So, you just got your new (old really) Nissan 240sx. Coupe, hatch, zenki, or kouki, it doesnt matter; we all know you sure as hell didnt buy the car just to drive it. You want to go faster, you want to turn harder, you want to look better. We all do, thats why your here.
The "big thing" with 240's, the engine swaps. So there is nothing about the turning or the showing in here (well a little bit of handling). With some 5 common motors to choose from, the newcommers may not no where to start. Start here, but beware this is just to get you crawling, not walking. The world of swaps and motors is bigger than your brain so just chill and do your homework, this is only to inform you on the basics so you know now what to search for specifically.
As stated above, we want to go faster. Just like any other car, the concept is simple, fast is fun. We all like fun. The reason for the swaps, is potential. The KA24 in stock form, lets face it, it's nothing special. They have been in your car for 1xx,xxx miles, and, well no motor lasts for ever. So what are your options. Well there are 3 thing you can do:
1) Slap an intake and some headers on her and drive her till she dies...borrrring
2) Rebuild and/or boost it. There are a fair amount of KA24DE turbo kits floating around and will surely shock your butt dyno. Without a rebuild, that 1xx,xxx miles is going to own you sooner or later, don't deny it. Rebuild it and you have yourself a beast but not everybody has that kind of money. This lead us to the main focus of this thread...
3) Swap it. An engine swap provides a great alternitave to beefing up the KA. The motors available give a great base platform to build your dream car out of. Solid, stout, and boost ready, what more could you want. So like most people on here, they choose the latter path. That choice in itself opens up a whole new world of many paths.
There are 5 common engine swaps that are nested in the 240sx engine bay:
KA24DE-T (not a swap but boost is boost)
Each of these motors is unique in their own way. All have great potential. But of couse, it call comes down to, whats right for you, what you want, and even though we all hate it, your wallet.
So you want to know about each motor, well good because, well just read. So lets look at our situation again, we want a motor. Which one, well you sure as hell dont know because thats why your here. These motors are in order of displacement and price (with two exeptions). They also follow the same order as the engine list above.
Okay, here we have a 1.8L 173hp inline 4 cylinder turbo motor. The CA18 is the original motor of the S13 chassis in japan from '88-90. This thing is pretty stout for a little 1.8L. It's like the geek with glasses hiding a 3rd degree black belt. The internals are forged and good for well over 300hp before they need to be upgraded. It's a pretty rev happy motor and is great for a person with mild power goals and wants a good balance. Also, it is the cheapest of the available motors and just as easy, if not easier than the SR20 swap. For all you weight watchers like myslef, it is the lightest motor on the menu, even though it's an iron block. The engine sits pretty far back in the bay and places most of the weight behide the front axles; thats a good thing. From a handling point, it offers better weight distribution from the engine position than that of the RB motors, but were not here to talk about handling so moving on. The CA's arent very common mostly due to their age. They are oldest of the motors. When swapping its going to be in your best interest to check rod and main bearings and replace if nessesary. Pumps, belts, and some other accesories should also be checked and/or replaced. Another downside is the US aftermarket for the motor. Finding aftermarket parts isnt the easiest thing in the world but they are out there. Yet in the end it will still be the cheapest swap.
If you haven't heard of this motor then, well you must have been knocked out for the past 10 or so years. SR's are by far the most common swap seen in any generation fo 240's. Why? lets take a look.There are three versions of this motor, well, technically four.
S13 Red Top SR20DET
The redtop is the most popular choice. Its the cheapest of the SR's, 203hp (dont give me crap about that because the 205 rating is in ps and not HP) with 7psi of boost comming from a T25 turbo. Basically, these suckers are nice. I personally have had a ride in a base swap and drivin one with about 250hp, they pull hard and are a blast. The best thing about this motor is the aftermarket. Because everybody has one, there are a zillion parts for them. The install is pretty basic, as it's just drop in and wire. But of course, with any swap you should know what you're doing. I am adding a little here about the tech part of the swap now that i have actaully done it. I helped my buddy with his redtop swap recently. We did it in his garage,a lack of decent tools, no power tools, limited space,lack of money, and time. If anybody who was thinking about this swap was worried about install, its really not that hard. Im 16 years old, the swap isn't hard, yes it takes time, but if you use that time to do things right the first time, your in good shape. The best part of swaping any motor yourself is you learn alot, thats what counts most.
