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Old 09-28-2018, 08:15 PM   #1
Alan.K
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Default Volvo 142 engine swap suggestions

I’ve recently purchased a 1972 142e and will be immediately swapping the engine and transmission for something with more juice.

I’m looking for input from people who have first hand experience swapping a 140. Not opinions or bench racing. I’m looking for details on what fits, what it takes to make it fit, and if it’s hard or easy to work on down the road.

An 8V OHC turbo engine looks to be the simplest way to achieve at least 250whp at high altitude (3-9k ft elevation) So this is my first choice, but....

Looking at the room available in the engine bay and the few swap photos I can find, it looks like some fabrication is going to be unavoidable. (Not a problem, my skill set and budget will easily accommodate this.) It looks like either the brake booster will need relocated, or the intake manifold fabricated, or the engine tilted and the exhaust manifold fabricated.

This has me wondering... if I’m fabricating one or two of those three areas regardless, should I consider:

-16v head on a red block?
-16v white block turbo?
-5 cylinder 20v white block turbo?
-6 cylinder 24v white block NA?

I’ll be running a stand-alone regardless. All options appear to require a similar amount of fabrication (a little more for the white block options) and they all meet/exceed my power goals and fit within my budget.

Does anyone have experience putting one of these five options in a 140? I’m leaning towards a 20v for the sound and maybe less gearbox rattle from the TKO600 transmission I’d likely use.

Probably the least interested in a 6 cylinder because of the length and I’m worried about room for a long tube header. Also, it would generally be maxed out at my power goals, while the turbo options would have plenty of headroom in reserve.

I want a car that’s easy to work on when the swap is done. I’ve had enough swapped cars that you have to pull the engine out to service basic items. So if you’ve swapped one of these engines and it was ten pounds of **** in a five pound bag, I’d like to know so I can steer clear.
Thanks,
-Alan

Last edited by Alan.K; 09-28-2018 at 08:28 PM..
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Old 09-28-2018, 08:28 PM   #2
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b230FT - no brainer. For sure not the 16V whiteblock. T5 transmission. It's all been done.
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Old 09-28-2018, 09:40 PM   #3
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Canuck, thanks for your input. I totally agree. B230ft is well traveled ground.

Being new to the Volvo platform, is it possible to make an analogy between the redblock and the chevy small block? For decades the SBC was the best solution for hot rodding. So much that the LS platform was slow to be recognized for its potential. Nowadays there is no reason to use a SBC unless you are building an era specific hot rod. The LS is better on all fronts, but it took a while to gain mass acceptance.

The redblock is getting pretty old but it’s proven, like a SBC. That said, should I look at any newer Volvo engines? Or is the new stuff more complicated than it needs to be for a vintage swap application (like a DOHC Ford V8 or BMW S54 I6, both are great, but bulky and complicated compared to other options)?

Just want to do my diligence before I start spending money.
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:32 PM   #4
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289 / 302 fits, but don't let that get in your way...
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how psi stock cna support?

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Old 09-29-2018, 12:12 AM   #5
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289 / 302 fits, but don't let that get in your way...
I have a freshly built aluminum LS sitting in my garage waiting for me to install it in something. Two reasons Iíve ruled it out: No room for full length headers and I put so much work into the heads it would be a shame to run manifolds. And 450ft/lbs would shred the rear end and skinny tires. Good for a laugh, but I want to keep things closer to the original 140 driving experience and not turn the car into a crazed lunatic.
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Old 09-29-2018, 02:03 AM   #6
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I have a freshly built aluminum LS sitting in my garage waiting for me to install it in something. Two reasons Iíve ruled it out: No room for full length headers and I put so much work into the heads it would be a shame to run manifolds. And 450ft/lbs would shred the rear end and skinny tires. Good for a laugh, but I want to keep things closer to the original 140 driving experience and not turn the car into a crazed lunatic.


At that point you're reinventing the whole thing.
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Old 09-29-2018, 11:40 AM   #7
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I have a B23et and T5 transmission in my 140. You've already listed most of the big fabrication projects involved, but there are more little things. If mounting upright, you need to modify the oil pump, and use the B20 oil pan. The motor fits great, side-to-side, but it's pretty tight up front with a radiator, intercooler, and oil cooler.

