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Thread: Engine Swap

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    Lightbulb Engine Swap

    So after doing a thorough checkover on my zagato this weekend I've come to the conclusion that this engine has gotta go.

    My friends and I are entertaining the idea of swapping in a more modern engine (Honda b16, Toyota 4AGE)

    Has anyone tried anything like this before?

    Purists, please be nice

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    Re: Engine Swap

    Quote Originally Posted by SADBOY View Post
    So after doing a thorough checkover on my zagato this weekend I've come to the conclusion that this engine has gotta go.
    Why?
    DJ Richards
    eBay ID: classic-ricambi
    1978 Beta Coupe, Nero

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    Re: Engine Swap

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ View Post
    Why?
    Let me rephrase. The engine doesn't have to go but as far as I'm concerned I wouldn't be happy with anything less than a full rebuild as its leaking from every conceivable place. I haven't stripped it completely yet but it's looking grim.

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    Re: Engine Swap

    Quote Originally Posted by SADBOY View Post
    Let me rephrase. The engine doesn't have to go but as far as I'm concerned I wouldn't be happy with anything less than a full rebuild as its leaking from every conceivable place. I haven't stripped it completely yet but it's looking grim.
    Typical of these engines, especially when they've not had a lot of use and the seals have dried out. Unless you have something seriously wrong with the engine, you just need a gasket set.

    Suggest you try that first. Much simpler to start and if you do it right you can easily prevent all the leaking. But don't use synthetic oils. They are designed for that and it takes a lot more effort to prevent leaking with synthetics.
    DJ Richards
    eBay ID: classic-ricambi
    1978 Beta Coupe, Nero

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    Re: Engine Swap

    Quote Originally Posted by SADBOY View Post
    So after doing a thorough checkover on my zagato this weekend I've come to the conclusion that this engine has gotta go.

    My friends and I are entertaining the idea of swapping in a more modern engine (Honda b16, Toyota 4AGE)

    Has anyone tried anything like this before?

    Purists, please be nice
    Not so much a purist thing but I would look at it as a time and money vs. benefit comparison. The twin cam that is in there is pretty good although your '79 will have a lot of emission related stuff to try to make a carburetted car pass the EPA smog test. There is zero value in a half-a$$ed motor swap so I guess the question is, do you want to put in the time, effort and money to do the motor swap properly or do you want to put in less time, effort and money into going trough what you have? If you want more power, the twin cam is capable of more than what it came from the factory with. There are lots of people making go-fast parts for them. Pistons, a big valve head and two Webers would get you close to the Honda motor horsepower but you are probably approaching the motor-swap cost at that point.

    It's up to you of course, but the Zagato is more of a cruiser than a sports car, IMHO, as it weighs quite a lot. I'm happy with the power in my stock '81 for the type of car that it is.
    Good luck and keep us posted!
    1974 Fiat X1/9
    1981 Lancia Zagato

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    Re: Engine Swap

    My 2 cents is rebuild. These D.H.O.C. engines represent a lot of the character of the car. Plus it
    is NOT as tho engine parts are unavailable. Betas aren't worth diddly ($$$$) stock, restored or
    not. Doing an engine swap ... it's worth zip. Yes I know some Scorps have swaps. I disagree with
    that too. Unless it's a Fiat 130 V-6 as they were INTENDED to have. (I know ... dream on ...)
    A tear down & proper rebuild should/could/may yield something in the 120 +/ (-) BHP range.
    That'll really transform the/your car. It's your car. Do that which you wish with it . . .

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    Re: Engine Swap

    Quote Originally Posted by LanciaPaul View Post
    Not so much a purist thing but I would look at it as a time and money vs. benefit comparison. The twin cam that is in there is pretty good although your '79 will have a lot of emission related stuff to try to make a carburetted car pass the EPA smog test. There is zero value in a half-a$$ed motor swap so I guess the question is, do you want to put in the time, effort and money to do the motor swap properly or do you want to put in less time, effort and money into going trough what you have? If you want more power, the twin cam is capable of more than what it came from the factory with. There are lots of people making go-fast parts for them. Pistons, a big valve head and two Webers would get you close to the Honda motor horsepower but you are probably approaching the motor-swap cost at that point.

    It's up to you of course, but the Zagato is more of a cruiser than a sports car, IMHO, as it weighs quite a lot. I'm happy with the power in my stock '81 for the type of car that it is.
    Good luck and keep us posted!

    • Custom engine and transmission mounts
    • Possibly custom frame/body "adjustments"
    • Custom shifter
    • Custom exhaust
    • Custom cooling system
    • Custom driveshafts (and would lose the fabulous handling and balance of the Beta)


    And most of these types of projects I've seen never get finished. The FIAT/Lancia twin-cam Lampredi is a very satisfying engine with lots of soul and extensive versatility and is worthy of consideration equal to any "modern" engine.

    Personally, I'd clean it up and fix the leaks, put it on the road, and drive it. Then work on a program of incremental enhancements (including fuel injection) while still enjoying the car. But everyone has a different approach and it's really no one else's business but yours.
    DJ Richards
    eBay ID: classic-ricambi
    1978 Beta Coupe, Nero

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    Re: Engine Swap

    I see you're apparently in Canada, so hopefully your jurisdiction is more flexible about modifications which affect emissions. At any rate, a hot build of the stock twincam can reach 150-200hp or so much easier than swapping a non-native engine in, and you'd want to replace all the seals with any engine swap anyway; it's the sort of thing you just do while you have an engine out, if you wanna do things properly and not make more work for yourself in the long run. I gather Tako gasket sets are the "good ones" to get for Fiat-Lancia twincams.

    Also note it's fairly easy to drop the subframe with engine in-situ, which can greatly facilitate reseal or rebuild work. Basically just pull the radiator, disconnect the exhaust and some wires and hoses, lower the subframe onto a suitably-sized dolly (just build one from lumber and casters), disconnect the struts and undo the 4 subframe bolts, then lift the front of the car away (which one guy here did with ratcheting straps anchored to his garage rafters).

    If yours is an '81-82 with fuel injection, you can just swap in higher-compression pistons while you're replacing all the seals; not much else is worthwhile if you're keeping the stock FI, but Megasquirt converson might make it so. If it's a '79-earlier with carb, you can do HC pistons and add a hot intake cam (leave the exhaust stock), and add dual Weber carbs w/ a suitable intake (theoretically you could do this with an FI engine too, but IMO not worth giving up the reliability and fuel economy of FI), maybe find a set of exhaust headers or swap an '81-on stock 4-2-1 exhaust if yours has a 4-1 stock manifold. If you really wanna dig in, get the Guy Croft book.
    Best regards,
    -Tye (1979 Lancia Beta Zagato spider)

    "In theory there's no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is."
    -Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut

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    Re: Engine Swap

    one big issue with finding a donor engine for swap is the height restriction of the engine bay, hence the lean of these fiat motors in betas, makng fiding donor that will fit all the more difficult, plus all the extra work to get it in there and running, keep in mind the 16 valve fiat head etc can be adapted onto these 8v bottom ends (head rotated to put intake to front), just another idea,of course a rotary engine would fit and clear bonnet, but I digress.

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    Re: Engine Swap

    Hi

    16v head for Beta?? Really? Do you have any links to where this has been done?

    Peter

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