Black Top SR20DET
The differnece between the red top and black top is minimal. There are some minor ECU changes, cooling fins on the head (eariler red tops did not have them) and thats basically it. They are a little more pricy because they are newer. This is also a common choice for the same reasons as the redtop. Good power, aftermarket etc. Ok enough with these, next.
So here we have the mid version of the SR. Some of the obvious changes at a glance are the new intake manifold, rear slanted valve cover with a hump on the front. That hump houses a variable timing system not present on the S13 SR's. These are going to get you 220hp out of the box. Some of that power comes from a larger T28 turbo. Yea all this sounds find and dandy but you are going get a bigger hole in your pocket as the price of these is a fair chunk more than the S13 SR's.
Good stuff. 250hp on tap. 6-speed tranny to make that 3500rpm @ 80mph go away. There are pretty minimal visible differences from the S14 SR. This one has another turbo imporvment. A T28 ball baring, feeding that 250hp. But like always, goodness comes at a price. That fancy 6-speed isn't as strong as the 5-speeds that came with the rest of the SR group. And big price in this case, be ready to bust out the needle and thread for this one, it will burn a hole in your pocket. The S15 SR is the least common because its the most expensive, and like the S14 SR its also harder to install than th S13 SR's, including a driveshaft, motor mounts, more extensive wiring, etc. Yes its awesome, no you cant afford one .
SR Wrap Up:
If you're the kind of lazy bumb with some cash and just want a motor, drop your car off at the local import tuning shop, tell them you want an SR and hand over a few grand. You will be good to go. If your looking for good power, good aftermarket, lots of potential, and just a great motor; the SR is for you. I think people are running somthing stupid like 400whp on the stock bottom end so power is plentyful. End of story, for the SR's anyways.
Iron block, Inline 6 turbo, strong, reliable, and some of the best damn sounds your ears will ever hear. The RB's have that "cool" factor. I know i would like to answer "Its a skyline motor." You're an instant cool person . So lets get down to it. First off there are 3 RB swaps that are known to be done( Im excluding the RB30 hybrid as it is a rare swap).
OK, this motor is a common choice among RB enthusiasts. This is the expection of the list order. It is cheaper than the S13 SR20. 2.0L single turbo, pretty rev happy and again, the cheapest way to say "I have a skyline motor". Your butt dyno should read about 210ps (what, like 207hp i guess). The problems with this and all the RB motors is that aftermarket and spare parts aren't quite up to the SR for the US market. You can always pay out the ass for uber cool JDM stuff though. Internals here are strong can take a good beating past 300hp. Jumping into the RB realm requies alot more know how for the DIY swappers. You don't NEED custom mounts or driveshaft, the KA driveshaft and R32 crossmember work fine, but its always nice to have a better aligned motor if you get mouts and a drive shaft.
Pretty isnt it, no yours wont come with the shiny red valve cover so keep saving thoes pennies for a nice powercoat job. This and the RB20 are the usual choice of people who do RB swaps. The RB25 is a 2.5L straight 6 single turbo. Its got more power than the RB20 cheking in at 250ps ( again somthing like 246hp). Stepping up your swap skills is on the to-do list for this one. As far as install goes, you do not need custom mounts, the stock crossmember bolts up fine, if you re-drill it about 1" back for the motor mounts, their are no clearance problems except the hood, and the shifter is centered. A mount kit is still the best way to go if you are willing to pay up. www.mckinneymotorsports.com their site is goofy right now but you can get their number there.
This RB26 is far from stock i just had to use this pic because its the sexiest engine bay ive ever seen.
This is the god motor. Its used in the old Skyline JGTC cars for a reason. The RB26 is basically a detuned race engine. It was actually designed for race use more than street use. It is the most cabable RB motor that rolled out of the nissan line up. Although this all sounds great, its also the most expensive. You need an RB25 transmission to use with the RB26 if you don't want to hammer away at your trans tunnel. Installation is also the most difficult of the RB motors so you better know your shit. The swap has some very invoved work: modding an RB25 oil pan or making a custom one, mounts, drive shaft, crazy wiring, clearance issues with twin turbo setup ( many people switch to single), and many other things, i have seen quite a few people on this forum and others who have attemped the swap and simply gave up. this swap is still the shit
Turbo KA24s can make very reliable power with little effort and some know how. This isn't going to be for the novice 240sx enthusiast unless you buy a bolt-on kit and take it somewhere.
