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Old 06-13-2006, 11:30 PM   #1
kevinthenerd
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2003 ION-1 Sedan
Default How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay? Will a GM 3800 fit without a whole lot of fuss? (That motor does wonders in the Grand Prix, so I figure it'd totally scream in a lighter car.) Will the 6-cylinder from the VUE fit? Maybe a Fiero GT motor? Thanks.

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Old 06-13-2006, 11:54 PM   #2
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Why bother with the engine bay. Just put a blown 454 behind the front seats!

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Old 06-14-2006, 10:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

You could swap a 2.4 Ecotec in there without too much work, I believe. The 3800 fits in an S-Series car so, if you could make the computer systems work, why not. The engine I'd love to swap in there if the car was staying FWD would be the 5.3 liter 303 HP V8 that's in the Impala SS. If switching to RWD, an LS7 all the way. Just gonna be a money issue.

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Old 06-14-2006, 10:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsky
Why bother with the engine bay. Just put a blown 454 behind the front seats!
Don't think I haven't thought of it. If this wasn't my daily driver, I'd take all the body panels off and weld myself together a tube chasis. Then I'd have infinite freedom with the engine placement. I'd want a logitudinally mounted (lower center of gravity) engine right behind the front seats with an aluminum firewall coming up and over the engine bay, leveling off where the rear deck currently is. I'd keep the stock wheel covers but find someway to fit lighter rims behind them. As long as I pack enough fiberglass into the exhaust, nobody's gonna see it coming.

But I'm still in school, and that means I don't have the time right now (although I have my own welder, a garage, and sources for tubing). I'm studying mechanical engineering, so getting everything to work together will be tough but not impossible. (I dread the suspension tuning.) I also don't have a daily driver while my project sits in the garage. I may just decide to wait and do it the right way. It's gonna look like a stock car when I'm done, but I want it to look TOTALLY stock. I'm going to have to spraypaint the insides of the back windows to hide the engine bay and tint the crap out of the back window.

Until then, it's really a question of curiosity... What engine will fit in the engine bay I have now? This is assuming I decide to go out and buy something even more sleepish from the junkyard for my all-out project car to start with, like an old 80s Civic or something... and keep the ION for a very peppy daily driver.

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Old 06-14-2006, 10:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by THX712517
You could swap a 2.4 Ecotec in there without too much work, I believe. The 3800 fits in an S-Series car so, if you could make the computer systems work, why not. The engine I'd love to swap in there if the car was staying FWD would be the 5.3 liter 303 HP V8 that's in the Impala SS. If switching to RWD, an LS7 all the way. Just gonna be a money issue.
3800 in the S-series? Holy crap that would rule. The S series has a rear suspension superior to the ION, but the handling would still be VERY front-heavy. NOBODY would see it coming when you start roasting V8s. Do you know if the 3800 supercharger would fit in there too?

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Old 06-14-2006, 10:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by THX712517
5.3 liter 303 HP V8 that's in the Impala SS
303HP from a 5.3L? Why does that not sound all that impressive?

3SGTE (Toyota, turbocharged): 2.0L, 200HP (100 hp/L)
ECOTEC 2.0L (GM, supercharged): 2.0L, ~200HP (100 hp/L)

To be fair, let's compare to naturally aspirated motors:
Ford 4.6: 4.6L, ~300 hp (65 hp/L)
ECOTEC (GM, NA): 2.2L, 140 HP (64 hp/L)

and the Impala SS motor:
5.3L, 303HP (57 hp/L)

At only 57 hp/L, I wonder what that thing can do with some real tuning and some forced induction!

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Old 06-14-2006, 01:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

American engine generally doesn't have as good of a hp/L ratio than Jap and Euro engines. Honda S2000 gets over 100 hp/L out of naturally aspirated engine. But it comes at 7800 rpm and it only gets a wimpy 162 ft-lb of peak torque. The Ecotec 2.2L gets nearly as much.

