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JoeyNY

Already at an impasse on my New to me car

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Purchased a Sand car a couple weeks ago, was originally looking at V8 Mendeola cars. Ended up finding a really good deal on an Amplified Performance Car 3.2 J32a3 with an 091 trans. Figured this would be a good step up from a XP900 RZR I had and a good place to start as a sand car owner.

Now here is my dilemma, I have been a big LS engine fan enthusiast having three turbo swapped street cars I have built over the years. My daily driver is an LS1 swapped S10, built a 70 C10 with an LM7 5.3 for my parents, my current turbo street car is a Fox body Mustang with a LQ9 that I run on a holley Dominator ECU. I use EFI Live for my stock ECU swapped vehicles. As it would happen I have an extra complete LS1 from a Camaro I bought for the T56 for my 70 Nova in the garage. You can guess where this is heading.

  My issue is this car has a 3.2 with an old Haltech E6X ECU which in order to do any tuning you need an old laptop that can run in DOS  mode, to call it dated would be an understatement. Problem is I put the dirt tires on the car drove it around the block and had no V-Tech engagement even up to 5400 RPM. Now I am familiar enough with how the v-tech system operates to know it could be a bad o-ring or control solenoid. My problem is with this old engine management system is ease of tuning and diagnosis, or lack there of rather. There is  no way to know if it is sending a signal to activate the solenoid with tapping into the wire and running the engine to see if voltage is applied. I was looking into purchasing a stock ECU and modified harness to the tune of $1300 . Going this route would give me OBD2 diagnosis capability, and running the car off readily available factory sensors. The Haltech uses a wideband O2 and after market crank trigger wheel and sensor that I have no idea what they are from. 

My question for you guys should I even bother with the V6 or should I automatically dive down the rabbit hole of converting this car to an LS1 with a 2D and sell the Acura and 091 powertrain? I know I would be opening a whole new can of worms as far as suspension is concerned due to the added weight of an LS1 and Mendeola.

Would appreciate any thoughts and recommendations you guys would have, obviously having more experience and knowledge than myself.

Thanks

FAC6DF02-E9DF-4B66-86C5-DB7E21271F21.jpeg

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LS / Mendi swap/  Alper did mine last year and it is awesome!

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had the same set up in my car, went LS and WILL NEVER GO BACK!

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Boils down to how much you love that car and if you want to put $12k+ into it.  IMO you are money ahead to sell it and buys something with a LS and mendi.  If you decide to keep the 3.2, the AEM Series 2 is a great plug-n-play standalone for $1300 or so.  John at Outfront sells them and has done a couple J-series recently.

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That is a car that I sold to the guy you bought it from.  There is allot of work to do a swap on that car.  Suspension, would need to be changed. The rear cage would need to be extended as well.

Having owned about 6 amplified's, they are quite fun with a v8, but depending on what the total investment, it may not be worth it to swap. Top end market on that car with a v8 is maybe $25-30k. Unless you are completely going thru everything, you might wind up being upside down to do a swap.

This is back in 2013 when I sold the car.

IMG_3762__Medium_.JPG

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, 1newbie said:

Boils down to how much you love that car and if you want to put $12k+ into it.  IMO you are money ahead to sell it and buys something with a LS and mendi.  If you decide to keep the 3.2, the AEM Series 2 is a great plug-n-play standalone for $1300 or so.  John at Outfront sells them and has done a couple J-series recently.

Unfortunately from my limited understanding of the AEM ECU it does not show as being compatible with the J32A3 engine. Lists all J30, J32A1 and A2 and the J35 series engines. Would still need a factory engine harness and someone to tune which I am assuming would run to around $500-750. So that would put me in the $2200-2500 range and still no diagnosis capabilities you would have with factory ECU.

Edited by JoeyNY

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Posted (edited)

Unless you have some sentimental value in the car, (based on MGM's post of being a previous owner you likely don't) or you really really like projects and have lots of disposable cash, you should sell the car before you tear it apart and find something much closer to your needs/desires as far as the drivetrain goes.  You are going to spend so much money you'll never recover, it makes no economical sense to do a swap on this car.  

Granted, nothing in this sport makes economical sense.  

Edited by evantwheeler

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35 minutes ago, evantwheeler said:

Unless you have some sentimental value in the car, (based on MGM's post of being a previous owner you likely don't) or you really really like projects and have lots of disposable cash, you should sell the car before you tear it apart and find something much closer to your needs/desires as far as the drivetrain goes.  You are going to spend so much money you'll never recover, it makes no economical sense to do a swap on this car.  

