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Discussion Starter #1
G'day folks, i've spent the last few days reading as much as i could on here but i'm still confused about which way to go..

I just purchased my first 4wd, she's a beauty 94 Sierra soft top with the original 1.3 ltr engine. With 160,000 kms it's been taken care of - no rust, body in good condition etc, but the engine is very very sluggish on-road, moreso than i'd have expected from a 1.3.

Off-road in low gear it's awesome which is the main reason i bought it, but realistically i go offroad for 3-4 days a month, while every other day i need to drive around town and the poor performance in 2wd is really bugging me.

I spoke to SuziTech in Sydney and was told the 1.6 conversion is going to set me back about $5k with parts + labour, while the 1.3 rebuild would be more like $3.5k.

The car doesn't need to be a rocket, but i do want it to be more powerful than it is. On that note, i have a feeling i'm losing a bit due to warn piston rings as there is a fair bit of air coming out the top of the rocker cover if i remove one of the hoses to check it..

Now the main question here is should i a) rebuild the engine and box, install extractors/better exhaust system and a nice big intake system to match - OR b) upgrade to the 1.6 vitara 16v EFI and still do extractors/intake ?

Obviously the 1.6 will give more power, but will i notice much of a change by rebuilding what i've got?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh and if i've missed any 'natural' low cost tweaks that can be applied please let me know! There is alot that i want to do to this vehicle over the next 18 months, but i want to improve the motor asap first..
 

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I'll votr option b. You can get a good power increase from a 1.3 with a Weber and extractors but you won't get the instant power surge from low revs that the 1.6 will give you. A good 16V with extractors will probably have twice the power of a tired 1.3.
I've no idea whether $5K (AU?) is good value, labour rates and parts costs vary with location. Do you need to have it tested (engineered?) to keep it road legal?
 

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A 1.3 can take higher revs (higher redline) especially if you fill it with higher end goodies. A 1.6 can give more low end torque but suffers up top because it can't handle the higher revs (lower redline).
You would think the 1.6 16v would be the best of both worlds, but the numbers show that it actually produces more horsepower at a lower RPM.

Published Horsepower Ratings

carbed 1.3 8v 60 hp @ 6500 RPM

fuel injected 1.3 8v 66hp @ 6500 RPM

1.3 16v DOHC 100 hp @ 6500 RPM

1.6 8v 80 hp @ 5400 RPM

1.6 16v 95 hp @ 5600 RPM

1.8 16v DOHC 122 hp @ 6300 RPM

2.0 16v DOHC 126 hp @ 5,600 RPM

2.5 24v DOHC 155 hp @ 5,800 RPM

2.7 24v DOHC 183 hp @ 6,000 RPM
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow that's some interesting data to consider, thanks guys :)

It's weird though because right now with the 1.3 it feels as if my peak power is around 3500 RPM, and that going higher in revs is just burning extra fuel with no gain. Coming back from a trip on the weekend i did push 2wd 3rd gear to 5000 RPM and it felt like the engine was about to explose - unless of course i'm just simply not used to the sound of it yet.

Alrighty so aside from a 1.6 16v EFI engine, what other options should i consider adding while i'm at it?
 

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What you're feeling is peak torque, not peak power. I would expect it to be slightly higher up the rev range but the rev counter probably isn't that accurate anyway. If you're used to big V8s or lots of soundproofing then it will feel very different
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ah ok, gotchya :)

I regards to the car feeling very sluggish at the moment, could it be possible that the timing is out? And is there a simple way for me to check? I could borrow a timing gun but i've not done it before myself.

Also if my suspicians of losing compression due to worn rings is correct, would that result in noticibly lower power? I'm game to have a go at replacing the rings if it can be done without removing he head.
 

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Go with the Vitara 2.0L

I have an 87 Samurai with a 99 Vitara 2.0 L and it is all the power you need. You must have at least a 3" lift to install the engine to keep the oil pan from hitting the front pumpkin. I put a 6" lift on mine with 31" tires and it is perfect. Trail Tuff sales a conversion kit that works great. It seems a little expensive (mine was 1250 and then you still have the cost of a fully dressed engine) but you get a lot of quality stuff for you buck. If you have any mechanical abilities you can save yourself a lot of money. I left my engine stock and you will not believe the difference between it and the stock engine. My son bought a hopped up 1.3 and is very dissappointed with it. There is no substitute for cubic inches.
If you want to see how mine turned out send me your email and I will send you some pictures. Only thing is I have not been able to get my tachometer to work yet. Different signal.
Best of luck.
 

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You did good.
Brent (Trail Tough) is number one in the turn key engine kit biz for the Samurai. He supplied the 16v kit we installed in the Grey Ghost project.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I guess i'm leaning towards the 1.6 16v after everyones advice. Although i'm considering rebuilding it myself.

With basic mechanical knowledge i think it would be a good learning experience for me, i mean how hard can it really be... I'd buy an engine stand to build on, then just borrow a crane for the weekend to slot it in.

How long would it take someone without a tonne of experience to remove the old engine and replace it with a new one that's ready to go? i.e could i do that step over a weekend with help from a mate or am i kidding myself..
 

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If you did have a tonne of experience then I would say no problem. If you have no experience then it would be wise to allow longer. Its fairly straightforward but its likely that you will encounter the odd problem that will need to be addressed. Its always better to take your time and do a good job than to rush it and risk problems later on.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This is true.

So time for a few potentially silly questions..

- When removing the old engine, does the gearbox need to remain attached to it and removed aswell, or can the box stay in position ready for the new block to bolt onto it?

- What tools will i need to do the job (gonna need to buy a new toolset anyway)? I'm assuming a good metric socket / wrench kit, torque wrench, screwdriver kit.. anything else?

- Also is there any need to rebuild or replace the gearbox while i'm building up a new engine? I've noticed that i need to be careful when putting the car in 2nd gear as it feels pretty tough compared to the others, but i'm not sure if that's a normal thing or potentially something wrong.
 

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I left the gearbox in place so I wouldn't have to remove the props and drain the gearbox oil, others prefer to pull both as a unit. You will usually need to drill out the top two holes on the bellhousing because the 1.6 uses bigger diameter bolts.
 
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