Monday, January 19, 2009

I want more power!

If you have owned an underpowered car of any make, you have probably said those words to yourself. "I want more power!" But when you begin to think about more power, you also realize that something would have to change. For instance, buying a faster car might have been financially impossible but modifying the current engine might just do the job. But as some have found out (the hard way) making your car faster may prove to be an expensive project by the time it's done. Consider what the folks at say about beefing up a stock Porsche 924.

The topic of engine swaps seems to come up here ALL the time. It seems that most people want to do the swap because they feel that the 924 engine isn't powerful enough and doesn't have much potential per dollar spent as far as modifications. This is certainly true. A set of high compression pistons, a camshaft, head porting, and a header will probably cost upwards of $1200 if you do the work yourself. And on top of that you'll be lucky to get 160hp out of it. While 160hp in a 924 is reasonably quick, most people don't want to spend the value of their car in modifications and still get kicked around by Acura Integras. And sure, you can throw out of back seats and all the carpet and insulation and interior trim, but if it's not a racecar, you're really compromising the utility of the car. And maybe being a little ricey in the process.

The Chevy 350 swap is a popular topic of discussion. Hey, who doesn't want a really fast 924? But the cost of the kit, without engine or cooling system upgrades or brake upgrades (unless you already did a 944 swap or have the front/rear discs as an option), is around $2000. Figure around $500 for a complete (all accessories, etc) Chevy V8, $200 or more in custom exhaust work, all the necessary cooling accessories, etc., and you're talking about almost $3000. And that is for a carbureted Chevy V8. Sure, it'll make tons of power, but the swap will cost you around twice the value of the car! Sure, the parts are cheaper to replace when they break, but considering the initial investment, it hardly seems worth it. And on top of that it will destroy the balance of the car and throw off all the handling characteristics. And the added weight over the front wheels will make the car VERY difficult to steer at low speeds.

Of course, you could do a different swap, like a 944 engine, a 928 V8, or an Audi turbo engine. But unless you do your own metal fabrication, it's still likely to be a very expensive swap. Add to that the difficulty of wiring up a different fuel injection system, running fuel lines, and working out all the quirks of the swap, and you're still out a lot of money and time. And in this case parts will be more expensive than stock 924 parts.

As I see it, the only reasonable thing to do, if you're unhappy with the amount of power the 924 has, is to sell it, and buy something faster.

For most people, that's pretty good advice.

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