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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i'm planning an engine swap (or turbo) soon and want some opinions on what's better for my purposes. i'm not entirely sure of my power goals, but i want it to be reliable to at least 3-350hp. i may however want up to 4-450 later, so the cost/reliablilty at that level is a factor in my decision as well. originally i was pretty well set on a KA-T, but i also have a 510 that needs an engine, so lately i've been researching swaps. i've seriously considered the sr, rb20 & 25, ca and even LS1. each of these seems to have its pro's and cons tho, so here goes.

KA-T: pros: no swap needed, good torque, reliable (when done right), uniqueness (tho not a major concern), very strong when rebuilt, all usdm service parts

cons: no engine for 510, will need rebuild >250-300hp, not as light as sr/ca

SR20: pros: aftermarket, popularity=more info, light weight, simple swap

cons: highest initial cost (~$2K), rocker arm failure, poor water pump flow, less tq than KA-T, needs sr radiator, most service parts are jdm only

RB20: pros: low initial cost (~$1K), strong bottom end, easy to increase displacement (rb20 w/ rb25 block and pistons=rb24), "wow factor"

cons: weight, needs more parts/work to set-up "right" imo (swap kit $400+, wiring $400 (sr wiring $150), intake manifold $500+, etc), oil pump issues can destroy engine, all service parts are jdm only

CA18: pros: cheapest, lightest, simple swap, shares many parts w/ usdm ca18et and ca18de

cons: least displacement/tq, possible head gasket sealing issues, lowest aftermarket support (but still enough)

the other rb's or LS1 would be nice and eliminate many of the cons, but they are out of my price range, so i didn't bother listing them in detail. so anyway, let me know what you think AND WHY. let me know if you have a solution to any of the problems (i.e. ca18 head sealing, rb oil pump issues, sr rocker arms) or also if you are SURE these issues only occur on race engines or at ridiculous power levels (please provide proof if possible. sorry, i'm a skeptic, especially on forums). thanks for your input.
 

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well it seems like you have all the facts figured out so it probably wont be that hard. i would lean towards the sr20. that seems like one of the most common swaps and that is probably for a reason. it can produce a lot of power and is somewhat reliable and also isnt a real heavy engine so i say go with that. or maybe an rb26 swap? please!!!!!! DO IT!!! nono not really that would be cool though.
 

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well it seems like you have all the facts figured out so it probably wont be that hard. i would lean towards the sr20. that seems like one of the most common swaps and that is probably for a reason. it can produce a lot of power and is somewhat reliable and also isnt a real heavy engine so i say go with that. or maybe an rb26 swap? please!!!!!! DO IT!!! nono not really that would be cool though.
put what you want, a nissan engine is a nissan engine. if you want raw power, clealy and its a known fact that the rb motors can do it. if you want a really fun handling car stick with the 4 bangers. i say 4 bangers cause it really doesnt matter if its a ka or an sr theyre both good engines
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
well, i'm kinda leaning toward the CA actually. its the cheapest and lightest and should be perfectly capable of reaching 300hp or so. mostly i'm trying to eliminate worries about each engines alleged weak point. having the head gasket leak isn't near as serious as oil pump failure (common early RB problem). at least it won't destroy the engine. i know there's a good fix to that problem, but its too expensive to be feasible. i guess the SR's rocker arm problem isn't too serious as long as you aren't racing/drifting all the time and check their tq once in a while (getting a rocker arm stopper helps too, but its not a complete cure), but i have a tendency to neglect things like that until they become a problem. the SR is still a possible option, but its nearly twice the cost of the CA. for the price of just getting a used SR i could get the CA and replace a lot of service parts (timing belt, oil & water pumps, gaskets, etc). on top of that, from what i've researched, the CA was supposedly a better engine, but was replaced due to being more expensive to produce. the SR's popularity is mostly because of its much longer production run.

as far as the larger RB's are concerned, i don't even really consider them a possibility anymore. i only listed the RB20 bc its ~$1K compared to $2-5K for the RB25/26. for only slightly more money than an RB25 swap (which is much less than the RB26) i could swap in an LS1 V8. sure, most import lovers will consider this sacrilege, but it makes more power and MUCH more tq than an RB. and belive it or not, weighs less (its an all aluminum V8 rather than an iron block I6). not only is the overall weight less, but because its shorter the extra weight (over the 4cyls) upsets the balance less too. plus, parts are cheap and effective (maybe i should've labeled this CA/SR/LS1 debate). but enough about that, its out of my price range.
 
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