Topic: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

I now have 2 gorgeous MGB rolling chassis’ that purists would absolutely love to get their hands on. I just picked up a chrome bumper car that someone spent a year replacing the floors, sills and rockers and doing all of the bodywork in preparation of paint. I found the car at a friends tow yard and inquired about it. $100 cash money later and it’s mine!!! YAHOO!!!

Now, I need to figure out an engine swap. 3.4 V-6 Camaro mill, Ford 2.3 turbo, Miata 1.6 turbo, 215 aluminum V-8??? i have the Ford 2.3, the 215 and Miata turbo sitting here at the shop. I’ve been told to do the 3.4 by folks here who have experience in these things. On another forum, BMW engine/gearbox suggestions have been mentioned.

Here’s my dilemma. I don’t do wiring, fuel injection, computers, laptops and the like. I’m a distributor, carburetor, jets, cassette and 8-track kind of guy.

What swap is easy to get a stock computer working in a chassis that it was never designed to be working in? Are BMW computers easy to make work? GM? Mazda Miata? Ford Lima turbo?

I need some advise here before going to look for an engine/gearbox swap candidate. I’m going to do all of this from junkyard parts, so I guess I need to know what wiring will be needed for what engine choice.

Thanks and I will start some sort of build thread once I clear room in the shop for the rolling chassis.

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

Simplicity of wiring is the 215, simplicity for space constraints is the 2.3, cool factor is the 1.6 turbo and most power for least weight penalty is the 3.4 but wiring will be a serious undertaking assuming it is fuel injected.
I am sure that doesn't clarify much, but my two cents....
Manny

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

First off I think you should understand that the judges will not care what engine put in there and how much you spend on it.  Given your constraints and/or the packages inherent problems, I think it's going to be difficult to work with much of what you have.  In my mind, anything turbo needs electronic engine controls of some kind to make sure you don't melt it down.  I understand the glory of turboing something but I've blown up so much shit over the years in Lemons that fixing that crap is burning me out.  If it's me, I go turbo Miata and track test with all kinds of engine controls like pyrometers, etc to make sure I don't melt it down.  But that requires computer controls and laptop tuning which disqualifies it.  The Ford 2.3 is a maybe but you need to wire in the EEC-IV or whatever it was they called it.  BTDT with the 215.  They don't make good oil pressure, the heads don't flow, they don't make much power and the engines blow up.  The 5 speed is weak, uses plastic oil pump gears that shear and trans poops the bed.  The miata would make more power reliably.  Based on your conditions, I say the Chevy V6 is your answer because you can go carb and old fashioned distributor plus that engine has been pretty reliable in Lemons..

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

Well, you're off to a great start. Forget the BMW swap for a variety of reasons.

Otherwise, Manny has pretty much got it covered. If you can find a Big Healey 3.0L, you could make your own MGC, as well.

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons
eric@24hoursoflemons.com

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

I've learned to hate wiring/fuel injection so I vote for anything with a carb. If you want to do computers/fuel injection then pick something that is sufficiently old that it doesn't require a 100 sensors to run correctly.

My only experience with a BMW computer wasn't positive. It seemed to be very finicky but that could've been ours.

1992 Saturn SL2 (retired) - Elmo's Revenge -  Class B winner, Heroic Fix winner x2
1969 Rover P6B 3500S(sold) - Super G-Rover - I.O.E Winner, Class C Winner
1996 Saturn SW2 - Elmo's Revenge (reborn!), Saturn SL1  Dazzleshipm Class C winner
1974 AMC Javelin - Oscar's Trash heap - IOE,”Organizer's Choice" and "I got Screwed" award winner

6 (edited by mharrell 2022-01-26 10:12 AM)

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

w650gb500 wrote:

I’m a distributor, carburetor, jets, cassette and 8-track kind of guy.

I'll follow the general trend of advice and say go with what you know. It's not just a question of getting the car ready for the race but also a question of fixing it during the race. If/when it's dragged in on a tow strap and if/when the engine just starts "acting funny" mid-race, what will you be happiest trying to diagnose and repair? If the answer is "Ford Y-block" then so much the better.

By the way, now that you've put it in writing, you really do need to install a cassette player and an 8-track player. An 8-track with a cassette adaptor is also fine.

