Holden 3.8 V6 into 504, whats involved?
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Holden 3.8 V6 into 504, whats involved?

    Hi All,

    This idea has been bouncing around in my head for a while, and my brother does have a 504 at his disposal.....and I have herad of a couple of examples of this conversion getting around now.

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    Can anyone tell me if the engine bay needs to be hacked and chopped, the tranny tunnel, will it take a Holden 5 speed box, is the diff up to the task of transferring a fair bit more torque/power to the tarmac without mods? Anyone have a value on say a VR front cut with loom, 'puter etc?

    Dumped, 15 inch steelies, a roll cage, and I reckon you could get a fairly decent track car out of the old girl...

    Any and all advice/suggestions welcome.

    Chipper

  2. #2
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Chipper,

    I'm not sure what is required to fit a GM 3.8 V6 into a 504, but I think it would be better to use a better engine (preferably all alloy). There's been many successful Rover V8 conversions on 504s. A hot 2.8 or 3.0 PRV V6 would be easy and very good. An Alfa V6 would be nice. A Lexus V8 would be awsome, but expensive. An SR20 or FJ20 turbo would be great, as would a 944 2.5, 2.7 or 3.0 litre. A turboed 2.0 Ford Zetec engine or a turboed Mi16 engine would also be great.
    A GM GenIII 5.7 V8 would be awesome, but expensive.

    Considering what is available out there, I'd steer away from the big heavy agricultural units like the GM 3.8 V6 or the GM/Ford cast iron V8s. Sure they're cheap with heaps of grunt, but I don't think I'd be happy with so much weight over the front wheels.

    Regards,
    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  3. #3
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    As far as the Peugeot diff and drive shafts are concerned, I'd consider 300Nm (maximum 505 Turbo road figure) as their torque limit in a reliable road car. On a track car you could probably get away with a bit more, providing you're willing to change diffs on a regular basis (pretty easy job and the 3.89:1 diffs are cheap and plentiful, other ratios are less abundant, 4.11, 3.58, 4.22. 3.7, 3.78, etc).

    I've seen a Celica/Supra 5 speed matched up to a Peugeot tailshaft, so using that would make it pretty easy to match any engine up to the Peugeot drivetrain.

    Dave

    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  4. #4
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    The Celica box I saw had a special extension housing made up (by either welding or casting) so that the gearbox would bolt up to the tailshaft housing/outer tube.

    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  5. #5
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    I've weighed a 504 short motor, and it was around 85kg. With head, flywheel and accessories it would probably be up around 130kg. I think I'd avoid engine conversions that used engines over about 150kg in weight. The PRV engine is lighter than the 504 2 litre, when the engines are bare, but with all accessories attached the V6 is a bit heavier than the 2 litre. The 504 diesel engine is near 100kg heavier than the petrol engine, so I guess engines up to 200-250kg would be OK.

    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  6. #6
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Here's a page with some engine weights and dimensions (especially made for those who want to do engine swaps):

    www.241computers.com/ford/eweight.html

    To convert pounds to kg, multiply by 0.454 (just remember the 454 big block V8).

    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  7. #7
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Cheers Dave,

    Thanks for all your info.

    What is it that folks dont like about the 3.8 lump?.....agricultural, yes, but it should be cheap and by the time it got to the VR, it was an ok revving engine, lots-o-grunt, and cheap to fix.

    How plentyful are the 2.8/3.0 PRV engines ? What sort of cost would be involved in "hotting" up on of these engines?

    Chipper

  8. #8
    Fellow Frogger! Andreas's Avatar
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    i've seen a few PRV with turbo's transplanted into 505's down here

    Andreas

  9. #9
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Chipper,

    I've just checked the weight of the 3.8 V6. It is lighter than I thought. It is actually almost 20kg lighter than the 504 diesel engine (170kg versus 190kg). So I guess it wouldn't be too bad.

    Personally I'd prefer the Rover/Buick/Oldsmobile 3.5 litre (215 cubic inch) alluminium V8. It's cheap, just as reliable as the 3.8 V6, and it's about 25kg lighter (145kg). It doesn't have as much torque as the 3.8 V6, but I think I'd prefer to have the lighter weight and better engine balancing (V8's are dynamically much easier to balance than V6's).

    The main problems with the Rover V8 is that the engine blocks made between 1976 and 1981 were weak in the main bearing vicinity, and the standard pistons on all 3.5's are limited to about 6200rpm and about 200hp.

