I took a look at the LTG engine dimensions on the GM crate engine site earlier today. At about 27.3 inches tall according to GM, the LTG is probably too tall to use in a Locost, at least easily. The Locost forums say that the Miata 1.8 liter engine, a popular choice, is fairly tall at around 23 inches and requires the oil pan to sit below the frame rails. Clearly then, the LTG is too tall. Turns out it’s tricky to find dimensions (overall length, width, height) on most engines, unless they’re offered as a crate engine or are very popular in standalone applications, so I’m not totally if an LHU or LNF would fit either. I’m not totally sure if any Ecotec engine would fit, but I think I’ve found a decent option.
Obviously, buying a whole car to extract the engine, accessories and wiring from would be ideal, but I’m not sure it’s going to be possible for a low enough amount of money. The cars containing the LNF and LHU engines are still fairly new, and in the case of the LNF, rare. It’s pretty unlikely I’m going to find a rusted out 2013 Buick Regal Turbo. So a more common and older engine would be easier to work with.
I think I’ll be setting my sights on an LE5, a 2.4 liter naturally aspirated four cylinder found in a bunch of shitty, uninspiring GM cars from 2006 to 2012. In the form I’m most likely to find, it puts out 169 horsepower and 162 ft-lbs of torque. That should be totally fine for a 1500 or 1600 pound car, even though it’s not the 260 horsepower of the turbo engines. I think I’d probably run the engine with a Megasquirt 3 system, which should be able to deal with the engine’s variable valve timing and avoid the headache of using the GM ECU without the rest of the car. The Megasquirt is also infinitely tuneable, so with some effort I might be able to eke out a little more power. And if I want a lot more power, the turbo from the Saab 9-3 bolts on with some effort. I’m looking into grafting on the individual throttle bodies from a motorcycle for this engine. I might even be able to
So that’s where the project stands for now. Today and tomorrow are going to be pretty warm, and hopefully it stays that way. I need to get the garage in ship shape before I start building anything.