Poll: The Engine Swap Debate

Each time we feature a car with unconventional engine swap, it’s responded to with a mix of opinions. Some love to see people thinking outside of the box with a strange swap or dropping in a proven motor like the GM LSX. Purists on the other hand cringe and that thought of a cross-maker or even a cross-continent engine swap. Then there are those who fall somewhere in between.

Today’s poll and discussion is about engine swaps. Where do YOU stand?

Vote and discuss below.

-Mike

[polldaddy poll="6533247"]

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119 comments
CoryTate
CoryTate

depends on what it's in and what it's used for

BradCockerill
BradCockerill

COSWORTH YB ALL THE WAY HAHAHA OR 4G63 THATS GUD TOO,

Lastspark
Lastspark

Engine swaps are great and all. But everyone putting in crappy GM LSx engines into every car under the sun has gotten old. Do something different, like a M5 engine in a 240z. Or a GM 3800 V6 on a go-kart. Or really just any engine that isn't overly used and put it into something that isn't overly swapped into.

wyatt marion
wyatt marion

when it comes to swaps , who cares? not you're car,not you're problem, everyone needs to stop looking so much as to what is done to the car, and needs to step back and think about how much work the person has put in to it, if you dont like the swap ? okay cool, but dont hate on it, think about the hard work,blood ,sweat and tears that person has put into building it..

suju89
suju89

As a disclaimer since I have been supporting the LSx series of V8s throughout this thread... I'm a Ford guy, and even I can see how good the LSx is, Ford has a chance now with the Coyote though, so keep your eyes peeled for Coyote powered track cars soon!

grandtouring
grandtouring

Variety is the spice of life. Thus engine swaps are ok with me unless the car or engine is of historical importance. However there are a few caveats.

 

Engine swaps in a way hinder development of other engines. If everyone just swapped in the same proven engine then there will be no progress. Why work on gas engines when steam engines work just fine? Why work on rotary engines when piston engines work just fine? Why work on  that small little turbo four banger when V8's work just fine?

 

I find that some of the best racing done are when teams utilizing different configurations makes it that much more interesting like in Le Mans or GT300 class in SuperGT. To me running the same engine in everything gives off a spec racer feel like Nascar, Daytona Prototypes, and even GT500's in SuperGT. While they both have great racing going on, the idea of one team with a small turbo 4 beating larger V8 engined teams(dyson racing),  petrol vs diesel vs hybrids, or a newly developed, unorthodox chassis taking on traditional designed cars and making them sweat when they see it in their rear-view mirrors (deltawing at Le Mans) is just that much more exciting and different.

 

Engine swaps are great and can be innovative, but a wise man once said "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.". There are things yet to found on the road less traveled.

LavarBowers
LavarBowers

I dunno why all the hate on the LS motors  (imo) pushrod kings...i mean it kinda makes sense....tall heavy I6 that makes a shit ton o power till it breaks...OR run an LS which will do the same till it breaks...as for you "balance of the car" guys its simple dry sump it and shove it into firewall as far as your skill/$ lets you not to mention i member reading some where that the LS has MAYBE a 50lbs. difference from a turbo I6 once all the plumbing etc... was included hell the name of this site is SPEED hunters not speed haters so if it makes it faster easier cheaper and more reliable shove what ever in that bitch fuck its your's anyway haters gonna hate im out.

 

PS my Fav motor is 2JZGTE =P

Yezzir
Yezzir

If it fits, it ships!

Boostedrooster
Boostedrooster

It has occurred to me that the popularity of the LSx motor swap is done out of a cost vs performance/reliability perspective. People who don't know cars start bringing up arguments about originality and how the Chevy powered anything is getting lame. I am partially biased toward Chevy V8 swaps due in part to my track rat. In my nearly 10 years of beating an LS6 (The same damn engine) around a race track, it has never failed, misfired, leaked, squeaked, groaned, shivered, puked, or stalled once. I don't baby it either. The tach is usually stuck on the limiter. The fact is, people are allowed to use whatever the hell they want and they shouldn't face grief from other people. You stick to what you know best. If you know your way around a 2Jz but want it in a damn camaro, I am completely fine with that.  If it's wild thats cool, if it's not so wild thats cool too. The only person that can judge which one is better is the driver/owner. 

that one guy
that one guy

Honestly, NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS A FRIGGEN V8 IN IT. There are plenty of other motors out there that make the same if not greater power bands then a V series motor, and some are a lot easier to work on and build up. 

