrical gizzmos manufacturers are adding into the cars and think about which of those gizzmos require the car to run (or start).

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