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Thread: best engine for baja bug

  1. #1
    Good time Charlie
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    Default best engine for baja bug

    the thought of building a solid baja has crossed my mind since selling all my truck stuff.

    I want to build soemthing that is all purpose. duner, baja, streetable, and local dezert friendly. What is the best all around engine out there?

    built vw - i know nothing about
    subaru 2.5 NA or turbo a couple friends have NA subbies
    Ecotech 2.2L

    price, reliablity, power are all factors. Car is not going to be a race car just a cheap (ish), fun, multi purpose prerunner that is street legal.

    Thanks,
    Gregg

  2. #2
    Killer Kestrel Racing hondarider23's Avatar
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    probably not much help, but i was thinkin about doin a baja with a VW TDI motor haha

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    Senior Member JWHracing's Avatar
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    if you want reliability i'd say go with an ecotec. vw motors start getting expensive, especially when you start building them up. one factor to consider is that the limiting factor of reliability may not have anything to do with the motor, but instead the transmission. vw trannys are not the strongest when lots of power are put through them. you can easily spend as much on a tranny as your motor.

  4. #4
    Senior Member atomickitn's Avatar
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    with soo many adapters out there .. it really all depends on what you want to run... I run a toyota 22r out of a truck.. lots of torq and hp.. very reliabl.. cheap and easy to work on.. parts are everywhere... good luck in your build .. oh yeah what ever you use for power dont skimp on the trans... use a bus trans..

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    Her name is Dielila vvvv WannaB-Class5's Avatar
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    Ecotec. It's a new technology motor, it is getting huge in the sport, makes plenty of power, lasts FOREVER (and is $450 to replace if you blow one). Initial cost is a higher with the computer and everything, but once it's running you can litterally have a new engine for $450 if anythign goes wrong. If my next car isn't a V8 car, it will have an Ecotec in it. Especially since you want it to be streetable, I 100% think this is the right motor for you. You might want the 2.4L though.
    Quote Originally Posted by only1mikey View Post
    Just like everything offroad, it's going to break/fail, it's just a matter how and when.

  6. #6
    Good time Charlie
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    how much HP does the ecotech have? a 22r would be pretty rad to. super simple and buildable.

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    Titanium Sponsor VINCE@SDHQ's Avatar
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    Its not even really about the HP GG, look at the power to weight ratio right there. Ecotec is way to go. 22R would not be bad though. Serena at SDHQ just bought Pat Daily's bug, and it has a built 1600 in it, and it scoots.
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  8. #8
    Good time Charlie
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    more HP to pull my fat ass around hough is always better. eco tech is prolly the route id go. maybe even a turbo ecotech

  9. #9
    Senior Member atomickitn's Avatar
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    ther are a few CO's that have hp kits and that build full race versions of the 22r... heck just a cam header and igntion and you will make 175hp /180tq... not bad for a stock motor that will go about ..oooh forever... my last toyota before I sold it I was the org owner had 780k miles no rebuild.. the chain was replaced 3xs... not bad for money well spent.. not to mention it was in a lifted 2 wheel truck with over size tires and it still got 20 mpg..

  10. #10
    Senior Member drtbuggy's Avatar
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    the problem with the 22r is your gonna find out it`s too heavy and will affect the handling of the Baja! I had a customer that had a LC 22r with all the bells and whistles and a built 091! 091 lasted about a season with Yoko Super diggers, but when he finally saw the light and switched to the ecotec his car actually became faster than before! the extra weight that was hanging off the back actually made his car really twitchy at high speed and it would never corner well with that 22r!
    a Ecotec 2.2 is the easiest to do, i`m still undecided about the 2.4 till i actually put one in my car and see what it does! a 2.2 with a good header and good tune and cobalt intake will give you around 180ish! the turbo ecotec out of the colbalt ss is a kick ass motor but alittle much for a bus box! 5 yrs and i only had 1 go bad! not bad but the cam tensioner went bad and the cost of parts to fix it vs. a new one , I just got a new 1!
    JM Fabrication! Corona, Ca

  11. #11
    Her name is Dielila vvvv WannaB-Class5's Avatar
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    Seriously! I recently had a cylendar go bad on my 1914 and had to fix the top end and get my head machined due to the damage. $1000 even. That's two new ecotec's from a wrecking yard!!!!!!!! Bolt on the intake, plug in the computer, BAM new motor!