1982 MG Metro 1300: IOE 2015 Pacific Northworst GP, Longest Distance 2010 Cd'L Box Wine Country Classic
1980 KV Mini 1: Worst of Show and Fright Pig Supremo 2009 Concours d'Lemons
1978 H Special: Second-Round Elimination 2010 Lemons Pinewood Derby at Sears Pointless
1967 SAAB 96: IOE 2012 Pacific Northworst GP

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

cheseroo wrote:

I understand the glory of turboing something but I've blown up so much shit over the years in Lemons that fixing that crap is burning me out.

Stop spreading misinformation about turbos.  Turbo cars dominate and never have problems.

Team whatever_racecar #745 Volvo wagon

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

rb92673 wrote:
cheseroo wrote:

I understand the glory of turboing something but I've blown up so much shit over the years in Lemons that fixing that crap is burning me out.

Stop spreading misinformation about turbos.  Turbo cars dominate and never have problems.

Let me rephrase that.  "I've blown up more rotaries than I can count, 215's and Imp engines over the years that fixing that crap is burning me out"

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

Well, the 215 wasn’t ever a consideration. I had one in an MGB street car and it was fun, but it’s worth something to someone so I will sell it to fund something else. The 2.3 would work if it were 10” shorter, but I really don’t want to put THAT BIG of a hole and hood scoop on the car. I know nothing BMW, so that’s pretty much out before it got much consideration. I’ve also had many rotary powered toys, still have one hanging around, but don’t want to deal with the heat/cooling issues and ducking things being thrown at us because of the noise.

Looks like Miata or V-6 GM are on top of the list. Time to go find out about carb options on V-6’s.

10 (edited by chaase 2022-01-26 03:51 PM)

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

w650gb500 wrote:

Well, the 215 wasn’t ever a consideration. I had one in an MGB street car and it was fun, but it’s worth something to someone so I will sell it to fund something else. The 2.3 would work if it were 10” shorter, but I really don’t want to put THAT BIG of a hole and hood scoop on the car. I know nothing BMW, so that’s pretty much out before it got much consideration. I’ve also had many rotary powered toys, still have one hanging around, but don’t want to deal with the heat/cooling issues and ducking things being thrown at us because of the noise.

Looks like Miata or V-6 GM are on top of the list. Time to go find out about carb options on V-6’s.

There are tons of 4th Gen Camaro/Firebird V6s out there. The 3.8 makes good power though in an MGB a 3.4 would be more than enough. A carb is the easy part. The trick is finding a carb intake manifold for it. Carb manifolds are available for the 3.8L, not sure about the 3.4L

1992 Saturn SL2 (retired) - Elmo's Revenge -  Class B winner, Heroic Fix winner x2
1969 Rover P6B 3500S(sold) - Super G-Rover - I.O.E Winner, Class C Winner
1996 Saturn SW2 - Elmo's Revenge (reborn!), Saturn SL1  Dazzleshipm Class C winner
1974 AMC Javelin - Oscar's Trash heap - IOE,”Organizer's Choice" and "I got Screwed" award winner

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

chaase wrote:

There are tons of 4th Gen Camaro/Firebird V6s out there. The 3.8 makes good power though in an MGB a 3.4 would be more than enough. A carb is the easy part. The trick is finding a carb intake manifold for it. Carb manifolds are available for the 3.8L, not sure about the 3.4L

Being a 90 degree verses 60 degree V6, 3800 would not be my choice here even though I love two race cars with them.

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

chaase wrote:
w650gb500 wrote:

Well, the 215 wasn’t ever a consideration. I had one in an MGB street car and it was fun, but it’s worth something to someone so I will sell it to fund something else. The 2.3 would work if it were 10” shorter, but I really don’t want to put THAT BIG of a hole and hood scoop on the car. I know nothing BMW, so that’s pretty much out before it got much consideration. I’ve also had many rotary powered toys, still have one hanging around, but don’t want to deal with the heat/cooling issues and ducking things being thrown at us because of the noise.

Looks like Miata or V-6 GM are on top of the list. Time to go find out about carb options on V-6’s.

There are tons of 4th Gen Camaro/Firebird V6s out there. The 3.8 makes good power though in an MGB a 3.4 would be more than enough. A carb is the easy part. The trick is finding a carb intake manifold for it. Carb manifolds are available for the 3.8L, not sure about the 3.4L

The 3.8L is a 90-degree Vee and almost certainly too wide to fit, which is why the 3.4L is the one people want to swap in. You just score an early fourth-gen Camaro and voila, you have a 3.4L and a T5.

