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Thread: What is the “easiest” engine swap thats most reliable to most HP?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    What is the “easiest” engine swap thats most reliable to most HP?

    Curious what the opinions are
    thanks!
    81' gas flap. Sept build. 14k miles. Mostly original. Updating things...

  2. #2
    Delorean Guru
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    No engine swaps are easy. If you want more power consider DMC's Stage I and II, an Island Turbo or the BAE Turbo kits. All of these are close to bolt on and will get you the most power for the least bucks.
    David Teitelbaum

  3. #3
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    I'm certainly no expert (and hopefully someone will correct my mistakes/assumptions); apologies if you already know this stuff:

    I believe the "easiest" swap (in a relative sense; none of them are exactly trivial) is the 160 HP 3.0L PRV from a 1989-1992 Dodge Monaco/Eagle Premier.

    It's "easy" because after you swap the lower crankcase for the one in the 2.8L, it sits in the correct place in the engine bay. It also mounts directly to the DeLorean transmission just like the 2.8L does. The rest of the swap will be the same for any engine (new fuel system, new ignition system, updated vacuum routing, updated electrical, etc). MegaSquirt-based EFI with Ford EDIS ignition control seems to be the most popular way to go, and is the best documented, although you'll still be doing a lot of reading/research.

    The trick with other engines appears to be twofold:

    First you have to figure out how to get the engine positioned correctly in the engine bay. That probably involves welding up a kind of subframe adaptor that provides a bridge between the stock engine mount location and the mounting points on the engine.

    Second, you need to figure out how to mate the engine and transmission. This means that you need at a minimum an adaptor plate between the transmission bell housing and the engine block, which you will likely have to have made as a on-off. This must be precisely aligned so that the shafts are perfectly coaxial. And then you have to figure out how to mate the transmission shaft to the engine shaft, which may not be trivial due to the differences in spline designs, and may require that an adaptor be built. There don't seem to be a lot of off-the-shelf parts to connect the DMC transmissions to other engines, so this seems to be the biggest hurdle to overcome.

    After that, it should be basically the same work as doing a 3.0L swap. I've just (finally) finished a 3.0L swap, and sort of want to do an LS swap (I mean, once you've swapped one engine, you've already done the bulk of the hard work), but getting the transmission hooked up is something that I don't even know where to begin. By comparison, very little fabrication is required for the 3.0L engine (mostly alternator brackets, a VR sensor mount and welding the missing tooth gear to the crank pulley; the rest is pretty much just running hoses and wires).

    Other more knowledgable people will be able to chime in with more specifics about LS swaps and the like.

    On a somewhat related note, I would like to put just about any other automatic transmission (or engine/transmission pair) in my car. The problem is that rear the engine/rear wheel drive configuration is not common , and putting a front engine/FWD transmission in the DMC would give you 5 gears in reverse unless you flip the trans and relocate the pan and filler, which itself is non-trivial (although somewhat common for dune buggies, it seems). It looks like the only other viable option is a Porsche 911 (I've read that it bolts right up to the axles and engine, but requires frame modifications to fit), and I've gotten the impression that they're not much more reliable nor any cheaper, and that it might only work for the manual gearbox anyway. Oh well. Someday I'll do an electric conversion, once there are enough junked Teslas and my 3.0L setup kicks the bucket. Maybe another decade or so...

    Also, the reason I did a 3.0L engine swap was because I discovered a hole in my 2.8L engine block, and the fuel system had been destroyed by water. It was cheaper to do the swap than to buy a new DMC engine, with the very large caveat that I was doing the labor myself, and it took me over five years from start to finish, having no real idea what I was doing when I started. I don't think I would have done the swap just to get more HP. I had simply planned on doing EFI on the 2.8L until I found the hole in the block.

    -- Joe
    Last edited by jangell; 01-17-2019 at 09:38 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member AugustneverEnds's Avatar
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    This past spring I had the chance to drive another owners Stage II and I was very surprised and impressed. Much more urgent throttle response, pulled stronger from the bottom and still wasn't out of breath at the top. All of this was just seat of the pants measured. Louder, more aggressive snarl in the exhaust note but not obnoxious and not really intrusive into the cabin. For reference sake my car is a stock auto so probably everything would seem like a major improvement to me lol
    Nick A.