Exactly ^^^^^^^

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Some good advice ^^ engine, trans, rear bypasses, cage fabrication  etc adds up for sure. The cost of a new ecu would be a small fraction of what you are looking to spend, anything more than that and it would be more prudent to sell and buy what you want IMO.  :thumbup:

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It sounds like JoeyNY has some decent skills if he built 4 or 5  street cars. And he sounds like he has an engine in the garage, so just needs a trans. So it will cost a few bucks, but he can do all of the work and only has to buy some of the parts, it might not be completely crazy expensive. Trans 5k to 6k / Rear Bypass 2k / headers 800 / still about 8k to 10k. How much did you pay for the car to start with? You guys are right, nothing in this sport makes financial sense.  Maybe better off leaving the car alone.

 

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We did 4 conversions last year, couple of the guys hated there car and wanted to convert it to sell it easier, after going to a v8 they said that the car is the most favorite thing they own,

it is much easier doing a engine swap than a engine and trans swap, but the it is both just busy work,  last one we did was the funco for Karl, he and myself listed it on the board,  I am not a fan of a bus box,

if you really like the car than go for it, if you think it is just ok of a car, can you sell it then find a car for about 6-8K more,

the buss box can bring in about $1000 and the motor around $3000,  

on our conversions,  I have done a AEM but that is mostly with a S trans so you can hook up the all the sensors on the dash and have some cool features,

really the factory harness, factor motor is a cheap way to go,   the if you want a 5.3 we have done a aluminum 5.3 with adapter used clutch and headers that looks like a ls1 for $3800, used trans is about $6000

labor to convert is about $3000,   so can you sell the car and add 10K to another car and get what you want

 

also when buying a used car, with a 2D unless you help put in the transaxle and put in the oil your self, you will have to put money in the transaxle,  the adds always say fresh one trip LOL,    the cars we converted the owners loved there cars and wanted to keep them,

this is a no brainer if you are doing the work your self due to the labor cost savings  

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1 hour ago, Dean said:

It sounds like JoeyNY has some decent skills if he built 4 or 5  street cars. And he sounds like he has an engine in the garage, so just needs a trans. So it will cost a few bucks, but he can do all of the work and only has to buy some of the parts, it might not be completely crazy expensive. Trans 5k to 6k / Rear Bypass 2k / headers 800 / still about 8k to 10k. How much did you pay for the car to start with? You guys are right, nothing in this sport makes financial sense.  Maybe better off leaving the car alone.

 

Picked the car up in the low teens knowing I was going to have to do some work to it. Was already planning on rewiring the car and tearing it apart to either paint the frame with steel it or have it coated as it was never done. As far as shocks rebuilding them myself is not a problem, headers can build them myself, extending the cage can do that myself. The big cost and big ticket items would be the trans, rear bypasses, new rear springs to up the spring rate, upgrade from micro stub to mid boards and from combo spindle to 2” hollow if I added the weight of a V8.  I know the midboards and spindles can wait. 

I saw another person mentioned if I like projects. To date I have LS swapped more than ten vehicles that did not come with them. So yeah projects are kind of my thing, when I tear into one I do everything myself from rearend, trans, engine work, wiring and the fab stuff as well. 

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I agree with most. If you can get it tuned great, if want/are ok with a project then do it, otherwise punt and start with what you now want.

even doing the tune would be a great selling point

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13 minutes ago, J Alper said:

We did 4 conversions last year, couple of the guys hated there car and wanted to convert it to sell it easier, after going to a v8 they said that the car is the most favorite thing they own,

it is much easier doing a engine swap than a engine and trans swap, but the it is both just busy work,  last one we did was the funco for Karl, he and myself listed it on the board,  I am not a fan of a bus box,

if you really like the car than go for it, if you think it is just ok of a car, can you sell it then find a car for about 6-8K more,

the buss box can bring in about $1000 and the motor around $3000,  

on our conversions,  I have done a AEM but that is mostly with a S trans so you can hook up the all the sensors on the dash and have some cool features,

really the factory harness, factor motor is a cheap way to go,   the if you want a 5.3 we have done a aluminum 5.3 with adapter used clutch and headers that looks like a ls1 for $3800, used trans is about $6000

labor to convert is about $3000,   so can you sell the car and add 10K to another car and get what you want

 

also when buying a used car, with a 2D unless you help put in the transaxle and put in the oil your self, you will have to put money in the transaxle,  the adds always say fresh one trip LOL,    the cars we converted the owners loved there cars and wanted to keep them,

this is a no brainer if you are doing the work your self due to the labor cost savings  