KellanHeatley
KellanHeatley

The way I se it, it's all relative. No, I don't like the idea of someone taking a perfectly preserved Toyota 2000GT and putting an LS1 in it. There are some that need to be kept relatively stock or historical. But there are rusted out shells or low level chassis that can be made great with an awesome engine swap. Like the one pictured, it was a base skyline that has been given more moxy than it ever could as a preserved example. I'm getting stuff together for a 1UZ into an '81 Celica right now, and I don't feel bad because it's not in perfect shape and has no historical significance. Anyway, that's my two cents.

zamm3333
zamm3333

i guess i just dont like seeing the manufactures vision and purpose being destroyed or forgotten. like the miata for example, mazda built it as a perfectly balanced agile roadster. or the ae86 is known for its light handling easily controllable and how insanely light it is. i just hate to see all of that ruined by like an ls1 swap and hear the owner talk about how much horsepower it has. power isnt everything. but on the other hand i do think swaps like an rb26 in an e30 or a 2jz or 1jz in the hachi is dope. and if your drag racing then go ahead and put the biggest fucking engine you can find in that shit. theirs no replacement for displacement. 

Pancakes
Pancakes

The exception would be cutting up rare parts when an alternative is available or butchering a clean car when bodies and non-matching-numbers motors are around.

Bohan
Bohan

To me it completely depends on your needs. If you're restoring a classic or building a street car in accordance to some specific style, that's completely different from trying to be competitive in motorsports where the cost to results ratio is more important than satisfying people you'll never meet.

Bathsalt Barry
Bathsalt Barry

I dont give a fuck what goes into what, if it works and its making the OWNER happy, thats all that matters.

Justified503
Justified503

What ever floats your boat,  BRA!!!!!! 

KE20
KE20

I hate the LS swaps into Japanese cars, I love Japanese cars for what they are and love the Japanese style of tuning. An LS swap defeats the

purpose of owning a jap chassis. I guess you cant expect many people out side of Japan to understand.

 

MERICA fuck yeah!

racecarshots
racecarshots

There was a Starion at JCCS with  Lexus V8, that was rad. haha. I just don't get why some of the really old Skylines there had new turbo motors, part of what I would want out of one of the older Skylines is a nice smooth I6 with carbs.  Such a nice sound.

ORS
ORS

Ugh, doing an engine swap just seems like cheating to me.

BLK_S13
BLK_S13

To all the people complaining about putting LS motors into Silvias did you ever stop to think why that would be more attractive than putting an RB or SR into that car? I live in the vicinity of 5 GM dealers and that's just within a few miles in any direction. I could drive blindly and get to one beyond my area in a matter of minutes. If I needed to order an OEM part I'd be able to very easily. If this was the same for SR's or RB's it's silly to think that I wouldn't have already done one of those swaps. I refuse to be at the mercy of parts availability and shipping if something were to happen to my car. 

 

Had nissan brought over SR's or RB's to the US this would be a non issue. There's just no way an SR20DET can give me my goal of ~ 400HP as reliably as an LS, and the RB26 being as rare as it is (especially since it's been out of production and didn't see nearly the same run as the SR) it would be stupid for me to consider them. I won't even entertain talk about building the KA because I am not a fan of that motor in its current form and I don't need to be constantly making sure it doesn't blow. 

 

When you balance money, parts availability and power goals the unwise choice would be the motors that were never brought over and made in comparatively small numbers (RB).

 

Also before anyone starts getting on about money to "do it right" just remember why we do what we do. We get these cheap or average cars and take them beyond their original capabilities. If we were all loaded some of us probably wouldn't even do this and those of us that would still do it would have much more expensive factory performers as daily drivers. 

dan1407
dan1407

As long as its tasteful and done right I say anything goes. FYI... Any non rotary swap in any originally rotary powered car is not tasteful.

InMyPersonalOpinion
InMyPersonalOpinion

Any and all swaps are fine by me, but keeping with the spirit (or design for you non sentimental types) of the chassis is the difference between crass or class. A Toyota ae86 with an F20 Honda motor is totally fitting and okay! Its a 4 cylinder, high revving motor similar to a 4age but better in every way except price. Thats where the v8 drift car differs. Its cheap, both in skill required to drift and in price. A torque deprived sr20 s13 manji'ing, scandinavian flicking, clutch kicking, and ebraking its heart out is infinitely more exciting to watch than a LSx s13 staying between 2000-4000 rpm in tight corners trying not to spin out. At long beach it sounds like theyre blipping the throttle like the guy at the muffler shop trying to feel out your clutch would. I personally love the way the Japanese mod their vehicles. Tuners such as Spoon and Mines all speak on having a well-balanced chassis - no part of which being stronger or weaker than the rest. I agree.

