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 Post subject: Seeking Engine Advice
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:53 pm 
356 Fan

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:04 pm
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Location: Houston, TX
I'm new to 356s, but recently acquired a matching-numbers '61 Coupe with the 60 hp engine. I'd like to increase the horsepower in the car to 125-130 hp, but I don't want to extensively modify, or risk damaging, the original engine. Naturally, I'd like to minimize the cash outlay.

My intention is to remove the original engine, pickle it, then install another engine I can flog unrepentantly. I don't care if the replacement engine appears dead-stock, but I want it to appear nearly correct. My inclination is to purchase a turn-key VW Type 1 engine built to ~125 hp. My understanding is that the cost of these engines is significantly less than a comparable 356/912 turn-key engine.

This raises a couple questions:

1. What, if any, modifications are required to install a VW Type 1 in the car and mate it to the existing transmission?
2. Are there other (air cooled, carbureted) options I should consider that would cost approximately the same and could be installed without significant modification to the car?

Thanks, in advance.

Steve


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:26 pm 
356 Fan
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Steve, you need to get more familiar with your 356 before making such ambitious plans. Brakes and suspension would be the first priority and also learn to control the car with the idea of performance enhancements. Do a performance driving school if you have not already done so. Put in at least lap and shoulder belts.
The engine swap is easy as long as you stay with a 6 volt flywheel as they all fit easily. The tinwork will need modifying or you make your own. The VW engine is longer than the 356 as I remember but it has been at least 22 years since I tried the swap. 150 plus hp is easily within reach for around 5 to $6K if you do some of the work yourself. Search the internet. A long block is the easy way to go but you may be limited in your component choice in the build and may not get the performance otherwise possible. I have built engines from scratch with 150 plus hp but that was a long time ago and even back then the cost was over $4k in parts.
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/svw- ... g2EALw_wcB
I am personally happy with a 356 engine with around 100hp which allows me to stay with modern traffic anywhere without breaking a sweat.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:10 pm 
356 Fan

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Back a ways, it was easy enough to lay hands on a good 912 engine, which is an easy swap, looks right and makes all the right noises. That gives an easy 100-110 HP with moderate compression.

I have had a number of late VW beetle engines in the 120HP class. Cheap and cheerful, however not so easy to put into a 356. For one thing, the exhaust is all different. As David points out, the sheet metal is different and the VW crank/engine is a bit longer. By the time you have exchanged the clutch, flywheel, 8 doweled the crank to match, you will have spent a lot of time and a fair bit of money, to create a somewhat unsatisfying conversion. Then, you will be needing Webers, manifolds, linkages, all that match up with the 356 linkages. Another project there. Then, you will be needing to convert to an electric tachometer, as the VW unit will not have a drive on it. A long journey perhaps.

To me, better and easier to properly rebuild your normal engine to super/SC specs. Add big Solex or Weber carbs, and be in the 110-120 HP class without much sweat. If you are savvy and have good luck collecting the parts, might not be much more money than playing in the VW area.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:56 pm 
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It’s worth mentioning too, that you’re stuck with the standard final drive ratio, which is low, so a car that’s very busy doing seventy mph.

I think you’ll find as you become used to it, that it’s a slow car, it’s a nice drive and you love it the way it is. A bit like the wife really.

You can buy a Boxster for the cost of spoiling it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:53 pm 
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what type of transmission is in your T5? it may not like 150hp (or better the torque associated with it). Drop the clutch a few times and you will inevitably find its weak spot.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:06 pm 
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No problem w/the trans. taking the power; Just DON'T drop the clutch!!!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:03 am 
356 Fan

Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:35 pm
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Ashley James wrote:
It’s worth mentioning too, that you’re stuck with the standard final drive ratio, which is low, so a car that’s very busy doing seventy mph.

I think you’ll find as you become used to it, that it’s a slow car, it’s a nice drive and you love it the way it is. A bit like the wife really.

You can buy a Boxster for the cost of spoiling it.


Exactly. People always forget about what lies downstream from all that HP. The gear box was designed with certain HP in mind, exceed it by too much and you are asking for problems.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:38 am 
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Another option to consider: up the cc's to 1720 which entails minimal engine mods and retains the stock look. Not 125+ h.p. but still zippy. Then consider a tall 4th gear to let you cruise at higher mph's.

Mike

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:08 am 
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With an ugly chamber, such as 616 engines have, you can only make something like 125HP by adding displacement to the 2.0L range, or camming/carbing to an engine which is not really street driveable. Or lighting the fire in two places and kicking the CR up and the ignition lead down.
If you are serious, Cliff will do a good job for you in getting close. Morris Brothers have been doing 2L, twin-plugs with wonderful results for years: http://www.morrisbrosmotors.com/. And, of course John Wilhoit will build you a real torquer.
If anyone else offers "125HP", ask for data.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:49 am 
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Dan Epperly wrote:
Ashley James wrote:
It’s worth mentioning too, that you’re stuck with the standard final drive ratio, which is low, so a car that’s very busy doing seventy mph.

I think you’ll find as you become used to it, that it’s a slow car, it’s a nice drive and you love it the way it is. A bit like the wife really.

You can buy a Boxster for the cost of spoiling it.