The 2.8L was used for almost all of the '80s in various RWD platforms and also fits and I guess some 3.1L were used in Isuzu pickups in the early '90s. But the 3.4L is the "Big" power one and at 160 HP, that would be more than enough for an MGB. Edelbrock made at one time a 3.4L carb manifold, no clue if they still make them or if they're hard to find. On the second-hand market, they surely can't be worth anything. If you can't find anything at all, 2.8L carb intake from the early-to-mid '80s allegedly will fit. Might restrict flow a little, but probably not so badly it won't work.

Not sure if the GenII 60-degree V6 will fit on there, but you might be able to make your own carb adapter to slap onto the flat part. How hard could it be? The good news is that most junkyards have at least one or two of these manifolds sitting around if you felt compelled to DIY the carb manifold. Efficiency is overrated, also.

https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.OE0OALKqRHOqKLkYDi6SnwHaEK&pid=Api&P=0&w=289&h=163

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons
eric@24hoursoflemons.com

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

FYI, this is a pretty good example of one of these polished up pretty for a street-car build:

http://www.britishv8.org/MG/BarryStrugnell.htm

I've seen it done (much, much) cheaper, BTW.

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons
eric@24hoursoflemons.com

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

therood wrote:

FYI, this is a pretty good example of one of these polished up pretty for a street-car build:

http://www.britishv8.org/MG/BarryStrugnell.htm

I've seen it done (much, much) cheaper, BTW.

That is a nice, clean install

1992 Saturn SL2 (retired) - Elmo's Revenge -  Class B winner, Heroic Fix winner x2
1969 Rover P6B 3500S(sold) - Super G-Rover - I.O.E Winner, Class C Winner
1996 Saturn SW2 - Elmo's Revenge (reborn!), Saturn SL1  Dazzleshipm Class C winner
1974 AMC Javelin - Oscar's Trash heap - IOE,”Organizer's Choice" and "I got Screwed" award winner

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

w650gb500 wrote:

...I really don’t want to put THAT BIG of a hole and hood scoop on the car.

I don't see why not. That approach works for Spitfires.

https://images.craigslist.org/00F0F_2ieuFC8zWavz_0CI0t2_600x450.jpg

1982 MG Metro 1300: IOE 2015 Pacific Northworst GP, Longest Distance 2010 Cd'L Box Wine Country Classic
1980 KV Mini 1: Worst of Show and Fright Pig Supremo 2009 Concours d'Lemons
1978 H Special: Second-Round Elimination 2010 Lemons Pinewood Derby at Sears Pointless
1967 SAAB 96: IOE 2012 Pacific Northworst GP

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

Obvs, I'm going to say 3.4. Carb intakes are out there.
The FWD aluminum head motors make WAY more power but even with 160hp 3.4 you'll be chasing brakes etc for reliability.

Go forth and whaargarbl! (the GM 60* V6 sound (tm)

Volvo PV544 - now with Chevy 3.9 power!
2007/2012/2013 Driver's Championship (what was I thinking!?) 121 races and counting
5/17/22

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

There''s also the 90 deg. V6 engine that came in the Ford Rangers & Exploders.. The early ones were carb at 2.8L (Early 80's). Later the FI ones had 2.9L and then 4.0L. There's even a OHC version of the 4.0L. Various transmissions can be bolted up. A Mazda 5 sp. from the Ranger or a version of the T5 if the correct bell housing is used. Think late model Mustang that got the 4.0L,

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

GM offered a 3.4 conversion for s10 blazers in the late 90's. You would use the carb ,manifold ,exhaust, distributor and accessories from the anemic 2.8 that it would replace.

The front wheel drive 60 degree v6 had the aluminum heads. They are Not compatible with any carb manifold that I am aware of. The front wheel drive blocks are Not easily converted to rear wheel drive because of the motor mount bosses on the block. S10 and camaro/firebird rear drive are the only real options. Pre 1985 they are mostly Carbureted, however the factory Carb is computer controlled (Terribly) and the Distributor has a wonky emc control. There are earlier options that can work but research is necessary.
As you probably figured out I worked for GM in these years and I built a car with the conversion.

Manny

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

Not engine related, but I was able to score 2 Ford Ranger 7.5 rear ends from a local scrap guy. I watched a video that showed how to shorten the width by swapping in a right side tube/axle for the left side/longer one, that’s why I grabbed 2. One will be sacrificed for just the tube and axle. It shortens it 3 to 3-1/2” overall. I still need to do some calculating to see if that will be enough, but either way, this unit should take much more HP than the stock MG piece.