I like my car, and the B23 is pretty powerful for what the car is. If I was starting from scratch right now, I'd probably think about a whiteblock/M90 combo. It would be a similar amount of work, and you'd end up with a much more refined driving experience.
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Old 09-29-2018, 01:56 PM   #8
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I have a B23et and T5 transmission in my 140. You've already listed most of the big fabrication projects involved, but there are more little things. If mounting upright, you need to modify the oil pump, and use the B20 oil pan. The motor fits great, side-to-side, but it's pretty tight up front with a radiator, intercooler, and oil cooler.

I like my car, and the B23 is pretty powerful for what the car is. If I was starting from scratch right now, I'd probably think about a whiteblock/M90 combo. It would be a similar amount of work, and you'd end up with a much more refined driving experience.
That's great info and confirms my notion that all the OHC engines require a similar amount of work to swap in. Do you know if the M90 will fit the 72+ (larger) transmission tunnel? Just eyeballing photos it looks bigger than a T5, and from what I gather, the T5 is already a snug fit.

I'd rather avoid major reconstructive surgery on the shell. If it expires because of a crash or terminal rust, it would be nice to just move everything over to another shell and not have to redo 100's of hours of fabrication.
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Old 09-29-2018, 02:20 PM   #9
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That's great info and confirms my notion that all the OHC engines require a similar amount of work to swap in. Do you know if the M90 will fit the 72+ (larger) transmission tunnel? Just eyeballing photos it looks bigger than a T5, and from what I gather, the T5 is already a snug fit.

I'd rather avoid major reconstructive surgery on the shell. If it expires because of a crash or terminal rust, it would be nice to just move everything over to another shell and not have to redo 100's of hours of fabrication.
Mine is a '68, so I had to weld in a transmission tunnel from a 240. I haven't seen a late 142 tunnel, but I have to think it's almost identical to mine now, and I don't see how an M90 would fit. That said, if I found an M90 somehow, I'd probably hack the tunnel up and make it fit.

Oh, and mine is an 8 valve. A 16v will present a bunch more packaging issues.
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Old 09-29-2018, 02:25 PM   #10
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The 5 cylinder bolts right in, no mods necessary.

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Old 09-29-2018, 02:29 PM   #11
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Ugh. What a nightmare.
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Old 09-29-2018, 02:31 PM   #12
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The 5 cylinder bolts right in, no mods necessary.



So does a 350 chebby.

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Old 09-29-2018, 02:40 PM   #13
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This one's a little better but it still looks like they had to cut the firewall.

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Old 09-29-2018, 02:54 PM   #14
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250 hp is s a figure just plucked out of the (thin mountain) air..
Meaningless. Abstract.. How a whole car goes (especially UP) isn't merely one random number plucked out of the air but torque (spread) x gears in the box (to sustain it) and x final drive ratio / weight and available pump fuel..

You want 250 hp, fine...How many ft/lbs..What gearbox...M90 has crap set of ratios, is in rwd form rare and stupidly expensive (and requires ca bigger tunnel---but truth is ANY box which will hold reliably 250+ ft/lbs is going to require some limited sheetmetal work..just to get something with huge gaps and a useless first--if the axle is optimised for any kind of acceleration.

The back axle (M27 Dana??) is fine for the (dismal) stock power but would be a ticking time bomb wwith more power...Dana 30 would be "adequate"

After you swap engine, gearbox and axle...and have something that will go up hills, what about the brakes and the steering?

A LOT of problems by just deciding I wann Two-fiddy HP.
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Old 09-29-2018, 02:57 PM   #15
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^ Should be a 1030 in a 72 140 with room in the pumpkin for a locker.

Another picture just to keep the fantasy going ...

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Old 09-29-2018, 03:05 PM   #16
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Yeah, firewall chop on all those. Impressive, but not something I'd want to own and maintain.

I'm going to back pedal a bit here and introduce one more option:

I've got nothing against pushrods. I'm not a fan of non-crossflow heads, but with the weird space constraints on the 140, I'm starting to think about doing a turbo b20. A basic 2.3 build with a small turbo would make plenty of power. I could fab it all up with the stock engine, get it running and de-bugged, then drop in a built engine and turn up the boost. I just want a fun vintage street car that can bomb some gravel roads. Can anyone recommend a good b18/b20 performance parts supplier that's NOT VPD?
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Old 09-29-2018, 03:15 PM   #17
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Maybe some of the Swedish places, IPD hasn't done B20 hop up stuff for ~20 years.

