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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.)

2. ka-t ecu tuning $500 from jwt or enthalpy

We're currently at $4150.

3. New t3/t4 Turbo $400, intake $50, rev hard manifold $150, down pipe $150, ssac exhaust $250, ebay FMIC $250, deatschwerks 550cc injectors $250, radiator $300, boost gauge $100, turbo timer $75

total $6125


SR:

1. Front clip from a low mileage 180sx $2400, labor $750,

2. greddy down pipe $125, ebay fmic $250, intake $50, radiator $300, boost gauge $100, turbo timer $75, ssac exhaust $250,

total $4300

I'm thinking from the top of my head. Please correct me or chime in.
 

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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.

SR20DET-
Pros:
-JDM Tyte
-Already turboed from the factory
-Better aftermarket support
-Lighter
-Better high-end
-Easier swap

Cons:
-Electrical work
-You have no idea what the condition of the engine is in
-Replacement parts are harder to find

KA24D/ET-
Pros:
-Low-end Torque
-Engines/parts are easier to find
-Cheaper
-No harness work

Cons:
-Custom work needed (oil bung, downpipe)
-Heavier
-Harder to do/additional knowledge needed
 

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USDM rice said everything I would have...one thing though -- only after proper testing can it be known a "high mileage" engine needs a rebuild. I wouldn't hesitate to throw boost at a 150xxx mile plus ka if the compression test comes back clear, and or a leak down test shows no problems.
One more con for the sr -- it's not exactly legal...
Regardless, nice attempt at trying to resovle this pissing contest...however, it does sound like someone who would want people to go sr wrote this...
Also to make the comparison more even, consider the turbo choice as well -- an sr's turbo is not new, so price the ka-t as such -- used t25/28 or something like that. There are many fine examples of ka-t owners creating a good turbo kit for under $2k.
 

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I agree, that KA-T would be more badass than the sr would be, I have an sr but see the advantages of both. If the KA blows up you can get a stock one for 150 from a pick and pull and swap all the stuff in a matter of a day, the SR not so cheap. However the sr is a lot stronger stock. Also idk where you got some of those prices but a boost gauge is around 50 bucks for an autometer and you can get chipped KA ECUs chipped cheaper than that... It's all about what kind of deals you can find, i don't think there really is a better choice between the two
 

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SR:

1. Front clip from a low mileage 180sx $2400, labor $750,

2. greddy down pipe $125, ebay fmic $250, intake $50, radiator $300, boost gauge $100, turbo timer $75, ssac exhaust $250,

total $4300
Does labor include an exhaust? if not tack on another <250 (cheapest) onto the total.

The problem with the comparision you are creating is that they are soo many routes (different and/or used parts) to go about boosting the S-chasis. Ive seen KAs putting out stock SR numbers for sub $1000.

Its also unfair that you are including labor because they are many people that do the swaps on their own.

What everyone should realize is that there is no right or wrong way with what motor you go with. Its seriously just a matter of preference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
While it's true that it's a matter of preference, budget constraints do limit preferences. So does the ability to do the work yourself instead of having to go to a shop. I included labor for those who can't do the work themselves. Just deduct the labor costs if you plan do do the work yourself.
 

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(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,
a rebuild is onyl determined by what is all involved

$1500 for machine shop labor, parts (pistons $400, rods $400, new water pump $50, oil pump $250, head gasket $200, head studs $150, etc.)
once again, this is a little off as the machine shop will do nothing but deglaze the cylinder walls and or bore the block, headwork is hardly necesarry pre 500 hp

2. ka-t ecu tuning $500 from jwt or enthalpy

We're currently at $4150.

3. New t3/t4 Turbo $400, intake $50, rev hard manifold $150, down pipe $150, ssac exhaust $250, ebay FMIC $250, deatschwerks 550cc injectors $250, radiator $300, boost gauge $100, turbo timer $75

total $6125
your numbers are kind of off, let me evaluate my build.... at the end of my reply


SR:

1. Front clip from a low mileage 180sx $2400, labor $750,

2. greddy down pipe $125, ebay fmic $250, intake $50, radiator $300, boost gauge $100, turbo timer $75, ssac exhaust $250,

total $4300

I'm thinking from the top of my head. Please correct me or chime in.

allow me to do this the right way. Lets say you want to build a 400 whp setup.... i will walk you through both ways, average shop prices are what i'll use as this is what MY shop charged.. but there are grey areas, because lets say the machine shop charges 300.... but the shops gonna charge you 350 to make some money...

