Other than more power -- can someone list all the advantages of the Subaru engine vs. the standard engine (CB Performance, I believe) (new to the site - been a spyder fan for years -- plan to purchase one sometime in the next year --- just wondering what the difference would be ??? Reliability ??) Thanks in advance, Bruce
I can't speak about the suby, but have a VW/Audi group watercooled 4 in my spyder and I love it! Heat, possibility of AC, 5 spd, quiet as a Jetta but runs like a raped ape! Bump the key and it fires right up, every time. Regular oil changes is the only maintainence to date.
Some will say it is blastphemous but I've personally owned several ACVW spyders, and my speedster is ACVW. I am a hige ACVW fan, but this was just something we wanted to try and I love it.
Thanks for you thoughts Carey ..... I would like to stick to the "true" meaning of the spyder and ACVW but if it comes with a major cost (reliability) just worried about maintenance (as I am not a mechanic) and I also read in another thread that Greg at Vintage would recommend all new VS to ship with the suby engine.
I know the suby goes against tradition but just wanted to know some of the pros and cons of all types as there are no spyders around my neck of the woods to refer to. Thanks, Bruce
the subi motor has the typical advantages/disadvantages of a modern motor. it's more reliable, has more power, more fuel efficient, etc., but is difficult to user-maintain and obviously has aesthetic issues for people that are trying to be true to the classic nature of a spyder. greg seems to have gotten the bugs sorted out with the subi motor now, after having built at least a couple.
i chose somewhere in the middle and ordered a type iv motor from jake raby. more reliable, more power, and smoother than a type i, and still at least an air-cooled porsche/vw motor.
I'm looking for a spyder as well, and the biggest variable to choosing the right one seems to be the engine (except maybe the color). One consideration is that the radiator (if placed in the rear) will cancel out your spare tire! I thought of this too, and might travel with a tire, minus the rim, in the front compartment if it fits. Or, a can of fix-a-flat, or those kits you can buy with plugs + a 12v air compressor? Any thoughts on this?
We use a radiator in the nose, so you still have a full size spare. The oil cooler grills are cut out, and a large fan directs air through the radiator and out the bottom. The radiator is seperated from the rest of the front compartment, so the top and side curtains still fit in the nose. The hoses are run through the frame rails, so they are completely hidden too.
I have been purusing this site for some time now as well...the one thing (other than coming up with the cash) is the thoughts on the engine. I'd also considered the possibility of a non-VW engine in the way of a 911 (2.2 or 3.0 as those pesky 2.7's are again a reliability issue) or even more recently the 914 (which I've heard is much like the VW type4. I don't see much talk on the 911 engine and I wonder how difficult/cost of getting one of the abovementioned engines installed into the current Beck or Vintage frames (mounting, etc). Although the Suburu engine sounds like it'd be great for reliability, there's nothing (IMO) that beats the sound of the air cooled porsche variety. Thoughts anyone?
The more I look around and learn of the differences, "reliability", and such, I agree that without that throaty, porsche (air-cooled) sound, there will be something missing from the car's soul. I've gone full circle looking for different motor options, and simply come back to the air-cooled motor. :)
Well, i looked at both the aircooled and the watercooled and the chance to have something more reliable was too much for me. I wanted the look of the 550 but wanted something i could take four hours north to the in'laws and not have to worry about the engine/drivetrain taking a smash on me. That is one of the advantages of the Audi/VW watercooled is that it also has a five speed tranny. Also if i want i can put a supercharger on it from Neuspeed. I don't know about soul with an aircooled but my 996 had plenty of it and it was watercooled.
properly set up and maintained, an aircooled can be very reliable. My engine in the spyder was built in 1990 and starts every time and runs like a clock. It sounds great too. It has required very little maintenance.
The engine in my 66 bug (stock 1600 DP) hasn't failed me either and hasn't required any maintenance since acquiring it a couple of years ago. I drove it 800 miles a few weeks after purchasing it (after going through it and giving it a minor tune up valves, timing, plugs). Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. It just hummed at 62 mph all the way up the I-5 through 100 heat in the valley and over the mountain [ass.
They really are relatively easy to work on with minimal tools required.
James, There is no reason that a 2.2L or 2.5L Suby engine would not pass emissions if is left in stock configuration and tested by the standard of the year of manufacture of the engine. It is my understanding that the EPA takes a dim view of modifications by a manufacturer/assembler of modern computer-controlled engines. For instance, the exhaust system must be unchanged from the exhaust header back through and including the catalytic converters. Fines up to $50,000 per unit can be assessed for non-compliance. Off road vehicles (eg. sand rails), I imagine, would be exempt.
Mike H., There are at least 3 of the 911 powered cars out there. They are more expensive (whole drivetrain costs more) and require careful fitting but they reward with gobs of power.
