I've got around $3k to finish up my race car project (for now). I've got pretty much everything I want except more power and a nicer body. I figure the looks can wait until after the engine, so that's one decision down.
This car started as an 84 4cyl that was used in SCCA racing in the 90s, then some auto-x here and there, and most recently in a chumpcar endurance race in 2011. On the last lap of that race, the engine blew up in a spectacular fashion, living up to the team name "chariot of fire" Shortly thereafter, I sought a new 4cyl for replacement, to stay with the theme and class. I love the SD4 but with how rare and expensive they are, I went with the_stickman's old hopped up iron duke (which you can read about here //www.fiero.nl/cgi-bin...ad=20040223-2-037028 ). Through a series of moves and happenings, the engine is currently in an 86SE, and my race car's bay is empty. The engine runs strong (for a duke), and really wants to keep going above 5k rpm, of which I'm afraid to do due to the stock crank.
Fast forward to today. Rules have changed, and the car no longer qualifies as competitive in the class it would be in, due to other components on the car. Rather than building/restricting a car for a specific race, I want one I can enjoy at various venues, auto-x, track days, etc. Which means my engine options are open back up. I've got an IMSA racing getrag (regular metric pattern) and a bunch of gear choices for the transmission so I can find a good balance of top end and acceleration. I want an engine with a good torque level over a large rpm area, rather than either all low-end grunt or peaky hp. I have read over the years of all the different options as some have come in to and out of fashion, and I know debate is all over the place of what is "best". I want to know what the options are out there for me, today, given my budget and power desires. Thoughts?
For < $3K with a broad power band? 3800 or 3.4 DOHC maybe if you want a bit less power and can find one for a decent price.
Anything is probably going to be over your budget.
That's what I was thinking. There's always talk about someone doing this swap or that swap for $500 or whatnot, but I know those aren't "normal" prices. Figured I'd check as I haven't been paying attention to swaps recently and didn't know if prices came down at all.
Search Automoda or Raydar in The Mall. He has an SD4 coupled to a Getrag that he's offering for sale or trade for an 88 roller.
Appreciate it, but so far the market for SD4's that I've seen has been $5k+ for one in working ready-to-install shape.
The DOHC swap is actually pretty easy given the fact that it will bolt right up to the fiero tranny and uses the same V6 motor mounts, the only really difficult part is the wiring. If you do a DOHC swap, you'd be best off trying to find a new crate motor (that's what I did). They're still floating around ebay, and I believe there was a user on the forum that had two for sale. The motors can be rather high maintenance, and don't tend to last that long without proper care, so any motor in the local yard may or may not be trustworthy...
The 3800 may require a little more fabrication in terms of getting it in the car, but the motors are pretty bulletproof. The 3800s also have a lot more aftermarket support, and they're easier to come by.
------------------ "The Twins" '87 GT 3.4 pushrod daily driver '88 GT 3.4 DOHC swap in progress
I guess your options are only limited by that transaxle. If you want to stay four cylinder and use that box, it's going to have to be some form of Duke derivative or an adapter to run something else. SD is a bit on the pricey side but would be amazingly awesome, are man-hours plentiful? Maybe some kind of aggressive Duke build? Go for some form of beefy recipe - one of the stronger S10 type blocks, Mercruiser crank, beefy pistons and rods, massaged head, uprated intake and exhaust? I dunno, I'm just throwing ideas out there.
The other logical choices of course are something in a 60V6 or a 3800... personally, I'd go a 3800. Plentiful and easy for parts.
It's a bit of a built duke already, though I have researched things like the mercruiser and going to stupid-spend levels "just to do it". Available man-hours aren't huge, but it's a hobby project so I can afford to take some time (as long as I'm down to one fiero by summer).
To update/resolve this thread: This past weekend I made my decision. In my case, it was actually cheaper to buy someone else's completed engine swap, car and all, than it was to do it myself. Picked up an 88 formula with a 3800SC out of a 97 GTP, ready for abuse on the track. My other two fieros will be going up for sale soon as I have no need for them now and want to make space in the garage.