Exactly. People always forget about what lies downstream from all that HP. The gear box was designed with certain HP in mind, exceed it by too much and you are asking for problems.


Reminded me of a common topic with my peers decades ago. My first job after college was working for Borg Warner as a sales rep in their Aftermarket Parts Division. There were 100 of us and we sold to the automotive warehouses who sold to the auto parts stores. Parts store owners made many boat payments and/or alimony payments from the profits that came from their customers deciding to build their engines. After selling the build parts and doing the machine work they were pretty much guaranteed that their customer would be buying stronger clutches, sometimes transmissions, u-joints(sometimes complete drivelines) and bigger rear ends. Often in that order as they progressively broke. If the customer survived all of this it was on to better suspension and brakes.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:30 am 
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Hi Larry, I was an aftermarket sales rep for Dana back in the 1970s. I don't think those jobs exist anymore. It's all about price and the hell with service.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:41 am 
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Larry Brooks wrote:
Dan Epperly wrote:
Ashley James wrote:
It’s worth mentioning too, that you’re stuck with the standard final drive ratio, which is low, so a car that’s very busy doing seventy mph.

I think you’ll find as you become used to it, that it’s a slow car, it’s a nice drive and you love it the way it is. A bit like the wife really.

You can buy a Boxster for the cost of spoiling it.


Exactly. People always forget about what lies downstream from all that HP. The gear box was designed with certain HP in mind, exceed it by too much and you are asking for problems.


Reminded me of a common topic with my peers decades ago. My first job after college was working for Borg Warner as a sales rep in their Aftermarket Parts Division. There were 100 of us and we sold to the automotive warehouses who sold to the auto parts stores. Parts store owners made many boat payments and/or alimony payments from the profits that came from their customers deciding to build their engines. After selling the build parts and doing the machine work they were pretty much guaranteed that their customer would be buying stronger clutches, sometimes transmissions, u-joints(sometimes complete drivelines) and bigger rear ends. Often in that order as they progressively broke. If the customer survived all of this it was on to better suspension and brakes.


For a second I thought you will going to say it was because they were killing their rebuilt engines after 100 miles and having to buy parts to have them rebuilt correctly :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:19 am 
356 Fan

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:04 pm
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Location: Houston, TX
Thanks for the input, everyone; you've given me quite a lot to think about.

Wrt to the transmission/drivetrain being overloaded, that's part of the reason I'm targeting ~125 hp. Most of what I've read suggests that the stock drivetrain can accommodate that amount of power/torque, but not much more. Please correct me, if that is inaccurate. (I'm not a "drop the clutch" kind of driver, but I'd plan to frequently row the gearbox vigorously on some twisties.)

It's starting to sound as though the VW Type 1 conversion is more involved than I expected, so rebuilding the stock engine or installing a 912 engine may be better choices. This raises a whole new set of questions, such as:

1. Is the stock 1961 engine case strong enough to accommodate the desired power increase?
2. What modification is needed to make the stocker reach ~125 hp (assuming a reasonable CR and retaining streetable driving characteristics) and how much does that cost?
3. If I build the stock engine and it eventually "grenades," is the engine case likely to be damaged beyond use, or is it just a matter of rebuilding it again? I want to retain the case for the sake of originality.
4. Where could I buy a 912 engine for rebuilding (I see them on eBay, but they are generally quite pricey and/or include a massive core charge)?
5. What modifications would be required to boost the 912 engine to ~125 hp from the stock 90 hp? (Again, reasonable CR and streetability.)

For the above modifications, I could do assembly and installation, but no machining.

For the record, I'd love to install the Wilhoit 2132 engine, but that's a fair bit more than I'd like to spend and a hotter engine than I'm seeking (overshoots by ~25 hp).

This is quite a large can of worms, but I'd appreciate any insight.

Thanks, again.

Steve


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:16 pm 
356 Fan

Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 10:07 pm
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As Erik mentioned above it does require some custom work to install a T1 in a 356, but very doable. If I were going to do a T1 engine I would also change the trans with a built/performance VW unit. With a performance 125+HP T1 or T4, I would worry about transmission longevity, especially if it were not rebuilt at the same time.
Installation of the VW trans requires a custom front mount and different shifter assembly (over tunnel) but does not look very difficult and overall the entire swap can be minimally invasive from what I have seen. You could have very good performance and durability for under 10K all in, but is it then still a 356 Porsche? Hmmm...

If I did not already have an extra Porsche engine in my car I'd consider it, but I think it would always bother to have a VW back there to be honest.

What you are talking about above would probably cost over 20K to do properly, which should include a transmission check/rebuild.

As Mike mentioned, building your engine 1720 with a new crank may be a better option. 90 HP is plenty of fun in these cars and does not take a lot of fancy headwork, etc.
Seems that going over 100HP starts to get exponentially more expensive.

I had all the same thoughts as you before I drove my car with 90 or so HP, plenty of fun and zips up the hills much better then I anticipated.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:32 pm 
356 Fan

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:04 pm
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Location: Houston, TX
What does it take to build up the stock 60 hp engine to ~90 hp?

Can I get there just by doing the new crank, 1720 big bore, hotter cam, and bigger carbs? Is there any head work required?

Thank, again.


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