    The PRV 3 litre engines were only available in 605's and XM's. There were only about 50 605's sold in Australia, so these engines are quite rare here. The 2.8's were available in Volvo 264's and 760's. The late 760's and Renault 25's had the even fire 2.8 which is much better, but is much more expensive ($2500 plus, from a wrecker).

    I really like the idea of using a Porsche 944 engine in a 504, but I guess they'd be expensive to buy and recondition.

    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  10. #10
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Chipper,

    Use a japanese V6 engine cheaper, smoother, stronger.

    Dave anything with the badge porsche are great but expensive.

    The GM engine is a buick V6 holden hardly make a engine to speak about think about it

    Commodore buick V6
    Commodore VL Nissan Rb30(Legendary engine)with mercedes roots
    commodore gen 3 chevrolet 5.7
    List goes on forever with there 4 cyl

    New engines like the peugeot and mercedes are great but imagine trying to find one of those at a price.

    Even the old japanese V6 are beutifull engines and are near indestructable.

    Murat

  11. #11
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Murat,

    Yeah, I was thinking about the Japanese V6's too (Camry, 626, Mitsubishi, Nissan, etc). Apparently the Mazda/Ford 2.5 litre V6 is a great engine for modifying. One guy I know in the NSW hill climb championship has a Mazda/Ford 2.5 litre V6 with twin turbos which puts out over 700hp, in a Honda Civic sports sedan! These engines sound great too.

    I've heard that the 1980's 300ZX V6 is becoming popular as an engine swap these days.

    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  12. #12
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Dave,

    The 2.5 is called the duratech and it is near indestructable.
    I think the ford probe uses one have u seen the webbing on the all alloy engine it reminds me of the honda vtir block very stout it does not suprise me of hearing about the high horsepower 2.5 litre
    But you can find the nissan VG20 or the Vg30 in atmo or turbo for a song these days.
    Mitsi V6 are great as well. But being front wheel drive it will take some effort unless you find the pajero engine
    I wouldn't bother with the mazda as they have these deep funny sockets that only take leads that are about $240 a set even though they are smooth i dont know how strong they are
    The VG series are very strong i am talking standard turbo engine internals good for over 500 hp there was a lot of people modifying them to well over 600hp you would need to spend big and know what you are doing to keep them reliable at those outputs but it will give you a idea of the strength of the nissan engines.

    Murat

  13. #13
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Murat,

    Do you know how much the 2.5 litre Duratec and the 3 litre Duratec (ala Taurus, Sable, etc) have in common? Do you know if the heads were designed by Yamaha? I know the early Taurus SHO (V8) had Yamaha designed heads, as do some of the small Zetec engines. I know the early Taurus's used a 12 valve V6, but I've heard that the 24 valve 3 litre Duratec is similar to the 2.5 litre Duratec? If this is so, I wonder why they don't put the 3 litre Duratec in the Cougar(Mondeo/Contour/Mystique Coupe). The Mondeo based cars have an excellent chassis, and I think the coupe version (Cougar) deserves to have plenty of power. I've noticed that they've just started selling an "S" version of the Cougar in the US, with a 196hp version of the 2.5 litre Duratec.

    I just found this website on Cougars a couple of days ago:
    http://www.newcougar.org/main.html
    They have links to supercharger conversions in the Peformance section.

    Regards,
    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  14. #14
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Dave,

    To be honest i am no expert on those engines.
    I have very good knowledge on japanese engines.
    But i have read about the Duratec engines in us mags and they had pictures of the block it was very impressive apparently no expense spared thats why they called it the duratec.
    Dave i would stick to the nissan engines they are cheap and plenty of them.
    They are heavy though as you know they have cast iron blocks
    The honda legend engines are great as well they are also getting cheaper.only drawback they are fwd.

    Murat

  15. #15
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Murat,

    Yeah, I think it will be a few years yet before a Duratec engine is cheap.

    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  16. #16
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Guys,

    Although the Jap V6's/straight 6's may be plentyful, VG30/VG30DETT, RB30/RB30DET, RB26 & 25 DE/DETT, the chances are these have seen a fair bit of action in the revs dept, plus I imagine an aftermarket 'puter would cost a pretty penny if no ECU or loom was included as well as any repair the donk may need. I just reckon that the Holden V6 would be a good bet, hell, some nutter has even put one up front of a Morrie Minor

    I guess I had a budget in mind and a Commode front cut would have to be fairly inexpensive and the Buick/Holden V6's would just about breed under corrogated iron in wrecking yards now so "cheap" springs to mind. Low revs, low stress means less stress on the wallet.

    Do you guys know of any pitfalls that may exist with putting the Holden lump under the bonnet of a 504?

