Project overview
So there it is. in this picture you see the engine behind this crazed project. It’s a low mileage 2.4L engine out of a ’99 Dodge Stratus. It is my plan to install this engine into my ’88 Horizon. For the initial install, it will not be turbocharged. While it’s pretty easy to simply swap out the rods and pistons for SRT parts (fairly cheap as well), I want to keep the complexity of this swap down to bite size chunks. After I have it running in N/A form, it will be a simple matter to make it turbo.
 The first step in this project will be to simply get the thing bolted into the car. There is an adapter to adapt this engine to bolt into a 1st gen Neon. The Neon mount is similar to my mount so that is where I will begin.
Then we move on to the transmission, it sounds like a good old K-Car era transmission will work. I have an A523 with a nice 3.5fd, so I intend to use that. Using that tranny lets me use a standard flywheel, from the old 2.2/2.5 engines, and a normal clutch. I don’t have to use the screwy “modular” clutch that the Neon’s use. I also get to use the one of the dozen 2.2/2.5 starters I have already (ever price a Neon starter? OMG!). And finally, I’ve read scattered reports that the Neon’s use different axles, so that’d cause me some more grief. And finally, I’ve read that the motor mount on the transmission is different for the Neon’s. I can get around all of these problems easily by simply using my readily available tranny. Nice win win situation.
The front motor mount is going to require some innovation, I’ll cover that problem extensively when I get to it. The rear mount, aka the bobble strut will not be an issue, I have a solid bobble strut to go in it’s place.
Once the engine is bolted in I’ll get a chance to see how much room I have for the intake. I have the intake from the Stratus, I’d like to use that, since I already have it. And I really don’t want to chop it up to make a custom one. The Stratus uses a returnless fuel system, with the regulator back at the tank. I don’t like that setup, I think that by using a simple T, I can plumb in the fuel pressure regulator from an ‘84-’87 Turbo I car. I have several of those.
Electronics.. This one is an easy choice for me.. MEGASQUIRT! I’ve run it twice before, first on an old ’84 VW Cabriolet. It blew my mind how much that woke up the tired old engine in that car. Alas, it wasn’t to be as all the oil seals were blown so I scrapped the project. Next was my ’83 Shelby Charger. I simply wanted to get rid of the horrifically unreliable carburetor those cars shipped with. I used an ‘88+ T1 intake with 19lb fuel injectors. I also used a swirl head on the HO motor. The car was tremendously powerful for a normally aspirated car, and it got awesome gas mileage (better than 40mpg on the freeway!). It was also very reliable, got about 20k miles out of it before I loaned it to an idiot friend that put cheap low octane gas in it and cracked several of the pistons. So enough about that old project. I plan to use the new “Megasquirt II” on this car. I’ll be using it for both fuel and spark. My past 2 MS’d cars were fuel only, I had left the factory ignition in place. Not an option here, and that’s ok, MS didn’t control ignition on my first car, and it was a hack at best by the time I did the second car. Now it has fully matured and the MS2 can do distributorless ignition. So I can keep the Neon coil pack setup on the valve cover. So far, from what I’ve found, the MS2 cannot read the stock crank trigger setup. If I ran the MS1 CPU and some alternate software, I could, but I want the MS2. So I’m going to have to mount a Ford EDIS trigger wheel on the crank pulley and the pickup for it. I don’t think that will be too big of a deal.
So that about covers everything. I intend to move relatively quickly on this project, I’m aiming to have it done by summer. If you have comments and feedback, PLEASE, email me. I’m open to constructive information.
Project Overview
Saturday, January 13, 2007