Fiat 124 Engine Swap

X1/9 , 124 Coupe or Spider, 128, 131, or whatever your Fiat passion is. Talk about it here.
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Fiat 124 Engine Swap

Post by rfauber » Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:10 pm

My 69 124 Spider engine is in foul shape, locked among other things. I'm looking into swaping in a Miata or similar engine. Anyone have any experience with anything like this, what might work, etc?

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I vote for a VR6

Post by LANCIAHF » Thu Sep 14, 2006 3:19 pm

Boy are you brave for asking this question :)

If I had the money & know how I would love to put a Lancia I mean VW VR6 in a spider. Compact Motor & very powerful.

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Chris Layton
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Post by Chris Layton » Thu Sep 14, 2006 3:36 pm

I talk to a guy from time to time who has a Corvette V8 in his 124. I will say based off what he has been telling me about the install its not for the faint of heart but boy does it go ! :shift: (11s in the 1/4 I think)

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Post by mbouse » Thu Sep 14, 2006 3:39 pm ... 3.JPG.html

here is a Chevy 350 crammed into a '77 Spider
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Dwight V.
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Post by Dwight V. » Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:10 pm

Allow me to be the voice of reason here. 8)
While anything is possible, an engine swap is an incredible amount of work. Not only do you need to make the engine physically fit the car, but then work out all the electronics, hydraulics (the Miata has a hydraulic clutch), fuel injection lines, ignition switch interfaces, etc etc etc. That is only using a similar size engine, like the Miata. You get into a V6 or V-8 conversion, then you have to deal with other hard issues like exhaust, suspension upgrade, chassis strengthening, bigger brakes to stop your much faster car, etc etc etc. No telling where it will ever end.
Now, I can support some engine swaps. One of my personal favorites is removing the truly awful drivetrain from a Triumph Spitfire and replacing it with, well, anything else. :lol: This makes sense because the standard engine in that car is notoriously unreliable as well as underpowered. The same cannot be said of the Fiat 124. With mild to moderate maintenance, the dohc will run reliably for 100,000 to 150,000 miles. Performance for it's displacement is rather good. Parts are generally not expensive, though you will find that 1438cc unique items can be hard to come by. So, to go through all the agony and effort of installing a Miata engine (a very good engine) won't really advance you much, especially when you could install a FI 2.0 engine from a newer Spider and achieve most of the same goals without having to fabricate much of anything or try to make a different trans fit.
I'll say the following, which I mean sincerely and not as a slam to the current owner, but it's true: if you prefer to have the "reliability" and other benefits of the Miata drivetrain, buy a Miata. It's a wonderful car, and I for one won't hate you for it. It does everything better than a Fiat, except maybe look good. ;) You can find a decent used one for $3500, which is probably what you'd spend rebuilding a Fiat engine and paying someone to install it. So it's really just a matter of asking yourself what you really want: an old Italian car with character, or a very, very good car that anyone with a checkbook can own.
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