    1988 BMW 325is
    1982 DeLorean DMC-12

  5. #5
    EFI'd dn010's Avatar
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    I don't think a 3.0 or B280F is an easy swap due to the need of the mentioned ignition/fuel components/electronics.

    The easiest swap would be a B28 engine from a Volvo (760, 264, etc). Same fuel system. Same components. Just swap the crank case.

    As for reliability? Can't comment on that, same with power. There are probably dozens of options. Reliability somewhat depends on the owner as well.

    One thing I can say, I did the B280F swap with EFI and I now have the urge to do another swap to a totally different engine with more power.

    Quote Originally Posted by jangell View Post
    I'm certainly no expert (and hopefully someone will correct my mistakes/assumptions); apologies if you already know this stuff:

    I believe the "easiest" swap (in a relative sense; none of them are exactly trivial) is the 160 HP 3.0L PRV from a 1989-1992 Dodge Monaco/Eagle Premier.

    It's "easy" because after you swap the lower crankcase for the one in the 2.8L, it sits in the correct place in the engine bay. It also mounts directly to the DeLorean transmission just like the 2.8L does. The rest of the swap will be the same for any engine (new fuel system, new ignition system, updated vacuum routing, updated electrical, etc). MegaSquirt-based EFI with Ford EDIS ignition control seems to be the most popular way to go, and is the best documented, although you'll still be doing a lot of reading/research.
    Last edited by dn010; 01-17-2019 at 09:54 AM.
    -----Dan B.

  6. #6
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    I own a Stage II car and I recently drove a bone stock DeLorean. Big difference. I agree with David T, the easiest and maybe most cost effective way to get more power is probably a Stage II upgrade or some sort of turbo.

  7. #7
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    I don't think a 3.0 or B280F is an easy swap due to the need of the mentioned ignition/fuel components/electronics.

    The easiest swap would be a B28 engine from a Volvo (760, 264, etc). Same fuel system. Same components. Just swap the crank case.
    I totally agree -- it's "easy" in that you don't have to figure out how to mate the engine and transmission or deal with engine mounting to the subframe. Only relative to other engine swaps is it "easy", and only in that one specific area. It's still a hell of a lot of work.

    The stock engine is a B28F, so using a Volvo B28 would be a lateral move, right? Which is handy if you want to get a cheap engine and just get back on the road with a fairly stock configuration.

    -- Joe

  8. #8
    EFI'd dn010's Avatar
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    There are many benefits to using the 3.0 / B280F 2.8. As you said, you don't have to use an adapter for the transmission. You also don't have to cut up your frame to modify it to fit an engine, nor do you have to figure out a mounting system for the engine. On top of that, you can use any vendor exhaust system or stock - you don't have to figure out how you're going to bend pipes to fit. You don't have to upgrade the transmission input shaft coupler to handle increased HP. You don't have to upgrade springs for a heavier engine. You don't have to upgrade brakes for higher HP. You don't have to figure out your AC system, alternator system, the list goes on. This all makes it 'easier' and less expensive.

    One word of caution using a B28/F engine would be the oiling issues the early engines had. You'd want to find a later, 80s engine.

    Quote Originally Posted by jangell View Post
    I totally agree -- it's "easy" in that you don't have to figure out how to mate the engine and transmission or deal with engine mounting to the subframe. Only relative to other engine swaps is it "easy", and only in that one specific area. It's still a hell of a lot of work.

    The stock engine is a B28F, so using a Volvo B28 would be a lateral move, right? Which is handy if you want to get a cheap engine and just get back on the road with a fairly stock configuration.

    -- Joe
    -----Dan B.

  9. #9
    LS1 DMC Nicholas R's Avatar
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    The terms "Easy-Reliable-High HP" remind me of the terms "Quality-Quick-Inexpensive." At work it's said that when it comes to a job getting done, you can always pick any 2 but you're never going to get all 3.

    My guess would be:
    Easy/Reliable: the PRV 3.0L swap
    Reliable/High HP: LS Swaps
    Easy/High HP: Any crappy half-assed engine swapped car that you find parked in someones barn that could potentially have good hp, but it doesn't run or fit worth crap, and isn't reliable in the least.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Thanks Guys
    this is really interesting to me. I’ve got a stage 1 and may just go for the stage 2. I don’t want to be fiddling with something more than I have to
    81' gas flap. Sept build. 14k miles. Mostly original. Updating things...

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