Parts for a KA24 DIY Kit
Turbo Manifold (matched to your turbos flange)
Turbo, of course
Custom downpipe or possibly sr20 downpipes
Custom hot and cold pipes
Wastegate(unless your turbo is internally gated)
Upgraded Fuel pump
Some type of Fuel Controller
EGT Gauge (recommended)
WIDEBAND o2 (recommended)
New Clutch (recommended)
So there you have the basic parts you need to boost your KA. The biggest downside in my opinion is the lack of boost the KA can take in its stock form, but if your just looking for some fun 7psi on a SR20 t25 will make more than enough "fun" for you. There are a few comapnies that make BOLT ON kits for our cars (Edit: I dont even think Boost designs is still in busness. There was so many issues involving them, incomplete parts, shit aprts, poor designs, scams etc...). GREDDY makes a bolt-on kit for OBII or s14 KA24DE so that is an option for you s14 KA owners out there. NOW, if you want to go big power on your KA you have some options but all require a rebuild of the bottom end with some forged internals and a headgasket upgrade. Some of the SR parts are also with KA-T's. There are alot of companies that make good parts for your KA and all that info is just 1 search on GOOGLE away but ill help you get started.
So, What To Get-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now that you have some idea what the hell your getting into, you should have a better base to make the decision on what you want to get. For all you people that ask questions like what motor is better for drifting, shut up and do your suspension first before you crash your new pretty motor swap. Set up your suspension right and any of the motors are game. But, the logical choice would be one of the 4 bangers for weight and weight distribution reasons. If the name of your game is purly power, the RB25 and 26 are for you, but then again you can make alot of power with any of them, but thats a different story, so go bug zilvia or somthing about that. Now I can guarentee you any question you have has been answered so dont be lazy, use the search button.
Where to get your motor, clip or motorset----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is the most important step of a swap, if you get some peice of junk off ebay because its cheap, nobody is going to feel sorry for you if it goes boom, or cant even run to go boom. In the car world, yes there are deals out there but for the most part YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!! Whether you get a clip or a motorset is really up to you. A Clip is obviously going to be more expensive but your going to get absolutly everything you need and somtimes some extra goodies. Getting a complete motorset is more practical and is just as good while costing less. Projecting prices for motors swaps is really kind of useless. There are way to many variables. Where you get the motor from, its condition, miles, what you get with it, cost of replacing any parts, if you have it installed etc... rather than just throw some figure out in the open, check out the links. You can find the cost of the motors any just about any aftermarket parts you want. Use your kindergarden addition skills and you have your self a number. A couple good, reliable names in the business to get motors from... www.jarcoinc.com www.srswap.com www.phase2motortend.com www.jhotexports.com www.jspec.com
Mods please sticky this. I'm starting to see why zilvia has a militant mindset. It's getting pretty ridiculous seeing all these stupid "Should I go ka-t or sr?" threads in the beginner's forum so I decided to start this thread. Others with valuable information feel free to chime in and add any useful information.
Should I go ka-t or sr? (Assumes a shop will do the work)
1. If you have a high mileage ka you had better consider a rebuild: $700 to pull and replace the motor, $1500 for machine shop labor, parts (pistons $400, rods $400, new water pump $50, oil pump $250, head gasket $200, head studs $150, etc.)
I'm thinking from the top of my head. Please correct me or chime in.
Originally Posted by USDM Rice
Hmm, this seems kinda biased. With the parts you listed, the KA would be more powerful. With a built ka block like that, it'd handle up to 500hp while a stock sr20 would max at 350hp. Try setting it up so the parts list is for a goal of 350hp which is the max both engines can handle w/o rebuilds (given that they're in good condition) They're cheaper alternative to ROM tunes (megasquirt/biki/safc/etc.) Turbo timers aren't necessary.
-Already turboed from the factory
-Better aftermarket support
-You have no idea what the condition of the engine is in
-Replacement parts are harder to find
-Engines/parts are easier to find
-No harness work
-Custom work needed (oil bung, downpipe)
-Harder to do/additional knowledge needed
Last edited by Jjaeger240; 05-15-2007 at 12:27 AM.
since im a TRUCK MOTOR or KA fan ill have to contribute to this thread with the KA-T option.