I would stay away from the 2.2 or any other magnesium cased engine. The 2.2/2.4 are getting more rare every year. Some people search avidly for a good core to restore the lovely long hood cars. The magnesium cases when they overheat (seized bearing etc) tend to "creep" out of spec. Between that and cam towers running under spec, you can actually spend a HUGE amount of money overhauling one of these early motors. Go with the 3.0. They are rock solid engines. Shipped ours off for overhaul and with 149,000 on the engine's life, the bearings looked BRAND NEW. Have pics, inept at posting, see photos for Laneco. OK to buy with broken headstuds if you are overhauling as you can get them quite cheaply at that point. Good power out of the box, wonderful reliability. Quite the Clark Kent motor in a spyder. The 3.0 liter (stock) is so mild mannered, you forget just how much power it throws down until you stomp on it.
And at the risk of sounding like a heretic, I also LOVE subie motors! angela
hey, I have been following about the subaru powered spyder and even bought subaru sti for a while to feel the engine. Well, I now have the Honda S2000 (2006 model) I have a question for Greg(vintage spyder) I have seen many honda S2000 engine and trainny out there for around $4000, I have test drovem couple of 550 replicars and I felt that not just the vw engine but the Transmission on the car was horrible. I was wondering if there is any way you could put either Honda civic Si eigine or Honda S2000 engine with their transmission. even compare to subaru Sti's engine or the transmission, Honda S2000's engine and the trainny is world apart from subaru's best and since S2000 is and roadster and the engine is probably small too, I just want to ask you if it is possible to put either 200 Hp civic si engine or 237Hp s2000 engine with honda's trasmission and lsd. I was going to buy one of the spyders, but after I drove one in atlanta, I could not bear the old trasmission's long shifter. and I read about your subaru spyder s coming out soon, I been waiting. I probably like the subaru powered 550, but I just wanted to know you think if it is possible to put and honda engine with 8000 rpm engine with out turbo and have the honda's transmission (short shifter), that would be a dream since the s2000 transmission is the world's best 6 speed. thanks
There's no reason (that I can think of) that an SI engine and transmission would not fit. Pretty short engines height-wise, if I recall the last one we had in the shop, the engine was canted for clearance anyway.
The S2000 drivetrain is a different story. You could probably use the engine in a transverse configuration (as with the Civic), but as the S2000 is rear wheel drive with a longitundinal layout, the combination will not fit in a spyder.
There are several people with assorted in-line four cylinder engines in their spyders, but I believe they are all mounted transversely (like a Civic). The length of the car between the axle centerline and the firewall dictates the overall length of your engine/transmission package. An in-line four cylinder is substantially longer than a flat four. Most in-line four cylinders are longer than the flat six in our car. A rotary engine is very short and fits quite nicely.
The subaru engine mated to the subaru 2wd transmission may be closest to what you are looking for. But there is no reason that a compact FWD drivetrain couldn't be used (honda or acura). How about an Acura RSX drivetrain?
I was at the opening of the Vintage Spyders in Orange CA new shop af ew years ago, There was a spyder frame with Honda Civic motor sitting longitutinal with a slight cant. I dont know if the car ever got completed. The Civic motor has great power and is ultra reliable. Bwear
I think getting a Japanese Civic Type R's 2.0 liter screamer with 225 HP at 9000rpm and also, put it's 6 speed w/LSD transmission would make the Vintage Spyder S into world class sports car. I saw the whole engine and transmission for around $5000 total.
there is one in Melbourne Australia with a flat six (with not much room for anything else) - here is a link to some pics I took a couple of weeks ago http://s227.photobucket.com/albums/dd288/gotowo/Will%20550%20Spyder/
Ours is a short stroke 3.2 flat-6. No, it does not "screw up" the weight distribution as long as you keep the axle centerline perpendicular. I've seen a couple of sixes done with the transaxle slid back to accommodate the longer engine. That will move weight rear-ward. If you keep the same axle angle, then the extra weight is at the front which is the middle of the car, pretty insignificant changes. The downside of that is that the fire-wall moves FORWARD and there is less room in the passenger compartment. That, long and short, is why Steve's spyder is pretty much my spyder - he does not fit in the car and I do!
As far as putting a motronic 3.2, I'd have to actually measure the heigth of the intake assembly. The overall height of the engine determines the mounting point in the car. Saw a 3.0 with CIS in the car, the engine was mounted so low that there was probably 1.5 inches between the headers and the ground... Now seriously, what good is that? Right now, there's a fellow back east putting a 3.2 and a 915 into a spyder. The 3.2 is complete with the motronic. He doesn't have the car done yet. Should be awesome when it is done.
I'm actually hoping to purchase a used Beck in the next month or two. Thinking about a 4 cyl Porsche Boxer engine instead of the Subie 2.5L. The issue I run into is what transmission I'd use. I want to stay away from older VW transmissions becase they are hard shifters. But if not a VW, then what?
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