VVT Swap – Part 1

As previously discussed, since the minimum weight for a 1.6 is now pretty well out of reach, there’s no good reason not to run a 1.8 motor. Instantly more powerful, and it adds some “useful” weight that I won’t have to add as ballast later. So if i’m dropping in a 1.8, I’m going to drop in a VVT motor.

And with that, this weekend saw a friend and I driving to Greenville, SC to pick up a motor:


Followed by, in a sight that is becoming all too common, some heavy disassembly.


Everything that needs to be disconnected, removed or otherwise f**ked off, has done so. Now it’s just a matter of pulling the 1.6L and swapping a bunch of the mods (coolant, clutch, etc etc) to the new motor, then adapting the wiring to incorporate the NB 1.8 crank pickup and cam sensor, add on the VVTuner, and get back to running this car sometime this season. What a novel concept.

There’s so much room for activities!


Balls. Balls Balls Balls. Balls.

After running the motor last time to get it up to temp and to get any assembly gunk into the filter, it was finally time to change the oil and get all that gunk out of the sump.

And out poured another milkshake.

In retrospect, putting all the evidence together, the culprit is pretty self evident.

What do we know?

  1. The head was warped, but no signs of damage to the head gasket. The head pressure tested fine.
  2. Last winter, it was really, REALLY cold, for a really long time.
  3. Last winter, the block was full of water + water wetter, and not antifreeze. Due to negligence and some personal tribulations we were going through that year, I didn’t get to winterize the engine.

Given that, it’s time for another motor to come out.

HOWEVER: I’d already basically made the decision to move to a 1.8L VVT motor due to the weight gained by the cage, which put the minimum weight in for a 1.6L well out of my reach. And if I’m pulling this motor, I’m *not* slapping my spare 1.6L parts motor together and putting it in (despite that being the definition of a spare. GET OFF MY LAWN!)

So, if you know anyone that a) wants to buy a 1.6L motor (the good one), or a 1.6L head (the better one), or a Maxxim Works header for a 1.6L, send them my way. Because I need to sell some those to move this thing along.