Turbo KA24s can make very reliable power with little effort and some know how. this isnt going to be for the novice 240sx enthusiast unless you buy a bolt on kit and take it somewhere
Parts for a KA24 DIY Kit
Turbo Manifold (matched to your turbos flange)
Turbo, of course
Custom downpipe or possibly sr20 downpipes
Custom hot and cold pipes
Wastegate(unless your turbo is internally gated)
Upgraded Fuel pump
Some type of Fuel Controller
so there you have the basic parts you need to boost your KA. the biggest downside in my opinion is the lack of boost the KA can take in its stock form but if your just looking for some fun 7psi on a SR20 t25 will make more than enough "fun" for you.
there are a few comapnies that make BOLT ON kits for our cars but the most comprehensive and cost efficent would have to be the BOOST DESIGNS kit which can be found at www.boostdesigns.com . GREDDY also makes a bolt on kit for OBII or s14 KA24DE so that is an option for you s14 KA owners out there.
NOW if you want to go big power on your KA you have some options but all require a rebuild of the bottom end with some forged internals and a headgasket upgrade. there are alot of companies that make good parts for your KA and all that info is just 1 search on GOOGLE away but ill help you get started. you can begin at www.ka24de.com
there is also alot of VERY GREAT INFORMATION to be found at www.KA-T.org so make sure to stop by there.
also something for you *new* KA-T people out there to know is that some SR20 parts are interchangeable and a great upgrade for your KA. commonly used SR parts on a KA are the 370cc injectors and the stock t25 or t28 turbos. most INTERCOOLER kits made for the s13 or s14 chassis with SR20s but can be used on a KA-T setup with little modification to the hot and cold pipes.
i know theres alot more info that can be added so ill try and update this when i get more time!
Last edited by TwoFortySX; 05-01-2005 at 09:57 AM.
I think adding a "typical swap price range" would be excellent. I realize its nearly impossible to get a definitive cost (an SR20DET Red-top will cost $3249.97 installed), I'm just asking a range for the average swap (i.e. usually somewhere between $3k-3500).
I think giving us "newbies" a general idea of what we're looking at would eliminate people saying "What will my swap cost"?
1989 Nissan 240SX coupe, in the midst of a DOHC swap
Vg/vq motors . if you read it i said thoes are the 5 COMMON swaps, anything else is more difficult and you are getting beside the point. you can put any motor in any car,this thread is didicated to the 5 motors that are by far the most common. just understand that, i know there has been other motors swapped in. if you want info on that stuff your in a different realm and taking on a completly custom task.
i'm new but i heard if you rebuild your KA engine and turbo it that it blows the engine.
Only if you rebuild it with melted pistons and bent rods....
A complete rebuild, block and head jobs will theoretically bring the mileage on your motor down to 0. Much less during a rebuild for a turbo motor, you more than likely will want to rebuild the motor with forged pistons with a lower compression in order for the motor to withstand higher hp and more reliability. There is no such thing as too much of a safety net for your motor.
that swap is a mess, but i belive all we need is an ignitor chip and it should run. When i do my swap i think im going to do a full swap instuction manual, for an RB20 though. I know what its like to be working on the car and then its like, damnit i donno how to do this part, or i need to go look this up. it would be nice to have a write up with everything step by step. your sig is sweet.
are you talking 300-350whp? for an SR you can do 300whp easy without touching the internals. on a KA, 300whp can be done as long it is tuned VERY well. but i wouldnt risk it. at least get some forged pistions. stock KA pistions are cast = no bueno. 8psi is about the most you should run on a stock KA. anything more is pushing it. if your goal is 350whp, i say go SR. if you wanted like 250-270whp, id say go KAT. plenty of power and tons of TQ. and it can be reliable if done right. but if you dont want to rebuild for 300+whp, go SR.
go and pick up the new SCC mag. its got a do it yourself boost section with a bunch of different cars, including a home made S14 KAT. it will give you a better look into the world of custom KA-T setups and what you can get away with.
Here is everything i can think of that i would recommend for anybody attemting a base SR swap in their garage or somthing for the first time.
- Complete motor set/clip EVERYTHING:
- full harness
- tranny harness
- ECU (#62 or E5)
- Oxygen Sensor
- Intercooler Piping
- vaccume lines
- SR radiator or custom upper hose
- KA harness
- Heater hose
All i can think of for now
- Suffecient Space
- Suffecient lighting
- Not cold
Tools and Supplies:
- 4 jack stands
-Tranny jack helps
- Engine hoist w/ chain
- Nice metric socket set, 8-20mm normal and deep sockets, 3/8 drive
- Various extensions, a flex joint is useful
- Small socket wrench and sockets (1/4 drive i belive)
- 27mm socket (iirc that is the right size for the SR crank pully)
- Torque wrench
- Breaker bar
- Metric wrench set 8-20mm
- Couple different sized philips and flat head screw drivers
- Vice grips
- Needle nose plires
- Wire cutter
- Wire stripper
- Picks and/or soddering gun (Depends on how you do the wiring)
- Heat shrink wrap
- Electrical tape
- PB blaster
- Drill with extractor bits for when you strip somthing
- Somthing to cut the cat bolts with since the bolt, nut, and flange are probably rusted into 1 peice
- KA and SR FSM
- The internet
Would be also nice if there were some videos posted of various swaps in S13s, there are o-plenty sr20det and ka24de(t) videos, but not many ca18det, rb2xdet(t) videos.
