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My Kit Car - Engine Transplant

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My Kit Car - Engine Transplant

Post by skidmark on Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:14 am

Right, finally managed to get back into my engine transplant project so thought I'd post my progress up here....

I'll attempt to add some photos of the original car which I built a few years ago (before I got bored of the performance and wanted more power!):

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I then decided (perhaps foolishly) that I needed to upgrade for more power and decided to fit a vauxhall red-top (C20CE) engine. Here's a few pics of the exhaust I had made by Martin Keenan at MK engineering (highly recommended!):
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Last edited by skidmark on Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:44 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : pics added)
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Re: My Kit Car - Engine Transplant

Post by kevhaywire on Thu Mar 18, 2010 9:30 am

That is extremely nice Cool Is it a Caterham?

Just the sort of thing I've been considering as a weekend toy!

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Re: My Kit Car - Engine Transplant

Post by mrbeige on Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:03 pm

You need to get some pics of the red top in all it's glory. Plus I want to see the throttle body manifold you had a nightmare with !

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Re: My Kit Car - Engine Transplant

Post by skidmark on Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:41 am

It's an MK Indy. Definately recommend MK if you're looking into doing your own kit - good quality components and service.

I'll get some photos done of the new engine install this weekend and some details of the megasquirt setup.

Hopefully get the engine running again this weekend!
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Re: My Kit Car - Engine Transplant

Post by kevhaywire on Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:56 am

What's the difference between this, a Caterham, Westfield, Dax Rush etc etc? I mean, when it boils down to brass tacks, ignoring the bodywork?

Handling, quality, reliability, performance etc... are they really that different between them when by and large you choose you're own engines and hardware?

The reason I ask is I fancy a Caterham type car, but it seems Caterham are to this kind of car like "Hoover" is to the vacuum cleaner world. Think 2 seat open top car, you immediately say Caterham, but are their huge price tags justified?

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Re: My Kit Car - Engine Transplant

Post by skidmark on Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:25 am

Now that's a question which I'm sure has had much debate and no doubt different types of people will have different opinions - especially depending on whether you want to build a car, buy a second hand one or buy one which is only sold fully built (such as some of the top spec westfields / caterhams I believe). Here's what I think anyway:

Performance:
With regards to performance, as you say, you can fit pretty much any engine in most of the "Lotus 7" type cars from a motorbike engine to a V8 (in some models). So straight line performance is only limitied by your engine / driveline budget. However, whether or not the car will disintegrate is another matter. I think there are two things to consider here. One is whether you are using "donor" components or all new or reconditioned components in the driveline. There's noting wrong with a donor engine / gearbox / brakes etc. as long as they're in good condition. The other is whether you're buying one of the really cheap kits or not. When I mean really cheap, I'm referring to the likes of "Robin hoods" or equivalent or home-made "book built" cars where you sometimes can't be sure of the builder's skills. I'm not saying that these are all poor quality but some of the really cheap kit components are and I'd stay away from this end of the range if you're looking to use it on a track or do any serious driving - others may disagree.

Handling:
This depends hugely on whether the car has been set up correctly. Many are not and a pro setup can totally transform the car. There are obviously some differences with the choice of suspension i.e. Live axle / de-dion or fully independent double wishbone suspension, inboard or outboard shocks. But for the main part, unless you are looking at racing, so long as the car is set up properly, there isn't going to be a huge difference between say a caterham / westfield and a mid-range kit such as an MK.

As for the specific cars:
In my opinion, the Dax Rush is top of the pile with regards to performance, engineering, flexability and looks. The cars are very well designed with features such as their "camber compensation system" providing excellent handling. They are also very flexible with engine fitment and you often see hayabusa turbo or V8 installations with some serious performance. The kits are more expensive than the mid-range kits, as are the second hand cars (as they can usually afford to fit more expensive powertrians / hardware) but can be comparable or even cheaper than standard caterhams / westfields.

Westfields / caterhams are extremely easy to build with everthing fitting together easily, good build quality and reliability etc. However I find they are a bit too productionised and "cloned" for my liking. Their top end models can be seriously quick and have excellent handling, however these are silly money. There's no reason why you can't build a car with equal performance / handling / reliability to one of their standard kits for a lot less cash - just takes a bit more effort.

Then there's the many mid-range kits sich as MK, Tiger, MNR, Luego, Sylva etc... Some of these are more traditional where some are more biased towards motorsport. They tend to be of similar build quality with similar handling / performance and there's not much to differentiate between these (customer service is relatively important however as this varies a lot)in my opinion, there's no reason to spend more on a westfield / caterham as apart from build time and little more skill required, I see no benefit. If you have plenty of cash - go for a Dax!

Finally, there's the budget range such as "Robin hoods" and their equivalents. these have suffered from press in the past with reliability / handling problems but I believe more recent versions have been much improved. That said, a lot of the older models tend to have smaller arches / very basic and / or poorly triangulated chassis, limited engine options and tend to get fitted with lower quality parts and smaller engines so are best suited to young / first time builders and road only use. For a little more cash, the mid range kits are well worth the extra outlay as the enginnering quality of the chassis / components is clearly superior.

Anyway, enough of the rambling - hope this answered some of your question..
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Re: My Kit Car - Engine Transplant

Post by kevhaywire on Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:11 am

Excellent post, thanks a lot!

Originally I planned on getting a s/hand basic Caterham (1600 Zetec?) and just use it as the platform for some improvements, but I now I like the idea of a Dax if you can get V8s in them! I don't really like Motorbikes, but like the idea of them, so this would be my weekend equivalent, but with 4 tyres and 4 brakes!! I don't have immense confidence in the corners, so I'd be a point and squirt kind of guy, slow in, fast out Very Happy So I'd be looking to use a torquey engine.

Hmmmm, food for thought.....

I like the idea of building one up from scratch too, but not sure I'd have the time at the moment. I saw Caterham sell their cars as DIY a bit cheaper, but not by as much as I expected!

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