KA24de


LABORS + Existing parts...

KA24DE = free
engine take out = 200
engine dissassembly = 200
Machining - deglazing & .040 overbore, crank turned = 300
Engine assembly = 400
Engine install = 200


PARTS for the KA to make 400 and not break

Wiseco Pistons = 450
ARP head studs = 100
Clutch to hold 400 = 350
Cometic Head gasket = 100
Walbro 255 lph fuel pump = 100
Greddy Emanage = 325
550cc Injectors = 300
Topfeed Rail = 100
flexalite pull fan = 100
greddy sandwich plate = 75
Garrett t3/t04e 50 trim .48 hot = 600
JGS Wastegate = 200
TXS Blow off valve = 150
Tubular manifold = 300
Earls fittings = 100
N1 exhaust = 400
greddy downpipe = 150
FMIC = 200

5400 bucks

i also opted to do some headwork, and a V-mount, so my build would be roughly 7500 with parts etc.



versus




sr20DET


1. notes, stock SR pistons can handle 400hp, but you still must do a HG for what i consider a "safe" build

LABORS + Existing parts...

SR20DET = 1800
shipping = 400
head removal = 100
HG replacement, assuming everything else is copecetic = 200
decking of head = 100
HEAD reinstall = 100



PARTS for the SR to make 400 and not break

NEw Oil Pan = 100
clutch = 350
ARP head studs = 100
Cometic Head gasket = 100
Walbro 255 lph fuel pump = 100
Greddy Emanage = 325
550cc Injectors = 300
Topfeed Rail = 100
flexalite pull fan = 100
greddy sandwich plate = 75
Garrett t3/t04e 50 trim .48 hot = 600
JGS Wastegate = 200
TXS Blow off valve = 150
Tubular manifold = 300
Earls fittings = 100
N1 exhaust = 400
greddy downpipe = 150
FMIC = 200

6125.00




thats as real as it gets, but the beauty of it is you can in fact do a KAT for under 2 that will yield 400 if you do it yourself and buy some parts used or at deals.... my roomate did it, i think he spent like 1800... and the only thing he'd need for 400 whp was the larger turbo... another 600
 

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Wow some interesting stuff. A debate like this can go on forever though & the usual conclusion is that "an engine can make as much power as you're wiling to throw $ at it." It seems like both engines will cost about the same to make significant amounts of power.
Having spent some time owning Honda's that typically lack torque, I now tend to prefer setups with more low end torque (I had 2.3 liters in a 2000 lb hatch putting out around 220 whp NA). It seems to me that for heavier 240sx's the way to go is with more torque, ie a KA24.
It has always seemed odd to me that the popular swap for 240's was to drop in a 2 liter engine in place of the 2.4 liter motor. That's why I'm on this site though, to find out why & determine which I should use in my 510. I think the Sr20 would be fine because the 510 is lightweight, but the extra low end grunt of a boosted KA24 is tempting.
 

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a rebuild is onyl determined by what is all involved



once again, this is a little off as the machine shop will do nothing but deglaze the cylinder walls and or bore the block, headwork is hardly necesarry pre 500 hp
If your going to do anything to the motor I.E. replace pistons, or rings, or anything internal for that matter where the head is coming off, I would ALWAYS slap new valve seals, check the the strength of the valve springs (150K high revving miles will take there toll on a valve spring), replace them if needed as well as the retainers, and always have a shop clean it up and check for cracks. I don't see the point in slapping a 150K mile head on a new shortblock IMO. And depending on the machine shop and what work needs done they may align bore the mains, bore/hone the cylinders, slap new freeze plugs in it, and if your not building the motor the assembly will also be involved at the machine shop. You would also want to have the block hot tanked and magnafluxed to look for ANY cracks or possible cracks in the motor rendering it useless down the road.
 