I remember few years back running across rotary, smallblock v8 and BMW engine'd 240SXs, I wish i had those bookmarked.. and I remmeber this one site selling the various swap kits for those rotary, smallblock and BMW engine swaps.... Anyone got links to such things anymore? I used to have those sites bookmarked but that was maybe two years ago alas...
Then of course there's the VG swap and the 2jzgte into 240sx swap (i wish i could see and hear one though).
all turbo kits for SR20 motor basically fit the same, the only difference being the Intercooler piping and mounting points. You can get any version SR Turbo kit as long you have S14 (which includes 95-98) intercooler piping kit.
I just got an sr20det front clip.
I've heard the engine swap is easy, but still i have never done a swap before and wanted to know if there was any one in Orange County that could help me out. I dont want to pay over a thousnad dollars to get it swaped in. by the way my 240 is automatic so its still gonna be a lot of work right? Will I need any of my KA24E parts?
maybe the KA just has not been developed enough to the point where it can be proven just as boost friendly as an SR. When i say how "long" will it last, i should say, "will it last when drivin hard" I dont know a whole lot about that specific car other than its gota shit load of power on the stock block. But can i take it out to a track or drift even and drive it hard for hours every weekend? if yes, then props to them for taking the KA to a new level.
Again, so what makes you think the SR is any better than the KA in stock form? They both have cast pistons and that is the weak spot in both of them.
That car is raced regularly, that's what it was built for. Do you really think they'd put down the kind of power then then just keep it garaged? What would be the point of building the car then? It's not to look good, the intake manifold is made out of a stop sign.
did i say an SR was better than a KA in stock form? did i say anywhere that an SR is more reliable than a KA at 500+whp? no i simply stated that the 500hp KA-T is pretty much the first of its kind. i was shocked when i saw the dyno video. im not going to sit here and argue with you about which motor is better, waste of my life. I like boost in any way shape or from I like KA-T's i like SR's i like RB's the list goes on. i already stated that if the car is holding up after some serious abuse then congrats to them, they have accomplished something that has not been done before.
Hey hows it goin, i was just wondering what would be a better swap for a 95 240sx to drift in, you know like the weight,power, and all that other stuff; an sr20det or an rb20det???
These motors are basically the same. about 200hp, RB20 is slightly heavier. One just sounds better than the other . Anyways, people miss the concept of drifting. Its not about power, yes power is nice, but each of these motors is capable of getting you where you want to be if its for drifting. Its all about your suspesion setup and your driving skills. I would recomment the SR20 simply because of the aftermarket. if somthing breaks or needs replacing, there is no worry about finding a new part. unless you want to be a little more unique, you can rock an RB20. each motor can "drift" just as good as the other. if you ask why are most of th pro drifers running SR'? easy to get, easy to swap, easy to get parts, easy power.
u think a 17 year old with tools and a rented cherry picker can do the swap within a week? haha. well he has some knowledge over cars
I'm 17. i did an SR swap with my buddy when we were both 16.
There are 2 ways to do a swap
Right way: make sure you have EVERYTHING you need before you start. I mean everything, tools, any additional parts your adding to the motor, anything and everything you can think of, and then some. and make sure you dont run out of money or your done for.
Wrong Way: Get a motor and start right away. You will run into alot of problems your first time, make mistakes, end up needing parts. then you have to wait for them, might run out of money. all this can make somthing that should really only take a 2-3 days take months.
If i had everything i needed, all the tools and parts, i could do another sr swap in 3 days.
hi everyone name carbone, i got a 1990 240sx and i want to buy an engine but i have no clue on wat engines can go in it. right now its auto and i want to convert it to manual, where can i get this done in nj? and how can i get the engine
When you do a swap, buy a full clip rather than a motorset. it will ahve all the needed items required for a 5 speed swap.
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