American cars gets so much better low end power and torque. When you look at engines you can't just look at the peak power/torque, you gotta look at the power band. It's no good to get 1000 hp for a 100 rpm band near the redline and get like 150 hp for the rest of the times (I'm exaggerating). A lot of the high horsepower import tuner cars are like that, except less exaggerated.

Don't fall into the advertising gimicks. Plus the Japs are infamous for "cheating" on the FTP and horsepower test. Although it's gonna be harder with the new SAE standard. That's probably why the ION is getting 5 extra ponies in 2007, because a change in how they measure horsepower.

Putting an engine not designed for you car is not as easy as it looks in the movies. You have to worry about all the supporting components. Is your transmission going to be able to transfer the power to the wheels with the added power/torque or is it going to break? Is the stock radiator going to be enough? You would probably need to machine out new engine mounts. Then you have issue with things not fitting together, because they are not designed to fit. You would need a different length half-shaft so your wheels wouldn't have a mess up camber. You would need a new ECU map. You have to do FEM analysis on the structure of the car. Having heavier front end, also upsets the car's balance, so you would need to tune the suspensions among other things. Unless you have tons of money and time, I would suggest not to do it. For the money needed to do everything, might as well as get a better car.

Last edited by liubhs02; 06-14-2006 at 01:33 PM..

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Old 06-14-2006, 05:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

There definitely is a bonus for sticking with engines the car was designed for. Motor mounts up a lot easier, you know the trans is going to fit, and you don't have to fight the evil ECM to tune the thing. The wildest I'm looking into is taking everything under the cylinder head from a 2.4 liter engine and putting it under my 2.2 cylinder head, hooking up the existing wiring harness, twiddling around a little bit with a few things, and having a go at some non-vvt monster torque.

The likelihood of me doing that, however, isn't all that great at the moment. I'm poor.

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Old 06-14-2006, 06:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinthenerd
Until then, it's really a question of curiosity... What engine will fit in the engine bay I have now? This is assuming I decide to go out and buy something even more sleepish from the junkyard for my all-out project car to start with, like an old 80s Civic or something... and keep the ION for a very peppy daily driver.
I would think that the 3.9L V6 from the Pontiac G6 would fit. It's a similar size to the old 3.1 and 2.8s that chevy used to stuff in the Cavalier z24
You'd get better performance out of the Redline engine than with the V6s.

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Old 06-14-2006, 06:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinthenerd
303HP from a 5.3L? Why does that not sound all that impressive?

3SGTE (Toyota, turbocharged): 2.0L, 200HP (100 hp/L)
ECOTEC 2.0L (GM, supercharged): 2.0L, ~200HP (100 hp/L)

To be fair, let's compare to naturally aspirated motors:
Ford 4.6: 4.6L, ~300 hp (65 hp/L)
ECOTEC (GM, NA): 2.2L, 140 HP (64 hp/L)

and the Impala SS motor:
5.3L, 303HP (57 hp/L)

At only 57 hp/L, I wonder what that thing can do with some real tuning and some forced induction!
Horsepower per liter only matters in racing where all the engines have to be the same displacement.

The qualities of Chevy V8s with tuning or forced induction have been shown at just about every racing venue in the world.

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Old 06-14-2006, 06:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Show me a naturally aspirated engine from Honda, Toyota, or hell, anyone, that can get into the 9s in a quarter mile with bolt-ons like GM's LS1 can. It's all good and cool to be pointing out how efficient your engine is (my Ecotec is a hell of a lot more efficient than my friend's LS1 Firebird) but the actual numbers count more. My 132.5 WHP is no match for his 302.

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Old 06-14-2006, 06:53 PM   #12
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinthenerd
This is assuming I decide to go out and buy something even more sleepish from the junkyard for my all-out project car to start with, like an old 80s Civic or something... and keep the ION for a very peppy daily driver.
Old RWD Volvos make for great project cars. Big V8s will fit in the engine bay and the drivetrains are all tough enough to handle the torque.