ThunderFox
ThunderFox

I don't really care what people do with their cars as long as it tickles their fancy. I would stick with same maker engines.

Gvk
Gvk

My opinion is go with the same maker. I don't dislike random swaps but it just doesn't feel right.

clowbe
clowbe

Agree with the whole V8 in drift cars being its getting too over rated. Yeah they got power, no surprise there but id rather watch and hear real jap engines like MAD MIKEs 4 rotor, Curt Whittaker making heaps of smoke with his 2JZ R34, Gaz Whiter in his SR20 pulling 4xx kW. LS drops just dont make for good spectating anymore unless they get beat by a jap engine. Its always good to see and hear a none LS making a heap load of power.

Steffan
Steffan

Swap away. I don't understand why anybody gives a shit what engine is in a competition drift car. Not like you see the engine anyway when it's out on course and not like its even your car. Hey SpeedHunters, maybe do this pole again, but make age groups along with the available responses. It would be interesting to see the responses spread across age groups. Maybe it's futile, but could make for interesting data in this ongoing ridiculous debate. 

John Best
John Best

v8 swaps are what bothers me really.  It becomes popular, and then in like the drift world errrrrybody starts doing it. It's just gotten boring for me as a blog reader to see LS swaps in every compact car on the grids. If you wanted a car with a v8 you should have bought one to begin with and then just mod it from there.

 

No problems with engine swaps though, its just literally this v8 trend that is so very stale for the eyes.

dangina
dangina

unless its a numbers matching, all original car, i say swap away!

roey
roey

I'm not really bothered, it don't have to look tidy, or like a professional build, as long as it gets the desired effect for the owner. i consider myself open minded about these sort of things, they say 'variaty is the spice of like'.

inspector_exacto
inspector_exacto

I voted different continent. Why should other countries get better engines?

MatsNorway
MatsNorway

Voted anything goes. But its more style to have a same make engine. 

 

Bonus points if you stick with the original engine. It adds to the wow factor.

 

Lately i got impressed by a Volvo 240 that had keept the orginal 8v 2.3 engine. had 700+hp or something. wow

MychalYbarra
MychalYbarra

voted same maker, i have slight ocd so it makes me a purists, FOR MY OWN TASTES. In other words i wouldnt drive a hybrid, but I do enjoy seeing other people with crazy swaps

Sam
Sam

Im all for whatever people want to run. However i was the first person to comment why would you use a 1UZ in that skyline. My reason behind that is because legalities aside if you're going to run a N/A V8 to me its a poor choice. Yes it may be strong and cheap but they are getting on in age now and don't make much power in stock form, aren't particularly cheap to get power out of either. 

Dynames
Dynames

if it wasn't for people thinking outside of the box than we wouldn't have a lot of the stuff we have today same goes for engine swaps.  I remember reading an article about a V8 twin turbo (I think anyways) AE86 Corolla that was built top quality and looked as mean on the outside as it did with that insane motor.  I don't see whats wrong with putting a different motor inside the car as long as in the end you are the one that is happy with the car.  if you build a car to please other people than you've missed the meaning of building a car for yourself and should have just bought a car straight from a dealership.

 

I'd love to build a 240z with a RB25DET just because its a single turbo straight six with a 6speed manual from a 370z, I'd also like to put a small ford or chevy v8 and treat the car as a redlight/highway sleeper to embarass corvettes and other factory speed demons (plus i know it would make my dad happy since he's currently building a Model T rat rod with a Pontiac V8 because the 6 that was originally planned was seized up lol)

 

but I can also see how the purists would say keep the stock engine since the rarer the car the more rare it will be if it has the original motor or the same type of motor.  How many Hemi powered cars hit high six figures because it had the original numbers engine and other Hemi cars that didn't sell that high because it wasn't a numbers car.

