After a long hiatus I am finally going to be swapping an Ecotec motor into my Fiero. History of my car here
Since storing the Fiero, I have done much work on my 02 WRX, and put ~120,000 miles on it, it now sits at 249,000 miles, everything in it has been replaced/upgraded at this point (except the trans), but the motor (170,000 miles) is getting tired and the trans is getting noisy, I need to shim the trans and rebuild the motor and turbo, maybe run new brake lines too as I intend to delete the ABS, the ABS is awful in that car when going over bumpy or slick surfaces. Also needs a few areas of rust repaired. Seems like the perfect time to get the Fiero driving again for the summer to do some work to the WRX and have it ready for next winter.
I have debated for a while what I want as far as Ecotecs go, but I think I have settled on an LE5 mated to an F23 (M86) 5 speed transmission. I plan to leave it NA for a while, and make some headers for the motor to get a little more power. Looking for close to 200whp which seems very reasonable when researching Miatas with LE5 swaps. My car is very light, it has 0 options, no power anything, no AC, no cruise, and I have stripped any extra bits to make it as simple as possible. ~200hp would be very fun, and the balance of the car would be great for the twisty roads we have here in the North East. It was really fun with the 132whp 2.8 I built for it, but the rear end felt really heavy. It also was inconvenient to work on the 2.8 when compared to the tiny Ecotec in the Fiero's engine bay.
I looked at the L61 2.2 Ecotec for a while, but the price between LE5 and L61 is nearly the same now, and it appears to be a superior motor. I considered the LSJ as well, but I would rather experiment with some forced induction on my own on a 400$ motor. I considered the F35 trans with LSD (~$1000) but it is pretty pricey compared to the $150 F23. I can put a Quaife LSD into the F23 down the road, and if I blow the F23 I can swap the Quaife into a new F23. An added bonus of the F23 is the ability to use the stock Fiero axles.
I plan to get a 2006-2007 LE5 for the forged rods vs powder forged rods of the later models. This way down the road I can add some boost, whether as a turbo or supercharger I am not sure. I could even throw an LSJ top end on it. Many possibilities.
Mechanically I am not worried about many aspects of the project, I have picked up Tig welding since my Fiero days which will be nice for fabbing some headers and exhaust. I intend to modify the stock cradle for the initial install by removing and replacing the front crossmember, and I will use round bushings and steel tubing as sleeves to fab mounts for the motor and transmission. Swap will also require a higher flowing fuel pump, and modifications to the shifter or custom mounting of cables to the transmission. I will most likely make a custom shifter as I think that the Fiero shifter leaves a lot to be desired. I will probably order some custom shift cables.However
I am venturing into the unknown engine-management-wise. I am unsure of what path to chose. The LE5 is run by the E67 ECM that GM makes, it is a highly tunable ECM as it runs many GM motors, and seems pretty ideal for using a stock ECM. However I have not yet delved into tuning stock ECMs and I do not know what kind of difficulties lie ahead for going to an eventual boosted application. I also do not know what kind of compatibility the ECM outputs will have with the stock gauges. I assume there will be challenges there. I would like to delete the drive by wire of the LE5 for simplicity and throttle response reasons (valid?)
. I do not know the complexity from an engine management side of things in going this route.
Other concerns include deleting all the extra jazz the ECM wants to see asides from the motor so it runs as a standalone ECM. I would definitely attempt to get the wiring and ECM from the same car that I get the motor from to minimize incompatibilities. It will most likely come from an automatic car as I am having a hard time finding an F23 in a junkyard that is not mated to a 2.2. So there are some concerns with the wiring harness of the auto working with the connectors on the manual trans, but these are minor concerns.
Another option would be to drop some cash on a Haltech 1500. It looks like an ideal tuning platform that would allow for a lot of future modification. I could run the stock gauges from it. Logging is very simple. Etc. It is ideal for an engine swap like this, but I think the E67 can do everything I want/need it to, and it will be far cheaper. I am just unsure what the difference in difficulty will be as I have very little experience with the engine management side of things. I could always get the Haltech later on since I plan to run the car on a stock tune initially.
I want to gain experience though so I am very willing to throw myself into getting the stock ECU to work by figuring it out as I go.
I am looking for suggestions and information, feel free to critique my plans, I have read as many Ecotec builds as I can find to formulate my plans.
My overall goals are for a very small lightweight motor that is easy to work on, cheap to replace, easy to find, gets good gas mileage, and can take some forced induction in the future.
Thanks for the help, I will definitely document the swap in my build thread and thoroughly document the wiring and ECM reprogramming to make this swap more accessible to more Fiero owners.
[This message has been edited by zkhennings (edited 03-09-2020).]