    Mike I'd love for you to drive a 2.4L. Our green car has it in there and if freaking scares me. That said I haven't driven in a car with the 2.2L
    Last edited by WannaB-Class5; 07-21-2010 at 02:29 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by only1mikey View Post
    Just like everything offroad, it's going to break/fail, it's just a matter how and when.

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    i vote for ecotec but really it depends on the tranny too. the intial swap is a little pricy but in the end it works out for the better. im going with the 2.4 but thats because i have a tranny to back it up. (p.s. i have a 2.2 for sale if anyone is interested)

  13. #13
    Good time Charlie
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    busk, whats trans do you have? what would the ecotech and trans packge cost? I dunno shit about buggies, transaxels or cv's so please excuse the ignorance.

    i want soemthing that is fun and reliable.

  14. #14
    Did the Baja TMorf's Avatar
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    Ecotech and Mendeola or other sequential type trans. Pricey at first, but take care of the combo and it will last. That being said, theres no way in hell Id swap out my VW power for an Ecotech in my car because the swap is what makes it expensive (computer and water cooled). Do the Ecotech initially and its a different story.
    Quote Originally Posted by busted bones View Post
    When I did Baja on my bike years ago I had locals try to hi five me and all sorts of other shit.

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    like tmorf said, if you are starting from scratch that is the best time to go watercooled. i wish i would have done it from the beginning. im running the new weddle trans or i will be eventually if the dang thing ever shows up

  16. #16
    Senior Member atomickitn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drtbuggy View Post
    the problem with the 22r is your gonna find out it`s too heavy and will affect the handling of the Baja! I had a customer that had a LC 22r with all the bells and whistles and a built 091! 091 lasted about a season with Yoko Super diggers, but when he finally saw the light and switched to the ecotec his car actually became faster than before! the extra weight that was hanging off the back actually made his car really twitchy at high speed and it would never corner well with that 22r!
    a Ecotec 2.2 is the easiest to do, i`m still undecided about the 2.4 till i actually put one in my car and see what it does! a 2.2 with a good header and good tune and cobalt intake will give you around 180ish! the turbo ecotec out of the colbalt ss is a kick ass motor but alittle much for a bus box! 5 yrs and i only had 1 go bad! not bad but the cam tensioner went bad and the cost of parts to fix it vs. a new one , I just got a new 1!
    thats good to know.. I built this car with that in mind... hence the frame and how the motor sits in the car.. the rear track is all of 78" and the arms were moved out..they started out as 3x3's... this is only a play car.. it will never be raced and for the most part is/ will be a cruzer.. i did notice that the car responds to the steering very rapidly... of course I will be fine tunning things as they play out... thanks for your comments..

  17. #17
    Did the Baja TMorf's Avatar
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    I dont know how much they go for, but what about a turbo Subi motor? I know that "nimrod" dude on RDC has thousands and thousands of miles on his motor and trans with no problem so maybe thats an option too?
    Quote Originally Posted by busted bones View Post
    When I did Baja on my bike years ago I had locals try to hi five me and all sorts of other shit.

  18. #18
    Good time Charlie
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    is his a turbo subaru engine? a couple of my firends have N/A 2.5L subaru engines in their bugs. Turbo subi is kinda what i really like. lots of HP and stock still

  19. #19
    No pain No gain 250rDezertRider's Avatar
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    Ummm, all intersting responses. But my friend has a 5 open with a heavy 3.0 in it.It handles like a charm. So I don't think the weight of the motor matters that much for handling.He did say he had to do a few rides to get the right valving and spring rates on the shocks.If you are running c/o's and bypasses, it makes your work a lot easier.If you are running only c/o you will have a little more homework to do.He chose the 3.0 for the torque it delivers that the 4 cylinder could not unless you drop a ton of money in it.I am sure most of you have notice how important proper valving is for good handling...