20 (edited by fleming95 2022-01-27 05:14 PM)

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

jimbbski wrote:

There''s also the 90 deg. V6 engine that came in the Ford Rangers & Exploders.. The early ones were carb at 2.8L...

I can see the GM 3.4 is in the lead, but if you're going down the Ford path, take this:

https://forums.24hoursoflemons.com/view … p?id=40523

and run with it; I believe the output on the Ford V4 is the same as the later 'Cologne' engines.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Cologne_V6_engine
"The Cologne V6 was made to be very compatible in installation with the Ford Taunus V4 engine, having the same transmission bolt pattern, the same engine mounts, and in many versions, a cylinder head featuring "siamesed" exhaust passages...>

Maybe not fast, but IoE might be within reach...

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

fleming95 wrote:

...I believe the output on the Ford V4 is the same as the later 'Cologne' engines.

True. The Cologne V6 is a popular (-ish) drop-in (-ish) replacement for the Taunus V4 among those who are convinced that the main problem with the stock SAAB 96 is that it's insufficiently nose-heavy.

1982 MG Metro 1300: IOE 2015 Pacific Northworst GP, Longest Distance 2010 Cd'L Box Wine Country Classic
1980 KV Mini 1: Worst of Show and Fright Pig Supremo 2009 Concours d'Lemons
1978 H Special: Second-Round Elimination 2010 Lemons Pinewood Derby at Sears Pointless
1967 SAAB 96: IOE 2012 Pacific Northworst GP

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

One thing in my post on the Cologne V6 is that it's a 60 deg. "V" and not 90 as I posted.  As for power, the carb version varied over the years but 110-120 HP for the 2.8L is about right. The FI 2.9L was rated at 140 HP and that is fair rating as I owned one in a Ranger PU. Also the European version did sport only 4 exhaust ports as did the 2.6L version that was first installed in the Mk I Capri. All US 2.8L engines had 6 ports! The shared port heads really didn't hurt power output "across the pond" as Ford didn't go to 6 port heads until the 2.9L version was introduced. .

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

fleming95 wrote:
jimbbski wrote:

There''s also the 90 deg. V6 engine that came in the Ford Rangers & Exploders.. The early ones were carb at 2.8L...

I can see the GM 3.4 is in the lead, but if you're going down the Ford path, take this:

https://forums.24hoursoflemons.com/view … p?id=40523

and run with it; I believe the output on the Ford V4 is the same as the later 'Cologne' engines.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Cologne_V6_engine
"The Cologne V6 was made to be very compatible in installation with the Ford Taunus V4 engine, having the same transmission bolt pattern, the same engine mounts, and in many versions, a cylinder head featuring "siamesed" exhaust passages...>

Maybe not fast, but IoE might be within reach...

Cologne V6 is certainly closer to IOE territory than the GM 3.4L. As unrefined as the GM Sound of Power is, the Cologne is almost peak EuroFord crudeness. You could go cruder with a Ford Kent, but that at point, you may as well chase down an original MG 1.8L.

Frankly, both Ford engines or the MG are more solid IOE-chasing choices.

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons
eric@24hoursoflemons.com

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

therood wrote:

...solid IOE-chasing choices.

In that case, BMC B-Series diesel.

Or BMC A-Series diesel.

Or BMC A-Series diesel converted to run on gasoline, which was an actual factory offering, because of course that was somehow a sensible thing to do.

1982 MG Metro 1300: IOE 2015 Pacific Northworst GP, Longest Distance 2010 Cd'L Box Wine Country Classic
1980 KV Mini 1: Worst of Show and Fright Pig Supremo 2009 Concours d'Lemons
1978 H Special: Second-Round Elimination 2010 Lemons Pinewood Derby at Sears Pointless
1967 SAAB 96: IOE 2012 Pacific Northworst GP

Re: MGB engine swap and wiring question.

There is an engine swap forum on MGexp.com with a lot of good technical info.

https://www.mgexp.com/forum/mg-engine-swaps-forum.40/

Just be warned, they don't "get" Lemons over there. SCCA Vintage racing and autocross are where their heads are.
And the non-technical discourse is exactly the boomer cringe fest you'd expect it to be.

That guy that likes the Oldsmobile Diesel for some reason.