    I reckon it would make a great sleeper

    Chipper

  17. #17
    zac
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    Guys, that Mazda/Ford 2.5l V6 is FWD and can't be converted to RWD (read this on an mx5 site). Apart from that a great engine!! Would fly in anything FWD.

    I'd go with a Jap engine though, but I am rather biased

  18. #18
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Zac,

    Any engine can be adapted to RWD with an adapter plate, a custom sump, and providing the engine bay has suitable dimensions.

    When they say that the Mazda/Ford 2.5 litre V6 can't be converted to rear wheel drive, they probably mean that there isn't a RWD gearbox available that bolts up to it without an adaptor plate.

    This is different to the Ford FWD 2 litre Zetec engine, which just so happens to have the same bellhousing bolt pattern as the old RWD Escorts, Cortinas and Sierras, so it will join right up to a Ford RWD gearbox.

    In the case of converting a longitudinal RWD engine to a transverse FWD arrangement, it is more difficult than just an adapter plate because the engine has to clear the gearbox, driveshafts and also has to be short enough to fit between the wall of the engine bay and the bellhousing.

    The Ford 2.5 litre V6 is very compact and would have no trouble fitting in the huge 505 engine bay, providing the right adaptor plate, engine mounts, sump, and possibly oil pump, were used. I think, however, that this engine is way too expensive at the moment.

    Dave

    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  19. #19
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Chipper,

    I do not think a commodore front cut will be as cheap as u think.
    First if u find a cheap one it will be out of a vn or a vp and it wont be in any better condition than the jap engines other than the jap engines being far smoother and a lot stronger but u will be surprised at how much some of that commodore stuff is sold for compared to the sweet japanese sixes around with the computers.
    But if u find a cheap one go for it and let us know how u go.

    Murat

  20. #20
    zac
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    Dave, they were talking more like it had oil delivery/surge problems and spat itself.
    I don't know why this couldn't be fixed with a custom baffled sump and redirected oil pickup - it must be more complicated than that.

    If you guys really want to know I could ask a friend who has two of these motors, one in a 929 and the other in a Laser .

  21. #21
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Zac,

    I wonder why they don't dry sump it?

    Dave


    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  22. #22
    zac
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    Maybe it was to do with delivery to the top-end of the engine..

    But are we talking about the same engine? I'm talking about the K-series (K8, KF and KL engines) and I've never heard them called 'Duratec' before. They didn't come in 3.0l either!?

  23. #23
    Guru davemcbean's Avatar
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    Zac,

    We're talking about the engines fitted to the last of the 626 and Telstar V6's (not the early ones), the Ford Probe, and the Ford Mondeo/Contour/Cougar/Mercury Mystique. The 3.0 Duratec is the engine fitted to the top of the line Ford Taurus (the one that used to be sold here). I have a feeling that the 2.5 Duratec may have a fair few differences to the Mazda version. I'm not sure how much the 3 litre and 2.5 litre have in common, as the 4 cylinder Zetec engines (formerly known as Zeta) fitted to the Mondeo/Contour/Cougar have almost nothing in common with the 1.4, 1.6 and 1.7 litre Zetec engines fitted to the Ford Puma and Fiesta, so the name "Duratec" may not be indicative of a common design.

    Dave
    NZ Fleet
    1976 504 Ti
    1984 205 GT twin carb
    1991 205 SI 1.6GTI motor
    1994 106 Xsi
    1996 Mondeo V6
    Aus Fleet
    1955 203C
    1997 Civic Cxi (great allrounder- revy, flexible, nimble, comfortable , economical, simple and durable )

  24. #24
    zac
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    Yes sorry Dave, I was talking about different motor I asked my friend.

    The Mazda developed K-series of V6 motors, which are also excellent K-series came in Eunos 30X and Mazda 626 I think (1.8l) and in the Ford Probe.

    The Duratec were Ford developed and in the cars you listed!

  25. #25
    Fellow Frogger! Jez 405's Avatar
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    Don't know much about engines, but I'll add my 2 cents - what about an old Mercedes engine? Like the mechanically fuel injected 2.8 litre twincam straight six, or the 2.3 litre four which was almost as quick (in a W123 anyway). Maybe even a 2.0/2.3/2.8 six from an old BMW. I think the torquey characteristics of those engines would be better suited to an old car. May be a tad dear to get, but there are heaps around. I'd go for a Jap gearbox if possible. The Merc 4 speeder is REALLY pathetic.
    1987 Peugeot 205 GTI S1
    1996 Jaguar XJR X300
    1991 Honda VT250 Spada
    1992 Peugeot 405 S (R.I.P. 31/07/2005)

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