  20. #20
    the F1 CHEVY trever leach's Avatar
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    Lsx for the mfw
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  21. #21
    V8Z
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    Unless your budgeting at least 5 grand for the motor and tranny stay with VW. If you can build em vws arn't that expensive. keep it simple and have fun. Adding more power to a vw is opening a can of worms. Tranny, hubs, CVs, brakes, shocks, ect. all have to be beefed up to cope.
    madmax_087 likes this.

  22. #22
    No pain No gain 250rDezertRider's Avatar
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    X2
    Put the right money for your application.

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    My project is looking like it will reach about 18k when Im done.

  24. #24
    Senior Member l2r 450's Avatar
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    a type 4 2640 is a great vw engine, lots of torque, i have 5 seasons of hell an when i freshend it up everything was still good
    your h&m kit isnt shit , i got a long travel bumper

  25. #25
    Did the Baja TMorf's Avatar
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    Like people said it really comes down to price. Ive got a stroker Type I that throws over 160 HP down with a 002 bus box. Just get the motor and trans built by a reputable shop and youll be good to go for a long while. I get my motor freshened up once a year which doesnt cost much and my trans has zero problems with probably over 2k miles on it. Lots of options, but ultimately going to break down to cost.
    Quote Originally Posted by busted bones View Post
    When I did Baja on my bike years ago I had locals try to hi five me and all sorts of other shit.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Jr.fab's Avatar
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    My friend has a turbo Acura motor in his I just don't realy know the exact model

    Just thought I'd throw that out there

  27. #27
    LongTravelDonkeyHandler NolanYAZ's Avatar
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    Ecotec or Subaru...anyone ever see that bad ass LT primer gray baja bug out at glamis, pretty sure he was runnin a roo.
    Back To Basics

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    Titanium Sponsor VINCE@SDHQ's Avatar
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    GG, 2 ecotec's that need rebuilds. Can make 1 good one for $500 and have spare parts

    2 Ecotec engines
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    Her name is Dielila vvvv WannaB-Class5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NolanYAZ View Post
    Ecotec or Subaru...anyone ever see that bad ass LT primer gray baja bug out at glamis, pretty sure he was runnin a roo.
    That may have been Zac's car. It is not green (as of June 21st) but he runs a 2.4L ecotec.
    Quote Originally Posted by only1mikey View Post
    Just like everything offroad, it's going to break/fail, it's just a matter how and when.

  30. #30
    Premium Classifieds MQUnlimited's Avatar
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    I have just over 3k into my engine (2276 Carrillo rods, VW Paradise crank, all work done by VWP) and about the same into my 091 (Weddle gears built by Rancho) and if I could do it all over again, I would of gone either Honda V6 or Ecotec SC with a Mendi 2d...LS1 would of been another choice.
    Last edited by MQUnlimited; 08-04-2010 at 07:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jr.fab View Post
    My friend has a turbo Acura motor in his I just don't realy know the exact model

    Just thought I'd throw that out there
    I had a 5-seat long travel ( about 2100lbs), ran a honda 3.2 up against an 091 bus box with fiber clutch. Great on power and gas. Never had a problem with it, took up just a little more space than a VW. My second rail build I went with the Northstar V8, and though the power and grunt was cool, I thought the handling of the Honda was better. rails-001.jpg
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    Senior Member l2r 450's Avatar
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    but remember he wanted to know what a good engine for a baja bug was, a v8 or even the 3.2 l honda are big engines 2 cram into a bug
    your h&m kit isnt shit , i got a long travel bumper

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by wannab-class5 View Post
    seriously! I recently had a cylendar go bad on my 1914 and had to fix the top end and get my head machined due to the damage. $1000 even. That's two new ecotec's from a wrecking yard!!!!!!!! Bolt on the intake, plug in the computer, bam new motor!