Btw your 72 will have Dana 30 gears in the 4:10 flavor if that matters / is of interest to you.
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Old 09-29-2018, 03:30 PM   #18
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Maybe some of the Swedish places, IPD hasn't done B20 hop up stuff for ~20 years.

Btw your 72 will have Dana 30 gears in the 4:10 flavor if that matters / is of interest to you.
Thanks. The rear end will be getting a rebuild with a Wavetrac. I'm waiting to figure out my engine and transmission recipe, then I'll decide on a final drive. Brakes and suspension will get upgraded also.
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Old 09-29-2018, 03:43 PM   #19
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Thanks. The rear end will be getting a rebuild with a Wavetrac. I'm waiting to figure out my engine and transmission recipe, then I'll decide on a final drive. Brakes and suspension will get upgraded also.
Got 72+ 164 front brakes?
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Old 09-29-2018, 03:49 PM   #20
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Got 72+ 164 front brakes?
I'm going to see if RX7 calipers and 740t rotors with 240 adapter brackets can be modified to fit.
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Old 09-29-2018, 05:16 PM   #21
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Yeah, firewall chop on all those. Impressive, but not something I'd want to own and maintain.

I'm going to back pedal a bit here and introduce one more option:

I've got nothing against pushrods. I'm not a fan of non-crossflow heads, but with the weird space constraints on the 140, I'm starting to think about doing a turbo b20. A basic 2.3 build with a small turbo would make plenty of power. I could fab it all up with the stock engine, get it running and de-bugged, then drop in a built engine and turn up the boost. I just want a fun vintage street car that can bomb some gravel roads. Can anyone recommend a good b18/b20 performance parts supplier that's NOT VPD?
Bore a B20 so its round, fresh holes..Comp 11:1 after improving the roof to wall intersection and unshrouding the big valves. Better---but not insanely heavy rods ..and this cam under the table, IPD oil pump relief valve spring--Now you could rev the thing

better gearbox..T5 with 2.95 first.....and 4.88 axle

You want to play on gravel roads then a top speed in 4th of around 100-105mph is plenty..save 5th for cruising there and back.
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Old 09-29-2018, 05:17 PM   #22
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I'm going to see if RX7 calipers and 740t rotors with 240 adapter brackets can be modified to fit.

Better would be some 300ZX...easier and better piston size...especially if the brake boost gets junked.
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Old 09-29-2018, 06:00 PM   #23
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Bore a B20 so its round, fresh holes..Comp 11:1 after improving the roof to wall intersection and unshrouding the big valves. Better---but not insanely heavy rods ..and this cam under the table, IPD oil pump relief valve spring--Now you could rev the thing

better gearbox..T5 with 2.95 first.....and 4.88 axle

You want to play on gravel roads then a top speed in 4th of around 100-105mph is plenty..save 5th for cruising there and back.
John, that sounds like a solid plan. I just wanted the turbo for passing slow pokes on mountain passes. I’m not out street racing, haha. But honestly I don’t drive mountain passes every day, so an NA B20+ is sounding better and better.

I’ve been thinking about a dual Weber dcoe manifold with Weber style throttle bodies, modern injection components and a stand-alone as a good stage one. If I need more power, it will be easier to add FI with those parts in place. Hmmmm
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Old 09-29-2018, 08:13 PM   #24
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It doesn't have to be shoved through the firewall. Better weight distribution that way, but not something I'd want to do. I will say that my 8v with a 19t, T5, and 4.30 Dana 30 with a TruTrac (Thanks to HiPerfAuto for the install) is a blast to drive. You don't have to try hard at all to extract power out of it, and it's a good setup on the street. Granted, I'm about to ruin all that with a big dumb turbo, but as it sits now, I'd recommend this route over a B20.

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Old 09-29-2018, 08:45 PM   #25
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John, that sounds like a solid plan. I just wanted the turbo for passing slow pokes on mountain passes. Iím not out street racing, haha. But honestly I donít drive mountain passes every day, so an NA B20+ is sounding better and better.

Iíve been thinking about a dual Weber dcoe manifold with Weber style throttle bodies, modern injection components and a stand-alone as a good stage one. If I need more power, it will be easier to add FI with those parts in place. Hmmmm
Yes. See I've been building rally motors since maybe 1985 and really "inspired" since then as well..Rally is about HP and torque much like road cars except ratcheted up a bit..Pull..that's why I said try with whatchooo have to the limits of that motor, but not neglecting box and especially not neglect the joys of significantly shorter gearing...

What sort have engines have you built?
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