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Old 06-14-2006, 06:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by THX712517
Show me a naturally aspirated engine from Honda, Toyota, or hell, anyone, that can get into the 9s in a quarter mile with bolt-ons like GM's LS1 can. It's all good and cool to be pointing out how efficient your engine is (my Ecotec is a hell of a lot more efficient than my friend's LS1 Firebird) but the actual numbers count more. My 132.5 WHP is no match for his 302.
What do you mean by bolt-ons? Getting any car into the 9s is not easy. A car running 9s certainly has a lot more power than 302HP
Technically a supercharger could be considered a bolt-on

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Old 06-14-2006, 07:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

I'm not talking about the 302 HP car running 9s. He's just got a catback exhaust on his. The LS1 has huge support out there, runs 11s stock with a good driver, and as you throw intake, headers, exhaust, cams, maybe a cylinder head, computer tuning..... It adds up real quick. There is a magazine article out there, probably in Hot Rod or Car Craft, about a 9 second naturally aspirated Camaro with just bolt-ons.

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Old 06-14-2006, 11:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Hey gang, this has been some fun post reading! It makes me want to go out buy up a bunch of this stuff, lets all get together in a cool garage and go to work on a killer s-series or ion! haha.. Can you imagine, tourqe steer would be a pain in the neck... hmm.. I guess we could do rwd.. anyways i enjoyed this thread and the post, nothing gets the blood running like talking horsepower and muscle cars. I think we would have a hard time handling the ion with an engine the size of or over the 3800 on up to what it would say hold.. bue05 p.s. I don't know what the hell im really talking about, it just sounds awesome and i think would be a hell of lot of fun supping up the ion like that.

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Old 06-15-2006, 12:09 AM   #16
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Dizzy Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

dude, bue, how many time have I told you to lay off the drugs when you are on the forum? you gonna do that on your own time. we are talking serious business over here.

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Old 06-15-2006, 01:03 AM   #17
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by THX712517
Show me a naturally aspirated engine from Honda, Toyota, or hell, anyone, that can get into the 9s in a quarter mile with bolt-ons like GM's LS1 can. It's all good and cool to be pointing out how efficient your engine is (my Ecotec is a hell of a lot more efficient than my friend's LS1 Firebird) but the actual numbers count more. My 132.5 WHP is no match for his 302.
It's all about power to weight, and unlike all the drag racing people here, I care about handling. A V8 strapped to the front of a grocery cart isn't going to handle nearly as well as the ION ECOTEC modified to all hell, and with the reduced weight of the ECOTEC, a 300 hp ECOTEC is going to smoke the crap out of a 300 hp V8, assuming you can feather the clutch enough to start making good boost.

For what it's worth, a longitudinally mid-mounted V8 would OWN ALL.

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Old 06-15-2006, 01:07 AM   #18
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by liubhs02
When you look at engines you can't just look at the peak power/torque, you gotta look at the power band. It's no good to get 1000 hp for a 100 rpm band near the redline and get like 150 hp for the rest of the times (I'm exaggerating). A lot of the high horsepower import tuner cars are like that, except less exaggerated.
Oh, I know that very well. It comes down to a numerical integration of the torque curve. Peak horsepower only matters in as far as torque at higher rpms is more usable for acceleration, but you have to GET to the high rpms before you can use it. Gearing is one of the most overlooked aspects in this equation. It gets complicated, but note this: A lot of American motor heads brag about peak torque, but as soon as you learn about why the torque and horsepower are the same at 5252rpm ALWAYS and start learning enough about physics, you'll see why you need a broad torque curve more than anything. This is the beauty of the Corvette, IMHO: It barely needs any gears to go.

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Old 06-15-2006, 01:18 AM   #19
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

liubhs02, Yeah, sorry. I am still taking some pain and muscle relaxers from my neck surgery. I didn't mean to intrude into your post/thread. I just enjoyed the section of discussion and thought I would say so. I will try to keep my babbling to a minimum! Have a good week! Bue05

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Old 06-15-2006, 04:13 AM   #20
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Default Re: How big of a motor will fit in the ION engine bay?

I would just turbo the ecotec. Its a perfectly good platform that would perform better than swapping in a bigger engine. The engine would keep its light weight and itd be a lot easier.

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