 

So in the end I think it depends on both the car you want to build and the rarity of the car.  but i still get a smile on my face when i think about a v8 powered 240z that can smoke corvettes and look better too

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MREStranger1980
MREStranger1980

i've got a 26b rotary in a 240z that i have been working on for a while

 

Berginator33
Berginator33

We wouldn't have Shelby Cobras if it weren't for Frankenstein-like engine swaps. My dad built a Jag XK120 Coupe with an old school Corvette motor, T-5 wc trans and 9 in axle with a 3 link a few years ago. Projects that don't make sense and are commonly unreasonable are usually the most fun,

 

StuartRussell
StuartRussell

I have a 306ci sbf in my e30. Whoops, guess I'm doing it wrong :(

nate91242
nate91242

I can appreciate any car that is built well, regardless of the style.  I can understand the bang for your buck idea.  But don't force your view on me, if I wanted a cheap, easy vehicle, I would have bought one.  

 

H05TYL
H05TYL

Where I grew up it was more common to see KE70 Corolla's with Rotary engines than with the original Toyota motors, nowadays they'll stick 'em into anything. Anything goes for sure.

tjkeon
tjkeon

I loved my red top SR20!

Other Will
Other Will

Engine swaps from the same maker with the added criteria of "Engines from other makers of related cars"

 

A Honda B-series is okay in a MG ZS for example, as is a European market Honda Civic Aerodeck with a Rover T-series.

MaxMotter
MaxMotter

The real issue with this debate is that an engine is not something to be taken lightly. Every car has a soul. It comes through from its original design and intent. When you say, take an American V8 and slap it into a lightweight European/Japanese car, you destroy the original purpose that the car's designer spent his time working on. Seeing as how you chose that car for your platform, you owe your respects to the person that made that platform available. Not only that, but without serious re-engineering, the car is all but ruined based on the variables of weight distribution, drive-ability, etc. Sure it's possible and can be sorta cool, but what's the point really?

 

Now, I also can see how in many cases, the vehicle platform needs serious loads of power. The common way of solving this issue is to build your own platform from the ground up. Sure, the body panels may represent something (IE, a Toyota pickup), but the actual structure and drivetrain of the vehicle is original and made for a purpose.

 

That being said, I think there is great validity in cool swaps. I prefer the original (or some variant) of the original engine personally. For example, a 152e (2-TG race variant) would be the coolest engine ever to have in my TE-27. It's still the same basic design from the original, just beefed up, and exclusive.

 

With the relative ease and availability of getting powerful and inexpensive engines from other Marques, it's no surprise to see that people "bastardize" their platforms. I think a good compromise is to keep it in the family. I also think it's a shame when I see a cool car that is personally ruined for me because there's an engine in it that sorta ruins it. V-8's are a two edged coin because they are compact and powerful, but also just kinda tacky.

 

In closing, which would you rather see for an all-out Gatebil-esque build? A Toyota Supra chassis with the Toyota 1GZ-FE 5.0 L V-12 all souped up? Or the same car with an LS series V8, or a Viper V10, or something along those lines?

LouisYio
LouisYio

Engine swaps from the same maker because you can still have fun while keeping it within the family.

GT86 + LFA V10 engine = Total. Death. Machine. Period. Period(one period just isn't enough).

TROLOLOLOLOLOLOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

th3hooligan
th3hooligan

I personally like the idea of people being different, it opens up doors for future tuning and it does create a bit of originality (although at this time, pretty much originality is dead). It does allow people to think outside the box and creates new "technology" for future tuning. I understand that you have the die-hard "purists" that would consider it butchering a car, but at the end of the day it becomes a car by car experience. Something that works with one car/motor might not work well with another. It all just depends on how you look at things. But at the end of the day I still think that some very sick cars can be "frankensteined" together (As the picture above clearly shows). But that's just my 2 cents. -j0nes-

Dmac89
Dmac89

i personally enjoy the creativity that people come up with and some of the cars that are ridiculous in nature but people are out there driving them my personal favourite is the s15 with the v10 dodge :D

bakayaru
bakayaru

"purists" are fascists. Their world view depends on the hierarchy stemming from an ideal. Anything different from the ideal is to be ridiculed or attacked. That mindset is responsible for most of the misery in the world. It's high time we all evolve.

rewq
rewq

Not really into the LS swap but I understand why people do it. The want to run hard the most cost effective way.  The supply of SR20det, KA24de, and rotary engines are running thin.   

VecTT
VecTT

Anything goes. The crazier the better. - Anyone who doesn't agree on that should look up Gatebil and what those crazy scandinavians are doing to their cars and what are the results from it. ;)

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