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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.)

2. ka-t ecu tuning $500 from jwt or enthalpy

We're currently at $4150.

3. New t3/t4 Turbo $400, intake $50, rev hard manifold $150, down pipe $150, ssac exhaust $250, ebay FMIC $250, deatschwerks 550cc injectors $250, radiator $300, boost gauge $100, turbo timer $75

total $6125


SR:

1. Front clip from a low mileage 180sx $2400, labor $750,

2. greddy down pipe $125, ebay fmic $250, intake $50, radiator $300, boost gauge $100, turbo timer $75, ssac exhaust $250,

total $4300

I'm thinking from the top of my head. Please correct me or chime in.
not entirely accurate since the sr20 swap shows 750 for labor but the ka-t shows no labor, it would be much more money for a full engine rebuild than an engine swap from a place, thats if ur throwing in labor, otherwise just take the 750 off the sr20 swap, then that shows w/out labor...
 

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not entirely accurate since the sr20 swap shows 750 for labor but the ka-t shows no labor, it would be much more money for a full engine rebuild than an engine swap from a place, thats if ur throwing in labor, otherwise just take the 750 off the sr20 swap, then that shows w/out labor...
What? He shows that there's about 2200 invested in labor alone for the ka for labor with pulling the engine and machine shop work.
 

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well since you in Cali u can do the turbo with the Ka and not worrying about the Police taking your ride i would roll with the KA setup
im not from cali but i dont think putting a turbo on a car that was never meant to be turbo isnt legal. I think the greddy kit is 50 state legal though.
 

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im not from cali but i dont think putting a turbo on a car that was never meant to be turbo isnt legal. I think the greddy kit is 50 state legal though.
try not to fire torpedoes at your own submarine next time.

i've spent about 5 grand on my built single cam and under 400 for engine management INCLUDING the wideband.
 

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I'm sorry but I dont see the need to sticky this...

1) There are too many variables for either motor, listing prices was not a good idea because everyone get different deals and different parts.

2) Not everyone bends over to get raped by mechanics/shops

3)ALL the information for either motor can be found on this site or on others. If the members spend time to do their homework they'll find the specs for each setup and be able to price together the setup they'd like to use without problem.

If they start a KA vs SR thread because they are tight on money and want the cheapest setup they shouldnt be worrying with it right now, if you cut corners you just kill reliability.


Most of the threads are opinion based, they want some to hold their hand and say "here johnny, get the SR. I did and I love it. Here's a list of stuff you'll have to get after the motor, and here's every detailed step to installing every piece and bolt. On second thought, would you like me to come to your garage and do it for you?"

So once again I dont see the need to sticky this, it's teetering on the edge of becoming another KA vs SR debate, although you all are being very mature and keeping it clean. I'll just continue closing those threads and giving them my routine answers...
 

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i just wish peopel knew that you dont have to spend a bazillion dollars on standalones and piggy backs to get a turbo motor running. i'm running 50lb injectors on the STOCK ecu that i just chipped. dohc guys have bikirom which costs a bit more but it makes life a little easier for real time tuning.

people think you need boost controllers and turbo timers, JDM engine management systems, and fancy guages when the truth is all you really need is some enginuity, summitracing.com, and some balls to take a step into the unknown were homebrewed turbo setups have become commonplace.

also, after finishing my engine the SOHC sounds different from the other nissan engines. its smoother and deeper in its note. doesn't sound like a 4 banger at all really... but that could be my exhaust.
 

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i've heard the exhaust on a dual cam and it sounds different. 4 large valves will always sound better than 8 smaller valves to me. well, deeper anyhow. better is subjective. its a 3" turbo back exhaust with no cat. usually they sound kinda raspy but every sohc i hear is nice and throaty especially for a 4 banger.
 

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well yeah, the SOHC is going to sound different from other motors of course, different displacement and exhaust pulses. exhaust plays a large role though... my buddies KADE lobes like a V8 haha,
 
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