I have a complete LS1 that I just pulled from a 2001 Camaro a week and a half ago, also have a complete Speartech harness sitting here as well in addition to the factory harness and have a couple factory PCM’s laying around. The engine is a pretty much freebie... I picked up a running driving 2001 Z28 with a T56 for $2K and sold the shell for $500,  just wanted the trans for my 70 Nova project. So the engine is just sitting there next to a gen 4 5.3 with 243 heads I have. I may have an lS hoarding problem. Thanks for the response, honestly I am thinking if I can do this for around $10-12ak with my own time and labor I will only have about $25K into a car I know inside and out. Definitely some things to think about here. I just don’t want to spend any money on the V6 and decide I hate it. I already know it will not be enough power after the first trip, however it should be dependable. At least that is what my friends who have them are telling me.

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22 minutes ago, JoeyNY said:

I have a complete LS1 that I just pulled from a 2001 Camaro a week and a half ago, also have a complete Speartech harness sitting here as well in addition to the factory harness and have a couple factory PCM’s laying around. The engine is a pretty much freebie... I picked up a running driving 2001 Z28 with a T56 for $2K and sold the shell for $500,  just wanted the trans for my 70 Nova project. So the engine is just sitting there next to a gen 4 5.3 with 243 heads I have. I may have an lS hoarding problem. Thanks for the response, honestly I am thinking if I can do this for around $10-12ak with my own time and labor I will only have about $25K into a car I know inside and out. Definitely some things to think about here. I just don’t want to spend any money on the V6 and decide I hate it. I already know it will not be enough power after the first trip, however it should be dependable. At least that is what my friends who have them are telling me.

No brainer, needs a V8, if you look at the post I did on the funco it will help you set the Mendi trans in, I cut it back all the way to the torsion housing - or what is called the rear a arm support, the hardest part is if you use standard sand car headers, then the trans has to be dead straight or the mufflers will be off and it will look like you rolled the car,  

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Not sure the juice is worth the squeeze.  At the end of the day it is still a single shock car.  I would punt.  Find another car with a v6 and a 2d ready to go.  Then do your motor swap.

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Posted (edited)

If I were in your shoes, having the engine, needing to buy a transaxle, having solid fabrication skills and wanting a 4 seater V8 car:

 

Edited by evantwheeler

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1 hour ago, JoeyNY said:

I have a complete LS1 that I just pulled from a 2001 Camaro a week and a half ago, also have a complete Speartech harness sitting here as well in addition to the factory harness and have a couple factory PCM’s laying around. The engine is a pretty much freebie... I picked up a running driving 2001 Z28 with a T56 for $2K and sold the shell for $500,  just wanted the trans for my 70 Nova project. So the engine is just sitting there next to a gen 4 5.3 with 243 heads I have. I may have an lS hoarding problem. Thanks for the response, honestly I am thinking if I can do this for around $10-12ak with my own time and labor I will only have about $25K into a car I know inside and out. Definitely some things to think about here. I just don’t want to spend any money on the V6 and decide I hate it. I already know it will not be enough power after the first trip, however it should be dependable. At least that is what my friends who have them are telling me.

I would do the swap if you have the parts and skills you say.  Sounds to me like you would have less than $25k in the car and it will be worth at least that (if not more) when finished (even as a single shock car).

Amplified cars handle very well and have pretty good resale value.  I can put you in touch with Peterbuilt (fab guy for amplified back in the day) if you need replacement parts. When I first bought that car, I was thinking the same thing you were, but then another deal came along and I turned and burned it.  Good luck and have fun!!!

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Posted (edited)

I am in the process of upgrading my same year chassis Amplified (that I actually bought from MGM Scott) from LS1/2d to LS3/S4. Trans, pbs cable shifter, cables, racetrim 930 micro stubs, and axles for a smoking price; $6500. Hubs and axles have one season, trans has 3/4 of a season. Will have trans freshened up at Wright before anyone takes it. 

Pretty damn close to plug and play if you do the fab work and have the motor. 

inCollage_20181212_210412135.jpg

Edited by cwarkenton

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2 minutes ago, evantwheeler said:

Much better deal than the one I linked above!!!

Yup. Already set up for ls and 2d.

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I just don't see that being a good deal it says it is a roller but no pics of a roller, so what are you buying,

for what you paid for your car and you already have most of the parts and the parts you are selling cover the transaxle, and you already build street rods, seems like a pretty easy build for you,

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I've done a couple of engine/trans swaps.  It always ends up being more work, time and money than expected.  I'd sell what you have if you can come out even or maybe even make a couple bucks and get a roller that's ready for the V8.  The DD chassis are solid cars too.  

~jw

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