    Mike i'd love for you to drive a 2.4l. Our green car has it in there and if freaking scares me. That said i haven't driven in a car with the 2.2l
    how did you spen $1000.00 to replace cyl., pistons and machine work? I had that prob. And it cost me, i dunno 500 total

  34. #34
    Illegal Alien craigincali's Avatar
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    Remember you may be able to buy an Ecotec for around 500.00 but........ Also, the electronics for the Ecotec will cost you another 1,500.00 minimum, plus exhaust, power sterring and some other goodies. The best way to do an Ecotec is to just pony up the cash and get one from either CBM or Turnkey. Either way its gonna cost alot more than $500.00
    Craig

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    Senior Member bajablood's Avatar
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    Is price a factor? whats your budget? what tranny are you planning on running? racing? I say a dual port 1600 would be the best? cheap reliable, light weight, low power. Gotta crawl before you walk. My ecotec kills though.

  36. #36
    Senior Member l2r 450's Avatar
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    my type4 is a 2640 makes 200hp an has lasted for 5 rough season of hard play, an is only getting a freshen up because its cheaper 2 fix it before its broken , i think a big type 1 is they way 2 go. its workd for years an most the time if it brakes on the trail you can get it back under its own power
    your h&m kit isnt shit , i got a long travel bumper

  37. #37
    Senior Member drtbuggy's Avatar
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    I rethought this the other day after looking at a photo album of all the cars i`ve worked on! the best is what you can afford and what give`s you a chubby when you drive it! Perfect example is go to barstow unload my car and some guy trips out and then after a lap i`m sitting there drinking a beer with a few buddies lookiing over the cars for Damage and we hear some VW motor getting over rev`ed doin Doughnuts on the acess road and the guy and his kid have ear to ear smiles!Yeah I can do Ecotec 2.2`s for $3500 all day long but , is the guy with a bolt in cage and simple bolt on parts gonna throw that in his car ! Probably not but might think of refreshing his current motor! there is also alot to think about also a Ecotec or any small water cooled motor is alot to throw in a Baja if the cage isn`t structually sound! the Ecotec also come with a Min 2500 trans! If I was gonna build a type 1 VW again though i`d go with a 2054 again! that motor made killer torque and with the 5.5 rods I had in it it would rev to 7500rpm and make power through a Broad range!
    JM Fabrication! Corona, Ca

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    Senior Member l2r 450's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drtbuggy View Post
    I rethought this the other day after looking at a photo album of all the cars i`ve worked on! the best is what you can afford and what give`s you a chubby when you drive it! Perfect example is go to barstow unload my car and some guy trips out and then after a lap i`m sitting there drinking a beer with a few buddies lookiing over the cars for Damage and we hear some VW motor getting over rev`ed doin Doughnuts on the acess road and the guy and his kid have ear to ear smiles!Yeah I can do Ecotec 2.2`s for $3500 all day long but , is the guy with a bolt in cage and simple bolt on parts gonna throw that in his car ! Probably not but might think of refreshing his current motor! there is also alot to think about also a Ecotec or any small water cooled motor is alot to throw in a Baja if the cage isn`t structually sound! the Ecotec also come with a Min 2500 trans! If I was gonna build a type 1 VW again though i`d go with a 2054 again! that motor made killer torque and with the 5.5 rods I had in it it would rev to 7500rpm and make power through a Broad range!
    very true
    your h&m kit isnt shit , i got a long travel bumper

  39. #39
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    a 4.3 might be heavier, but it is also cheaper, for a simple junkyard motor. If you go TBI, it's a simple good running torque monster. Much more reliable than a VW anyday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryno View Post
    a 4.3 might be heavier, but it is also cheaper, for a simple junkyard motor. If you go TBI, it's a simple good running torque monster. Much more reliable than a VW anyday.
    You can also change the intake manfold and go carburated, cheaper than getting an EFI
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